The West View

The West View

By Charlotte Fife-Jepperson
Photos by David Ricketts

The first Tibetan couple came to Utah in the ‘80s. Their long journey led them from Tibet to India to Texas and eventually to Salt Lake City, Utah. They, in turn, helped bring more Tibetans to Utah during the 1992 Tibetan U.S. Resettlement Project. Today, according to the Utah Tibetan Association, there are approximately 270 Tibetans living in Utah, all in the Salt Lake Valley.

Although they are of Tibetan (and some Bhutanese) heritage, Poplar Grove residents Lobsang Gendun and Tsering Teshar have never lived in Tibet. Their parents fled violent Chinese persecution in Tibet in the early ‘60s. Lobsang’s parents escaped to India and Tsering’s mother fled to Nepal.

After the Chinese government slaughtered 1.2 million Tibetans and destroyed thousands of monasteries, the Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959, precipitating a mass exodus of approximately 80,000 Tibetans to India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Fewer than 2,000 Tibetans in these early years were resettled in the West – in Switzerland and Canada. To avoid provoking anger from China, the U.S. was not accepting Tibetan refugees at that time.

Finally, under Pres. George Bush Sr., 1,000 visas were approved by congress and Lobsang applied. His name was drawn, and he left India on August 28, 1992.“We were skeptical coming to the U.S., because we were told that it is the ‘land of no return,’” said Lobsang.

At age 21, Tsering did not want to leave Nepal, but her uncle insisted that she apply for a visa. When he told her that her name was drawn, she didn’t believe him until she saw it with her own eyes. With her uncle’s urging, Tsering left Nepal on Dec. 6, 1992.

At that time there were 22 cluster resettlement sites all over the U.S. Because they did not have official refugee status (and did not receive Federal funding), Tibetans relied on sponsors. They lived with host families – usually only one or two Tibetans per household.

In Utah, the Tibetans were lucky to be able to live together with other members of their community in free housing that was provided for them for two years by sponsors, such as IHC and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All the females lived in housing on 12th Ave and E Street. All the males lived nearby in the old Primary Children’s Hospital, in dormitories in the Annex. This was how Lobsang and Tsering met.

Soon, the new arrivals were connected to mentors who helped them apply for jobs. Lobsang was hired at O.C. Tanner and has worked there for almost 25 years. Tsering started working at Little America Hotel in housekeeping, and a few months later found a job with Abbott Laboratories. After she and Lobsang began dating, she transferred to a job at O.C. Tanner, and has been working there for over 23 years.

They were married on July 16, 1994 at an Episcopal Church downtown. Because they were the first Tibetan couple to marry in Utah, their wedding got a lot of attention.

The Deseret News covered the story and to their surprise, over two hundred people attended – most of whom they didn’t even know. They had a Tibetan ceremonial wedding, but for legal reasons, Judge Raymond Uno was brought in to officiate.

After three or four years, resettled Tibetans began applying to have their spouses and kids join them. After about five years they began gaining citizenship, and started bringing over extended family members. Tsering was finally able to bring her parents from Nepal to Utah in 2001.

Tsering and Lobsang agree that one of the biggest moments in their lives was when they became U.S. citizens in 1998. “When you have a U.S. passport, it has so much value, and respect from the outside,” said Lobsang.

Another point of pride in citizenship was being allowed to vote in U.S. elections. “During our 24 years here, we have seen five different presidents, and have voted in five elections,” said Tsering.

Adjusting to life in Utah was difficult at first, especially for Tsering. There were several feet of snow when she arrived and she remembers it as cold and foreign to her. Even though she had already experienced many years away from home in boarding schools in India, she felt very homesick. This time she knew she was very far away from home. Lobsang, however, did not feel homesick. He was accustomed to living away from his family; he had also attended boarding schools in India from a young age.

