HAND Community and Board Meeting
April 21, 2009, 7:00 p.m.

Board members present: Chair Alex Bassos, Lois Hankins, Frank Dufay, Liz Gatti, Lindsey McBride, Joseph Murphy, Amy Lewin, Jack Spadero (1st 30 minutes), Wendy Kunkel, Linda Nettekoven, Ethan Timm, Land Use Chair Kina Voelz
Board members not present: Secretary Carolyn Brock, Dave Kaplan, Treasurer Matthew Masini, Sue Pearce, Marilee Tillstrom.

Report on Neighborhood Clean-up 5/2
Liz reported that HAND’s annual postcard had been mailed to all in the neighborhood and several attending had already received them. Amy announced that she had extras for distribution, as requested. Wendy announced that we could place and Ad in the SE Examiner for April, but it would not be distributed until after the Clean-Up. All agreed to not pursue the Ad. Posters were distributed to all interested parties. Liz distributed a chart of all identified team leaders for the day of the Clean-Up and all remaining roles were filled.

Crime Prevention Officer Report:
Officer Leo Yee indicated that the main crime in our neighborhood this month was larceny (theft). He also described a recent series of arrests that were the result of a process of police (led by our NRT officer) and neighbors working together. Based on surveillance and information fed to the police, police approached individuals in a house in Ladd’s Addition (unknown address) which resulted in 3 arrests and recovery of 150 ‘balloons’ of heroin.

We had a lengthy discussion of the value of NRT officers to our neighborhood. Officer Yee indicated that Officer Miro may not be our NRT officer once current reconfiguration ideas are implemented. Linda said that she felt that NRT officers are important to us. Officer Yee feels that it may be too late for effective community outrage. NRT officers address neighborhood livability issues and act as a quarterback regarding resources within the police bureau. Linda will draft a letter to Sizer, Saltzman and Adams expressing concern about the reduction in NRT officers. Given the way problems are resolved in our neighborhood, she believes that NRT officers are very important.

Crime Prevention Coordinator Report:
Havilah Ferschweler reported that she has been involved in the organization of 8 blockwatches in our neighborhood. Right now, neighbors are doing foot patrol, but are adding bike patrols to increase positive presence in the neighborhood and report crime when it occurs.

She also mentioned that there is a meeting concerning moving some of the community-supported homeless meals programs to the East Side on Friday 4/24. Linda spoke a little more about this later in the meeting.

Havilah also mentioned that there has been a graffiti program sponsored by the city whereby the city would clean up the graffiti or provide funds to help with the clean-up. It looks like that program has been completely cut out. On 5/14 there is a summit to determine creative ways to deal with graffiti since homeowners are ultimately responsible for having it cleaned up within a brief timeframe.

Other issues she mentioned are:
• There have been some homeless folks defecating and littering in the street near the Safeway on SE Hawthorne. Those folks have recently been seen on SE Clay.
• There has been speeding traffic and drug dealing around Cleveland High School.

Board Issues
1. Approval of letter supporting ped/bike addition for streetcar bridge (if a bridge gets built)
Doug Klotz requested approval of a letter to the Portland Streetcar, PBOT, ODOT and others regarding a pedestrian/bike bridge abutment be added to the base of the Willamette adjacent to the Streetcar Bridge abutment at the same time that the Streetcar abutment is made. This would facilitate the building of a ped/bike bridge when funds are available. The letter was distributed earlier in the day via email by Linda. Linda moved and Liz seconded. All board members present approved unanimously.

2. Approval of minutes
Frank moved and Ethan seconded to approve minutes of March meeting. All board members present approved, except Liz and Wendy abstained.

3. Approval of Portland Triathlon’s use of the Eastbank Esplanade
Alex reported that there had been no complaints based on the Triathlon’s use of the Esplanade last year. It is a competitive event, which goes against the rules of use for the Esplanade. Amy moved and Linda seconded that we approve the Portland Triathlon’s use of the Esplanade for yet another year. It passed unanimously with Lindsey abstaining.

4. Approval of support for SB 907 – a design review hearing
Some board and community members expressed support, but no letter will be generated from HAND.

