Minutes June 2, 2010

Hillsdale Neighborhood Association
Meeting Minutes
June 2, 2010

7:00 p.m.  Business Meeting
7:03: Sheila Greenlaw-Fink, Acting Co-Chair, called meeting to order
Opening and unanimous approval of the agenda
Introductions:  Each individual introduced him/herself.

The Chair noted that a board meeting, open to the public, was held from 6 to 7 p.m.

Madame Chair announced that the HNA Volunteer of the Year is Arnold “Arnie” Panitch, who was present to receive his award letter, which was read by Acting Co-Chair Robert Hamilton:

Arnold “Arnie” Panitch
Arnold “Arnie” Panitch, retired university professor and world traveler, has been active in attending HNA meetings and has participated in a variety of projects since moving to Portland from Boise, Idaho.  He is our unofficial “Cart Czar” (aka CarTsar) who returns shopping carts to Fred Meyer, Safeway, and Food Front.  He served a term on the board of Community Partners for Affordable Housing, and is currently on the board of Food Front.  In addition, he is a Ride Connection volunteer, and assists those—particularly seniors–wanting to know more about the Tri-Met system.  Arnie delivers lectures on the Lair Hill neighborhood for groups of pedestrians who tour the area with him.  He participates in neighborhood clean-up patrols.  And, he serves each Friday as a volunteer at the Visitors’ Bureau office in Pioneer Square.

More important than the specific actions, however, is Arnie’s dedication to giving voice to the needs of those outside of the corridors of power and influence who need for the “Walk” light at the intersection to work, who need for the Number 45 bus to run on Sunday to get them to their job, who need decent housing at an affordable price, who need trails and sidewalks to speed them and their children to shops and schools.  Unimpressed with titles and dismissive of procedures which deny any resident, regardless of income or status, her day in court or his hour at the podium, Arnie Panitch represents the best of “Everyman” in action.  Thank you, Professor Panitch!
It was also announced by the Chair that a drinking fountain has been installed at Stephens Creek at the east end of the Raz-Baack crossing.  The money was provided by Trudi Raz Frengle and through a small grant from SWNI; labor was supplied by neighborhood volunteers.   Members applauded the work of Don Baack and other volunteers in constructing the fountain.

The Chair announced the board positions which will end and, therefore, be voted upon:  Position 1: President; Position 2: Vice President; Position 4: Treasurer; and Director Positions 6, 8, and 10.  No members volunteered to serve as President of the association.  Duane Hunting was re-elected as Vice-President.  Robert Hamilton was re-elected to Director position #6.  Stephanie Wieber, Judith Baker, and Hunter Graham all explained their reasons to wanting to become board members.  John Gould moved that all three be elected to the three remaining vacant board positions.  The motion was seconded and the members voted unanimously in favor of their election.

Aloha Wyse moved that Sheila Greenlaw-Fink and Robert Hamilton continue as Acting Co-Chairs of the HNA.  The motion was seconded and the members approved the motion unanimously.

Portland Police Officer Ralph Elwood, who handles the afternoon shift in the Southwest, reported that burglaries, car break-ins, and domestic violence represent the highest percentage of crime in Hillsdale.  Person-to-person crimes are rare.  He asked members to remain vigilant and report “suspicious behavior.”   Removal of “abandoned cars” may require a month—unless the car is a hazard or has been stolen.  Potential “abandoned cars” on public property are tagged and can be towed after 30 days.

Wilson High School Advanced Placement students Johnny Crawford, William Matsuda, Hayden Young, and Isaac Ward-Fineman reported on a two-month study of Vermont Creek (tributary of Fanno Creek) for their environmental studies class taught by Derek McDicken.  They studied oxygen level, turbidity, the Ph level to determine average alkalinity and acidity, the flow rate in cubic feet per second, animal and insect life, and overall health.  They studied a section of the stream between Gabriel Park and Little Gabriel.  They noted the many variables affecting the stream, including the dog parks, the use of fertilizers and soaps by nearby residents, and the time of year (winter-early spring).  Although the portion of the stream studied was “fairly healthy”, there was an absence of animal and insect life and little vegetation compared to streams studied by six other groups in the class.

Don Baack suggested that the study results be posted on the WHS and HNA Web sites.   Johnny Crawford agreed to work with Michael Reunert (Schools Committee), the newly elected Dan Jenkins (Parks Committee), and Rick Seifert to propose a resolution on July 7 which the members can debate regarding ways to promote healthier streams and econ-systems in and near Hillsdale.

