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An Inner Southeast neighborhood wants its residents to be better connected with the city and its resources

DAVID F. ASHTON - Jena Hughes, from the City of Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, learned about a community engagement and action plan for BDNA from Portland State University students Shannon Williams and Samuel Garcia. It wasn't a run-of-the-mill meeting, on the evening of April 6 – that's why some 70 neighbors turned out at the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center.

"We're calling this a 'Connection Fair', to bring collaborative energy to our neighborhood," explained Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association (BDNA) Chair Lesley McKinley.

This well-attended meeting came about because she and the BDNA Board members are looking for ways for neighbors to feel more connected, Mckinley said.

"Brentwood-Darlington is a wonderful neighborhood already; we don't need to change anything," McKinley told THE BEE. "It's more about moving in synchronicity, and enhancing what we already have here. And also it's about working smarter, not harder, to further improve our neighborhood – and working collaboratively is part of that."

Smiles abounded as neighbors moved among the 14 exhibitors at the fair. Those displaying ranged from governmental agencies to nonprofit organizations, as well as the local Girl Scout Troop, and representatives from the Learning Gardens Lab.

In addition to the informative conversation, attendees sampled from a buffet of fresh and prepared foods and snacks put out by BDNA Board members.

"My expertise is community organizing; I struggle with the Board Meeting-and-Agenda format," McKinley said. "We'll hold a Board Meeting after the fair, but as you can see, this meeting concept has worked out very well."

Find out more about this active neighborhood association and its activities online: brentwood-darlington.org

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