Eliot Neighborhood Association Board meeting minutes April 20, 2020

Chairs: Jimmy Wilson & Allan Rudwick

6:30 pm via ZOOM

Board Members Attending:

  • Allan Rudwick
  • Jonathan Konkol
  • Jim Hlava
  • Sue  Stringer
  • Shireen Hasan
  • Jere Fitterman
  • Jimmy Wilson
  • Jennifer Wilcox
  • Pat Montgomery

Other individuals attending:

  • Aaron Brown of No More Freeways PDX
  • Scott Kocher
  • Monique Gaskins
  • Bradley Baker (Land Use Transportation)
  • Brooke Babcock (Clean Air Committee)
  • Mary Peveto (Executive Director Clean Air)

Meeting Called to Order: 6:35

Welcome & Introductions

The Freeway Fight (Aaron Brown, No More Freeways PDX)

Aaron gave some background information on ODOT’s Rose Quarter Improvement Project.  ODOT wants to expand the freeway, widening I-5 into the backyard of Harriet Tubman Middle School.  No More Freeways is working toward bringing ODOT to court about not being in compliance with laws. Two major tracks:

One track is the Governor’s Executive Order on Climate: Every government agency needs to be held responsible for climate impact. ODOT and OTC are covered by this executive order.

The second track is to focus on the impact on the local neighborhood, to argue that ODOT conducted a truncated environmental assessment

Is the Eliot neighborhood Association willing to be a part of these lawsuits?  We have as an association voted to oppose this several times in the past.

There was much discussion and many questions were raised about being a plaintiff including: What would being a plaintiff mean in this context? How will this affect insurance?

What are the risks? What are other options?

What personal actions would we be expected to take? The tasks we would be responsible for as a plaintiff include: communications, providing quotes to newspapers. Probably not a lot of asks as a whole group, periodic check ins with the organization, making decisions as they come up. 

What is the timeline? Hope to move in the next few weeks, then as long as the project is in process. ODOT claims they will break ground in 2023.

It was decided to move on to the other items on the agenda and provide more background information to members of the committee to help them make a decision.

Neighbors for Clean Air Presentation (Mary Peveto)

Mary gave an overview of Neighbors for Clean Air. They have worked with Harriet Tubman on clean air concerns for years.  They have also worked with the school board to develop an HVAC indoor air quality system to protect the children.  They have an NIH grant to understand total quantity of air impact. 

Their focus: everything they look through is about air quality. Their most recent fight was to petition the state to do rule making around indirect sources of pollution. The single biggest contributor to pollution is using older diesel engines.  HB2007 will regulate the trucks in the Portland metro area. Most diesel pollution comes from non-road sources: construction, rail and marine. They are looking at options right now for how to address this issue.  Want to put the problem of diesel on our radar.  About to launch a new website to help explain this to people and help them understand the problem with diesel air pollution. Diesel the most deadly thing in our air.

Mary suggested we read the series in the Oregonian: Polluted by Money. https://projects.oregonlive.com/polluted-by-money/

It is a political problem.  Associations of contractors have been able to hold off any changes in laws.  We are a dumping ground for old equipment because we have no regulations.  Outside Oregon professional interests are trying to hold the line against Oregon’s progressive interests.

Strategy question: would approaching companies individually trying to have them change their ways be effective?  Mary did that work with Vigor (the shipping company) and made significant changes.  But the Port of Portland won’t make those changes.  Mary states she is happy to work with us if there is a company we want to work with.  She can help them get government grants to make changes.

It was decided that Mary and Jimmy will sit down together to discuss options.  

COVID-19 – Updates on how everyone is doing / things we need right now.

The board members did a general check in about how they were doing during the current crisis and what thoughts or ideas people had. Some highlights included:

  • there is a testing site at One Medical in the parking lot of the Vancouver Baptist Church.  Have to join One Medical to get tested. They are offering free membership for the first 30 days.  An interesting medical model.  The Oasis of Change behind the Elks Lodge are also doing virus testing.
  • Jimmy received a Tri-Met Lift bus. How can he use it for COVID? If anyone has an idea let him know. Could people donate clothes and use it as a traveling clothing center?  Could also pick up food and deliver it.
  • Meals are what is needed because a lot of food sites have shut down. Meals on Wheels has also cut back. It was suggested we put something on the website about how to volunteer with Meals on Wheels


 – NECN update: pushing out a weekly email of resources.  They have an excellent website and their newsletter is on the website. Resources for COVID 19 which includes info about employment, money and housing, and how to get info about help.  They got statements from 92 out of 94 candidates in the upcoming election. Very informative.

 – Treasurer’s report: we are still slowly losing money month after month.  The first three months of this year just over $1000.  Balance: $8300.  Was someone going to reach out to the Blazers?  That is the only source of revenue that we could potentially have. Bringing the Blazer money back should be a top priority.  Jimmy tried to reach out to the person who did it in the past.  He will reach out to Angela to find out who to connect with.  She can potentially help him figure it out. Jere also offered to help. 

Newsletter: Does it make sense to produce 4 issues of the newsletter this year?  Will we have advertisers?  Sue has almost covered the costs for the summer issue.  Have some good ideas for content as well. Will know by the May meeting on what she has or needs.  Now would be a good time to interview neighbors and spotlight on people.

 – Land Use: Not much to tell. Had a short meeting, agreed to move forward with the Rose Quarter Project lawsuit.  Allan will host a meeting to provide background info about the project for those that need it. 

Webmaster– call for a new one: Thursday stepped down from being webmaster.  Sue is currently covering and enjoying learning WordPress.

 Jere, Sue and Allan will coordinate about a communication strategy.

Next month will meet via Zoom again. 

Adjourned 8:31.