Montavilla Neighborhood Association has been ahead of the curve when it comes to making our neighborhood association a more inclusive organization and taking positions on issues that represent more than the normal demographic that tends to have influence in neighborhood associations, that being traditionally, homeowners.
Some of the steps we have taken over the last two years that align with the City of Portland’s Community Connect Report:
Renter Right’s Advocacy
The Montavilla Neighborhood Association has joined the Welcome Home Coalition to support affordable housing to help limit displacement of renters. We’ve also supported a renter rights resolution drafted by Portland Tenants United. Additionally, we have taken on some advocacy in individual cases for renters in our neighborhood.
The Montavilla Neighborhood Association has collaborated with the Welcome Home Coalition, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, and other organizations on specific displacement issues affecting Montavilla residents from renters to homeowners and especially those in the immigrant and refugee community.
The Montavilla Neighborhood Association identified homelessness (through neighborhood feedback over a period of years through various methods) as a priority for our board for 2016-2017. We hosted an entirely volunteer driven winter emergency shelter staffed by dozens of neighbors and with food and supplies funded by hundreds of neighbors and local businesses. We’ve done cold weather supply support and feedings in Montavilla Park. We established a Housing and Homeless Committee consisting of board members, neighbors, and general members to advise the board on issues of housing and homelessness as to how we can have the most impact and giving a pathway for participation in these issues outside our regular meetings. Finally, we identified that sweeps do not have any efficacy in reducing camps in the neighborhood and called for an end to sweeps alongside a development of a long-term plan that helps reduce camps.
Low Income / At-Risk Neighbor Support
The Montavilla Neighborhood Association has helped families in 2016-2017 who were identified by other neighbors as needing assistance. We were able to provide assistance with rent, utilities, meals, and other forms of assistance for families within the Montavilla Neighborhood as other resources were entirely tapped out.
Support for Immigrants, Refugees, and Muslim Neighbors
The Montavilla Neighborhood Association was one of the first neighborhood associations to pass a resolution and statement in support of all our neighbors. In light of the current political climate and rise of hate crimes, our association saw an opportunity to declare our neighborhood as a welcoming and supportive place for these vulnerable neighbors. As a result of our letter and resolution, other neighborhood associations followed suit.
All of these actions have been consistent with a call from Office of Neighborhood Involvement Leadership and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly to be more inclusive to neighbors who do not fall into the typical demographic that neighborhood associations for so long have been beholden to as the reality is we represent more than just homeowners. We represent the houseless, people of color, youth, and the many other demographics in our neighborhood.
The Montavilla Neighborhood Association’s Board has been more diverse in the last two years than it has in all past years. We have people of color, renters, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities and women who all play a more important role on our board. In the past, boards have been predominantly dominated by white homeowners and lacked diversity and did little to try and outreach to more diverse neighbors. There is still a lot of work to be done in this area and we hope outreach in future elections will be successful in continuing to increase diversity, but this will also need to come alongside growing diversity in the issues we focus on in order to make the association’s work align with the needs of more diverse neighbors.
Now is an excellent time to get involved in the Montavilla Neighborhood Association to participate in making our neighborhood a neighborhood for all of us including underrepresented neighbors such as people of color, immigrants and refugees, persons with disabilities, low-income families, youth, elders, renters, and people experiencing homelessness. We hope to see you at one our meetings soon or participating in a committee or one of our many events or activities throughout the year!