Teddy Bear Parade and Transportation Fair on Saturday, Sept. 26 (Photo)
GRESHAM, Ore. - The Teddy Bear Parade, a classic Gresham event sponsored by Soroptomist International of Gresham and attended by thousands of teddy-bear clutching children and their families, rolls out for its annual celebration of warm-and-fuzzy wonderfulness in historic downtown Gresham on Saturday, Sept. 26.
Beginning at 10 a.m., parade entrants will wind their way through the charming spectator-lined business district, including marching bands, floats, brigades of civic and community organizations and members of the Gresham City Council. View the parade route and other information at http://www.sigresham.org/teddybearparade/
Parade-goers are also encouraged to visit the City's Transportation Safety Fair and Bike Rodeo, produced in partnership with Oregon Nurses Association Constituent Association 1, that will run from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the Arts Plaza, 401 N.E. Second St. Activities include bike safety checks, a safety information booth and a helmet giveaway. Participants are encouraged to bring their bikes and helmets and get both their gear and knowledge of bike safety rules checked out at the Bike Rodeo, which includes practice riding on a safety course.
- 30 -
New futsal courts at Vance Park open with celebration, tournament: Passion and community partnerships bring fun, healthy recreational amenity to Rockwood community (Photo)
The new futsal courts at Vance Park
GRESHAM, Ore. - Beautiful new futsal courts at Vance Park in Rockwood will open to the public Tuesday, Sept. 22, at a celebration featuring meet-and-greets with Timbers soccer players, brief speeches by partners and supporters, and an open tournament event for futsal enthusiasts ages 17 and younger.
Main activities will take place between 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the futsal courts at Vance Park, 1400 S.E. 182nd Ave., with a dedication ceremony featuring remarks from sponsors and City and Multnomah County officials slated to begin shortly after 2. More than 200 participants are expected and everyone is welcome. Timber Joey from the Portland Timbers will serve as the master of ceremonies. Open tournament play begins at 4.
"Once again, our residents have stepped up and collaborated to bring a family-friendly amenity to the Gresham community. It is wonderful to see this effort start at the grassroots level, attract key partners along the way and be successfully realized," said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, who is among the scheduled speakers. "I want to thank everyone involved for their passion and teamwork to bring this new opportunity to Rockwood."
The futsal courts - dubbed "Snake Court" by local youth who've long referred to the area by that name - are brought to Gresham by Fields For All, a collaboration between Operation Pitch Invasion (OPI) and the Portland Timbers' Stand Together community initiative. The partnership helps build youth soccer fields and futsal courts each year in the greater Portland area, focusing on underserved areas with open community access and neighborhood support. The new courts at Vance Park in Gresham is the first Fields for All project.
Nearly all of the project's $100,000 costs were covered by Fields for All, a partnership between the Portland Timbers, Operation Pitch Invasion and generous community sponsors adidas, JELD-WEN Windows & Doors, KeyBank, Pendleton Woolen Mills, Providence Health and Services, Ross Electric and a partnership between Let's Play, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and KaBOOM!. Construction of the two courts took about six weeks, start to finish. For now, play on the courts will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
The City's role has been primarily as grateful supporter for the incredible community effort that turned the courts from idea into reality. Rockwood resident Ricki Ruiz, now working as an intern at Gresham City Hall, was one of the driving forces. As a youth, Ruiz used to jump the fence at "Snake Park" to play soccer on an abandoned roller rink. Then, in 2014, he stepped up to help form a community group, the Rockwood Initiative, to replace the rink with a real futsal field, which organizers saw as an opportunity to bring a diverse community together, support youth and decrease gang activity and other violence.
"People are really excited about it," Ruiz said of the forthcoming opening. "They are already out there trying to play on it, and it's not even open yet." Today, "Snake Court" stands for Sports, Neighborhood, Action, Knowledge and Empowerment.
Rockwood Rising Redevelopment Project seeks qualified developer: Site plan celebrates food in many delicious forms, retail, technology, education and community-building (Photo)
Plaza del Sol on the Rockwood Rising Redevelopment site
GRESHAM, Ore. - The Gresham Redevelopment Commission today launched its formal process to identify a private developer for the Rockwood Rising Redevelopment Project on the City-owned Catalyst Site. Qualified developers are encouraged to respond to the Commission's Request for Expressions of Interest by the Oct. 19 deadline.
Plans for the Rockwood Rising project center on a 5.5-acre, Commission-owned property in the heart of Rockwood that local leaders seek to turn into a mixed-use hub of local food and commerce, living-wage jobs, technological innovation and community-building. Amenities identified as highly desirable during a public engagement process include:
--Digital innovation lab
--Job training and health care resources
--Small business incubator spaces for 15-20 new food entrepreneurs
"We have heard from residents about what they want to see in their neighborhood and this project directly reflects those priorities," Mayor Shane Bemis, Chair of the Commission, said. "With the shared goal of bringing these key amenities to the neighborhood, the City and the residents of Rockwood are working together to revitalize this important place in our community."
Rockwood Rising seeks to create an active, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use town center in the heart of Rockwood on the site of a former Fred Meyer store (18535 S.E. Stark St.) that was purchased in 2005 to make way for redevelopment. In addition to meeting the needs of the local Rockwood community - which is highly diverse, growing, young and family-oriented - the idea is to create a colorful, innovative and authentic destination that will attract visitors to Rockwood.
