Board Members Present: Tom Mertes, Jeff Jones, Nathan Corser, Jim Barta, Pam Lindholm-Levy, Brian Schaeperkoetter, Barb Christopher, William Archer, Peter O’Neil, Dean Gisvold, Bev Burn, Aaron Stuckey, Steven Cole, Susan Hathaway-Marxer and Michela McMahon
Board Members Absent: Christine Cours-Mitchell, Emily Weltman, Kysa Alport, Tiffanie Shakespeare, and Jason Messer.
Visitors: Nikki Johnston, Nora Love, Jim Heuer, and Elizabeth Specht from City of Portland
President Steven Cole called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm. A quorum of board members was present. Dean Gisvold moved approval of the revised September minutes and the October minutes. Jim Barta seconded, the minutes were approved.
No Portland Police Officer present.
Elizabeth Specht from Portland Parks and Recreation Urban Forestry Division presented a program about the City’s upcoming street tree inventory. The City wants to engage neighborhoods in helping to know and improve the City’s street tree canopy. She asked for ICA to consider applying for an inventory of its street trees. The inventory would involve a training session and four summer Saturdays to do the inventory. With the information gleaned from the inventory, Urban Forestry will produce maps to help plan for new trees to increase the City’s canopy. Twenty people are needed to produce an adequate inventory for most neighborhoods. The City’s new tree code will be effective on January 2, 2015. There were many questions about the process and about replacing trees lost to sidewalk repair work. Michaela moved and Peter seconded a motion to submit the application and become part of the process. The motion was approved by all present. Jeff, Michaela, Peter, Pam, Steven, William and Barb all expressed interest in participating in the training.
NECN UPDATE: Peter O’Neil reported on a meeting he had with Gloria Morgan. She asked Peter to request that ICA residents attend NECN meetings. Ms. Moran is an at-large NECN Board member.
It was mentioned that there is no communications fund reimbursement received from NECN yet. Steven said that NECN believes that “a personality difference” is the reason that seven people have left the NECN Board. Apparently, some individuals still associated with NECN believe that Irvington thought it was not getting enough attention. Steve reported that neither the Grant Park NA nor the Sullivans Gulch NA is happy with NECN governance. There was discussion about how difficult it is to start a new NA. Neither NECN Board members nor NECN staff is happy with action taken by the ICA. Steven stated that NECN is funded by a grant contract.
LAND USE: Steven reported that the ICA has submitted an application for PSU graduate student study of the existing Broadway-Weidler Corridor. A formal alliance may be needed because of many interests, among them Eliot, Sullivans Gulch and Grant Park Neighborhood Associations, Lloyd District, Lloyd Center Mall, Go Lloyd, Hollywood Boosters and NEBBA. Steven expects to hear more about a formal alliance in January. The PSU work would be done by end of spring 2015. It is likely that the ICA would have to contribute some funding for the work.
CITY OF PORTLAND’S DEMOLITION POLICY: Dean Gisvold talked about the proposal being put forward by current owners to demolish a contributing structure (at 1727 NW Hoyt Street) in the Alphabet Historic District. It is zoned RH now. Irvington has approximately 12 blocks of RH zoned land between Broadway and Hancock. If the demolition request goes through for the NW Hoyt Street property, it does not portend well for Irvington’s similarly zoned property. This is a concern for supporters and advocates of all the City’s historic district areas.
The Bureau of Development Services turned down the request, as did the Landmarks Commission. The property owners are appealing to City Council to grant the demolition request. Dean is planning to testify at the City Council meeting about the NW Hoyt Street property demolition. Prominent city architects, developers and attorneys are involved on both sides of this particular situation. Those advocating for the demolition say that the density argument is not valid and that the base zoning dominates the historic district. The City Attorney has stated that the historic district zoning dominates the base zoning. The ICA Land Use Committee opposes the demolition and Dean made a motion requesting that the Board authorize his testimony that the ICA approves the staff report and the Landmarks Commission report and opposes the demolition. Peter seconded the motion and all directors present approved it.
UNITED NEIGHBORHOODS FOR REFORM: Dean, Jim Heuer and Barb Christopher led a discussion about City neighborhood associations and their city-wide group effort to change the current demolition regulations. A summit of supporters for the change was held and an on-line petition to endorse changes has been developed. Twenty-five neighborhood associations have already approved the recommention for change of the requirements adopted in 1990 which allow a developer to get a demotion permit if he/she also applies for a building permit on the same day. This means no neighborhood involvement and no real notice given to City residents. The supporters want the City to go back to the 1972 Code language that says 35 days notice is required before a demolition permit can be issued and 120 days is required before a demotion permit can be issued IF a neighborhood association objects to its issuance. The purpose of the 120 days notice is to find an alternative. There were 276 demotions in the City in 2013,and 82 demolitions in the Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood in the last two years. The impact of demolitions is significant...on housing affordability and livability and on the hazardous materials released when a structure is demolished. What’s needed as a better definition of demolition and de-construction and a more inclusive group of people who review proposals. Dean moved and Barb seconded a motion for the ICA to endorse the resolution about changes in the demolition permit process that he plans to introduce to City Council at a December 10 meeting scheduled on the topic. The motion was approved by all directors present, no opposition.
