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Bikelash backlash: Richmond neighborhood ousts board chair, elects growth advocates

Posted by on June 10th, 2015 at 9:14 am

ice cream hands

Southeast Division Street has rapidly shifted from an auto-oriented corridor to one designed for more walking and biking, including four-story apartment buildings with sidewalk shops. Some residents support the changes; others don’t.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

One of the neighborhood groups that has been a focus of opposition to denser development in Southeast Portland has three new leaders.

But the board chair thrown out in Monday’s election is calling foul play, saying that many Richmond residents showed up and voted against him without getting to know him.

“The perception that [neighborhood associations] are mostly ‘NIMBY’ organizations, has, I think, kept proponents of growth away. Some of us who work within the system have been frustrated by that and are starting to organize a bit more to push back.”
— Tony Jordan, Sunnyside Neighborhood Association board chair

The Richmond Neighborhood Association, which has found itself at the center of Portland’s debate over infill, housing and auto parking, voted out three incumbent board members Monday night: Karin Maczko, Bonnie Bray and the sitting board chair, Allen Field.

In their place, residents chose two members of the advocacy group BikeLoudPDX, which has made heavy auto traffic on Clinton Street one of its key issues, and another resident who objected to what he characterized as the board’s unreasonable opposition to change.

Richmond includes the area roughly between Hawthorne and Powell, SE 29th and SE 50th.

Among other things, the vote seems likely to boost the neighborhood association’s enthusiasm for biking and walking improvements such as diverters on Clinton Street, which runs through the middle of the neighborhood. City officials have reportedly said that Richmond Neighborhood Association support would be essential for such a change.

Field, the ousted board chair, called it “unseemly” that a fellow board member had urged Richmond residents to attend the meeting and vote for candidates other than him.

“We shouldn’t stoop to those kind of tactics,” Field said in an interview. “Personally, if you disagree with a fellow board member’s opinion, I don’t think the proper approach is to vote them out.”

Density and biking issues were central to election

Guerrilla diverters on SE Clinton-9

Will new board members in Richmond break the political gridlock on Clinton?
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

All three new board members seemed to have slightly different takes on the highest-profile issue in Richmond: Division Street’s rapid change from a four-lane throughway lined by single-story buildings and parking lots into a four-story commercial hub with very little unused auto parking.

“When I moved here it was easy to fall in love with Portland,” said Tom McTighe, a biking advocate who Richmond residents elected to the board on Monday. “I think Richmond’s — and Portland’s — main challenge is to preserve its lovability as its population increases.”

Erik Matthews, another new board member, said he ran because he wanted to help the Richmond board make “balanced and informed decisions regarding our city’s growth. … I felt like the meetings I had attended lacked what I’m describing.”

Matthews said in an interview Tuesday that although it’s annoying to find on-street parking in Richmond, it might be far easier than in other cities.

“All right, we’ve got a problem,” he said. “But is it really as big a problem as we think and are we really willing to make the sacrifices we’d need to make to solve it?”

“I ran last night because I love living in Richmond Neighborhood, and I want to help shape its transformation into a vital urban space,” said Alan Kessler, the third newly elected member. “I am very happy with the increased density. I believe that the decision to allow dense residential development without adding more space for motor vehicles is progressive and in the best interest of the neighborhood.”

Longtime board member organized “slate” of new candidates

doug klotz

Doug Klotz, who has served on the Richmond Neighborhood Association board for 20 years, has often disagreed with Field, its former chair. Field says Klotz acted unethically by “disparaging” him and publicly describing the board he chaired as “less than bike friendly.”
(Photo: Oregon Walks)

All three of those candidates ran after one of Richmond’s longest-serving board members, Doug Klotz, publicly urged bike- and infill-friendly Richmond residents to attend the election and to consider running. Klotz urged people to vote for Matthews, McTighe, Kessler, and another candidate (Dan Brazelton) as part of what he called a “slate of progressives.”

Klotz, a longtime density advocate and Richmond resident who co-founded the advocacy group Oregon Walks in the early 1990s and is also active with BikeLoudPDX, has sparred with Field for years over various neighborhood issues related to parking and urban density.

“I’ve been on the board for 20 years,” Klotz said in an email Tuesday. “My ‘platform,’ if I had one, is for sustainable neighborhood development, including allowing more multi-family housing to be built, and robustly improving bicycle facilities in the neighborhood. Over my time on the board, it seems that the members of the board shifted more and more toward being concerned more with the new buildings going in on Division, and how to slow or stop them, and complaining about parking.”

Klotz’s push for more Richmond residents to attend the meeting worked. Field said that 39 people showed up Monday. The board has 15 seats, four of which were up for reelection. Members serve staggered two-year terms.

Kari Schlosshauer, a sitting Richmond board member who has also been a leading supporter of traffic diverters on Clinton, said she too had urged “a half dozen people I know in the neighborhood” to attend.

“I’ve been rallying people to attend since I got on the board,” Schlosshauer wrote in an email Tuesday. “One of my (lofty!) goals is to get more people participating in our neighborhood meetings, because I think it’s so important that people get involved, and I think most people don’t do enough of it. Most of the time, the people I reach out to don’t come, but some of them were there last night — including my neighbor, Tom McTighe, who said he wanted to run and then got elected.”

Schlosshauer added that she was “actually quite shocked that the elections turned out as they did; I did not vote for all the people who were elected.”

Tony Jordan, an advocate for both density and bicycling who was recently reelected as a member of the neighboring Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, said there was “much excitement” over the Richmond election results.

“There are many people in the neighborhoods who do, in fact, support smarter growth, less parking, etc.” Jordan said Tuesday. “Many neighborhood associations have traditionally been attended and controlled by folks who are more reactionary and would rather see fewer additional residents to their communities. This reality, and the perception that NAs are mostly ‘NIMBY’ organizations, has, I think, kept proponents of growth away. Some of us who work within the system have been frustrated by that and are starting to organize a bit more to push back.”


Recruiting residents to vote “introduced a toxic element,” ousted board chair says


Kari Schlosshauer, photographed last month distributing balloons for a Clinton Street celebration event, was another board member who has tried to get more neighbors involved in the association.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Field, for his part, said Tuesday that he believed Klotz had “introduced a toxic element on this board.”

“To vote me out just for this, it seems like kind of a loss to the neighborhood.”
— Allen Field, former board chair

“It’s a different animal than a real election,” said Field, who said he’s served on the board since 2005 or 2006. “We don’t really do politicking. It’s pretty much whoever shows up at the meeting.”

Field said that though he often urges people to join the board if they show up at meetings to voice their opinions on local projects, he hadn’t sent any emails urging people to show up to Monday’s vote.

“For many years, for a long time, we had perennial open seats,” Field recalled of his early years on the board. “And then when Division development started happening, people started to be interested. So all of a sudden people wanted to be on the board, more people coming to our meetings. But it’s never happened before that I know of that one board member calls people to come to meetings who’ve never been to a meeting just to vote out people.”

allen field

Allen Field in a 2012 photo.
(Photo: M.Andersen/Portland Afoot)

“I have a lot of institutional history on the board; I do a lot for the board, parks cleanup and so on,” Field said. “To vote me out just for this, it seems like kind of a loss to the neighborhood.”

Field said he is a bicycle commuter who uses the much lower-traffic Harrison Street on his own commute. He denied Klotz’s description of his board as “less than bike-friendly.”

“I’ve been hit by cars; I understand the problems with bikes and cars intermixing,” Field said.

Klotz said Field had staunchly opposed a traffic diverter on the 50s Bikeway and that the Richmond board had recently avoided an endorsement of traffic diverters on Clinton Street.

Field also said he is “not anti-density.”

“I’m for balancing the needs of density versus the needs of livability,” he said. “I want to keep a lot of what’s Portland’s charm and not just turn over everything to density. I grew up in Los Angeles, so I’d hate to see Portland turn into the density like L.A.”

Though Field said he didn’t believe any out-of-neighborhood voting had taken place in Monday’s election, he said that maybe Richmond should make it harder to vote in its elections by requiring participants to show up with documentation proving their residence.

“Who knows? Maybe next year we’ll have to do these full-on driver’s license checks,” he said.

Field added that utility bills could be a substitute for people who don’t have driver’s licenses.

Diverters a key issue for new board members

Guerrilla diverters on SE Clinton-3

Concerns over the amount of driving on Clinton boiled over in December 2014 when activists placed illegal diverters on the street.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

Cyd Manro, the sitting board member who was elected Monday to replace Field as chair, said he thought Field had done a good job in his years as chair.


Cyd Manro.
(Photo courtesy Manro)

Manro said Field “made some mistakes” but had made a good-faith effort to correct them when called out. Manro said the board is “in the fact-finding stage” of an effort to determine if Klotz violated any rules in the election process.

Matthews urged board members defeated in the election not to abandon neighborhood advocacy.

“I think those that have been on the board should continue to stay involved and help make a difference in their community, and I think the opportunity to do that is there,” Matthews said.

In response to Field’s suggesting that new board members might drop out after a few meetings, Matthews said he’d “had an interest in the neighborhood association for years.” When he left a comment on a neighborhood blog, Klotz emailed him to suggest that he should consider running for the board.

“I hadn’t realized they were having elections and decided, why not now?” Matthews said. “Having started a new business, I’m more in tune with what’s going on in my neighborhood.”

Schlosshauer said that Portland Bicycle Planning Coordinator Roger Geller and Portland Active Transportation Manager Margi Bradway have both been among the city officials who told her that Richmond Neighborhood Association support would be required for diverters to be installed on Clinton Street.

“I’ve heard it so frequently that I stopped writing it down,” she said.

Kessler, who like McTighe, Schlosshauer and Klotz has been active in the BikeLoudPDX group, said he’s passionate about that issue.

“A natural side effect of the increased density and streetscape improvements on Division is that the side streets are being used more frequently and more aggressively by cut-through drivers,” Kessler said. “I want to do what I can to prioritize diverters and other traffic control infrastructure to preserve our greenways and Safe Routes to School. I have a two-year-old son who regularly rides with me to and from daycare on Clinton. When he’s older, I would love for Clinton to be safe enough for him to ride next to me on his own bike.”

Corrections: The original version of this story said the city has repeatedly told activists that neighborhood support would be required to installed diverters on Division Street. That’s incorrect. We meant on Clinton Street. Also, the post described Tony Jordan being “recently reelected as president” of the Sunnyside association. He was recently reelected as a board member and plans to run for president but has not been reelected as president.

Clarification: We’ve rephrased a sentence to clarify something Field said about new board members: he was observing that new board members might not stick around for multiple meetings, but not intending to criticize this tendency.

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  • Kyle June 10, 2015 at 9:21 am

    “Personally, if you disagree with a fellow board member’s opinion, I don’t think the proper approach is to vote them out.”

    Isn’t that the point of voting? Good riddance.

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    • Tom Hardy June 10, 2015 at 9:39 am


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    • resopmok June 10, 2015 at 10:07 am

      “Field, the ousted board chair, called it “unseemly” that a fellow board member had urged Richmond residents to attend the meeting and vote for candidates other than him.”

      Yes, how dare they encourage people to get involved in their neighborhood! What sort of ethics do these people have, following the democratic process?? (/s)

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      • mh June 10, 2015 at 10:37 am

        I heard that he had been discouraging residents coming to the meeting. Just hearsay…

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        • jerry lanz June 14, 2015 at 8:31 pm

          BS> Have you ever been to a board meeting yourself. Have you ever heard it yourself? Hearsay, which is just that.

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      • jerry lanz June 14, 2015 at 8:46 pm

        Allen Field has worked tirelessly for our neighborhood for many years on numerous projects and has always had our neighborhood interests in mind when issues of livability, new development, design, density, parking, and biking are presented at our meetings. He has worked hard at running our meetings fairly and effectively giving opposing sides opportunities to voice their opinions.
        Do you have time to come to a two hour meeting concerned with issues in your neighborhood? Please come.

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  • Dan June 10, 2015 at 9:34 am

    10 years is long enough. Time to let someone else have a crack at it.

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    • Cora Potter June 10, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Well, Doug has been on the board for 20 years….so…we may want to be careful with that sort of commentary, or at least apply it consistently.

      What’s really going on is that the conversation has degraded to polemic and everything is a swinging pendulum over there right now. The best outcome for the neighborhood would be finding the balance in these two positions and coming up with something that’s better as a whole, inclusive, final product. As someone that’s commented as an outside observer, and made suggestions that try to integrate the disparate preferences – I’ve felt dismissed by both “teams”.

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      • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 10:25 am

        “The best outcome for the neighborhood would be finding the balance in these two positions and coming up with something that’s better as a whole, inclusive, final product.”