At first, Tsering had a hard time shopping and spending dollars, because of the comparative value. (Currently, 1 dollar = 66 Indian rupees.) “We would shop every day for only what we needed, because we didn’t want to waste anything.” Now she shops at Costco and brings home things in bulk. “I guess we have become more ‘American’ in that way,” she laughs.

They still manage to eat their traditional food, but there is one staple Tibetan food they cannot buy here  – “tsampa,” a nutritious and filling food made of barley. Tsering’s mother makes it in their garage – a process that involves roasting and then grinding the barley.

“We have retained our language, food, and religion. But, it is harder for our children,” said Lobsang.

Their first son, Tenzin Tseten, was born on June 6, 1995. He was the first Tibetan baby to be born in Utah. His parents did their best to teach him Tibetan customs and language, speaking Tibetan to him in the home and even sending him to Dharamshala, India during the summers after 7th grade and 11th grade. Dharamshala is where the Tibetan government is in exile and where the current Dalai Lama resides.

Today at the age of 23, although Tenzin is more comfortable speaking to his parents in English, he spent the better part of last year speaking to his grandmother in Tibetan. He has developed a deeper appreciation for his Tibetan heritage and hopes to go to Tibet someday. This summer he is looking forward to traveling with his family to Bhutan and India.

Their younger 16-year-old son, Monlam, who attended a boarding school in Mt. Pleasant, Utah, has lost much of his ability to speak Tibetan, since he didn’t have the opportunity to speak it on a regular basis.

The influence of American culture on each subsequent generation of Tibetans becomes stronger and stronger. This is one of the main reasons the Utah Tibetan community worked so hard to establish a community center in South Salt Lake. With the help of other community sponsors, renovation of the Utah Tibetan Community Center on 165 W. 2950 S. was completed in October of 2015.

When His Holiness the Dalai Lama came to Utah in 2016, he dedicated the community center and gave it a Tibetan name: Ganjhong Rigne Gahtsel, which means Land of Snow, Culture, and Growth.

“The objective of the community center is to keep our language, food, religion, and traditions alive; to teach our younger generations,” said Lobsang. The center is a multipurpose center with an auditorium, office, kitchen and prayer room. Lobsang and other volunteers show up every Sunday to teach Tibetan language and culture classes to youth at the center. They teach up to 22 youth, most of whom are 3rd generation immigrants.

Members of the Utah Tibetan community had been talking about having their own community center for 20 years. They collected seed money from each adult member of the Utah Tibetan Association, but the money sat until 2014.

Then, says Lobsang, the last group of executive committee members said, “Let’s do it!” Many different sponsors made it possible to buy a warehouse, and renovate it, after U of U Architectural students had a project competition to design the interior. The renovation cost almost $1 million. Today, each Utah Tibetan Association adult member contributes a monthly sum to help pay the mortgage on the center.

“We used to rent other places; now we have a place of our own,” said Lobsang. Each Sunday, two different families provide lunch for the kids and teachers, and the community pitches in to keep the center running.

To learn more about the Tibetan community, or to donate money for their community center, visit www.tibetanassociationofutah.org.

 

By Atticus Agustin

It is Sunday afternoon and people are gathering inside the Japanese Church of Christ. But at this time, the impressive late Gothic revival architecture is hosting the  Tongan-American Free Wesleyan Church Group. 

In August, the organization will be celebrating one hundred years of existence by keeping many Tongan customs during their festivities.

The Tongan community in Salt Lake City is vibrant and made up of Latter Day Saints, Catholics and Methodists. The relationship between the three is generally peaceful. Intermarriage between the three faiths are not uncommon. The church primarily draws residents from West Valley, Taylorsville and the west side of Salt Lake City.

Tongans have been an immigrant group to the west side since the 70s, with a mixture hailing directly from California and Hawaii. Many of them have gone on to have successful careers in the NFL, but Tipiloma Pupua, pastor of the church, hopes that more in his community will branch into other fields. Pupua’s brother, Tau, is currently a New York-based opera singer.

