Hillsdale Neighborhood Association Meeting
October 3, 2018
Greater Portland Bible Church
Board Members in Attendance
Action Item 2018-10-3-1: Jose Gamero Moved to revise the HNA Bylaws to enable any Hillsdale resident or business owner to become a voting Member five days after making a request in writing. The Motion was seconded and passed by Membership 27-2.
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President Matt DeRosa chaired the meeting, which began at 7 pm. Members introduced themselves.
Don Baack stated that he wished it to be noted in the Minutes of 9/26/18 that the issue of Bylaws revision discussed at that Meeting had not been placed on the published Agenda for that Meeting, which, he believed, prevented Members from adequately preparing. (It has been so noted in the 9/26 Minutes.)
Minutes from the Meeting of 9/5/26 were approved.
There was vigorous discussion about the Agenda for the current Meeting. Don Baack proposed that the vote on the Bylaws Revision for Membership Requirements be struck from the Agenda on the basis that Members had not seen the proposed Revision seven days ahead of the vote.
Jose, Adam, and Matt countered that the two-page description of the proposed Revision had been in circulation among Board Members more than seven days. Don responded that seven days was not sufficient for him or other Board Members to propose Amendments to the Revision, prior to the vote.
Matt said he was ruling, as Chair, that the Revision had been brought to the Meeting for a vote in accordance with the Bylaws. He noted that disagreements with that decision can be brought through a Grievance procedure.
Speaker: Ballot Measures 102, 103, 104, 105, 106
Matt introduced a speaker to discuss the upcoming November ballot measures. He noted that the speaker was going to be presenting one side of the issue, and that he had reached out the opposition but not been able to secure a speaker. He pledged to work in the future to insure balanced perspectives.
Our speaker was Owen from an advocacy group called DefendOregon.org (also known as Our Oregon). Owen intended to speak primarily about 103 and 104 and gave an overview of these and other measures from the perspective of his organization. Discussion went as follows.
102 – DefendOregon advocates a “Yes” vote. The measure allows government to utilize bond money for public/private partnerships to develop new affordable housing. (Members discussed whether adequate oversight can be exercised over private entities using these public monies.)
103 – The organization advocates a “No” vote. The measure will amend the Constitution to prohibit taxes and fees based on transactions for items defined, in non-standard ways, as “groceries.” DefendOregon opposes the measure, arguing that it is over-broad and reduces funding up and down the supply chain. (Members commented that amending the Constitution would be hard to reverse.)
104 – The organization advocates a “No” vote. Owen called this the “super-majority” measure. It would extend to other revenue streams, such as fees, the current 3/5 majority required to create new taxes. DefendOregon believes this will cause gridlock; that if the measure had been in place during the recent legislative session, it would have prevented funding of Oregon’s Medicaid program.
105 – The organization advocates a “No” vote. Our speaker characterized the measure as anti-immigrant, stating that it repeals Oregon’s state sanctuary law, which is 31 years old.
106 - The organization advocates a “No” vote. Our speaker characterized the measure as anti-choice, arguing that it reduces access to reproductive care for low-income communities and public employees.
Owen passed around a sign-up sheet for Members interested in ordering yard signs.
Reminder: LWV Forum
Glenn Bridger announced a League of Women Voters Education Forum to be held on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, 7pm, at the Multnomah County Board Room, 501 East Hawthorne.
Vote: Revision of Membership Requirements
Matt gave the floor to Jose, to manage the discussion. Jose introduced a Motion to change Article 2, Section A of the HNA Bylaws, stating that Membership requires attendance at two prior meetings. The proposed new wording is as follows:
Membership in HNA shall be open to any person having attained the age of sixteen (16) who lives in, or owns real property in, or attends school in, or is employed by or holds a business license for a business located within the boundaries of HNA as described in these bylaws. Others may become eligible for membership by requesting and receiving written approval of the Board of Directors.
An eligible person becomes a member of HNA five days after providing written consent in accordance with the procedures established by HNA.
