Role Models Matter

Message from Elders in Action Blog Editor, Barbara Schuetze

I was fortunate to have grown up with a mother who was vibrant, loving and engaged with her family, friends and community. Couldn’t have asked for a better role model.

My mother, Miriam Friedlander, lived life to its fullest until the last week of her life in 2010, when she passed away at the age of 86. She overcame many obstacles, experienced much joy and had many interests and passions including social action, politics, education, the arts, cooking, writing poetry, volunteering and travel.

My interest in being fully engaged in life and in the community — and my affinity for writing was inspired by my mother. And so was my positive attitude about aging. When I decided to devote more time to volunteering, I searched for an organization in the community that would be a good match. Elders in Action was a natural. After meeting with staff, I realized that one way I could contribute was by collaborating with the Elders in Action team to help write and edit their blog.

To keep the content in our blog interesting and relevant, we’ve added new forums, including personal essays, poetry, etc. (500 words or less) by older adults. We look forward to receiving personal writing from you that speaks to personal, community and societal issues facing older adults.

Please send us feedback so we can provide you with the type of information you want. We encourage you to email us at or call Mark Noonan at 503-235-5474. Our mailing address is: Elders in Action, 1411 SW Morrison St., Suite 290, Portland, OR 97205

To launch our new “personal writing” feature, we’re including a poem written by my mother that expresses her positive attitude on aging.


Barbara Schuetze

Miriam and Barbara circa 1984

Miriam and Barbara circa 1984

Vintage People Unite

I’m a woman who has lived 60 years. My hair is gray, almost white.

I have liver spots and some wrinkles and I don’t care. I’m not buying that Madison Avenue “garbage”.

I’ve been working from within. Aging is not a disease — it is a natural process. I have found that I am unique, authentic and rare, as we all are.

I am not an old, elderly, senior citizen, over-the-hill, retired, aged, menopausal, decrepit, crotchety, senile, sundowner person — as some people like to refer to “vintage people.”

Just think, I have lived through being born breach, two older sisters, two marriages, the death of both parents, birthing three children, one hurricane, an earthquake, the depression, two operations, one heart attack, some awful teachers, driving on freeways, thousands of miles of air travel, the flu, some enemies and as Yul Brenner would say, “Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.”

I have been going through my tape. You know, the one in my brain, that plays back all I’ve ever learned, and I’m making erasures of negative attitudes toward “vintage people.”

I realize that people will pay $150 for a vintage bottle of wine to be guzzled in one hour. Travel miles to find antiques, vintage clothing, rare vintage books. Go to the corners of the earth for cheese that has ripened, perhaps even molded, and sigh with ecstasy upon eating it.

Going through important attitudinal changes is important. I’m going through my third stage of life and am grateful that nature has afforded me this time. Nature has been good and plentiful to me. I’m reaping my harvest. I have helped nurture the seeds by fertilizing them with love and watering them with tears of sadness and joy.

I’m grateful for my harvest of loving family and friends.

I invite you, vintage and prospective vintage people, to join me.

Listen to you internal tapes. Become aware!

© Miriam Friedlander 1984

New Forum for Sharing Your Ideas, Personal Stories and Accomplishments

Barbara Bernstein Interim Executive Director

Barbara Bernstein
Interim Executive Director

Greetings!  Elders in Action is about sharing experience and creating a vibrant community for all ages through the active engagement of older adults.

We’re introducing some new features on our blog in order to recognize the accomplishments of older adults in our community and provide an outlet for you to publish your thoughts and feelings on aging. We’ll also be including informational articles on matters relating to aging and advocacy.


Our new blog forums will include: 

  • Profiles of older adults who have made a difference and continue to be actively involved in our community
  • Personal essays, short stories, poetry, etc. (500 words or less) that speak to the personal, community and societal issues facing older adults.
  • Articles related to advocacy for older adults and other aging issues to help inform everyone in our community

We’ve also added an experienced editor, freelance writer Barbara Schuetze, to help us write and edit the blog. Our goal is to keep the content relevant to older adults and their advocates in the community.

Please email or mail us your questions, personal writing to consider for inclusion, as well as suggestions for exceptional older adults in the community to potentially recognize.

Write to us at:

Elders in Action, 1411 SW Morrison St., Suite 290, Portland, OR 97205.  Or you can email us at

Feedback is the best way for us to give you the type of information you want. We encourage you to email us or call Mark at 503-235-5474.

Also, you can help spread the word about the services that Elders in Action offers and introduce others to our new, enhanced blog. We hope you’ll take a minute to email the following URLs to friends and colleagues:  (Elders in Action Blog)  (Elders in Action Home Page)

Stay in touch and let us know what you think.

Thank you!

