Letters to the Editor September 2015

Dear Editor:

I am writing to thank you for publishing our information seeking volunteers to help children read in your July 15 edition of The Southeast Examiner (page 6).

We have received an overwhelming response to this article and are excited that, as a result of your readers’ response, our program is filling with excellent volunteers.  Thank you for your support by running our story.

Deborah Shimkus

Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator Metropolitan Family Service 

Dear Editor:

It happens every year at the annual membership meeting of the Richmond Neighborhood Association: there’s an election for half of the seats on the board. The meeting in June was a little unusual.  More than thirty Richmond residents showed up to vote, and three Board members seeking re-election were voted out and replaced by neighbors running for their seats.

It was democracy in action, but it left some of the former board members and other neighbors upset, because one member of the Board had campaigned to get neighbors to turn out and vote in the neighborhood election. That campaigning has led to a petition by disgruntled Richmond residents to recall Doug Klotz and remove him from the Board. The recall election, which is open to all Richmond residents, is scheduled for Monday September 14 at 7 pm in the basement meeting room at Waverly United Christian Church at the corner of SE 33rd Avenue and Woodward.

Why is Doug being recalled? Recall and removal is ordinarily used to throw out the rascals: elected officials who have violated moral or legal norms in their public service.

But Doug Klotz is an honest, scrupulous and public-spirited guy.  He’s served on the board of Richmond Neighborhood Association for 20 years, serving most of that time on the Land Use committee, doing the thankless work of reviewing the many notices of land use applications in Richmond, deciphering the complex language of the city’s zoning code and notices, and alerting the Board to issues in time for the neighborhood to respond.

Doug’s a smart, hard worker, and he would be difficult to replace on the board, but if that’s what residents of Richmond want to do, we will have that chance next May when Doug’s two-year board term comes to an end. That’s when the whole neighborhood will have the opportunity to vote for him or for another candidate at the annual general meeting – not at some hastily-scheduled special meeting for the purpose of recalling Doug.

Doug is being recalled in retaliation for exercising his rights as a resident of Richmond to campaign for a stronger, more representative Board – not because he did anything wrong.

It’s time to end this kind of tit-for-tat squabbling and get the board to work on the real issues that face Richmond.

Our Board should focus on fixing the parking problem around Division St.; developing design standards and processes that give residents more confidence in major projects on the neighborhood’s commercial main streets; making biking and walking safe for all ages throughout Richmond (including Powell Blvd!) and supporting strategies to increase the supply of housing that moderate and low income households can afford in this very desirable part of Portland.

Doug can help us with that work as he has been for years.  That’s why I’m showing up at the “removal” election meeting on September 14 and voting to keep Doug on the Board.  I hope my fellow Richmond neighbors will be there too.

Bob Stacey

Dear Editor:

At the next Richmond Neighborhood Association (RNA) meeting September 14, neighbors will have an opportunity to vote on the removal of RNA board member Doug Klotz. RNA bylaws require board members to abide by a Code of Ethics that includes a commitment to fair and equal treatment.  Because of statements made by Klotz prior to the June 8, 2015 board election, I will vote in favor of removal.

Klotz characterized the then-current board as “less than bike friendly” in posts to bikeloudpdx.org and other cycling community forums. The tone of these posts strikes me as incendiary. Their contents leave no doubt that Klotz intended to sway the vote: his posts instruct readers who to vote for. Member concerns about fair treatment prompted the board to hold mediation in July. When questioned about the pre-election posts and posting that the board was “less than bike friendly”, Klotz’s response was, “Oh, did I say that? I don’t remember saying that.”

The characterization “less than bike friendly” is unjustified: I was in attendance at the November 2014 meeting, where a member asked the RNA to support cycling safety by requesting more speed-reducing measures (e.g. diverters) on Clinton St. The board initiated support for the request: it set expectations for the process timeline, offered suggestions to help address safety concerns, and voted to initiate the process of getting more diverters on Clinton St with PDOT. In January 2015, the neighbor who asked for support filled a vacant board seat. Are these the actions of a “less than bike friendly” board?

At a RNA Land Use Committee meeting on July 2, 2014, Klotz was the only sitting RNA board member in attendance. A newly-elected member whose term started the following week, could not yet act as a board member, and disclosed she had not yet signed the Code of Ethics. Klotz declared he never signed the Code of Ethics (the bylaws allow verbal declaration of agreement). Further comments indicated a dismissive attitude about the binding nature of the Code of Ethics.

