Introductions: Maija, Beth, Katie, Shirley, Martin, Luke, Byron, Dennis, Anjala. (missing: Andrée, Emily, Shelly)
Audience: Liz Kennedy, Bill Gates with United Methodist church, Dan Blue w/ Woodlawn PTA, Rick Reynolds.
Items to share from the audience: Bill lets us know that on the 15th the church is having a community conversation at their building to talk about repurposing the bldg. as a multicultural impact center – promote the culture of people of color, create multicultural community. 6:30-8p.
Approve agenda: Dennis moves, Byron seconds, all in favor
Approve minutes from Oct: Byron – note to add a detail to the October minutes: add Planning & Sustainability commission. Contact was Micah Meskel w/ Humboldt & Audubon. Beth will update appropriately. Byron moves, Dennis seconds, all in favor.
Officer’s report (if available) – no officer present – brief discussion whether we want to try to re-extend the invitation, but no one seemed to want to push the issue given that the police are rather busy and our meeting may not be the best use of time.
Woodlawn School – PTA update & how we can help. Dan Blue, parent of 2nd grader & 4 year old, has been doing PTA for 2 years.
Board has been in transition the last couple of years, now they have a budget, have a board of elected officers & have committee structure to expand their efforts & impact. New mission statement: Woodlawn PTA organizes families, teachers and community partners in support of Woodlawn School through volunteerism, information sharing, event sponsorship and fundraising in order to strengthen our school community and celebrate the legacy of the Woodlawn community.
Equity focus on all things they do. Demographics are changing radically along with the neighborhood. Two years ago there were 2 white kids in Kindergarten; now K is 70% white. PTA recognizes that’s a huge change for the school community and are looking for equity in all matters – asking questions like, how does any decision or choice benefit all students? How can they support classrooms & teachers?
This year they prioritized some funding – Woodlawn students don’t do many field trips, so PTA funds want to ensure all kids can get out and experience things.
Their second funding priority is classroom support funds for teachers to add to their resources in the classrooms.
Their third funding priority: families in need support funds. Crisis around holidays particularly, some PTA $ earmarked to assist
Events in the schools: movie nights. Harvest math night.
The school has a STEAM focus – science technology engineering arts & math. Last year the school elected to choose a planetary theme – the first in the state – looking up into space and also down at our planet. They are now integrating STEAM into all things they do. 4th & 5th graders are going on a planetarium OMSI field trip. They also funded a mobile planetarium to come to the school for other classes to experience. This reflects the equity mission – all grades are benefitting.
The PTA is working on two signature fundraising events:
- Goal to raise 10k this year: Woodlawn Night Out at the Village Ballroom happened last year – free for Woodlawn families (all their events are free at the door to encourage participation). Event had entertainment, raffles… the next one is April 6 2017 – Thursday. Last year’s was called Party With A Purpose.
- New event this year Jan 26 2017: jazz night & silent auction. Adults only, at the Village Ballroom (this is donated space – thank you to the ballroom!) and one intent of the evening is recognizing the history of the Williams/Albina jazz scene.
How can we support the Woodlawn school & the PTA? Support them by showing up, bidding, spreading the word, getting businesses to donate.
Q; how does field trip transportatoin work? They often pay for a bus. Anjala has a contact at Trimet they might work with. Also, the city is giving out 100k in grants for community projects – perhaps they might look into that. Of that 100k, NECN has 11k to distribute, deadline Feb 28. Anjala is on the community review committee for the school board budget. She can try to help them if she knows what they need. Maija will give Dan and Anjala each other’s contact info.
Shirley: what’s the school enrollment? 350, approximately. 3 sections of all grades except 3rd grade. K-5; class sizes are relatively low, aiming for 18 or under. Shirley mentions that there is a fall cleanup on the school grounds that Ryan Saari does every fall, perhaps he could hook up with us to participate/contribute.
Liz: Wed afternoons the SMART program, go read with kids, they need more people to volunteer.
Dan shares more info: At the last PTA meeting they showed a video called Future Portland – looks at gentrification, Williams, Albina area particularly. Also showed short video about gentrification on Alberta. The elephant in the room is that this is happening really quickly, the PTA wants to peel the lid back around social justice & equity & the history of Woodlawn and the impacts (positive & negative) of gentrification – they want to pursue this conversation within the school community this whole school year.
They are interested in partnerships w/ community organizations, having residents come to the events, stay tuned for more.
Maija: let us know how we can be part of the conversation. Let us know what you can use for the January event: they would love sponsors to help cover cost of food; also looking for auction items – contacts with local businesses, or personal contacts with something to offer? Wineries, cider makers, brewers, connection with a printer .. Most importantly **show up, have fun, participate, bid, enjoy**
Shirley: for a while there was a group having Woodlawn reunions. She’ll ask her brother for the organizer’s name. Used to happen in the spring.
