Hillsdale Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The Watershed at Hillsdale
Holiday Potluck: 6:00 p.m.
Arnold Panitch awarded prizes to various winners of this evening’s trivia contest. Robert Hamilton thanked all who contributed items to the potluck this evening, including, as usual, Sylvia Bogert and the SWNI office for utensils, plates, cups, and napkins.
Business Meeting Agenda
7:00 p.m. Business Meeting
Board member Robert Hamilton acted as chair in the absence of President Mikal Apenes. He opened the meeting at 7:04 p.m. by asking the 40-plus residents and guests in attendance to introduce themselves. Several efforts were made to circulate the registration sheet to accommodate the large number in attendance and late arrivals.
The agenda was unanimously approved.
The November 2 meeting minutes, available at the HNA Web site, were unanimously approved.
Robert noted that a large number of residents had apparently come to the meeting to speak about the Sunset Avenue Sidewalk Project. He explained that two provisions of the newly revised and approved HNA bylaws seemed particularly relevant. One stipulates that residents must attend two HNA meetings within a given period in order to be eligible to vote and that is why registration lists are maintained by the Secretary. The second bylaw gives the chair the discretion to declare an issue or motion “controversial” and to require that it not be voted upon until after a second public meeting so that all residents have an opportunity to be informed about it, ask questions, and state their opinions. Therefore, he said he would not entertain any motion regarding the Sunset Avenue Sidewalk Project tonight. Anyone wishing to make such a motion should submit it in writing and in advance of the January meeting in triplicate to the president of the HNA. This would also give first-time attendees in December who are residents of Hillsdale an opportunity to satisfy these bylaw requirements by attending the January meeting so that they could vote on any motion on the subject. Robert emphasized that a full discussion of this matter would take place tonight. He noted that April Bertelsen of the Portland Bureau of Transportation would be a guest speaker on the subject.
HNA Committee Reports
Carolyn Raz reported the resolution of the matter of theft of $130,000 of SWNI funds by former bookkeeper Jenny Stromer. SWNI has received 23 grant proposals totaling $37,000 for the available funds of $21,000, thus requiring that difficult choices be made.
Michael Reunert reported on the deteriorating state of many Portland schools. The Schools Committee is requesting ideas for filling the funding gap in many areas for Southwest schools. The Portland Public School Web site has a link which allows anyone to comment and make fundraising suggestions or submit creative ways to assist overloaded teachers. Over $7,000 was raised at a recent school auction.
The Schools Committee also wants to develop emergency procedures to deal with earthquake, major fire, or other natural disaster damage.
Glenn Bridger reported on the Barbur Boulevard High-Capacity Corridor study. Information will be gathered during the next 18 months on all aspects and options.
The Sunday Parkway Project will take place on July 22, 2012, and will coincide with the 100th anniversary of Terwilliger Parkway.
Duane Hunting indicated that there were no Hillsdale land-use notices this month. There has also been no movement on the Chase Bank Land Use Adjustment application. Chase Bank has not made any update to their land-use application following the meetings with the HNA and Hillsdale Main Street members. They have stated that they are still reviewing their potential options.
HBPA and Hillsdale Alliance
There were no reports from these two groups.
Hillsdale Main Street
Michael Reunert of the HMS board reported on the replacement of unhealthy and damaged trees along Capitol Highway. The sidewalk concrete removal has been completed, new soil has been added, and some new trees planted. Smaller plants will arrive in the spring when warm weather assures their survival. With additional funding, more landscaping will occur. Other projects are being planned to enhance the sales and profitability of the 84 businesses within the Town Center.
Sunset Avenue Sidewalk Project
Glenn Bridger introduced April Bertelsen, director of planning for sidewalk projects for PBOT, who described the long process used to select the “Tier 2” sidewalk construction projects with the money allocated for Southwest and East Portland, including $800,000 for Sunset Avenue. There will definitely be a sidewalk constructed from De Witt to 18th Avenue. In January and February, a land survey of both sides of Sunset will be conducted and public commentary regarding the appropriate side of the street, a possible bicycle-climbing lane, car parking, storm-water mitigation, and other current land-use features will take place at various public meetings which will be announced by PBOT, at HNA meetings, and through the media. Neighbors will be notified. Email comments and/or questions will be accepted. Final design decisions will be made by May 2012. Construction will begin in 2013. The $800,000 can include retaining walls on private lots and the expense of working around or removing trees.
Residents from the northeast side of Sunset met last Sunday and compiled a list of reasons why they oppose the sidewalk being built on that side and offered specific suggestions regarding the best solution as well as mitigation measures. Copies of their statements were given to PBOT, Rick Seifert of the Hillsdale News, and the HNA chair. The discussion of this issue lasted for one hour in order for the many perspectives to be shared and questions asked. April Bertelsen remained with her maps and charts to answer questions after the meeting.
In partial response to the affected neighbors’ frustrations regarding limited notification, there will definitely be meetings in January 2012 to address ongoing design and construction concerns of property owners. Glenn Bridger suggested that a meeting at the Hillsdale Library be held in the early spring once PBOT’s land survey results and preliminary street cross sections have been completed in more detail with data relevant to the sidewalk project. Don Baack reminded the attendees to think about “the long-term needs of the community” which address improved pedestrian movement, on-street parking, transit ridership access, safe routes to school, and other consideration. The Hillsdale Town Center planning process has been a long one and we should consider the planning affects extending over the next 20 years.
Robert read the motion made by John Gould at the November HNA meeting which was passed unanimously and which asked Greta Pass of Chase Bank to transfer the request for further design and land-use changes to the “policy adjustment” level of senior Chase management. That appears not to have been done and no further meetings have taken place to find a “mutually acceptable” agreement among the City of Portland, Chase Bank, Wardin Investments, and Hillsdale. President Mikal Apenes recently wrote to ask Greta Pass whether the bank plans to submit a new design and land-use proposal to the City requesting either an “adjustment” or a “land-use permit.” Her reply was that Chase Bank is currently reviewing all of its options.
Some concern was expressed by a member over whether she had signed a petition which was placed next to the registration sheet. Robert asked who had introduced the petition and stated that petitions should be given to the chair prior to the meeting so that members could be informed of its contents. The petition was brought to the meeting by Rick Seifert and stated opposition to Chase Bank building a branch in Hillsdale. The petition was read aloud. A motion was made to support the petition, but Robert said that he would not entertain the motion at this time. He suggested that if Rick wants the membership to discuss the petition, he should ask Mikal to place it on the January agenda. Anyone wishing to make a motion asking for its support or rejection should submit the motion to Mikal in advance of the meeting. Rick said that the petition would be available for signing after the HNA meeting.
A-Frame Sidewalk Signs on Capitol Highway
Arnold Panitch reported that some merchants as well as Hillsdale Main Street have been putting A-frame signs on the Capitol Highway sidewalk, impeding pedestrian traffic. City regulations prohibit such signage. The signs have been removed.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:58 p.m.
Submitted by Carolyn Raz, Duane Hunting, and Robert Hamilton