Free family fun at Gresham's Spirit of Christmas tree lighting
GRESHAM, Ore. -- Kick off the holiday season in historic downtown Gresham, where a variety of fun, family friendly festivities all lead up to the grand finale--the lighting of the City's 60-foot ponderosa pine at the 24th annual Spirit of Christmas event, Saturday, Nov. 28. The free festivities start at 5 p.m. with music and treats on the Arts Plaza, located at 401 N.E. Second St. The tree is lit promptly at 6 p.m.
"I look forward to the Spirit of Christmas every year," said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. "It's a great community tradition bringing families and friends together to kick off the Christmas season in the heart of downtown Gresham. There are holiday treats and activities for the kids, and everyone is welcome to join in the festivities."
New this year--join in the fun earlier when Santa arrives from the North Pole to lead a parade to the Arts Plaza. The parade begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Gresham History Museum, 410 N. Main. At the Arts Plaza, the program includes live music performances by groups that include Gresham Arthur Academy, Salvation Army Youth Corp Band and Advanced Christian Academy. Santa will greet the crowd, listen to the children's wish lists, pose for photos and assist Mayor Bemis in leading the countdown to the tree lighting. Free cocoa, hot cider, hot dogs, candy canes, and popcorn will be served, thanks to our generous sponsors.
At the event, the City will collect canned goods to support Fill-a-Bag food drive. SnowCap's goal this year is 500,000 pounds of food to help our community. Just $.05 buys one pound of food, so bring that spare change, too.
This annual event is made possible by local businesses. Special thanks to our Gold sponsors, Riverview Community Bank and KMO, and our Silver sponsors, Gresham Ford, Greater Gresham Baptist Church, Grocery Outlet, iCandy, MetroEast Community Media, Schedeen's, Servpro of Gresham, State Farm: Rob Hendrickson, and U.S. World Class Taekwondo.
The Spirit of Christmas is being held on Small Business Saturday. The Historic Downtown Business Association is hosting a variety of family-friendly activities downtown activities before and after the tree lighting:
10:00 a.m. -- 4:00 p.m. -- Photos with Santa, crafts at the Gresham History Museum
2:00 p.m. -- 4:00 p.m. -- Multiple business open houses, as follows
-Accent on Attitude: Goodies and shop surprises
-Anderson Martial Arts: Board breaking, face painting, gift wrapping, meet Kung Fu Panda and Leonardo Ninja Turtle
-Bella Cupcake: Decorate your own mini cupcake
-Café Delirium: Phone calls to the North Pole
-iCandy: Cookie decorating
-Nonnie's Bake Shop: Cookie decorating
-Gresham Library: Decorate decoupage boxes for keepsakes/gift giving
-Frenzi: Decorate mini felt stockings or ornaments
6:30 p.m. -- 8:30 p.m. -- Live Christmas music at Café Delirium
for more information.
Gresham Fire and Emergency Services launches Quick Response Vehicle pilot program - 11/12/15
The City of Gresham Fire and Emergency Services Department (GFES) has launched an innovative new Quick Response Vehicle pilot program with the goal of delivering the same high quality service that citizens have come to expect in an even more effective and responsive manner.
Many GFES calls are related to medical emergencies, rather than fires. Under the one-year pilot program, a Quick Response Vehicle (QRV) will roam throughout the city, responding to these types of calls of service, and will be staffed with a Fire Lieutenant and a Firefighter Paramedic. This frees up the fully-staffed, fully-equipped fire engines to respond to high-priority emergency calls. The QRV unit will operate between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., the time when most emergency medical service calls are received.
"The QRV allows us to send the right resource to the right calls during peak activity hours," said GFES Chief Greg Matthews.
GFES will collect data throughout the year and will study alternative models to determine if the QRV program is the best method to provide services to Gresham's citizens.
"As Gresham's community needs evolve, so too must our City services. Through this QRV pilot program, the City can confirm whether this new service delivery option will enable us to provide quality service in a more economically and operationally efficient way," said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis.
Gresham offers resources/advice for residents as rainy season begins
Rainy weather is here, and Gresham residents who need sandbags to protect their property from flooding or high water may use the City's free, fill-you-own sandbag station.
Located at the Operations Center on 2123 S.E. Hogan Road, the sandbag station is open 24 hours a day and offers sand, shovels and bags to residents for home or private use. Sandbags are not available for commercial or contractor consumption. Residents are responsible for disposing or retrieving the sandbags after use.
