Dharma Rain Zen Center - Stratetic Planning
New Property at Siskiyou Square
May 2, 2013
We got some good news from Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services
this week. We have been planning a walkway that would connect 82nd Ave with
Butte that would be open to our neighbors. A lovely route would take it through
Russell Pond, a patch of land near the SE corner of our property. There were
concerns about the route during heavy rain, but on a recent tour of the property
representatives from BES and DRZC realized that a slightly different route
would avoid the problems. BES, which owns Russell Pond, has agreed to take
on the task of working with the neighbors in that area to advance the project.
We have applied for a grant that would cover 1/3 of the cost, and our portion
can be met by volunteer labor, so your help on the land can bring in needed
funding. We will focus on a portion
of this project from May 24-June
including work Saturdays May 25 and June 1. We'll be there 10am-4pm.
We’re getting into the serious work of value engineering the Sodo and working
to see how much we can phase some of the infrastructure work to lower costs and
spread them out over time.
April 25, 2013
The big news this week is that the Land Use decision is now final and has
been recorded with the county. Hooray! We're now getting down to brass tacks
on the engineering design work on the Sodo and the logistics on the two temporary
buildings we want to move onto the property.
We also received a small grant
for creating pollinator habitat — we like bees!
Here’s a fun fact: we are
looking for donations of old cardboard, enough to cover one full acre! We
will use it to cover invasive grass and weeds, then bury that with dirt and
mulch to prepare the land for native planting.
Finally, at the last work day
Gyokuko and Kyogen blessed over 100 O-Fuda, prayer plaques that hold the spirit
of place, as gifts for donors to the Capital Campaign. The calligraphy says “Great
Round Mirror Wisdom.”
April 17, 2013
The big news this week is that we received the decision from the Land Use
Hearings Officer. The hearing went very well, and we got approval for everything
we wanted. There is a waiting period until April 19 for any appeals that may
be filed. Because we had unanimous support from the local neighborhood associations
an appeal is highly unlikely. We can start the building permit process on
the 19th. The great thing about this parcel is that our use is allowed outright,
so we will not have to go through conditional use hearings. Developers have
tried for many years to put housing on this property, but because it is in
an employment zone, none were able to do so. We managed to get approval for
30 housing units because it is an accessory use of the temple complex.
The Groundbreaking Ceremony scheduled for Saturday, June 8, is coming together.
Native Elder Rod McAfee will do a land blessing to start, and Portland
Taiko will perform to close. We
lining up some speakers, including Tony DeFalco, well-known for his effort
to convert a nearby landfill into Cully Park. Also speaking is Petra Callin,
principle of Madison High School. We are cooperating on a number of projects
with them involving the new property.
April 4, 2013
Schematic design is complete and we have received the first round of cost
estimating and are proceeding with value-engineering to keep to the budget.
We have received over $100,000 in grants targeted for site assessment.
March 1, 2013
Just wanted to send out a reminder about Dharma Rain’s work party this Saturday,
March 2, anytime between ~10am and 4pm. Lunch is provided. We provide
gloves and tools (but if you have a hedge trimmer, it's useful). Wear boots,
of the site are pretty boggy. See the latest
dates for work parties.
The weather projects at 60 degrees and should stay dry until evening. So
far we’ve been exceedingly lucky with largely dry and sunny weather for our
last three work parties. We’ve also been feeling very fortunate to meet some
of our new neighbors who have been showing up to help out, check out the site,
and see who we are.
We’ll focus on removing blackberries on Saturday, but there will be a variety
of tasks, including things for children (those who have come have had a great
time so far). Our intent is to finish up the brush clearing that has to happen
this year so that we're not removing brush during the nesting season that
is critical for many bird species. Siskiyou Square is on a major “flyway” between
the Rocky Butte/Gateway Green/Grotto, and Madison High/Rose City Golf Course/Glenhaven
Park habitat complexes, so it attracts more than its share of birds and other
animals who use it as a connecting link. After Saturday, our volunteer work
parties will focus on other aspects of site preparation like removing fencing
and establishing the garden until October when the nesting season is over.