        Yes. And to recognize that there are actually probably far more than just two positions that deserve recognition. These meetings should be (my opinion) thoroughgoing debates about the issues that get people fired up. Conversations in which people are challenged to articulate what they would like to accomplish and how, and, symmetrically, to listen to those whose perspectives they may not share or even understand. If we do this over a long enough period I think we can learn a ton, and make better decisions.

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        • davemess June 10, 2015 at 12:07 pm

          Amen. And this isn’t just true about development and density issues. It’s also VERY true about transportation issues.

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          • Terry D-M June 10, 2015 at 1:45 pm


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      • Chris
        Chris June 10, 2015 at 11:02 am

        I think the best outcome would be to increase the number of board members to, say, 20, then everyone could have a voice.

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      • soren June 10, 2015 at 11:07 am

        “The best outcome for the neighborhood would be finding the balance in these two positions and coming up with something that’s better as a whole”

        I agree but would add that sometimes “what’s best for the whole” is choosing one position and following through on it. The problem with NAs in PDX is that they are fundamentally anti-democratic.

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        • Chris
          Chris June 10, 2015 at 11:17 am

          I disagree… I have attended meetings of many NAs in Portland, and I have found them to be, without exception, open and welcoming to participation from anyone, member or not. I think they are some of the most democratic institutions we have.

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        • davemess June 10, 2015 at 12:08 pm

          “The problem with NAs in PDX is that they are fundamentally anti-democratic.”

          Please explain (esp. considering the content of this article).

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          • soren June 10, 2015 at 12:20 pm

            A board elected by 0.1% of the population is not a democratic institution, IMO. I personally want these institutions replaced with a “borough” or “ward” system of local city governance.

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            • davemess June 10, 2015 at 12:36 pm

              But everyone in the neighborhood has the opportunity to vote and to me THAT is democracy. They are choosing not to vote (and I’ll agree there are certainly issues with making the entire public aware of the vote, but we can’t even get better than 40% participation in some elections if we mail ballots directly to people’s homes, so that threshold is pretty low in the US).

              Your “borough” idea is an interesting one, but I think it has a number of its own problems. Most importantly, Portland neighborhoods are vastly different, even neighborhoods directly next to each other can have completely different problems and issues. The bigger you make the “boroughs” the more of these issues that a single (or few) neighborhood has are going to get completely lost in the shuffle. Not to mention you’ll have a few prominent neighborhoods likely dominating the proceedings. I personally see this playing out quite often at the local SE coalition (SE Uplift). My neighborhood has a whole different set of problems compared to Eastmoreland, Richmond, or Terry’s North Tabor. Often it is very hard to sit down at the table when you want to talk about why your neighborhood lacks sidewalks, and Eastmoreland wants to talk about saving heritage trees, and Richmond wants to talk about building heights on Division.
              I think what you’re talking about would be better served by getting rid of our at large city council system, and getting better regional representation with the city.

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              • Bjorn June 11, 2015 at 11:36 am

                Everyone does not have the opportunity to vote, everyone who is free at the time of the monthly meeting has the opportunity to vote.

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              • davemess June 11, 2015 at 12:39 pm

                Again, for many (possibly most) NA’s you can get elected to the board at any meeting (not just one a year).

                And you could make that argument about in person voting in most states in America: “Everyone who is free at the time of the one day a year when voting takes place”.
                The option is there.

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              • Alex Reed June 13, 2015 at 11:04 am

                That’s true, Dave, and I think it’s a significant blow against democracy in those states. Why Election Day isn’t a national holiday is beyond me. Vote-by-mail seems like an even better solution.

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            • Nate Young June 11, 2015 at 3:55 pm

              Out of genuine curiosity, how would that be any different?
              I’ve not experienced a ward city personally but that just seems to replace small community meetings with larger popularity contests with corporate sponsors?

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              • soren June 11, 2015 at 5:09 pm

                Local neighborhood/district elections and selection of local alderpeople who could legislate in council.

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              • davemess June 11, 2015 at 5:41 pm

                So essentially you want to go away from an at large council system like we currently have?
                If so I’m in complete support of that.
                I still think you’re going to need some types of volunteer, lower level organizations (like NA’s). There are always going to have to be multiple levels from the macro to the micro.

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          • soren June 10, 2015 at 12:35 pm

            “esp. considering the content of this…”

            Just because I generally support the people elected does not detract from disdain for how easy it is for a small group of people to stack a board.

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    • Allen Field July 17, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      Dan: Doug has been on the RNA Board for 20 years. So, he should have been kicked off 10 years ago – right?

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  • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
    Michael Andersen (News Editor) June 10, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Hey, I’ll add here: I realized early this morning that the only file photo I had of Field was black and white. Emailed him to see if we can get another, so I’ll swap it in if I can. Thought I’d mention that because it looks a little weird on the page.

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  • Todd Hudson June 10, 2015 at 9:36 am

    “Personally, if you disagree with a fellow board member’s opinion, I don’t think the proper approach is to vote them out.”

    On what planet does he live?

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    • Psyfalcon June 10, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      The planet where he has an outsized influence on the entire neighborhood?

      I’ll wait and see how the new members work out, but I just don’t like these things very much.

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  • Adam H. June 10, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Great job everyone! Glad to see some bicycle representation on the board! As a new resident to Richmond, I’m excited to see the changes the new board pushes for. Sorry I missed the election meeting (still unpacking and cleaning), but I’ll be at the next one for sure!

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    • PDXftw June 10, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      “As a new resident, I’m excited to see the changes the new board pushes for.” Yeah, screw the concerns of long time residents and businesses, Adam H just landed here and Adam H wants this and that, everyone else be damned.

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      • Adam H. June 10, 2015 at 3:58 pm

        Apparently my desire to not get run over while riding my bike in Richmond is invalid because I’ve only owned my house there for a month. Would you recommend I lease a Hyundai instead?

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        • Mike June 10, 2015 at 9:09 pm

          There is more to living in Richmond than “getting run over”. It doesn’t begin or end with the bike. Learn it!!!

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          • Adam Herstein June 10, 2015 at 11:52 pm

            Obviously, there is more to the neighborhood than riding a bike, but that’s just one thing I (and likely most everyone here) care about. Everyone deserves to get where they are going safely.

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      • KristenT June 10, 2015 at 4:35 pm

        I don’t understand your comment. He just moved to the neighborhood, and is interested in participating in making it better. My reading of his comment is that he wants to help his community be the best, not your reading which is apparently, “me me me and screw you guys”.

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        • A.H. June 11, 2015 at 8:06 am

          Bitter people are self-propelling in their bitterness.

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  • Zach H June 10, 2015 at 9:47 am

    This is super exciting! Congrats to those that stepped up to the plate.

    Like many others on here, I ride Clinton every single day for my (admittedly very short) commute of about 20 blocks, and the stretch between 28th down to about 17th is just buzzing with cars during the traditional morning & evening rush hours. So many close calls. I am really happy to hear that we can finally have neighborhood association support for comprehensive diversion and various other bike/ped improvements along the Division/Clinton corridor.

    I also live on Division, and watch from my window on weekends as tourists on rented bikes pedal casually up the street, taking the whole lane, causing cars to drive slower and pay more attention. I love the tourists for it, but seeing them there makes me sad — they are a vision of how Division could be, but likely never will be. How does anyone who doesn’t know the area find what they’re looking for on Division by bike? I also see impatient drivers attempt to make very unsafe passes around the 4 bus line, often nearly hitting pedestrians in marked crosswalks. All of these things need neighborhood attention.

    I know the changes on Division have been controversial, but I for one am eager to see how the conversation can finally start changing from the lack of parking to a much more interesting one on multimodality. It’s about time!

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    • Psyfalcon June 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      Google. Now google… which cross street do I need?

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      • Zach H June 10, 2015 at 12:41 pm

        Merely saying a mix of greenway & arterial access for bikes is good for people visiting (and for locals) looking to explore the city.

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  • AMA June 10, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Wait…Richmond has 15 seats on its Association Board? Is that normal?

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) June 10, 2015 at 9:58 am

      It’s maybe on the higher side by a few seats but I don’t think it’s abnormal.

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      • Chris
        Chris June 10, 2015 at 11:05 am

        HAND, directly to the west of Richmond, as 20 seats.

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        • J.E. June 11, 2015 at 1:12 pm

          And a good chunk of them are open (HAND just had their elections last month)

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    • Terry D-M June 10, 2015 at 10:00 am

      North Tabor rules say 5-15, pretty standard. We have open seats, BTW!

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      • Brian June 10, 2015 at 10:25 am

        I just sent an inquiry to the Board via your online comment option on the website.

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    • BIKELEPTIC June 10, 2015 at 10:04 am

      And from what it sounds like, they’re all white people? (Or at least the majority?) Sounds like a great diverse, equity party of decision makers for development for that neighborhood.

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      • TonyJ June 10, 2015 at 10:52 am

        A rather more egregious inequality on most of these boards (mine included) is the ratio between renters and owners relative to the neighborhood makeup. When the neighborhood is, itself, 86% white, that’s probably going to be the majority of the people attending the meetings.

        ONI does have goals to encourage more participation and many of us are on board with that and trying to encourage a more age/economically diverse attendance.

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        • jeg June 10, 2015 at 1:49 pm

          I agree.

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      • Chris
        Chris June 10, 2015 at 11:07 am

        The people who get elected are those who choose to participate. The lack of representation flows directly from the lack of participation.

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        • TonyJ June 10, 2015 at 11:14 am

          NAs do need to make their meetings more welcoming to people who aren’t traditionally coming to them. Some of the sentiments you might encounter, as a renter for example, *might* make you think you’re not wanted there.

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          • Chris
            Chris June 10, 2015 at 11:55 am

            As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I have attended NA meetings in many different neighborhoods, and have never seen anyone discourage participation from renters. In fact, when I was on the HAND board, we worked very hard to get renters involved, with varying levels of success.

            In my experience, renters choose not to participate because they don’t feel the same long-term connection to neighborhood that a property owner might. This is not a knock on renters, and there are plenty of exceptions, but I do think that is a big factor in why renters participate at much lower levels than homeowners.

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            • Terry D-M June 10, 2015 at 1:53 pm

              The North Tabor Board is one third renters, and we would appreciate more. We also would like to have a more diverse board, as we are all white though mixed in gender/ sexual identity (not that this is much of an issue in Portland), but there is a fine line between doing outreach to under-served groups and thinking you know what is best for them, which they may find distasteful and condescending.

              We always advertise for new members at the meetings and our newsletter, that gets delivered a few times a year now. Having too large of a board however, creates all sort of problems if you can not make quorum….15 with a quorum of 8 is generally manageable.

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            • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 2:29 pm

              “I have attended NA meetings in many different neighborhoods, and have never seen anyone discourage participation from renters.”

              I have. It takes all kinds of forms. I don’t think it is a stretch for some who rent to internalize these overt or covert messages. But I don’t think it is all on those who might actively or passively seek to discourage renters either. It is a complex problem and one that will be with us for a while. Anyone with success recruiting renters to NA boards, please share your insights.

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            • soren June 11, 2015 at 10:53 am

              “In my experience, renters choose not to participate because they don’t feel the same long-term connection to neighborhood that a property owner might. This is not a knock on renters…”

              I take that statement as a knock on renters regardless of your disclaimer. Moreover, I find the suggestion that people who rent do not feel a “connection to neighborhood” (long-term or otherwise) to be personally offensive. How can you claim to speak for the feelings of individual renters?

              Ironically, a stronger version of that sentiment was exactly why I stopped participating in NA when I first moved to Portland. I was told by a participant that my “voice does not have much weight because [as a renter] I do not have roots in the community”. (I am paraphrasing because this was years ago.) After realizing that I was probably the only renter in attendance, I felt like it was pointless to continue.

              I would also like to stress that some of the most active participants in NA are landlords (and business owners) who do not live in the neighborhood. Many landlords are great people but landlords have a clear monetary interest in opposing renter activism/advocacy. This is what I “feel” when I attend my NA meeting.

              I also note that you have still not emailed me off line despite your very pointed questioning of my “feelings”. It’s almost as if you are not interested in pursuing a genuine conversation because you are certain that NAs welcome renters and that its the “feelings” of renters that are the problem.

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              • Chris
                Chris June 11, 2015 at 11:25 am

                I didn’t intend to speak for the feelings of any individual renters (and specifically not for yours), and I think I made it clear that I was reporting my impressions. I think I also made it clear that I think there were many exceptions.

                I will speak about one individual renter, which is myself. When I rented, I always felt that my situation was somewhat tenuous — the landlord could evict me on very short notice, or could change the rent or other terms that would cause me to leave. So why would I invest in a neighborhood if it might change at any time? And why would that attitude reflect poorly on me, as you seem to suggest?