They are online: woodlawnwildcats.org – board has email addresses there.
Planning for next year: Events, activities
These have been our usual events:
- Easter egg hunt – April
- Cleanup – May
- Movie in the park – July
- Sunday Parkways – July-ish timeframe, based on the city’s plans
- National night out – early Aug
Call for ideas:
- In the past mid-Dec the board sponsored a community party for anyone who wanted to attend to celebrate the year’s accomplishments.
- Liz was thinking a pot luck at Classic Foods, come learn more about what’s going on either in Dec or Jan. or a pre-meeting social hour. That idea seems to gain some traction.
- Anjala: used to lead bird watching tours & history walks in the park. Maybe they could be arranged. Cheap, easy to organize. Maybe incorporate the tree inventory knowledge as well.
- Liz: last year was fun with the Halloween turnout; Tamale Boy did something this year for Dia de los Muertos which was great and seemed to be well-attended.
- Shirley: event idea: PDX Repair – a group of people with repair skills. When it’s hosted in a neighborhood it’s free and people bring their broken things to be fixed. Also people there with sewing machines and help with alterations. Shirley will get more info.
Two more PTA/school-specific ideas:
- PTA/Dan asks if there’s a neighborhood business association. The PTA has had some dine-in events with the Oregon Public House, Good Neighbor Pizza, and Ps & Qs. Building on that, it would be neat to have a triangle-wide event where all the restaurants set aside a % of that night’s sales. Last year there was a cider walk in the area at all the businesses. Could be PTA + WNA to coordinate it. NECN will help with a block party request, FYI.
- Martin contributes that he’s involved with the farmer’s market & the PTA has come to promote events; if there’s any way they can help or collaborate they’re willing. Maybe PTA could participate in the holiday market, Dec @ the village ballroom. PTA could do a bake sale thing there, or some other sale options.
Planning for next year: issues
Are there any issues we want to focus on in the coming year? In the past we’ve done transportation of fossil fuels (esp train). Liz: big influx of new people – we could be reaching out to them. Maija used to pull together a list of all the house sales monthly (from Redfin) and then go and deliver a letter welcoming people & telling them how they can get involved. Dennis could make a PDF of the letter & we could send it by private message it to people who join Nextdoor.
Martin: would like to hear more about the Methodist church building, what ideas they have, what plans they may have, what the facilities are like. Bill Gates: have a significant partner for 40 years, the Albina head start. They have committed to continuing the partnership with them. We’re yearning for a space that can bring people together in community. Working with some developers with connections in the area – working with maybe a African-American dance group, a Hispanic art group, to help promote these cultures. One question they’re asking is about affordable housing. They have property and some affordable housing advocates wonder what they can do. Trying to find the right people to be in the conversation. Also want to restart the faith community but will focus on the community building first. Multicultural impact center. Would church retain ownership of the lot, or what? That’s the thought, though funding has to happen – the church wants to change with the times & the neighborhood.
Right now they are in brainstorming mode.
Anjala told a neighbor who suggested they could make the big grassy area home to a tiny house community. Come on the 15th (630-8) to discuss! Want to develop the health & well-being of the neighborhood & community.
How’s the building? Pretty good shape. Albina head start has contributed to upkeep & maintenance. Accessibility is an issue – there are no accessible restrooms, some work must be done. Is it PDC or housing bureau that wants to create cultural centers and is putting money out there? The church is connecting with people who have those connections.
Shirley served on a committee there for a while – so are the Methodists still involved? Yes. The last church Emmaus moved on, right? Yes, just last week. They were good partners, have moved to Gresham b/c a lot of the community was displaced out there. Looking for partners who want to do the right thing for the community.
Planning for next year: summarizing positions taken, looking at frequently raised issues
Another possible project for the year: At our meeting last week we talked about what positions the board has taken in the past (ex we don’t support Pembina; we’ve endorsed different campaigns) – could we put that on our website? Also identify things we don’t have a position on that comes up a lot (housing, parking – we have the same questions every time). Could we state our stance on affordable housing, parking, what we care about – and give to the developers so they know our perspective.
Anjala: 1. we’re presuming everyone has knowledge of the website & reads it. 2. We don’t want to use this as a tool to shut down conversation. Might be at least a primer. 3. Also we have 2 kiosks in the neighborhood that could be updated. 4. How do we teach new board members that we have these resources?
Anjala: as far back as the early 90s we set up the Woodlawn plan, for example and no one knows about it.
Maija: this might at least be a compilation
Anjala: how can we pass on our traditions and group knowledge? Everyone should consider this.
Maija: we can do a rough compilation of things we’ve established in the past as a starting point, and build on from there. Housing and parking come up a lot so she looked up what other neighborhoods are doing. Boise Neighborhood Association did a housing affordability statement, linked on their website as their land use.
