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HNA Meeting Minutes for December 5, 2018

Hillsdale Neighborhood Association Meeting

December 5, 2018

Multnomah County Library —Hillsdale

 

 

22 Members Attending, including 12 Members of the Board

Don Baack

Barbara Bowers

Eric Wilhelm

Matt DeRosa

Joan Hamilton

Jose Gamero

Robert Hamilton

Tatiana Lifshitz

Rick Meigs

Leslie Pohl-Kosbau

William Reese

Andrea Wall

 

Action Item 2018-12-5-1Don Baack Moved to table, until July 31, 2019, a Motion introduced by Wes Risher on 11-7-18 concerning the OHSU ADA Walkway. The Motion could be taken from the table and re-introduced at any time before then. Don’s Motion was seconded and approved, 10-2-0.

 

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Matt DeRosa chaired the meeting, which began at 6:30 pm. He noted that the Library venue was a new one for the HNA, and that the meeting was being live-streamed for the first time.

 

Members introduced themselves. 

 

Minutes from the Meeting of 11/7/18 were approved by voice vote, 10-0-2. The two Abstentions were Leslie Pohl-Kosbau and Don Baack.

 

Agenda Review

Eric Wilhelm said he wished to discuss a Terwilliger Parkway “open street” event or celebration. Matt suggested the Transportation Committee could craft a proposal, and then bring that back to the HNA for review. But he would add the discussion to tonight’s Agenda for immediate Member input, time permitting.

 

The agenda was approved by voice vote, 12-0.

 

Note on Meeting Time

Tonight’s Meeting and all future HNA Meetings held at the Library will have to be concluded by 7:45 pm, per agreement with the Library, which closes at 8pm, Matt said.

 

Member Questions and Announcements

Don Baack announced that there would be a celebration of the life of John Morris at 8:30 am Saturday December 8th at the Food Front, prior to the scheduled walk. John Morris was a beloved resident of the Hillsdale community and generous volunteer, who recently moved back to Maryland with his wife, Brenda. John died suddenly on November 22, Thanksgiving Day.

 

Rick Seifert added that John was a regular volunteer with the litter-picking Usual Suspects, which also shared a moment of silence in his memory and recognition of his participation.

 

(John Morris’s Obituary appears on the website of the US Naval Academy Alumni Association: https://www.usna.com/custom/GiveRSS.ashx?type=single&newsID=5441).

 

Shifting gears, Rick said he was glad to see the group meeting in a circle, complimented the room acoustics, and observed that the average age in the room was decreasing—all of which, he felt, were positive developments. Matt thanked Barbara Bowers for advocating chairs be placed in a circle, and Barbara, in turn, thanked the Outreach Committee.

 

Robert Hamilton shared his findings from the SWNI Schools Committee Meeting he attended the previous week. Community organizations helping with emergency preparedness, he learned, are numerous. He looked forward to hearing from a future speaker on how all these organizations fit together and worked with the Hillsdale Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET).

 

Robert also learned about the existence of a Facebook group, “Hillsdale/Multnomah Village Moms,” which numbers roughly 1700 members. Given the group’s size, Robert reached out to its membership to request a speaker to discuss its activities with the HNA at some point (https://www.facebook.com/groups/639377132815709/).

 

Leslie Pohl-Kosbau reported on an Open House she attended of the River Plan / South Reach Project at the Llewellyn School the previous Saturday, December 1, 2018. The project is taking up potential Willamette River improvements such as cutting a channel in Ross Island to prevent algae blooms and will involve the Bureaus of Transportation, as well as Parks, and Planning & Sustainability. The project aims to produce a concept draft by Spring 2019 (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/694308).

 

 

OHSU Walkway Discussion

Matt updated Membership with an email he received from Jennifer Koozer of Trimet in which she related that the project’s steering committee plans to select the type of connector for the Marquam Hill Connection by summer of 2019.

 

As reported in previous Minutes, the scheduled OHSU Open House to discuss the ADA Walkway project was cancelled abruptly, in November, 2018.

 

Wes Risher offered an explanation for the cancellation of the OHSU Open House. He said resulted directly from objections to OHSU’s process raised by Anton Vetterlein, President of Friends of Terwilliger, with the Bureau of Parks Interim Director Kia Selley. Selley suspended OHSU’s process because it was not coordinated with the various agencies—Parks, TriMet, Metro, and PBOT—who are making decisions about the future Marquam Hill Connection.

 

Wes submitted a copy of his related Motion, which the Chair had deemed controversial on November 7 and tabled to the current meeting. The Motion read as follows:

 

There is not strong community support [for the project] as represented in the materials distributed. I move that the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association send a letter to the Portland City Council, OHSU President, Metro, TriMet and the State  Historic Preservation Office objecting to the OHSU Walkway  conversation and design at SW Campus Drive and request that OHSU shut down their efforts as [they] presuppose connections to the Marquam Hill Connector [about] which a TriMet Steering committee will be formed to review and recommend options over the next six months. 

 

Furthermore, the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association objects to this proposed use by OHSU of our Portland Parks property (Terwilliger Parkway in front of the Casey Eye Institute) as it is a violation of the Terwilliger Parkway Corridor Plan and… so …harms this historic resource.

 

Lastly, the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association does not support the installation of a traffic light on the Terwilliger Parkway at SW Campus Drive and SW Terwilliger Blvd.