                When I was on the HAND board, we made a huge effort to involve renters, with, as I said earlier, varying levels of success. At that time, we did have one renter on the board (until she left the neighborhood), but there may have been more (since no one asked). We also (to my knowledge) never had an absentee landlord on the board, and only one non-resident business owner, who was an excellent addition to the board. More recently, the HAND board had a representative from New Seasons, who was also great.

                I am not sure if you intend your message to be as hostile as it sounds, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. I am sorry that you felt unwelcome in your neighborhood association — I think we both agree that shouldn’t have happened. And I do plan on contacting you off-line. I only saw your message this morning, and have not had a chance to respond yet. But I will.

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              • soren June 11, 2015 at 1:21 pm

                Thanks…and sometimes I really wish there was an edit function.

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              • soren June 11, 2015 at 11:36 am

                Chris, I’d re-edit if I could to soften the tone of (especially the “you”-ing). But I stand by the rest.

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              • Chris
                Chris June 11, 2015 at 1:07 pm

                Ok, I’ll accept your tone modification.

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          • Spiffy June 10, 2015 at 3:11 pm

            “NAs do need to make their meetings more welcoming to people who aren’t traditionally coming to them.”

            my NA switched their meeting spot to a restaurant that I don’t like, so I don’t go…

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        • Beth June 10, 2015 at 6:13 pm

          It’s tough to increase participation among less-represented people of a neighborhood when they’re single parents and/or struggling to makes ends meet on three part-time jobs wth wacky/changing hours and/or renters who may or may not be able to stay housed n a particular neighborhood. Neighborhood association boards tend to be people by people with steadier incomes and at least some degree of financial stability, both of which afford them the ability to make regular meetings and do the outside organizing and advocacy work all NAs require in order to function.
          Government is supposed to be beneficial FOR everyone, but it is not equally accessible BY everyone.

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      • George H. June 10, 2015 at 11:21 am

        White guilt much? What does the racial make up of Richmond NA have to do with anything?

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        • BIKELEPTIC June 10, 2015 at 1:43 pm

          Hard to have white guilt when I’m not white. I’m asian. (Nice insulting comment instead of addressing the issue at hand)

          Not only does the racial background, but the socioeconomic and as Tony was pointing out, if they’re renters vs owners matters greatly when making decisions that will make the greatest benefit for the neighborhood and for the city at large. Jut because the neighborhood ends at a border doesn’t mean the problems do. You have to be able to effectively blend neighborhood solutions and communication with other NAs which may not have the same property values as yours. If everyone has the same values and same point of view on the NA, how is that going to provide any real change? It’s just a posse or a clique of friends making the decision for the rest of the people based on having similar types of backgrounds and interests. That sounds equitable. Not. Having people with diverse opinions, backgrounds and make-up, but still having the best interests for the community at large can open the door for ideas and solutions that may be less radical, more sustainable results.

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          • Chris
            Chris June 10, 2015 at 2:10 pm

            I would implore you to add your voice to your neighborhood association.

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          • George H. June 10, 2015 at 3:02 pm

            I recognize your name from PDX Bike Swarm. You were the one who went to bat defending Hart Noecker, and you very publicly (on social media) accused his victim of fabricating Hart’s attack on her. That says a lot, and as such, I have nothing else to say to you. Say hi to Hart for all of us!

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            • BIKELEPTIC June 10, 2015 at 7:30 pm

              ​I have no idea what that has to do with this story except trolling and fanning the aggro flames.
              If you accurately recalled the situation; I was a strong proponent against mob lynchings as they always do more harm than good. Especially when it comes to unsubstantiated gossip and hypocrisy.

              And if you actually knew w​​hat happened in that court room, you would know that They refused to cooperate with the Judge and instead the case was dropped after all that hoopla and Noecker was found innocent. And so what you are saying now is legally considered libel against that person.

              Despite how unsavory your opinion of a person might be, if the situation is being handled in an unjust manner, it’s unjust.

              But back to my original thought; what in the world does this have to do with the Richmond Neighborhood Association?​

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              • Oregon Mamacita June 14, 2015 at 9:58 am

                Bike;leptic- must correct your assertion that Noecker was found “innocent.”
                Not true- the RO was dropped because the gal did not follow through- being an anrchist & uncomfortable with the system. Agreed that Noecker is a tangentr- but let’s not put false info out there accidentally. Noecker is guilty as hell and he’s getting away with it.

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      • Tyler June 10, 2015 at 11:50 am

        I think that accurately represents the populace in that neighborhood…

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    • davemess June 10, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      I don’t think out NA has a limit. Frankly we have trouble just getting 10-12 people that will commit to a full year of showing up to one meeting a month.

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      • davemess June 10, 2015 at 2:12 pm

        I should also point out that someone can get on our board at virtually any meeting during the year. Our elections are only for our leadership positions. Again, it’s all about showing up.

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    • AMA June 10, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      Yikes. We already have WAY too many elected positions in this country. It makes it impossible to hold anyone accountable. How does a 15 person association board even manage to get quorum?

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      • davemess June 10, 2015 at 5:55 pm

        how many do you think there should be?

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        • AMA June 11, 2015 at 9:31 am

          Probably 3-7 board members at the most. 10-15 is a very unwieldy number for group decision making. Especially when attendance is as spotty and infrequent as NA meetings. You end up with a shifting group of people from month to month. This makes it pretty tough to get anywhere.

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          • TonyJ June 11, 2015 at 9:50 am

            WE at SNA have 9 and have good attendance . 3-7 is far to small to even spread the jobs around. Have you ever been involved in a NA? I think 9, 11, 13 are good sizes.

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  • Brad June 10, 2015 at 9:48 am

    This is fantastic news! Don’t be a sore loser, Allen. It’s called democracy. Voting people out when you disagree with them is how it works.

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  • Terry D-M June 10, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Good work Doug, Kari, Tom and others whom I have not met yet! We will succeed!

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  • Alex Reed June 10, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Wait… encouraging people to go vote for what they believe in added a toxic element?? And people voting who don’t regularly attend meetings is a problem? What is the point of elected representatives, if in order to be a “legitimate” voter you have to attend all the meetings anyway?

    I have to say, I think the neighborhood association model is broken. Based on the neighborhood association meetings I’ve attended, voter turnout is always less than 1% of the adult population of a neighborhood. And the people elected officially represent the neighborhood in City processes? It’s just madness.

    The City should fund vote-by-mail or vote-online or some other way of getting at least 20%+ voter turnout in neighborhood association elections. If they’re not willing to do that, they should stop using neighborhood associations as neighborhood representatives.

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    • Adam H. June 10, 2015 at 10:22 am

      This would also solve the problem of having to verify residence for voting, since the ballot is already sent to your house.

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    • Jayson June 10, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Totally agree. This city puts far too much emphasis on the neighborhood association opinions. I don’t have time or interest in participating on my board, so those that do apparently have more of a say than I do? Broken system….

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      • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 10:55 am

        “I don’t have time or interest…”
        That is a pretty weak argument for not listening to the NAs, Jayson.

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        • soren June 10, 2015 at 11:15 am

          The people involved are my neighbors so I do want to listen to them. Nevertheless, I think NAs are too small and that the way most are structured is not conducive to equitable representation. I would like to see them merged into larger “bouroughs” that have genuine vote by mail elections.

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        • jeg June 10, 2015 at 2:17 pm

          No it isn’t. If a disproportionate amount of power is wielded by a tiny active minority that has no interest in activating the rest of the populace because that might change the status quo, that system is broken.

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          • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 2:30 pm

            jeg shouting again. What a turnoff.

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            • jeg June 10, 2015 at 3:03 pm

              Good thing I am not sexually soliciting you.

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          • Chris
            Chris June 10, 2015 at 6:37 pm

            Jeg, you’re right… luckily, that’s not how it is.

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            • jeg June 10, 2015 at 7:11 pm

              Not in some NA’s.

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        • Jayson June 10, 2015 at 2:46 pm

          I’ve been on a NA board before.. and have been chair. I was bright-eyed and interested in helping the neighborhood. A handful of people made participation very, very difficult. They focused on inane minutiae that I and others considered an absolute waste of time. SEUL had to mediate between some of them. Those two years were painful and showed me firsthand a broken system.

          After 8-10 hours of work each day and dozens of meetings each week, most people have no interest in attending yet another. That’s not a “weak argument” – it’s reality.

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          • soren June 10, 2015 at 3:49 pm

            Democratic governance not only needs some semblance of representation but it needs the ability to legislate/effect change. NAs are limited to politely suggesting things on a limited range of topics.


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            • Cyd Manro June 10, 2015 at 5:16 pm

              Putting aside that NAs can decide about certain things, like approving liquor licenses or zoning changes, your point is an interesting one. What kind of decisions do you think are appropriate at the neighborhood level?

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              • Chris
                Chris June 10, 2015 at 6:26 pm

                NAs have exactly zero say over liquor licenses, and influence over zoning changes is pretty much relegated to whatever courtesy the city feels like granting when the NA writes a letter.

                Soren is right in the sense that NAs have very little actual power, but their opinions do carry some weight, and, as in all areas of governmental interaction, the real power is in the doors that open to participating in higher-level decision making, like membership on a steering committee.

                It’s soft power, to be sure… very soft… but often it makes enough of a difference that it is worthwhile. And the neighborhood is a great nucleus for organizing residents around the issue of the day.

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          • davemess June 10, 2015 at 5:56 pm

            So your solution was to just give up and not try to fix the problem?

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) June 10, 2015 at 11:06 am

      For what it’s worth, Allen Field called me today to say that he too would support such a measure, though he said “I don’t know how to do that.” This wasn’t something he was saying yesterday, so it’s not in the story, but I think he’s preparing a rejoinder/rebuttal to parts of this story; I urged him to include this in that statement.

      Field also says that various quotes from him were taken out of context to the extent of them being inaccurate characterizations of his meaning. I don’t agree that the quotes were out of context or that there were any errors in my reporting of our conversation, but I do agree that I shouldn’t have characterized him (overly vaguely) as “criticizing” new board members when he was merely observing that they might not be interested in remaining board members. I’ve made that change and noted it as a clarification.

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      • davemess June 10, 2015 at 12:14 pm

        I don’t think he’s that far off though. People that get involved over single issues sometimes get bogged down in the other minutiae that NA’s deal with. We’ve had quite a few board members who haven’t even made it 3-4 months over the last 2 years.

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        • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 1:30 pm

          “We’ve had quite a few board members who haven’t even made it 3-4 months over the last 2 years.”
          Time to kick them off. Our bylaws require regular attendance and a few *excused* absences. I’d think yours would too. Empty seats can be just as crucial an invitation to new folks as neighborhood elections.

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          • davemess June 10, 2015 at 2:13 pm

            We do kick them off. The empty seats don’t really seem to matter though, as as far as I know our board has not reached capacity in the last 5 years.

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      • Alex Reed June 10, 2015 at 12:37 pm

        I think another strange thing about the Neighborhood Associations is how they are a combination neighborhood social committee (for example, organizing neighborhood cleanups and/or other neighborhood events) and neighborhood (advisory) legislative body (for example, endorsing/opposing development and transportation plans). I think those two things don’t combine all that well – for example, I have no interest in adding being a lead volunteer on neighborhood events to my plate, but I do have interest in debating relevant issues and representing neighborhood interests to the City (though maybe not enough to add that to my plate at this time). I’m sure that there are people who feel the reverse.

        Separating the two sides of NA’s might widen the pool of people who are be interested in serving in one capacity or another.

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        • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 1:28 pm

          I disagree, Alex. If you were on a NA board I think you’d fine that there are people of many different persuasions, some of who like to do and are good at the things you say you’re not interested in. We have a hard enough time motivating people to show up to NA meetings. To split this would, I suppose, mean having two sets of Neighborhood Associations. That seems like a lot of extra effort, bureaucracy, overlap. Increasing the size of the board seems like a much better way to cover all your bases.

          I’m sure politicians of all stripes would love to have less on their plate, perhaps they don’t like managing a staff or fundraising, would rather stick to the policy stuff. But someone has to do all of those things (we say).

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          • davemess June 10, 2015 at 2:14 pm

            Agree completely.

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        • Chris
          Chris June 10, 2015 at 5:40 pm

          Luckily, no one is forced to do anything, and you can choose where to focus your time and energy. Don’t want to run the neighborhood cleanup? Great! Don’t! Be the liaison to the city on their bikeway study instead! Or not!

          Joining a NA board (or just being a regular participant) does not require you to spend your time on community-building projects if you are more driven by policy issues. It does provide you opportunities to help your neighborhood in ways that align with your interests.