SWNI Parks Committee:  A landscape architect with long experience with parks, Dan Jenkins was elected by the members to be the HNA representative to the SWNI Parks Committee.  The Chair noted John Gould’s recommendation that the board appoint him, and, presumably other representatives to SWNI committees, an election being unnecessary.  Robert Hamilton will ask Keturah Pennington to attend the SWNI Parks Committee meeting on June 3 as neither Dan nor Judith Baker will be able to attend.

Schools Committee:  Michael Reunert reported that the Governor will make nine percent budget cuts “across the board” and that the Legislature may further reduce financing to public schools.  Reserve funds may be used to mitigate the impact.  Portland Public Schools will decide how to apportion the cuts within its own budget.

Andrea Porter is the new Principal at Rieke Elementary School.  We will invite her to address HNA in the autumn.  Rieke’s recent fundraiser produced $16,000, of which $10,000 will be spent on services for “at-risk” students.

Transportation Committee:  Don Baack reported that a new pedestrian bridge over I-5 beneath the OHSU tram will be constructed in one year.  Don also invited members to attend a bike boulevard (greenways) presentation on June 9 at the Multnomah Arts Center at 7 p.m.  On July 15, SW Trails will host a meeting of City bureaus to report on their individual and combined plans for the Southwest.

Peter J. DeCrescenzo, a professional videographer, volunteered to document the areas where sidewalks are needed.  He will work with Don Baack and Hunter Graham.  The latter is conducting research for a paper describing the historical and legal background necessary to determine HNA’s options for compelling the City of Portland to meet its responsibility to provide sidewalks for Southwest neighborhoods.

Hillsdale Foundation:  Rick Seifert reported that a decision on the application for “Main Street” funding by the Portland Development Commission will be made June 18.  A video produced by Peter J. DeCrescenzo which accompanies the application can be viewed at Vimeo.com.  Only five applicants for funding remain of the original 12.

Rick also recommended a meeting of various Hillsdale organizations to determine the most efficient use of our “human capital” to achieve the goals of the organizations.  It was also suggested that Hillsdale explore the concept of a cable channel educational program, tentatively titled, “Hillsdale:  Profile of a Community”.  Members suggested applying for a foundation grant which would fund the project.

Land Use Committee:  Duane Hunting reported on three land-use permit applications.  With prior support of the HNA, Rieke Elementary School has been approved for a new modular classroom to add to the two existing ones.

Don Baack advocated for the installation of a “Falling Ice” sign on Fairmount below the tall tower at Healy Heights; details to be determined.  Don will draft at letter for the signature of Duane.

New Business Announcements: 

Don noted that Multnomah Boulevard will be closed from 31st to 69th Avenues. The sewer construction will last 6 months, go to FannoBasin Sewer Rehab project website (www.portlandonline.com/bes/fanno; construction hotline 503/823-1312. Detour routes are Vermont and Garden Home Road.

The Capitol Highway viaduct will be closed to automobile traffic during two weekends of reconstruction.

Arnie Panitch and Sheila Greenlaw-Fink reported that the Housing Authority of Portland (HAP) did not receive $16 million from HUD to renovate Hillsdale Terrace, but there is a possibility that they will be able to reapply later this year.  They are waiting for feedback from HUD on the recent application that may assist them with future submissions.  Only six of 44 applicants received funding.  HNA members asked that HAP be invited to a future meeting to share this feedback and to discuss their future plans for Hillsdale Terrace.

Arnie also reported that four community concerts will be held this summer in Willamette Park; that Tri-Met will restore the garbage can it removed from the site of the new Caffe Autogrille (the former Capitol Coffee House); and that three maple trees recently flattened by an automobile have been replaced.

Michael Reunert alerted members to the installation of a new bike rack in Hillsdale at OM Base Yoga.

Rick reported that used books will be collected at the Farmers’ Market beginning June 20 for a July 24 sale. 

Sheila reported that the Jerome Sears Armory will be available for development in 2012. 

Sheila reminded members that there will be no HNA meeting in August.

Don reported successful discussions with the Mittelman Jewish Community Center regarding the construction of a traffic signal at 25th Avenue.

John Gould announced that Hillsdale is a very “robust neighborhood” and that tonight’s meeting was “the best I have ever attended.”

Pleased and further energized by Mr. Gould’s benediction, the members voted the adjournment of the meeting at 9:10 p.m.

Notes of the meeting were submitted by Carolyn Raz and edited by Robert Hamilton.

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