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HNA Meeting Minutes for September 5, 2018 (Updated)

Hillsdale Neighborhood Association Meeting

September 5, 2018

Greater Portland Bible Church


11 Board Members in Attendance

Don Baack

Barbara Bowers

Glenn Bridger

Matt DeRosa

Jose Gamero

Joan Hamilton

Robert Hamilton

Rick Meigs

William Reese

Andrea Wall

Eric Wilhelm


Joan Hamilton was elected to the Board during the meeting.


Leslie Hammond, Southwest Neighborhoods Inc. Board President (SWNI) attended the meeting as part of a series of visits to area neighborhood associations.


Action Item 2018-8-5-1Andrea Wall moved that the Board state general approval and support for the SW 25th Avenue Trail Project, a plan to restore wildlife and improve a trail along 25th Avenue from SW Capitol Highway (east of the MJCC) to a SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway crosswalk. The Motion was seconded and passed 8-0.


Action Item 2018-8-5-2In a vote by General Membership, Joan Hamilton was elected to the HNA Board 16-0.


Action Item 2018-8-5-3: Don Baack moved that a Motion made by Eric Wilhelm at the May 2018 HNA meeting move from the table onto the current Agenda for discussion. The Motion was seconded and passed without objections.


Action Item 2018-8-5-4: Eric Wilhelm moved that the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association write a letter to the Mayor, City Council, and the Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation about safety issues arising from traffic on Local Service streets in Hillsdale.  The Motion was seconded and passed without objections, and one abstention.


Action Item 2018-8-5-5: Don Baack moved that Item 2018-8-5-3 (the above Motion regarding traffic) should include language about “traffic calming”. The Motion was seconded and passed without objections.


Action Item 2018-8-5-6: Matt DeRosa moved that the HNA do the following (abbreviated):

  • Publicize recent SWNI Dispute Resolution Findings on the HNA web site
  • Explore new ways to let Members introduce agenda items
  • Encourage the Bylaw Committee to review processes for designating an issue controversial
  • Bring to meetings an up-to-date record of Members eligible to vote
  • Conform with mandated protocols for Minutes
  • Commit to timely posting of Agendas and timely handling of grievances according to bylaws
  • Update the Minutes of March 2018 to include an apology by the Land Use Chair regarding a misstatement about the HNA’s position on the Residential Infill Project
  • Create a website form to allow consistent creation of Advisory Motions

The Motion was seconded and passed, 10-0.


Action Item 2018-8-5-7: Don Baack moved to cease debate on Item 2018-8-5-5 (the above Motion on Dispute Findings). The Motion to cease was seconded and passed without objections.


Action Item 2018-8-5-8: Don Baack moved that the HNA write a letter to the City asking that code be enforced in the case of 7222 SW 4th Avenue, including a photograph of problematic parking issues. Glenn Bridger offered to draft a letter for the President’s approval. The motion was seconded and passed 8-1.


- - - -


Chair Matt DeRosa began at 7pm.


SW 25th Avenue Trail Restoration Project

Andrea Wall introduced Helena, an 11 year old Hillsdale resident and student at Robert Gray Middle School, to choose the winner of a raffle to benefit the Trail Restoration Project.


Helena made a random selection from 37 entries. The winner was the Rieke School Community Garden. The prize awarded was a “Bug Hotel,” a miniature structure to attract beneficial insects such as bees and ladybugs to a garden.


Following the raffle drawing, Andrea moved that HNA make a statement of general support for the SW 25th Avenue Trail Restoration Project, which she said has attracted 300 volunteers and works closely with SW Trails. Andrea said that the formal expression of support from HNA would help her obtain grant money for the Project from other sources. The Motion was approved.


Members introduced themselves.


Election of Board Member #13

Glenn Bridger oversaw an election for an open Board Member position. Over the previous weeks, the Nominating Committee had solicited nominations for the position from NextDoor.com, and from the Hillsdale Membership mailing list, Glenn said. The Committee received only one nomination: candidate Joan Hamilton.


Glenn asked for additional nominations from the floor, including any self-nominations. There were none.


Prior to the vote, Joan introduced herself.  She said she had worked as Assistant to the Portland Planning & Sustainability Commission for 11 years. She said the she wants the HNA to focus more on citywide issues and believes that the Residential Infill Project (RIP), even if one doesn't like it, “is a very creative idea to try to house people” in a future where soaring housing prices threaten the ability of moderate income families to live in places like Hillsdale.  