Term of Membership
An eligible individual’s term of membership shall be 24 months from the date of last consent to HNA membership. Membership may be extended an unlimited number of times.
The purpose of this change, Jose said, is to enable more people who are interested in issues addressed by the HNA to become Members in time to vote at their first meeting. An online form will be created that will allow someone to apply for Membership five days beforehand, allowing them to participate as Members in a meeting on a topic that they may have read about in the HNA’s posted Agenda.
Discussion ensued about what would happen if large groups of neighbors, who happened to be focused narrowly on a specific issue of immediate interest only to them came to a meeting to force the HNA to endorse their issue. In such an event, Jose said, the Board structure still would act as safeguard; Board Members must agree to act on whatever Motion is put forward.
The “two meeting rule” was crafted prior to the creation of a Board, Rick pointed out, when a vote by a majority of Members had been all that was needed to approve a Motion. The rule basically became unnecessary after the adoption of a Board structure.
Matt observed that over the past 24 months, the highest attendance at a single HNA meeting was 31 people. At tonight’s meeting, because of outreach connected with the Membership eligibility vote, the signup sheet listed 32 people in attendance.
Jose stated, in response to a question from Glenn, that the rest of the Bylaws are still being revised—but this was a change that could quickly yield important results in terms of expanding community interest and ownership. Thus the Bylaws Committee wished to act on this one change as soon as possible. Further, the Membership provisions could certainly change in the future at any point if needed.
Glenn stated that he would prefer that the “entire package” of Bylaws changes prior to voting. He also felt that the Committee wrongly bypassed the Board and went directly to Membership to seek support of its Motion.
Rupert responded that the Motion under discussion reflected the clear desires of Membership, and that this was by design. The Committee distributed information, and polled Membership as a part of creating the proposed revision.
Jose stated again that current Bylaws did not really require approval of the Board for referring a Motion for a vote so long as 20% of Members sign a petition, as they had done by 9/26/18. The Bylaws Committee only asked the Board to refer as a courtesy.
Adam added that it had seemed better (in the interests of future cooperation) for the Board to have been given the option to refer the Motion to a vote, rather than force it through with a petition. And the Board had, in fact, approved the Motion to refer by a strong majority on 9/26.
Membership were then asked to voice any concerns or hesitations they may have about the proposed change in the rules for Membership, “because now is the time.” Jose said that if any of tonight’s attendees could point to areas where the Membership revision needed significant improvement, the Motion could be voted down and reintroduced at a later meeting with amendments.
Future revision of the Membership provision may indeed be on the horizon, said Robert. He mentioned an email he received from Michelle Becker, a longtime resident of Hillsdale who has not yet attended meetings, but would like to, and who expressed a wish that Membership requirements be even further liberalized—to dispense with any waiting period such as a 5-day rule. He noted that her point seemed valid and we may well revisit the issue again later in the context of complete revision of the Bylaws.
Keturah countered that she does believe in the importance of attending multiple meetings—as evidence of continued connection and true interest in the broader affairs of the community.
Jose then asked for a vote by Membership, including Board Members, on the Motion to revise the Membership rule. The Motion passed 27-2-0.
Planning Meeting Recap
Jose reviewed the outcome of the Planning Meeting held on 9/26/18. (Please see Minutes of 9/26/18).
The creation of a Houselessness Committee, to be led by Matt, is a new addition to the roster of HNA committees.
Jose mentioned that the Communications Committee will be looking at creating a newsletter or other channel as a more appropriate alternative to the Member email list, which some have observed often includes emails they find irrelevant.
The purpose of the committees, Matt said, is the long-term collection and distribution of topical information to the Board and Membership. For example, Residential Infill Project updates would come from the Land Use Committee, headed by Glenn. Next steps for the Committees are that each Committee will create its own operating plans.
Robert suggested that committees consider adding experts, as consultants, who do not necessarily live in Hillsdale, but who nonetheless might be able to help with committee work—especially by sharing advice or information.
Glenn asked whether there were any plans to have administrative meetings of the Board in between the meetings of Membership. If so, the SWNI Board Meeting dates should be avoided.