One idea Maija had: is there interest, perhaps in Dec, that we devote the meeting to creating an affordable housing statement – what do we value? Invite the rest of the neighborhood to talk about value statement around housing issues, parking in Woodlawn. Create draft, post online, on the kiosks, get some feedback and modify in the Jan meeting.
Beth: I think it’s a great idea, we keep going in circles and the fact is the developers won’t do anything until the city makes them
Martin: maybe we can discuss in meetings, take a different topic in different meetings, then have a lead author take the conversation offline to encapsulate them.
Byron: perhaps we could revisit the positions annually as new boards come in, or things change, may also help provide ways to try to capture dissenting views.
Maija: that could take a chunk of our meeting in Dec, is that okay? General nods.
Treasurer’s report – distributed on paper – got a thank you from Meals on Wheels for our Sept support of their event. Luke & Maija drafted & delivered a thank you letter to our summer sponsors.
Note: we didn’t use our Halloween $250 this year/ Anjala motions we move it forward to January for a second community event. All in favor, none opposed.
- Maija has info on the infill project going to the council this week.
- Anjala: Dennis posted from last meeting, a house trying to get a lot variance 765 NE 8th – no comments on Nextdoor. They’re looking for allowance to have the ADU a bit closer to the property line. Should the board tell the city they have no objections? (The city asks our opinion but it’s not necessarily factored into the final zoning decision.) We don’t know if the neighbor knows what is going on or what their take on the situation is. Maija asks to make sure the neighbor is aware by giving a copy of the letter to the adjoining property owner. Dennis thinks we should table our comment to the city until we know what the neighbor’s position is. Anjala seconds the motion to table it to be sure the owner is aware.
- Action items: at last meeting Rosa Parks & Grand the stop signs were swapped so the stops are on RP. Anjala watched a near t-bone happen, and also has seen all-way stops when not signed. They put it out on Nextdoor that they want to talk to the city about making it an all-way stop, majority respondents liked it, one person didn’t. Do we know why they flipped it? We think because it’s a bike route along Grand. So this might defeat the purpose of the flip. It seems like a busy & dangerous intersection, four-way stop may make sense. Permission to write a letter requesting it? Maija moves to support the land use committee in asking for an all-way stop; Dennis seconds, all in favor.
- Testify about chance to stop building fossil fuel – Nov 10th 2p city council chambers – info being passed around
- Attend a work session about inclusionary zoning housing code – nov 8th 1p – listen only; comments are needed about residential infill project
- Neighbor came up and said they’ve been dealing with an RV behind Classic Foods that has a large number of pet cats – it’s a cat house but can barely move. They do seem to be taking care of the cats. Humane society will foster the cats out & the RV has to move, but the neighbor wants to propose we could ask the city if there is a lot or lots where people with RVs can camp with services, rather than having to hide out on streets. Something to consider. Do we want to pursue this with the city? Does the city own a lot (through foreclosure or something). Do we want them to pursue this? Maija knows there is big discussion about finding shelters, hasn’t heard of empty lots available for RV parking. No decision made.
- At Land Use and Transporation meeting, a developer & home preservationist says the way the rules are written, a neighborhood can raise money to buy & move a home if a developer wants to tear it down, if they want to preserve it. Some cities have land on the outskirts where they park houses worthy of preservation for future saving. Martin: maybe a developer could pursue that? Dennis: right now there is no such thing as a developer who wants to move a house. Maija: is there a house in question? Dennis: not now. Maija: don’t think the city will respond to a what-if. Anjala: the city says it cares about preserving housing stock.. having them designate a place to temporarily store saved houses would be making them prove it. Martin: we don’t know what the demand is for that. Maija: would people pay to move a house twice? Seems unlikely. Anjala: demolition code is so short that there’s no time for moving. Liz: overhead wires make it excessively expensive. Let’s table this – determined not to be the best use of the Land Use Committee at this time.
- Building that is going to be a dialysis center generated a complaint on Nextdoor – a house adjacent to it is developing foundational cracks. She’s not getting any help from the city, someone recommended she check with her homeowner’s insurance company.
- Firehouse is changing hands therefore liquor license had to reapply – FYI the Land Use Committee recommends we approve the request as a formality: sounds like they want to keep the restaurant the same. Martin moves we approve, Maija seconds, all in favor.
- FYI Woodlawn land use and transportation is now the FIRST SUNDAY OF THE MONTH
- We had a letter from Adrian Basile, planning 12 units at the corner of Byrant & Grand. He’s doing an identical project facing onto MLK on the same block. We suggested he go talk to the Land Use committee & then they’ll write the letter to the city confirming his presentation.
More NECN news: Adam Lyons is now officially the director – was serving as interim. They’re working on a newsletter to go out in Jan/in progress.
Farmer’s Market Update – Sunday Dec 11th morning time frame the holiday market at the village ballroom – come out and support the market!
8:30 meeting adjourn. Next meeting: Dec 7th