In the Q & A that followed, Natalia Bronner asked what Joan’s vision would be for the coming year, and whether the Board should remain Board-centered or Membership driven. Natalia’s question generated additional discussion about the structure of the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association, both in the past, as well as how the Bylaws Committee might be able to change this structure in the coming months.


Treasurer Rick Meigs and Vice President Jose Gamero indicated that the current Board structure was mandated, for insurance purposes, by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI, now the Office of Community and Civic Life or OCCL).


But Leslie Hammond of SWNI contradicted this idea. She said ONI, which created neighborhood associations many years ago, had allowed neighborhoods to decide themselves whether they wished to be board-centric or membership-centric, and that insurance matters do not prevent an association from being membership driven. An association must have a board, and the board must be responsible for the decisions that are made; but the board does not necessarily have to make those decisions. The board can represent the decisions made by the membership.


Leslie cited the Multnomah Neighborhood Association (MNA) as an example of a membership centric organization. She said the MNA Board meets between membership meetings and handles questions and prepares issues to be discussed. But MNA Membership votes on the issues, and their Board votes along with them.


Rick Meigs said he recollected differently—that ONI was emphatic about the responsibilities of the Board—but stated he welcomed this new information, since the HNA had previously been Membership driven and would have preferred to remain so.


Matt DeRosa remarked that the subject was an excellent one for the Bylaws Committee to take up in its ongoing work, but asked that discussion return to the election of the new Board Member.


Rupert Ayton asked about Joan’s experience with conflict resolution. Joan indicated that the challenge is to encourage enough people to come to the meetings so that the view of the meeting represents the larger community.


Matt DeRosa closed the discussion and asked for a General Membership vote on the candidate.


Members elected Joan Hamilton to the HNA Board 16-0, one abstention.


Cut-Through Traffic

The Chairman gave the floor to Eric Wilhelm. Eric re-introduced a Motion tabled at a previous meeting, in May 2018, concerning excessive through-traffic on Hillsdale Streets.


Eric began the discussion saying, “The biggest negative impact when someone moves to Hillsdale is their car. They take up another parking spot at the business center, or at Fred Meyer, or they’re another car in front of you at the intersection.” The higher the density, the harder our transportation system must work.


Holding aside future plans, he said, the current space in Hillsdale should be managed as a public asset. Satellite Navigation apps (GPS) have changed the game, so that Local Service streets are no longer working as originally designed. (All streets in the community have different classifications and specifications, e.g., Arterials, Collectors, Local Service, etc).


Eric offered his Motion, which is a request that the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association write a letter to the Mayor, City Council, and the Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation addressing the overuse and safety issues arising from traffic on Local Service streets in Hillsdale.


Robert Hamilton asked for a definition of “Local Service” streets. Eric said that Local Service is a formal designation for some of the smallest streets in a neighborhood that, apart from individual driveways, permit residents to access their homes.


Matt DeRosa said that the Motion seemed well aligned to the Vision Statement the HNA wrote in July in connection with its position on the SW Corridor Project. Glenn Bridger agreed, saying that such a letter would “send a message on to the City of what our community wants to look like—to preserve our local streets for local residents.”


Glenn also suggested that a copy of the letter be sent to SWNI, so that the Transportation Committee can review and consider the matter, and potentially lend support.


Further discussion included the following:

  • Speed limits, especially in light of the recent “Vision Zero” initiative for 20 mph
  • Obstructions (such as untrimmed foliage) that impair drivers’ view of speed limit and other traffic signs. (503-823-SAFE is the number to call for such problems.)


Eric’s Motion included eight line items which the Board took as suggestions to be further developed and discussed prior to sending the letter to City officials. The approach Eric hopes the City will take is “pragmatic,” addressing traffic overuse step by step, as feasible, “not necessarily as a single giant project.”


Don Baack suggested that not just “traffic restrictions” but also “traffic calming” be added to the Motion as an option the HNA should support. He moved that this change be reflected in Eric’s Motion, and it was. Don’s related Motion passed without objections.


Robert Hamilton added that, assuming Eric’s Motion passed, the Board be given an opportunity to articulate what the HNA is trying to achieve by sending it—such as safety, and other values important to Hillsdale.


Eric’s Motion was seconded and passed without objections, and with one abstention.


Presentation: Homelessness in Portland

Marc Jolin, Director of the Joint Office of Homeless Services, Multnomah County / City of Portland, delivered a presentation on the state of homelessness in Portland.


Note: Marc’s presentation is attached below.


Marc’s talk outlined the general problem of Homelessness in Portland and some of the City’s plans to address it. Key points included the following.

