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HNA Minutes April 5, 2017

Hillsdale Neighborhood Association

April 5, 2017

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church

Action Item 2017-4-5-1 Barbara Bowers moved that HNA donate $100 to its April 24 program:  “A Welcoming and Inclusive Community?”.  The motion was seconded and passed 6-0.

Action Item 2017-4-5-2 Robert Hamilton moved that HNA support the candidacy of Don Baack for the Citizen Advisory Committee of the City of Portland Pedestrian Plan.  The motion was seconded and passed 6-0.  (See HNA letter to Commissioner Saltzman and others below.)

Action Item 2017-4-5-3 Leslie Pohl-Kosbau moved that HNA support the project to replace the aging “Hillsdale” signpost.  The motion was seconded and passed 6-0.

The meeting, chaired by Adam Light, began at 7 p.m.  The agenda was modified, members introduced themselves, the bank account ($502) was unchanged, and Sheila Greenlaw-Fink introduced featured speaker Dr. Sharon Meieran, Multnomah County Commissioner.

Dr. Meieran, an emergency room physician, addressed the need for all residents of the neighborhood to consider themselves and to be considered by others as “equals.”  As an “inclusive” community, we should welcome all who choose to reside here, and to respect their civil, Constitutional, and legal rights regardless of their citizenship status, income, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or gender/sexual definition.  She described the Multnomah County government as one whose responsibilities are very broad, even comprehensive, and “inclusivity” is, therefore, inherently embedded in its legal charge and mission.  While it has no zoning responsibilities, it does deal with housing, law enforcement, education, and other matters relating to livability.

Commissioner Meieran then answered member questions pertaining to: immigration, homelessness and collaborative housing approaches, and other matters.  She recommended the documentary film “Thirteen” for its creative program aimed to decrease prison recidivism rates.

Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) leaders Lisa De Graaf (Team Lead; hillsdaleornet@gmail.com) and Becky Cude (beckboileau@gmail.com), along with TSvi (Howard) Epstein, invited members to attend NET training classes at Neveh Shalom’s Stamfer Chapel on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. beginning June  20 and continuing until the end of August.   One hundred new NET volunteers are needed.  The sign-up website is:  www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0d4cafa923a7fc1-basic7.

Adam Light reported on the proposed “Hillsdale Community Playground” to be located at Mary Rieke Elementary School.  Their fundraising goal is $125,000 for new equipment to supplement the existing ones.  Construction is expected to begin in August.

Neighborhood Affairs and Informational Reports

These include:  (1) Reports with request for public input; (2) A public input period; and (3) Reports not requesting public input.


Barbara Bowers reported that the committee worked on the community forum titled A Welcoming and Inclusive Community? It will be held at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church; Monday, April 24, from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m.  Samira Godil, executive director of the Southwest Community Health Center (representing Muslim residents), and Maria Elena Guerrera, executive director of the Farmworker Housing Development Corp. (representing Latinx residents) will be featured speakers.  Questions from the audience will be read and answered.  Refreshments will begin at 6:45 p.m. and presentations at 7:00 p.m.  Board members and others are encouraged to contribute “finger foods” as refreshments and/or a cash donation.


Eric Wilhelm reported that the City is taking applications until April 16 for 15 positions on the CAC for the Pedestrian Plan.  The Board unanimously supported Don Baack’s application.  Eric discussed the qualities the City is seeking in applicants to represent as much of Portland’s geographic diversity as possible while also representing the pedestrian experience necessary to take a holistic systems perspective as well as commercial, business, and economic development knowledge of the City.  Public transportation expertise and an awareness of service to vulnerable communities will also be considered.


Michael Reunert and Robert Hamilton reported SWNI Schools Committee and Hillsdale school news.  To give students and the public greater access to public library services, it was suggested that we investigate the possibility of borrowing a Vancouver, WA, concept:  a “Library Annex” for Multnomah  Village which is totally automated allowing the pick-up of “Holds” as well as “Returns” without the need for a staff member in attendance.  Members were also reminded of a $790 million PPS bond measure on the May ballot.

Robert received a response from Rieke School Principal Sarah Lewins to questions relating to ways to strengthen community support.  The Rieke Art Fair is scheduled for May 7 and a rummage sale is planned for September; donated items are welcome.  Rieke Reading Buddies needs more volunteers.  A solution to reducing the pedestrian crossing risks for young students at Sunset and Capitol Highway is needed and could reduce the need to drive students to school.

