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Helen Silvis of The Skanner News
Published: 04 October 2011

Tanya Atzbaugh brought her children, Rickesah, Alexus, Robert, Robert Jr., and Jaylen, to Unthank Park June 17. Atzbaugh now lives in East Portland but says she still feels connected to North and Northeast.

Linda Hornbuckle and Zeke 'Yung Mil' Jones plan to be at Highland Christian Center, Saturday Oct. 15. The singers are just two of the high-profile Portlanders taking part in 'Are You Ready?' a community-wide event to build a stronger support network for East Portland.

"Are you Ready?' will run from 10 am to 4 pm Saturday Oct. 15 at Highland Christian Center, 7600 NE Glisan St.

East Portland is rapidly becoming the youngest, most diverse part of the city. With a growing population of Latinos, African Americans and immigrants from all over the world, East Portland is home to 37 percent of the city's children. Many of the areas newest Black residents were displaced by gentrification from North and Northeast Portland and moved to East Portland (focus East). Yet transportation and social services are still catching up with the needs of the families living here.

"People don't know where to go for help? said Pastor W.G. Hardy, the senior minister from Highland. "Where do they go when they need emergency assistance? Where do you go if you are dealing with domestic violence? How do you make it – especially in this economy?"

Portland's Yung Mil will be at the Oct. 15 event.

'Are You Ready' aims to bring answers to those questions and much more, as well as prizes, fun and opportunities to build support networks that cross 82nd Avenue and reach out to 122nd, 163nd and beyond. Booths will offer information about everything from physical and mental health to youth opportunities and disaster preparedness.

The event is open to everyone, whether you are interested in building support for East Portland, or simply want to know where services are located and how to access them. On offer will be plenty of games and prizes, as well as opportunities to build support networks.

Sponsored by The Skanner Foundation, Safeway, Multnomah County and Highland Christian Center, organizers decided to hold the event at Highland because of its central location, said Pastor Hardy.

"It has now become the new hub, because it is so central, so close to 82nd Avenue, and so easily reached by MAX, bus, car or bike," Hardy said.

Linda Hornbuckle works for the county's health department when she is not entertaining audiences with her unique voice. On Saturday oct. 15, she will be at the event to tell people about Multnomah County's sex education program.

"We do a lot of work on sexual health," Hornbuckle said. "We talk to parents about how to talk to their kids about sex in a healthy way. We give talks to teens and we train teachers in how to use our curriculum about healthy relationships for teens."

"If you need us to come and talk to a group of teens at your church, we're ready and equipped to do so," Hornbuckle said. "Sex is such a taboo subject in our community, maybe because people don't have the tools to talk about it. So that's what we try to provide for people, those tools."

For more information or to book a booth or a room, talk to Pastor Hardy at 503.287.9567

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