Neighborhood associations are often at the forefront of efforts to create and/or maintain community assets. Oregon Commons teamed up with the East Portland Neighborhood Office this winter for a gathering of board members from 13 neighborhood associations. The goal was to strengthen relationships and celebrate positive accomplishments of neighborhood associations. The focus was not only on the physical commons of East Portland, but also on the process of working together to create, protect and preserve our commons for future generations.
These neighborhood activists “mapped” their local community assets: natural commons such as neighborhood parks, native plants and diverse bird species; information and cultural commons such as the local library, neighborhood websites and parades; and built commons such as roads, bike paths and light rail. They also shared colorful photo montage displays from collective efforts throughout the year such as National Night Out activities, free concerts in local parks, and neighborhood cleanups.
One participant said of the gathering, “I have been sustained and affirmed by all the positive energy—focusing on the love we have for our community.” Another commented, “It was beneficial to see how much we have in common, since so much of our life energy is not focused on the commons.”