Barbara Bernstein

Interim Executive Director

Elders in Action




Get Out and Be Active!

Spring is in the air.  

It is time to get out and be active!  Elders in Action has two great volunteer opportunities to break you out of the winter doldrums.  Check these out:

Age-Friendly Business Volunteer Forum:

 As we move deeper into the community spreading the word about Age-Friendly practices to our local businesses there are new ways for you to use your experiences to benefit our community. We would love to get you involved in a way that fits your interest.

To find out more, join us:

Wednesday, March 18  

10:00 am-12:00 pm
Elders in Action 
1411 SW Morrison, Suite 290
Portland, OR 97205
We will provide updates on the program, share our recent experiences and provide some next steps about how you can be part of making your community more age-friendly. We recommend that both new and experienced Age-Friendly volunteers attend this meeting. Fabulous refreshments will be served. To join us please contact Mark at 503-235-5474 or by email.


  April 2 – May 5, 2015

The affordable housing situation in the Portland area has reached a crisis point. Low income seniors, along with families and individuals are losing their homes to foreclosures, rent increases or gentrification.

Join Elders in Action and local affordable housing advocates to explore the mechanics, funding and substance of affordable housing issues. The sessions will include insights from housing advocates, a trip to Salem for a Lobby Day and an Historic Portland Discrimination Tour.  If you’re passionate about affordable housing in the Portland area and want to get involved in advocacy, this training is for you! To register, or for more information, please contact JoAnn Herrigel at 503-595-7530 or by email.

Are you eligible for a permanent exemption from the Arts Tax?


Date: February 19, 2015
Contact: Thomas W. Lannom  Revenue Division Director (503) 823-5154

Reminder: $35 Arts Tax Payment is Due April 15
The City of Portland Revenue Division is now accepting payments for the Arts Education and Access Income Tax (“Arts Tax”) approved by Portland voters in 2012. The annual tax is due on April 15 and is $35 for most Portland residents. Last week the Revenue Division began sending 142,000 Arts Tax reminder e-mails to Portlanders as the first step in a planned series of notifications.
Portlanders can file and pay the $35 Arts Tax online at by selecting “File/Pay My 2014 Arts Tax.” It takes most people three to four minutes to complete the payment process and receive an e-mail receipt.
“It is our hope that many Portlanders will choose to file and pay online,” noted Revenue Division Director Thomas Lannom. “Paying online is fast, easy, green, and keeps administration costs low so more money flows to schools and arts organizations,” he added.

There are four other ways to file and pay the Arts Tax:
1) Taxpayers can file online and choose to pay by mailing in a check with a voucher they can print out from the website.
2) New this year, the Arts Tax form is available in leading tax preparation software products like H&R Block and TurboTax (starting March 5).
3) Taxpayers can pick up a paper tax return by visiting our office at 111 SW Columbia Street or their local library or neighborhood office beginning in March.
4) Taxpayers that have not filed by March 2 will receive a paper tax return in the mail. Filing online before March 2 removes the taxpayer from the list to receive a paper form which reduces program administration costs.

Also new this year:
1) A Permanent Senior Filing Exemption Program. Qualifying taxpayers 70 years
old or older with only non-taxable income (for example, Social Security, Federal Employee Retirement, Oregon Public Employee Retirement, U.S. Treasury interest) OR income below the 2014 federal poverty-level can request a permanent senior filing exemption. For more information call the Arts Tax helpline at 503-865-4ART (4278). A downloadable copy of the exemption form for seniors is available at

2) The Arts Tax form is now available in 10 languages at  Available languages include Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Laotian, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

The Arts Tax funds about 70 art and music teachers in Portland area schools as well as local arts organizations through a partnership with the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC). Schools and RACC have received a combined $15.5 million to date.

Tax disbursement details are available at For a list of arts organizations receiving funding, visit the RACC website at

Have You Ever Gotten Something and Thought “That’s Unusual”?

Have you ever received a letter, an email or a phone call and thought  “that’s unusual”?
If you have, then you have taken the first step towards protecting yourself from financial fraud. And here is how you can learn more:
Tuesday, February 24th
2:00 – 3:30 pm
(in the US Bank room)
801 SW 10th Ave Portland, OR
 Come join our panel of experts from the:
+ Department of Justice,

+ Multnomah County Fraud Specialist Team 

+ Elders in Action 

Learn how you can avoid the latest scam, what to do if you see something suspicious and how you can stop future abuse in your community.

Our panel will discuss current trends and what is being done to go after the perpetrators. You have the Power to Protect yourself and your loved ones. Come join us and learn from the experts.

Power to Protect is    sponsored by Umpqua Bank. 