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        • davemess June 10, 2015 at 5:59 pm

          Alex, I would encourage you to get on your FoPo board. Your neighborhood currently has no one representing you at the SE Uplift Land Use/Transportation meetings. In fact I’m the only representative from our surrounding neighborhoods (Mt. Scott, B-D, FoPo, Creston-Kenilworth).

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    • soren June 10, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Word, Alex.

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    • canuck June 10, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      That’s if the believed in what the voted for, or if this was just a case of stacking the election with uninformed voters who listened just one persons position.

      We’ll see if these same people continue to show up to the meetings and interact with the board, or they just disappear, having fulfilled their mission.

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      • Doug Klotz June 10, 2015 at 12:34 pm

        Of the 26 non-board attendees Monday night, at least 13 that I recognized had been to meetings before. Some come regularly.

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  • Allan June 10, 2015 at 10:10 am

    I think this staggered- 2-year voting thing is the reason why this happened. Having only 4 members up including the chair would probably not have happened if all of the seats had been up for a vote. If it was better to have kept Fields on the board, that was a difficult option because of the way they vote.

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    • Doug Klotz June 10, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Because of when people joined, next May there are 8 RNA board members up for re-election (including me!)

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  • Allan June 10, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Eliot allow up to 20

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  • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Let’s not forget that there are more positions on this spectrum than
    (a) advocates for growth, and
    (b) NIMBYs

    I don’t think sleepy, low profile neighborhood elections are always necessarily a better thing than lively debates about issues that get people involved. Participating in neighborhood associations, typically, is very low, and if more people contest seats, run, campaign, work to inspire others to vote, and this is done in an orderly fashion, I’d like to think it could lead to better policies, more conversations, more voices at the table. The trick is to have enough of a mix so people’s perspectives can get heard, so we can learn from each other, see the world through their eyes. There is no single right answer to all of these questions anyway.

    I don’t happen to consider myself either pro-growth or a NIMBY, but I am pro-bike, pro-multi-family-housing and anti-free-car-parking in the public right of way.

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    • Brian Willson June 10, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      In parts of SE Woodstock’s older neighborhoods we are besieged by routine demolition of perfectly good houses being replaced by newly constructed $500,000 – $625,000 houses. They have only 5 foot setbacks and are 35 feet high. We have lost our neighbors due to the gentrification, and with them our many personal gardens, our canopy of many mature trees taken down with no thought of the terrible loss of their incredible benefits, our skyspace and sun space so important for psychic health and PV energy.

      Our character has been decimated by the so-called version of “smart growth” enabling density as it destroys integral community. We welcome new families but few homes are now affordable to any but the upper 5%. We are not NIMBYS – we say like the French RE certain violations of human scale community – not here, not anywhere.

      And since the earth is finite, who amongst us are willing to take the lead in acknowledging openly – politically – that growth itself is a cancer on the planet, and boundaries and limits now must be carefully articulated and prescribed. Accommodating unlimited growth is just feeding our quicker demise as capitalism loves its evermore consumers as we devour ourselves to death.

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      • davemess June 11, 2015 at 7:16 am

        This is an important point. Below someone was talking about where are the starter homes. They’re being demo’d and replaced with houses that are 6 times the size and 4 times the price. The starter home stock (smaller, fixer uppers at a semi-decent price) is quickly dwindling. This is just keeping more people in the rental market (which we all know is at capacity) or pushing them to buy further out (or out of Portland entirely).

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      • GlowBoy June 15, 2015 at 4:02 pm

        ““smart growth” enabling density as it destroys integral community.”

        Please stop associating the teardown syndrome with density. Tearing down a $300k house and replacing it with a $600-700k house is generally not increasing population density! From what I’m seeing most of these new homes do not house any more people per square foot of land than the ones they replaced.

        If you tore down a $300k house and replaced it with a duplex or small apartment building (or maybe a single family house with a tiny house in back and an ADU in the basement), now that would be an increase in density. But that’s mostly not what’s going on.

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  • Evan Manvel June 10, 2015 at 10:22 am

    As Woody Allen said, ‘Showing up is 80 percent of life.’

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    • soren June 10, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      That’s exactly what the GOP says when they limit polling locations and polling hours (you know…kinda like largely unadvertised NA elections that take place for an hour or so on one date in one location).

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      • davemess June 10, 2015 at 2:15 pm

        For many (maybe most) NA’s you can get onto the board (as very few have boards at capacity) by showing up to pretty much any meeting during the year.

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  • Carl June 10, 2015 at 10:43 am


    “…Richmond Neighborhood Association support would be required for diverters to be installed on _Division_ Street.”

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    • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 10:47 am

      Trimet #4 could be a little problem.

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      • Tyler June 10, 2015 at 11:54 am

        That should be moved off of Clinton any way… I’ve never understood the point of running a bus up Clinton for 3 blocks. But I think you mean # 10, right?

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        • paikiala June 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm

          Last I heard it was the inability of a bus to turn right from eastbound Division to southbound 26th that necessitated using Clinton from 20th to 26th.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 10, 2015 at 10:49 am

      yes. Sorry. meant clinton of course. Fixed it.

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  • Rebecca June 10, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Merciful heavens, what is the democratic process coming to when local leadership can change in order to better represent the concerns of the community?

    We are all shocked and appalled at the audacity of these Toxic Elements in the Richmond neighborhood.

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  • lahar June 10, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I’m ok with this because it fits my agenda. However, what if it did not, what if a right wing pro-car anti science church all attended a meeting to install their preferred agenda to a neighborhood or school board. It is a little concerning.

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    • Alex Reed June 10, 2015 at 11:55 am

      That’s one of the reasons why the system is broken. If we’re going to have elections for people to “represent” a neighborhood, the elections need to be set up so that a reasonable number of people vote. 20 people voting for representatives of neighborhood of thousands is not a reasonable number.

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      • canuck June 10, 2015 at 12:04 pm

        It is if they are the only ones who actually care about the neighborhood.

        How does stacking the election fix the actual problem. These folks will never show up at another meeting because they don’t actually care.

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        • soren June 10, 2015 at 12:29 pm

          “It is if they are the only ones who actually care about…”

          That is a subjective and derogatory way to look at people who choose not to participate. I mean…seriously…do you really believe that people who do not show up to vote at NA elections do not care about their neighborhood?

          PS: I’m voting at mine tomorrow.

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          • canuck June 10, 2015 at 12:49 pm

            No it is not a derogatory way to look at apathy.

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            • jeg June 10, 2015 at 2:20 pm

              The system is set up to discourage voting. Apathy is an intended outcome. The system is broken. This BOARD member was actively discouraging participation. Absurd.

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              • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 2:32 pm

                jeg, please stick to topics you know something about.

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              • jeg June 10, 2015 at 3:05 pm

                Like how you’re apparently stalking me now?

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              • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 3:07 pm

                pot calling the kettle black?

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            • lahar June 10, 2015 at 3:10 pm

              It is a giant generalization which is arrogant and elitist. Those single parents or those that have to work on Tuesdays are not apathetic because they do not attend.

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              • davemess June 10, 2015 at 6:02 pm

                So over 99% of the neighborhood is a single parent (and we actually have board members including myself who have brought kids to our NA meetings) or have to work on a Tuesday night?

                Let’s face it. The vast majority of the population doesn’t care about NA’s or want to be involved in them.

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              • Chris
                Chris June 10, 2015 at 9:11 pm

                Don’t despair lahar! There are other ways to get involved even if you can’t attend regular board meetings! Most NAs have a number of ongoing projects, where help is always welcomed.

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              • Nate Young June 11, 2015 at 4:20 pm

                It is also as simple as emailing the board with your thoughts!

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      • davemess June 10, 2015 at 12:28 pm

        At what cost? And who pays for it?
        These are volunteer organizations with VERY limited budgets.
        You can’t force people to participate or vote.
        Above you suggested mailing ballots. So you want to send out ballots to people who have no idea what a neighborhood association is, what their purpose is, or who are ANY of the people they see listed?

        For the vast majority of people this stuff is beyond boring. I completely agree that the process should remain public, publicized and open, but if people don’t want to participate, I don’t know how much scarce resources we should sink into getting a better quorum.

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        • Alex Reed June 10, 2015 at 12:46 pm

          Hence my call for City funding of the ballots. As you point out, it would need to be accompanied by some change to the Neighborhood Association status quo so that people are more likely to know what NA’s do. Newsletters would be a good first step. I’m sure more steps would be necessary, just not sure what.

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          • TonyJ June 10, 2015 at 1:56 pm

            Neighborhood association membership is often not limited to residents. Property owners who live outside the neighborhood can vote, as can representatives from businesses and non-profits in the borders.

            Some areas of town have overlapping borders.

            Concocting a ballot for this purpose would actually be VERY difficult. A better way might be for there to be a way to request a ballot online which is mailed to your address (or a code you could use for an online ballot).

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            • Carl June 10, 2015 at 5:00 pm

              Love this idea, and honestly, is there a better city to figure it out? Seems like with the abundance of community-minded tech startup folks here in Portland, creating a secure digital neighborhood voting system is totally doable.

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              • Chris
                Chris June 10, 2015 at 6:32 pm

                Great for those who are online. Not all our residents are, and they shouldn’t have higher hurdles to participation than others.

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          • davemess June 10, 2015 at 2:18 pm

            Many neighborhoods (including mine) have gone away from paper newsletters, as they were often ignored and cost a ton of money on a very tight budget (like one year they spent over 50% of the budget on the newsletter). Online newsletters go out every month.
            Honestly has been one of the biggest boons in getting the word out, and even then we haven’t seen much of a spike in attendance or participation.

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    • resopmok June 10, 2015 at 11:58 am

      Then they have a right to do it, and their political opposition would be wise to be aware and take action as they desire.

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    • Pete June 10, 2015 at 11:59 am

      Yes, especially if they tried to poison the salad bars first…

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    • Dan June 10, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      OMG, what if some of my county commissioners were given large financial contributions by developers in outlying neighborhoods to encourage wider roads, higher speed limits, and a reduction in school speed zones in my neighborhood? Oh wait, that already happened….

      I think we have to take the small political wins where we can find them.

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  • Allison June 10, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Discouraging turn out? Creating barriers to voting? I hope he hears himself because I don’t think he means to be Mississippi’s Elections Division circa 1962…

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  • Chris
    Chris June 10, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I hope all the Richmond residents who came to Monday’s meeting will continue to show up and participate in the future!

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  • Buzz June 10, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I’m not sure I understand how BikeLoudPDX board members are considered ‘pro-growth’.

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    • SteveG June 10, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      I think that “pro-density” might be a more accurate characterization.

      The so-called “coup” was orchestrated by people who (like many BikePortland readers) who would rather see more high-density development along commercial corridors like SE Division, rather than the alternative: expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary and more suburban sprawl. More urban density tends to result in more & better nearby services, more bike, transit and car-sharing options, and more property tax revenues, which should translate to better schools and other public services, too.

      Of course, more density also results in increased competition for on-street parking spaces, which is objectionable to people have grown accustomed to parking their private cars, for free, on the public streets. But imposing neighborhood parking permits (and meters along Division) should help solve this problem. At least, it seems to be having that effect in NW Portland.

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      • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 12:49 pm

        It is interesting how pro-density can become pro-growth, and how both terms paper over so much that is interesting and contentious.

        “people who would rather see more high-density development along commercial corridors like SE Division, rather than the alternative: expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary and more suburban sprawl.”

        But are these really the only two alternatives?
        Do I need to run as an independent to voice a 3rd (or 7th) perspective?

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      • Chris
        Chris June 10, 2015 at 1:16 pm

        You know, I’ve attended several RNA meetings recently, where some pretty contentious developments were discussed, and I don’t recall any voice that I would characterize as “anti-density”. The concerns people expressed were all related to the particular aspects of a particular development, and most seemed pretty reasonable.

        Is it “anti-density” or “NIMBY” to not want the house you’ve lived in for a decade to suddenly be cast in permanent shadow? Or to ask that the developers place a driveway on a different side of the corner so that conflicts with cyclists and drivers would be minimized?

        I think those of you who feel that your NA is a reactionary group of people who want nothing to change should actually attend a few meetings and see what goes on. And if you are right, you should join the board yourself. It’s really not that hard, and involves hardly any commitment (in my neighborhood there are 10 meetings a year, and you can skip 2/3 of them without sanction). It takes even less effort to come to a meeting and share your viewpoint.

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        • soren June 10, 2015 at 3:55 pm

          Email me offline and I’ll share some of my experiences, Chris.
          (sorenimpey at gmail).

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      • Oregon Mamacita June 10, 2015 at 2:28 pm

        Steve, one tiny quibble. There is some evidence (and this comes from a letter signed by dozens of area mayors) that the lack of starter homes in PDX is actually encouraging sprawl to spread to areas like Canby. The majority of Portland residents prefer single family home (according to Metro), and some folks have decided that it is better to live in Canby and drive in than live in deep SE or in an apartment. So- some anti-sprawl policies may be backfiring.

