info@gowoodlawn.com

Woodlawn Neighborhood Association January 2021 meeting minutes January 7, 2021

  • Draft minutes until approved in next month’s meeting

7:00 – 7:15 Welcome and Introductions-Meeting is recorded

  • Board members present: Melody Randolph, Maija Spencer, Beth Heins, Anjala Ehelebe, Dennis Kennedy, Nancy Flynn, Thelma Diggs, Shirley Minor, Keith Baich
  • Community: Alex, Chris and Alisa, Erin, Michael, Jennifer, Hannah, Lisa, Kirsten, Stephen, Shira, Erica, Seth, Molly, Camilla, Sarah, Lan, Liz, Rayna, Amanda, others joined later 

 

7:15 – 7:20 Approve December meeting notes and January agenda

  • Anjala moves to approve, Maija seconds, all in favor 
  • Agenda: Beth moves, Dennis seconds, approved 

7:20 – 8:00 General Business

  1. Gun Violence- resources: 
    •  Woodlawn Community Meeting in August, consensus for connection and social support
    • In the past, Woodlawn had neighborhood watch and police liaison, mixed results
    • The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence report to the CDC highlights that conditions such as income inequality, concentrated poverty, under-resourced public services, underperforming schools contribute to gun violence, police brutality and lack of police legitimacy contribute to gun violence: https://efsgv.org/learn/type-of-gun-violence/community-gun-violence/
    • Oakland Ceasefire approach: focus, balance, and fairness (focus on those most likely to commit gun violence with coordinated interventions balancing threat of law enforcement with community assistance and resources)
    • Cure Violence, organization that reduced gun violence in NY, Chicago, Baltimore can be implemented here, but need someone(s) to lead project https://cvg.org/newcure/
    • Recidivism can be reduced with restorative justice https://www.lcjp.org/training-everyone-else
    • Inquiry from KOIN 6-Travis Box

 

Conversation about gun violence – first, to set the stage: historically it was much much worse in the neighborhood. Last August there was a community meeting in the park to try to foster more community connection and engagement. One thing that resulted from that is the Woodlawn discussion group on Facebook (look for Woodlawn Neighborhood Association Discussion Group – it’s private but we’ll admit you).

Maija did some research on what is already happening & available in Portland:  Resources: 

  • Office of Violence Prevention (under the Mayor): https://www.portland.gov/oyvp
  • Community Peace Collaborative – meets every other Friday at 10am (virtual right now) https://www.portland.gov/oyvp/community-peace-collaborative Next meeting is January 8th 2021. 
    • Zoom info for Community Peace Collaborative meeting on Friday: Please join us at the Community Peace Collaborative Public Forum this Friday, January 8th starting at 10:00am. The virtual meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/99829694415
  • Office of Civic Life – Community Safety trainings (look under Neighbors Together link)https://www.portland.gov/civic/communitysafety Tjhe Office of Civic Life helps manage the Neighborhood Associations  – they have staff who offer training opportunities in a program called Neighbors Together – lets groups meet to identify interests and then coordinate training with the group. 

Melody shared about some of the research she did about what has been successful in other communities. 

  • The Oakland Ceasefire approach was especially successful – they saw a 58% decrease in gun violence. 
  • Cure Violence was successful in NY, Chicago, Baltimore – someone might also investigate that.
  • Reducing recidivism – restorative justice – get a team that works alongside but is not part of the police department to mediate meetings with victims and perpetrators. 

 

Opening the conversation for community input or questions: 

Rayna – lives very close to the recent shootings. One observation she has is that intersection NE 7th & Morgan, and NE Morgan in general, is very dark – it’s very easy to go unseen. Traffic also moves very fast down Morgan from MLK to Madrona, often with their lights off – speed bumps might help with that as well.  Lights and speed bumps may not stop the shootings, but may deter some people, or make it easier to identify the people involved in shootings.

Anjala shares that the neighborhood association can help bring attention to the issue at the city level.

Resources: Street Light Request Form https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/192894#:~:text=1.,865%2D5267(LAMP) and https://www.portland.gov/transportation/engineering/request-new-streetlight 

Hannah: works at the city in an unrelated bureau, but observes that neighborhood associations can get heard by the city, especially if they’re willing to make strategic requests and be persistent about it. We should focus on what our top requests are from the city. One thing we could ask is information/knowledge from people who have a history of dealing with gun and gang violence in Woodlawn, to give us some more context.

Anjala volunteers to put in the request for the street light.
Also note that we have a history of gangs in the neighborhood, and there are now probably 3 generations of gang members in Woodlawn.

Chris/Alisa: she witnessed the NYE shooting, which was linked somehow to a shooting on Mallory. One of the victims was a young man from our neighborhood. She’d like us to focus on the safety of the kids who live here and play in the parks, and who could be walking down the streets and get caught in the crossfire. She’s encouraging everyone to get to know their neighbors, instead of turning to NextDoor by default.

Perhaps we can do another community cleanup/garbage pickup for both community connection and to remember we are proud of our neighborhood.

Molly: lives on 6th at Morgan and has been very close to some of the shootings. She’s interested in helping in any way possible.

Stephen: agrees the lighting needs improvement. He lives around 15th & Saratoga and sees a lot of cars racing through the neighborhood – maybe we need more dead ends or blockers so not every street has quick access to Lombard.

