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HNA Meeting Minutes for February 6, 2019

Hillsdale Neighborhood Association Meeting

February 6, 2019

The Watershed, Hillsdale


14 Attending, including 10 Board Members

Don Baack

Barbara Bowers

Glenn Bridger

Joan Hamilton

Robert Hamilton

Tatiana Lifshitz

Leslie Pohl-Kosbau / Wes Risher

William Reese

Andrea Wall

Eric Wilhelm


Action Item 2019-2-6-1Tatiana Lifshitz Moved to approve an amended letter to TriMet that will request representation in TriMet’s Technical Workgroup on the Marquam Hill Connector, and express provisional support for a tunnel option as currently reflecting the community’s values. The Motion passed 6-3.


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The meeting began at 6:45 pm. Joan Hamilton chaired.


Members introduced themselves. The Board approved by verbal vote the Minutes from the January 2, 2019 HNA Meeting, as well as the Agenda for the present meeting.


Connection to OHSU at Marquam Hill and Barbur Boulevard (Part I)

Leslie discussed the outcome of recent meetings of the Transportation & Parks Committee relative to the Marquam Hill Connector to OHSU and its impact on the Terwilliger Parkway. Wes, Eric, and Arnie Panitch were also involved in the discussion, she noted. The Committee believed that among options under discussion, the “full tunnel” option was “safest, best, and most direct.”


The proposed tunnel could be contained, closed and secured if necessary, and could accommodate a moving walkway to bring commuters quickly to elevators. Other options considered posed challenges, such as outer walkways extending up and over the terrain, as well as a pedestrian crossing and traffic signal at Terwilliger, and private homes removed.


Leslie and Wes circulated the draft of a letter to TriMet composed by the Committee in support of this option.


The purpose of the letter would be twofold: to express a preference for the tunnel option, on behalf of the Committee and the HNA; and to request representation by Hillsdale on a TriMet Technical Workgroup tasked with exploring various options.


Leslie suggested that at the current meeting, the assembled Members could vote to express support for the letter as an evolving idea, or “concept.”


Tatiana Moved to vote on approving the concept of the letter, and the Motion was seconded. Discussion ensued.


Robert clarified that approving the Motion would mean that the HNA Board, in effect, approved the tunnel option it endorsed.


Don, who holds a seat on the Technical Workgroup already, representing SW Trails, objected to the vote, saying the letter was premature. He believed that additional options beyond those already proposed would be brought forward in the months ahead. Such a vote would be more appropriate in May, after the completion of more substantive work: “The HNA would be risking its credibility, when we don't even know what the alternatives are.”


Wes countered that there was urgency to vote in order to get representation for the HNA on the Workgroup. (In an email on 2/6/19, Wes reports that the WorkGroup includes the following 11 members: Chris Ford, Metro; Jeb Doran, TriMet; Teresa Boyle, PBOT; Brett Horner, Portland Parks; Hillary Adam, Bureau of Development Services; Anton Vetterlein, Friends of Terwilliger; Ed Fischer, Homestead Neighborhood; Jim Gardner, South Portland Neighborhood; Don Baack, SW Trails; Michael Harrison, OHSU; Margaux Macchiaverna VA).


Don Moved to table Tatiana’s motion to approve the concept of the letter until after the presentation by the scheduled speaker. Don’s Motion to Table was approved by verbal vote.


Presentation: Hillsdale Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) Update

Bill Hasan, Hillsdale NET Team Leader, took the floor.


Bill referenced a PowerPoint deck, attached, entitled NET Individual Preparedness.  Key points were as follows.


