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HNA Minutes March 1, 2017

Hillsdale Neighborhood Association

March 1, 2017

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church

The meeting, chaired by Adam Light, began at 7 p.m.  The agenda was modified, members introduced themselves, the bank account balance ($502) was unchanged, and Portland Police Officer Jason Graf provided an update and answered questions.  He asked that members call the “non-emergency” telephone number (503-823-3333) for matters of concern which involve suspicious or unwelcome behavior but not a “crime in process,” a “911” matter.  The police do not generally make “welfare checks” on homeless residents except when the weather is severe and their health may be in danger.  He also discussed car-prowls, graffiti (not investigated on private property).  No new traffic police have been added to Portland in two years.  He reminded us that two license plates (front and rear) are necessary for cars.  He can be reached at:  Jason.Graf@portlandoregon.gov.

Rick Nitti, executive director of Neighborhood House, reported that Turning Point (6552 SW 19th Avenue) will no longer be “transitional housing” but will be part of a new federally funded concept:  Housing First.  It includes two years of funded housing which can be extended beyond 24 months but without the federal subsidy.  No sex-offenders or individuals with drug convictions will be eligible.  Turning Point will accommodate 60-70 people as units are modified.

Andrea Wall (SW 25th Avenue Right-of-Way Restoration Project) reported that 85 volunteers are now participating and that the project received $600 from the SWNI Small Grants Program.  She has submitted another $15,000 of application requests to other funding agencies.  She will meet with the Outreach Committee to discuss a fund raising collaboration at the August National Night Out.  Individuals wanting to make a tax-deductible donation for the purchase of native plants, compost, and gravel for the trail may do so by sending it to:  SOLV; 2000 SW First Avenue; Suite 400; Portland, OR 97201. Important: When making a donation through SOLV, in your checks memo line, be sure to note that it is for the SW 25th Ave ROW Project.

Jim Keiter and John Mills reported on behalf of the Hillsdale Tree Team (HillsdaleTreeTeam@gmail.com).  The City’s Urban Forestry Department started Tree Teams to help meet their educational outreach goals.  They want to plant more trees in public rights-of-way, survey the tree canopy, preserve it, and offer tree-pruning workshops.

Outreach Committee

Leah Klass reported that SWNI’s “Celebrate Success” will showcase Neighborhood Association success stories within the 17-member coalition.  The deadline for submitting our HNA success story, in 300 words or less, is April 28, and the stories will be published June 10.  The committee has also produced a new single-fold handout to encourage attendance at HNA monthly meetings.

The Outreach Committee is planning a Monday, April 24, public forum on immigration and racism; from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at St. Barnabas Church’s parish hall and will offer prepared food.  Members should address questions such as:  Easy ways to make new community members feel welcome and safe; the impact of changing federal policies on immigrants; helping Muslims, and others feeling vulnerable, feel welcome and safe; how to increase local efforts to oppose racism and oppression; how can we act collectively as a Neighborhood Association to oppose racism?

The Committee asked members to help them develop job descriptions for HNA President and Vice President in an effort to increase interest in filling these vacant positions.

HNA’s National Night Out will be Wednesday, August 1, at DeWitt Park.

Arnie Panitch alerted members to the Sanctuary Circle Walk being held at Wilson HS on Sundays at 3 p.m.  Walkers gather at the big tree near The Portland Dance studio.

The Outreach Committee again offered members a chance at the meeting to suggest issues which should be addressed and ways to improve monthly HNA meetings and communications in general.  Flip-chart responses included the following:

Feedback: Hillsdale Successes

  • SW 25th Avenue Restoration Project
  • New Capacity: Tree Team
  • Capitol Highway Planters

Feedback: Questions to Ask our Schools

  • How are we planning on supporting students if IDEA/FARE is appealed?
  • How can the community/school connection be reinforced and explored?
  • How can we reduce traffic to and from schools?
  • Improving connectivity to schools…


  • Like the arrangement of chairs in a circle (2)
  • Liked having several short presentations on things happening in neighborhood: Trees, Turning Point, etc.
  • Appreciated planned time slots and staying on schedule
  • Shorter reports and seeking participation of all present
  • Short reports
  • Keep police officer coming each quarter


  • Drop most of the informational reports – only include a few that need input


  • Announcements: 1-minute max per person for 5-10 minutes
  • more outside speakers on topics of general interest to attract more of the community
  • Robert: Call-in to meetings via new technology
  • Robert: Feature 1 business/vendor/store monthly (e.g. Dairy Hill, Food Front)

Transportation Committee

Eric Wilhelm reported that PBOT is renewing its System Development Charge (SDC) program and project list.  ODOT presented to SWNI Transportation Committee on the striping plan for the Road Safety Audit response project but did not have details on which gaps in the bike lanes would be left or fixed (such as westbound approaching 19th Avenue).  They will not be fixing the bike lane gaps across the Vermont, Newbury, or Multnomah bridges.  They also presented a traffic plan for South Portland Crossroads which creates a jug-handle pattern around Barbur World Foods to feed into I-5 southbound but it poorly addresses pedestrian and bicycle safety in those turning movements.  The SWNI Transportation Committee will be reviewing their action plan at theMarch meeting and is requesting input by March 16.

Schools Committee

Michael Reunert explained that the May ballot includes a bond for school construction and a plan to remove lead from cooking and drinking water.  He also reminded us that schools are “sanctuaries” and referenced an interview with WHS principal Brian Chatard, conducted by Rick Seifert, in the March edition of Southwest Community Connection, in which Chatard stresses that his charge is to protect all students at the high school.

Robert Hamilton read the questions which he is posing to the principals at Mary Rieke Elementary and Robert Gray Middle Schools, as part of the SWNI Schools Committee effort to increase community support, and invited members to add questions they also felt should be asked.

Principal Beth Madison of Robert Gray responded to our questions on March 7:

How has this year been going?  Have there been any surprises?

This year at Robert Gray Middle School has once again been excellent so far. The big surprise was the news that the new federal government structure doesn’t really have much knowledge about anything about schools. Not surprising was that the state budget for the next biennium is dreadfully lacking.

What is happening in the school community currently?  (any events coming up or recently happened?)

Please see our calendar on the RGMS website. Our activities are far too numerous to describe.

What are some events your school does each year? When do they typically occur? Are there any events that the community can support or participate in?

Please see our calendar on the RGMS website. Our activities are far too numerous to describe and recur annually.

Are there any needs the school has?

Our school infrastructure is decaying in continually alarming ways. Our school has the need for the community to support the bonds to rebuild schools and provide repairs.

Are there any pressing issues impacting families within the school that the community should be aware of?

The condition of children and families certainly will not improve in the current political climate that seeks to take away food stamps, access to planned parenthood, education support, health care and so on.

Part II: HNA Questions

  1. How can HNA support students if IDEA/FAPE is appealed?

IDEA is dramatically underfunded as it is. The federal government only supplies a small percentage of the funds it takes to provide this support. School districts are stretched thin trying to provide quality IDEA services. It is hard to say what all will happen with this. None of it bodes well.

  1. How can we reduce traffic to- and from-school?

Let them walk.


Arnie Panitch reminded members of a March 6 Southwest Corridor committee meeting at the Multnomah Art Center at 6:30 p.m.  

The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

Submitted by Robert Hamilton, Secretary