Beginnings

OK. So, you know or are learning that MAXaction is building a network of people to develop MAX as a community asset in East Portland. But, why? How did this get started?

Here’s a short history. Starting in May of 2010, State Rep. Jefferson Smith hosted a couple community meetings that pulled together folks he had met that wanted to do something tangible about the MAX in East Portland. These meetings helped launch the MAXaction group. His attention was first drawn to the topic when resident after resident in his district wanted to discuss the MAX after opening the door to talk. Jefferson has continued to be a strong partner providing expertise and support.

There are many wonderful people who supported the first meetings Hosted by Jefferson that got MAXaction started including: Brenda McSweeney, Rev. Renee Ward, David and Sara Lister, Janet Winner, Max Tinker, Mollie Ruskin, Tom Barnes, and Mike Vander Veen.

The first meetings were held at Glenfair Elementary School with a some important outcomes. First, the group settled on doing some sort of event on Wednesday August 18th and set out to figure what could be done. Second, the group began to develop language to help get at the negative issues neighbors regularly raise about the MAX in East Portland, while working to develop the MAX into a positive asset in the community.

In June, Tom Barnes and Mike Vander Veen proposed the group become an East Portland Action Plan subcommittee. Tom and Mike became the East Portland Action Plan MAXaction Subcommittee co-chairs June 23, 2010. A this time we started meeting at Lifegate Baptist Church and are very grateful for their hospitality.

Becoming an EPAP subcommittee added more interested neighbors AND an important relationship began to develop with TriMet. This relationship,  built on the asset based community development approach the group chose to take, enabled us to partner with TriMet in very short order.

After a few more planning meetings focused on the August 18th event and a short volunteer recruitment and training phase we pulled it off!!! 

Wednesday August 18, 40 volunteers spent 4 hours at 5 Blue Line MAX stations (Gateway TC to 162nd) gathering 880 survey responses!! 530 of those responses included a name and means of contact. We worked in two shifts – 7-9am and 4-6pm – to be there at peak ridership times. TriMet staff were very helpful securing permitting, training the volunteers in advance, and supporting us at each of the five stations. The survey was one of our own design and TriMet supported us in being on the MAX platforms to get responses.

Now, all of August 18’s 880 survey responses have been entered into a spreadsheet by an awesome community volunteer and her family. And, MAXaction is holding our follow up meeting on Wednesday, September 8th, at Glenfair Church (50 NE 143rd) to celebrate the awesome success we had on the 18th and determine next steps in following up. All are welcome – bring your favorite snack to share.

Local youth, church members, neighborhood association participants, city crime prevention staff, political activists, and others that care about MAX in East Portland participated in a meeting Monday August 16th at Lifegate Baptist Church hosted by MAXaction (a subcommittee of the East Portland Action Plan) to orient community volunteers and train them conduct a survey on August 18th. State Representative Jefferson Smith leads the group in role playing following training provided by TriMet staff. A partnership with TriMet allowed the volunteers to gain permission to be on 11 East Portland Blue Line MAX platforms (five stations) without the intent of riding a train.

 l-r State Rep. Jefferson Smith, Tom Barnes (East Portland Graffiti Cleanup Team and Powellhurst Gilbert Neighborhood Association Safety Committee chair), Sgt. John Scruggs (East Precinct Neighborhood Response Team and Rosewood Initiative), Brittany Keeling (Marshall High School student), and Pam Wilson (TriMet Marketing Manager) are on the westbound platform of the 162nd MAX station as part of the August 18th MAXaction survey/community listening effort.

Volunteers and supporters stand in front of Lifegate Baptist Church following the AM shift (7-9am) of the August 18th MAXaction survey/community listening effort. A second set of volunteers also listened to the community at five East Portland MAX Blue Line stations from 4-6pm doubling the number of survey responses gathered. Both shifts combined to total 40 volunteers working on 11 MAX platforms to gather 880 survey responses with 530 people providing a name and contact information.

The August 18, 2010 PM Shift preparing to head out to the five stations on a warm summer evening.

So, join us on Wednesday September 8th as we celebrate the excellent work that happened leading up to and on August 18th. We will also be planning next steps including how to report out the survey results, pick and announce the winner of the drawing, and invite people to participate in the next phase of MAXaction. See you then!

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