As we have all sadly experienced, a dramatic and violent change has come to our neighborhood. Reckless driving and gunfire violence have become daily occurrences here and throughout the city.
About a month ago, a few community members reached out to us with concerns and the need to respond to what is happening. Those neighbors, including a member of Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association, facilitated meetings with representatives from the Office of Violence Prevention, Community Safety team from the Office of Community & Civic Life, Portland Fire & Rescue, representatives from the Office of Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, and Dr. Jonathan Jay.
Together we produced steps to address the violence while ensuring that Mt. Scott Park area remains an accessible, inclusive, and safe destination for all people. We sought both immediate and long-term solutions that center equitable outcomes for all members of our community. This includes future residents as well as neighbors here today. We hope these steps will quickly restore the sense of security and peace in our neighborhood.
Here is a partial list of ideas proposed; all of which align with Dr. Jay’s recommendations and have been demonstrated to have worked in other neighborhoods experiencing challenges to community safety:
1-Adding lighting to areas most affected and specifically Mt Scott Park to ensure safe access for all people.
2-Gating off the parking lot of Tremont Church and adding security cameras in addition to the lights. A community member has reached out to the church and is actively working with them to secure the parking lot. We are incredibly grateful to both the Tremont Church and Access Church for their immediate response, compassion, and cooperation. Civic Life and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) with the support of the Office of Management & Finance are actively working with the community to address these issues.
3-Closing off the Woodstock Interchange and turning it into a community gathering space. MSANA is consulting with Better Block PSU on both community outreach with stakeholders and design proposals.
4-Community outreach including supporting youth programs and cultural enrichment.
5-Community art projects and the utilization of public spaces for community gatherings.
6-Limiting streets around the park to local access only to reduce speeding.
7-Speed reductions along SE 72nd Ave.
8- Addition of Park Rangers to Mt.Scott Park.
Thanks to the support of the Office of JoAnn Hardesty, these requests were submitted and reviewed. We are pleased to announce that the response has been both quick and met with urgency. Effective this weekend, Phase 1 of the plan will start including limiting unsafe driving on local streets and immediately assign Park Rangers to the park. See the press release from portlandoregon.gov for details. We hope that this plan may serve as a model for other neighborhoods to use in fostering community safety.
With the recent string of daytime shootings near the park, while our children were outside, we have been informed that Portland Police Bureau will have a more visible presence in the area.
Our next meeting is on October 5th at 6:30 pm. Please join us online with Zoom. This support article can help if are unfamiliar with Zoom. Telephones and any device with internet service can access the meeting.
We will continue to update you with more information as we have it. We wanted to let the community know that we are working hard on restoring peace and keeping you and our community safe.