Oakenshawe May Updates

This month’s Oakenshawe Improvement Association (OIA) Newsletter Update includes:

  • Spring Clean Up Recap
  • Quarterly Meeting Minutes: April 2023
  • OIA Block Captains
  • Save the Dates
  • Community Updates
  • Calling All Writers: Oakenshawe Opines

Spring Clean Up Recap

On Saturday, April 22nd, 2023, several neighbors joined the East University Parkway (EUP) Taskforce & OIA for a neighborhood cleanup as part of Mayor Brandon M. Scott’s Spring Cleanup and Day of Service, on Earth Day. 

Huge thank you to Haydee Rodriguez for organizing! 

We had a lot of fun cleaning parts of the neighborhood and spent a lot of time cleaning the alley around the Oakenshawe Orchard. A huge shoutout to Baltimore City Department of Public Works and Bmore Beautiful for their outstanding support!

But every day is a great time to sweep and shovel curb and gutter areas for leaves, etc., that didn’t get picked up in the fall.  Sweeping not only beautifies the neighborhood but prevents that material from ending up in the bay and clogging stormwater drains. 

The next cleanup hosted by the EUP Taskforce will be Saturday, May 27. Meet at 9:30am at the corner of EUP & Barclay.

Check out this great video of the April cleanup from Haydee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru2q5yZ7C24 

Quarterly Meeting Minutes: April 2023

On Monday, April 17, OIA held our annual meeting, in person,in Zach Gieske’s backyard from 6:30-8:00pm. While it was a little chillier than we would have liked, it was great to see some of our neighbors. Thank you to all who joined (including on Zoom) and we look forward to seeing you at a future meeting or event.

Below are the minutes from the April meeting.

OIA’s Annual Meeting on Saturday, January 21, 2023. 

Treasurer’s Report: Our treasurer was unable to join but the account was unchanged since our last update. OIA has $3,278 in the bank.

Councilmember Updates: Councilmember Ramos was unable to join at the last minute but asked Zach to share some updates on the new landlord at Guilford Hall and ongoing challenges for the tenants and a community meeting she organized to discuss safety concerns near Greenmount & Giant. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact odette.ramos@baltimorecity.gov

Safety Concerns at Greenmount & Venable: A majority of the meeting was spent discussing the long-standing safety concerns about drug-related activity at the corner of Venable and Greenmount, and nearby areas. Topics included the complexity of the drug trade, drug addiction, the systemic nature of the problem, and the spike in violence after the regulars were arrested during a sweep early in the pandemic. Potential solutions or ideas to try to address the issue included encouraging more foot traffic to the corner, being friendly and saying hello to build trust and rapport, installing a Baltimore Beat Box (for newspaper distribution and community exchange), engaging the Waverly Main Street, and attending future cross-community meetings on the topic (potentially hosted by the Baltimore Community Mediation Center). Zach Gieske made a motion for permission to learn more about the Baltimore Beat Box and whether it might be a viable intervention, recognizing it is not a solution, which was seconded and approved by a majority of members present.

State’s Attorney Ivan Bates Updates: Darnyle Wharton, Community Liaison for the State’s Attorney Office for Baltimore City, joined the meeting to provide updates regarding the State’s Attorney work to standardize gun offenses and prosecute low-level offenses (not necessarily with prison time).

Membership & Communications Committee: Since January, the committee has launched a Block Captain system to improve outreach to residents and build awareness of the OIA. We are still seeking a co-chair for this committee. John Hillegass made a motion to approve a 2023 budget for the Membership & Communications Committee of up to $250 for printing and related materials, which was seconded and approved by a majority of members present. Attendees suggested including a Venmo QR code on future printed materials to allow residents to pay dues. If you are interested in joining, please reach out to John at johnhillegass@gmail.com

Events Committee: Karen Stokes gave updates on the successful Progressive Dinner, held Saturday, April 15. Twenty-one neighbors joined. Davon Pulliam expressed interest in helping to organize a 2023 Yard Sale. Karen Stokes made a motion to approve up to $100 to support a 2023 Field Day on the Green Space, planned for June 4, which was seconded and approved by a majority of members present. If you are interested in joining the committee or helping to plan a specific event for the neighborhood, please reach out to Karen at karen.stokes2@gmail.com.  

University Outreach and Safety Committee: Matthew Mosca was unable to join but Meg Olson provided an update on the committee meeting, held February 21, and ongoing safety concerns around the neighborhood including the need for more sidewalk lighting, especially along East University Parkway. Ed Stokes is continuing outreach to students living on East University Parkway and instructed neighborhoods that for any concerns regarding Johns Hopkins students, you can call the JHU patrol at 667-208-1200. If you are interested in joining, please reach out to Meg and Matthew at molson3737@gmail.com and mjmosca@mac.com.  