 

He then circulated copies of select pages of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, to facilitate discussion. (Please see the attachment included with the Minutes of the 11-7-18 HNA Meeting).

 

“The property in front of the Casey Eye Institute,” Wes said, “is publically owned Parks Bureau property.” OHSU has made significant use of the property over the years and appears to wish to continue to do so.

 

It was doubtful, he said, that people using wheelchairs or other mobility devices would choose to disembark from a bus off Terwilliger Boulevard, at the lowermost end of the campus (where making the ascent would exact additional effort). He was especially concerned about the proposed traffic light at the intersection Campus Drive and Terwilliger.

 

Leslie Pohl-Kosbau drew a distinction between the OHSU Walkway, specifically, and the land transfers from the Parks Bureau for the Marquam Hill Connector. She was more concerned about the latter and wondered if the HNA should craft a point of view to preserve Parks Bureau control of the property.

 

Keturah Pennington voiced a call for action. She emphasized City Council was on the hook for adhering to the provisions of the Terwilliger Parkway Corridor Plan mentioned by Wes. “There were to be no visible changes anywhere, without restoration plans.” First the Chart House restaurant, then its parking lot, then the OHSU tram—all violated the Plan, in Keturah’s view. “But now it’s time that we started standing up and objecting. Because this is going to be major.”

(See: “Terwilliger Parkway Corridor Plan,” 1983: http://terwilligerfriends.org/images/uploads/Archive/Terwilliger_Parkway_Corridor_Plan.pdf).

 

Wes agreed with Keturah. He pointed out that many pages in the Plan were adopted by Ordinance, not by Resolution, making them legally binding.

 

Addressing the traffic light matter, Wes argued that installing a traffic light violates the basic design principle and purpose of the Parkway, conceived at the turn of the century as a recreational drive. Portland Parks had planned to have five such linear parkways built connecting parks throughout the city, but Terwilliger Parkway is the only one to have received funding and been created.

 

Two lights do exist already, however, he noted. And the Plan allows for new traffic lights in the event of safety needs.

 

Friends of Terwilliger is in the process of nominating the Parkway to be listed under the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Will Reese (writing) wondered whether the creation of a new Walkway, as OHSU proposed, would have the effect of creating a greater safety risk at the intersection, which then would require to be fixed by installing a traffic light. The Walkway would in effect further deteriorate the claims of the Parkway (to the linear flow of a pleasure drive). “Has OHSU had coordinated at all with the relevant agencies over the priorities between the Marquam Connector vs. the ADA Walkway?”

 

Wes deferred the question to Arnie Panitch, who participated in the SW Corridor Committee. Arnie said that the OHSU representative on the committee, Brian Newman, seemed engaged in discussion of both station locations and transport routes and methods. (But coordination on the ADA Walkway was unknown.)

 

According to Wes, Brian Newman felt that a tunnel from SW Gibbs to an underground elevator would provide the easiest route for OHSU to keep secure, as well as the fastest. And it would leave Terwilliger untouched. But it would also be the most expensive option, forcing OHSU to take on more cost.

 

Rick Seifert encouraged Wes to include in his Motion whatever option he (and Friends of Terwilliger) most preferred. He noted, however, that in the past, OHSU has been concerned about possible ground tremors caused by tunnel construction that could interfere with delicate surgical procedures.

 

Discussion followed about whether to modify Wes’s Motion to include a most-preferred option the HNA could support.

 

The Chair suggested, and Wes agreed, that the Motion be studied, and modified accordingly, in the several HNA Committees: Parks, Land Use, and Transportation, with Parks taking the lead.

 

Matt also weighed in on the priorities driving the discussion. He noted that he, personally, felt that access to healthcare, and transportation to one of Portland’s largest employers, should outweigh the preservation of the Parkway.

 

Wes responded that the question wasn’t about whether to provide access, but about how to best provide access—assuming that the starting point will ultimately be SW Gibbs and Barbur, not Terwilliger at Campus Drive.

 

Jose added that, “As a disabled person with mobility issues who has taken TriMet’s mobility bus to OHSU at least 50 times for various studies, neither I nor 95% of the people I rode with on that bus would ever use what OHSU is proposing. The distance (included by the Walkway) is too great. … I would want to be dropped off at Physicians Pavilion or other such areas.”

 

Joan Hamilton noted that many community discussions seem to involve problems with plans written in the past that no longer suit current needs.

 

Will observed that underneath many of the comments expressed tonight was “the possibility that the ADA Walkway was just an excuse for a land-grab, and that we need to be satisfied as a neighborhood association that that is not the case.”

 

(After the close of the Meeting Don Baack said that he felt sure this was not the case: the notion of a land-grab was a red herring, and that OHSU had probably just not coordinated its initiatives adequately.)

 

Don Baack Moved that Wes’s Motion concerning the OHSU Walkway be tabled until July 31, 2019. The Motion could be taken from the table and re-introduced at any time before then. The Motion was seconded and approved, 10-2-0.

 

Terwilliger Parkway Event

Eric Wilhelm and Matt DeRosa agreed to assign the planning of a new Parkway event to the Transportation Committee. Transportation Committee business also included an update that Eric has graduated from a class taught at PSU on traffic and transportation.

 

The meeting adjourned at 7:45 pm.

 

Submitted by William Reese