Assuming Klotz’s agreement with the Code of Ethics, the tone and content of his pre-election postings in public forums violates the code’s fair treatment component. Many neighbors at the July mediation expressed diminished confidence in the RNA board related to Klotz’s actions.

I expect the board to make decisions in a context of inclusiveness, decisions informed by fair treatment of all members who want to be heard, in order to identify and closely reflect the interests of the Richmond neighborhood. Tolerating Klotz’s questionable interpretation of and regard for the Code of Ethics risks further erosion of confidence in the RNA board, and that is not in the best interest of the neighborhood.`

DeeDee Remington

Richmond Neighborhood Resident for over 20 years.

Dear Editor: 

This letter is in support of Doug Klotz and in opposition to the efforts to recall him from the Richmond Neighborhood Association Board. Doug’s advocacy for the Richmond neighborhood goes back decades and has been carried out in numerous capacities. Two specific examples of his advocacy are highlighted in this letter.

Doug has been a strong advocate for a vibrant, people and pedestrian-friendly neighborhood focusing on transportation issues.  He was cofounder of the pedestrian advocacy group Oregon Walks (formerly the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition) in 1991 and served on its board until 2008. He still serves on the city’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Doug’s committee work and advocacy resulted in a change in building codes for new construction; main entrances are now required to be more inviting, friendly and inclusive for pedestrians, allowing for a better use of sidewalks for a stronger connection to the community.

For four years Doug was a member of a citywide committee to implement the State Transportation Planning Rule.  His efforts helped rewrite zoning codes that require main entrances be constructed for people, not cars.

Doug advocates for a greater reliance on non-motorized transportation, i.e. bicycles, using our own two feet, public transportation and, whenever possible, a decrease in the use of cars for short trips.  (So do health care providers and reputable climate change scientists).

Doug is a gold mine of information on land-use issues that have direct impact on the livability of our neighborhood. For 20 years, he has served as the Land Use committee chair of the neighborhood association. He knows and understands the complexities, principles, changes and needs of city planning designs, requirements and codes. He is able to interpret these for neighbors during meetings and developer presentations, and he advocates for a neighborhood that is vibrant, welcoming to local and small businesses and retaining a character many in our Association desire.  Whenever we have questions about what is going on in the neighborhood with buildings and houses, we call Doug first, not the city.  We know he will respond with clear information and helpful explanations.

Anyone who is passionate about an issue and advocates strongly for it can generate controversy at times. Some may not agree with him, but all should agree that he has the right to state his opinion and be the strong advocate of the Richmond neighborhood that he is.

Doug Klotz deserves your vote to retain him as a member of the RNA Board at the September 14 Richmond Neighborhood Association meeting.

Linda and Tom Ralley

Letter to the Editor:

Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins.

With this Native American Cheyenne Proverb in mind, several days ago, I invited Mayor Hales and Commissioner Dan Salzman to set-up camp for 24-hours, at SE 34rd Ave. and SE Harrison St. where they will then prepare meals — no running water, sleep on the oil-drenched soil, listening to interstate freight traffic speeding down off Marquam Bridge on I-84 and blaring locomotive train whistles. Just before sunrise, search for a user-friendly (unlocked) honey bucket.

In a perfect world, this industrial zoned property at SE 3rd Avenue and SE Harrison St. would be home to Lyft’s rental car parking lot. Maybe, just maybe a wake-up call, after our elected officials walked across the Hawthrone Bridge in search of a safe place to sleep… .

Did I fail to report, when HAND Representatives, CEIC members proposed the Portland Historic Firehouse, located at 3rd Avenue and NW Glisan St., and argued for it quite stoutly, that neither the Mayor of the Commissioner committed to do anything significant to follow up on it. Yes, we’ve ALL been aware of the Lyft response to the PDC RFP since that meeting with the Mayor and Commissioner last month.

Apparently, the Mayor was thinking more about meeting with Pope Francis in Rome, Italy where he would be sleeping either in a five-star hotel or in a friendly Airbnb? Oops, I digress.  We understood, it is the Mayor and City Commissioners who can VETO.

Given a choice, I’d prefer walking two moons in the Mayor’s moccasins, and rest assured R2Dtoo would not left hanging out to dry…

Mary Ann Schwab, Community Advocate

Letters to the Editor September 2015

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