The very 1st editorial … Share your views … James Thurber?
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The Viva Village Voice

Issue V, April 2016

The Viva Village Voice is an
e-publication of Viva Village. It appears every two months. Back issues (August, October, and December 2015, and February 2016) may be viewed on the website, Viva Village is a member of the Villages NW nonprofit Hub and Spoke Network. We are one of seven Villages being formed in the Portland area. Another Village—Eastside Village—became a fully functioning Village offering services to members on October 1, 2015.
To learn more about the Village Movement locally, nationally, and internationally, please visit Villages NW online at or email Contact the Viva Village Voice at
Editor, Ross Miller
Graphic Artist, Judith Feinstein
Layout, Kathy Brown


table of contents


Very soon readers of this newsletter will have the opportunity to become members of Viva Village … OR NOT. 

In other words, readers will be deciding whether or not they need a Village.

Please feel free to share your thoughts or questions about Viva Village or Villages in general.

The Viva Village Voice at Ross Miller, Editor


(This issue begins with an actual editorial)

My wife, Nancy, and I were invited to speak about Viva Village to a group for seniors at a Beaverton church in Ross and NancyJanuary. After a tasty lunch, they listened attentively as we shared our enthusiasm for Viva Village. We did our best to answer their many questions. We were warmly thanked for coming and several showed interest in becoming service-providing Viva Village volunteers. But few, it seemed, thought of themselves as potential Viva Village members. In fact, one of those at the event, a woman in her nineties, eagerly told us about her track record as a volunteer, but let us know that she didn’t need a Village because she had long-term health insurance.
(Here we have some major misperceptions about Villages. This ninety-year-old ace volunteer seemed to think that Villages are for sick people, the ailing. And it seems that her co-lunchers likewise thought of Villages as primarily for the unfortunate, which they were not … yet.) 
Most of us working to make Viva Village a reality do not consider ourselves “ailing” or “unfortunate.” But many of us can admit that we are reaching a time in our lives when we’re not quite as self-sufficient as we were a few years ago. Nancy and I still drive, but before we head to a theater or restaurant in downtown Portland, we check out the parking options more carefully than we once did. We’re more cautious about driving at night, especially when it’s raining. Ladders are off-limits, as are roofs and gutters. This last December a younger neighbor hung the Christmas wreath on our garage. We asked our son-in-law, here from California for the holidays, to replace the bulb in the motion light—also high up on the garage.
(It’s great to have neighbors or family members help, when they’re available, but we’re reluctant to ask too often. Our neighbor, a few doors down, is eager to join Viva Village because she’s reluctant to bother her son with frequent calls for help.)
The Village Movement began when a dozen, still lively, older persons in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, found a way to get the services they needed so they could remain in their homes. Like 90% of U.S. seniors (according to AARP), they did not want to move to a retirement home of some kind.
We, too, are still lively. And we’ve decided that “we need a village.” Though some of our friends seem happily settled in retirement facilities, we prefer the mix of ages we have in our neighborhood.  (Among many other considerations, if we lived in one of those places we wouldn't be able to watch the weekday procession of children to the nearby elementary school.)
We like the idea that we can call for advice and assistance when our skills and physical resources fall short.
We also like the idea of serving as volunteers. As Viva Village volunteers, we are already experiencing the sense of community a Village makes possible, a sense that will surely be enhanced when our volunteering provides services for other Villagers. At our age, retired and slowing down a bit, it’s easy to get isolated. In Villages across the country, many are finding the social connections as valuable as the services received.
We like being part of a movement that gives seniors a better chance for a good life. Our society cannot build retirement homes, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, etc. fast enough to accommodate a rapidly increasing senior population. Also, few of us can afford the thousands per month it takes to live in most of those places.

