What UNR does, and why

Portland grassroots group United Neighborhoods for Reform seeks to stem the demolition of viable, affordable housing. Our demolition/development resolution, developed through significant neighbor outreach, gathered endorsements from 43 neighborhood associations citywide. We also regularly take our message to City Hall, starting in December 2014, continuing in 2015 on Feb. 12, June 3 (UNR presenters start at 51:20), Oct. 14 (UNR at 1:07:35), and Nov. 25 (UNR at 1:05); in 2016 on Feb. 17, Nov. 9 and 16, and Dec. 7; in 2017 on May 17; in 2018 on Feb. 1; and many dates since.

"The time is always right to do what is right."
—Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Activists take to the air and the grass roots

Anti-demolition activists (from left) Sara Long, Fred Leeson, and
Margaret Davis pause for a picture before going on air at Channel 11 for a
half-hour to discuss the wide-ranging effects of current
trash-and-build development practices.

This month United Neighborhoods for Reform (UNR) members and supporters had a chance to make the case against Portland home demolitions at the invitation of Carolyn Brunett, producer of The City Lights Show on Channel 11. The station is wired for some 450,000 homes; even if we reached a fraction of that audience, it was a fun and meaningful foray in front of the cameras—and there will be more.

Meanwhile, UNR prepares for the fourth summit, after the successful three that occurred in 2014, which gave birth to the effort. Now that City Hall knows how a large percentage of Portland residents feel about the loss of unique, well-built, and affordable housing in our neighborhoods, it's time to ensure the positive lip service among the mayor and commissioners turns into action.

At the Portland Community Media studio on March 13, United Neighborhoods
for Reform member Sara Long (middle), Architectural Heritage Center
president Fred Leeson (right), and The City Lights Show producer Carolyn Brunett
prep for airtime.
Join us 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 9, at Bethany Lutheran Church, 4330 NE 37th Ave. (at Skidmore). Read on for more background from the event announcement:

"Why a Summit IV?
"Last spring neighborhood activists met to explore the possibility of creating a grass-roots organization that could unite neighborhood associations in persuading City Council to address problems associated with the “demolition epidemic” in our neighborhoods. 
"That was Summit I.

"After a summer of increased destruction of viable, affordable homes—often replaced by one or more expensive, out-of-scale “McMansions”—neighborhood association leaders and concerned residents from more than 25 neighborhoods came together in the fall for Summits II and III, resolved to bring about code reform that could stem the demolitions and their effects.                         
"This was the genesis of UNR.

"A committee formed at Summit III drafted a resolution based on input from summit participants. The resolution went out to Portland's 90-plus neighborhood associations for endorsement, with UNR committee members attending as many meetings as possible to field questions and concerns. The resolution garnered more than 40 endorsements from neighborhood associations and was presented to City Council at two hearings—one in December, the other in February—via orchestrated testimony. The purpose of Summit IV will be to review the progress that was made at these hearings and related meetings, discuss objectives for an action plan moving forward, and establish committees to provide input on specific UNR reform initiatives."
We also seek recruits for the cause, which presses forward thanks to the contributed time, talents, and ideas of Portlanders willing to stand up and act. See you next week!