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        • Chris I June 10, 2015 at 3:21 pm

          And where, exactly, are we going to build these new single-family homes in Portland?

          If it weren’t for the UGB, the Portland metro area would already have sprawled out and absorbed Canby. The rural gap between the sprawling edges of Oregon City and the northern edge of Canby is only 4 miles. You take all of the people living in the Pearl District and move them down there into single family homes on 50,000sqft lots, and that farm land is gone forever.

          I would also argue that apartments and condos ARE single-family homes, and that’s because many of them are. Many single families cannot afford the costs that go along with home-ownership and maintenance, so they choose to rent instead.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) June 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      I wouldn’t characterize McTighe as “pro-growth” based on his language, though he framed the issue as a need to deal with growth rather than slow growth. The “growth advocates” referred to in the headline are Kessler and Matthews. That’s my gloss on what I’m sure are nuanced views.

      Pro-bike is definitely not the same as pro-growth or vice versa, though the issues are interrelated and I think everyone involved would agree that Klotz, at least, is both. Difficult issues to summarize, and I apologize if it didn’t work for you.

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    • Terry D-M June 10, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      Actually, BikeloudPDX has not actually taken a stand on density as we have an official process for affirmations…and unless I missed something, we have not gotten around to it yet. I am pretty sure I know what the general opinion is, and we have talked affordability multiple times, but as a new group just forming one only has time for so much.

      We also have a very amorphous definition of “member.”

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      • Alex Reed June 13, 2015 at 11:02 am

        Yup, I’m almost certain that you’re right, Terry.

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  • davemess June 10, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    “I’m for balancing the needs of density versus the needs of livability,” he said. “I want to keep a lot of what’s Portland’s charm and not just turn over everything to density. I grew up in Los Angeles, so I’d hate to see Portland turn into the density like L.A.”

    I’d say this sums it up perfectly. It’s counterproductive and silly to just file everyone into only one of two categories (“anti” or “pro”). There are many people with in-between views and opinions, most of which recognize that these are VERY complex problems without simple solutions.

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    • Chris I June 10, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      Los Angeles is a terrible example. Their problem is not density, it’s how they chose to build that density, and how they designed their transportation system. Vancouver, BC is denser than LA, but it feels more like Portland.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) June 10, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      I agree, davemess. Journalism is always reductive, and I think sometimes continuums are the best way to summarize what’s going on. But sometimes they aren’t.

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  • density matters June 10, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    ‘I’d hate to see Portland turn into the density like L.A.’

    Agreed 100%. The precise issue with LA is that it’s dense without viable transit, walking, and bicycling options — too many years of fighting to preserve parking and car-based travel options has left it a car-based city that few emulate (though thankfully some are fighting the uphill battle to fix). It would be worse if, say, LA’s neighborhoods didn’t allow or pushed back on more dense development, which would require population growth to push further out into the regional boundaries. And that’s what’s at stake in the Portland region.

    Consider this (from

    “The Los Angeles urbanized area—which in both myth and fact is very car-oriented—is also very dense. In fact, Los Angeles has been the densest urbanized area in the United States since the 1980s, denser even than New York and San Francisco. …

    “The LA region’s combination of high, evenly distributed density puts it in an unfortunate position: it suffers from many of the problems that accompany high population density, including extreme traffic congestion and poor air quality; but lacks many of the benefits that typically accompany more traditional versions of dense urban areas, including fast and effective public transit and a core with vibrant street life.”

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    • Chris I June 10, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Exactly. And guess how LA got where it is today? Parking minimums, building height restrictions, and road expansion at the expense of transit, walking, and biking.

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  • eli bishop June 10, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    “he said that maybe Richmond should make it harder to vote in its elections by requiring participants to show up with documentation proving their residence.” WHUT

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  • N-1 June 10, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    If I were to only have facts that were presented in this article, I would think that my neighbor, Allen Field, is a different guy than who I know. This man has spent countless hours dedicated to our neighborhood. A short list of things Allen does for his neighborhood – Sewall crest pesticide free park maintenance, neighborhood block parties, friends of trees, Richmond neighborhood clean up, Sewall Crest community gardens, Sewall crest off leash dog park, he’s held more than 3 positions on the board because nobody else would do them, and countless others. There are a lot of things that he championed that I hope new board members will also continue. Alan is pro-bike, I am pro bike. Disclosure: I commute by bike, every work day, 10 miles each way. I take my kids on a bike hooked up with a trail-a-bike, hooked up to a bike trailer -my bike train. I bike and I know that biking is important, but it is not the only thing that makes a neighborhood awesome. It’s involvement. So get out there and get involved. I don’t know of any other neighbor that has been more involved than Allen.

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    • Chris
      Chris June 10, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      I agree that characterizing Allen as anti-bike is a bit like a trip into bizarro-land.

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      • soren June 10, 2015 at 4:07 pm

        IMO, short-sighted fights over parking capacity are the single biggest barrier to improvements in bike infrastructure.

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  • Kasandra Griffin June 10, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Inserting a bit of reality into the rhetoric: Allen Field is a great guy who does a TON for the Richmond neighborhood. I’ve never managed to attend a single neighborhood association meeting in the 16 years I’ve lived in the neighborhood… But Allen has served over a decade on the board, AND has often been in charge of the neighborhood newsletter, AND is a leader in the Sewallcrest community garden, AND helps run the annual neighborhood cleanup, which raises money for the annual neighborhood tree planting and the movie in the park. I don’t know anyone else who has done as much for our neighborhood for as long.

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    • jeg June 10, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Perhaps he should listen to renters, then, who need density. Not only homeowners who are worried about parking.

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      • Chris
        Chris June 10, 2015 at 2:43 pm

        I think Allen would listen to anyone who wanted to speak. I’m not sure why you think he’s anti-density, anti-renter, or pro-parking.

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        • TonyJ June 10, 2015 at 2:58 pm

          Well, I’ll say, Allen is pro-parking and I don’t think that is controversial at all. He was very active in advocating for higher parking minimums during the “apartment parking” battle. He has advocated for higher minimums at the Centers + Corridors stakeholder advisory committee meetings and in other venues. He seems, to my interpretation, to be against market based pricing for permits and I can’t really tell if he supports permits at all.

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          • Chris
            Chris June 10, 2015 at 4:25 pm

            I understand (and even supported) the reasoning behind the relaxing the parking requirement for apartments along transit lines, but it didn’t play out in practice like it did in theory.

            Instead of being a way to reduce parking regulations for developments where residents wouldn’t have cars (because of the easy access to transit), and as a way to reduce rents (lower per-unit development costs), it became a way for developers to externalize their costs onto existing residents, and keep rents just as high at developments with parking as without.

            I wouldn’t characterize wanting to end that experiment as “pro-parking”. Nor would I say opposing parking permits (whose sole justification is to make it easier for residents to park on-street) is a clearly pro-parking stance.

            But rather than debate what the extremely ambiguous term “pro-parking” might mean, I’d like to withdraw it from this conversation.

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            • TonyJ June 10, 2015 at 4:36 pm

              Let me put it this way. I consider myself very progressive on parking reforms and represent that position at hearings and on two stakeholder committees. I consider Allen to be generally on the other side of the table on these issues, supporting much more moderate reforms or even movement in the other direction on the topic.

              Without judgement on whether I am right or he is right it is an issue I think he could be fairly characterized as being on the more “conservative” side of.

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            • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 4:38 pm

              “Nor would I say opposing parking permits (whose sole justification is to make it easier for residents to park on-street) is a clearly pro-parking stance.”

              Sole justification? Have you read Donald Shoup?

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              • Chris
                Chris June 10, 2015 at 5:04 pm

                I didn’t recognize the name, but I have read about his work on using pricing to maintaining an optimal level of parking availability.

                Permit parking does provide a crude mechanism for doing that, but in this context, parking permits are seen as a way for homeowners to preserve on-street parking from encroachment by people living at “car-free” apartment buildings who do, in fact, have cars.

                A less controversial way to reduce demand for on-street parking is to require new developments that generate long-term demand for vehicle storage to at least partially meet that demand on-site.

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              • TonyJ June 10, 2015 at 6:41 pm

                less controversial if that’s what you support, maybe. Exactly the opposite to me.

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              • Chris
                Chris June 10, 2015 at 6:48 pm

                I mean less controversial in terms of what people seem to want.

                That said, in the right context, metered or permitted parking (or no parking at all!) might make a lot of sense. I might well agree with you on the merits of a specific proposal to solve a specific problem.

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          • Allen Field July 17, 2015 at 6:13 pm

            Tony: What does this have to do with anything about the tactics Doug used to call the RNA Board and me “less than bike-friendly”? What if someone posted to social media that you are “less than bike-friendly” as a way to kick you off the SNA. And, you did testify before the PSC in support of the minimum parking requirements that were later adopted.

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            • TonyJ July 17, 2015 at 10:24 pm

              I was responding to the comment above… that’s common in an internet discussion. I do think that pro-more-parking stances and pro-bike stances are a bit incompatible though.

              I testified against minimums and for lower minimums at the PSC and city council. I DID advocate that the PSC and City Hall should stick with the staff recommendations (which city hall did not) because they were better than the numbers you and the “apartment parking task force” were supporting.

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    • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks, Kasandra, for listing those accomplishments. I have worked with Allen and can attest to his dedication to neighborhood projects you list, as well as others you didn’t. But the question in the room is, where were his constituents on Monday? Why did they not bother to show up? It isn’t as if 39 people is an unprecedented turnout. We’ve had over 200 at our Sunnyside elections when a particular group decided they wanted to throw us (sitting board members) out.

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      • soren June 10, 2015 at 4:12 pm

        Can I ask what provoked that turn out?

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        • 9watts June 10, 2015 at 4:20 pm

          One person decided the sitting board did not represent parents, was advocating for policies that contravened the interests of parents. Miscommunication led to this. The people mounting the challenge, those who joined it, had almost without exception never attended any NA meetings. They pulled out all the stops, paid a campaign manager, flyered the neighborhood. Went door to door and kicked up a bunch of dust, mostly based on either misinformation or misunderstandings. We didn’t take the challenge lying down but did our best to counter the smear tactics with much a less inflammatory list of what we actually do, and our own (fairly last minute) get-out-the-vote effort. We had an ONI-supplied facilitator on hand to help keep things calm. Somewhere between 200 and 250 people showed up to the election, which had to be moved to the school.
          Their efforts went down in flames. They harassed the folks who helped count the votes, were all around sore losers, but after that we never heard from them again.

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  • rachel b June 10, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks for the comprehensive reporting, Michael–much appreciated.

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  • jeff June 10, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    oh no, bikey drama!!

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  • SE 34th June 10, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I moved into Richmond in 2011 and have tried a couple times to get involved with the neighborhood association, but was turned off by the resistance to change of most of the board members. The anti-bike characterization is fair.

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    • Dawn June 10, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      Ditto. I moved into Richmond in 2010 and attempted to get involved with the NA, but when I inquired I was met with very delayed response (took a few months to hear back about helping out with a project that they had advertised a need for in the newsletter). When I subsequently attempted to connect at a meeting and then at a Sewellcrest movie in the park, I found the representatives to be clique-y and not very welcoming. I don’t know whether it’s worth mentioning that I was a renter at the time. I am still a Richmond resident and now a homeowner. I have been reluctant to try getting involved again. I would say that my interpretation of what I have seen from the board has been anti-growth, anti-density, pro-parking and, at best, neutral on biking. I’m hopeful that there may be some change in the near future.

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  • bpositive June 10, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    The RNA is my Neighborhood Association and the tactics that Doug Klotz employed represent an escalated and unnecessary politicization of the organization.

    For anyone to characterize Allen Field as anything other than a progressive and effective advocate for the members of the neighborhood, reveals a gross misunderstanding or misstating of reality.

    Allen is your ally Mr. Klotz. He is also an ally to the bicycle advocates in Portland. Allen Fields has always delivered thoughtful and measured responses to community issues and thankfully he considers the entire community.

    What is really accomplished by myopically splitting hairs and creating demons out of your friends? If the objective is to polarize, then job well done.

    So now what? If I were on the RNA board, i would start by revising the by-laws to require Board Nominees to announce two weeks prior to elections so that they can be vetted. The new Board Members were not regular attendees of meetings, some probably have never attended a meeting before.

    Maybe they should change the by-laws to mandate that any potential board member must have attended three meeting in the last year!

    Anyone who has observed the RNA over the years can easily see that this coup was a deviation from the historical voting process of the RNA. It is also easy to see how unnecessary it was to to take this course of action. If you cannot see this, my guess is that you are not familiar with the RNA board and it’s actions over the past five years.

