PAA Welcomes Community to Block Party

October 01, 2008 | Liesl Vistaunet

Portland Adventist Academy connected with its community by inviting neighbors to come on campus for the second annual neighborhood block party.

The free three-hour event brought nearly 100 neighbors to the campus in an effort to spur conversation and concern for neighborhood safety, mostly due to some upcoming changes in the city's mass transit system.

Visitors enjoyed popcorn, snow cones and live music. Children played games and had their faces painted with flowers and animals. The Portland City Fire and Rescue department let parents and children explore one of their largest fire engines and passed out fire safety material.

Rosanne Lee, Portland crime prevention coordinator, was also an important part of the event. She says PAA neighbors show optimism about the community. "These people are very aware of the coming changes," she says. The city of Portland's mass transit system is scheduled to open a light rail station near PAA's current front entrance in September 2009. "I've met with your principal about security," Lee shares. "Tri-Met is making good decisions about safety and so is the school."

Many of PAA's neighbors are used to seeing big changes. Dick and Nancy Woods have lived down the street from PAA for more than 50 years. "We were here before all of this," says Nancy Woods, referring to the Adventist Medical Center, Interstate 205, Mall 205 and PAA. "In fact, our son used to hunt pheasants on this property when it was just a field. A lot has changed since then," Nancy says with a smile.

The changes continue. To accommodate added light rail traffic concerns, PAA recently moved its student entrance from 96th Avenue to the Market Street entrance. For construction purposes, the city of Portland temporarily removed a large piece of sound wall which buffered noise from I-205.

While all these changes can be intimidating, PAA's efforts to make a safe and secure place for our neighbors to live and our young people to develop will continue through positive community building efforts like the neighborhood block party.