Mid Program Analysis Article

Portland Enrichment is a group of volunteers whose mission is to create thriving and sustainable communities in the area of Lents. The Portland Enrichment program is currently conducting a listening project and community challenge to gain feedback from residents in the Lents area. With the feedback they receive, Portland Enrichment is able to assess what changes and actions need to be taken in the neighborhood. If residents in the area are looking to take action and help out their community, Portland Enrichment will connect them with the particular organization to get them started.

Portland Enrichment works with a variety of organizations that specialize in food security, energy efficiency, community engagement and other sustainable community solutions. The group of volunteers canvass in the Mt Scott Arleta and Lents neighborhoods in SE Portland and table at the Lents Farmers Market.

This summer is the second go around for Portland Enrichment and the group hopes to build off of last year. Portland Enrichments goals are to knock on 1200 doors and receive as much feedback as possible.

Portland enrichment is broken down in to teams to handle certain aspects of the program. The data management team, led by Leo Qin, recently released the programs mid program report. The analysis gives background about the program and describes the methodology that was used. The survey questions were designed so Portland Enrichment could see how people felt about their neighborhood, what they liked, along with what complaints they had.

So far the volunteers have knocked on 500 doors, collected 100 surveys and 66 people have decided to participate in community challenge actions. After taking the community survey, 2/3 of the people agreed to also take the community challenge. Twenty one percent of people chose to partake in Food Security actions. Portland Enrichment plans to table at community events and hold two mega canvass days to reach this summer’s goals.

Leo was able to analyze the survey questions that the group asked the Lents residents by using graphs and word clouds. The first survey question was “What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood.” As Leo outlines in his word cloud, the words: “community,” diversity,” “parks,” “farmers market” and “neighbors” were many peoples favorite things.

Data shows that on average the residents of Lents rate their neighborhood a “4” on ne a 1 to 5 scale (1 being low and 5 being high). This numbers describes how people generally feel about the community.

Those surveyed also expressed their thoughts on barriers to living in an ideal community, what their ideal community would look like, and their concerns for development. There are three more weeks until the end of the program and the Portland Enrichment team will come out with a final program analysis after its completion. Portland Enrichment’s survey can be taken online at pdxenrichment.com.Image

Paying Attention to Traffic

A common community concern that people brought up Saturday while canvassing was traffic congestion and limited parking. Throughout Lents and specifically on 82nd street there are a lot of businesses on the main road with no parking lots. People are forced to park on the street and in front of houses. It becomes an inconvenience for drivers, homeowners and is detrimental to businesses as well. Often times business are forced out of business simply from having difficult customer access and something many people in Lents cherish is their local businesses.

Traffic incidents, roadwork, and weather conditions can make the roads irritating and dangerous to drive on. Numerous people said they have had bumper-to-bumper car accidents from the constant commotion and cluster on the streets. The question is how do we fix traffic congestion? How can we construct parking lots for some of these businesses without clearing out other businesses or homes?

Neighbors said that the city recently put in a crosswalk on 82nd street that allowed for people to safely cross the street. The crosswalk is strategically placed and saves people lot of time. Now they don’t have to walk hundreds of feet just to cross the street at the next stoplight to get to their destination. Others suggestions were more to have more bike paths. Maybe then people would start riding their bikes, instead of driving their cars, especially when they need to travel only a short distance.

Portland is notorious for its public transportation system and it is able to help a lot of people in the city in their day-to-day lives. It’s great for people who don’t have cars, it makes for less traffic, it’s cheaper than spending money on gas, and its environmentally friendly. People also can relax on public transportation and not have to worry about getting in a car accident.

Others have said that public transportation can be dangerous and slow. Everybody has their own opinions and there will always be positives and negatives to newly implemented ideas. But public transportation is something that many people see as a convenience and it definitely benefits many cities. Streets years ago were not built to support many of the cities that have blossomed around us today.  I believe it’s important to find the causes of traffic congestion/problems and try to not make those same mistakes when developing new cities.