Members of Portland’s Eastside Village (launched this past October) share their reasons for joining in a recent Oregonian article by Samantha Swindler. (Eastside Village article


Viva Village Events Stir Responses  
(Ellin Johnson reflects on our March 19 gardening forum, Evergeens Plus, at which experts talked about easy-to-grow plants for gardeners whose bodies prefer less kneeling, etc.)
Bay Laurel 
Surrounded by a rhapsody of plants donated by Dennis’ 7 Dees Cedar Hills Garden Center, Viva Villagers and guests learned not to snub the shrub, at the annual spring gardening symposium at Leedy Grange in March.
The program was launched for the second year by Viva Village’s Poet-in-Residence, Ruth Ann Homan, who produced an ode that obligingly offered a bona-fide rhyme or two (for purists) and definitely was a paean to “the shrub.” Here’s a tidbit:
“Call them easy
Call them wise
They know where the moisture lies”

“They’re low-interest housing
for important insects.”
Garden PanelThe evergreen’s moment in the sun, and often shade, was exalted by a knowledgeable panel, who gave the nod to shrubs and perennials that are eternal prom queens in our local gardens. Welcoming back Barbara Blossom Ashmun, writer and gardener, the audience got sage (and rosemary and thyme?) counsel from the other three garden gurus: Doug Barragar, Diana Lamb and Mike Snyder. Lots of good info and hands-on action followed.

Cheers for the dainty yakushimanum Rhody, better mannered than its humongous grandparent species. Siren songs for other easily grown shrubs: Pieris, Euonymous, Lonicera, to name but a few must-haves. And put your hands together for the chartreuse dazzlement of “Sundance” Choisya. milkweed

The best cautionary words came from Barbara A: if a plant has “weed” in the name (e.g., milkweed), let the planter beware. 


Gadget Gal Bruna McBride, Rae Coleman’s sister, held court with a formidable array of garden implements to ease the work and heighten the delirium of outdoor activity. Her bag of tricks included a gear-equipped lopper with savage potential, drawing a lot of crowd attention, as did the tamer leaf hopper and hollow leg container.
It was all good GREEN fun!

* * * * * * * * * * 
Bonnie Barksdale was very pleased by the same program:
 Garden Event
It is so much fun being part of such a lovely group. Thank you everyone for making our event so delightful—sweet poetry … beautiful flyers, name tags, displays, venue, food, and expert panel … WELL DONE … great door prizes and I even got one—how fun—don’t usually win anything … we all worked together so beautifully … the food was delicious and substantial … a wonderful, wonderful day!

A Boon to Beaverton
and Beyond
Viva Village events, it turns out, benefit not only us Villagers, but our neighbors as well:
emergency supplies
Members of the private social network, Nextdoor, in Terra Linda and adjacent neighborhoods, were sharing information about emergency supplies, prompted by their participation in Viva Village’s February 27 program at the Beaverton Library—Disaster Preparedness 101.

*garden tools On March 19, for the second year in a row, we offered a workshop for older gardeners at Leedy Grange (see above). Participants included many area residents not affiliated (at least, not yet) with Viva Village.

And our monthly Nature Walks, carefully devised to include persons with walkers and wheelchairs, seem to treebe raising the awareness of the Parks and Recreation staff in ways that may influence future walkway planning.
Kudos to our events planners:

Regina Ford

Ruth Spencer

Darleene Meyer

Rae Coleman

Bonnie Barksdale

Nilze Sumner

Ruth Ann Homan

Frieda Pardo

Sherrie Winter

Shilo Jiroudek, and

Events Planning Action Team Leader,
Suzanne VanSlyke

Judith Feinstein:Judith F.
James Thurber Lives!!

Followers of the Viva Village newsletter cartoons (most recently showing Marshall Goldberg a-scrub in the canine mouth of beloved Ava Belle) might not imagine the clever pen belongs to a woman who looks more as if she’d spent her life in front of a fashion photographer’s camera than a drawing board. Surprise! Heeeere’s Judy!

In case you’d forgotten, last December, Judith Feinstein enlightened the Viva Village holiday party with an addendum to Frieda Pardo’s informative parsing of Hanukkah facts. No newcomer to Viva Village volunteering (she worked with Kathy Kenny-Fradkin on design of flyers and business cards), she has also begun to distinguish herself as the Village’s Cartoonist-in-Residence, an extension of her early artistic business training.

It all began in the Midwest. After attending the University of Illinois, this Chicago native, transplanted to Portland at age three, went on to become an apprentice to a local cartoonist in Portland, developing herself as a graphic artist in Oregon-area businesses. Tektronix was lucky enough to hire her for their catalogue department, though it must have used more than the $5 per hour entry salary in the initial wooing.

