Minutes from March 4, 2015

Hillsdale Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 7:00 p.m.

St. Barnabas


MOTION 2015-3-4-1: Michael Reunert moved that HNA endorse the Solar Expo project. Seconded. Discussion. Some panels come from prison labor and/or SE Asia, so it would be good to know the source. It is preferable to use local installers. All in favor.


7:02 p.m. Opening and Approval of Minutes and Agenda. Mikal Apenes opened the meeting. Introductions were made. Motion to approve February minutes, all in favor. No additions to the agenda.


7:10 p.m. President’s Report. HNA President Mikal Apenes is the outgoing chair with his term ending in June. He asked people to consider volunteering for the position. The Office of Neighborhood Involvement is requiring neighborhood associations to change their bylaws so that board members will make decisions rather than the membership. This means board members will take on a more important role. Mikal asked that people consider volunteering to be on the board. John Gould is heading up the bylaws revision with the help of Glenn Bridger, Robert Hamilton, Duane Hunting, and Don Baack. HNA will submit a name to SWNI for Volunteer of the Year by May 15. Please submit names to Mikal.


7:14 p.m. Parks and Trails Reports. (These agenda items are moved ahead due to schedule conflicts.)

Trails Don Baack presented. The Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Transportation System Plan (TSP) that is part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan may provide the funding for three trails projects if there is sufficient community support. The first project is the Red Electric Trail. The second is a wide climbing lane for bikes and pedestrians on SW Dosch Road. The third is a wide climbing lane for bikes and pedestrians on SW Marquam Hill Road, a hazardous part of the 4T trail. Don asked people to write letters of support to both psc@portlandoregon.gov and tsp@portlandoregon.gov. The deadline for comments is March 9, 2015. The group is working on a citywide trails policy for the 40 miles of urban trails in SW Portland, with the goals to complete gaps in trails and prevent adjacent landowners from creating barriers. The group is working on a grant for buying insurance and materials for a trail linked to Stephens Creek Crossing this summer. See www.swtrails.org for more information.

Parks Don Baack presented. Tomorrow Don will meet with the head of Natural Areas for Portland Parks and Recreation r trails about trails and policies regarding volunteers building new trails. The next event is a meeting and work party at SW 4th and Woods on March 5 at 9:00 a.m.


7:24 p.m. Portland Police Report. Officers Foster and Bernard presented. There has been one burglary in Hillsdale in the last 30 days. People are going through recycling bins early in the morning on pick up day. Some are just looking for recyclables but others are looking for ways to steal identification. If they make a mess, call it in to non-emergency. It is good practice to put bins out to the curb just before the garbage trucks arrive. Cars continue to park in the new bike lane on Vermont, across the street from the schools, and the Officers said to call it in.


7:30 p.m. Reports.

Schools Michael Reunert presented. Portland Public Schools has released a few million dollars that will be used for technology bundles and computers. PPS is discussing the main budget and meetings for public input are being held. The SWNI Schools Committee is planning a “Techquity Fair” to inform the public about what school are doing to close the technology gap for SW Portland students. There is a district boundary review to look at possible changes in attendance boundaries, with a decision expected in May.

Hillsdale Business & Professional Association No report.

Transportation Mikal reported. For the Transportation System Plan that Don mentioned earlier, each Portland neighborhood coalition has been asked to come up with ten projects. SWNI has selected these ten projects. They include improvements on Capitol Highway, Barbur, Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, the Willamette Greenway, Bertha, Multnomah Boulevard, and more.

SWNI Glenn Bridger reported. Three items. 1. The SWNI Board voted and ratified the transportation projects Mikal listed previously. It also discussed the Comprehensive Plan and land use questions. The City seems more focused on larger projects rather than the small projects that are often important to our neighborhood. 2. Leonard Gard will be assisting neighborhood associations with changing their bylaws. 3. SWNI has endorsed a class to be sponsored by Metro’s Intertwine, and is sending three people to this training to address diversity issues and think about how to change our culture and become more inclusive.

Hillsdale Alliance Glenn Bridger presented. The goal of the Hillsdale Alliance is to pull together the best ideas of organizations in the Hillsdale area and get people to talk and support each other. Co-chairs Sheila Greenlaw-Fink and Glenn are open to ideas for discussion at the quarterly meetings.

Land Use Duane Hunting presented, and submitted a written report via email.

