Melinda Matson, a North Portland resident, is working with the city to transform the alleyway behind her house into a community park.

The alley between North Failing and Beech street is made up of gravel, pothole covered, and weed-ridden.

Matson wants this neglected area to become “a really inviting community space for people to enjoy,” she said.

Matson envisions the alley to look like one a block away with pavers that filter stormwater runoff and benches.

That alley was allowed through building development, but homeowners face a more difficult task to transform alleys into community spaces. Current city policy requires that alleys remain accessible to bikes, cars, and emergency vehicles even as a park. These policies complicate the process and add expenses.

However, the city is willing to work with homeowners.

“We want to work with community members on how to make livable streets that meet their needs that can provide public gathering spaces,” said Dylan Rivera a spokesperson with Portland’s Bureau of Transportation.

Matson has set up an online crowd-funding campaign and is accepting donations for the project in addition to applying for grants.

(Image source)

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.