  • The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) annually conducts a one-night census of people living outside of a home: such as in a car, tent, park, or emergency shelter. The Census number in 2017 was 4,177 people.
  • However, that number is misleading. New people are becoming homeless every day, even as others are finding housing. Over a given year the actual number is probably three times as high, i.e., roughly 12,000 people.
  • The Department of Education’s estimate is more inclusive. It includes all of the HUD numbers, plus those who are “doubled up” involuntarily—sleeping on a friend or relative’s sofa, in somebody’s basement or garage, for example—and who lack resources to find their own housing.
  • 75% of homeless children are living “doubled up” in this way.
  • Despite the public perception, Portland is one of the few West Coast cities that saw the number of “unsheltered homeless” decrease last year. The total number of homeless increased, but Portland absorbed them through transitional housing and emergency shelter.
  • The “visibility” of unsheltered homelessness in Portland may seem to be on the rise—everyone sees more tents—but this is because the specific sub-population of people who are “chronic” is increasing. These are people struggling with significant physical or mental disabilities and addiction. “For that population of really vulnerable, sick people, things really are getting worse.”
  • “Homelessness is natural disaster which is re-occurring every day.” Homelessness is unlike a natural disaster because it is not a discrete event, but rather is constantly re-occurring. Just as some people are getting back into housing, new people are losing their housing.
  • Since the population is not static, “building shelter” is too simplistic an answer; efforts must both reduce the number of people coming into homelessness and increase the number of people going out of homelessness.
  • The majority of people who are homeless in Portland did not come to Portland homeless. (The idea that people come to Portland for social services is a misnomer.) 
  • Portland has a “Ticket Home” program. If someone finds themselves in Portland in a situation which threatens to make them homeless, Portland will pay their ticket back if they can verify that they have a housing opportunity where they came from. Because they’re better off with housing where they were than waiting for a shelter to open up in Portland.
  • Over 20,000 people in Multnomah County live on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provides less than $800/month. The median rent for a studio apartment is now $1000 / mo.
  • Such “structural” factors in the economy are working to ensure that the numbers of homelessness will continue to rise. Costs of housing (studio, 1 BR, 2BR) are increasing beyond the limited incomes of vulnerable populations: seniors on social security, as well as disabled veterans, not just people receiving SSI.
  • Federal assistance has slowed dramatically since 2001, shifting the burden to states and localities.
  • The Joint Office’s strategic plan is called “A Home for Everyone.”
  • Prevention of homelessness, and placements into some other permanent housing situation are the best remedies. “We use shelter only if the first two strategies fail.”


In the question and answer period, Marc briefly addressed the upcoming affordable housing bond measure to be on the November ballot (https://multco.us/elections/notice-measure-election-metro-housing-bonds).


The outcome of the measure’s passing, he said, would add about 1300 units of low income housing to our area, several hundred of which would be “deeply affordable,” for the lowest income households.


Part of the initiative includes a constitutional amendment, which would allow municipalities to use general obligation bonds designated for housing to be owned by non-profits or private entities, “which is how most of our affordable housing gets built these days.” (Government may help fund housing, but does not typically own it.) The amendment would allow other forms of financing to come into the project. “Most analysis shows this will result in more units for the same amount of money.”


In response to a question about how the community can address the challenge of homelessness and mental health, Marc said that protecting the Oregon Health Plan is vital. It has created relatively universal access to basic care around mental health.    


Marc referred the community to the Office’s web site for further information and resources on how to help and ways to get involved:



Discussion: Backyard Chickens

Glenn Bridger introduced the topic of backyard animals because a resident complained to HNA about a neighbor with more than three chickens in their yard.


Glen stated for the community’s information that the City currently allows with no permit needed per residence, “three or fewer chickens, ducks, doves, pygmy goats or rabbits.”


The person to contact with questions and concerns about such issues is:

Julia Gisler, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability: 503-823-7624.


Glenn has volunteered to sit on a City commission tasked with revisiting the regulations surrounding backyard animals. Until the regulations are modified, he said, the best course for the HNA to pursue in relation to disputes among neighbors is to recommend mediation.


SWNI Dispute Resolution Findings (see attachment below)

Matt DeRosa handed the Chair to Vice President Jose Gamero so that Matt could introduce a Motion. His Motion concerns the HNA’s response on a dispute brought by Natalia Bronner and appealed to the SWNI.


Natalia filed a Grievance in March relating to how the HNA handled discussions surrounding the Residential Infill Project. The HNA reviewed that Grievance and made its own Findings, after which the Grievance went to SWNI on Appeal.