SWNI Report and Land Use

Leah Klass read Glenn Bridger’s written reports.  The “Volunteer of the Year” awards has been transformed into “Celebrate Our Success,” the program to be presented on June 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the MAC.  Neighborhood Associations will each submit a story by April 25 highlighting a project or event which resulted in noteworthy benefit to the community.  A poll of members and the Board resulted in the choice of “Hillsdale’s National Night Out,” a project of the Outreach Committee chaired by Barbara Bowers.

SWNI supports a statement by the City and Portland United Against Hate to protest recent “hate activities.”  Also, SWNI is proposing changes to its bylaws and will discuss its “governance process” at the annual retreat on April 29.

One land use notice regarding an AirBnB permit application raised the question of whether anyone other than a property owner could apply for such a permit.  The zoning rules identify the applicant as having to be the “resident” of the dwelling unit; it does not stipulate that it must be the owner.

Other Announcements

Rebecca Tilson (Rebecca.Tilson@portlandoregon.gov) invited members to the Multnomah Arts Center on April 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for the annual SW Watershed Open House, hosted by the City’s Bureau of Environmental Services.

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.


To: City Commissioner Dan Saltzman

From: The Hillsdale Neighborhood Association

Date:  April 13, 2017

SUBJECT:  Recommendation of Don Baack, applicant for the Citizen Advisory Committee, City of Portland Pedestrian Plan.

At its April 5 meeting, the Board of the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association, in consultation with HNA members, unanimously voted to support Don Baack’s application to participate in the 2017 Pedestrian Master Planning Effort.

Don, a very active  Hillsdale resident for over 45 years,  has been leading Southwest and City of Portland efforts to improve the Southwest pedestrian environment for over 21 years. Not only has Don walked most of our SW streets during his daily 2-5 mile exercise, he has also walked many other streets throughout the City of Portland.  His extensive international travels have shown him how other cities and nations have addressed pedestrian infrastructure.  His creation of the 40-plus mile SW Urban Trails network of safe-walking routes on low-traffic streets and other connections included recruiting and leading volunteers who built the important connections.  The “4T Trail” demonstrates his ability to think creatively to bring unique low-cost solutions to challenging situations.

Don has advocated for pedestrian improvements far beyond the boundaries of the Hillsdale community:  working with ODOT to improve pedestrian safety on the exits to the Oregon Zoo from Highway 26; working to install the first Rapid Flashing Beacon at 4900 SW Barbur Boulevard; pushing for other pedestrian crossings on Barbur, especially at SW Lauradel, a key Barbur crossing for people of color and refugees, while he chaired the SWNI Transportation Committee in 2000; supporting Capitol Highway improvements in Multnomah Village over improving Capitol Highway in Hillsdale.

Don has endured walking limitations, has assisted a number of injured hikers in a variety of locations, and has suffered vision issues but is now much improved and is an on-going inspiration to those much younger walkers who struggle to maintain his pace.

Don is the retired owner of a very successful consulting business focused on forest products economic development and retention, from which he retired in 1993.  But, he continues to support small business as an active member of the Hillsdale Business and Professional Association (HBPA),  a strong supporter of SW Trails.

Don showed skill in leading the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association through a contentious boundary dispute with the SW Residential League (SWHRL).  It was amicably settled to the satisfaction of all.  He also showed skill in organizing SWTrails PDX in 2011 as a non-profit organization to advocate for pedestrian infrastructure, conduct walks throughout Southwest Portland, and construct and maintain pedestrian infrastructure.

Don has served for a number of years as a safety advocate of the City of Portland Traffic Safety Committee.   He always rides the bus to the mid-day meetings.

Don and his family have been very involved in the settlement of over 150 refugees from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East–including 12 individuals who lived with the family for up to three years.  The family has also financially and physically supported Neighborhood House and Northeast Emergency Food Pantry on NE 72nd Avenue

Hillsdale, the Southwest, and the City of Portland are very fortunate to still be benefiting from what we refer to as “this force of nature and civic endeavor” named Don Baack.  We proudly recommend that he be selected to serve on the Citizen Advisory Committee.

Sincerely yours,

Robert E. Hamilton, Secretary

Hillsdale Neighborhood Association

Cc. Leah Treat, Director of Transportation; Matt Grumm