They chose Utah because of the opportunities it provided. Tipiloma recalls the first time he saw snow when he was five years old: “I thought that if one stepped into the snow, one would melt with it.”

The church is intergenerational. Many of the older church-goers are primarily Tongan-speakers, while the newer generations are bilingual and in some cases, monolingual English-speakers. “It’s something every immigrant group faces [...] but language helps retains culture.”

Even though the meeting house is officially known as The Japanese Church of Christ, three groups share the place: Japanese, Kachin, and Tongan. The Tongan group is in the process of looking for their own place of worship. The pastor of the Japanese group, Pastor Brad, says that the harmonious relationship between the three groups brings a special kind of joy inside the church. There are combined services in the fall and the two choirs sing together in the winter

Wesleyanism was introduced to Tonga primarily from British missionaries. The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga is the only state-sanctioned of that tradition. In 1928, Queen Salote Tupou III established the Free Wesleyan Church as the state religion of Tonga.  

The service I attended recently was entirely in Tongan and some parts were sung in an a’ cappella style. Men and women wear a traditional mat wrapped around the waist called a “ta’ovala.” (The ones made in the west are made of cheaper nylon material). It is what Pupua says is “the tie of the islands.” It represents formality and is used for many special occasions.

Many women wear another fashion embellishment — an ornament girdle around the waist — known as a kiekie. “A good kiekie can take about a week to make. The tree bark fibers are placed underwater under sand and rocks, and then the fibers are weaved,” described one of the congregants during the lunch we shared afterwards at Golden Corral. An entire half of Golden Corral was filled by the flock. An opening prayer song rang through the restaurant. Congregants and church leaders made speeches throughout the lunch that centered on a biblical theme or spiritual advice. A final closing a’ cappella song concluded the dine-out.

GLENDALE — Behind a little bungalow on Cheyenne Street you’ll find a scene that would belong in rural Utah. Nestled among green vegetable plants and fruit trees are chickens, rabbits, beehives, and arched greenhouses.

This productive half-acre lot, owned and worked by Celia and Kevin Bell over the past 14 years, is one of several urban homesteads on the west side, clustered in Glendale. The Bells are surrounded by others working the land and eating or selling what they grow or raise.

Between 2009 and 2011, Salt Lake City relaxed ordinances around beekeeping, residential chicken coops and accessory structures, reducing restrictions on urban agriculture production and opening up opportunities for more residents to use their land productively.

Urban agriculture encompasses farming, community gardening, or homesteading in an urban environment.

Farms are considered a commercial enterprise by the US Census, producing and selling at least $1,000 worth of agricultural products. Community gardens, on the other hand, are collaborative agriculture projects on shared open spaces.

The definition of homesteading is a little harder to pin down, but the concept centers on self-sufficiency and sustainable practices. And here on the west side, some consider it a solution to feeding an ever-growing population and to ethical and sustainability concerns within the food industry.

Amy Jordan, of Glendale, grows food for her family on a “postage stamp” sized property. To do so, Jordan extended what was once her grandparents’ vegetable garden, tore out the lawn and rose bushes, and raised a chicken coop where sheds once sat.

“I couldn’t give up the land that I turned and that my mother turned before me,” Jordan said. “... One of the things [my grandmother] taught me was that you’ll never go hungry if you have a garden.”

Jordan spreads that message, helping to establish gardens at the Dual Immersion Academy and the Sorenson Unity Center. She currently supports the gardens at Mountain View Elementary, where her 13-year-old son has a plot of his own.

“We have to be able to provide food for ourselves, and learning how to grow our own food should be an essential part of our education,” Jordan said. “It should be the most important thing that we learn in school. So that’s why I’ve worked so hard with school gardening programs and getting those going.”

