Hillsdale Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church
Don Baack moved that Rick Seifert be permitted to circulate at the HNA meeting a petition objecting to the proposal by Chase Bank to build a branch in the Hillsdale Town Center. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Business Meeting Agenda
7:00 p.m. Business Meeting
President Mikal Apenes opened the meeting by asking for brief self-introductions. The rector of St. Barnabas attended the meeting and was thanked and applauded for the generosity shown by his church for many years in making the HNA meeting site available.
The agenda was unanimously approved. The December 7 meeting minutes, available at the HNA Web site, were unanimously approved.
Hillsdale Main Street
HMS executive director Megan Braunsten introduced “branding” consultant Leigh Milander who explained the process which they are following to consult with Hillsdale residents and solicit their comments regarding the qualities which characterize this neighborhood. She answered questions, recorded the comments of HNA members present, and agreed to expand the list of those to be contacted in the future.
HNA Committee Reports
Glenn Bridger referred to the proposal by the Portland Bureau of Transportation to construct a sidewalk on SW Sunset between DeWitt and 18th Avenue and narrated the history of efforts since the 1960s to gain more sidewalks for Hillsdale. He stated that the current project is one controlled by the City, not Hillsdale residents, and the City’s judgment is final, though the neighborhood will be consulted. There is a meeting with Ms. Chris Armes of PBOT scheduled for January 31 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to discuss general concepts. There will also be a February or March meeting following a land-use survey. Glenn stressed that sidewalk construction projects are always at risk. There is currently a City Council debate over budgets, there is a $14 million shortfall, and this may impact sidewalk funding and construction. Members are encouraged to send their concerns to Mayor Sam Adams, all of the remaining Commissioners, the City Auditor, and Tom Miller, the PBOT Director.
Some diseased trees will be removed and a few power poles will be erected on Barbur Boulevard by PGE where construction is taking place. This line will supply electricity to the northern part of Hillsdale and part of SWHRL (South West Hills Residential League).
President Mikal Apenes reported that Chase Bank does not currently have an application for either an “adjustment” or for a permit to build on the vacant site within the Town Center.
Rick Seifert reported that he already has a petition with 300 signatures on it opposing Chase Bank branch construction within the Town Center. Rick reported that an unnamed credit union has expressed interest in opening a branch in the Town Center.
Don Baack moved that Rick Seifert be permitted to circulate at the HNA meeting a petition objecting to the proposal by Chase Bank to build a branch in the Hillsdale Town Center. The motion was seconded and passed. This does not constitute HNA endorsement of the petition itself. Members then discussed various types of tenants which might occupy a two-story building but it was noted by Arnie Panitch that no developer, including a credit union, has expressed interest in the site other than Chase Bank, which is interested in building a single story, single occupant building. Richard Garfinkle stated that the primary goal should be development of a two story, multi-use/multi-tenant building.
Glenn Bridger reported that the SWNI board has devoted significant time updating personnel management policies following the conviction of an employee for embezzlement. Also, Ken Love of the South Portland Neighborhood has been elected the First Vice President following the dismissal “without cause” of the previous office holder. Two half-time employees have been hired and one full-time employee.
Michael Reunert submitted a written report, as usual, for posting at the HNA Web site. Volunteers have begun charting the future of Portland Public Schools’ buildings, gathering this month for the first of seven meetings to determine improvement priorities. On Tuesday, January 10, at 5:30 p.m. at Jefferson High School, the condition of PPS school buildings will be discussed. State Senators Richard Devlin and Ginny Burdick, both Democrats, will appear at a forum on January 10, at 7 p.m. at The Watershed. Also, an online forum has been opened at the SWNI Web site and the public is invited to ask questions and make comments and recommendations to enhance school funding and the curriculum.
Other events include a special round-table PTA discussion at Robert Gray on January 9; a PTA parent education night on January 23 at Wilson High School; the opening of a Career Center at WHS; and Wilson Youth lacrosse registration for students in grades 1-8.
Don Baack reported that they have received three-fourths (75%) of funding needed to produce a brochure and a video describing the Red Electric Trail. He will seek the remaining funds from other sources. There is also $2 million of approved funding for a bridge linking Bertha Boulevard (west) and Capitol Highway (near the Verde Cocina Restaurant) for pedestrians and bicycles; 16-feet wide. At Naito and Whitaker, a pedestrian-activated HAWK signal will be constructed for pedestrians using Trail 1 connecting OHSU and the pedestrian bridge. The signal will be funded by the pedestrian bridge. The Gibbs Street Pedestrian Bridge is scheduled to open in April 2012.
No land-use notices were received.
The quarterly meeting of the Alliance will begin at 7 p.m. on January 11 at The Watershed. The public is invited.
Hillsdale Main Street
Megan Braunsten reported landscaping progress within the Town Center; new bushes will be planted in the Spring.
Mikal announced that an HNA board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on February 1, just prior to the 7 p.m. general meeting; at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. The board is searching for a new Secretary.
Wes Risher alerted members to the planned closing of the Fulton Community Center. Wes also expressed concern over the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and automobile operators because of over-grown foliage at Vermont and Bertha Boulevard. Don Baack said it is a regulatory “no-mans land” because of complicated authority over the streets, curbs, and right-of-way involving the Bureau of Development Services and PBOT.
Megan Braunsten announced the launching of the “Hillsdale Heritage Circle,” an endeavor spearheaded by Josh Kadish (email@example.com). She read the vision statement and the invitation to residents to invest in an economically healthy and visually attractive Town Center that will evolve during and after the Hillsdale Main Street program. Participants (residents or businesses) are asked to contribute $500 per year to continue the HMS goals.
Joanne Dirk reminded members of the forthcoming Third Thursday in Hillsdale and called for better signage, as part of the “branding” exercise, to announce it in the future.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:42 p.m.
Submitted by Robert Hamilton