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Donna and Kim Herron, the neighborhood association's new president and vice president, go door-to-door to engage neighbors



CONNECTION PHOTO: KELSEY O'HALLORAN - Donna and Kim Herron have served as president and vice president of the Markham Neighborhood Association since last fall.Each month, Donna and Kim Herron print 1,047 meeting notices and walk door-to-door to the 1,047 homes in the Markham neighborhood.

They’ve kept up the routine since last fall, when Markham’s former neighborhood association president resigned halfway through the term and Donna unexpectedly found herself in the role.

Kim, who became the group’s vice president, says the neighborhood association was “on life support” at the time. Only a handful of people attended the quarterly meetings, and many residents weren’t even aware that they had a neighborhood association to advocate for their local needs.

As president, Donna first proposed moving the meetings from quarterly to monthly, and moving the location from an adult foster care residence to Jackson Middle School — a more accessible location with more parking for people with disabilities.

She created a website and newsletter for the neighborhood association and posted roadside signs before each meeting, held 7-8:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month.

Just to make sure every neighbor got the message, she and Kim took it upon themselves to leave a meeting notice and agenda on each doorstep, dividing the task over four or five days.

“Our goal was to let people know they had something,” Kim says.

These days, 25-30 people attend the monthly meetings, and several others tune in to the new live online stream on GoToMeeting.com. The quiet neighborhood now takes on monthly discussions about everything from stop signs to security.

“We wanted to bring a sense of community,” Donna says. “Before, people just coexisted in the neighborhood. Now, we know one another and pay attention to what’s going on.”

Donna’s daily walks through the neighborhood have taken on a new element, as well, Kim says: “She’ll walk down the street, and somebody will come out and say, ‘I have something I want to bring up.’”

The Markham neighbors in June voted to re-elect Donna and Kim so that they could continue their work for the neighborhood association. They also voted to elect Maleia Sheldon as secretary and Jeffrey Franklin as treasurer.

Honoring a volunteer

Sylvia Bogert, Southwest Neighborhoods, Inc. (SWNI) executive director, says she’s watched Donna and Kim put “tremendous energy” into revitalizing the neighborhood association since last fall.

She points to improvements such as Donna’s face-to-face communication with neighbors, her effort to make each meeting engaging and professional, and her work to add stop signs to notoriously dangerous neighborhood intersections such as Southwest 30th Avenue and Southwest Ridge Drive.

“She’s using a number of different communication tools to reach out to folks,” Bogert says. “I think it’s sparked an interest, especially because it’s been consistent.”

The Herrons had lived in Markham nearly 20 years before they discovered the neighborhood association about a year ago, when they sought help for a problem with a neighbor.

“We attended a few meetings, and the rest was history,” Donna says. When the former president stepped down, she and Kim couldn’t stand to let the group deteriorate. “We only wanted to help the neighborhood, and we didn’t want to see it unrepresented.”

Donna, who doesn’t work due to injury, took on the president role, while Kim, a full-time financial representative in Lake Oswego, supported her as vice president.

When the neighborhood association this spring voted to recognize Donna as the Markham Neighborhood’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Year, she refused to take sole credit for the work.

“The reason I can do this is because he’s working,” she says of Kim. “He’s my right-hand man. He does a lot of stuff in the background; we’re a team.”

Both Donna and Kim were commended at the SWNI volunteer recognition event June 30 at Multnomah Arts Center.

Bringing change to the neighborhood

While the volunteer award was certainly an honor, the couple seems to most love talking about the projects they’ve undertaken to make the association more functional, and to make the neighborhood a better place to live.

They’ve been hard at work updating the neighborhood association’s bylaws, which hadn’t been touched since 1992. They’ve added a GoToMeeting feature to all the meetings so that residents who can’t attend in person can stream them live or watch recordings later at GoToMeeting.com.

And they’re preparing to co-host an elaborate Neighborhood Night Out celebration at Jackson Middle School this summer, in partnership with the Arnold Creek and West Portland Park neighborhoods.

The July 29 celebration will be in conjunction with one of the city’s free Movies in the Park events, which Donna applied to host at Jackson.

The event will include food trucks, live music from The Terry Robb Trio and Portland Teen Idols and a screening of the 2000 animated movie, “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

Donna is planning to have a few friendly llamas at the event — a nod to the movie, which follows a young emperor who is turned into a llama — as well as other kid-friendly activities.

"It's a huge bang for the buck, and it's good for the community," Donna says. "I thought, what a wonderful way to bring our neighborhood together."

Contact Kelsey O’Halloran at 503-636-1281 x101 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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NEIGHBORHOOD NIGHT OUT & MOVIES IN THE PARK EVENT

The Arnold Creek, Markham and West Portland Park neighborhood associations will host a free Neighborhood Night Out picnic celebration in conjunction with a Portland Parks and Recreation Movies in the Park event. The evening will include food trucks, live music from The Terry Robb Trio and Portland Teen Idols, a screening of the 2000 animated movie “The Emperor’s New Groove,” friendly llamas and other kid and family activities.

DATE: July 29

TIME: Neighborhood meeting, music and activities from 6-8:30 p.m. Movie begins at 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Jackson Middle School, 10625 S.W. 35th Ave.

INFORMATION: To learn more, contact Donna Herron at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the neighborhood website at markhamneighborhood.com.

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SOUTHWEST NEIGHBORHOODS, INC. VOLUNTEER AWARDS

Outstanding neighborhood volunteers and others honored June 30 at the SWNI volunteer recognition event.

  • Dorothy Gage, Ashcreek Neighborhood Assoc.
  • David Martin, Bridlemile Neighborhood Assoc.
  • Fran Laird, Collins View Neighborhood Assoc.
  • Kendall KIC, Hayhurst Neighborhood Assoc.
  • Duane Hunting, Hillsdale Neighborhood Assoc.
  • Ed Fischer and Milt Jones, Homestead Neighborhood Assoc.
  • Amy Steingrebe and John De Lance, Marshall Park Neighborhood Assoc.
  • Donna and Kim Herron, Markham Neighborhood Assoc.
  • Karen Williams, Maplewood Neighborhood Assoc.
  • Katy Brumbelow, Multnomah Neighborhood Assoc.
  • Len Michon, South Portland Neighborhood Assoc.
  • Nancy Seton, Southwest Hills Residential League Neighborhood Assoc.
  • Ryan Blum, West Portland Park Neighborhood Assoc.
  • Jill Gaddis, SWNI Parks and Community Centers Committee
  • Jake Manning, SWNI Public Safety Committee
  • Maripat Hensel, SWNI School Committee
  • Jim Gardner, SWNI Transportation Committee
  • Askina Sharif, Southwest Watershed Resource Center
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