Minutes for April 9th

Steven Cole, President, called the meeting to order at 7:11.

Board members present:  William Archer, Steven Cole, Susan Hathaway-Marxer, Bev Burn, Dean Gisvold, Michela McMahon, Peter O’Neil, Barb Christopher, Jim Barta, Pam Lindholm-Levy, Aaron Stuckey, Christine Coers-Mitchell, Jason Messer

Board members absent:  Tiffanie Shakespeare, Jeff Jones, Brian Schaeperkoetter, Tom Mertes, Nathan Corser, Nathan Christensen, and Kysa Kelleher.  

Visitors:  Shirley Lewton, Kathleen (Kathy) Eaton from The Hollywood Star paper, and Antoine Dean  (Grant grad in 2011).

Dean Gisvold moved to approve the March meeting minutes and Jim Barta and Michaela McMahon seconded.  The minutes were approved.  

No police officer was present.  Concerns were raised by Steve and various board members about the lack of officer attendance for several consecutive meetings.  Issues about car prowls, “homeless” individuals entering private property, package thefts and crime statistics were mentioned.  Dean said that the turnover of police personnel as neighborhood contacts is not helpful if the City’s goal is to have a strong community-policing program.  Steve said that he would be contacting the Police Bureau to request that they resume attending our meetings and suggesting that both the police and the community could benefit from more frequent contact.

LAND USE:  Dean Gisvold, Chair of the Land Use Committee, said that the City’s comp plan approval activity is “rolling along”.  The ICA comments were submitted to the City on time and the ICA’s positions will be pursued through to the appropriate City Council meetings.  Barb and Jim talked about the PDX Coalition for Historic Resources, a group advocating for reasonable and appropriate City staff review of historic building permit issues and demolition requests.  The City Council is supposed to review this process after two years in practice (now) and the Type I review process is considered to be working reasonably well.  

There are two land partitions still pending.  In the first one, the ICA filed a response and is now waiting further notice and/or activity.  In the second one, the concern is a pre-application notice for turning a 100 by 150 lot into two lots, one 30 by 50 feet  and the other 50 by 100 feet.  The ICA rejected this request, which concerns property on the NE corner of 13th and Tillamook. There is a duplex there now; the owner wants more structures there.

There are three pending applications:  one for the Marquis Apts.  Jim Heuer wrote the ICA’s seven-page response to this and submitted it to the Landmarks Commission.  It concerns land at NE 11th and Schuyler, ten units built in 1960, which the owner will keep but he wants to remove the existing parking lot and develop 12 new units on that portion of the site.  

Christine Coers-Mitchell asked about the status of the Blackwater Tavern, the site across from On Point Credit Union.  Nobody seems to know if it is operational and there were questions about the owner’s intention to begin operation.   The next land use committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 30.  

TREE INVENTORY:  Peter O’Neil spoke about the Portland Parks and Recreation led City Tree Inventory that will begin soon.  The goal is to inventory all street trees in Irvington (and certain other areas of the City) this year and four dates have been scheduled for the beginning work.:  three Saturdays mornings and one Wednesday afternoon.  Peter needs six more people to be team leaders; he has six already and all of them need to go for City training.  Their first task after training will be to physically measure and document all Irvington street trees.   

Peter also talked about the City’s Heritage Tree Program.  He said that ten percent of all official Heritage Trees are located in Irvington.  May 1. 2015 is the next deadline to nominate a tree for the program.    It was mentioned that a large tree on the east side of NE 8th, between Brazee and Knott, was taken down today.  

NEWSLETTER:  Steve gave an update.  He is continuing to serve as editor.  He talked about the articles scheduled for the next issue:  Brian Schaeperkoetter will write about the Home Tour, Dean will write about the Comprehensive Plan, Jim Heuer will prepare an article about the walking tours to be held in the neighborhood this coming summer, Barb will write on the website and Peter on the tree inventory project.  Michela talked about the upcoming 40th anniversary of Cloudburst Recycling and was urged to write an article about that important history.

