Neighborhood Associations help educate and organize Portlanders as they engage with their local city government. Every resident of our city has a Neighborhood Association they can call their own. Unlike any other group, you don’t have to identify with a particular religion, or party, or social movement to be welcomed into the practice of engaging with government when you do so through a Neighborhood Association.
Your neighbors who volunteer with the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association host interesting educational discussions and share useful advice for navigating city systems. And we also roll-up our sleeves doing projects that benefit all Portlanders. We've protected parts of Mt. Tabor Park from being sold off, improved pedestrian safety for kids walking to school, worked to slow speeds on neighborhood streets, rehabilitated an old drug house, worked for cleaner air, scrubbed graffiti ... and the list goes on and on.
Here are a few of our more recent stories:
What We Do
From drug lab to beautiful community space…
In the early 2000’s, the property across from Atkinson Elementary (that is now the lovely “Vibe” studio) was a drug-ridden crime hub. When it was seized in a raid by the federal government, community volunteers with the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (thank you Paul Leistner), the South Tabor Neighborhood Association, and Atkinson Elementary’s PTA organized, working tirelessly for 3 years to purchase and then rehab the building. For the last 13 years it has been one wonderful asset to the community after another. Hooray for the power of the people to take back their neighborhood, and for the Neighborhood Association system that gave them the chops to do so!
Back in 2006… it was an engaged citizen (the late Cascade Geller) who first discovered part of Mt. Tabor Park was quietly being negotiated FOR SALE without any public process. Luckily, that citizen had a network of organized Neighborhood Associations to turn to, to sound the alarm. The public was involved in the discussion, and the park was preserved as public land. Yay for having organized citizens already in place when you need them! Yay for the Neighborhood Association system and the speed with which citizens can correct their government, because this system exists!
Those great pedestrian crosswalks at SE 60th/Lincoln, SE 60th/Salmon, and the pedestrian island at SE 55th/Belmont exist because of the efforts of an engaged citizen like you. Individuals can make a difference! Especially when they can turn to the Neighborhood system, as one volunteer (Molly Cliff Hilts) did to bring about all of those safety improvements just mentioned. Hooray for engaged citizens, and the Neighborhood Association that was there to give her legitimacy when wrangling with stubborn city bureaucracies!
In 2009, it was a volunteer with MTNA (Stephanie Stewart) and an employee of SE Uplift (Tim O’Neil) who started a residential solar-panel purchasing program that brought neighbors together to triple Portland’s residential solar power production in a couple of years. The program was called Solarize Portland and it would go on to become a nationally recognized model for grassroots, sustainable power initiatives. Kudos to the Neighborhood Association system for putting resources behind community initiatives!
In 2014, when the Portland Water Bureau revealed its plans for disconnecting the Mt. Tabor Reservoirs from the drinking water system, citizens discovered the bureau intended to block all water sources to the reservoirs, leaving them forever as giant, empty, scars in the middle of Mt. Tabor Park. And unlike at Washington Park, Water Bureau engineers hadn’t set aside any money, or made any plans, for how to repair Mt. Tabor Park after disconnect construction. Volunteers with MTNA mobilized to force the city to come up with a reasonable plan that recognized the reality that the historic reservoirs, and their iconic deep-water views, are central to Mt. Tabor Park. That is why the reservoirs on Tabor have water in them today. Yay for engaged citizens, and the home they find in the Neighborhood Association system!