Matt DeRosa revised, then introduced, an eight-paragraph Motion resolving to do the following:

  • Publicize the SWNI Dispute Resolution Findings on the HNA web site
  • Explore new options to let Members introduce agenda items
  • Encourage the Bylaw Committee to review processes for designating an issue controversial
  • Bring to meetings an up-to-date record of Members eligible to vote at the meeting
  • Conform with mandated protocols for Minutes
  • Commit to timely posting of agendas and timely handling of grievance according to bylaws
  • Update the Minutes of March 2018 to include an apology by the Land Use Chair regarding a misstatement about the HNA’s position on the Residential Infill Project
  • Create a website form to allow consistent creation of Advisory Motions


Leslie Hammond of SWNI commented that the SWNI Dispute Resolution Committee’s view was that such factors should have been taken into consideration to determine the presence of “controversy” as newspaper articles, interviews, and other source materials.


Natalia Bronner thanked Matt DeRosa for introducing the Motion and expressed a wish to move forward. 


UPDATE (added 9/25/18): Natalia thanked Matt for removing a statement from his original Motion questioning the accuracy of her petition. He also said that “new things have come to light that make many of the things we believed untrue to be likely more true, so the original statement is no longer as accurate as we would hope it to be. We need to look at it again because the RIP has changed.


Robert Hamilton asked Natalia Bronner if she considered apologizing for misstatements or factual errors she might have included in a petition she circulated to community residents.


Matt DeRosa intervened, stating that the purpose of his Motion was not to resolve those questions but to take responsibility for matters SWNI has asked the Board to correct.


Leslie Hammond asked to put the dispute into a larger context of work by other neighborhood associations. She said that the SWNI Dispute Resolution Committee presented the case to the representatives of 17 neighborhoods on the SWNI Board. Most of them saw the case as a wakeup call to review more closely and follow their own bylaws.


“People didn't view the HNA as having done something terrible. What they saw was that you hadn't followed your rules, which then put Ms. Bronner at risk in terms of what she was trying to bring to the floor to be discussed. The other neighborhood associations are all going to go back to reread their rules, too, to make sure they are following them.”


She went on, “This could happen to anybody. Ms. Bronner raised two grievances in light of what your rules are. Our job was then to say that when you did not follow your rules that you were in violation of them. …Mrs. Bronner, too, didn't bring the right kind of motion, although she tried hard to do it. So we had say the same kind of thing to her that she hadn’t met the standard of the Advisory Motion according to your rules. Everybody can learn from this. Because the purpose of a neighborhood association is to bring everybody in, to be inclusive, and try to work together and find common ground.”


Discussion ensued about whether the “controversial issue” provision in the bylaws is necessary, since it came from a time when the HNA was member-driven, and has since been superseded by a Board process of “tabling” an issue to delay a vote and allow further needed discussion.


There was general agreement that the Bylaws Review Committee would review this issue as well in its deliberations.


The Board then voted on Matt DeRosa’s multi-part Motion, which was seconded, and passed 10-0.


SW 4th Street ADU

Glenn Bridger introduced a land use issue concerning a residence on 7222 SW 4th Avenue. One interested party was present at the meeting. The owner of the residence, however, who lives in Lake Oswego, was not present.


Glenn stated that if the Board wished to take any action, it was necessary to discuss and hold a vote on such action at the current meeting, since the response deadline was only two days away (September 7).


He went on to state that the homeowner has proposed to convert a daylight basement in the home to an Accessory Dwelling Unit. Currently half of the daylight basement is used as an ADU, the rest as part of the main dwelling unit. Code requires that an ADU not be bigger than 75% of the main unit, or 880 square feet. Once reconfigured, the primary dwelling unit would be 944 square feet, limiting the ADU 708 square feet. The homeowner’s proposal is to create a total ADU size of 879 square feet. 


The resident living near the property stated that they believe the property is currently a rental unit, there’s frequent turnover, the yard is not maintained, the street is clogged with parked vehicles, and sometimes cars are parked in the yard and not the street. The neighbor’s concern is that the proposal will result in the creation of even more rental space, with additional occasional renters (AirBnB) and attendant parking and grounds maintenance challenges. Their hope was to be able to discuss these concerns with the homeowner at the meeting and prevent future problems. She said that neighbors have already crafted a letter expressing such concerns to both the homeowner and the City.


Discussion ensured on precedent. Rick Meigs stated that the HNA has regularly taken positions on private property land use issues such as decks, easements, setbacks, sidewalk requirements, and so forth—usually to help concerned homeowners.


Jose Gamero said that it is difficult to take a position because the footprint of the residence is not being increased and it is not known what the homeowner wants to do with the reconfigured space.


