Woodlawn Neighborhood Association General Meeting Minutes (draft until approved at next meeting)

Oct 6, 2021 07:00 PM Pacific Time 


Agenda for October 6th:

7:00 – 7:10 Welcome and Introductions-Meeting is recorded

  1. Chat intros: name, pronouns, topics/speakers you would like at future meetings

Board members present: Melody Randolph, Maija Spencer, Dennis Kennedy, Anjala Ehelebe, Shirley Minor, Nancy Flynn, Keith Baich, Chida Chaemchaeng; not present: Thelma Diggs

Community members present: Lisa, Jacob, Chris, Dallas, Aimee, Elizabeth, Joy, Erin, Aimee, Dan

  1. Approve September meeting notes and October agenda; Beth moves, Dennis seconds, all in favor. 

7:10 – 8:00 Guest Speakers

  1. 7:10 Representative from Soul Business District – unable to join 
  2. 7:20 Acting Captain Jacob Clark, Portland Police Bureau North Precinct: Open for questions from the community. Captain Clark shares some general thoughts: their staffing is very low, violent crime is exploding in Portland, it’s an interesting time to be on the Bureau. They are doing what they can to work through it; he’s only been in his current role for about 6 weeks so doesn’t have a lot of background for the North Precinct as he came from the East Precinct. 

Q: Has the city changed how long it takes to get through the exam process? A: Yes – a couple of years ago they shifted to a national testing model using an online test. The bigger slow-down on hiring is the very thorough background process. They downsized the hiring team/staff before Covid, and the loss of many of their recruiters/background investigators is now showing in a hiring bottleneck. 

  1. Q: is anything being done to add more staff to recruit & do background checks? A: yes, they are trying to improve the headcount, for example by connecting with recent retirees to see if they are interested. 

Q: Are there discussions about trying to hire more officers who live in the city of Portland? A: they’ve always tried to recruit from Portland but have had to recruit nation-wide, including connecting with diverse colleges in other cities/regions. They’re pushing for local hires but not getting very many applicants. 

Q: Is there any community outreach initiative we should know about or can help with? A: It depends on our individual connections and interests. He’ll share feedback from this meeting with his colleagues. The Training Advisory Committee is often recruiting for citizens and is a great way to have meaningful insights and impacts on the police officer training. See https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/61449

Q: What recommendations do you have for us for preventing and/or responding to theft and crime in our neighborhoods? A: Be sure to report if we are the victim of a crime – even with staffing issues/delays in response, it’s important to collect the data to know what’s happening and use for staffing purposes. They’re also working on adding staffing to a gun response team. 

Q: what are the plans once covid is over for community policing (such as officers at farmers markets, in the neighborhoods)? A: this is another staffing/resource issue. They’re working on brainstorming ideas and projects. They’d love to get to do some outreach and casual community visits. 

  1. Is there some thought about how to make a police presence at, for example, a farmer’s market, not threatening to members of the community who may not be comfortable with an armed officer present? A: they’re aware that there is some level of discomfort so they try to be very clear and communicate their plans ahead of time with any organizers they can locate. 

Q: community members have seen cars without license plates and wonder what the ruling is around stopping those drivers? A: police are currently not stopping drivers for minor infractions like expired plates, especially since in these covid times it’s been harder than ever for people to keep up on some of those details. If an officer sees a car with no plates at all or if someone is driving recklessly, they will still stop those drivers. The bigger problem with traffic stops is that police are so busy with calls they don’t have time to pause for traffic stops. 

Q: Is the high number of guns on the streets directly responsible for the shootings? A: it’s hard to say what the specific cure is – it certainly doesn’t help that people are more likely to be carrying a gun since there’s a small chance they’ll be stopped and will get in trouble for having it on hand. This means there’s less impulse control if someone has a gun immediately on hand. 

Q: What does the Focused Intervention Team do? A: it hasn’t started yet; there’s a community oversight unit for that group and the plans for the group are still being formed. The idea is to provide resources to help divert people from criminal activity, but it’s still early days.  

Q: What’s a typical day for a Portland police officer? A: it’s changed tremendously over the last few years. There used to be some down time to be in the community, get a cup of coffee, but now it’s gotten a lot more busy. Shifts are 7a to 5p, then noon-10pm, 4pm-2am; 10pm-8am.

  1. Day shifts will start off cleaning up with calls/events from the night before, then a steady level of calls coming in. Around noon, the call traffic increases. 
  2. B shift comes on at noon, and gets involved with going call to call until their shift ends at 10pm. 
  3. Afternoon shift starts at 4, they are immediately answering calls, and are increasingly busy until midnight-1am. They usually end a shift wrapping up paperwork from their calls.
  4. Night shift tends to cover more higher-priority calls like shootings, stabbings, until about 3-4am, and spends the rest of the shift handling wrapping up their evening
  5. Police are meant to work 4 days on, 3 off, but often pick up extra shifts to cover/fill in. 