TriMet Proposal to Increase Honor Citizen Fares

TriMet is proposing to increase Honored Citizen fares by $0.25 for single tickets and $2 for monthly passes beginning September 1, 2015. This is the first increase for Honored Citizens since 2010, despite increases to fares for other riders.
TriMet is inviting interested community stakeholders to a public forum on March 5, 2015 from 1:00-2:00 pm at the TriMet Transit Mobility Center, 515 NW Davis Street in downtown Portland. Your participation will help shape TriMet’s strategy to make this fare increase as painless as possible for Honored Citizen riders.   Please RSVP to Nina Jones or 503-962-2337 if you would like to attend this discussion.
 For those interested in testifying on this proposed increase, TriMet Board meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of every month at 9 am. The hearings on the proposed Honored Citizen increase will be held on April 22 and May 27. For meeting locations and details on giving testimony click here.

Your Never too Old for Speed Dating!

❤ The Age of Love  ❤

 Join us for a special Valentine’s Day screening of

The Age of Love.

Saturday, February 14 at 1:30pm | $8

 Hollywood Theater, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd.


THE AGE OF LOVE follows the humorous and poignant adventures of thirty seniors in Rochester, NY who sign up for a first-of-its-kind speed dating event exclusively for 70- to 90-year-olds.
The film takes viewers where no documentary has gone before — directly into the lives of older singles who are looking for a new chance at love.
The screening is a benefit for Hollywood Senior Center and Elders in Action. Sponsored by AARP Oregon and Age-Friendly Portland.
❤ Buy advance tickets here.

For more info about the movie click here ❤

   Right after the movie, join us for

Speed Dating for Adults 65+

Valentine’s Day
February 14, 2015
3:30-5:00 pm
Hollywood Senior Center 
1820 Northeast 40th Avenue, Portland
Meet a new friend or companion at Portland’s very first speed dating event for older adults. Speed dating is a fun, lively way to meet like-minded singles – without worries or commitment.

Whether you’re seeking a companion, friend, or a soulmate, here’s your chance to get to know a variety of interesting people in a series of five minute one-on-one chats.  

Come join us – it will be fun.

 Light refreshments will be served.

Space is limited.   The event is FREE!
You must register by February 12
For Info and Sign-Up: 503.288.8303

Upcoming Power to Protect  Event in February

Our next panel on preventing Elder Financial Fraud  is on:

 Tuesday,  February 24th
2:00 – 3:30 pm
(in the US Bank room)
801 SW 10th Ave   Portland, OR

This panel will provide you with the latest information concerning fraud prevention and be available to answer your questions about this issue.  For additional information call 503-235-5474 or email us. 

Elders in Action’s Commission Worked with the City Utilities to get Monthly Statements

 Monthly Statements Arrive for City Utility Customers

 You asked, we listened! The City’s two utility bureaus, Environmental Services and Water, value excellent customer service. In response to customer requests, we are excited to offer an option to pay monthly – rather than quarterly – to the 97% of customers who are eligible.

 To keep administrative costs down, the monthly statement option was initially limited to paperless (e-bill) customers when it launched in October 2013. When we heard from some customers that the e-bill requirement was a barrier, we began working to remove it. We committed to removing that requirement before 2015, and beat our deadline, launching the free and voluntary program in November 2014. As of Jan. 27, 2015, 13,122 customers are already signed up.

Monthly statements can help our customers manage their monthly budgets and better understand how City utility charges fit into their overall monthly expenses. Customers receiving monthly statements still have their meters read quarterly, but will receive a statement each month. Those customers continue to pay the same total over a three-month period as those who choose to continue with a quarterly bill, in three installments rather than one.

“This option will allow older adults who wish to pay on a monthly basis but don’t have access to electronic billing and payment the ability to do so,” said Barbara Bernstein, Interim Executive Director for Elders in Action. “Our clients have asked for this option for years.”

“Paying for sewer, stormwater, and water services monthly can help Portlanders manage their expenses right now,” said Janice Thompson, the Citizens’ Utility Board’s consumer advocate for Portland public utility customers. “This is an important option that CUB has been pushing for.”

“As Commissioner in charge of the City’s two public utilities, good customer service is one of my top priorities,” said Commissioner Nick Fish. “By expanding the monthly billing option, we are making it easier for customers to plan and budget for their water, sewer and stormwater services.”

To enroll in monthly statements, visit To discuss whether monthly statements are a good fit for you, call the Customer Service Center at 503-823-7770 or visit the Service Center in person at 1120 S.W. Fifth Ave., Portland OR 97204.

Monthly Statements History and Fact Sheet

 History of Monthly Statements

You asked, we listened. City utility customers told us that monthly statements would help them to manage their monthly expenses, and we developed this option to meet that need. To limit administrative costs, the City introduced a monthly statement billing option for paperless (e-bill) customers in October 2013.

