Felida Neighborhood Association focuses on parks, safety, traffic

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Felida Fire Station

— This Fourth of July, thousands of people are sure to crowd the streets for the annual children’s parade and festival in Felida. And throughout the year, the new Clark County Assistance Center will help veterans reintegrate into society.

But undertakings like these don't just happen. They're helped in part by the organizing, fund-raising and sometimes legal efforts of neighborhood associations like Felida’s, which will hold its next meeting May 31 at the Felida Fire Station.

Current Projects

Among the association's current efforts is raising $250,000 to construct a memorial plaza at Sgt. Brad Crawford Neighborhood Park.

Clark County spokeswoman Jilayne Jordan said the association came up with the idea of naming the park after Sgt. Brad Crawford and has raised more than $24,000 for its amenities .

McCann Road, notorious for traffic problems, is another problem the association is trying to help tackle. With all the new housing developments served by McCann, it hopes the road will gain a higher priority for repair.

Pollution from individual households and how it affects the Cougar and Salmon Creek green corridors is an ongoing concern. Educating community members about all aspects of environmental help has always been a goal of current association president Malida Allen.

"We need to increase awareness on kids' safety and preservation of the environment," Allen said.

The association also continually lobbies for community members to join neighborhood watch and take part in emergency response.

"That is the most effective way for us to communicate or alert," Allen said. "Make those block captains part of your CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) captains. I think that is necessary for us as we go through budgetary cutbacks."

Houses and Parks

Felida resident Nakoma Pishko, who just moved to the neighborhood, said the parks being within walking distance was one of the things that drew her to the neighborhood. But parks, along with new housing developments, are also among the biggest issues of contention in Felida, a major suburb of Vancouver and Portland and former rolling farmland.

"They should have put parks where they put developments and developments where they put parks," said Barb Schinzing, a Felida resident since 1984. She added that developers flattened out rolling hillsides for residential areas and put houses too close together.

The association mounted an unsuccessful legal challenge in 1993 against the county and Ashley Heights subdivision developer Roger Snoey, concerned about traffic on McCann Road. Snoey was also a president of the Salmon Creek Soccer Club and a proponent of Felida Community Park, completed in 2003.

One former president said the association focuses too much on parks, while neglecting both emergency services and infrastructure.

"I ran for president and got the presidency in 2005," Allen said. "That’s when I proposed many different things. I’m a big park person - sustainability and healthy initiatives."

Since Allen started as president, the Greater Clark Parks District has opened Sgt. Brad Crawford and Raspberry Fields, which the association helped plan. It also helped raise funds for the picnic area and benches at Felida's community park.

An Interesting History

The association has gone through at least five presidents since 2000. Allen and her daughter Jamie have switched on and off as presidents since 2005.

In 2001, the association officially became a 501(c)(3) non-profit, one of the first in the county to do so. Its records go back to the late 1990s, but become harder to reference any earlier than that. The association might go back to the late 1960s or early 1970s, according to one former president.