Lending a hand
As Homestead Neighborhood Association Vice President Jackie Phillips noted, Susan Egnor works quietly. And Egnor is quick to deflect credit to others. But, in her own small ways, Egnor has impacted her community over the last decade, most notably catalyzing invasive species removal and promoting neighborhood involvement. And for her efforts, she was recently honored as a neighbor who makes a difference at the Southwest Neighborhoods Inc. Cele
brate Our Success event. "We wanted to find a way to say thank you for all the work she's done for the neighborhood association and the difference that she has made in the community," Phillips said. Egnor was in Virginia celebrating her grandchildren's birthday during the Celebrate our Success event but appreciated the recognition. "I felt flattered to be selected," she said. "A lot of other people have done a lot for our neighborhood and for the Southwest Neighborhoods to make the neighborhood and the city a better place you live." Egnor was the assistant attorney general for the State of Oregon before retiring in the mid2000s. No longer holding a demanding job or enduring the long commute to Salem, Egnor suddenly had time on her hands. Previously a member of Parent Teacher Associations and the United States Foreign Service,
she decided to translate her penchant for public service to her local neighborhood, Homestead. "I've always been involved in public service one way or another, whether I was paid for it or not," Egnor said. Egnor has served as the President of the Homestead Neighborhood Association and helped link the association with Friends of Terwilliger and Friends of Marquam Nature Park and facilitated the Full Circle program, where neighbors adopt ivy-covered areas, work to remove the ivy and replace it with native species. The HNA adopted a ravaged area along Terwilliger Parkway and part of the Marquam Trail. "People responded to the idea
of adopting a relatively small thing, a tree or a bush or a large shrub, and being responsible only for taking care of that tree or that shrub," Egnor said. "When we began it we had little children planting small things, 3-year-olds in Marquam Nature Park," Egnor said. "The children were very proud. It's a nice thing to see young people be pleased with what they were doing." In the areas in which the HNA was responsible, Phillips saw marked improvement. "Terwilliger Parkway has had a lot of removal of invasive species in many of the trees, giving them longevity and helping them be healthier," Phillips said. "There's been a vast improvement in that."
Egnor has also helped organize many HNA National Night Out events and Phillips said she was largely responsible for a popularity uptick in recent years — from around 20 attendees to over 120. "I think it was footwork," Phillips said. "She delivers flyers to as many households and got other people to deliver, house by house, to personally invite people to get out to the picnic." Egnor has also been the chair of the Homestead Parks Committee and the Membership and Outreach Committee and served on the SWNI Executive Committee, where she was named secretary. "The president at the time was Glenn Bridger. He asked me if I could be secretary. He said he wanted a secretary who could ask questions," Egnor said. "That's what lawyers do. To me a lawyer doesn't say this is the way it's going to be when confronted with something new.
You start asking questions." And as the association president, she helped the neighborhood establish positions on citywide issues such as the Residential Infill Project and the Southwest Corridor light rail project. "Homestead has in the middle of it the city's largest employer. People who drive to OHSU drive through Homestead in very large numbers, on my street 1,800 cars a day," Egnor said. "That's a lot of traffic and it's a concern. The hope has been that the light rail corridor might alleviate that. It might not." Egnor was contemplating selling her home in August and said she likely will move outside of the neighborhood. What will she remember most about her time serving the community? "Good people," she said. "There's wonderful people to work with and wonderful things that can be accomplished when people work together."