This Week's Curator: City Council Candidate Jo Ann Hardesty
Jo Ann Hardesty is a candidate in the upcoming November election for City Council, Position 3. Jo Ann currently spends most of her time on campaign-related activities. Prior to running for office, she served as President of the NAACP’s Portland chapter, operated a small consulting business, produced a weekly radio show on KBOO, and served on various boards and commissions as a volunteer. She also used to have more time to read and go see live jazz shows. You can read her full bio here.
Tell us about your neighborhood. What are the ups and downs of it?
I currently live in Gateway neighborhood out on 103rd Ave. My favorite part about the neighborhood is that I live close to Gateway Park, which is the most beautiful park in all of Portland. It only opened about a month ago, but I love how inclusive the park is. There are activities for kids of all abilities to be able to play. It's so cool and inviting to see a big, multicolored piano that says "Play Me" when you walk in. It's so frequent that kids in our neighborhood come across something interesting but also reads "don't touch" or "stay off."
The downside of East Portland is that there's a lot of work to do. There a huge lack of infrastructure, there's not many sidewalks or light structures or bus shelters. The community is not very walk-friendly for most people, and it's a food desert! In the last few years, we've lost 3 major grocery stores in our area.
What are your favorite East Portland things to do and places to go?
My favorite thing to do is to go to happy hour at Sayler’s Steak House, which I believe is a restaurant that has been open since the 1930s. I also love going to Bipartisan Cafe, Redwood, and Portland Seafood Company. Basically, anything that revolves around good food and company!
What do you think people don’t know about East Portland that they should know?
What people don't know is that East Portland is the most diverse area in Portland, whether it's race, gender, religion, or income level.
What do you think would be most helpful for people in East Portland?
A voice in decisions about their future.
How do you think your Portland matches up with the Portland you’ve seen in media?
In the media, I've seen both a Portlandia that paints a picture and a Portland overwhelmed with riot gear that paints another. I don't think that either depictions show the whole story of Portland, the one that is robust with community and love.
What keeps you up at night worrying?
I stay up at night, thinking about the 60+ year old men and women who are begging for money under the overpass because they can't afford a roof over their heads, and are in need of food or medicine.
What gives you hope?
That people want to help, they just haven't been asked to help. Portlanders will step up when they are asked to, and we can put on our thinking caps together and solve the problems at hand.
Why did you agree to participate in this project?
It's a wonderful way to connect with folks who are engaged in social media. I hope that I will be able to connect with others who share my values and my vision for East Portland and the rest of the city.