In a somewhat related matter, public comment about revisions to the City’s Comp Plan has been extended to March 11, 2015.
NE 11TH AND SCHUYLER: Owners of the proposed new 12-unit building on the quarter block now used as parking have come back with much better design than originally submitted. The 10-unit Marquis Apartments building will remain on site. There will be no parking; this is a compromise that has been accomplished to avoid a tall, tall building.
TACO BELL PROPERTY BETWEEN BROADWAY AND WEIDLER: The building has been removed. Initially presented as a remodel, the site will have a new building, which is supposed to be a newer, nicer Taco Bell. The application is been approved; the design is going through an adjustment committee
2217 NE 11th AVENUE: An egress window has been approved. This is a Type I request; there will be no appeal.
GOOGLE CABINETS: Dean talked about the equipment cabinets that Google wants to put in on certain non-residential streets, probably Fremont and NE 15th, about one cabinet per block, for the purpose of accommodating fiber optics. A cabinet is supposed to serve 250 households. There will be little, if any notice, before a cabinet is installed and there will be no remedy if one shows up on your street. Dean is monitoring this.
BUDGET REPORT: Jeff distributed three spreadsheets: A summary income statement comparison for the last four years, a proposed budget for October 2014-September 2015, and a Balance Sheet comparison for the last four years. He talked about revenue generation and some changes. There was a lot of discussion about various decisions, including: adding $3,000 to the Charitable Giving Budget (making it $20,000); bumping the amount of the legal defense fund to $10,000 and keeping a “rainy day” account at $10,000. $15,000 was set aside for work on Klickitat Mall, although it was noted that this improvement fund could also be tapped for a Benson Bubbler Fountain if that opportunity ever developed. The “rainy day” account was started in 2013. In terms of capital improvements, it was proposed that funds for the website development be kept at $2,337 and that the amount set aside for park improvements be increased from $10,000 to $23,000. There were questions about the newsletter expense and revenue. There was agreement that board authorization would be required to tap any money from the “rainy day” fund.
There was a lot of discussion about the “rainy day” fund and how it differed from general revenue that the Board might decide was needed for any authorized ICA activity. There was discussion about the makeup of the budget and finance committee and the capital improvement project committee and their chairs. In the end, Tom moved approval of the proposed budget and Jim seconded it. The motion was passed but it was not unanimous. Barb Christopher opposed the budget adoption. Jeff agreed to participate in further discussions to clarify just what the Board wants in its budget and budget documents.
NEWSLETTER: Steven announced that Emily is no longer on the ICA Board because she has moved (just barely) out of the ICA area and she will no longer be doing our newsletter. We need an editor, somebody to do layout, editing and probably lots of writing. Emily has given Steven names of some people that might be interested. Brian said we need to hire a professional, that the work involved demands it. Steven said the newsletter is a one-month project, from the start to the delivery. Dean suggested we consult with the NW Examiner, the northwest Portland area neighborhood paper, about how they get their newsletter written, edited, published and distributed. Dean moved and Barb seconded a motion to hire somebody for no more than $2,000 to do design work for the next issue.
WEBSITE: There is acknowledgement that the ICA needs a simpler website. Barb and Tiffanie have worked on an alternate version, using Square Space, which has a different system than we currently have. “Square Space is made to be used by do-it-yourself types”. Barb and Tiffanie will continue to work on it and intend to have something for review by the end of January. The average cost is $16.00 a month. Christine Cours-Mitchell uses it for her business. One thing does not change though: content for a newsletter is all ICA’s responsibility and obligation. Brian says the existing site works. Barb and Tiffanie say it is non-intuitive. Jeff moved that the ICA try using Square Space and abandon the existing system and approve paying the $16.00 a month. Nathan seconded the motion, but then it was changed to first run a test. This motion was approved and the plan is to have a test run ready for the February meeting.
HOLIDAY PARTY: Steven took a count and ten board members indicated they were planning to attend the party on December 11 at the Irvington Tennis Club. Steve has gotten a big price on two pre-brined turkeys, which he will probably be roasting. There will be music there, supplied by sons of Irvington residents and Steve said that Mr. Amerson may or may not be there, but the party planning will presume his attendance. The party will start at 6:00 pm and Christine is coordinating food donations.
NEW BUSINESS: Steven reported that the Rock N’ Roll HALF Marathon would be held on May 17, the same day as our 2015 Home Tour. There are not likely to be any conflicts however because the sporting event will be over by 10:30 am.
There was a discussion about leaf pick-up and how it was unsatisfactory, particularly around Irvington School. Tom moved and Dean seconded a motion to request that the City crews come back on a Saturday and do another pick-up because so many cars were parked around the school on the last pickup day.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:02 pm.