Over the past two years, the Commission has worked hard to build the Rockwood Rising Redevelopment Project in partnership with the community; to recruit and secure letters of intent from prospective tenants fitting the overall vision of the project; and to put financing options and incentives in place to reduce risk for the developer.
At the same time, many other exciting public and private investments are happening in the area, including:
--September 2015 opening of the new Vance Park futsal court at 1400 S.E. 182nd Ave.
--Fall 2015 construction launch for Open Meadow school, serving at-risk students at 165th Avenue and Stark Street.
--The upcoming opening of a new Boys and Girls Club at Northeast 165th Avenue and Northeast Stark Street.
--November 2015 opening of Friends of the Children youth service facility at 424. N.E. 172nd Ave.
--October 2015 opening of a multi-use, paved pedestrian and bike path running two miles along the MAX light-rail line connecting Rockwood to Gresham's Civic neighborhood and historic Downtown.
--April 2015 opening of Nadaka Nature Park, a 12-acre City park at Northeast 175th Avenue and Northeast Glisan Street, including nature-based play area, community gardens and a wooded walking trail.
The Gresham Redevelopment Commission hopes to select a preferred Rockwood Rising development partner from the RFEI submittals based on the following criteria:
--a firm's demonstrated ability to deliver a project meeting the needs and desires of the Commission and the community;
--demonstrated track record of success managing high-quality, mixed-use projects of comparable scale and complexity; and
"The Rockwood Rising Redevelopment Project is a win for employers by providing a skilled workforce, and a big boost for entrepreneurs by delivering the kind of assistance they need to start up small businesses," Josh Fuhrer, Executive Director of the Gresham Redevelopment Commission, said. "It's also a win for the community by providing opportunities to improve access to healthy, affordable food, and help local people to see their own personal circumstances improve financially, so we are keeping people in the community as the community grows."
The 1,211-acre Rockwood-West Gresham Urban Renewal Area was established by citywide vote in November 2003 and is overseen by the Gresham Redevelopment Commission. Redevelopment of this site, including the existing Rockwood Community Office building - now called the Rockwood Exchange - is a major focus of GRDC efforts.
The Request for Expressions of Interest document is available at GreshamOregon.gov/Purchasing. Find more information on the City's urban renewal efforts at GreshamOregon.gov/UrbanRenewal.
Council Listening Session asks for input on homelessness: City Councilors Echols, French and Palmero will host the fifth event in this occasional series - 09/15/15
GRESHAM, Ore. - The next Council Listening Session on Tuesday, Sept. 29, will delve into the complex issue of homelessness as it is being experienced here in Gresham - by local residents, neighborhood groups, service providers, businesses and others.
Come join the session and share your perspective from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Gresham City Hall Conference Center, 1333 N.W. Eastman Parkway, Gresham. The meeting will be hosted by Councilors Karylinn Echols, Kirk French and Mario Palmero, and led by Councilor Echols, Gresham's representative on the Home For Everyone Executive Board. Resource materials and volunteer applications from social service and faith-based organizations will be available at the meeting.
Although the primary purpose of this session will be to listen, members of the City staff will briefly highlight some the City's homelessness prevention, intervention and enforcement strategies, undertaken as part of the 2015 Council Work Plan. The City has adopted a proactive, collaborative approach to homelessness alleviation/issues, adding outreach workers, working with faith-based groups and nonprofits to provide services, and creating a new program for homeless high school students. This includes convening a Gresham Homelessness Action Team (GHAT) - comprised of neighborhood and business leaders, law enforcement, and service providers.
Specific recent efforts include:
--Expanding the City's Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET), a critical asset in our Police Department that addresses chronic livability concerns. City Council added two additional NET positions to the budget this year. A federal COPS grant application is pending that would add another two positions, which would bring the total number of NET officers to six.
--Cleaning up homeless camps along the Springwater Trail (and other areas of the city) after required postings and process. Over the summer, the City deployed four school resource officers to work on homelessness issues.
--Partnering with JOIN, a local homeless outreach organization, to address some of the most chronic homelessness issues with a housing-first model. JOIN works with the toughest cases - often single men with substance abuse and/or significant mental health issues.
--Participating in the "A Home For Everyone" initiative, a countywide approach to housing and homelessness including City of Portland, Multnomah County and Home Forward as partners.
--Involving two residents from Gresham on the Home Forward Board of Directors (including the current Board Chair and Gresham Councilor David Widmark) to advocate for affordable housing in parts of the Portland region where families are being priced out of the community.
--Partnering with Human Solutions and other social service providers through the federal Community Development Block Grant program to help bring families out of homelessness with job training and other resources.
Earlier this year, the City of Gresham took an active role in the Point-In-Time Count, which is the only source of quantitative data on homelessness in the region and a decision-making tool used by government officials and nonprofit leaders.
While the count showed that the number of homeless people in Gresham and East County rose from 65 in 2013 to 176 in 2015, Home For Everyone officials agree the increase is largely due to improved street count coordination. It does not reflect a true doubling of the homeless population in two years, but rather an increased visibility of the issue as reported by local outreach workers, church officials, housing advocates and others involved in addressing homelessness in Gresham.
The Point-in-Time Count points out the need for additional resources in East County. Homelessness remains a significant regional issue and the City of Gresham will continue to be part of regional discussions about allocation of resources and ways to improve the lives of homeless individuals and their communities.
The Listening Sessions were launched in 2013 as a way for Councilors to connect with residents and work to solve problems together in a less formal setting. Everyone is invited.