Portland Neighborhood Associations Without Borders?

Could someone living by Oaks Park in Southeast be a member of the same neighborhood association as someone living on Tomahawk Island on the Columbia River?  In theory.

Joesph Hopkins writes in Northwest Waterfront Living (which is a pullout section of Freshwater News), that Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz told the Waterfront Organization of Oregon (WOOO) that she would support the organization if it wanted to go through the steps of becoming a recognized neighborhood association.

Brian Hoop of Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) confirmed that ONI staff is developing policy to recognize groups without geographic boundaries, such as persons of color, Native Americans, and refugee communities. Currently, however, Portland’s neighborhood associations represent only areas whose boundaries can be drawn on a map.

Tom Bizeau, Fritz’ chief of staff, explained that the concept of communities without geographic boundaries goes all the way back to a task force on which citizen Fritz worked in 1985. Over the years, the concept has languished but Commissioner Fritz is looking to resurrect the idea.

Bizeau suggested that WOOO support Fritz’ effort and indicated there is a possibility of creating a new entity: “neighborhood associations without boundaries.” Such status might give WOOO more input in decision-making. Bizeau gave this example: when a land use action is proposed, recognized neighborhood associations are automatically notified and have the right to appeal. Bizeau said his office would explore how to notify communities without boundaries and invite them to step forward and explain their standpoint to city leaders.

The concept is interesing and merits discussion but I am not sure where the line should be drawn.  The Dog Owners Group Neighborhood Association of Portland (DOGNAP) has a nice ring to it but if any organization can become a driving force within an existing neighborhood I would proceed with caution.

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