Neighbors Helping Seniors Age in Place 
Newsletter of
Northeast Village PDX  
Northeast Village PDX is a group of neighbors in Northeast Portland, Oregon, who have created a membership organization to help seniors in the area stay in their own homes as they age - by providing volunteers to help with rides, simple home repairs,  friendly visits, and light yard work, as well as Village member recommendations for professional services vendors (plumbing, electrical, pet care and others).  Programs and events of various types are also provided for Village members and volunteers.
January/February -- In This Issue:

January - February 2019

Photo by Tracy McDonald. See article below.
Introduction to NE Village 
Two Village orientation sessions are scheduled in January and February:
Wed., Jan. 23, 1:00-2:30 p.m., Gregory Heights Library, 7921 NE Sandy Blvd.

Wed., Feb. 20, 1:00-2:30 p.m., Hollywood Library, 4040 NE Tillamook Ave.
Anyone interested in learning about the Village movement in general and NE Village PDX in particular is encouraged to attend. No reservations are necessary.
Village volunteers can handle anything!  Sue and Pete Carr recently helped Village member Jane Braunger assemble this miniature Costa Rican oxcart. 
Here's Help Finding New Homes for Your Stuff
Have you resolved to clean out and declutter your home in 2019? Are you wondering what to do with items you no longer want?

Goodwill and the Salvation Army are well-known national organizations that accept donations, but there are local (perhaps less well-known) organizations that welcome your donations as well:

Albertina Kerr's Resale Shop , 424 NE 22nd Avenue. Accepts consignments, donations, and estate sales. For details call 503-234-2406.
The Community Warehouse and Estate Store, 3969 NE Martin Luther King Boulevard. Accepts furniture and household items. For details call 503-235-8786.

Habitat for Humanity's ReStore , Several locations around Portland. Accepts furniture, appliances, household items and building materials. For details and locations of ReStores near you, see their website.

For something completely different, check out the  Buy Nothing Project website. Join a Buy Nothing Facebook group in your area to offer items to others or request something you need. Participation in a Buy Nothing group helps those in your immediate community and adds a personal touch to your donation.
Need help figuring out how to de-clutter your home? On January 23, 2019, Betsy Radigan will give a talk on how to "un-stuff" your home. Details are in the January 2019 calendar of events emailed to everyone in mid-December and in the online NEV calendar for January.
Let's Befriend Fellow Villagers in Need
Know a fellow NE Villager who is sick, hospitalized or otherwise could use some extra TLC? Contact the NEV office and let them know so volunteers can send a card, be in touch, or offer help.
 Lost & Found
Did you leave a velvet burgundy scarf at the last potluck?  If so, contact the NEV office.
Upcoming Programs & Events

Thursday January 10
10:30-11:30 am
Members and Volunteers Only

Are you interested in joining with others to discuss current events? We want to meet you! Please come to this organizational gathering to discuss how we want the group to work and where/when we will meet.

Place: Fleur de Lis Bakery & Cafe, 3930 NE Hancock
No reservation required.

Interested but can't make it to the gathering? Please contact Suzanne Silverstein by email or 503-241-7483.

Thursday, January 31
12:00 pm

Members and Volunteers Only

Come enjoy lunch prepared and served by students of the Oregon Culinary Institute. Three courses, non-alcoholic beverage, and gratuity included in the $15 fee. Cash payment required: no credit cards or personal checks, please.

Place: Oregon Culinary Institute, 1701 SW Jefferson Street

Reservation required: Please contact the NEV office at 503-895-2750 or by email if you would like to attend. Space is limited to 8 people for this event.

Don't  forget to check out all of the events happening in the Northeast Village in January see our website calendar   for full listing and  details.

February 27, 2019
Open to All
Everybody Reads
The 2019 selection for Portland's "Everybody Reads" program is
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Get a head start on reading the book, or listen to the audiobook. For more information about the book, check the library website.  Details about the place and time for this gathering will be forthcoming in the February calendar of events.
March 26, 2019
Members and Volunteers Only
NEV members and volunteers are invited to the Oregon Historical Society for a docent-led tour of the new permanent exhibition of early Oregon history, Experience Oregon.  The tour is free.  Space is limited to 20 people for this event. If you would like to attend, please contact the NEV office at 503-895-2750 or by email. When you RSVP, please let us know if you require a wheelchair or other accommodations.

