Neighborhood associations arise out of a sense of duty to make one’s community a better place to live, work, and play. Groups of neighbors and business owners, as well as other influential people in the community, work together to make changes and improvements to the neighborhoods they spend time in.
Neighborhood association goals often include things like neighborhood safety, community activities where people can socialize and have a good time, and making the area more beautiful. But it takes time, money, and knowledge to make such goals reality. Here’s how North Portland Neighborhood Services helps the neighborhood associations in North Portland reach their goals.
Neighborhood Associations in Portland
The neighborhood associations in Portland are some of the best in the country. The City of Portland’s program has gotten national recognition over the last forty years because it’s a great example of how neighborhood associations can make a substantial contribution to the community.
The 95 associations in Portland strive to build “inclusive, safe and livable neighborhoods and communities,” according to the City of Portland’s website. The city encourages these associations to work closely with local government officials to make changes and improvements.
How Does North Portland Neighborhood Services Fit in?
In the late 1970s and 80s the city contracted with a non-profit organization to provide neighborhood services. It worked for seven neighborhoods in the North Portland area. As time went on, these neighborhoods formed their own associations that provided neighborhood services. These got recognition from the city in the late 80s.
A dispute in the early 1990s led to some changes in the way things were done. The non-profit organization was done away with, and the associations petitioned the city to provide direct support to the independent neighborhood associations.
This is where North Portland Neighborhood Services entered the picture in 1994. It was formed to provide support and services to the neighborhood associations in North Portland. It is funded by the city and emphasizes that its mission is to use community assets to “engage, organize, and empower residents.” It focuses heavily on fostering community partnerships.
The eleven neighborhood associations that fall under North Portland Neighborhood Services are:
- Arbor Lodge Neighborhood Association
- Bridgeton Neighborhood Association
- East Columbia Neighborhood Association
- Friends of Cathedral Park
- Hayden Island Neighborhood Network
- Kenton Neighborhood Association
- Overlook Neighborhood Association
- St. Johns Neighborhood Association
- Piedmont Neighborhood Association
- Portsmouth Neighborhood Association
- University Park Neighborhood Association
What North Portland Neighborhood Services Does
Staff members at North Portland Neighborhood Services do all kinds of things. One member works with budgets and on new community building projects. Another works on grants and land-use issues. Another works on event scheduling, and yet another is the coordinator at the North Portland Tool Library. All play a crucial role in helping neighborhood associations run effectively and efficiently.
The organization also administers funds through its own grant program. These funds are distributed for community projects and are awarded by a panel of residents. Grant awards have historically ranged from $500 to $3500. See more info about these funds here.
Projects That Have Made a Difference
So, what are some of the projects that neighborhood associations have implemented? How have they actually made a difference to the people living in North Portland?
- North Portland Tool Library, which lends a wide variety of tools to residents at no charge
- North Star Village, a community that allows the elderly to remain in their homes safely and independently
- St. Johns Farmers Market, a great way to get quality food and support local agriculture
- Friends of Baltimore Woods, a preservation project for a unique urban oak ecosystem
- North Portland Community Gardens, a way to get the benefits of gardening, even if you don’t have the means to do it where you live
This is just a small sampling of current projects. There are a wide variety of things happening on the community level, and each makes an important contribution to neighborhood well-being. We appreciate North Portland Neighborhood Services for all of its assistance.