Don Baack moved that the HNA write a letter to the City asking that the code as it exists be enforced in the case of 7222 SW 4th Avenue, including a photograph of the problematic parking issues. Glenn Bridger offered to draft the latter for the President’s approval. The motion was seconded and passed 8-1.


UPDATE (added 9/25/18):

After sending the letter, Glenn Bridger received a call from Marilyn DeVault, owner of the above property. She informed Glenn that she did not receive the letter sent to her at the address in the Land Use notice. She discussed her reasons for wishing to make the requested changes to the dwelling. The change would allow that lower level room be used by the residents of the lower level unit, allowing for quieter separation of the occupancies. 


Marilyn also shared that the parking use on the property is split between the driveway (for use the lower level occupant), and the space in front (for use by the upper level occupant). The street, while narrow, is less likely to be driven on by people who do not live on it than are the streets on either side of 4th. The effort to secure this land use approval, she indicated, is likely to become unnecessary within the next year due to the changes being made to ADUs in the Residential Infill Project.


Glenn agreed to share Marilyn’s concerns with the neighborhood.


UPDATE (added 9/25/18):

Bylaws Review Committee's work has begun but there was not sufficient time at the meeting to discuss. Their the first report follows.


HNA Bylaws Review Committee

Committee Report 9/5/2018

The Bylaws Review Committee was formed by the Board to address Member concerns with regards to governance and the rules for membership, elections, and voting. The Members of the HNA Bylaws Committee are José Gamero, Rupert Ayton, and Adam Light

We have conducted background research before meeting to establish our approach to the task of reviewing and revising the HNA Bylaws which is outlined below.

  1. We’re making a fresh start. The HNA Bylaws were last amended in 2015 in response to a recommendation from the Office of Neighborhood Involvement or ONI (now known as the Office of Civic & Community Life) that neighborhood associations adopt a “board-governed model”. Whereas the 2015 revision added a layer of modifications to the original bylaws and four previous amendments, we have resolved to take a fresh approach beginning with the ONI templates published in 2014. We’ll consult the existing bylaws and consider neighborhood input to create a new set of bylaws.
  2. We will separate policies from bylaws. Our goal is to produce clear bylaws that are readable by any educated lay-person and that can stand alone (without requiring reference to outside rules and standards). We plan to separate bylaws from areas better addressed by board policy. As part of our work we’ll produce a list of suggested board policies. But, with respect to our present charter, we do not assume responsibility for finalizing or completing policies.
  3. We’ll request input through multiple channels at every step. In each step below, we plan to gather feedback through in-person meetings and via online forms. We will keep online channels open for as long as possible to maximize opportunities for feedback.
  4. Bylaw revision process:
    1. Open-ended listening. We’ll begin (without directly referencing existing bylaws) by listening to neighborhood input on the values and purposes of the neighborhood association. As part of this step we plan to conduct a structured listening session at the October 3, HNA meeting.
    2. Bylaws workshop. Next, we’ll organize one or more workshops where interested parties can provide specific input on topical areas such as as membership, elections and voting, committees, board roles, etc. We expect to conduct workshops during October or early November 2018.
    3. Working draft. We’ll then assemble the input we’ve received into a working draft which we will circulate for input. We plan to address online comments through a discussion mechanism and host an in-person discussion forum. We expect to conclude this phase in January 2019.
    4. Final draft. From feedback on the working draft, we will assemble a final draft and present it to the Board with a request that they recommend it to the membership for approval. Some amendments will likely be considered through this process. Depending on how events unfold, we target a March membership vote to allow at least two months prior to May HNA elections.


Jose Gamero reminded the Membership to attend the Strategic Planning Meeting on September 26, and to complete the form he emailed to assist with discussion of progress at the upcoming meeting.


Arnie Panitch expressed concerns about continuing to hold meetings at the Greater Portland Bible Church location, since he has difficulties of access.  There was some discussion of tradeoffs particularly the use of Wi-Fi. GPBC has good Wi-Fi capability, which enables more people to attend the meetings remotely.


Jose Gamero pledged to address the issue of location during the upcoming planning meeting.


Don Baack underscored the importance of having printed Agendas and printed motions available to meeting participants in the future.


The meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm.


William Reese, Secretary  



Keturah Pennington asked that the Minutes include a note regarding the reorganization of ONI as OCCL as it relates to changes to the Crime Prevention team. To request a Crime Prevention training, please visit portlandoregon.gov/civic/70447. Residential Crime prevention topics include, among others:

  • Bike theft
  • Car theft
  • Identity theft
  • Burglary
  • Package theft
  • Recognizing and responding to illegal activity