(Future work parties are scheduled for April 20th, May 25th, and June
In other news, our land use hearing is March 20th, and we’re getting ready
for construction beginning this summer. The plan is to do much of the Siskiyou
street improvements, a portion of the on-site infrastructure (grading, utilities,
at least a gravel road in). We’ll also erect a workshop, set a portable office
building, begin construction on the Sodo, or meditation hall, and start the
garden and orchard on the south end of the site.
Finally, please save the date, as you’re invited to a groundbreaking ceremony
planned for June 8th, at 3 pm, on-site. It will be an entertaining event,
and there will be an optional tour of the site afterwards where you can walk “through” future
buildings and hear about the plans and progress towards environmental restoration,
habitat creation and community involvement.
January 17, 2013
There will be a work party day this coming Saturday, January 19,
from around 10am-4pm. Lunch provided; come for all day or any part of the
have tools and gloves, but if you have your own favorites, please feel free
are driving, please
park at Glenhaven park, and walk down Siskiyou to 85th where the gate is.
If you have a pickup truck
and are willing to contribute use of that for all or part of the day, we would
be most appreciative. Contact us, if so.
We are working to restore much of the land to healthy, native, habitat areas.
We’ve had a few work parties already, and have cleared accumulated debris,
taken down hazard trees, installed a gate and removed some invasive plants.
we’ll mostly be clearing blackberries in the ravine, moving some fencing, and
continuing on other tasks we started last time.
Here are pictures from last work practice day. And here are photos from
the ceremony we did introducing ourselves to the land. If you can't make this
one, mark your calendar for the next one on February 23.
January 15, 2013
We submitted two grant applications this week, both for restoring the ravine
to native habitat. We are partnering with Madison High School, OSU’s Ecological
Engineering Student Society, Backyard Habitat Certification Program, and the
Center for a Sustainable Today on these.
of Portland Brownfield Program is featuring the Siskiyou project
in their quarterly
publication. There’s a nice write-up and it also shows our landscape
December 27, 2012
We are submitting a grant to create the Siskiyou Square Pathway,
which is designed to be a low volume, multi-use pathway running from NE 82nd
the west through Dharma Rain’s new site to an access point on the eastern
end of the property. It will provide a wildlife corridor connecting the Roseway
Golf Course, Madison High School, and Glenhaven Park habitat complex to the
west, with Rocky Butte, Gateway Green, and the Grotto gardens to the east.
It also will provide east-west, and hopefully north-south connectivity for
pedestrians and cyclists. We are partnering with several community organizations
on this effort, including the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Center for
a Sustainable Today.
Our letter of interest was accepted by Metro and we’ve been invited to submit
a full application for their Nature in the Neighborhoods Capital Grant. The
pathway will increase neighborhood connectivity, safety and access to native
open space areas.
November 24, 2012
On Saturday, November 24 (Thanksgiving weekend), we will have our first
work practice day out at the new property, fixing fences, clearing trash
maybe brush, and other work as needed and possible. It begins at 10am,
includes a lunch provided, with a ceremony after lunch, and wraps up about
for all or part of the day. Bring work clothes, boots and gloves, and
prepare to get muddy and join the fun. Park at Glenhaven Park across 82nd
and come down Siskiyou to find us.
November 1, 2012
The down payment and other payments have been made, papers signed, and all
recorded as of November 1, 2012. We are now the proud owners of a vacant lot!
More updates coming soon.
October 21, 2012
The Siskiyou project was one of the main topics at the fall Sangha Forum.
See a report on the Forum and
also take a look at the drawings of
site plans and building plans presented in their current drafts.
