Minutes of the West End Neighborhood Association (WENA) Meeting
Wednesday, 13 April 2016
Reiche Community Room
Board members present: Jennifer Defilipp (vice-president), Leana Good-Simpson (treasurer), Ian Jacob (president), Wells Lyons, Michel Michaud, Elizabeth Parsons (secretary), Pamela Shaw, Clifford Tremblay
Board members absent: Chip Martin (excused)
Others present: David Argitis (PPD), Sarah Colton (PPD), Rebecca Ermlich (Reich PTO), Casey Gilbert (Portland Downtown), Rosanne Graef, Peter Hall, Jon Hinck, Bruce Hyman, Sandra Kynes, Christine McHale, Janet Mishoe, Ellen Murphy, Susan Nelson, Lin Parsons, Joe Pinto, Ed Rae, Penny Rich, Steven Scharf, Dick Stevens, Penny Stevens, Spencer Thibodeau, Gwynne Williams, Barb Wood, Kara Wooldrik (Portland Trails)
The meeting was called to order at 6:34 PM.
Minutes from March’s meeting were accepted with the correction of adding Pamela Shaw as having been present.
The current total in WENA’s regular account is $1,035.12. The Swim Fund stands at $3,091.01. Expenditures for the month were: $9.80 (postage); $19.17 (stationery); $178.87 (two sidewalk buttlers, location TBD); $46.84 (website expenses); $15 (Clark Street Community Garden plot renewal).
Ian Jacob announced that WENA will save approximately $120 this year since Rob Korobkin has offered to host WENA’s website on his servers. The group offered a round of applause in thanks and agreed to extend to Rob a complementary one-year WENA membership.
David Argitis and Sarah Colton responded to previous inquiries thusly:
- The incident of a child missing at Portland Public Library was a custody matter, non-criminal in nature. One WENA member had received a reverse 911 about two children seen wandering alone but there was no follow on. A request was made that the PPD should do follow on once such matters have been addressed. Dave said he would note this.
- Another report of a child seen wandering in the West End ended up safely.
- Drug arrests that Dave made on Salem Street are still pending matters.
- Dave also arrested someone on Clifford Street the previous Friday. The man had some drugs in his possession but the rumor circulating that he had his pants down near Waynflete School was untrue.
- A WENA member reported seeing cars and a dog searching near 19 West Street. Dave said he would inquire about this matter.
Discussion followed his report and included matters such as these:
- Penny Rich said she will meet with Marie Gray in Parkside to see what they have been able to do about lack of street lighting.
- The Crime Reduction Unit will mount an operation this summer to address ongoing prostitution in the West End.
Spring Street Streetscape Plan Update; Sidewalk Repair and Installation Update
Bruce Hyman, Portland Transportation Program Manager, updated the group on this part of the City’s master plan adopted in June, 2012. Since the full price of these upgrades is expected to be about $4.5 million, the project is proceeding in phases. This year’s phase will focus on bringing sidewalk curbs into ADA compliance. Phase 2 is expected to include additional sidewalk work and street tree planting. Phase 3 will involve lighting.
A discussion followed this presentation. Bruce said he will inform Ian when a more formal visual rendering of the project plan is available for the public.
Portland Trails Presentation
Kara Wooldrik, Executive Director of this non-profit urban land trust spoke with the group about the organization’s current initiatives. Portland Trails has been working with Reiche School to build school grounds that promote curiosity, equal opportunity for learners, green spaces, and diverse play experiences. They are now focusing attention on small trails and spaces, particularly in East Bayside. The trust has just received a grant to work with neighborhoods on ways to enhance their contexts. She said she will return to a WENA meeting to talk about the West End in this regard. A discussion followed her remarks.
Board Member Announcements
- Liz Parsons noted:
- that Sandra Kynes’s new book on herbs has just been published;
- there will be a plant swap before WENA’s June meeting and more information will be forthcoming.
- Ian Jacob said he has been invited to a Neighborhood Association meeting with the Neighborhood Prosecutor, Rich Bianculli, regarding prostitution issues in the city. He will report back at a future WENA meeting.
Member Reports and Announcements
- Ellen Murphy said she would like to institute a “Jane’s Walk” in the West End. Named after Jane Jacobs of Toronto, these walks typically take place the first weekend in May. They are citizen-led opportunities to talk about what makes a neighborhood interesting and livable. Ian said he will discuss this with the board and put out an announcement of a trial walk.
- Rosanne Graef called the group’s attention to a number of matters as follows:
- Congress Square Park officially opens with a festive May Day celebration.
- she, Pamela Shaw, and Troy Moon have identified some areas within the West End that can function as spot pollinator gardens. Donated plants and a watering schedule will be needed. Also, Taylor Street Park could use some volunteer help with weeding and watering.
- the Aging in Place initiative has started a small project interviewing people about their needs. They will also be doing a survey and general meeting in June.
- the City’s Disability Advisory Committee is seeking information on how the Metro can be more helpful to a diverse population. She said that anyone who knows of an issue that drivers can be trained to handle should talk with her.
- an emergency housing meeting is scheduled for 14 April at 6:00 PM at the Parkside Neighborhood Association’s meeting room. The meeting is intended for anyone being affected by evictions.
- Gwynne Williams presented a proposal for establishing a pollinator garden around the perimeter of the Clark Street Community Garden. She passed around a sign-up sheet asking anyone interested in helping to leave an email address.
- Penny Stevens said she wants to see WENA be more active in using the bulletin board on the Brackett Street side of Reiche School. She offered coordinate; Liz offered to help.
- Jon Hinck talked about:
- his work on pesticides as chair of the City’s Energy and Sustainability Committee. The Committee’s next meeting is scheduled for April 27th;
- a national meeting with Beyond Pesticides is taking place in Portland in late April;
- on Tuesday April 24th a screening of the film “How to Change the World” will take place at 7:00 PM, Space Gallery. The film is about Greenpeace.
- Susan Nelson informed the group that the Williston West renovation will include apartments.
- Spencer Thibodeau noted that the ramp on the Clark Street side of Reiche School will be dismantled by the time of WENA’s next meeting.
- Penny Rich asked about the produce from WENA’s use of a community garden space last year. She was told that the produce went to residents of 100 State and to those who attended WENA’s annual August picnic. Herbs growing in the Clark Street Park medicinal herb garden are free for the taking in moderation.
The meeting adjourned at 8:10 PM.