  • After a natural disaster, the first responders are almost always neighbors. So neighbors should be prepared.
  • In the event of an earthquake, perhaps only 2 bridges will remain, since Tilikum Crossing and Sellwood Bridge are the only two meeting current seismic standards.  
  • Families should think through who they will authorize to pick up children at school or otherwise separated from parents. Kids need to be told they should do, step by step.
  • Each family need to decide where to store food and water for two weeks.
  • Neighbors need to get to know one another: who lives where, who might need medical assistance, and who has what skills, tools, and resources on hand (e.g., medical, construction, radio). A useful resource for this purpose is: Map Your Neighborhood (https://mil.wa.gov/emergency-management-division/preparedness/map-your-neighborhood).
  • Individuals should keep a “go” kit in their car, and one at work, that contains essentials: food, water, flashlight, batteries, radio, medical supplies, all in a backpack.
  • People should keep shoes and gloves near their bed at night, since one may need to navigate broken glass and cannot afford to sustain infections from cuts to feet.
  • The four critical items to prepare, in order of priority are: 1.Water;  2. Waste handling method; 3. Shelter; 4.Food.
  • In general, the most important thing is to create a plan; and the key to creating a plan is to start. Make a list of things to be done. Then give each item a date for completion. The first item should be to go buy water containers—enough to store 14 gallons per person in the household.
  • Wilson High School Football Field is Hillsdale’s BEECN site for centralized communications (Basic Earthquake Emergency Communication Node).
  • Hillsdale’s “Primary Staging Area,” where NET leaders will meet and where radio is available, is DeWitt Park, across from the Hillsdale Library.
  • There are only about 50 certified NET leaders, who will need to help a population of 7500 in Hillsdale. More volunteers are needed.


Devora Fleshler spoke about leadership training and the need for volunteers. To get involved, write Bill or Devora at hillsdaleornet@gmail.com and see https://www.portlandoregon.gov/pbem/article/511774.


Asked by Barbara how apartment dwellers should prepare, Bill said he would do additional research and send advice to Matt or Will.


Robert asked whether the water reservoirs in Hillsdale have been upgraded to meet seismic standards. Bill said he would be looking into that, too.


Connection to OHSU at Marquam Hill and Barbur Boulevard (Part II)

Keturah Moved to resume discussion of the Parks Committee’s letter, and the Motion to resume was approved by verbal vote. The matter was brought from the Table and discussed.


Tatiana suggested that the letter’s wording be softened, away from seeming directive (i.e., “this approach should be chosen”) and toward a recommendation (i.e., “recommend studying this approach closely”).  She volunteered to help edit the letter. 

She also said she felt that the timing was right for the HNA to express an opinion to help shape the process.


Tatiana praised the Committee for having studied the options carefully over many hours. Will (writing) asked the Membership to recall that the purpose of the Committee structure was for Members dedicated to an issue to engage in focused review to produce recommendations to put to a vote, which Parks had indeed done.


Eric said, in response to Don, that even knowing there will be changes ahead, the HNA can state in its letter what the organization values now, so as to influence the range of options generated. He agreed that the wording should be modified to express HNA’s values, rather expressing a strong preference for a single approach (such as the tunnel, as it is currently envisioned).


Glenn said that the key to being able to serve on such a workgroup is having an open mind, not arriving with a set opinion. Bringing the community’s perspective is what’s most important.


Will suggested splitting the letter into two parts—the representation request vs. the tunnel recommendation—and voting only on the representation request first, to allow time for further discussion of community’s perspective at another meeting.


Wes said he felt the letter should serve both purposes, since chances of representation were slim, but the evaluation process was already underway.


Joan raised the issue of how expensive the tunnel option might prove to be, compared to other options, and given competing budget priorities.


Don invited anyone from the HNA to come with him to the workgroup meetings. “They’ll probably let you talk.”


Robert suggested specific wording change to the letter, such that “given the options we have studied currently, we believe this option is in the best interests of Hillsdale and other communities in proximity to the Parkway, but are open to other options if they emerge.” He felt it important to say that our “geographical location and shared interests with other neighborhoods” gives us “interest and standing with regard to the issue,” and that we wish to send a representative to the WorkGroup.


Members then voted on approving the Committee’s letter, as amended to include the suggestions by Tatiana, Eric, and Robert. The Motion passed 6-3.




Don said he wanted to call attention to importance of emergency preparedness on a city-wide basis. What are the city’s priorities? Fuel tanks stored near the Willamette River (along highway 30) are just one example of a looming problem. The HNA should think about how we might raise the perception of these matters to get action from City Hall.


Wes said that (Oregon) Senator Michael Dembrow will be introducing legislation this session to make The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) responsible for retrofitting those tanks. Wes suggested that staff from Senator Dembrow’s office, or from Portland City Club, to come and discuss the proposed legislation; he agreed to discuss the invitation and timing with Matt DeRosa.


The Meeting adjourned at 8pm.


Submitted by William Reese