    Don’t take my word for it. Review the minutes for the past few years. Familiarize yourself with the issues and how the board has dealt with them.

    I just hope that the new board members are willing to commit half the time and energy as Allen Field has exhibited during his tenure on the Board. I also hope that these new members will be able to measure up to Allen’s ability to consider the full spectrum of an issue and all of its stakeholders before comment.

    They have a high bar to clear.

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    • Chris I June 10, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Parking minimums are not progressive.

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    • Nate Young June 11, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Nothing in being voted off the board precludes Allen from taking part in the NA’s future activities or voicing his opinion.

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  • Walkabouttheroses June 10, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Allen Field has been a strong advocate for my Richmond neighborhood for years. As a community member, I have always appreciated his thoughtful and calm responses to any dissention. There are many complex issues effecting our neighborhood, and bike- & pedestrian-safety are just 2 of them. This election felt like throwing the baby out with the bath water. I attend neighborhood meetings as much as I am able, and I would encourage others to do so as well. Advertising the election meetings in particular may help in getting neighbors to attend. Many may not realize that as a resident or business owner in the neighborhood, you can vote. In an effort to lend some “fairness” to the election process, potential board members should perhaps be aware of the many issues impacting the neighborhood, as well as having attended at least 3-4 meetings in a calendar year. I, for one, am disappointed that I no longer have Allen Field acting as my neighborhood advocate on the many issues that directly impact the liveability of my neighborhood. This election appeared flawed, at the very least.

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  • Allen Field June 10, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    As a rebuttal, there are many statements from me stated out of context and some that I did not say. Given how Michael twisted my words I really doubt he will print this entire rebuttal.
    Overall the article paints me as undemocratic and exclusionary in my views and practices on the board, alleging that I want to limit attendance at meeting, limit voter eligibility, prevent opposing views, and that somehow I was critical the new board members. None of this is remotely true – there was perhaps no one on the RNA board that worked harder to get people to meetings and be involved in the RNA than me. From writing newsletter articles and distributing the newsletter, organizing RNA tabling events, sending out the agenda, organizing the movie in the park, organizing recycling projects, the tree planting and the cleanup, distributing land use notices, etc, I constantly tried to get people to attend and be more involved with the RNA. I was also the most ardent proponent of making our meetings as democratic as possible by (1) insisting that both sides on any contested or controversial issue have an opportunity to present their side on the issue; (2) that the RNA’s actions be based on a consideration of the views of the different stakeholders involved; (3) that we postpone decisions until a report or study by the city has been completed; and (4) insisting on compliance with Open Meetings laws to ensure transparency and fairness in Board communications and actions. Anyone who knows me or has attended several meetings can attest to this.
    As to the article specifics:
    1. In describing to Michael the “unseemly” tactics that I saw occur, it was that Doug solicited voters to attend a meeting for the purpose of voting out board members who didn’t share his opinions (which in itself isn’t wrong – it’s an election), but by doing it by disparaging the incumbents (which also happens in elections, but that’s the unseemly part). The RNA Code of Ethics requires Board members to “treat one another with dignity and respect and shall treat each other fairly and equally.” Unbeknownst to other board members, Doug was soliciting voters by improperly describing the RNA board and the incumbents as anti-bike, which is nowhere near the truth. The RNA has never taken a position that is remotely anti-bike or less than bike-friendly on anything; in fact very few bike-related issues came before the board. It was after I spoke with Michael that I learned more of this. I told Michael that there were unseemly tactics going on behind the scenes that I surmised involved disparaging board members. This is also what I was getting referring to his tactics introducing a toxic element to the board. By portraying (and incorrectly) the board as anti-bike or anti-density it creates a polarizing effect and his untrue description on the board has set the board down the wrong path.
    2. It’s healthy to have differences of opinion on a board so the differing perspectives can be shared and have representation and there can be an attempt at a middle ground. What’s not healthy is to knock off a board those persons who disagree with you by orchestrating a campaign behind the scenes to attract a stakeholder group by saying untrue things about the board and its board members. Though this happens in elections on the broader stage it’s a shame when these tactics are used on a neighborhood level.
    3. I did urge people to show up to the meeting my sending out the agenda and telling people about the election. I’ve just never told people to vote a certain way or orchestrated a campaign to solicit voters to only vote for certain candidates. I’ve tried hard to get people to be interested in and more involved in their neighborhood association, but the way Doug did it by mis-characterizing the board is not the proper way. If myself or any of the incumbents knew that Doug was attempting to sway the election they way he did, myself and others would have better publicized it and advertized the way he was trying to polarize the election into a bike vs anti-bike issue, which I still find unbelievable. It was only last year that we even did ballots for the first time and the year before the 1st time we asked if people even lived in the neighborhood. Maybe next year the RNA should schedule 2 very controversial agenda items just to attract more people to the election to represent a wider set of the neighborhood.
    4. The RNA was not in any way anti-bike or less than bike-friendly. Myself and several board members are scratching their heads at how he can say this; as Michael did correctly state, I’m a bike commuter, an all-weather bike commuter. We rarely get bike issues presented to us and when we did we always voted in favor. On the 50s Bikeway Plan, the Board voted to send a letter of support for the Plan. The Plan had many components to it and it spanned many neighborhoods. Several neighbors complained to us that it would cause unsafe consequences by diverting traffic to other, smaller streets; also, the Plan it did not address pedestrian safety issues. I proposed that we take more time to consider other traffic calming options (such as making larger speed-bumps) and viewpoints before making a decision and I opposed the Plan because it did not do enough for pedestrian safety and worried about possible consequences to neighboring streets. The RNA supported the Plan and I made a motion that we ask the city to add $ to add a pedestrian component to the plan, which was passed unanimously. Concerning Clinton, the RNA did NOT avoid an endorsement of a traffic diverter. Kari, before she was on the board, requested the board to ask for temporary traffic diverters and the City to study their effects. We voted to send a letter to the city saying there are bike and pedestrian safety issues, the city should study them, and recommend proposed traffic calming strategies – Doug voted in favor and Kari was happy with our vote. We had heard that the City was already studying Clinton and other bike boulevards toward issuing a forthcoming report and recommendations on how to better meet the Design Guidelines for the street, so we figured it was best to see the report and recommendations before voting on specific traffic calming features. Roger Geller (PBOT) told me the issue was less about safety issues and more about comfort level and complying with Design Guidelines. Plus, we had no advance notice of a specific request for diverters and the Minutes don’t reflect that a location for diverters was described. For a vote on diverters, the RNA Code of Ethics requires the RNA to try to give actual notice and an opportunity to be heard to both sides on the issue, which we do by flyering 2-blocks in every direction.
    5. I never said that the RNA should make it harder for people to vote or that licenses or proof of utility statements should be required. I was explaining to Michael that NAs run a wide gamut on how they run elections from the Mt Tabor example, where everyone in the room can vote on every issue, and other NAs who don’t do anything to see if people are eligible to vote, to Sunnyside NA where they do require people to show licenses or utility statements. I have never advocated for this and told Michael to check with Sunnyside on this. Since I’m not on the board I have no say in how they’ll run elections next year, but given the tactics Doug used in mischaracterizing the Board, I said it’s possible the Board might be more strict in enforcing its eligibility requirements for elections, as Sunnyside does. I’m all for making NA elections easier for people; my choice would be for all residents and businesses have a ballot to vote, but NAs don’t have a capacity to handle that. Here, the RNA should spend the money to do a mail ballot to every address in Richmond. NAs can be a scary animal in Portland because it is too easy for one stakeholder group to hijack it, which has happened a few times. This is why I’ve pushed so hard for complying with the Open Meetings Laws and requiring the RNA to give notice and opportunity to be heard to all stakeholder groups on an issue before we vote.
    6. I never once voiced any element of criticism about the new board members to Michael or anyone. I had said that there is a lot of change on NAs, board members come and go, and sometimes those who join over a particular issue realize that much more goes on at a NA than they realized, so we often had board members last for a few months then leave. That is not a criticism of a board member, it’s an observation of reality that life happens and you later realize you don’t have the time interest or energy to stay on a board before your term is up – I’ve done that myself; there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t see how Michal could twist that into saying I had “criticism” of the new board members.

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    • Allen June 10, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      I forgot to mention, Doug is the only Board Member who refuses to sign the RNA’s Code of Ethics. He blocked an attempt to revise the Bylaws to require Board Members to sign it. Later, just to avoid conflict and to accommodate him, the Bylaws was amended to say “sign” or “affirm,” but no one else has refused to sign the Code of Ethics.

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      • Doug Klotz June 10, 2015 at 10:11 pm

        My objections to the Code of Ethics are two
        1. Don’t the Bylaws cover all this?, and
        2. Conflict of Interest is defined as both that you have a financial interest in a subject, OR that you have a “personal interest” in a subject. In Allen’s description, if you were part of a volunteer group advocating for crosswalks on Division, and were also a board member, you couldn’t make a presentation to the board, or vote on, that issue. You would have a “personal interest” in the project.

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        • Allen June 11, 2015 at 1:03 am

          The Code of Ethics that were voted in by the Board says “direct financial or personal interest” which is almost identical to the conflict of interest standard in Roberts Rules – you omit “direct”. No one on the board has interpreted it the way you do. Having a direct personal interest in something is different than being interested in a topic. The bylaws do not have a conflict of interest section, you blocked our efforts to add one, remember?

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) June 10, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Thanks very much for raising these critiques and additions, Allen. They’re always welcome. I should add that I have every reason to believe you’re a great guy who pours a huge amount of his heart and soul into making his neighborhood and city better. That’s one reason I devoted a lot of time and space to this piece — it was really surprising to a lot of people that you got voted out! — and to getting your side of things. I guess you’re convinced that I’m out to get you. I don’t feel that way, though it’s true that you and I personally disagree on parking and infill policy. Not sure we disagree about bike stuff; probably not a ton.

      When we met three years ago, I was eager to quote you as a well-spoken, plugged-in person who disagreed with my personal perspective on parking.

      However, we also disagree on whether there are errors in the piece above.

      We talked about this for a while this morning, so I’ll review my responses to each of the points you mention.

      1) Here’s the “unseemly” quote in my notes, which came up when we were talking about Klotz’s decision to urge people to vote for people other than you. I’d asked you how this was different than governmental elections, in which lots of disparagement goes on. You said neighborhood associations do things differently, adding: “It’s unseemly behavior that we shouldn’t stoop to these kind of tactics. Personally if you disagree with a fellow board member’s opinion, I don’t think the proper approach is to vote them out.”

      2) Totally valid perspective; not an error in our story.

      3) Sounds like you should take that up with Klotz; again, not an error in our story.

      4) On the 50s bikeway, Klotz’s statement was that you personally opposed a diverter at 52nd/Division, not that the RNA did. On Clinton diverters, you make valid points but they don’t make Klotz’s claim (that the board avoided endorsing diverters on Clinton) inaccurate. Seems as if it could have happened over the course of the last few months.

      5) Your statement about making it harder to vote came in response to my question about who showed up. You responded by saying you didn’t know any of the new faces. I asked if you thought any of them were from out of the neighborhood. You responded that you didn’t think so. “Who knows? Maybe next year we’ll have to do these full-on driver’s license checks. Unfortunately, that’d require a vote of the board.” If those sentences don’t “suggest” that it might be a good idea to make it harder to vote in coming elections, I don’t know what they were doing there.

      6) As I agreed this morning, “criticism” was the wrong word for me to choose. In the context of a conversation about it being a big loss for RNA to lose you as a member (which is quite possibly true!) your saying that newly elected board members might not keep showing up came off to me as a criticism – enough that I felt I needed to get Matthews’ direct response to it. But I agree, that wasn’t the best word to use, which is why I changed it at your request to the word you suggested, “observation.”

      There are always value judgments involved in parsing and summarizing the content of longish conversations like the one we had Tuesday, so we may well disagree. Unless you want to raise any other issues, I’ll let you have the last word if you’d like.

      After spending most of the last 24 hours on this story, it seems to me that blood is running hotter than it needs to on all this stuff. Mine included, maybe, at least by our conversation this morning when you were accusing me of dishonesty. If so, I apologize.