How else can residents minimize the impact of heavy rain? Report instances of significant street flooding that are creating a hazard to the Operations Center at 503-618-2626, Monday through Friday, or after hours and on the weekends, 503-661-3906. Flooding may be reported online via the My Gresham app at http://greshamoregon.gov/mygresham.
Residents may also consider clearing catch basins of fallen leaves to minimize flooding--but only if it can be done safely.
Commercial building owners with flat roofs should make sure all drains are free of leaves and other debris to allow proper drainage from the roofs to prevent possible collapse from the heavy weight. Significant rainfall can add several inches of water to a large flat roof in a very short time if the drains become clogged. The roofs are not designed to hold the extra weight and could possibly collapse.
For more tips and information, visit http://www.greshamoregon.gov/sandbagstation/.
Second Home program awarded $5,000 to help homeless students
One of the largest impediments to achieving educational success, for many students, is housing instability. Through its innovative "Second Home Program" the City of Gresham wants to change that--and just received a $5,000 grant from the Nike Employee Grant Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation to help.
Second Home, a ground-breaking program that is a partnership between Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, the City of Gresham East Metro Mediation and Gresham/Barlow School District, provides housing to unaccompanied, homeless youth. Volunteer home-providers offer room and board to a student while they attend high school. Just launched earlier this year in June, Second Home recently placed the first homeless student in the program with a host family.
"At the City, we are continually working to make Gresham a vibrant community for our youth and families. But a quality education, community amenities and afterschool programs are not helpful for teenagers who are worried about where they will sleep at night. The safety and security that the Second Home Program provides will enable these kids to focus on achieving their educational goals and improving their futures," said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis.
The grant funds will be used to help fund a part time program coordinator to interview students and potential home-providers. Currently, this function is provided through one volunteer. The goal is to raise $20,000 to establish this position, allowing the program to help more students in need.
"We're excited and grateful that Nike employees and the Oregon Community Foundation recognize the value in this program and support safe housing to Gresham-Barlow students," said Tera Cleland, who oversees City of Gresham's East Metro Mediation. "Our goal is to offer students the stability they need to graduate high school and be successful."
Community members or businesses who would like to donate to the Second Home program may contact Tera Cleland at 503-618-2684 or Tera.Cleland@GreshamOregon.gov
. Community members may also contact Cleland to learn more about becoming a home provider or otherwise volunteer with the program.
Gresham Wastewater Treatment Plant receives awards - 11/02/15
The accolades keep coming for the City of Gresham's Wastewater Treatment Plant, the first in the Pacific Northwest to reach energy net zero status, meaning the plant makes about the same amount of electricity as it consumes in a year.
Most recently, the American Biogas Council awarded Gresham its municipal "Biogas Project of the Year" for the plant's Biogas Cogeneration Expansion and Fats, Oils and Grease Receiving Facility project; and Environmental Project of the Year by the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association. The City received the awards not only for the physical plant at 20015 N.E. Sandy Blvd., but also for its creative use of a wide variety of financing tools, which sets the project apart from other cities.
"I am proud of the transformation of the wastewater treatment plant from our biggest energy user to an energy net zero producer," said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. "The innovations at the plant have not only helped the City make progress on our energy saving goals, and saved our ratepayers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, but through the process Gresham has become a civic leader in energy savings."
The plant used to be the City's biggest electricity consumer, using 6.2 million kWh annually--enough electricity to power more than 450 Oregon homes for a year.
Organic matter from wastewater now fuels 92 percent of the Gresham plant's power - right on site - using a process that turns this sludge into biogas. The remaining eight percent of the power the plant produces comes from a 1,902-panel ground-mounted solar array.
By adopting clean energy technologies, and making the plant more energy-efficient, Gresham is estimated to save $500,000 a year in avoided electrical costs. The plant also brings in around $250,000 a year in fees for accepting fats, oils and grease from regional food service establishments.
"These energy efficiency and generation projects pay for themselves over time, but we're also aggressive when it comes to looking and applying for outside grant dollars, which saves ratepayers even more money," said Environmental Services Director Steve Fancher.
"The Gresham Wastewater Treatment Plan is a shining example of the new way of looking at wastewater treatment and blazing a trail to be emulated nationwide," noted the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association when granting its award.
The plant serves 114,000 customers in Gresham, Fairview and Wood Village and treats approximately 13 million gallons of wastewater each day before releasing it into the nearby Columbia River.