  1. HNA received no land use notices in February 2015.
  2. The Southwest Corridor Steering Committee meeting is Monday March 9th, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at the Tigard Public Library.
  3. The City has issued its proposed draft of the Regulatory Improvement Code Amendment Package, or RICAP 7. While it deals with many types of issues, the main one is Air BnB. Public comment is still welcome, and the tentative date for the PSC hearing is April 28.
  4. Portland’s Climate Action Plan. The public comment draft was issued on March 3 and comments are due April 10. Open houses hosted by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainabiity are March 19 at the Velo Cult Bike Shop, 5:30-7:30 p.m., and March 24 at June Kay Delta Community Center, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. To read the plan, visit portlandoregon.gov/bps/climate. Comments may be emailed to climate@portlandoregon.gov.
  5. The City’s short-term rental permitting process is changing to include apartments and condominiums. For more information see the Bureau of Development Services’ Accessory Short-term Rental webpage.
  6. Mixed Use Zoning Project. The nine commercial zones are being simplified to about four to better deal with anticipated growth of mixed use development. For more information see the BPS website: portlandoregon.gov/bps/mixeduse.
  7. HNA received notification that the Falcon Street vacation proposal is published, and comments are welcome. For more information, see the HNA October minutes, or get in touch with the land use people at the City. The plan is for a Natural Foods grocery store with 144 apartments above.
  8. Liquor license applications were received for the Jade Dragon, Sasquatch Brewery, and the new Oak and Olive restaurant in Hillsdale.


7:45 p.m. Hillsdale Community Garden. In Leslie Pohl-Kasbau’s absence, Mikal Apenes presented. Groundbreaking for this new community garden will be Saturday March 7 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Hillsdale Community Church, 6948 SW Capitol Highway. Volunteers are welcome.


7:50 p.m. Hillsdale Solar Expo. Andrew Ragland presented. A Solar Expo will be held on Sunday, May 3, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., between the Hillsdale Farmers Market and the Rieke Art Fair. The hope is to get people to purchase solar panels at a group discount, with savings going to the schools. The project has many partners in the community. MOTION: Michael Reunert moved that HNA endorse the Solar Expo project. Seconded. Discussion. Some panels come from prison labor and/or SE Asia, so it would be good to know the source. It is preferable to use local installers. All in favor.


8:00 p.m. High Capacity Transit Corridor. Mikal Apenes led the discussion of this controversial topic. There will be no motions or votes on what Hillsdale prefers. We will list pros and cons for the different options. The SW Corridor Plan Steering Committee meeting will be Monday March 9, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. at the Tigard Public Library. Options include: 1. Medium length tunnel with stop in Hillsdale surfacing on Barbur near Fred Meyers. 2. Cut and cover tunnel up Barbur and Capitol surfacing near Bertha and Vermont. 3. The route follows Barbur. 4. The route parallels I-5. 5. Do nothing at all. The goal is to get HNA issues clarified and into the record before the meeting in July where Metro will decide which options will be studied and become part of the environmental impact statement. Pros and cons for each transit option were captured on wall posters by Mikal and Wes Risher.


Medium Length Tunnel:

This is a deep tunnel starting by Duniway Park, and with stations under OHSU, under Hillsdale, and surfacing near the Burlingame Fred Meyers.


  • An approximately three-minute faster trip between Hillsdale and downtown.
  • Direct service for OHSU.
  • Serves the Veterans Administration Hospital.
  • More transit opportunities for Hillsdale.
  • Greater housing values due to improved transit.
  • The tunnel has a ‘cool’ factor.
  • Long-term costs are lower.
  • Light rail transit would mean fewer buses and cars, less pollution especially with the projected population growth.


  • It is not known where parking would be located.
  • There could be an increase in ‘Hide and Ride’ parking – people who park on neighborhood streets and ride transit.
  • Expensive to construct.
  • Negative affect on Hillsdale businesses during the five-year construction period.
  • Potential for higher crime around the transit station.


Barbur Light Rail Transit or Bus Rapid Transit:

These modes would follow Barbur Boulevard.


  • Does not bifurcate the neighborhood, less disruption to the neighborhood.
  • Faster to build.
  • Less expensive.
  • Less traffic through the neighborhood.
  • Less disruptive.
  • Includes a proper bike lane on Barbur.
  • Improvements on Barbur.
  • Enhanced transit ride – fewer cattle-car riding conditions.
  • Pedestrian lift/elevator to OHSU, potentially reducing traffic in other areas because of changes on OHSU campus.
  • May reduce traffic on I-5.
  • Maintains Hillsdale village/Town Center


  • Stations farther from Hillsdale business district and neighborhoods.
  • It is not walking distance for most of Hillsdale and does not serve much of the neighborhood.
  • Bypasses Hillsdale.
  • Fewer left turn opportunities on Barbur.
  • Negative effect on pedestrians crossing Barbur.
  • Physical and visual barrier along Barbur that could affect pedestrians and businesses.