Jordan sees her work at home, too, as an opportunity to educate. She’s conscientious of how her front yard may be perceived by neighbors and makes it beautiful as well as productive. The best way she’s found to ingratiate an unconventional front yard with neighbors?

“An easy way to keep your neighbors happy is to offer them the food you grow,” Jordan said. “As soon as I got chickens, I gave [neighbors] eggs. Now they like the chickens.”

The Bells, too, have dedicated much of their life to spreading the good word about urban agriculture. After living and working on a Missouri community farm for six years, they came back to Utah and started their homestead, bringing some of the country to the city.

In addition to growing and preserving all their own produce, keeping bees and chickens, and raising meat rabbits, the Bells use their professional skills to help others get their hands dirty.

Celia Bell works as a teacher at Volunteers for America in its gardens and greenhouses. She also teaches a class on raising chickens and leads an organic gardening apprenticeship through the University of Utah Continuing Education program.

As a geographic information systems coordinator for the city, Kevin Bell has worked on projects like the SLCgreen Food Mapping project, which helps residents identify gardening opportunities on their properties through digital mapping.

They’re both passionate about what Kevin Bell called the “agrihood”—several adjacent and nearby properties that are used for personal or commercial food production, like the BUG Farms CSA. Members of the west side urban homesteading community work with one another on big projects, swap tips, and even help newcomers secure land in the area.

“It’s nice to know that you have neighbors that are keeping track of what you’re doing,” Celia Bell said. “But it’s not all easy-breezy. We have our fights and arguments. It’s not Shangri-La over here. But that comes with community too; not everyone’s on board. It’s a little bit like herding cats. We all have our own personal freedom.”

At a recent backyard square dance hosted by the Bells, though, friends and neighbors danced, ate, and drank together. Kids petted the bunnies and Kevin Bell offered tours of the agrihood.

Over the music of the Bueno Avenue String Band, Alexandra Parvaz, a resident of the Wasatch Commons Cohousing Association on Utah Street, shared her experience raising chickens and selling eggs there.

“Because this is such a supportive neighborhood for urban agriculture, it makes it easy to bring to reality,” she said. “It’s exceptional and so unique. Supportive neighbors will lend out trucks to haul, say, 1,000 pounds of chicken feed. There’s a lot of amazing social capital for people to take advantage of.”

Parvaz has worked with Wasatch Community Gardens and supervised two gardens on the U. of U. campus for her master’s thesis. She’s adamant that anyone can grow food in whatever space they’ve got – she started in an apartment with just a couple containers of mint and snapdragons. And she says the community is eager to share its knowledge with others.

“It’s definitely not an isolated or insulated place,” she said. “We want people to learn more and be able to implement for themselves.”

If you’re interested in seeing more of the west side’s urban agriculture, check out the Wasatch Community Gardens’ Urban Garden and Farm Tour on Saturday, June 23 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Buy tickets online at https://wasatchgardens.org/news-and-events/events/item/7-urban-garden-farm-tour. You can also find out the growing potential of your yard at slcgreen.com/food-mapping. If you don’t have space of your own, visit WasatchGardens.org and see how you can get a garden space next summer.

By Nigel Swaby

The 2nd annual Westside Music, Arts and Food Festival will return to Sugar Space on June 16 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Featuring many of the same musicians that made last year such a hit, the 2018 festival has expanded hours and will feature Changing Lanes Experience as its headline act. Besides longer hours, Festival organizers also received a permit to close 800 West in front of Sugar Space. Over 50 art and information booths will line the street and multiple food trucks will be showcasing their menus. This is an all ages event with free admission.

Conceived last year as a way to showcase positive elements of the west side, the festival was a surprise success with multiple vendors and artists who attracted over 500 people in just four hours. With only weeks to prepare last year, this year’s organizers Restore North Temple and the River District Chamber decided to expand both the hours and the venue for 2018. Advanced planning allowed the organizers to receive an “ACE” grant from Salt Lake City to help fund this year’s event. “Generous support from Rocky Mountain Power has helped us immensely both years,” said Aaron Ernst of Restore North Temple. Andeavor is the main stage sponsor for 2018. With more space and marketing support from media sponsors KRCL and The West View,  the 2018 West Side Festival hopes to attract 1,500 attendees.

