By Jill Riebesehl
Every 10 years, Portland looks anew at its charter (in many ways like the Constitution) under which the city is organized. Julia Meier is Portland’s project manager for the current Charter Commission who spoke to the Hosford-Abernethy NA Board at our January meeting. The Charter Commission will review how our government works. The 20 City Council-selected volunteers have been active for more than a year and will be presenting recommendations in early summer to City Council. If they pass muster, voters will get to choose in November. The Charter Commission’s work will be in two phases, the first to investigate various forms of city governments; perhaps recommend changing ours; and, in concert with that change, to suggest changing the time and manner of our city elections. Phase two will follow later. The commission’s overall goals are to provide for more voices to be heard at elections and for city councilors who will be easy to reach, look like the community they represent, understand community needs, answer to the people and safeguard democracy.
Julia left us with two emails for ideas and suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. She said all suggestions and comments (with names deleted) are available on their website. For general information, visit portland.gov/omf/charter-review-commission/learn-more-about-charter-review-and-meet-your-commissioners. Interested residents can find lots of information on this subject on the internet.
State Rep. Rob Nosse opened our January meeting by laying down several items he hopes will be taken up at this year’s short legislative session (February 1-March 7). He listed farm worker overtime, more legal aid for immigrants, bonuses for COVID-19 essential workers, timber tax reliance and campaign finance review. Our Board had supported Rob’s effort to move along sanctioned housing (which has certain rules). He said he doubts we can get all the housing we need and we are going to need alternatives. He is working with Rep. Dawna Sanchez and a host of groups to attack mental issues. He explained the difficulties of passing campaign finance reform.
In addressing criticisms of the state government, Rob acknowledged that success in delivering services has been slow, but it is now, among other things, sending unemployment checks and housing relief money. Some of the slowdown can be attributed to the difficulty in integrating information technology with established standard operating procedures. Members of the Board discussed further reasons for slow government action and discussed with him the problems with mental and behavioral health services.
HAND’s next meeting is Tuesday, February 15, 7 pm via Zoom. Everyone who resides, has business or is interested in our neighborhood is welcome.
Montavilla Neighborhood Association
By Jacob Loeb
At the January 10 meeting, Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) hosted two engaging conversations focusing on the Portland Charter Review process and a new 10-unit housing village at the Bridgeport United Church of Christ. MNA members and community volunteers hosted a styrofoam recycling event a few days after the meeting, collecting 400 lbs of material.
Charter Review Commission representatives joined the meeting to elaborate on phase 1 of the Portland Charter review process. The conversation outlined possible changes to the mayor’s position and commissioner’s roles in Portland’s government. These proposed changes will appear on the November ballot this year seeking voter approval.
Members of Beacon Village (beaconvillagepdx.org) spoke to the group about the alternative shelters they provide in the parking lot of Bridgeport UCC, along with other supportive services offered to the houseless community. Colin Wonnacott explained his role as Village Coordinator and answered questions from attendees. Most questions centered around ways to support and contribute to a successful program. Beacon Village staff hope this program will become a model for other groups willing to donate their property to these temporary shelters.
On January 15, volunteers gathered in Montavilla Church’s parking lot at 9204 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Members of the community and MNA Board members collected packing styrofoam leftover from the previous year and transported that material to a recycling facility. Residents filled a trailer full of the often discarded material and received over $400 in donations for the MNA operating fund. MNA members expressed their appreciation for access to the church’s property, the event organizer Ron Thrasher and the community volunteers that made this program possible.
The next MNA meeting is on Valentine’s Day, Monday, February 14, 6:30 pm. Details are available at the MNA website (montavilla.org/mna-calendar). Audio recordings of the previous gatherings are available online at montavilla.org/pdx-mna-meeting-podcast.
Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association
By Jim Pierce
Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association holds meetings the third Wednesday of most months to welcome all those who live, work or own property in Mt. Tabor. At its January 19 meeting, MTNA discussed fiscal sponsorships and the success of the Thorburn street safety initiative in which neighbors raised funds for the speed bumps constructed several years ago and more recently, traffic calming measures at specific intersections.
Neighbors raised safety concerns about propane tanks and open fires at a car camp that has been relocating throughout the neighborhood and the lack of hazard coordination between city bureaus. A Board member reported two car fires near Mt. Tabor Park. The Air Quality Action Committee indicated that letters are being prepared for air quality violators. Friends of the Park reported that it is hiring a 30-hour coordinator and that elections will be held in March.
Considerable discussion was given to the Water Bureau’s inaction on filling Reservoir Six’s large basins. Mt. Tabor’s Reservoir task force indicated the inaction to fix and fill the basins is in breach of a resolution implemented at the time of reservoir decommissioning. The resolution called for keeping the basins filled to historic levels. Instead they have been empty for months.
During a report on SE Uplift’s upcoming vote on whether to record meetings, discussion ensued about the need for Coalition transparency in order to avoid misunderstandings and unfounded accusations that pit members against each other. To ensure transparency and avoid misrepresentations, MTNA records its meetings.
The meeting ended with timely reminders that NAs were established as holistic organizations to give all Portlanders voice in city planning by welcoming all groups and individuals. Neighbors are encouraged to attend the next meeting, February 16, 7 pm. For newsletters, minutes, meeting links and more visit mttaborpdx.org.
Richmond Neighborhood Association
By Allen Field
Richmond Neighborhood Association holds its monthly meetings via Zoom the second Monday of the month, 6:30-8:30 pm, except in January when the Board holds an annual Board retreat. The link to preregister for the monthly is on the Agenda, which is posted to the RNA’s website (richmondpdx.org) and sent out to the RNA Announce listserv. To be added to the listserv, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year the Board retreat was held via Zoom. The Board did a SWOT exercise, discussing its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
The next meeting is Monday, February 14. The Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest (NARA) is on the agenda to describe their organization and programming. In the fall, the RNA donated to NARA its net proceeds from a small claims judgment it won. The court awarded it enhanced costs based on the frivolous nature of the lawsuit.
Sunnyside Neighborhood Association
By Gloria Jacobs
How we can build a stronger community for local residents, business owners and members of local worship? Let us know.
We brainstormed fundraising strategies to generate revenue of $5,000 yearly to sustain the neighborhood newsletter, which reaches nearly 3,000 households and 8,000 people. There is a donation link on the website (sunnysideportland.org/donate) for contributions. We are also planning an outreach advertising campaign to local businesses.
We currently have two open positions: Land Use and Transportation Committee Chair and Newsletter Communications and Advertising Lead.
Going forward, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee’s work will be incorporated into the core of the SNA organization. One of the first initiatives will be a Culture Statement for the Sunnyside neighborhood.
The SNA Board does not support PBOT’s proposal for residents to self-fund speed bumps. However, we do support the idea of alternative traffic calming solutions that are more cost efficient and provide a call to action for safety, including paint traffic control signage around crosswalks, stop signs and schools as well as to install planters and trim back landscape overgrowth near stop signs to help create clearer visibility.
To learn more about any of these initiatives or get involved, email email@example.com.
Our next meeting is Thursday, February 10, 7-8 pm with the Board meeting afterwards. The agenda will be posted on the SNA website (sunnysideportland.org) Tuesday, February 8.