Minutes October 7, 2009

Hillsdale Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes
October 7, 2009

Vice-President Duane Hunting opened the meeting at 7:02 p.m.
The agenda was approved.
The previous meeting minutes of September 2 were approved.
Action items and motions:
Don Baack offered the following motion, seconded by Michael Reunert, which was passed by the HNA general members with seven in favor, three opposed, and two abstentions:
 “I move that the HNA approve a three-part motion which includes: 
1.a 294-foot long left-field fence 10 feet high, with 10-foot 10-inch maximum post height, championship pennants to be displayed above five-feet high, as described in the Wilson High School plan, and advertising banners to be displayed below five-feet high for a maximum period of 5.5 months annually;
2. provision for landscaping the batting cage; and
3. establishing a line of native white oak trees along Vermont Street between the sidewalk and the baseball field with no other changes along Vermont Street.”

The motion was passed unanimously that Sheila Greenlaw-Fink and Robert Hamilton be “Acting Co-Chair” of the HNA until a new president of the organization is voted into office.  Duane Hunting will continue to be the Vice-President of HNA.

The motion was passed unanimously (with two abstentions) that HNA support the small-grants application to SWNI by Michael Reunert and others to enhance bicycle transportation in Hillsdale through four or more specific ways.

Members introduced themselves and responded to the following question:  “What new HNA activities should we propose and support in Hillsdale?”

1. Establish a West Side alternative to Peacock Lane’s Christmas Winter Wonderland.
2. Work to implement the Town Center Plan.
3. Shut down Capitol Highway one day and include an “Oregon cheese festival”.
4. Underground or relocate electrical wires.
5. Choose a new HNA president.
6. Establish a bicycle corridor on Sunset.
7. Build more sidewalks, improve the streetscape, and landscape public grounds.
8. Develop the “Rieke Bowl” into an amphitheatre for public performances.
9. Establish community bulletin boards (3’ x 4’ or 4’ x 4’).
10. Follow through with plans to develop a Stevens Creek Trail (with a bench for sitting).
11. Add Tri-Met bus service—or introduce a jitney service—into the parts of Hillsdale which lack it.
12. Develop the former Estby gas station site.
13. Recruit more people to work on HNA projects.
14. Improve signage for Hillsdale.

The Housing Authority of Portland (HAP) described plans to apply for a HOPE VI grant of $16.5 million as part of a total budget of $41.5 million to redevelop Hillsdale Terrace.  This was HAP’s third presentation to HNA.  They propose to expand from 60 units to 115 units to accommodate more low-income people and families.  Mike Andrews said that eight meetings have been held with current tenants—who would require re-location during the development period—and four open house meetings for the public.  HUD has a total of $100 million available for eight successful applicants among the current pool of 35.  HAP provided approximately a dozen architectural renderings for inspection as well as handouts describing details of their goals and the development process and a construction budget.  The high construction costs per unit include relocation and temporary housing for present tenants as well as training to enhance their efforts to find jobs and move out of public housing.

HNA members made a broad range of recommendations and questioned HAP personnel for an hour.  For example, Peter Decrescenzo suggested that HAP use the sale of proceeds of the present Hillsdale Terrace plus a HUD grant to purchase a condominium in the South Park waterfront area for families.  Mike Andrews replied that HUD money is available for construction but not for condo purchases.

Several members asked about an alternative plan for re-development, since HAP has about a 25% chance of receiving a HUD grant.  HAP has no “Plan B” at the moment.  Investor tax credits no longer have the appeal they formerly did, now resulting in only 78 cents of credit for each dollar invested.  There was strong sentiment favoring a design plan which would increase accessibility to Hillsdale Terrace by paving California Street and adding a route into the complex; and modulate the 26th Avenue grade, which is 19% and, therefore quite steep.  The grade from California into the Terrace is 25%, too steep to meet the fire department standard of 20% or less.

While HAP does not need HNA approval to make its application to HUD, it was noted that they would need neighborhood approval when the re-development reaches the stage of site approval from the City of Portland.  Because HAP is sponsoring an October 24 tour of two of its other housing projects [New Columbia (2006) and Humboldt Gardens (2008)], it was decided to delay any motion to approve or disapprove of the HAP plans for Hillsdale Terrace until the November HNA meeting.

Mike Clopton and a team of supporters from Wilson High School presented for a second time their proposal to raise the left-field fence of the baseball diamond in order to attach their championship pennants to the top half and use the bottom half for sponsor signage and recognition.  A power-point presentation illustrated the plans and an extended period of questioning and debate over the economics and aesthetics of it followed. 

The motion (see above) to approve the plan was passed with seven in favor, three opposed, and two members abstaining.

Following a brief description of the October 3 HNA board and public retreat to discuss the HNA byelaws, the members voted unanimously to approve Robert Hamilton and Sheila Greenlaw-Fink as “Acting Co-Chair” of the HNA until a new President can be recruited.  Aloha Wyse will chair a committee of six HNA members who will review the byelaws in detail and make recommended changes to the membership in a timely manner.

Mike Reunert reported that a workshop on Portland Public School plans for the future will be held October 9 and 13.  The modernization plans include Wilson High School remaining a “comprehensive” and not a “magnet” school.  Mary Rieke Elementary  School now has 375 students (from a previous low of 267) and that may rise to 450 in the near future, necessitating the addition of more modular facilities.  The success of the Rieke PTA and the community was loudly applauded.  School board member, and Hillsdale resident, Ruth Adkins will be invited to describe PPS modernization plans at the November 4 meeting of HNA.

Julian Lauzzana provided flyers describing the “microcinema” programs which will be presented at The Watershed on October 20 (Aging Artfully in America), November 17 (Young Filmmakers’ Forum), and December 15 (Global Sustainability).

Rick Seifert and Jim Stutts of the Hillsdale Foundation announced a $5,000 grant to make Hillsdale more bicycle friendly.

Don Baack discussed the recent meeting of the SWNI Transportation Committee and the earmark of Rep. David Wu dedicated to improvement of the Hoot Owl Corner.

Michael Reunnert reminded the members of the SWNI Small Grants deadline.  A motion was passed (see above) that HNA support Michael’s application to SWNI for funds to increase bicycle parking spaces in Hillsdale (e.g. between Baker & Spice and Food Front and four other locations).  Michael also plans to post bicycle and pedestrian trail options at these sites.

Robert Hamilton said that he is developing the concept of an HNA program tentatively titled “Neighbors in Action” which he will describe at the November meeting.  It would include Web site postings of requests for assistance (e.g. leaf raking, lawn mowing, grocery shopping, books returned to the library) which are of short duration and small scale which neighbors can respond to when they do not have time to work on larger projects of longer duration.  It can be combined with Rick Seifert’s suggestion—“Hillsdale Shares”—that a tool-sharing program be established.

The meeting adjourned at 9:42 p.m.

Submitted by Robert Hamilton

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