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The 2017 festival was a blur of activity with performers ranging from Polynesian drummers to bluesman Danny Weldon to the jazz quartet K-Tones. Dancers, aerialists and magicians entertained the crowd on three different stages while food trucks kept the crowd fed with a variety of delicious food. One attendee remarked last year he had the best tacos he’d ever tasted.

Traditions have to start somewhere and event organizers envisioned last year’s festival to be the start of something that would take place many times over the coming years. It’s telling that all the artists and musicians who were invited back, jumped at the opportunity. This year’s festival is the next step in the journey. It looks to be bigger, better and more fun than ever before.

Details:

  • Westside Music Art and Food Festival
  • Saturday, June 16, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Headline show: 7 pm - Changing Lanes Experience
  • 132 S. 800 W. at Sugar Space
  • Parking - 200 S.
  • Take Trax to Jackson/Euclid stop
  • Bike valet available

More information

May 10, 2018

A river unites us

By Nigel Swaby

Rose Park, Glendale, Poplar Grove. When one thinks of the west side of Salt Lake City, these neighborhoods immediately come to mind. Residents of the neighborhoods loyally identify with these names. We are proud of these names.

About 25 years ago, a group of community and business leaders formed a nonprofit organization to help promote positive change in west-side neighborhoods. The first focal point was the Rancho Lanes bowling alley. Once a shining attraction, it had fallen into disrepair and was a hangout for drug dealers and other criminals. Dan Stanger of Prowswood Management made arrangements to bring the property out of bankruptcy and renovate it.

A May 29, 1992, Deseret News article described the scenario:

“Prowswood took over the bowling alley and spent a quarter-million dollars to keep the 32-year-old business in operation. It cleaned up the business, painted it, installed awnings, patched the roof, repaved the parking lot and pulled out the outdated swimming pool, then in conjunction with the Salt Lake Police Department opened a neighborhood police station in the alley's store front.”

Soon after that project was completed, the Northwest Merchants Association was formed with the goal of promoting commerce along the North Temple corridor. Two years later, it was announced Salt Lake City would host the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. This announcement would bring a lot of change to the city, including major freeway expansion and a light-rail system.

The Northwest Merchants Association became the Westside Business Alliance, a group determined to fight for the survival of North Temple businesses and for a seat at the table for the installation of the “Green Line,” the light-rail TRAX train that travels down North Temple and on to the airport.

It was about this time a study was done by the alliance to choose a name to describe the “west side.” Study respondents would repeatedly mention the Jordan River, which winds through our western neighborhoods on its way to the Great Salt Lake.

So, about 15 years ago, the Westside Business Alliance became the River District Business Alliance.

The river helped shape our neighborhoods. Salt Lake City’s Westside Master Plan, adopted in 2014, notes the Jordan River slowed the development of these communities:

“Low-lying lands along the river were prone to flooding, making agricultural activity difficult. The Jordan River was also a sewer and refuse dump for the growing city in the mid-1800s, a common usage for rivers at the time. This treatment resulted in conditions — odors, diseases and pollution — that made it an unlikely place for residential development.”

A major conclusion from the city’s Master Plan was support for connectivity from the west to the east. The Master Plan notes:

“One of the most common issues brought up in community meetings was the lack of connectivity between the Westside and the rest of the city. This isolation results from the historical development of the city and railroads dating back to the late 1800s.”

When the railroad came to Salt Lake City, west side neighborhoods were divided from the rest of Salt Lake City by tracks, which spurred more industrial and commercial construction than residential. The erection of a freeway system in the ‘50s, and later in the ‘80s, would cement the borders separating the rest of the city. Ironically, I-215 would make these neighborhoods more accessible via auto than almost any other neighborhoods in town.

