Windshield Project

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  • Topic: Gang, Crime, Gresham, Oregon
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North Central Neighborhood Windshield Assessment Part II
December 2, 2012
Nursing 410A Population
Oregon Health and Science University

As a community or public health nurse it is vitally important to be in touch with the community in which one works. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through observation and assessment. For the Windshield Assessment, various aspects of the community-population, housing, public spaces, schools, community services, transportation, traffic, environment, and commerce were evaluated. In Part I, initial findings and photographs were presented. In Part II, the focus will be on specific areas of strength and opportunity. Where opportunities exist, various strategies for improvement will be presented. And in conclusion, a summary of the experience and findings will be discussed. Introduction

Gresham is Oregon’s fourth largest city. It is easily accessed from I-84 to the north and US-26 to the south. This author's residence is within the boundaries of the North Central neighborhood (NCN). The NCN begins at the corner of 202nd Avenue and extends east on Glisan Street, south on 242nd Drive, west on Burnside Road, and ends when it rejoins with 202nd Avenue (The City of Gresham, 2012).

Gresham's population in 2011 was estimated at 107,439 individuals (United States Census Bureau, 2012). According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2012), 76% of Gresham residents are white and 18.9% are Hispanic; Asians account for 4.3% and Blacks for 3.5%. Foreign born individuals comprise 16.6% of the population and 23.2% of individuals speak a language other than English.
Gresham is a very average suburban city. Most people do not go out of their way to come here. When people ask where this author lives and she tells them, most are disgusted and ask "why?" Others will say they have been to Gresham to attend the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival or Highland Games or have passed through on their way to Mount Hood or Bend. Because this author has lived here for so many years, she has started to tell people she lives "just outside of Portland", to avoid the odd looks and questioning, and quickly changes the subject. Community Strengths

Although Gresham lacks a certain appeal, those living here do not seem to mind it much. Gresham has been praised for its "small town feel"; 59% of residents have lived in Gresham over ten years, 74% of residents own their home, and 77% of resident's know their neighbors by name (Campbell DeLong Resources, 2008). Here, housing is very affordable. The average listing price in the NCN is $180,244, compared to $242,998 in all of Gresham and $416,591 in all of Portland (Trulia, 2012). Homeownership benefits neighborhoods, providing economic and social capital, and homeowners are more likely to participate in the community. Homeowners are also happier and take more pride in their neighborhoods. Another benefit is the positive impact homeownership has on children. "Children of homeowners score better on academic tests, graduate at higher rates, have fewer behavioral problems, and enjoy a better social environment" (Habitat for Humanity, n.d.). Since housing prices are so attractive in the NCN, the possibility is greater that more individuals will be able to afford a home, thus improving the community's structure.

The NCN is home to five parks, many of which contain sports facilities and walking paths. Parks are important built environments in communities. Parks have a positive impact on physical, mental, and social components of health (Fan, French, & Das, 2012, p. 520). Park users tend to be healthier than non-park users. Parks encourage and support physical activity because "they provide access for individuals to engage in regular physical activity at no cost" (Reed & Price, 2012, p. 1264). The convenient location of these parks throughout the neighborhood makes it easier for community members to take advantage of these benefits.

Gresham is a...
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