The Lents Neighborhood Association June general meeting

Much respect to Robert Schultz who filmed the meeting.

by MARIA JAYNE

Despite the resignation of four board members, the Lents Neighborhood Association general meeting was held with a new agenda and in a different location– outside at Lents Commons.

In order to complete business as a neighborhood association there needs to be a minimum of seven members, and there is an election upcoming in September and are looking for community members to get involved.

@ 2:00 – The meeting was led by Michael Collins, vice chair, and started with a motion to add a statement by former chair Sabina Urdes, which was seconded and the agenda was approved.

@ 19:50 – A CPA on the finance committee, Ben, helped create two-year financial statements for the association to foster financial transparency. The association was also awarded an East Portland Neighborhood Office small grant allotment to help with the future clean up event as mentioned in the last meeting by treasurer Raymond Hites, although this was not covered in the financial statement.

@ 32:40 – Three Portland Police officers spoke about recent instances of street crime and homicides in the area– especially near Walmart and the bike path. Officer Kenneth Huntinghouse said street crimes are being addressed daily and drug abuse issues are being addressed nationwide. He said, “if you feel threatened call 911,” but they are doing what they can to limit these instances. Although threats are still a risk, the bike path is improving and becoming more neighborhoods friendly after the clean up.  

@ 50:30 – Kate Mckenney, Metro park ranger, Lents resident and caretaker of the Multnomah County Cemetery has been doing daily cleaning and surveillance trips in order to enforce cemetery rules and standards while speaking to individuals about their violations and keeping camps off cemetery property.   

@ 58:00 Jonathan Lewis, Lents resident and part of the One Point of Contact reporting system said his team is also working with law enforcement to keep the area safe. He said, “This stuff doesn’t happen overnight, it does take time and I realize that frustrating but we are doing everything we can to address these issues as quickly as possible.” He said progress is being made and social workers are going out and building relationships and providing services to those in need.  

@ 1:05 Jennifer Young gave the city update about the 82nd Avenue corridor in Lents which as seen a lot of negative activity lately however, the mayor’s office said additional revenue is going to be used to fund a variety of programs to improve livability in the city.

These additions will include: a fire community healthcare position, they are converting $4 million of one time funding to ongoing funding, they are adding $3 million in additional investments to get people out of shelters and into housing, they funding an office of neighborhood graffiti remediation, a new parks ranger will be added enforcing hazardous and abandoned boats, they are expanding police behavioral health unit and adding a police houseless community engagement liaison and are also enhancing supportive mental health services. They expect 240 new housing placements, they are converting $4 million housing resources for ongoing placements and safety off streets and they are also adding 100 more year-round shelter beds, 200 more housing placements, ongoing retention services for 80 people, they are adding a full-time emergency management position to ensure no one seeking shelter will be turned away during severe weather.

They are also removing 150 – 250 tons of trash and are planning to clean and clear 30-40 campsites weekly while responding within 48 hours to campsites that require immediate clean up. Two behavioral health response teams will also be added to serve 250 additional people each year with mental health issues and expand service coordination programs.

@ 1:14Sabina Urdes, chair who resigned last Friday, made a statement and read the joint resignation letter from: herself, Christo Brehm, transportation, Lacey Hammerin, secretary and David Carroll, at large. The letter said due to numerous attacks and arguments they will be stepping down and new bylaws need to be created and new board members needs to be trained on board expectations and practices. She said,  “We are happy to discuss our resignation with representatives who may want explore the situation further are offer input to potential resolutions of the dysfunction; otherwise we appreciate the support of all the city organizations over the past year.”

@ 1:18Vicky from the Holgate library has family events every Tuesday on the lawn and other programs and events to get the community involved. Last Tuesday approximately 250 people came to participate and more programs are coming up.

@ 1:20Nicole Green said there is a Lents garage sale on Saturday, July 7th. This year the sale has more than 20 participants signed up to host a sale on their own properties. The day of the sale you can pick up a map from the Lents Community Tool Library to navigate all the sales locations in the neighborhood.

@ 1:21 – Young also made an announcement about an upcoming intersection block party Saturday June 30. The block party will be held to paint a mural designed by Autumn West on the intersection of on SE 84th Avenue and Schiller from 10 am – 6 pm.  All supplies are included and participation is encouraged.   

@ 1:29 – Signups for the upcoming election nominations committee and the bylaws committee are circulating currently. An informational meeting or potential orientation will be held for those interested in becoming board members, which details role commitment and involvement.

A template for the bylaws has been already been created however, committee members are expected to be available for up to two meetings a month for up to six months to establish the new bylaws.

Community members are concerned about diversity for members on the board members and how to facilitate inclusion and to create a safe space for immigrants and underrepresented demographics. The board is interested in hearing recommendations and is actively seeking volunteers and board members now or nominations for the upcoming September elections.

***

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