I am reading the latest issue and amidst all of the growth and turbulence and congestion of this “New Portland”, there remains The Southeast Examiner and our “old Portland.”
I just love you.
Keep writing about our neighborhoods, the good things we are in PDX, our sustainability and meaningful projects and ideas, and our belief in what is good and right.
Thank you again.
To the editor
I am Erik Matthews a Richmond Neighborhood Association (RNA) board member and I have volunteered my time to the board since June 2015.
I was chair of the RNA Board of Directors from March 2017-July 2018. My service to the board is currently “paused.”. The filing of numerous grievances and a recall petition has forced twelve of the fourteen board members to also “pause” their service or resign in protest of the hostile environment.
First, everyone serving on the RNA board is a volunteer. Most of us have full-time jobs and families and joined the board to enhance connectivity and community.
Second, instead of agreeing to disagree or resolving differences amicably, two board members filed an official grievance against fellow board members in June 2018 for procedural violations.
The SE Uplift Board ruled that a procedural violation had occurred, but it was minor and there was no harm, and suggested board members seek to resolve differences in a more neighborly manner.
Third, the women on the RNA board felt that a hostile environment was being created that worked to diminish their participation, and the majority of the board members signed on pledging to treat each other with respect.
Fourth, on three separate occasions, board members were verbally attacked in the neighborhood by people who had been asked to sign onto the grievance. We can’t imagine what was said to those people to fill them with such intense anger.
Fifth, in January 2019 the same two board members filed yet another grievance against fellow board members alleging more procedural errors. Now a recall petition has been filed against the Chair for the same procedural violations that SE Uplift already ruled were minor.
While minor conflict is hardly unusual on a board, the level of toxicity on this one has been especially acute in the last six months. This is why twelve volunteer board members chose to “pause” their service or resign in protest of the ongoing hostile environment and harassment.
We sincerely want to get back to our volunteer service helping our neighborhood, but this can only happen if there is safety, collaboration and respect for each other. Our hope is the grievances and recall petitions are withdrawn, neighborliness resumes, and we can get back to the business of working together toward our goals of neighborhood engagement and community.
Thank you for reading this. I sincerely love our neighborhood as I know you all do too. It seems a tall order for us all to move forward without dragging the recent baggage of the past with us, but I know it is possible. I would truly enjoy seeing a new start and invite others to join me.
Respectfully and with thanks,
RNA Board Member