Vehicle corridors 900 West, Redwood Road, I-15 and I-215 provide remarkable north-south connectivity, but west-east travel is restricted because inconsistent rail traffic makes taking any route other than North Temple or 1300 South a gamble when you’re short on time.

However, a lot has changed over the last 15 years, and west Salt Lake City is primed for real, permanent development and growth. It will take a lot of business investment and community input to steer this growth in ways that truly benefit the neighborhoods.

The development of the Folsom Corridor Trail is a key catalytic project to provide a direct route west from downtown Salt Lake by foot and bicycle. It will create housing, entertainment and shopping options like we’ve never seen before. Daylighting of City Creek, which currently flows to the Jordan River in an underground concrete culvert, will provide an additional river through our neighborhoods.

The business vehicle most cities have to serve such a purpose is a chamber of commerce. Chambers are structured in a way to benefit their members while still serving their overall mission of expanding the prosperity of their communities. In January 2018, the River District Business Alliance voted to become the River District Chamber.

Last summer new leadership was recruited to better reflect the makeup of the business community the River District serves. People like Lucy Cardenas of Red Iguana and Justin Belliveau, who’s opening a brewery on 800 West this year, joined the board. Relationships with community media like The West View and KRCL radio have been developed. And we’re happy to be bringing the Westside Music Arts and Food Festival back for its second year this June as part of the Restore North Temple initiative.

You might be wondering why we kept the name River District when many people remain loyal to their community names? If you recall, the study participants from years ago saw the Jordan River as the common tie binding these west side neighborhoods. Another river runs through these neighborhoods right now, it’s just not visible. It will be revealed as the Folsom Corridor project continues to develop.

As you read through the history of Salt Lake’s west side, you can see it has been dumped in and isolated from the rest of the city. With the city expanding westward, these neighborhoods are becoming crucial to Salt Lake’s future. Like City Creek flowing underground, the hidden gem of the west side is ready to be exposed and that’s why we’re the River District Chamber.

Find us on Facebook at River District Chamber and online at www.riverdistrictchamber.com.

Key Chamber accomplishments

  1. Recruited a new board and elected new leadership.
  2. Fought for a place at the table for Operation Rio Grande.
  3. Advocated for a balance of affordable housing projects in our neighborhoods.
  4. Advocated for city wide equity in accessory dwelling unit ordinance.
  5. Launched first Capitol Day during 2018 Legislative session.
  6. Formed key media relationships with The West View and KRCL.
  7. Developed new membership structure and benefit program.
May 02, 2018

Why I Volunteer

May 02, 2018

From the Editor

Charlotte Fife-Jepperson

Utah has always had a strong culture of volunteerism. Maybe it comes from the strong, cooperative spirit of the Mormon pioneers who settled this valley. Or perhaps it started much earlier with the indigenous people who lived and traveled through this valley in a non-capitalistic society for centuries.

Whatever the root of this service-orientation, many Utahns understand the value of volunteerism and engage in service often, whether it’s through their churches, corporate service programs, schools, youth scouting programs or other community groups.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), Utah has ranked as the #1 volunteering state in the nation eleven years in a row with 40.9 percent of adults volunteering. This volunteering rate is significantly above the national average of 26.8 percent – a fact that UServeUtah, the Lt. Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism, is very proud of.

We at West View Media are proud of the incredible efforts that so many west side corporations, churches, organizations and individuals make to better the community in which they live and work.

In this Non-profit & Volunteerism-themed issue, we highlight some of the many different ways that west-siders serve their community. Some strive to improve their neighborhood by participating in their local community councils. Others find different avenues to help neighbors solve perceived problems that aren’t being addressed in other forums. Some choose to help paint an elderly person’s home through Paint Your Heart out, or make quilts for the needy, or they work at their local community radio station to help amplify underrepresented voices.        

