WNA meeting March 1 2017


Wednesday, March 1, 2017 – 7:00 – 8:30PM



Introductions: Shelly, Luke, Anjala, Shirley, Katie, Beth, Dennis, Andrée, Byron; Maija coming late; Martin, Emily unable to attend. Audience introductions: Shay, Dale, Peter, Liz, Jen, Leslie, Tina, Kent, Linda, Robert, Emily, Linda

Approve agenda for tonight; Beth moves; Byron seconds: all in favor
Approve minutes from January & February: Anjala moves, Andrée seconds, all in favor

Police Officer’s Report, change in procedure: Going forward, this will be replaced in future with a report from a regularly-occurring public safety forum hosted by NECN (Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods) called the Public Safety Action Committee – police representation will be there and then representatives can report back to the Neighborhood Associations – this will be a more efficient use of police time and will provide time for one-on-one conversations as well as group conversations. Who will attend: Some police officers and a commander will be there along with the Neighborhood Deputy District Attorney, and a crime prevention person.

Meeting will occur on the third Thursday of the month from 6-7p. The first half-hour officers will be available for one-on-one conversations as needed, then there will be a 20-minute open forum to talk about issues.

Some topics at this past meeting:

  • Graffiti (there’s an abatement coordinator- can email or call – Liz will find out what is best) [try the PDX Reporter App or go to this page on the city’s website.]
  • Car thefts – there’s been a recent rash in Alameda & Sullivan’s Gulch
  • Humboldt has been hit by a rash of car break-ins – they think some electronic gadget is being used to open cars – police recommend locking manually from inside the car rather than using a remote.
  • Open conversation: Abandoned/suspicious vehicles, what to do about them. (call 503-823-7309 or 503-823-6814)
  • Potholes: can report damage to risk management someone? The city is doing the patch-a-thon right now with an online map of reported potholes; reporting options are 503-823-1700, email pdxroads@portlandoregon.gov or use the PDXReporter smartphone app.


Liz and Dennis Kennedy intend to go to the meetings monthly, so if a community member has questions but can’t make it, let Liz or Dennis know, or get in touch with the board.


Communications Committee – Update on website (gowoodlawn.com) refresh – Shelly

To see the new website under development, go to: Dev.gowoodlawn.com – use the Contact tab to provide feedback. The web team needs help from the Board for messaging for the landing page/home page. They’d like to have the board help craft a message about the Woodlawn community and the Neighborhood Association. Jen has some info she can share about a concept called message architecture; she could help the board run through some exercises to define the key messages. Board general interest assessment: everyone seems pretty interested in contributing to this About Us/Mission type of statement, probably in an interim meeting (at least for the initial exercise). Jen can start by telling us when works for her, we’ll set up a Doodle.

Back to web page updates: the About Us/Mission statement is the main block for now. They’re continuing to update content; gowoodlawn.com as-is will remain live until this project is done.

They also have a new logo suggestion – will keep the trolley as an icon/reminder of our history, but if we want to make magnets or bumper stickers, we might do a different logo that can become identified with Woodlawn. They will try to present the logo ideas next month.


Woodlawn Housing Position statement – review and discuss statement drafted by Land Use Committee regarding our position as WNA on housing in Woodlawn  (the PDF is on our blog)

We’re trying to have a cohesive statement to provide to developers as they enter the neighborhood. We can’t change zoning codes or other city rules but this is a starting place.

Andrée – how many units are being added to the neighborhood?

Answer: over 100 across at least 4 or 5 new or planned buildings

Andrée: reminds everyone that if a building is 28 units or smaller, no parking is required, per current city design rules.

Robert (community member): will these units have retail? Dennis remembers that two new buildings on Dekum (closest to MLK/near the High Water mark) are designed with the first floor units available as live/work, but for the most part these are all residential.

Robert (community member): are there places of public record to look for information on these projects?

Maija: Go to Portlandmaps.com look up an address, then go to the permit tab, see a description of the project (no pictures). Demolition permits are listed on the same tab. If you can’t find information there, email us and we’ll see if we know what is going in. Typically we’re seeing pretty large single-family construction projects; closer to Dekum/MLK it’s multi-family going in. It seems like most multi-family projects we’re seeing are aimed at the rental market; the one exception is Bryant/MLK/Grand – they were going to be condos when we heard from the developer in March 2016 [see minutes here].