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      • Allen June 11, 2015 at 12:52 am

        Michael: You surrebuttal is an example of what I was getting at, how you parsed out certain statements out of context of the surrounding conversation to support your story line; that statement was in the context of our long 30-45 minute conversation where I described in different ways how Doug’s actions were “unseemly,” which is actually not such a harsh word to use. Another person described it as “unsavory,” which I thought about saying, but then thought it was too food related. Either way, it was wrong to solicit voters by mis-describing the Board as anti-bike, while you seem to think it was ok for him to do that — let’s agree to disagree on that. My point #2 is what I explained in our chat and added to by email, which was part of the context of describing what was improper about Doug’s approach. On the 50’s diverter, you should read the minutes of the meeting and talk to others besides Doug who were at the meeting: I was in favor of 1st trying other traffic calming measures (larger speed bumps) then increasing measures if that didn’t work and wanted to hear from Mt Tabor NA’s consideration of the issue. The diverter aspect was added late in the Plan design, after other NAs had already voted to support the Plan, and Mt Tabor had yet to vote on it, plus a neighbor on the adjacent street presented a 100+ person petition opposing the diverter, saying how it would make her and other streets more dangerous and how the public involvement process was too rushed. So, asking for more time to consider the issue didn’t seem like an unreasonable request. As it turned out, Mt Tabor NA later opposed the diverter feature in a hotly contested vote and it took the city 3 years to install it. So, there really would have been no harm to wait a month or two or 3 to learn more about the diverter idea. According to ODOT’s interactive map of 2009-13 bike auto-crashes (, there were no accidents during that time at that intersection or on those blocks of 52nd between Division and Lincoln. In our talk, you agreed that most accidents occur at intersections, so forcing all north bound cars to turn at the intersection, across the bike lanes, could have the unintended effect of making that intersection less safe for bikes. As I explained to you, a neighbor of that intersection says that accidents are now happening there, so, it’d be good to see the updated ODOT map.
        Re Clinton, we did not avoid endorsing diverters. As I explained over the phone, the city was already studying Clinton and possible remedial measures, the board wanted to see what options the city recommended, and no specific intersections were identified for diverters. As I also explained, I was assuming a diverter is being proposed by people for 26th (which is outside Richmond) but you said that’s not the case, it would be at 28th, and you agreed that a diverter might not make Clinton any safer. Reducing speed is the key and larger speed bumps would be good but that might not be possible according to the city. It was agreed by all at the meeting that the best approach would be to have Roger Geller attend the next available meeting (February 2015) to explain the Bike Blvd Guidelines, the city’s current study of Greenways/Bike Blvds and time frame, and have him come back after the study has been completed, which he said would be spring or summer. In February, he explained the complicated nature of the issue of Clinton compared to other Greenways and that there “would need to have a comprehensive public process before the traffic patterns would be changed.” So, your comment that tries to support Doug’s characterization of the RNA as anti-bike and that “it could have happened over the course of the last few months” for the RNA to vote to endorse diverters, ignores the reality of what happened in those meetings and discounts the RNA’s serious and thorough consideration of the issues and anticipation of revisiting the issue. Before you accepted as true Doug’s characterizations of the Board and its votes as anti-bike, you should have read the minutes of those meetings or spoken with other board members.

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        • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
          Michael Andersen (News Editor) June 11, 2015 at 2:45 am

          Thanks, Allen. Since I feel like it’s a new charge, I do want to respond to your saying that by quoting Doug Klotz as calling the RNA “less than bike-friendly” in a public email and then asking him to cite specific examples to back up his claim, I am choosing to “support Doug’s characterization of the RNA as anti-bike.”

          – Since we’re talking about facts, I don’t think it is accurate of you to claim that Klotz has called the RNA “anti-bike,” let alone that I’ve reported him saying so. That’s a pretty different phrase. No wonder people are saying it doesn’t describe you; it doesn’t, which is probably why Klotz never used it.

          – Quoting Klotz’s opinion is not the same thing as supporting Klotz. However, you’re right that it’s important for me to not let Klotz simply lie about things in the course of stating his opinions. He didn’t. You go into depth here about the merits of the diverter proposals. Your points are valid, but they don’t contradict the fact that the two things he said (you personally opposed a diverter on 52nd; the RNA didn’t endorse diverters on Clinton) seem to have been true.

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          • John R. June 11, 2015 at 6:56 am

            As Allen has said “Compared to Sunnyside’s meetings, Richmond’s meetings are much better attended and the votes and discussions occur with much more neighborhood involvement.” So he pretty much has nothing to complain about other than an outcome that he personally does not like.

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            • TonyJ June 11, 2015 at 10:04 am

              Allen came to one SNA meeting in December, which was an emergency meeting and was somewhat abrasive to me and the other SNA board. He made some valid points and we actually postponed a vote to make sure the neighborhood understood what position we were taking on the comp plan.

              The result of that outreach was a standing room only meeting which affirmed that Sunnyside neighbors support higher intensity development on Hawthorne (which Allen assured us they would not). So I thank him for that.

              I believe he also threatened to grieve our vote (not even in his neighborhood) if it didn’t go his way and if I, a volunteer president, didn’t follow the rules of order to a T. So I studied up an ran the meeting like a BOSS, so thank’s again Allen.

              I respect the work he has done as a volunteer, but on these other issues our neighborhoods have been quite at odds, I have hope that we will have a better shot at working together now.

              Oh, and NA meetings with 40 people isn’t much to brag about (that’s about how many we had at our elections too). I hope to spend much of the next year working hard to increase participation in the Sunnyside neigborhood.

              I didn’t intend to bring that stuff up, but I think it’s apropos considering the comment.

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              • Allen Field July 17, 2015 at 6:21 pm

                Tony: I was invited to that Land Use meeting by a SNA board member, and all SNA meetings are open to the public. are you saying I was not allowed or welcome there? Plus, I was in no way abrasive to you. You apparently took my comments as a personal toward you, I guess because you did not agree with them, but I was certainly not abrasive to you and no one even intimated as such during or after the meeting.
                I have no idea what you mean that I “threatened to grieve” the vote; I don’t even know what that means. The Minutes certainly don’t reflect that since I made such threat or comment

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              • TonyJ July 17, 2015 at 10:28 pm

                They are certainly open to the public and you were certainly allowed to be there. I never said otherwise.

                My comment you are responding to is based on my impressions, things I’d heard, etc. As I said, in the end it was helpful, I tightened up my game.

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          • Allen Field July 17, 2015 at 6:07 pm

            Michael: To say the RNA is “less than bike-friendly,” is to say it’s not friendly to bikes, especially when it’s posted to the BikeLoudPDX listserve. Whether it’s “anti-bike” or “less than bike-friendly” is splitting hairs. To me they mean roughly the same thing. But, regardless, neither is true of me or of the RNA Board or the voted-out incumbents. The two board votes (June 2011 and November 2014) on which Doug’s “less than bike-friendly” description of the RNA is based were both pro-bike votes, AND he joined in on both votes. In June 2011 the RNA voted overwhelmingly to support the 50’s Bikeway Plan and in November 2014 it voted unanimously to request the city to study bike and pedestrian safety on Clinton and recommend traffic calming treatments. Doug fully supported and joined in the vote on these two motions and made no objections or counter-motions. I’d like to attach the Minutes but can’t. That you overlook these Minutes and the fact that Doug supported the 2 votes which support his “less than bike-friendly” description is my point that you wholeheartedly accept his description even though the Minutes show his description is untrue. If the RNA is “less than bike-friendly” because of these votes, than so is Doug.

            Further, he called the RNA Board “less than bike-friendly,” so why are you justifying accepting his word as truth by focusing on me, and because you think I opposed the diverter at 52nd & Division. I was just 1 of 15 board member votes at any meeting. Plus, as I explained above, there were many reasons I opposed a letter of support for the 50s Bikeways Plan: a neighbor on 51st Ave. presented a 100+ person petition opposing the SE 52nd and Division north-bound auto diverter, saying it would pose dangers to neighbors on the narrower 51st, 53rd and 54th Aves, the diverter feature was added to the Plan at the last minute with little public involvement and after several other NAs had voted to give their support, Mt. Tabor NA had yet to vote on it (it is in their boundaries; they subsequently voted to oppose the diverter); and the Plan had cut out the Pedestrian Safety portion due to budget cuts despite serious pedestrian safety issues on 52nd Ave south of Division. I proposed less intrusive traffic measure, like raising the speed bumps, and then later going to more intrusive ones, like diverters, if later needed. I opposed the Plan for all these reasons, asking for more time to look at the issues, though the RNA voted to support the Plan. After the vote to support the Plan, I made a motion that the RNA ask the city to add back in the Pedestrian Safety component, which passed unanimously.

            Concerning the Clinton diverter, the RNA was not presented with any request for diverters at any specific intersection, if it had, it is bound under its Bylaws and Code of Ethics to give actual notice to people on those side streets and hear their opinions before ruling on the issue. You say the RNA could have generally endorsed diverters on Clinton, but no one presented a motion to that effect, particularly, Doug did not make or urge such a motion. That’s because Roger Geller had explained to me that the city was currently studying Clinton and the diverters issue and would issue a report by summer 2015. Every board member, including Doug, agreed it was better to ask the city to continue with its study and report back with any recommendations on traffic calming features needed for Clinton.

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    • Adam June 10, 2015 at 8:58 pm

      Allen, could you clarify your stance on Clinton Street and 50s Bikeway diversion to readers? Because it sounded pretty anti-bike to many of us who bike…

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    • TonyJ June 10, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      Sunnyside NA bylaws require the proof of address, so we’re bound to that. This year I had several neighbors who were very watchful of my actions on the elections and we had to be very sure to follow the bylaws.

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    • Evan Manvel June 11, 2015 at 9:14 am

      “Given how Michael twisted my words I really doubt he will print this entire rebuttal.”

      Allen, I think you’ll find no reporter in the region more committed to a fair hearing (and giving you the chance to respond with as many words as you need) than Michael Andersen. I recommend assuming the best from him rather than the worst.

      Nor will you find a reporter/editor better at fostering positive public discussion.

      If we all followed Michael’s example about how to listen well and have productive comment threads, the cesspool of online comments could often be turned into useful public discussions.

      While that problem is not as bad at BikePortland as it is many places, we still can strive to do better — and Michael is a shining example of how to do so.

      All that said, a sincere thank you for bringing your perspective into the discussion, and contributing to the neighborhood. Clearly over a decade of discussions and decisions can’t fit neatly into one article, even a long one. There are subtleties and nuances.

      As far as what votes have been about biking, there are decisions not labeled “biking” that foster or discourage more biking. Requiring minimum car parking for apartments, for example, creates a disincentive to density (and housing affordability) and therefore a less bike-friendly city (density and bike ridership are pretty well correlated). I haven’t parsed what decisions were made or who supported them, so I’m not claiming you were on whatever side, but even items that don’t seem like bike decisions impact biking.

      Sounds like if you re-run for the neighborhood board next election and turn neighbors out who like your approach, you’re likely to get the support you need to rejoin the board.

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      • Carl June 11, 2015 at 11:34 am

        Well said, Evan.

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  • Dwaine Dibbly June 10, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I was just about to quit reading comments, but this looks like it’s about to get good….

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  • Ted Buehler June 10, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Congrats to those who volunteered for the Richmond board and were voted into office.

    I think this article overstates the “pro-bike/anti-bike” situation.

    I know Doug, Kari and Tom personally, and they’re all the type of folks that are deeply concerned about all aspects of community, and all elements of neighborhood health. I think that by painting them as single-issue candidates, this article has done a disservice to them and to their intentions as newly elected board members.

    We’d be delighted to have any of these Richmond candidates on our board here in Boise — Tom, Doug, Kari, Allen or Syd. We had elections on Monday, and only had about 10 candidates for 18 board seats.

    Thanks to all who volunteer for neighborhood association boards — past present and future.

    Just saying…

    Ted Buehler
    Chair, Boise Neighborhood Association.

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  • Richmond neighbor June 10, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    What is difficult about this situation is that Allen and other board members were attributed a position that is puzzling if not an outright mischaracterization to those who know and work with them. What’s more, the efforts to mobilize greater participation were very narrow and targeted, feeling more like an agenda push than a real outreach effort. For a board where, particularly due to Allen’s diligence, commitment to following open meetings practices is so important, it is sad to see such back-handed tactics being employed. It was noted, in one of the online postings, that voting would be first on the agenda. In fact many of those in attendance left after placing their votes. This makes it hard to see any sort of commitment to the kind of participation that makes a democracy effective. As has been noted by others, Allen contributed much of himself and his time to a broad spectrum of issues and needs in the neighborhood. With respect to board business, he took pains to ensure fair representation and open discussion. Whatever gains the special interests who voted against Allen may feel they have captured, the neighborhood’s losses are far greater in losing his participation and leadership on the board.

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  • Adam June 10, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Amazing! I’m excited to see neighborhood assn support for Clinton traffic diverters now!!! PBOT has no excuse any longer.

    The voted-out chair lost my vote when he votes against diverters on the 50s Bikeway. I didn’t realize he was also anti-traffic calming on Clinton, but that all makes sense now.

    Finally, so relieved to see the focus bring eased off condos and parking. There are OTHER topics that need addressing too!! And perhaps the more bike-friendly the neighborhood, the less parking you’ll need.