SIDEWALK ISSUES:  Steve reported on the facts known and suspected regarding the many, many citations issued by the City for sidewalk repairs.  He was able to get information from the City for the year 2014 and he learned that an individual named Dan Wallace submitted more than 300 complaints about Irvington addresses.  Steve reports Mr. Wallace must have an issue with Irvington; no other neighborhood has anywhere near the number of complaints filed, as does Irvington.  There are so many, the City is having trouble getting notices out in a timely manner.

Steve talked about the letter he sent to Commissioner Steve Novick, who claimed, in a follow-up conversation, that he didn’t know what he could do about the situation.  Steve and the ICA find this response unacceptable.  There were suggestions about what the City could do to avoid this difficult situation:  specifically, the City could ask for real identification of persons submitting complaints and it could extend the time period for completion of repairs and a reasonable way could be found to trim down heaving sidewalks.  Steve said that it would probably take more publicity or a lawsuit to change the current system.   He said that this issue is requiring a huge amount of time and that ICA residents are upset and frustrated about the notices and the lack of disregard for homeowner situations.

Steve said he would get the letter he sent to Steve Novick on the ICA website so that people can be aware of our activity on the issue.  There was also discussion on how to engage the NEXTDOOR website to circulate information.  

WEBSITE COMMITTEE:  Barb has statistics on the growing activity at the new ICA website.  She passed out a paper showing that 83% of the activity is coming from people using desktops and 17% is coming from mobile phone users.  She made another request for content and photos that can be added to keep the website from becoming dated.

She also mentioned Jim Heuer and Robert Mercer’s summer walking tours.  They will be held in June, July and August and the goal of the tours is to create a positive experience for Irvington and to raise awareness for just how cool the architecture is within Irvington.  

Regarding the situation with the Alameda Overlap Committee and their wish to remove a portion of property, the challenge is now off to the US Government.  Barb expects a decision will be revealed to the State (SHIPO) sometime in July.  There was conversation about having an article in the newsletter about SHIPO’s unanimous decision to keep the boundaries where they are.  She does not know if the Alameda oriented group will appeal.  

Barb talked about the Century Home signs.  There was conversation about the oldest home in Irvington, located on NE 12th between Brazee and Knott.  It belongs to Chris and Sarah Thomas and it was noted that they have wonderful, new and historic ironwork.  

NE BROADWAY/WEIDLER ALLIANCE:  Steve said that there is not much structure and there are no by-laws.  There is disagreement over several issues including better bike lanes and whether a streetcar is appropriate.  A letter to PBOT was sent after the March 12 letter we saw last month which had significant changes from what was approved by the ICA, but we don’t have the new letter.

SUMMER ACTIVITIES:  There was discussion about National Night Out and whether we want to participate.  Regarding summer movies at Irving Park, the first one will be “The Imitation Game” on July 17 and the other will be “Captain America, the Winter Soldier: on August 14.  There will be good music preceding the films.  Whole Foods has signed on to sponsor and there is coordination with the Sabin Neighborhood.  


  1. A letter requesting support for the Benson Bubbler at NE 15th and Broadway has been sent to Commissioner Fish.
  2. Nathan Corser and Steve have come up with a design for improvement of Klickitat Mall, but PSU turned it down. PSU also turned down the Broadway/Weidler study proposal. 
  3. There were questions about what’s going on in our neighborhood concerning Google Fiber.
  4. Pam reported that things are going very well with the HOME TOUR planning, although the Committee is still soliciting volunteer help.
  5. Jason reported that the Irvington Clean-up would be held on Saturday, May 9th at the Holiday Park Church of God on the corner of NE 21st and Tillamook. He needs more volunteers.

There was no other business and the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 pm.

Submitted by Susan Hathaway-Marxer, Secretary, for approval on September 10, 2015.

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