Emily (community member): related to the housing platform (which she likes) – what tools do we have to force developers to look at these?

Anjala: developers are required to come talk to the Neighborhood Association. They are not required to abide by our wishes. We have little power, though if they are trying to build outside code, we can make an appeal to the city; citizens have to pay to make appeals but the Neighborhood Association doesn’t. We can’t prevent demolitions, though we can ask for delays. In short we can’t force them to comply with our wishes.

Anjala presents on the draft: based on notes we came up with in our December meeting. Is anything missing that should be on this? We tried to make these affirmative and clear: we want affordable housing; this is what that means.

Two notes:

  1. In 1993 we published the Woodlawn Design Guidelines & want to try to get those to developers as well. LUTC (Land Use & Transportation Committee) may look into updating those.
  2. Parking: we know it’s a huge problem, but we wanted to focus this position on affordable housing and do different statements regarding parking and the design guidelines.

Any questions or clarification?

Andrée: in the past when we’ve had builders come in, they already seem to have their plans drawn up. How do we get this in front of them earlier in their process?

Maija: At the end of 2016 the city passed an inclusionary housing policy – we think it means a certain percentage of units have to be affordable now (we are not clear what the specific rules are; in future we should look into this and how it may affect Woodlawn).

Anjala: [In answer to Andrée] if a project conforms to the current use developers don’t have to run it by us. We’re only notified on larger projects or if they need a variance. At this time we don’t have a way to get our information in front of them earlier. [Speaking to Maija’s point] The inclusionary housing bill led to developers filing 1400+ permits under the older 2016 regulations – so there will be a very long pipeline of projects that won’t be affected by the new rule.

Maija: Another comment: is there something we as residents or a neighborhood could do to take a longer-term look at what is going to be developed next? Think about chunks of land such as the one-level apartments on Grand just north of Dekum – that seems likely to be a development candidate sooner rather than later. It’s owned by someone who’s had it for years. Can we talk to the property owners before they sell to see if they can help guide the next development?

[Another audience member:] Are there other neighborhoods we could learn from? Do others have some hindsight we could benefit from?

Anjala: there’s the NECN  (Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods) – they meet at their office in a monthly land use committee. She shared our statement and learned that two other neighborhoods are creating statements one also; the suggestion came up that it may be time for an umbrella affordable housing statement to be crafted and issued by the NECN. They agreed that is something to work on in future meetings.

Maija: was at a SE Uplift (similar to NECN) land use meeting. The Division Street design guidelines might be useful to look at and see what they’ve learned/can share with us.

Andrée: a lot of the policies in place now came into effect a decade or so ago

Maija: a lot of community members felt surprised by how the rules affect their neighborhoods

Linda: Could someone talk to a developer and ask how could Neighborhood Associations could communicate with them early in the process to try to have some effect?

Shirley: they just care about money; the influence has to be from city hall.

Anjala: recently got notification of intent to develop; asked if we could talk to architects but was told it’s too early in the process.

Maija: propose tabling the statement until next month, let people digest the policy. How should we gather feedback? It’s posted on NextDoor, it’s posted on gowoodlawn.com, come to the LUTC meeting (first Sunday at P’s & Q’s back table 4:30pm) to further discuss.

Shirley: the way you get things done is to get city council to address these topics


Events for 2017 Updates:

Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday, April 15: Peter is going to be running it; Emily has gathered candy & is ready to help. Will need volunteers to help stuff a few days in advance, and show up day-of to scatter them/help with cleanup.

Woodlawn Clean-up – Sat, May 27 – NEED NEW ORGANIZER(S) OR COMMITTEE, also requirements will be strict this year – no construction debris (including wood) allowed (by Metro). Chance for people to do spring cleaning, pay a donation on a per-carload basis. Maija is checking in with Henry V to see if they can accommodate that day. [update: they can, it is on!]

We need one or two volunteers to help make the cleanup happen: logistics – getting haulers to come, recycling to come, getting volunteers to sign up, putting up flyers & signage, coordinating food, collecting food onsite, helping sort the contributions, post stuff on Goodwill/NextDoor for people to come pick up giveaways.

Will be very strict about construction debris. We can’t take any at all – concerns about asbestos contamination.