Pro and Con:

  • Losing the village feel of Hillsdale can be seen as both a positive and negative.


Cut and Cover Tunnel:

This option follow Barbur from downtown, then turns up the hill following Capitol Highway. It would most likely be for bus, not light rail.


  • A good way to keep businesses in Hillsdale.
  • Quicker to complete.
  • Maintains bus transit service in the Hillsdale Town Center.
  • Closer to the surface, so for pedestrians it is a flight of stairs similar to the subways in New York City, not a 165-foot deep tunnel like the Medium Tunnel option.


  • Business disruption.


There was much discussion and many ideas and questions that did not fit into the pro/con categories listed above. They included:


  • What are the consequences for Hillsdale with each of these plans?
  • All the options have pluses and minuses.
  • There is a lot of information we don’t have, such as exactly where a station in Hillsdale would surface.
  • The neighborhood will not have one opinion. The goal here is to avoid shutting down others’ opinions or criticizing others’ ideas.
  • The project cost includes construction and the vehicles, not the operation.
  • Short-term construction costs are high, but long-term costs are lower.
  • Hillsdale is a kind of civic center, with its farmers market, low-income housing, library, etc.
  • As we look at the transit options, let’s think about future generations.
  • Curitiba Brazil’s transit system is a great example of what we want to do.
  • The character of our neighborhood will change with or without the Bus Rapid Transit or Light Rail Transit corridors. Barbur will change, too. We are so close to downtown that this change is inevitable.
  • Barbur could use a complete overhaul.
  • For seismic safety issues with the tunnel options, we can look to San Francisco where BART trains ran under the Bay during earthquakes while the highways were wrecked.
  • It would be helpful to have more input from the business association. Don Baack responded that Hillsdale businesses want the transit corridor to go through Hillsdale, and they do not support the Barbur alignment.
  • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has a dedicated right of way, articulated buses, quick stops, and other features to save time.
  • Hillsdale was covered with dairy farms 50 years ago. How much change and the kinds of changes the next 50 years holds is unknown.
  • It was asked if we can have BRT and buses like we have today? Glenn Bridger responded that yes, we can have both, but there will be a shift in ridership because there will be fewer chances to go downtown from Hillsdale. Buses going through Hillsdale will connect riders to the corridor.
  • Is this putting money into old technology? Will this type of transit be needed in a future that includes driverless cars? Robert Hamilton responded that Metro’s Matt Bihn said that when federal money is used for a project, it can only use proven current technology. Models may not be based on future technology or what can’t be proven.
  • This corridor is about OHSU, PCC, Tigard, and Tualatin, not just Hillsdale. It will affect our neighborhood, and we are right to be concerned about the changes it will bring. But the project is part of a bigger picture for the region. If it is LRT there will be increased ridership from Tualatin. One of the project’s goals is to reduce the carbon imprint for auto traffic.
  • This could be a pro or con: Hillsdale is a sleepy, mostly residential community. With transit along Barbur, Hillsdale businesses may migrate toward Fred Meyers over time. This would be a natural shift.
  • This project will not relieve traffic on I-5, but it provides better transit for people in the region.
  • OHSU is the City’s largest employer and should be directly served by this investment.
  • We want to be part of a community that comes together and talks about big things. We want to reach out to those who are not currently involved in this discussion.
  • Businesses and residents may have different interests.
  • Having a tunnel under a house will decrease the value of that house.
  • It can be difficult to come together to talk about controversial issues, but it is good to have this discussion.
  • Our perception of our community is always shifting.
  • We need to focus on the quality of life for Hillsdale residents, not business interests.
  • Strong arguments were made tonight for all three options.


I5 option

This option parallels I-5 to the Barbur Transit Center.

This option was not discussed this evening. There is more time to talk about this, as it will be studied in 2016-2017.


Visit Metro’s webpage at http://www.oregonmetro.gov/event/southwest-corridor-plan-steering-committee-meeting-5/2015-03-09 to see Metro’s latest discussion draft report.


9:10 p.m. Adjourn.

Motion to Adjourn. Seconded. All in favor.

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