General Meeting
January, 2003

Minutes of the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association Meeting 
January,  2003

January 8, 2003

Since the first Wed.  fell on New Years Day the meeting was held on the second Wed.  The meeting was called to order at 7:08 by President Wes Risher.  The agenda was approved.  The minutes of the last meeting were approved.

Wes introduced Mary Nolan, who had asked to meet with us before the legislature opened on Mon.  This is her second term in the legislature and she likes to stay in touch with the issues that are important to her constituents.

She gave us a brief overview of her position.  She is once again on the Education Committee and will work for dependable future for out schools.  By that she means she is concerned not only about funding, but also about policy structure.  She is also on a special committee to address the pension system, which was a significant budget issue in the last session.  Three of her primary concerns for this session will be: 1) economic stimulus and jobs for Oregonians.  She wants to assist businesses that create jobs that will stay in Oregon; 2) Business management – as a business owner she can see the issue from both the consumer and the business owner side; 3) civil liberties and access to justice.  Other areas of interest can be seen on her web site.

A few days before the meeting the neighborhood had given Mary a list of some of our concerns and she came prepared to discuss many of them.  Some she will look into as time permits.  Rebates, store cash cards, electronic bill paying, and state run liquor stores fall into the latter category.  She listened to the neighborhood suggestions for changing the bottle refund system.  She pointed out that the only way to change the "kicker" is to change the constitution, and the leadership is not sympathetic to that at the moment.  She is very interested in campaign finance reform . On the subject of non-partisan primaries, Mary disagrees, but offered to introduce those who favor it to someone in the legislature who does support the idea.  On the issue of transportation, Mary had gotten the names and addresses of persons in ODOT who could answer questions/help on the neighborhood’s issues and offered to act as liaison to assure timely response to questions/problems. She had to report that there is no good news on the issue of funding for services to the mentally ill.  The legislature has done its best, but when there is a sizable shortfall in revenue, it is unlikely that any group of people will be left uncut.  She pointed out that if measure 28 passes, the cuts will be less.

Other issues were raised at the meeting.  A sales tax has the advantage of being a different, separate funding source (the 3-legged stool) from property tax and income tax.  It has the disadvantages of being more expensive to administer, regressive, and not deductible on the federal tax.  A sales tax on only luxury items doesn’t generate enough income.  Mary would encourage mileage-based insurance to reduce wear on roads and reduce pollution.  She pointed out that a lot of policy issues are related to deciding what behaviors we want to encourage.  It was suggested that schools could save a lot of money if they dropped the Certificate of Mastery program. A lot of discussion followed from many people.  Mary will leave this up to the experts, but expressed in interest in being invited to PTA and NA meetings to hear the public’s opinion.  Schools are one of Mary’s top priorities. When she was asked what we can do, she reiterated, "Pass Measure 28."

Richard Bosch, Parks Project Manager passed around literature about the Wilson Pool renovation which was funded by the Nov.  levy.  Bryan Aptekar, project contact, says construction won’t start for a year and there is a lot of flexibility possible in the design of the new facility. There will be a 4 hr. workshop on March 15 to discuss what will be most suitable.  Public input is encouraged.  Don Baack advised that the City be sure to have clear title to the land, and suggested putting in the footings now for a roof eventually.  Don moved that the Hillsdale Neighborhood send a letter to Commissioner Francisconi thanking him for bringing the Neighborhood into the discussion of the design of the new pool facility so early in the process.  Motion passed.

Eamon Molloy gave us a background on the school closure issue.  Reike is one of the schools proposed for closing.  The school board will decide on Feb. 3.  The main issue is low enrollment in many schools and not enough money to keep a school with an enrollment of less than 300 open.  Several schools in SW fall into this category, so the population at the middle school they feed is also an issue.  As is the relative value of the Reike building and land in comparison to that of other SW schools. Reike could be used as an annex by Wilson.  The land in the Town Center is more valuable than, say, the land Smith School sits on.  But Reike is close to the new library, which will be an asset to the school.  Eamon moved that: "The Hillsdale Neighborhood Association values the presence of Mary Rieke Elementary School within its boundaries and as part of the Hillsdale Town Center as defined in the City of Portland Comprehensive Plan.  As a neighborhood school, Rieke Elementary enhances and promotes our sense of community.  Its central location allows many children, parents and teachers to walk or cycle to the school, thereby enhancing the livability of Hillsdale community.

"The Neighborhood Association wants to be informed on the criteria used to close schools or change school boundaries.  If criteria have not been established, the Hilsdale Neighborhood Association welcomes the opportunity to help establish criteria.

"Hillsdale Neighborhood Association resolves on this date, January 8, 2003, to support the continued presence of Mary Rieke Elementary School as a vibrant part of the Hillsdale community." Motion passed.

Don Baack expressed concern for the traffic problems the closure of Bertha Ct.  for construction will create in the Hillsdale Town Center.  He is particularly concerned about cut-through traffic on Burlingame, a very narrow street with no sidewalks that runs adjacent to Wilson High School.  He moved that the Hillsdale Neighborhood write to PDOT expressing the need for mitigation (traffic calming) for the anticipated increased traffic from the closure of SW Bertha Ct.  during construction.  Motion passed.

Rick Seifert reported that Marty Treece has withdrawn from considering developing part of the triangle north of the Town Center because of the problems with the CC&R’s that are currently on the property. Rick pointed out that Hillsdale got improvements such as the wider sidewalks and the mid-block crossing because we are a Town Center and agreed to accept increased density.  But since the City won’t do anything about lifting the CC&R’s, that negated several years’ work, and Rick thinks we need to urge the City to be more active.  Wes Risher suggested that the property owners need to develop a plan of their own.  The NA can facilitate this. Richard Garfinkle thinks the zoning isn’t right.  It should be done to force more development.  Don Baack suggests that the City should agree to offer to do something, perhaps put in sidewalks, if the Hillsdale Heights residents do come up with a plan.  Richard pointed out that either nothing happens, or someone else does it.  It is not in the hands of the NA.

We will be back to our usual time and meeting place for our Feb.  meting, first Wed.  (Feb 5) at 7:00 pm at St Barnabas Church, 2100 SW Vermont St Randy Leonard, City Councilman in charge of Neighborhoods, will be our guest.  We will have a formal presentation from several neighbors about issues of importance to the Neighborhood.

Meeting adjourned at 9:20.

Keturah Pennington, secretary

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