Eliot Neighborhood Association Board Meeting Minutes 3/15/21

Present:

  • Allan Rudwick, Co Chair
  • Jimmy Wilson, Co Chair
  • Sue Stringer, Treasurer
  • Jennifer Wilcox, Recorder
  • Patricia Montgomery, Community Outreach
  • Shireen Hassan, Community Outreach
  • Harrison Osborn

Guests:

  • Senator Lew Frederick
  • Sargent Michael Roberts, Portland Police Bureau
  • Others Present:
  • Alaina Hardy
  • Alexis Croucher
  • Andrew Champion
  • Ayasha
  • Ayasha Shamsud
  • Anna Zeigler
  • Craig DeAmbrose
  • Deb Garris
  • Deborah Williams
  • Diana Nunez
  • Eliot
  • Emily
  • Gloria Cash
  • Irena Broadwater
  • Jeanine Morales
  • Julie Doumbia
  • Keli Fagan
  • Kevin Rask
  • Kim Pendell
  • Kira Smith
  • Lakeitha Elliot
  • Liz Fouther-Branch
  • Miguel Guerro
  • Quinton
  • Ray Shellmire
  • Royal Harris
  • S Davis
  • Shei’Meka As-Salaam
  • Tseyin Foo
  • Vicki Guinn, Emanuel Public Relations
  • Victoria West
  • William Kendrix

Meeting started 7:05

Welcome and Introductions

Ground Rules: Sue shared the following ground rules for the discussion:

  • Use “I” statements – speak to your feelings and experiences; don’t speak of or for others.
  • It’s okay to disagree – challenge ideas, not individuals   
  • Talk about everyone with respect and dignity.
  • Respect everyone
  • Practice Active Listening

Dawson Park:  Sargent Roberts from the Portland Police Department was available to answer questions about the current situation in Dawson Park.

  • Question: What actions is PPD taking to deter future violence?
    • Portland Police Bureau took a big hit in terms of staffing this year
    • They are not able to do a lot of proactive policing
    • They are having conversations with city council, mayor’s office
    • The police are trying to be reactive to community concerns
    • The PPB had scheduled walks in the park for seven days prior to the shooting but were only able to accomplish it once, other times called to other shootings in the NE neighborhood
    • As a city we are getting hit really hard by gun violence right now
    • When we have young people involved, police are not the right resource to address the situation.
  • Question: Lots of things have been going on in the park other than shootings (drugs, possible abduction) for a while, how is this being addressed?
    • Has been a livability problem for at least 14 years
    • History of Dawson park not pretty, compounds the problem
    • Drugs: measure 110 is a step backward, legalized everything as a state
    • PPB has created s two person neighborhood response team to address livability issues, Dawson Park number one on the list
  • Question: Who made the decision to cut neighborhood response teams?
    • Cuts were made to every division (traffic, behavioral response team, etc.)
    • Currently functioning at minimal staffing levels
  • Question: What is the priority? (Example of ten officers addressing a Fred Meyer dumpster situation)?  We ask for help in the neighborhood and can’t get that?
    • It was a crowd control call: Crowd threatening to take over the store.
    • Goal was to prevent people from entering the store
    • The issue was the life safety of the store, not the people taking food out of the dumpster.
  • Statement: Dawson Park being number one on the list is an insult to the people in the neighborhood. This is a place for people to congregate. There is no outlet for Black people. People have been stripped of opportunities.
    • The goal of the neighborhood response team is to create safe neighborhoods.  For everyone to have a place to congregate.
  • Statement: The Interfaith Peace Action Collaborative, a collaboration of City of Portland, Sheriff, Multnomah county, faith communities and community members is working to
    • prevent future violence by focusing on those most impacted
    • trying to work together to make a difference

Senator Lew Frederick:

  • I know the history of Dawson Park, I have been watching it for quite a while
  • Dawson Park was the last place in Portland that Bobby Kennedy spoke
  • The gazebo is the top of the theater that was on Russel and Vancouver
  • The gentrification of the neighborhood is a huge issue that has been ignored or dismissed for a long time
  • The Hill Block has been empty for decades with lots of promises
  • That area used to be 30% African American will probably be 10% in the next census
  • When it comes to crime people are making huge mistakes, a lot of the energy has been on the demonstrations.
    • what do we need at Dawson Park?
      • shut down the two streets that go between Williams and Vancouver to shut down the circulation
      • we have a huge problem with weapons, in the past we have had gun buy backs
      • we need to understand why we have so many weapons on the street:
        • people don’t feel safe
        • why don’t they feel safe
        • how do we get something accomplished: who has the weapons, how did they get them?
      • make sure we are going after the people who are causing the problem, not the people who look like the people who are causing the problems
      • how do we recapture a sense of community? This has been a problem for decades
  • Question asked: What about community reform: The community has not had economic investment: jobs programs, technology investment?
    • Response: Have worked on increasing economic investment:
      • examples: electricians unions, workforce development
      • now have additional money to black businesses and individuals and non-profits
      • have money now to focus on housing and jobs
        • used to have a way to tell people about this
  • Comment: We need to talk to the gang members, involve them, we have got to do things differently, we need the networks, the structure that was decimated, Dawson Park is organized, need to have different people in control, invest in the people that have been in the community,
    • Response: gang members have been contacted
  • Discussion of Restitution vs. Reparations
  • Statement: This conversation is needed, need to have local reparations
    • Senator:
  • dealing with expungement issues
  • there have been a number of different paths to take livelihood, houses, many things from the African American community (real estate massacre)
  • Discussion: Jimmy Wilson has a group of black people who are gang members and former gang members who want to try to make a change.  He wants space to meet with them.  He wants it from Emanuel hospital.  He needs support in this process. Senator Frederick agreed to help get space.  
  • Statement: we need to organize on this call to address all the issues from everyone on this call.
  • Senator: we need to have another meeting, let’s keep working on these issues.
  • Shireen Hassan will set another meeting. She asked people to put their contact info in the chat to be contacted for the next meeting.

Kira Smith, Bureau of Environmental Services kira.smith@portlandoregon.gov

The Bureau of Environmental Services works with public, nonprofit, and community partners to protect public health and the environment by preserving and restoring the health of Portland’s watersheds.  Kira is focused on community outreach.  The Bureau offers grants for projects that pair community benefits with pipe work.  Grants can be large (up to $20,000 for projects that help with stormwater) or smaller (up to $500).  There is a rolling deadline for the grant applications.  Can be an individual or a community organization and partnerships are encouraged.

ODOT case:

Allan Moved, Sue seconded to sign onto the lawsuit against ODOT.  No more Freeways is the lead organization and several other organizations have signed on. The lawsuit challenges the finding of no significant impact on the community.  Vote: 4 in favor, 0 against and two abstentions.  The motion passed.

Mural proposal: There has been a proposal to have a mural painted on the PICA building and the neighboring building.  The work will be done by two black artists and will be honoring a black dancer from the 1940’s.  Having murals will help with the graffiti.  Jennifer moved, Sue seconded that we support the proposal.  The motion passed unanimously.

Eliot ByLaws: The next meeting is our general member meeting.  If we want to change the bylaws we can do it at that meeting.  If we want to change something about elections we need to do it at our next meeting in April because we cannot do it at the October meeting since that is when we have elections. We may need to clarify the language about officers.  If you have language for changes to the bylaws please send out proposal to the group.

Minutes:  Sue moved that the January and February minutes be approved, Allan seconded, 5 in favor, 0 opposed, one abstention.  Minutes approved.

Public Comment

  • Pat commented that it was a great story on Jimmy joining NECN
    • It was suggested that there be a once a year meeting with all the neighborhood associations
  • Vicki Guenn from Emanuel reached out to Jimmy to connect, perhaps about the meeting space

There was some discussion about how to structure open meetings and discussions.  Some suggestions were:

  • Do it like congress with giving certain amount of time and people can yield time
  • Should we be muting people who are interrupting?
  • Have second moderator to support and track who should speak next

Meeting Adjourned: 9:42

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