Leslie added she felt it was important to have Board meetings between meetings of general Membership so that Board can speak with a single voice. Adam agreed, saying that from his perspective as a Member it would be great to deal as little as possible with process issues of concern to the Board.
The conversation about Board meetings would continue via email, said Matt.
Matt stated he would like to include ten minutes at the end of every HNA Meeting where Members could make announcements, ask questions, or raise issues of concern to them that might not have been yet addressed in the earlier discussion. Robert suggested that this part of the meetings include what used to be called “a humane moment,” a period where any Member could ask the HNA for assistance in ways that will benefit people in the community.
Leslie asked to reintroduce an HNA Business Association, and possibly Hillsdale Foundation, report. In the past, HNA designated a liaison to the Hillsdale Business Association to keep the HNA up to date on local business activities of interest, as well as on funding by the Foundation.
Keturah announced that the SWNI Crime Prevention Committee will be holding their police recognition event on October 25, 6:30 pm, at the Multnomah Arts Center gym. She said she hoped everyone would come, and that pizza and salad, or some other heavy snack, will be served. Police are available at this event to chat informally.
(The nearest police station is in downtown Portland. But the location nearest to Hillsdale is a police “contact office” at the Multnomah Arts Center, where meetings with police can be arranged by advance appointment.)
Rupert announced, as a reminder, that on October 14, at 2:30 pm, at the Hillsdale Public Library, the Bylaws Committee is scheduled to conduct general community outreach to understand community needs to inform the Bylaws revisions.
Arnie made two announcements:
1. The Usual Suspects meet monthly for a garbage pickup, and the group always needs help. Meeting time is 1st Saturday of every month, at 9-10am, at the Food Front entrance. A muffin, and coffee or tea will be served.
2. Regarding the space for HNA meetings: the Southwest Connection publication advertised the wrong meeting location (St. Barnabus) for the current meeting.
Arnie said he also wanted to advocate, once more, for HNA to use the St. Barnabus location, as he would prefer to be able to walk to meetings and is also concerned about wintertime ice and snow on the hill down to the Bible Church location.
Matt said that a key requirement is WIFI access, to be able to live-stream HNA meetings, and that this is not something St. Barnabas is likely to pursue any time soon. In the meantime, Matt has posted notes via NextDoor and email offering to coordinate rides to the Bible Church location for anyone needing help to get there, and he will continue to do so.
Jane Carroll, and administrator working for Portland Public Schools, suggested Rieke or Wilson schools as possible meeting places. Andrea said she has checked into this for Wilson, and that stairways are an obstacle for all the options there. She has also been looking into costs for a permit but has not received calls back she has been expecting. Jane said she will look into the matter and see if she can help.
Andrea also plans to look into the possibility of meeting at Rieke, as she is visiting the school soon on another matter.
Jane expressed a concern about excessive traffic speeds on Capitol Highway. Matt said he would connect her with Eric Wilhelm from the Transportation Committee about ways to help.
Glenn followed up about two matters addressed in prior meetings:
1. Complaints on backyard chickens: Resolutions Northwest is working towards a mediation of complaints among neighbors.
2. Southwest 4th Street Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU): the City has approved the request, regardless of the HNA’s comments, so the size of the ADU will be increased as the owner requested.
1. HNA/SW Trails Sponsored Walk (5-7 miles): Hillsdale Food Carts, 9 am, 10/13/18.
2. SOLVE Trash Pickup: Portland Christian Church, 11/3/18 (same day as the Usual Suspects trash pickup day). Breakfast and lunch will be served, and door prizes awarded.
3. SW Trails Walk and Talk: 11/17/18: SW Trails a new, shorter, less vigorous walk better accommodating conversation, that will end with coffee.
4. A Thanksgiving Walk (two miles): on Thanksgiving Day, 11/22/18, meeting at 9 am, at the Hillsdale Food Carts. Hot scones and coffee and tea will be served.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 8:45 pm.
Respectfully submitted by William Reese