For this month’s Volunteer Spotlight, we’ve selected newly elected Chair of the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association, Jacob Sherman.
A fifth generation Oregonian and a near-lifelong resident of Portland, Jacob became passionate about his community because “cities and communities are better when people intentionally work together to create more vibrant and resilient places.” Jacob received his Bachelors of Arts in English from Portland State University and holds a Masters in Educational Leadership and Policy with a concentration in Leadership for Sustainability Education.
What inspired you to become a board member?
Like most folks, I got involved because of something that irked me. There was a lot of speeding on a local street, and I didn’t like it and wanted to see something done about it. I knew that if I wanted the problem solved, then I would most likely have to try and solve it myself. Well one thing led to another, and some two years later the neighborhood association had successfully lobbied the City to install speed bumps… which has made Brentwood Park and Lane Middle School a much safer place for children, bicyclists, and other pedestrians. Oh, and… somewhere during that process another board member sat me down and said I should join. Ron Sumner was an older gentlemen, had been active on the board for ages, and I respected him, so I said yes.
What are some projects you’re currently working on?
Outreach and community building – broadly. We hosted a neighborhood-wide visioning in February and had more than 45 community members turn out and tell us about their concerns and hopes for the neighborhood, and now we are trying to respond to those. People wanted places to get to know each other. They wanted fun, family friendly activities. So …we’re planning a fun, but kind of competitive kickball game within our neighborhood that we are calling “Brentwood VS Darlington”. When our neighborhood was annexed into Portland in the mid-80’s, it was actually a collection of many smaller neighborhoods or tracts, so we are thinking it’d be humorous to play off these different “identities” and do something to get people out of their houses, talking, and hopefully running around and laughing with one another.
Sure, not everyone is going to get involved and become a champion for the next big project in the neighborhood, but simply having folks know one another, know their neighbors, improves the overall livability of our place. It enriches the fabric of our community, helps people feel safer, and provides folks with the opportunity to connect, in a meaningful way, with those who live in the place around them.
What’s next for you?
I am working on board recruitment and retention, and developing a more strategic plan for us as a board. I am also working on building out our communications platforms, and working with others to consider things like branding and our overall neighborhood identity. But those things are boring; really, I’m hoping that Brentwood will beat Darlington in our kickball game in August!