Note: RSVP deadline is February 22, 2019
NE Village Website Enhancements Are Coming
NE Village members may have already noticed the  new Recommended Vendors module in the Members-Only section. Our previous listing of 30+ vendors has been greatly expanded with additional member recommendations, as well as adding vendors  vetted by Villages NW on behalf of all Portland area Villages. The new database is searchable by the types of services offered.
A number of other enhancements are coming in January/February for members and volunteers:  
  • A Discussion Forum where you can post questions, comments, replies to others, and establish new topics for discussion. There will be several forums, each covering a different topic area, to get started. You can also subscribe to each topic individually, or to all topics, and receive emails of new postings.

  • A Community Resources Page that lists major organizations serving the Senior community in various ways. The page summarizes the types of services offered and provides contact information.

  • A new Coming Events Calendar and Events Listing that will offer a more convenient way for people to RSVP for events that require registration.

  • Account Registration. To make all of this work, we will be switching from the current log-in system for NE Village members and volunteers to an individual registration system . Help will be provided for those who need assistance in registering for an account and setting up a user name and password. 
Stay tuned for more information in the upcoming months.
--Todd Coward, webmaster
Getting Up Close and Personal with Polar Bears 
The first one looked no different from all the other snow-covered boulders strewn over the tundra. Then the boulder seemed to move, got up on its feet and transformed into the elegant profile we know as a polar bear-elongated neck, gigantic, undulating body, with dinner plate-sized feet plodding across the tundra.

My heart tingled and everything took on a dream-like quality. I was seeing a real polar bear. I had come to Churchill, Manitoba, the most accessible place in the world to see polar bears in their natural habitat. Each fall, about 2000 bears congregate on the western shore of Hudson Bay waiting for the bay to freeze and sea ice to form. Only then can they begin their hunt for the fat, nutritious seals that make up their diet. They gorge on the seals, who are almost one third fat. In spring when the sea ice melts, the polar bears must move to land. Since they do not hunt on land, they will be fasting until the sea ice forms the following fall, and thus they are famished. Polar bears do not hibernate.
We viewed the bears from a "tundra buggy" similar to a bus but with giant tires that make it possible to drive on frozen tundra and are high enough off the ground to be safe. Polar bears spend most of their lives on the ice and are found above the Arctic Circle in Norway, Russia, Greenland, the United States and Canada. They number about 25,000. The bears are usually solitary except for the two and a half years females spend teaching their cubs to hunt, feed and swim.
The polar bear has become a symbol for climate change. Sea ice is crucial to the bears' survival since they need to be able to hunt seals to survive. Some polar bear populations are stable and one is even increasing; others are decreasing. What we do know is that as the ice recedes, the more threatened polar bears will be.
I saw about 35 bears on my trip, from quite close to far away. On my last day, looking out the window of my room, I saw a mom and two cubs slowly making their way across a frozen lake. Despite my sadness about their future, the most pervasive feeling I got from observing the bears of Churchill was one of extraordinary peace.
--Tracy McDonald
Need Help With Your Taxes?
Just after the guy in the sleigh gets out of town, W-2's, 1099's, 1095-A, and more strange forms start to show up in your mail.
Yes, it's tax time again. Oh, and how does the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act change things? The new tax law nearly doubles the standard deduction, but it also limits and cuts itemized deductions. Even if you benefit from the larger standard deduction and maybe don't even have to file because of it, don't forget we are in Oregon. We have a much, much lower standard deduction and filing requirement. Plus, there are special deductions for those over 65.
AARP Tax-Aide provides free tax service. Tax-Aide preparers are trained every year and certified by the IRS. The target audience is Seniors and low to middle income taxpayers. People whose income is over $125,000 for a single or $250,000 for a couple are generally out of scope because at those levels there are tax matters that the preparers haven't been trained and certified to do. They can't prepare returns for rentals, depreciation, or small businesses with an employee or a loss. Check out what can be done, and in mid-January, where locations are at You can also call CashOregon (503) 243-7765 for information.
There are 10 sites in Northeast Portland plus Cash Oregon's site at Lloyd Center. Some are appointment, some walk-in.
If you have a straightforward tax situation-just income from retirement plans, and you have health care-you can file for free on-line using software Oregon's Department of Revenue has contracted. In mid-January, see:
Be careful using just any free file software. Other companies and agencies may offer software at no charge for filing Federal tax returns, but many charge you for also filing your Oregon return.
--Anne Lindsay
Winter Is a Great Time for Pruning
Whether or not you're a gardener, pruning affects your quality of life. When apple and pear producers prune their orchards, it strengthens the tree limbs so they can bear more fruit. When berry producers prune old canes, it clears the way for new growth.
Landscape plants have less practical pruning needs than fruit. To prune garden trees such as Japanese snow balls, flowering plums and maples, you need an artistic sense as well as knowledge of the plant itself.
The first step is deciding  when  to prune. That depends on the species. As a landscape designer, I enjoyed pruning landscape trees in winter, my slowest season.
Trees have two stages of dormancy. First they lose leaves, then the sap moves down to the roots for winter storage, leaving the tree completely dormant. The best time to prune maples and other landscape trees that have a tendency to weep sap is in winter, when they are completely dormant. Other trees, such as flowering plums, should be pruned in early spring because the goal is to control regrowth by limiting the plant's energy stores.  

