Any grand opening is a big deal. As fitting for the great good luck we’ve had from the start of this project, the Helensview Community Garden opening in Sumner neighborhood in NE Portland was blessed with grand weather and a grand turnout.

Gardeners selecting their new plots at the Helensview Community Garden grand opening

Caption: Gardeners selecting their new plots at the Helensview Community Garden grand opening

Sandwiches donated by Subway at Cascade Station

Caption: Sandwiches & fixin’s donated by Subway at Cascade Station (next to Target). Attendees were surprised — and very pleased — to see Subway.

Scott thanks a long list of partners and neighbors

Caption: Sumner neighborhood chair Scott Somohano stands at the shed entrance (right) to thank a long list of partners and neighbors

Kris, principal of Helensview School

Caption: Helensview School Principal Kris Persson spoke about how the students will use the garden in their curriculum — and in their lunches

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish

Caption: Commissioner Nick Fish, who oversaw the Parks Bureau during the city’s drive to add 1,000 Gardens, spoke about how the Helensview garden was the last project completed under the initiative — and the fastest from start to finish.

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz

Caption: Commissioner Amanda Fritz also joined us for the celebration — just as she did for a work party last fall. However, this time she did not wear her trademark zebra-striped boots.

Bryce from Oregon Tilth demonstrating top gardening practices

Caption: Bryce from Oregon Tilth demonstrated top gardening techniques

Kids playing

Caption: A youngster expressed his approval for the new garden (& otherwise enjoyed the sunny weather)

Most of the garden is booked but there are still a few plots available. Several of the attendees commented favorabily about the size and potential of the 11-acre site for future school/park style development. Not to mention its grand view of Mount St Helens.

A final note: Thanks to Dan and Heather for taking photos!

About 50 people turned out for the grand opening of Helensview Community Garden on Saturday, including Portland City Commissioners, Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz.

Helensview Community Garden, plots selected at grand opening Not only was the event a big draw — thanks to gorgeous weather and lots of sandwiches donated by Subway at Cascade Station (next to Target) — the selection of plots by gardeners who registered early became a friendly land grab.

As shown in the illustration (larger view), only the plots highlighted in yellow are unclaimed. A few gardeners who registered before the opening did not attend Satruday and so have not yet selected their plots, so the availability is even fewer than shown. Those gardeners will have a chance to select their plots at the gardener orientation onsite this Saturday, March 16. (Time, I think, is 2 PM.)

We’ll have photos from the event posted soon. In the meantime, we’ve gotten some press, including these items in the Oregonian and on KGW TV.

How to sign up

Signing up is easy:

  1. Go to the Garden Plot Request Form on the Portalnd Community Gardens website.
  2. Fill in the requested information, and then in the 1st Community Garden Selection field, select Helensview.
  3. Click Submit.

No payment is required when you reserve a plot online. Garden rental rates are $21 per year for a  ‘half plot’ (10′-by-10′) or $43 per year for a ‘standard plot’ (10′-by-20′). There might be one chance to combine two standard plots into a double.

Financial aid scholarships are available from Portland Community Gardens for those who qualify, and Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) has also approved $105 in scholarship funding to help Sumner residents who want to garden at Helensview.

The newsletter for winter 2013 (750 KB PDF) for Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) in NE Portland, Oregon, is now available online!

Sumner newsletter for winter 2013 This issue began delivery this weekend. Thanks to Patricia who masterminded the vastly improved design & who suggested we give the newsletter a real name.

Thanks also to our many intrepid neighbors who volunteered to deliver the newsletter to your very door handle: Marcy, Janet, Cyril, Henry, Karen, Katherine, Colin, Tish, Molly, Erica, Heather, Katana, Jay, Emily, Cindy, Ronda, Jacob and Joan (the newsletter delivery ringleader)!

Items in this issue include:

  • Grand opening the Helensview Community Garden on Saturday, March 9
  • Finalizing our neighborhood plan at our Tues, Feb 19 meeting
  • Calendar of events through April, including litter patrols and stewardship at Johnson Lake on Saturday, April 6.
  • Notes from October and November meetings
  • A full 2013 calendar (PDF) as an insert
  • And much more!

Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) in Northeast Portland gets a variety of email from civic organizations (plus countless others offering medical remedies or seeking wire transfer assistance). Here is a selection of upcoming — and free — topics that neighbors in Sumner might be interested in.

Item #1: Open house > I-205/Airport Way interchange

Civic group: ODOT
Dates: Tuessday afternoon, Jan 29, 4:30 TO 6:30 PM
Location: Residence Inn Portland Airport, 9301 NE Cascades Parkway
More info: Aiport Way interchange project

Construction will begin this spring on the Interstate 205/Airport Way interchange project. A major feature of the project will be a new free-flowing right-turn ramp from westbound Airport Way to northbound I-205. Eastbound drivers turning left onto northbound I-205 will have two turn lanes and will no longer have to share the traffic signal with westbound drivers heading for northbound I-205.

Item #2: Town Hall with our new State Rep and State Senator

Who: House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senator Chip Shields
Date: Saturday morning, Feb 2, at 10 AM
Location: Classic Foods, 817 NE Madrona St. (map)
About: Redistricting in 2011 moved most of Sumner neighborhood into House District 44, represented by Kotek, and Senate District 22, represented by Shields.

Item #3: Columbia River Crossing project: Its impact on I-205 & Sandy Blvd

Civic group: Columbia River Crossing presenting at the Central Northeast Neighbors (CNN) land use & transportation meeting
Dates: Monday evening, February 4, 7 PM
Location: CNN office, 4415 NE 87th Ave
More info:

Presentation by Anne Pressentin of CRC on the upcoming tolls on the I-5 bridge and expected traffic diversion to
I-205 via Sandy Boulevard. Also, a preview by Sharon White of PBOT of the Sandy Blvd Crash Corridor open house on ednesday, March 6.

Item #4: How to Be an Agent of Change in Your Circle of Influence

Civic group: Center for Earth Leadership
Dates: Six Wednesday evenings, starting Feb 20
Contact: 503-227-2315 or

Our upcoming no-cost “Agent of Change” training is ideal for those interested in building community in their neighborhood. Many past participants envision changes within their immediate neighborhoods to increase neighbor connections and livability qualities to create a more place-based community. This training provides a tested framework, tools, and assistance with creating a plan, all with support and in consultation with other active Portlanders.

Item #5: Eastside Forum Project: Interactive Theatre and Community Building Training for 82nd Ave Neighbors

Dates: March 9-10, 2013
Civic group: Living Stages

Community participants will receive training in community-building, leadership, and interactive theatre while developing a series of short interactive plays based on their own experiences of the challenges and possibilities of living, working, accessing services along 82nd Avenue. No theatre experience is necessary! The training will be offered free to members of the community along 82nd Avenue.

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