Alisa: property owners need to be responsible – there’s a burned-out empty house that has been basically abandoned and nothing has been done.
Spencer lives near it and has tried to get something done without any luck. It might have been sold to a developer (for the storage unit that didn’t get built) but there are certainly people living on the property. Can we as a neighborhood association do something about this? He also agrees that lighting is a problem but has been told there isn’t funding for more.

Lisa: There used to be an ordinance that applied to landlords who had properties with continual crime issues. Also, many years ago there was a street to Killingsworth that was closed off (around NE 14th) specifically because of traffic using it as a cut-through, so there is some precedence for closing off streets. 

Erica: remember these are generational issues often related to poverty – youth outreach and restorative justice are also extremely important. She’s going to look more into some of the information shared.

Hannah: could we pursue a zone change on the property that was burned out? Some people seem interested in pursuing that. Reiterates that we should keep our requests clear – perhaps lighting can be linked to general safety, not trying to lump it into addressing gang violence.

Anjala: comments on getting to know neighbors – during the recent forest fire season she and another neighbor contacted all of their adjacent neighbors to start building community; she  encourages others to do so as well. Also: come to the Land Use & Transportation meetings to talk lighting, speed bumps, other efforts.

Jennifer: outreach for kids is so important – people are desperate without money, jobs, community, and kids and their families need support.

Comments from others in the community: Adopt One Block will provide you with a grabber and gloves to clean up your adopted block. 

Our PTA: https://woodlawnwildcats.org/pta/ – includes a link to donate to the community resilience fund: https://woodlawn-806881.square.site/

 

Other resources: 

Link to Portland Graffiti Program: https://www.portland.gov/civic/graffiti 

Previous clean ups organized through: https://www.solveoregon.org (they provide bags, grabbers, gloves, and disposal)

Potential topic for a future meeting: ways to support community businesses beyond personal purchases, particularly those owned by BIPOC folks.

There seems to be interest in discussing this further – perhaps the Woodlawn discussion group on Facebook (look for Woodlawn Neighborhood Association Discussion Group and ask to join) is a good place to continue connecting. 

Back to the agenda: 

  1. KATU Tina Sillers inquiry
    • Top concerns for WNA: we can report to her that gun violence is high on that list; Melody will share some information with her. Happy to have anyone who wants to volunteer to talk to the media. 
    • Her team working on current homeless crisis and COVID’s impact on the city.

  2. Applications open until 1/17 for New Portlanders Policy Commission (NPPC) to integrate immigrant and refugee communities’ voices into the City policies and decision-making.
    • Application available in at bit.ly/NPCCapp
    • For questions, contact Community Engagement Program Coordinator at Marco.Mejia@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-8548.

 

8:00 – 8:20 Board Business-Francesca has stepped down

  1. Treasurer’s Report-Dennis Kennedy-DOJ Delinquent Annual Report for 2014 Fiscal Year
    1. Our balance is the same as last month: $7600 and change. We no longer have any ways to bring in money since we used to get donations from our local businesses, and used the spring cleanup as a fundraiser (cancelled for 2020 due to Covid, unsure about 2021). 
    2. We got a letter from the state about a missing 2014 form, but fortunately Luke had that information in a notebook he’d given to Dennis, and we had submitted it. Dennis sent a copy and the situation has been sorted out.

  2. Land Use and Transportation-Anjala Ehelebe
    1. Meet by Zoom, ad hoc instead of monthly for now. 
    2. Collecting interested emails and is willing to call a meeting with the interest in lighting and speed bumps
    3. In December they discussed: city changing historic design guidelines to make it harder to demolish homes that contribute to a neighborhood’s historic aspect. They had a person from the city explain this to them – if there’s a house that has historic value, there’s a 120-day delay before being demolished, and more hoops for the would-be demolisher to pass. 
    4. Columbia River Crossing was a plan to replace the I-5 bridge but failed in the past. The process has now restarted, and we need to pay attention as any construction might cause a lot of disruptions. 
    5. A few months ago a woman named Bird spoke with us about people whose houses were taken via eminent domain when Emanuel was going to expand, but never did (1971-73 time frame). Prosper Portland has expressed interest in building more affordable housing in that area, but the displaced owners are still owed reparations – keep an ear out for more on this topic. 
  3. Farmer’s Market-Keith Baich
    1. $2500 in the bank account; did not meet in December so not much else to report. No progress yet on asking for storage from Classic Foods. 
  4. NECN-Dennis Kennedy
    1. Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods – the umbrella organization WNA belongs to, along with 11 other associations. They publish Hey Neighbor! which is being delivered this week. 
    2. Jessica Rojas is the interim executive director; Dennis or Shirley can help share issues/connect us to NECN. 
  5. NET-Erin Cooper- not here/ no update

 

8:20 – 8:30 Final thoughts, announcements, other upcoming events

  • We have open positions on the board if anyone is interested in joining. 
  • Retro Game Bar next to Koken Market is having a pop-up Japanese comfort food on a weekly basis https://www.rgbpdx.com/yoshi-s-kitchen-pdx 
  • Koken Market is under new ownership – Black-owned – and recently had a facelift, with a big focus on local beer 

 

8:30 Meeting adjourns

Thank you for coming! Hope to see you Wed, February 3rd at 7pm for our next Meeting!