September 28, 2012
On Thursday, September 27, members of Dharma Rain Zen Center
and residents from four neighborhoods near the Siskiyou property sat down
to discuss issues
impacting connectivity in the area. After a brief description of the plan
for the property, the participants brought forth questions and comments regarding
the relationship between the new temple grounds and the surrounding areas.
Of particular interest were the composition and layout of public pathways
on the property, whether these public throughways would be open to bicycles
or restricted to pedestrians, parking availaiblity and parking impact, connectivity
and rehabilitation of the ravine at the east edge of the property, and the
timing for phases of construction and occupancy.
September 20, 2012
For those involved in the Householder Refuge project, here are the
from our September Meeting. Thanks to all who attended.
The next meetings are the third Sunday of each month: October 21 (Site
Financing) and November 18 (Unit Plans). We won’t meet
in December. NOTE: These meeting minutes and information about the HHR project
are now on their own page.
has a nice tool for estimating the relative costs of buying versus
renting a home in the Portland market:
September 18, 2012
A small focus group discussion on the ecology of the Siskiyou Square property
was held on the evening of September 13, attended by people from Dharma Rain,
the neighborhood, and various city and non-profit organizations. After a brief
description of the history of the property and an overview of the site plan
by Kakumyo Lowe-Charde, the discussion covered landscaping, wildlife habitat,
groundwater, pathways through the site, methane risks, and the possiblity
of educational signage.
There is a second focus group scheduled for Thursday, September
topic will be neighborhood connectivity.
August 30, 2012
The description of the Householder
Refuge project has been revised.
Here are three more documents about the ongoing planning for the Householder
project. For future updates on the HHR project, please see the HHR
August 16, 2012
- The traffic study is done, examining the current use
and proposed impact on all the nearby intersections and streets. It
looks good and won’t require transportation system improvements beyond widening
Siskiyou. We benefit from our current pattern of use, and our documented
history of extensive bus, pedestrian, and bicycle use to attend events
- Our design team is getting its roles and responsibilities dialed in,
figuring out how our architects, landscape architect, planner, civil, traffic,
geotechnical, and environmental engineers, and our builder and some
select subcontractors will be working together, with the city, with us,
- We’ll be hosting a booth at the Midsummer’s Green Neighbohood Festival,
showcasing our proposed use of the land and highlighting its ecological
August 18th, 10-5 at NE Sumner and 72nd if you
want to drop by. More
August 3, 2012. The Oregonian published
the purchase. If the link no longer works, read the pdf.
July 15, 2012. Dharma Rain is proceeding with
the purchase. The board conducted a thorough due diligence process before
voting to proceed, and a summary
of due diligence findings is now available. As representatives of the sangha,
the board would like the property purchase and transition process to be as
clear and transparent
as possible. If you have suggestions or comments about how you would like
to hear about property developments, please contact the
Board chair Kyri Kengan Trieman says: thanks on behalf of the Board to all
of the sangha members and supporters who invested their time and expertise
during the due diligence period. We saw sangha support manifested in the ideas,
concerns, suggestions, research, as well as the hard work of meeting attendance,
endless follow-up of details, people working within their areas of considerable
expertise as well as people willing to explore new areas. The direct support
furthered the vision and the concerns raised made it stronger; both were profoundly
helpful. We could not have gotten to this point otherwise, and that
was a factor in the decision to go ahead.
June 14, 2012. The Board of Directors of Dharma
Rain has decided to purchase a 14-acre parcel of land at NE 82nd & Siskiyou.
This lot would allow us to build a single campus that could accommodate
all of our current programs, and also allow us to continue to grow. After
offer was accepted by the seller the Board conducted three months of due
diligence activities to determine whether the property will work for
us. The vote to purchase means that the sale will proceed, with closing
on the new property to occur in July. There will be a gradual transition
from our current to our new property in the coming years — more details
to come. Project manager is Kakumyo Lowe-Charde [kakumyo at dharma-rain.org].
Read an April (2012) article that
appeared in the Daily Journal of Commerce about the project.