In this issue we also highlight several volunteers who pitch in to create The West View. Many of our readers may not realize that we do not have paid reporters that we can put on assignment. We rely almost entirely on volunteers. Over 200 unique contributors have written or photographed for the paper since 2011, when we officially became a nonprofit organization. This publication is truly “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Last December we held our first West View Contributors Awards Banquet. We thought it was about time we recognized the talented writers and photographers and other volunteers who make The West View relevant, authentic and possible. We couldn’t publish this quarterly paper without their contributions. Check out the award winners on page 11.

Our community newsroom is open to the public. We welcome anyone who wants to help write stories or report on issues pertaining to Salt Lake City’s west side. The goal is to include as many diverse voices as possible. So, please come check it out on the third Tuesday and third Friday of every month. But, be sure to email us at to let us know you’re coming, because occasionally we need to reschedule meetings.

We are also incredibly indebted to the volunteers who help with copyediting, graphic design, page layout, website maintenance, distribution, and event planning. These are instrumental jobs and the community members who have stepped up to help out are amazingly talented and generous.

And, finally, I’d like to give a huge shout out to the volunteers who pitch in to oversee, guide and raise funds for West View Media – our board of directors, current and past. The board works behind the scenes to keep this organization afloat and accountable.

This truly is a group effort and I thank you all!

By Dane Hess, Chair of Glendale Community Council

I am happy to have been recently elected as Chair of the Glendale Community Council. The board is made up of a diverse group of dedicated community members with various skills, interests, and passions. Joel Cannon, Ashley King, Jen Lopez, and Billy Palmer all bring extensive experience and varied perspectives to our council. I am looking forward to combining our efforts toward building on the successes of what is already working in our neighborhood, including the work of past councils.   

We all agree that our council's main job is to represent our community's interests with the city. We believe that in order to do this, we must know what our community members want most. The best way for us to gather this information and for community members to directly interact with elected officials is through participation in our council meetings. Historically, however, the voices and bodies of people of color, who make up the majority of our neighborhood, have been made to feel less welcome at these meetings. For this reason, we have prioritized outreach to underrepresented communities and are committing to making our meetings more approachable, engaging and meaningful.  

I was motivated to run for the position of chair in order to have a larger platform for two of my greatest passions: education and recreation. I am a social worker and educator by training and profession. I look forward to furthering investment into education opportunities in our neighborhood, including exploring the possibilities for the creation of a Glendale High School and University of Utah satellite campus.

I also love to recreate along and on the Jordan River, the heart of our community. I hope to be able to continue conversations and projects that highlight the Jordan River and the Parkway Trail as assets and viable, accessible recreation options. I look forward to working with partners from various organizations and city entities to accomplish these goals. If you would like to participate with us, please come out to our council meetings. They are held every third Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Glendale Library. You can email us at and follow us on Facebook: Glendale Community Council.

This article was originally published in UNP’s Partnership Newsletter in March of 2018.

By Abdulkhaliq Mohamed

The west side of Salt Lake City is represented by six community councils. Located in the heart of the city, within its most ethnically diverse neighborhoods, they are neighborhood democracy in its purest form. The council boards are made up of community leaders who were elected by local residents. They meet with residents monthly to hear their concerns, initiate community improvement projects, and enhance the identity, image, and visibility of the neighborhoods. The community councils are nonprofit organizations and are recognized by the city government allowing them to disseminate information and take in public comment.

The community councils located on the west side include Fairpark, Poplar Grove, Jordan Meadows, Rose Park, Glendale, and Westpointe. University Neighborhood Partners connects with all six of these groups through a “Neighborhood Democracy” partnership, which provides support, training, and research.

You can learn more about all of Salt Lake City’s community councils, their boundaries and more on their website at www.slcgov.com/commcouncils.

This article was originally published in UNP’s Partnership Newsletter in March of 2018

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