Marriage to her late husband, Mel, produced three daughters and a son and an active life for all, punctuated by tennis, skiing, lots of exercise. However, when Judith’s high-level athletics needed mitigating, art married yoga, her new passion. Soon Judith was collaborating with her yoga guru, producing do-it-at-home instructional manuals sold by Norm Thompson in their catalog one season, and selling to this day in a Portland athletic facility.

Creative art was contagious for the entire Feinstein family, including Mel (they took art classes together),  plus architect son, Michael, interior design maven daughter, Lynn, both Portland suburbanites, and Marcia, Seattle, and Joni, Coos Bay.

Now Judith is busy “raising (Ari)’Zona,” her own pooch, in the family home—an architectural gem where she’s lived over 50 years. Presciently designed for future needs, her Westside mid-century modern home was originally planned with features such as extra-wide doors and myriad other elements to make it Senior Friendly for Judith’s current needs. Its design once landed it in a 1966 Better Homes and Gardens featured article and a 2013 Oregon Historic Preservation Society Architectural Tour of Zaik-designed homes. It’s a neighborhood beauty, like its owner, to this day. Outside:  Asian-inspired landscaping; within—art, art, art—primarily created by Judith and her family. 

Who’s the next lucky subject for Judith’s facile pen?  No telling!

(Ellin Johnson interviewed Judith and composed this bio.)


In February 2016, 31 Volunteers contributed a total of 795.7 hours
to Viva Village.
Bonnie Barksdale
Carmela M Bowns
Sue Koza
Don P. Wolf
Sue Mann
Ellin Johnson
Frieda Pardo
Gerry Barksdale 
Gerry Lukos
Jasmina Balogh
Janet Cruz,
Judith K. Feinstein
Kathy Brown
Kathe Fradkin
Laurence G Brown
Lyn Trainer

Greg Jones
Nilze Sumner
Linda Scott
Patricia Langford
Ruth Ann Homan
Rae Coleman
Regina Ford
Ross Miller
Nancy Miller
Dick Eyde
Pam Eyde
Ruth Spencer
Sherrie Winner
Shilo Jiroudek
Suzanne Boyd


Village 101 Presentation
Wednesday, April 13, 7:00-8:30
Private home, Viewmont Neighborhood
Near Barnes Rd & Burnside
RSVP: or 503-312-7675


Third Thursday
Social Time

Thursday, April 21, 6:00-8:00
Giovanni’s Restaurant
12390 SW Broadway, Beaverton
JUST THINK—no cooking,
no dishes to wash,
and easy parking
on Broadway at Hall

RSVP: or 503-644-7417
Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens: A Field Trip
Friday, April 22
 Leaving Beaverton at 9:00
115 S Pekin Road
Woodland, WA 98674
purple lilac
For more information and transportation arrangements:
RSVP: Bonnie,


(Prior attendance at 101 required)
Tuesday, April 26, 4:30-6:00
Beaverton Community Center, Vose Room
12350 SW 5th Street, #100 (across from library)
RSVP: or 503-644-7320
AND, ON MAY 17: THE NEXT Viva Village Book Club
…  reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. A review tells us: "The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France."
For comment or more information contact
* * * * * * * * * 
Ruth Ann Homan reviews the Club’s recent discussion of Bryan Stevenson’s JUST MERCY:
A handful of Viva Villagers discussed this nonfiction volume at our recent Book Club session. We could safely share our input in terms of where we are in our own lives.

Stevenson, a Harvard lawyer, documents the alarming expansion of privatized prisons in the U.S. and deplores the downward spiral of long term incarceration, mainly for those who cannot afford good counsel. As he tracks some of the people on death row, we see their humanity. Once I have a glimpse of how broken the U.S. judicial system is, I cannot pretend it isn’t so. JUST MERCY gives me hope that change is possible.


It Takes a Village …

Art: Judith Feinstein; Text: Ross Miller
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VIva Village is a member of the Villages NW nonprofit Hub & Spoke Network.
Copyright © 2016 Viva Village, All rights reserved.

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