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HNA Meeting Minutes for January 3, 2018

Hillsdale Neighborhood Association

January 3, 2018

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, February 7, 2018

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church; 2021 SW Vermont; 6:45 p.m.

Don Baack chaired the meeting.  Treasurer Rick Meigs reported an OnPoint Credit Union balance of $1,000.  An additional $54.79 will be transferred from Chase Bank.

Members introduced themselves and answered the question posed by the Chair: “What did you do to cope with the recent snow and ice storm?”


Jim Gorter, representative of the Residential Infill Project (RIP) Stakeholder Advisory Committee from SWNI, presented "Infill in Hillsdale:  What's Next?"  Portland is expected to grow by 123,000 households (250,000 people) by 2035.  In response to this growth and concerns about demolitions and McMansions, the City is rewriting the Single Dwelling Zoning Code.  The RIP addresses scale, a density overlay, and narrow lots.  The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) staff published a Discussion Draft of the new proposed code last fall.  An eight-page summary is posted on the BPS website.   It will go to the Planning and Sustainability Commission, probably in the spring, for their review and revisions. The new code essentially eliminates single-family zones from most of Portland west of I-205, including Hillsdale, replacing them with the pre-1959 "old Portland" model of smaller multi-family housing of duplexes, triplexes, and ADUs interspersed among single-family homes.   Jim feels this will lead to more demolitions and displacements, especially in neighborhoods of smaller, older homes.  


Barbara Bowers, Matthew J. De Rosa, and Tatiana Lifshitz described on either December 6 or at the January 3 meeting their reasons for wanting to be elected to the HNA Board.  While the Members did elect all three as a slate of candidates, in line with a Motion to that effect, it was determined following the meeting that the public was not given sufficient official notice of the election as an explicit agenda item, as stipulated in the Bylaws, and thus the election will be held again on February 7 such that objections to the candidacies of the trio above can be raised, or so that other candidates can be nominated.


Barbara Bowers announced that Dr. Aaron Golub of the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University will speak at the February 7 meeting about the potential consequences for Hillsdale of light-rail construction in the Southwest Corridor.  City Commissioner Dan Saltzman will address the City’s plans for snow and ice removal during the winter as well as other subjects.


Keturah Pennington reported that a Quarterly Central Precinct Officer meeting with the SWNI Safety Committee will be held on January 4, and each first Thursday of the month.  Although Hillsdale appears to be experiencing an increase in car break-ins, our rate is lower than in many other neighborhoods and we cannot expect additional police surveillance of our neighborhood without an increase in the City budget for the police department.  On March 3 there will be a Preparedness Event for the public at the Multnomah Arts Center.

SW Trails

Don Baack reported that Trails received grant funds from the City on December 5 following City Council approval in August 2017.  Anticipating the funds, Trails negotiated  “material swaps and ordered materials in advance.”  Ninety-seven new steps were installed on December 14, the result of about 300 hours of labor on the route to Robert Gray Middle School.  Handrails will be installed to complete the project.  The next Trails walk will take place on Saturday, January 13, starting at 9 a.m. at the Hillsdale Food Carts.


Eric Wilhelm discussed plans for an HNA block party in 2018 and an update on Southwest in Motion (SWIM).


Robert Hamilton reported that the SWNI Schools Committee is applying for a $900 grant to enable it to offer an eight-week course of 16 lessons on computer coding for students at Jackson Middle School in the autumn of 2018 which will also include outreach events for parents, family members, and residents in January 2019.

Land Use

Glenn Bridger noted the presentation to be made relating to SW 13th Drive and an application to construct seven new detached condominiums facing a cul-de-sac and Wilson Park residents (See below).  He also reported receipt of a notice of a pre-application conference to be held January 10 regarding property at 6014 SW 18th Drive.  The development was previously discussed and concern was raised by adjacent neighbors.  The land is platted as part of a 1940’s era development which had private zoning, commonly known as “Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions” (CC&Rs).  The landowners subject to them have agreed to modify the recorded rules.


Wes Risher reported on an HNA joint effort with three other Neighborhood Associations to arrange for Brian Newman, vice-president of Oregon Health & Sciences University campus development, to describe plans for future physical and program expansion and the impact upon Southwest neighborhoods.


Glenn Bridger introduced presenter Mark Dane of Mark Dane Planning, who was representing a client proposing “the development of the parcel” on SW 13th Drive “located North-East of the intersection between SW 13th Drive and SW Bertha Boulevard.  The project will be submitted,” Dane said, in written testimony, “and processed as a two-parcel partition, the existing condominium units will be retained on Parcel 1 while seven new sing-family condo units will be located on Parcel 2 front on SW 13th Drive.  Each condo until will have an internal garage for each house, on-street parking will be available on SW 13th Drive.  The existing condominium development will remain in its current state and is not impacted by the proposal to develop Parcel 2.”

This application and proposed development was first presented to HNA on December 6 by Curtis Eschman of Mark Dan Planning and the firm was asked to continue the presentation on January 3 because of multiple neighborhood resident concerns about the design and size of the project.  Mr. Dane distributed copies of the design of the seven three-story detached units planned for Parcel 2 as well as a map of the proposed development.  He also distributed a “Summary/FAQ” (Frequently Asked Questions).

The Summary/FAQ also includes the following information:

“For both Parcel 1 and 2 no further street dedication is required along either Barbur or SW 13th Drive.  There is an existing gutter, curb on both sides of the street, with a curb-tight sidewalk along Bertha.  The applicant will be constructing a curb-tight sidewalk along SW 13th Drive as part of the approval for the condo units.

“Both sanitary and water are available in the street for proposed application.  The applicant is proposing individual laterals for the sanitary and water lines of the condo development on Parcel 2.  Parcel 1 will remain unchanged.

“Storm water will be disposed of onsite.  A Perc test has also been performed.  Onsite detention and disposal is proposed for each parcel.”

The three-story homes, “with a daylight basement,” are designed to be 3,500 square-feet each and will price for “around $700,000.”  Homes will have a two-car garage and one parking spot “on the street.”  The slope of the property is “steep” but Dane sought to assure residents that measures will be taken, as a result of “engineering design” and a “geo-technical report” to make the homes and residents safe in the event of seismic activity.  Construction is expected to “start sometime next spring, typically around a year.”  

HNA members expressed numerous concerns about various aspects of the proposed development (e.g. width of the sidewalk, the character of the “planting strip,” the stability of slope of the hill, the depth of the lot, the dual role of the easement between the two parcels, construction-period truck traffic and parking, the height and size of the condo units, the increase in on-street parking post-construction).  As a result, the Board decided not to take action on whether to approve or contest the application to develop the property as it is currently proposed, but asked Glenn Bridger and Don Baack to draft a letter to the City to be reviewed by the Board on Saturday, January 13, at its public planning event and a decision made at that time regarding the Board’s position on this application.  The public is welcome to attend the planning session which will be held at the home of Robert and Paula Hamilton.  The Minutes of that meeting will also be posted on the HNA website.                   

Submitted by Robert Hamilton, Secretary