A possible upside to the controversy surrounding camps along the Springwater Corridor and Lents Neighborhood Association board: more neighbors are stepping up to serve.
This election is the first time in recent memory that there are multiple candidates for a single position, according to the Lents Neighborhood Association official Facebook page.
Big issues impacting Lents mentioned by candidates and brought up online are: growth / zoning; transportation; how to handle other /future homeless camps in Lents; whether Lents will be the home to new sanctioned homeless camps; and transparency and inclusion online and in meetings.
You have to be present to vote, and the elections will be held at the Lents Seventh Day Adventist Church (8835 SE Woodstock), Tuesday, Sept. 27th @ 7 pm. To vote, you must live, own a business, or run a non-profit in the neighborhood (Lents boundaries).
Jennifer Young, nominations committee chair, reached out to all the candidates for bios. (They can be found on the LNA Facebook page under Visitor Posts in the right column, sixth box from the top.) She wrote that if a candidate if a bio wasn’t included they either declined to participate or didn’t respond.
Nominees for LNA Board positions:
Vice Chair: Michael Collins, Amir Alexander Assasnik
Public Safety: Robert Shultz
Land Use: Cora Potter, Kyle Kuhn
Secretary: Joanne Rees (Luchini)
Treasurer: Ray Hites
At Large: Krista Dennis, Dominique Price, Evelyn O’Connor,
Autumn West, Jennifer Young
Young, who is also running for an at-large seat, said she and other neighbors are concerned that while ballots will be issued at the beginning of the meeting, candidates introductions (and nominations for write-in candidates) won’t be until later in the meeting.
Young said she’d rather have candidate introductions and floor nominations at the beginning of the meeting.
She and other neighbors also were upset Randy Schroeder, a candidate for Public Safety Chair, was left off the official ballot and the agenda wasn’t published with sufficient notice which she says is one week.
She said LNA Chair Judy Low (whose seat isn’t up for re-election) hasn’t been responding to questions about the election, and that some neighbors are organizing to remove her as chair. I also reached out to Low last week to talk about the election, but she didn’t respond.
Young had a lot more to say about why she is running and what she wants to do, but I only included her comments about what she sees as problems with the election process, speaking as the nominations chair.
Each Portland neighborhood association is its own independent non-profit organization that writes its own election rules, said Brian Hoop, ONI Community & Neighborhood Involvement Center program manager, but the City provides support and technical assistance through the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.
Homeless residents of Lents do have the right to participate in the board elections, according to Hoop, a decision based on a consensus of neighborhood coalition leadership. Residents without proof of residency will simply have to attest in writing that they are a resident of Lents, a policy confirmed by tonight’s meeting agenda.
ONI’s Paul Leistner will attend the meeting to outline the role of neighborhood organizations and answer any questions, Hoop said.
Hoop said that while publishing the meeting’s agenda late might not adhere to ONI’s best practices, after a reading of the rules, he said it wouldn’t qualify as grounds to invalidate the election.
According to the bylaws, terms for board members is two years.
Change is most definitely coming to Lents, especially with Portland’s population growth and new Comprehensive Plan now completed. The City looks to its NAs to provide guidance on all kinds of issues, and hopefully the engagement of Lents neighbors will continue— even when the election is completed and the citywide spotlight has moved on.