Shelly, Peter, Beth, Shirley, Maija will be on the committee – signage esp. Shirley will do signs. Anjala passed around a sign up sheet. Maija will connect us with Carlo to see what we need to do. Something new this year with dump fees. [Update: Carlo’s wife and her brother have offered to be the main organizers, all volunteer assistance still gratefully accepted!]

Summer Events – Fundraising Updates – letter is about 95% crafted, just working on the language around asking for dollar amounts from businesses – instead of doing staged contributions

Sunday Parkways comes through Woodlawn July 23

Movie in the park – waiting for confirmation from Parks & Rec

National Night Out – Tues, August 1


Board Business

Treasurer’s Report – Luke: yellow sheet. So far we’re spending less than budgeted across the board.

Land Use & Transportation Committee – Anjala & Dennis

  • Received 2 letters about developer wanting to build 2 27-unit buildings [being built on Dekum between MLK and Grand]. Invited them to come talk and they declined, too soon.
  • Accessory long-term rental 1805 NE Junior Street will be renting out the 2 main bedrooms on short-term basis while living in the basement; ask them with questions. Permit filed/fyi
  • Woodlawn swap & play/ OPH – want a crosswalk; city said yes but have no money, open to having volunteers make it happen. Anjala talked to PTA & Public House together – they are going to investigate a crosswalk project – curb cuts, painting, etc.
  • In past meetings we’ve expressed concern about the 2-way stop at Rosa Parks/Grand – the stop signs were re-oriented so Anjala contacted the city to ask about a 4-way stop. The city prefers not to have four-way stops. Anjala called and submitted an online application. Would be helpful if others would submit comments/calls reporting issues with the intersection. How to report? What about the process for the low/flat speedbumps – they won’t do it based on past experience? Byron thinks the problem is that people are acting like there are zero stop signs; isn’t enforcement really the problem? Could we try using peer pressure/reminding people about the issue? We think the police may not turn out for that, or at least not consistently. Maybe stop signs AND enforcement is the approach? Could a citizen get a speed laser and file a citizen’s report? Can we get flags back on the “new” stop signs? Or can we just tie some balloons to them? Can we add signage like the “Slow Down” ones that people place? Maybe changing it up is the idea – flags, then balloons, etc. Perhaps Dennis & Liz can mention speeding/rules enforcement at the safety meeting they attend. Byron prefers drawing attention to the existing stop signs. Noted. Anjala reiterates anything we can do to document this issue is important.
  • Maija works for Portland parks & rec and they are doing an outreach process to figure out how to spend the final $20 million dollars from a bond. Two town halls coming – Tuesday March 21 at East Portland Community Center with Commissioner Fritz. Things close to Woodlawn: drainage issues at the Woodlawn park & play area; fixing a nearby pool’s mechanical issues. To see the overall project list – go to the parksreplacementbond.org – online comment form available.

NE Coalition of Neighbors Board- Shirley & Dennis

  • Financial report: we have extra money that needs to be spent by June 30 (end of fiscal year); will find out soon what the money can be used for. Neighborhood Associations can put in requests for projects/funding – they’ll know soon how much money will be available.
  • Marine Drive: dangerous in many ways including being a flood plain. 20% of the jobs in Portland are along that corridor – they are currently testing the berm/assessing the area and will have reports soon. May help people get access to flood insurance.
  • Andrée: used to have earthquake insurance but it was cancelled recently because her water heater wasn’t strapped; she rectified that and they still wouldn’t reinstate the policy because her house isn’t retrofitted. So be on the alert for loss of policies. Also noticed her policy says that if she has a gas explosion due to shaking earth, she’s not covered. Anjala: look on NextDoor for people who recommend other insurance companies.

Other topics

Anjala: today’s mail says that city council was voting on a rule today – city is making neighbors cut down problem trees since the city doesn’t have the money to cut them. Dennis says the Oregonian says they tabled that topic.

Luke: last Monday the history pub had a geologist speaker: 35% chance of a massive earthquake in the next 50 years. Get ready. Get the Red Cross emergency prep website for a list.

Maija: Erin Cooper is part of the citywide NET team and is often at our meetings; is there general interest in an earthquake preparedness session? (General nods of agreement.)

Meeting Adjourn –  Next meeting, Wed, April 5

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