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Woodstock Neighborhood Association -- in a time of 'social distancing' -- holds a meeting online with Zoom

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - The Woodstock Neighborhood Association held its first virtual meeting on April Fools Day, but there was no pranking - just people helping each other online to achieve both audio and video connection.Technological innovations never cease these days and, as we continue social distancing and relative isolation to stop COVID-19 coronavirus, technology is serving us more than ever. Even those who have previously shunned some of these Twenty-First Century innovations are now using them.

On April 1, the Woodstock Neighborhood Association proved the point with a "virtual, online" 7 p.m. monthly meeting with thirteen people viewing each other and conversing, via their home computers. There were no April Fool's jokes, as some members were challenged to accelerate their online skills to make use of "meeting application" ZOOM. Once the novelty of the new format and delivery settled in, the meeting proceeded with all attendees at home, but present online, beginning a discussion of a number of interesting things that are taking place in the association, and in Woodstock.

WNA has been seeking official 501c3 nonprofit status from the IRS allow the association to apply for grants and enable donors to get tax credits. At this meeting, Chair Sage Jensen reported that the application process is in the last stages, after an attorney was hired to help guide the process. Revison of the Bylaws is almost completed, so by fall the nonprofit status should be in place. Sonja Miller, WNA Secretary and member of All Saints Episcopal Church at 4033 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, said the church is continuing its tradition of serving Saturday noon meals, now distributed in boxed lunches starting at 11:00am. Showers and laundry services are also provided in large vans in partnership with Harbor of Hope every Saturday from 12pm to 2:00pm, as was reported in the April issue of the BEE and online at – www.readthebee.com

Peggy McCafferty, Treasurer for the nonprofit Woodstock Farmers Market, was not able to attend the meeting, but reported via e-mail: "We are doing everything possible to have a [Farmers] Market starting in June. We are currently considered an 'essential service'."

McCafferty is also one of the Woodstock New Seasons Market employees. In the e-mail to WNA she wrote about their message to customers: "Thanks for being patient. A reminder is to try and shop only once a week, with one person from your family, and to limit it to 30 minutes. The line [waiting] outside moves fairly quickly, but we do have to control the number of people in the store, so that we're giving each other enough space. And – make a [shopping] list!" Mary Tompkins, who works as a Crime Prevention Coordinator in Northeast Portland with "Community Safety" in the Portland Office of Civic & Community Life, reported that they are taking reports on public places not practicing social distancing. She said they are also coordinating with the city's Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NETs). WNA Land Use Co-Chair Thatch Moyle said that many Portland construction projects are on hold, including the apartment project at the former location of The Joinery in Woodstock – which may now be delayed until August before any demolitions take place on the block. At 5105 S.E. Woodstock, he reported, 28 micro unit apartments are proposed and the site is cleared, but its building status is currently uncertain. And the former Chinese Presbyterian Church property is proposed for 148 apartment units.

Anne-Marie Anderson, WNA Communications Chairperson, reported that she is continuing to update the neighborhood association website (www.woodstockpdx.org). and the WNA May newsletter on it contains a number of hotlinks for neighborhood and community resources, including information on community events and activities, pet care, neighborhood restaurants providing take-out, as well as uplifting tips about how to cheer your neighbors during this time of "staying home".

There are also resources about how to help during the COVID-19 pandemic; unemployment; eviction; Portland Public Schools; the Portland Small Business Relief Fund; and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Neighbors and WNA members are encouraged to send news regarding schools, community gardens, and shelters so she can include it in the monthly newsletter. That information can be sent to – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WNA annual elections are postponed until at least June when they may take place virtually. WNA would be greatly appreciative of anyone who would like to nominate him or herself for these positions: Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Area 1 Rep, Area 5 Rep. Go online to – www.woodstockpdx.org – for a map of these "areas", and more details.

The WNA is not alone in turning to the ZOOM service to hold online Neighborhood Association meetings during this "quarantine" period; David Ashton reports on a Brentwood-Darlington meeting held that way, Reed and Brooklyn have done so as well, and SMILE and the Woodstock Community Business Association are considering it also.


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