Green Space & Trees Committee: Laurie Feinberg and Louisa Creamer provided updates on the mowing schedule and volunteers for the Green Space, the maintenance needs for the alley along the southern end of Green Space, and the concept of merging the Green Space organization officially into OIA. Anne Kern and Shannon Frede shared an update on their upcoming walkabout the neighborhood to identify trees for removal, stump grinding, and pruning. Anne Kern shared a quote from a landscaper to prune the low branches of all the street trees in the neighborhood to encourage healthy growth and avoid broken branches and damaged trees. The estimate was $500 and would only need to be done once (not annually) as we have many trees that were planted shortly before the pandemic. Anne made a motion to spend up to $500 to pay the landscaper to prune all the trees in the neighborhood, which was seconded and approved by a majority of the members present. If you are interested in joining the Green Space subcommittee please reach out to Laurie or Louisa at laurie.feinberg@gmail.com and louisa.creamer@gmail.com. If you are interested in joining the Trees subcommittee, please reach out to Anne Kern at annekern11@gmail.com

We hope you can make the next meeting on July 17.

OIA Block Captains: 4 More Blocks Left

OIA has been setting up a Block Captain system to better communicate with neighbors, especially those who may not be on this newsletter. So far, we’ve identified 12 of 18 block captains, with two blocks more covered by non-resident volunteers until we find an interested block resident! 

Thank you to the amazing volunteers listed below. Hopefully, most of you have already met your Block Captain. 

BarclayVanessa ProtoSouthway 200-300sJessica Kohnen
BirkwoodRachael EdginSouthway 400sShannon Frede
CalvertLaura UrbanEUP 200sEd & Karen Stokes*
CalvinDavon PulliamEUP Guilford HallNeed Volunteer
The CarrolltonNeed VolunteerEUP 301-320Need Volunteer
Guilford Terrace (Even side)Ben WrightEUP 321+Need Volunteer
Guilford Terrace (Odd side)Co-Captains: Marcy Feeney & Anne KernUniversity Place (Odds)Robin  Prescott
Homewood TerraceLeah GlasheenUniversity Place (Evens)Amelia Jamison
Oakenshawe PlaceJenny SorelVenableDavon Pulliam**

*Ed and Karen Stokes have agreed to help temporarily on the 200 block of EUP until we can find a permanent block captain.

**Davon Pulliam has agreed to help temporarily on Venable until we can find a permanent block captain.

If you know anyone who lives on a block without a captain, ask them if they are interested in volunteering or can think of a friendly neighbor who might be interested. Block Captains plan to greet & welcome new neighbors, drop off flyers ahead of quarterly OIA meetings, seek volunteers for events, and gather contact information to keep OIA’s neighbor database up-to-date. If you are interested, please reach out to John at johnhillegass@gmail.com


Below are some important dates in 2023 that you should add to your calendar. 

  • Sunday, June 4: Field Day on the Green Space 
  • Saturday, May 27: EUP Monthly Cleanup
  • Sunday, June 25: EUP Monthly Cleanup
  • Monday, July 17: OIA Quarterly Meeting
  • Saturday, July 29: EUP Monthly Cleanup
  • Saturday, September 9: Annual Oakenshawe Block Party 
  • Monday, October 16: OIA Quarterly Meeting


East University Parkway Task Force Meeting, May 15, 2023

The EUP Taskforce, a wonderful neighborhood organization that represents part of Oakenshawe, is monitoring the rehab work and displacement issues at Guilford Hall, vacant properties and related trash on East University Parkway, JHU and Loyola student engagement, and leading engagement with the Department of Transportation to encourage traffic calming measures on East University Parkway. The next EUP Task Force Meeting is May 15. Reach out to Haydee to get involved at haydeemrodriguez@gmail.com.

Councilmember Ramos Weekly Newsletter

For those who do not already subscribe, Councilmember Ramos sends out a weekly District 14 newsletter (Oakenshawe falls within Council District 14) that includes updates on legislation in City Council, events around the District and City, and more. This is a good resource to stay up to date on local news. You can sign up for her weekly newsletter on her website.


In the heart of Baltimore town,

Lies a neighborhood of renown,

Oakenshawe, so stately and grand,

A gem of the city, truly unplanned.

Its streets lined with oaks so tall,

Whispering secrets to one and all,

Of days gone by and memories sweet,

That make this place so complete.

From the homes of brick and stone,

To the parks where children roam,

Oakenshawe is a haven of peace,

Where troubles and worries cease.

So come and wander through its lanes,

And let your heart be free from pains,

For in Oakenshawe, you’ll surely find,

A place to rest your soul and mind.

  • by ChatGPT (Note: ChatGPT may produce inaccurate information about people, places, or facts.)

C’mon Oakenshawe residents, you can do better than ChatGPT! Send us a blurb, poem, or story for the next newsletter. Submissions can be as short as a sentence or as long as a few paragraphs. For longer content, please include a link to an external site. Submissions can be sent to John Hillegass at johnhillegass@gmail.com. Publication and editing decisions are at the discretion of the OIA Board.

On behalf of the OIA Board, we hope you have a wonderful May and we look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood.

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