1. Manna ministries – Linda
Linda mentioned the meeting on 4/24 led by Nick Fish to discuss the future location of several outdoor homeless meals programs. She asked if any HAND board members could attend as she would be out of town. None were identified at the meeting.

2. Washington High School Community Center – Liz
Liz reported that there had been a well-attended community open house in early April regarding our new community center. She asked for community members to provide her with input and encouraged them to attend future open houses.

Alex asked all in attendance to introduce themselves as we had many community members and guests.

Community Issues
Eastside Max – an open discussion
David Unsworth, Jennifer Kouzer and Claudia Steinberg (Community Affairs Manager) from Tri-Met and Art Pearce from PBOT.

Dave reported that the Tri-Met team has done several things in the last month as far as studying what can be done to help mitigate the concerns of train noise including inviting a consultant, RCL (Radio Control Limited) to look at these issues.

Earlier this month, they had a meeting on April 7, invited community to discuss train horn rule and why it is there. They felt they received a lot of information. They have been researching quiet zones and train horn waivers. They had a meeting with UPRR (Union Pacific Railroad) who flew someone out from Utah to talk about what it takes, took a tour of the area, etc. to figure out what it takes to make a quiet zone. The Tri-Met team took copious notes and became much smarter about what it takes to be a quiet zone. On the 16th they held their CAC and gave a presentation on quiet zones. On 17th of April, they consulted with experts on quiet zones and train horn waivers. Apparently, the Federal rule could apply to light rail to not blow horn at same decibel and frequency, and the light rail would have a much quieter gong. Right now, they think quiet zone and the supplemental safety measures are the best option. Once they have the information they need, they’ll consult with the Federal Railroad Commission to review the options, particularly looking at these three:
1. Train horn waiver – Train blows & use gongs/nothing for light rail.
2. Quiet zone – quietest option – no horns
3. Directional (wayside) horns, which they recently tested in Tualatin on the WES. Train horn is focused directly on the drivers so s/he does not to do stupid things.

To make intersection safe, will have to close Clinton, maybe 8th and 9th and some of the closer inner-eastside streets. Will do lots of traffic analysis.

On website are the presentations from previous Tri-Met meetings: trimet.org/pm

Following are the issues that the community members present raised (with responses from Tri-Met below each concern):

• Inquiry about why the Pearl District got a quiet zone
o Local businesses paid for it
• Desire for a tunnel
o No tunnel will go in there
• Concern about the operating costs of light rail and how much we’re getting back on the investment
o The project will take a minimum of 8 yrs. When put in application last year, they had to assure they had the funds to do that. Two different dollars: capitol $1.4 billion, federal, some from state, some from Tri-Met and some from City. If you look at the revenue side and what it costs to operate light rail, it’s less expensive than bus service. Costs are high for the bus service for the elderly. So they are trying to connect dots so that where there’s a station there’s more there and hopefully can alleviate some of the lift program calls. By also limiting frequency of routes we can save a little. Investment has been on good ridership on the inner routes.