Q: Do you believe the department would be open to working with a non-police organization on a restorative justice program-i.e. identifying cases where the offender and victim would benefit from mediation to reduce recidivism and provide victims with a sense of justice and closure.A: yes, they are very interested in those opportunities. They used to have something like that when they had more presence in the schools. One of the problems is that patrol officers are reacting to situations that may not lend themselves to restorative justice in the moment; that might have to come further down the line. 

  1. 7:30 October Elections – our elections occur monthly in October; usually we have an NECN rep here. There are 12 board seats, the first four are required to be filled; the 8 beyond that are optional/at-large. We are an official non-profit corporation and therefore have to have a chair, treasurer, secretary at minimum (as best Dennis knows). 
    1. Chair: Melody Randolph; helps build agenda and watch time on meetings
    2. Vice-chair: Maija Spencer; backs up the chair – not planning to run again but will coach another vice-chair 
    3. Treasurer: Dennis Kennedy; main role is to balance the books and file our non-profit paperwork, state corporation people, and the charities people. He’s willing to do it for another year. He also represents us on the Northeast Coalition of Neighbors board. 
    4. Secretary: Beth Heins – willing to run again
    5. At large members:
      1. Anjala Ehelebe – Land Use & Transportation Chair – would like to continue
      2. Shirley Minor – would like to continue 
      3. Keith Baich – also serves as liaison to the Woodlawn Farmer’s Market – willing to continue
      4. Chida Chaemchaeng – would like to continue on the board
      5. Nancy Flynn – willing to stay on the board, willing to be the other NECN representative 
      6. Thelma – not present this week

Willing to run this year: 
Chair: Melody Randolph
Vice-chair: Chida Chaemchaeng
Secretary: Beth Heins
Treasurer: Dennis Kennedy
At-large members: Anjala Ehelebe, Barbara England (new member), Thelma Diggs (in absentia, she can decline at the next meeting if needed), Shirley Minor, Nancy Flynn, Keith Baich

All in favor, no one opposed. 

 8:00 – 8:20 Board Business

  1. Treasurer’s Report-Dennis Kennedy – same as last month 7294.99; no transactions
  2. Land Use and Transportation-Anjala Ehelebe – 
    1. No notices of changes, no land use notices. There has been activity behind the Methodist church at 15th & Dekum where a modular building is going in for preschool classes under Head Start. 
  3. Farmer’s Market-Erin Cooper/Keith Baich-discuss WNA donation/vote
    1. They’ve had a good season – they sold the trailer, had a good fundraiser at the start of the year. Market runs through October. They have $12,953 so have been running evenly this year; about 1200 in outstanding checks they’re waiting to be cashed. 
    2. Erin: They’ve reached a good point with the market and want to think about investing in how the market can grow and meet the goals of the community. They’re thinking about their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals and really serve the entire community. The SNAP match has grown a lot year over year, which is an important expense but is an expense to consider. They’ve had an offer of a $500 match for their DEI and grantwriting goals, and would like $500 from the neighborhood association, to use to pay the market manager to do some off-season work to meet their priorities. Dallas presents the plan for how the time would be used: 
      1. 10 hours for DEI and equity goals including developing budgets for BIPOC vendor scholarship and snap match
      2. 20 hours for vendor recruitment – both farm and craft vendors
      3. 20 hours for grant applications and fundraising

Observation from Dennis – this is the first year the market has more money than the neighborhood association; the association has had $50 in income this year, but have been spending down our funds without any prospect of income. The person who handled most of our previous fundraising has moved out of the neighborhood. This isn’t sustainable.

Erin: the farmer’s market is realistically the only neighborhood event that’s been ongoing; perhaps the NA can consider that it falls under that description. Adding funding now will let them put in work to be stronger next year. 

Beth: They are bringing a match and a fundraising plan; it’s a separate (but concerning) issue that the Neighborhood Association hasn’t raised any money. Perhaps the Association should make fundraising a priority in the next year, and perhaps this should be our last donation until we have figured out income. Inclined to support the request. 

Maija: In the past the Neighborhood Association has managed to fundraise to match our expenses; we haven’t had expenses so this might be a worthy way to spend some of our money. 

Beth moves to donate $500 to the farmer’s market; Maija seconds it.
Most in favor, one person opposed – motion carries

  1. NECN-Dennis Kennedy
    1. Actively recruiting a new executive director for the NE Coalition of Neighborhoods

  2. NET-Erin Cooper-new training! 
    1. The bulk of trainings are online, candidates can take much of the NET training that way to be ready for the next field trainings when they’re able to resume them.
    2. BEECN – basic earthquake communication node – training sessions are offered regularly and we have a small team in the neighborhood. We would welcome more trained members. 

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

Sunday October 17th – Soul District Association is having their annual fun run and weekend event – https://www.mlkdreamrun.com/ 

8:30 Meeting adjourns


Thank you for coming!

Hope to see you for our next meeting

Wed, November 3rd at 7pm