Next you need to know  how  to prune. For landscape plants, remove all dead or diseased material first, then prune any overlapping limbs by determining where small cuts will create the best shape. Then thin out the plant to expose its structure. Sometimes this means taking out a limb, sometimes it means thinning at the end of the branch. The goal is to open the plant to air and light and expose its beauty. Visualize what's possible.
Every plant has its own growth pattern. Without pruning, Japanese maples end up like balls of leaves, so most of the twiggy material should be removed. Flowering plum growth is almost random. The pattern isn't so much discovered as created from hundreds of possibilities. The same goes for wisteria. These are just a few examples. Each species or variety has different needs.
Random cutting-whacking at a plant to limit its size is generally not a good idea. Ragged cuts in random locations not only detract from the beauty of the plant, they promote uncontrolled growth that creates stubs with little or no support. This forces the interior of the plant to die out, inviting disease and infestation.
The best way to manage the size of a plant is to research how big it will get before you put it in a given location. No matter how you approach pruning, the goal should be the same-to create an open structure that makes the plant look like it's never been touched.
-Kehrnan Shaw
On the Night Stand: Anthony Horowitz
If you are looking for a well written, slightly unconventional light read, then one of Anthony Horowitz's books might be just the ticket. You may already know him as the creator and writer of Foyle's War as well as his adaptation of the first season of Midsomer Murder s for TV.
Besides a prolific career crossing many genres from script writing to young adult literature, Horowitz has written several delightful mysteries. For Sherlock Holmes devotees, after receiving permission from the Arthur Conan Doyle estate, he wrote two Holmes and Watson novels, The House of Silk and Moriarty, adhering to Conan Doyle's formula of acquainting us with Dr. Watson, referencing former cases, going undercover and introducing a lovely, mysterious woman. These books read like Conan Doyle's yet have their own joyful rhythm.
Same goes for Horowitz's two James Bond novels. He was granted permission by the Ian Fleming estate to write Trigger Mortis and Forever and A Day. While both Bond books closely follow the 007 characteristics, there is a lightness diluting Bond's dark toxic masculinity; in fact, Horowitz introduces strong women who more than hold their own. And perhaps, more significantly, we learn in Forever and A Day the origin of "shaken, not stirred." Now we know!
If adaptations aren't your thing, then I suggest Horowitz's mystery novels. Magpie Murders is a delightful mystery within a mystery reflecting old school writers like Ngaio Marsh and especially Agatha Christie, who publicly stated that she hated her famous creation, Hercule Poirot, although the public loved him. And so the bestselling author in Magpie Murders is simply sick and tired of writing yet another Pund (a detective similar to Poirot) mystery and tells his publishers he wants to branch out. The trouble starts there.
Another good read is The Word is Murder, in which Horowitz literally incorporates himself into the story, which is triggered by disgraced Scotland Yard detective Hawthorne's desire to have Horowitz chronicle how he solves a complicated case and thus restores his reputation.
These books are available at the library in both e-book and print; however, keep in mind there is usually a wait list. Enjoy!
--Susan Hodge

Village Boundaries
Northeast Village PDX is a member of the Villages NW tax-exempt network.

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