When we learned that the e-bill requirement was a barrier to customers who wanted to sign up for monthly statements, we worked with staff from several City departments, as well as with our billing company, to expand eligibility. We committed to making this option available before 2015, and launched the free and voluntary program in November 2014. As of Jan. 27, 2015, 13,122 customers are enrolled.

Monthly Statements vs. Monthly Billing

Monthly statements are a great option, helping households manage their monthly budgets and understand how their sewer/stormwater/water charges fit into their monthly expenses. A monthly statement is different from a monthly bill. When a household chooses monthly statements, their meter continues to be read quarterly, but charges are invoiced monthly. Monthly meter reads, which are not currently available for residential customers, also have their benefits. An automated meter reading system could give hourly data, providing households with more frequent information and allowing them to control their usage and proactively identify household leaks. But upgrading to a new meter system would be expensive – approximately $40 million. In an effort to meet our customers’ desire to pay monthly without incurring this cost, we developed this monthly statement option.

What Will This New Program Cost?

Offering this new program comes with a cost. In its first year, that cost is difficult to predict because we don’t know how many customers will choose it. The cost is associated with reaching out to households 12 times a year, compared to just four. Based on an estimate that 10% of households will choose monthly paper statements, we budgeted an additional $246,300 for printing, paper, envelopes, postage and costs associated with processing and returned mail. One way to keep these program costs down is encouraging households to consider the monthly, paperless, e-bill option.

 Who is the Ideal Candidate for Monthly Statements?

The monthly statement option is ideal for customers who can pay a third of their quarterly bill each month, on time. This is especially convenient for customers who also take advantage of City’s auto-pay feature. Monthly statements may not be the right option for customers who require greater flexibility in their payment schedule. These customers are better served by quarterly billing, which allows customers to make payment arrangements and request alternate due dates that work better for them. Quarterly billing is also a better option for customers who sometimes fall behind on payments. We are happy to help you choose the right billing option to meet your needs.

Elders in Action is Seeking an Executive Director


Executive Director:

 Founded in 1968 as the Portland Multnomah Commission on Aging and incorporated in 1997 as a private nonprofit, Elders in Action, fulfills its mission to assure a vibrant community through the active involvement of older adults through its four unique programs. Our vision is to create a community that promotes opportunities for all older adults to be active and engaged and to contribute in meaningful ways to the health and vitality of our community.

We are currently seeking a visionary Executive Director to lead a well-established organization.

 Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Works in conjunction with the Board of Directors to set the vision and goals of this growing organization that advocates for the rights of older adults and serves older adults and people with disabilities through a variety of programs.
  • Serves as the key development officer, including oversight of individual and major donors, as well as corporate, government and foundation support.
  • Responsible for building and maintaining effective relationships with government agencies, community and business partners, and the general public to ensure successful partnerships.
  • Provides overall agency administration including human resource management, direction for internal structures and facilities oversight.
  • Spearheads the annual and strategic planning with staff and Board of Directors.
  • Monitors revenues and expenditures, fiscal controls, financial forecasts, independent audit process of an organizational budget of $540,000.
  • Serves as Development Director to create and implement a development plan that details how the organization solicits donors and identifies funding sources such as grants, in-kind donations, charitable events and marketing opportunities.
  • Develops and articulates organizational updates, results and proposals to the Board of Directors. Assigns and tracks cases and the accompanying administrative duties.
  • Leads grant-writing and fundraising efforts from all sources including government contracts, foundations, corporate and individuals.
  • Executes, manages and monitors contracts and agreements on behalf of Elders in Action.
  • Serves as the primary spokesperson for the organization in media, press and public hearings


  • 5-7 years of experience in non-profit management.
  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Service field and related field that includes extensive work experience with vulnerable populations.
  • Proven track record of established non-profit fundraising experience.
  • Ability to build and maintain collaborative partnership with government officials, community and business leaders.
  • Demonstrated experience and skill in working with Board of Directors, Commissions, Advisory groups and volunteers.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, communication and management skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to problem solve, to be proactive; and to prioritize and handle a variety of projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to inspire and support a productive, professional and collaborative staff.
  • Experience in special event planning, coordination and implementation.
  • Experience in creating and implementing strategic plans that address the agencies mission and public and private interests.
  • Effective skills using media and computer technology skills, including Microsoft Excel, Word and Webmail.

Compensation and Benefits: Elders in Action offers competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package.

Application Process:

To apply for this position, please submit to a cover letter, resume and salary requirement and a 500 word response to one of the following questions

  1. What excites you about working on behalf of older adults?
  2. What do you think are key components of an environment attractive to highly skilled volunteers
  3. What would you wish to create to enrich the lives of older adults?