General Membership Meeting Minutes 2008-10-13

Minutes from the Eliot General Membership Meeting
Monday October 13, 2008
6:30 to 9 PM

Chair Gary Hampton called the meeting to order at 6:36 PM.

Two items were added to the agenda:
– Opening of the N/NE Community Health Center
– Update on the Planned Parenthood building construction

The N/NE Community Health Center is a safety net clinic that serves uninsured adults in inner N/NE. It primarily treats chronic care patients. Their office hours are limited as physicians are volunteers. Patients are seen one evening a week starting at 5:30. The clinic is open another day to follow up with treated patients. They are looking to locate in a house in Eliot. It is in a residential zone but has been used for commercial purposes. The clinic is funded by private donations and grants. Lab services are provided gratis by Legacy. They need approximately 1,200 and 1,600 square feet.

Land Use Chair, Mike Warwick provided an overview of land use issues since the spring membership meeting. The primary issue is the planned expansion of the children’s hospital at Emanuel. The expansion will eliminate double bed rooms in favor of single bed rooms. This is driving the expansion more than adding new beds. There is also a need to bring the facility up to modern health care standards in terms of technology, both room for it and power to support it. The proposed plan will proceed in at least two phases. The first is to replace the parking that will be lost for the new building. That will require demolition of a clinic and parking lot across from Dawson Park at Morris and Vancouver. It will be replaced with a parking structure that will be built to 3 stories but could be expanded to 6. This construction is underway. The second phase is the planned new building, which is expected to be 6 stories and the tallest building on the Emanuel campus. The long vacant lot at Williams and Russell will be used for equipment parking and construction temporarily. The proposed construction has triggered an number of provisions in the agreement Eliot has with Emanuel. This will result in some concessions from Emanuel that will benefit the neighborhood, such as additional landscaping.

Chair Gary Hampton reported on Interstate Urban Renewal District transportation issues. Eliot will receive traffic calming measures and bike corrals as part of the ICURRA streetscape project. Improvements to intersection of the Kerby and Russell and the freeway underpass area are also planned.

Eliot’s Treasurer indicated we have approximately $2,000 in the newsletter account due to aggressive ad sales and about $3,500 in the general fund.

A bond measure for Portland Community College is on the November ballot. Staff from PCC gave a presentation on how the proceeds might be used if it were to pass. The PCC Cascade campus on NE Killingsworth serves over 15,000 students annually. Many of these are the first in their family to attend college. PCC is the primary provider of workforce training in the state (by size). Enrollment continues to increase to meet the needs of an increasingly mobile workforce that requires new skills. Enrollment is up 18% over the past 5 years, 50% at Cascade, and over 5,000 students were turned away last year. The Cascade campus is one of the largest urban community colleges on the west coast. The bond revenues will be used to expand and enhance services. It will be the largest educational bond in State history according to the Oregonian. The last bond issue was 8 years ago and it was for $140 Million. Some of the proceeds will be used expand parking as many of the students are commuters. It was noted that expansion could require use of condemnation as it was for the recent Cascade expansion. That was opposed by the local neighborhood. The trade off between housing and parking for students is a contentious one.

Planned Parenthood is building a new building on MLK and Beech to consolidate its N/NE facilities and expand services to meet growing demand. There have been periodic protests at the site by religious extremists who also intimidated the initial contractor into canceling its contract. They were spreading rumors that they could stop construction of the building so Planned Parenthood wanted to provide a progress report to assure us that construction continues on schedule and currently below budget. PDC sold the land to Planned Parenthood as part of its development mission targeted at MLK. The new building will be 3 stories and includes 5,000 sq. ft. of retail space on MLK and a daycare center, both on MLK. Parking will be behind the building and offices will be on the top floor. Completion is expected in a year (December 2009).

Board elections were held for the Eliot Neighborhood Association Board for the coming year. The membership proposed a slate of candidates for the available positions. Chair Gary Hampton made a motion to confirm the slate as the Board. The motion was seconded by Mike Warwick. The slate consisted of current Board members; Matt Gilley, Chris Yeager, Jim Hlava, Naiomi Sacks, Pauline Bradford, Julia Peters, Joan Ivan, Gary Hampton, Brian Fugate, Kristin Jenkins, Laurie Simpson, Clint Lundmark, and Eric Aronson. It also included new nominees, Penelope and Nathan Miller, Thomas Liddy and Carolina Collier, and Julie Woelfer. The slate was elected by unanimous vote of members present.

Tri-Met came to present its proposed changes to the route of the Number 6 bus route. This line traverses most of NE along MLK to downtown. It is the major route serving downtown employers directly from NE Portland. The proposed route changes anticipate the new streetcar line across the Broadway Bridge and the new Green Line light rail along I-205. The MAX Green Line will follow I-205 to where it intersects the MAX lines going into downtown where it will it serve both Union Station and PSU. This increase in service to downtown from the outer eastside caused Tri-Met to reconsider its current bus routes. One option under review is to realign the north/south service on the numbers 6 and 70 to provide service between Jantzen Beach and Milwaukie instead of direct service to downtown. As proposed, service to Lloyd Center and Benson High School would be improved, but a transfer would be required for current riders to reach downtown destinations. Trr-Met’s process is to meet with their ridership community and incorporate feedback from the meetings into a draft plan that will be followed by public hearings and decisions (they hope) sometime in December. Jim Howell, Eliot resident and transit maven stated that the number 6 line carries over 6,000 passengers daily, making it the second most productive line in the network. Roughly 40% of the passengers continue southbound from the Convention Center, which is where the new route would have them transferring to the MAX. The number 70 has reliability problems he indicated, which he attributed to railroad crossings. Coupling the two lines would reduce overall reliability and result in reduced ridership, which is not a desired outcome. Eliot members were encourages to respond to the Tri-Met survey.

Finally, a presentation of planning for Streetcar was made. Although Tri-Met is the regional “transit” provider, the Streetcar is a uniquely Portland transit mode. It is owned by the City but operated by Tri-Met. The City is conducting a Streetcar Master Planning process to assess potential future demand for streetcar and prospective routes using a combination of engineering and ridership studies and feedback from the community on preferred routes, support for specific routes, and ability of the new lines to stimulate economic development along the route. Eliot members were encouraged to respond to the streetcar survey.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9 PM.

Respectfully submitted by Mike Warwick.