Volunteer for a project or general help

There are many ways to serve our community.  We’ll help you find the right connections!
Tell us of your interests and we’ll help you connect with existing projects or start something new.  You have a unique contribution to make that can improve our neighborhood and connect our community!

Serve on the Payne-Phalen Community Council Board

Being a Board Director is a meaningful way to serve your community.  We are always seeking interested neighbors and business owners who want to help improve our community.  We are currently holding elections for the board terms that are expiring (see below).

2022  Election for the District 5: Payne-Phalen Community Council

How the vote works:

  • Register to vote: If you live in Payne-Phalen or own a business, register to vote by contacting the office by phone 651-774-5234 or by e-mail district5@paynephalen.org
  • If you already voted at our Annual Meeting and Street Party on September 10th, we have your vote. Thank you!
  • The election kicked off on September 10th at our Annual Meeting/Party. It runs through September 27th at our regular monthly community meeting (6-8 pm at the Arlington Hills Recreation Center, 1200 Payne Avenue).  Voting will end at 4 pm.
  • Winners will be those candidates that get a plurality of the vote.
  • Verified residents of Payne Phalen can vote for up to six candidates.
  • Verified business owners in Payne Phalen can vote for up to six candidates.

A word about candidates for the Council:

  • For our September 2022 Election, there are 6 open seats.
  • There are 9 named candidates: Two of them are incumbents running for a second term. Seven are new candidates running for their first term.
  • All candidates live or work in Payne-Phalen (District 5) and all are 16 years or older.

Current Candidates and their Bios:

  • Janey Atchison
  • Emma De Vera
  • Anna-Marie Foster
  • Ashley Fowler
  • Jessica Haley
  • Ismail Khadar
  • Johnny Opara
  • Sidney Stuart
  • John Thompson


Janey Atchison:

Hello! My name is Janey Atchison. I currently serve as the Treasurer of the Payne-Phalen Community Council and am seeking re-election. I have been Treasurer for the past three years. I am a teacher in St Paul Public Schools and proud resident of the East Side. Go Govies! My favorite things about our community are our neighbors, the library, the wonderful restaurants, and using Lake Phalen Regional Park.




Emma De Vera:

I work for The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library where I specialize in East Side outreach. Beyond my library work, I am also on the board of the Rice & Larpenteur Alliance and a member of the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Equity Policy group. I am an advocate for safe public spaces and shared community resources. I grew up on the East Side and love this community. I bought my first home in Payne-Phalen in May, and I live with my husband and younger sister. In my spare time, I volunteer as a park steward and gardener through the City of St Paul.

Anna-Marie Foster:

  • 19 years old (20 the end of the month).
  • Racial Justice Club all 4 years of high school (Anna was the Executive Leader in her Senior year)
  • Speech Club 2 years
  • YMCA Youth In Government 4 years
  • Girl Scouts 7 years
  • Paul Youth Commission  2 years
  • Community First Public Safety Commission 1 year

Anna-Marie has lived on the East Side for 8 years.  She decided to take a gap year from school and she has a part-time security job with AISA Security and is actively pursuing full-time employment.

Ashley Fowler:

My name is Ashley Fowler, I was born right here in Minnesota and have lived throughout different parts of East St. Paul my whole life. I love Minnesota so much, I’ve been to many other states and I haven’t found one yet that welcomes me like home.

  • I’m 32 years old, I am happily married to my husband of 12 years by the name of Tim.
  • I have two children by the names of
  • Timaya (15) & Josiah (4) they argue like they’re the same age.
  • I went off on a whim and leased a building for a treat shop on the East Side. It’s on Forest and Maryland. Yup, the big pink building on the corner is mine. It has said (coming soon) for quite some time because when I got the building I didn’t realize money didn’t grow on trees! Anyway, it’s finally opening on 9/17, and I must say this is one of my biggest accomplishments ever.
  • I love people, I’m a little silly & try not to take life too serious until it’s serious, I’m easy to get along with & have a heart to help people become the best them they can be.

I hope I didn’t bore you to sleep!  Thank you for taking the time to hear all about Ashley 😉

Jessica Haley:

Jessica is a new member of the East Side community who moved to Payne-Phalen this year to settle down in the Midwest, where she grew up, after living in New Jersey, Atlanta, New York City, and Ghana. She works as a midwife at Minnesota Community Care on E 7th Street and also serves in the US Navy Reserve. Her goal is to be a good neighbor and improve the lives of everyone on the East Side through advocacy and partnerships. She is especially excited to work with the other members of the Payne-Phalen Community Council to develop our community plan and take concrete steps toward our neighborhood’s flourishing. Jessica speaks English and Spanish. She enjoys playing soccer, spending time outside, and cooking.


Ismail Khadar:


Ismail Khadar is a native East Sider who grew up in Payne-Phalen. He is currently the co-director of the East Side Freedom Library’s Housing Justice Program and has a vested interest in seeing the vibrancy of the East Side continue to Flourish and Grow.



Johnny Opara:

JO Companies, LLC is a Black-owned, mission driven real estate development company that specializes in developing high-quality multi-family housing that’s affordable for the communities it serves. President and CEO Johnny Opara founded the company after spending over 15 years in corporate America in sales where he left to become an entrepreneur to pursue his passion for real estate. Johnny’s passion and motivation for developing housing that’s affordable was fueled by his late father. Johnny saw first-hand how important the lack of affordable and quality housing options affects communities and their families.




Sidney Stuart:


“Hi everyone! My name is Sidney Stuart, I’m an East Sider (of 4 years). I live in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood and work at the East Side Freedom Library as one of the organization’s co-directors of the Housing Justice program. I’m originally from South Minneapolis, and I’ve grown to love the East Side as my home. Some of what I love here is the passion and pride our neighbors feel for this community. The deep-rootedness and connectivity that exists on the East Side make it feel like its own version of a small town. I have hope that we can keep this community stable, safe, and cared for and build a place where all of our voices can be heard.”


John Thompson:  Photo and bio not available.


Use the links below for a Frequently Asked Questions about being on the Board, and the Application for the Board.
2020 Board – FAQ sheet
Application to serve on the PPCC Board of Directors