A Brief History of Blossom Valley Neighborhood Association
by Deborah Moffitt Torrens
August 26, 2018
The first event of the Blossom Valley Neighborhood Association (BVNA) was at tree planting at Miner Park along the path near Bangor Street in 1994. Our City Forest brought the trees and four of them, though a little crooked, still survive and shade the games at the annual Egg Hunt & Fourth of July carnivals.
Having an organized neighborhood was the brainchild of Susan Reeve, a young mom with four kids, living on Goldfield Court. In September 1994, when the median home price was $211,000, major issues were “…safety, law and order, blight and social isolation”. Susan was inspired to do something because in 1993 there were four homicides, including that of a friend. Her vision was to “…unite to fight forces threatening to make this area another victim of suburban and blight.”
Susan had the inspiration, but she needed help with implementation. A recently empty-nested church friend and, experienced-organizer, Beverly Moffitt, was asked to be the first president. She put together a board comprised of Susan Reeve, and other neighbors she knew from church and parents’ groups at Miner, Bernal and Oak Grove. Under Bev’s leadership, the founding team wrote by-laws, started the newsletter and distribution system, organized monthly meetings and planned the first Fourth of July event.
Beverly continued shepherding the group for seven years and, for many, a disjointed neighborhood began feel like a small town. In 2001 she and her husband retired and left the area to serve a church mission in Spokane, Washington. They handed the BVNA leadership gavel to Marie Arnold, and the house keys to Deborah & Matt Torrens, daughter and son-in-law.
As the second president, Marie Arnold deepened relationships, hosted social board meetings in her home, planned general meetings and cranked out newsletters. She organized the first “Business Night” where neighbors with businesses put their products and services on display.
After Marie was elected to the Neighborhoods Commission, board member Jordie took over. He hosted lively driveway parties, held an evening with Mayoral Candidate Chuck Reed and most famously, rid the neighborhood of an active drug dealing home business on Colville Drive. The residents of that home were so upset with Marty that they spray painted “Jordie and BVNA suck!” on an RV in front of their home. Eventually the drug dealing homeowner was arrested and deported to Canada.
Jordie ’s mission accomplished, history repeated itself when Deborah Torrens, mom of four kids and daughter of Beverly Moffitt took the BVNA reins. Deborah started the “Love Your Neighborhood” dues drive, Christmas block party and Egg Hunt, organized panel discussions with local businesses, , mentored Sergio Jimenez on starting a neighborhood association, continued freeway clean ups and took BVNA on-line with a yahoo group. She plugged away for five and half years and when she needed to move on to other projects, Andrea Fleiner stepped up.
Andrea and her enthusiastic board added grant funding, a Miner park adoption, the Spring Fling, Emergency Preparedness signs and strengthened other BVNA traditions, such as distributing the newsletter door to door and monthly Miner Park clean ups. Also important, they utilized the Responsible Landlords Engagement Initiative (RLEI) to undermine two drug dealing home businesses.
The neighborhood held its first Music Festival in September 2018, and Susan Reeve’s vision of having “…a neighborhood where residents have a sense of security, belonging and empowerment” has been realized.