West End Neighborhood Association Year in Review – 2018

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Major topics covered at monthly meetings*

  • Open forum soliciting community members’ ideas for meeting topics of interest
  • Sustainability issues/LED light installation with Spencer Thibodeau and Troy Moon
  • West End Parks and Gardens
  • Dept. of Public Works matters: recycling/trash; sidewalks/shoveling
  • Public transit developments with Greg Jordan, METRO General Manager
  • Homeless Service Center proposals with Mike Sauschuck, Asst. City Manager
  • Dept. of Public Works follow on session with Christopher Branch, DPW Director
  • Annual meeting, potluck, and board elections
  • Welcoming winter wildlife with Doug Hitchcox, Maine Audubon naturalist [scheduled]

Special meetings, events, and representations

  • Valentine dance party for everyone (February; 25 participants)
  • Annual spring neighborhood clean-up (April; 30 participants)
  • Collaboration with Mercy Hospital and St. Luke’s Cathedral on community conversation about Mercy’s future (May, 60 participants)
  • Remarks presented on WENA’s behalf at Avesta Housing’s opening of 17 Carleton Street (June)
  • Annual August picnic held at Harborview Park  (45 in attendance)
  • Windowdressers workshop co-sponsored with Portland Climate Action Team and hosted by Maine Irish Heritage Center (September, 300 inserts assembled; 15 volunteers)
  • District 2 Candidates for City Council and School Board forum (October, 40 in attendance)
  • School Superintendent meeting to discuss facilities and enrollment (October, 25 in attendance)
  • Caroling around the neighborhood [scheduled for December]
  • Board member special meetings with representatives of: 75 State; 100 State; Shalom House; Community Policing; and Amistad
  • Book Nook book group (first Monday of the month; 6 participants)
  • Two WENA members sit on Maine Medical Center expansion group
  • Two WENA members sit on Mercy Hospital State Street sale neighborhood group
  • One WENA member sits on Mercy Hospital Centennial Celebration committee
  • Individual board members assist in numerous ways to mount the annual Halloween parade; in collaboration with City officials on graffiti mitigation; and with other non-profits such as the Locker Project.

Book Nook

  • Honor-system lending library in collaboration with the Portland Public Library since 2012. Open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 to 10:00 AM in the Reiche Community Room.


  • Facebook: 341 followers, a 15% increase over last year.
  • Web page:  Over the past year 3,401 individuals visited www.wenamaine.org, a 36% increase over the previous year; an above average session duration (1:08 minutes) and bounce rate (67%).
  • Email: 513 contacts, an increase of 13% over 2017. Thirty-one percent of people open our emails, higher than the 24% of most non-profits. Percentage of readers who click on a link within an email blast averages 4.5. Very low unsubscribe rate of 0.1%.

Community classes and activities at Reiche

  • Video exercise practice Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8:30 AM
  • Gentle Kripalu Yoga class at Reiche via Rec Department, Tuesdays at 6:15 PM
  • Writing classes at Reiche via Adult Ed, Tuesdays at 6:00 PM

Parks and gardens

  • Clark Street Park: ongoing improvements to flower beds and apothecary garden. Monarch and Swallowtail butterflies were sighted as were an abundance of pollinators.
  • Clark Street Community Garden plot: cultivation of vegetables for donation to Locker Project. Provided approximately 448 fresh tomatoes (over 37 dozen) for Reiche school children and their families.
  • Harborview Park:  In April 6th graders from Waynflete School cleared ten bags of trash right after snowmelt. During spring and fall work days and all summer, WENA and other volunteers extended Edible Hillside plots, planted peach trees, highbush blueberries, beach plum, pollinator plants, produced cherries, peaches, blueberries, beach plums, observed many more pollinators: bees and butterflies, including monarchs.  Began clearing invasive plants, including Japanese Knotweed and Black Swallow Wort. Sowed wild seeds in pots to germinate over winter and plant next year.

Swim for Life

  • Donated $455.00 to pay for summer open swims at Reiche pool for Portland school children.
  • Produced multi-lingual signs advertising this program courtesy of Mercy Hospital’s translation services.

As of 7 November 2018

*Community policing updates and discussions are a regular feature. Meeting attendance has ranged from 11 to 40; average attendance 27.