• Concern that safety measures be taken into account during engineering
o Gates, etc. can be added on. However, need to know traffic flow info. during discussions with Feds to ensure that Fed fixes will work in our community.
• Concern that won’t build it before Tri-Met mitigates our concerns about noise, etc.
• Desire to express that we don’t want this project at all
• Awareness that we had these forms of mass transit a long time ago, it’s just coming around again.
• Concerns about traffic at 11th and 12th when the tracks are closed off and drivers finding other routes through the neighborhood and safety issues for crossing Division.
o As the train approaches, the gates will come down and ring the whole way through a train goes by. About 30-seconds to a minute delay as gates go down. There are other trains that go through there, so that will affect recovery, too. How we get to Powell is an issue, there are limitations due to traffic signals and ODOT.
o Exhibit C (online at ODOT) talked about traffic flow, station configuration, train horn noise, pedestrian traffic, etc. Consider that piece of info to look at what engineers are considering
• Concern about neighborhood bus lines being cut
o They are not unlike other businesses, we are affected by the economy. They have financial oversights and contingencies in place to look at what they may need to cut in the future.
o They think is that the trunk route on the 33 may be cut, but there may be added services on the 17, etc. across the Ross Island Bridge with added traffic to the light rail station. Federal funding requires them to analyze the operating cost divided by the benefit of light rail. On the federal rates, they have ranked high, especially this one. An independent group tried to find reasons why they shouldn’t build the line. After nine months, they came back with a medium-high return on investment evaluation and gave the go ahead.
o Build out the trunk routes with light rail, enhance communication, etc. Looking forward 20-30 years on improving the transit system and think light rail is the option.
• Concerns about health affects and their costs to the neighborhood
• Concerns about the negative personal-level impact of Light Rail
• Concerns about air quality and fuel usage
• Concerns about crime issues –
o During our design discussions we address crime prevention
• Concerns about parking – Southern Ladd’s Addition as a park and ride?!?
o Tri-Met doesn’t control the roads; we have one planned for the outer lines, encouraging the bus for drop off, people to ride their bikes and people to walk. Our other tools are limited, but there are other options: permitted areas (i.e., parking permits), pro-time lanes, off street parking and on street parking. Brooklyn neighborhood also talked to them about it. Neighbors were also concerned on Interstate and after an informal survey, they have not identified any real problems. In fact, that was a recurring theme during all of those meetings, but the parking permit process is an expensive and long process and the Interstate neighborhood chose not to pursue it.

• Desire to address sustainability through positive uses of station empty space – potentially building storm water treatments in between this 50-foot stretch of land. Think we should continue to look at good examples of MAX station stops and what makes them livable and contributors to sustainability in our neighborhood. Can we make this stop a place that people want to visit?
• Desire to have line continue to Oregon City
o Metro is doing a high capacity analysis. The alignment talked about is going to be turned into a trail. So if there would be a light rail to Oregon City, it would be along McLaughlin, but that’s for another generation.
• Desire to continue to address the bike traffic and flow along Clinton, specifically as a bike boulevard
• Desire to consider the station and its development around the immediate area before things go beyond our ability to control. We should address development issues, safety and potential in that area. (Station issues can be researched at trimet.org/PM)

• Desire to voice concerns in an effective way at other forums.
o Not missing anything yet; soon there will be more information about these. It was only on March 30 they got the go ahead to begin design.
o Upcoming open houses about street car, one on May 5th, in fact at Franklin high school

Richard Ross presented. The process started last year, citizen workgroup worked hard for their own development of a plan for SE. From this study, a new map is expected May 5 from the Streetcar System Plan identifying several routes in SE Portland where we think a streetcar will be beneficial. Richard is a volunteer on a 40 volunteer group representing SE in this process and plan. Their job was to advise PDOT on the Streetcar Advisory Committee. Their recommendation was in the policy sense: Don’t throw out the green lines, they are all important. They also recommended adding a connector across the Hawthorne Bridge, and along Tabor from Belmont and Stark, and two other locations, OMSI to Powell, and Milwaukie to Woodstock.

Survey results came back with details on where people think a streetcar is needed. Top rated corridors 60-percent said Hawthorne was a high priority; others were Sandy, Foster, 82nd and Belmont. Medium-priority was Burnside, Washington and Woodstock. The volunteer group’s recommendations are pretty much the same.
Alex expressed concerns about the costs of street car and Richard responded that the group was asked by the City to evaluate corridors for Streetcar only. They recommended trolley buses, similar to Vancouver, B.C. or other high-capacity buses, also. But Portland seems to favor streetcars so that’s where they focused their efforts.

Richard feels that there are other possibilities that the city needs to explore, but a local streetcar system that’s connected to light rail is important. He worked on the east side light rail in the 80s during a recession when there was a push to pull the plug. This is a big plan, it may be a more than 30 year plan, but Richard feels it will be a plan for our community to build on. Our vision is that it should connect neighborhood cores.

When asked why are there fewer north south lines on the map of recommended routes, Richard responded: We recommended 39th be beefed up in that area with more buses. Richard also indicated that 82nd is recommended as a place for more transit capacity.

Meeting adjourned 9:02 p.m.

Submitted by:
Liz Gatti, w/Amy Lewin, Note-taker
Carolyn Brock, Secretary (not in attendance)