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    • Chris I June 10, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      The less car parking available in a neighborhood, the lower the traffic. Car parking creates traffic. If you add housing to the area without adding parking, eventually the street spots will get filled, and then any additional residents won’t have the choice to drive, because there will be nowhere to park.

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      • Chris
        Chris June 11, 2015 at 8:10 am

        Drivers circling the block looking for an elusive parking spot also causes traffic, often the distracted and frustrated kind that is dangerous to bike around. It also is a huge waste of time and gas.

        We’ll need many more residents, cars, and a lot more traffic to reach your stated ideal. I’m not sure that trying to fill every on-street parking spot is the most effective way to encourage cycling.

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        • Dan June 11, 2015 at 5:12 pm

          Parking spaces are full because they are free. Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

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          • Chris I June 12, 2015 at 7:57 am

            Exactly. Neighbors want to keep their free parking, and they spread ideas of congestion, and traffic “hunting for parking” as being a danger to cyclists to try and scare people.

            The reality is that housing is going to be built, and more people are going to move to these neighborhoods. We now have two options:

            1. Add parking
            2. Don’t add parking

            If you add parking, there will be more people driving, and more cars on the road. If you don’t add parking, fewer of these new people will have cars. There are several districts in the city where parking is basically 100% full in the evenings: NW Portland near 21st/23rd, Hawthorne, Division, etc. These are the areas where car-free housing should be added, because the street spots are essentially full.

            Anyone that advocates for parking minimums is really just trying to restrict development. They know that it makes developments more expensive, and they know that fewer of them will be built if the city requires parking.

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            • davemess June 12, 2015 at 10:34 am

              Except have we honestly seen that building non-parking buildings has resulted in a significant amount of occupants going without cars? Wasn’t there a story on this site a year or so ago that something like over 70% of residents in a parking-free building still had a car?

              The level of density that you’re talking about (where someone truly would not see a point in owning a car, or not want the hassles) really only occurs in a few cities in the US right now (I’m thinking NYC, etc.). And even then you have to have really good transportation options for people (and I don’t think TRIMET is anywhere close to that yet).

              Not to mention do we expect that kind of density (something only maybe downtown/Pearl even comes close to right now) should also be present on the east side?

              And it seems that you’re not really factoring in out of the area traffic. Division has become a dining hotspot and draws a lot of out of the area traffic. I agree with Chris that I don’t think many of these people will just stop coming to their favorite restaurant, but instead they will be the ones circling the block over and over.

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              • TonyJ June 12, 2015 at 10:55 am

                I think the jury is still out on what will really happen with these apartments.

                For one, until we actually have some incentive NOT to park on the street (permits and meters) then people are going to park their car on the street and leave it there because there’s no reason not to.

                Secondly, someone moving to Inner SE from somewhere they needed a car regularly will take some time to (potentially) determine they don’t need it. The city should be doing a better job with promotions and incentives to use the bus and car shares. Zipcar, getaround, car2go, and relayrides are very powerful once someone tries them. It takes a little while to get over the anxiety and realize that you’ll have a car when you need it.

                These work together. The market (or even sub market) parking charges provide a nudge to get people thinking about whether it’s worth it to keep the car.

                Finally, we need to build for the future. Self-driving cars are a thing. They aren’t science fiction and they are coming. I’d rather suffer through a few years of parking congestion now than have a bunch of worthless parking structures that can’t be used for very much other than storage.

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              • davemess June 12, 2015 at 1:44 pm

                Riffing on that, we were able to pretty easily transition carriage houses to something more useful for modern times.

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              • bjcefola June 12, 2015 at 9:30 pm

                Given the ultra-tight housing markets I’m not sure how significant the data is. Imagine laying out a table to feed a group of starving people. There are two kinds of food, meat and vegetables. Not all food is available at once, you put meat or vegetables out at random times and individuals come to the table looking for food at random times. The amount of food is inadequate, and some people are forced to leave in order to survive. Under these conditions, how well do you think dietary preference would align with the actual food people ate? Would you expect the vegetables to be eaten only by vegetarians?

                People match their preferences as best they can, given the choices available. The more choices are restricted, the less indicative they are of preferences.

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  • Joe Rowe June 10, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    The former board member said…”. worried about possible consequences to neighboring streets. ”

    That’s exactly the language used by PBOT staff when they veto safety safety concerns. They veto removal of parking or extra travel time for cars.

    SE 52nd and 50th are much safer and less congested thanks to the diverter at 52nd and Division.

    I’d like detail of the “consequences”. We all want that detail from PBOT and clearly anti bike people who say they’re not. Show us the concern details. We will answer those concerns.



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    • davemess June 11, 2015 at 7:29 am

      the 50th intersection with Division is definitely more congested now than before (although it’s gotten a bit better as PBOT is tweaking the light timings).

      And I do think the diverter was a good idea (and use that route every single day), but there has been some effect on traffic patterns.

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    • paikiala June 11, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      I’ve been here (non specific) for 20 years. Way back, PBOT did a lot of diversion testing, everything from curb extensions to traffic circles to cul-de-sacs and semi-diverters. It is through years of experience that easy things, like traffic circles, semi-diverters, and speed bumps, were divided from the much less predictable things like full diversion.
      Many of the current project managers and staff have not been through the tumult that was neighborhood traffic calming in the ’80’s and ’90’s, as I suspect, have not many on this blog.

      The unintended consequences are the risk with untested diversion. We might be able to predict the reduction on the diverted street, but predicting where the traffic will go is crystal ball stuff. For instance, when speed bumps were first built on SW Maplewood, traffic diverted to 51st -at that time a gravel roadway. It’s such an unusual path, no one anticipated it. The solution was to remove the bumps and put in fewer speed tables, and Maplewood resumed being the preferred auto route.
      In a grid, like with Clinton, the risks are muted, but until you block a path you won’t know for sure where the traffic will go.

      Portland is also in flux right now with the neighborhood greenway designation. It elevates certain roadways over others for pedestrian and bike use. This change implies that moving through auto traffic off the greenway to adjacent parallel local service streets is acceptable, but that is a policy change and conversation that has not been fully vetted with the public.

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      • Adam June 12, 2015 at 6:03 pm

        Most traffic on Clinton is trying to make a left turn on to 39th. If it went a block further over onto Tibbets or whatnot, t would nor be able to make a facilitated left hand turn. The reason the traffic is in Clinton is that the light at 39th gives them a quick free pass.

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  • gutterbunnybikes June 11, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Not my NA, but as for point 5, not sure I like the idea of non residents voting on a NA board. And I don’t think asking for a id or piece of mail with address to get a ballot on a NA vote would constitute voter repression.

    If this tactic was in play for this election, even though some feel it’s a win for the cause – in the long run it will likely backfire.

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    • soren June 11, 2015 at 8:17 am

      Non-resident property owners are allowed to vote at most NAs.

      Single parent: 1 vote (if they can find child care).
      Wealthy landlord: a vote in every neighborhood where they own property.

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      • TonyJ June 11, 2015 at 9:52 am

        The only non-resident voters I have ever ever seen are folks who spent years on the board, moved, and remained active. Some of SNA’s most successful board members have been business owners or landlords who just really cared about the neighborhood.

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        • soren June 11, 2015 at 11:12 am

          Some of SNA’s most successful board members have been…landlords

          And landlords who are not residents, of course, have no potential conflict of interest with renters who are residents.

          who just really cared about the neighborhood.

          And some care about the neighborhood’s “character”.

          Here is an email I recently sent that give a picture of my more recent experiences as non “out” renter:

          More recently, I attended NA meetings to advocate for active transport and was very unpleasantly surprised by the hostility directed at renters (especially those who live in apartment buildings). The tone so hostile that I felt I should avoid identifying as a renter and avoid speaking about my concerns as renter so that I could focus on other advocacy. (Oh well…)

          This Oregonian article captures the tone:

          Southeast Portland, she said, “is getting a Toronto, Vancouver, almost” – her voice began to shake – “Capitol-Hill-like environment,” she said. “That, to me, is like a rape.” She was talking about a 4-story apartment building proposed a block from her home.

          Link omitted because the spam filter target my posts with links. (Google the text.)

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          • TonyJ June 11, 2015 at 11:35 am

            You can paint it as you will. Let me give two examples. Tim Brooks owns a home in Sunnyside which he used to live in. He has since moved in with his partner but owns the home. Tim was instrumental in making the Belmont Street Fair what it is and was a tenacious advocate for the neighborhood. Just because someone owns a house they don’t live in doesn’t make them Mr. Monopoly, you need to check that assumption at the door as much as people shouldn’t assume things about renters.

            Paul Loney is another former board member who has his office in the neighborhood, but has not lived in the neighborhood for some time. He too spent much time advocating for Sunnyside.

            Neither of these guys express the sentiments you attribute to them based solely on where they live or why they might care about Sunnyside. As soon as there were new folks who were capable and willing to step up, they stepped aside (having given up a lot of personal time and freedom to provide continuity for the board).

            I absolutely hear you, I recently had to endure a TON of, basically, abuse because I, as chair, scheduled a renter focused presentation on the night of our elections. There is a lot of work to be done, but it’s not going to help to assume the worst of people.

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            • soren June 11, 2015 at 2:47 pm

              I did not intend “attribute to” or “assume” anything. My comment was based on having attended meetings and being shocked to learn that multiple participants were valid “voters” merely because they owned property. Didn’t we decide that granting landed gentry extra votes was a bad idea a few hundred years ago?

              “I absolutely hear you, I recently had to endure a TON of, basically, abuse because I, as chair, scheduled a renter focused presentation on the night of our elections.”

              Thanks for voicing that.

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              • 9watts June 11, 2015 at 3:14 pm

                I too have encountered folks here in the inner SE neighborhoods who *mistakenly* operate under the assumption that these are HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATIONS. It is most unfortunate. And it is incumbent upon us who know this to be in error to set them straight, reject this crap.

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              • davemess June 11, 2015 at 5:34 pm

                But were you (as a renting resident) ever denied a valid vote?

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          • davemess June 11, 2015 at 12:56 pm

            I think you’re misinterpreting some of the tone and comments that people make that are more directed at the specific development and developers, than at the people who actually live in these buildings. Many people are upset about the changes and the development, but few of them actually have a lot of ill will towards the people living in these developments. In this case it’s more of: Hate the game, not the player.
            Put another way, I think people would have a lot of the same opinions and comments if these were all condos and not apartments. It’s about the structures and the development, not whether one owns or rents a unit.

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            • soren June 11, 2015 at 1:54 pm

              The rancor over parking is not a new thing at all. Over the years, I have personally witnessed verbal harassment, notes on wind shields, and one violent fit where an individual literally jumped around and kicked inanimate objects (very funny in retrospect). At one point there was even a parking ticket enforcement action by homeowners that sought to target renters (for parking the wrong way on a residential street). It was punitive and one renter received multiple tickets because they were on vacation. IMO, some of the conflict is not only about development but also about “class”.

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              • davemess June 11, 2015 at 5:33 pm

                I’m not discounting that. I’m saying that that has nothing to do whether someone is a renter (apartment) or a homeowner (condo). It has everything to do with the building and parking. I don’t think those are examples of people being upset with renters specifically. Building-dwellers? Well quite possibly.

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              • soren June 11, 2015 at 6:40 pm

                the rental units i’m referring to were houses or duplexes so in this case it was purely a matter of “class”.

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              • Chris
                Chris June 11, 2015 at 10:32 pm

                If the level of rancor you described arose from a parking dispute with the occupants of a single house (or even a duplex), there must have been some other dynamic at play than what the residents of Richmond have complained about.

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              • 9watts June 12, 2015 at 11:56 am

                FWIW, homeowners statistically own more cars per capita and per household than renters do in the inner Eastside zipcodes where I’ve investigated this. It may also be true in other zipcodes in Multnomah Co.

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      • Chris
        Chris June 11, 2015 at 11:43 am

        If there were any evidence of a landlord trying to stack the boards of multiple NAs because of owning multiple properties, it would make a fantastic Mercury or WW story!

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    • Jackie June 12, 2015 at 12:17 am

      It’s a red herring. Nobody has even alleged that out-of-neighborhood voting took place. It didn’t.

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      • soren June 12, 2015 at 8:52 am

        I support diversion on Clinton at multiple locations so I’m not sure what color the herring is. I brought up out-of-neighborhood voting because its one example of the lack of democratic process at some NAs.

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  • TomR June 11, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Sounds like a bunch of Clinton St people took over a meeting. Maybe those living on Harrison St should run next time. They already know what happens when you put diverters on a street (i.e. Lincoln St). All the traffic moves one block over. Maybe they should look at WHY people move to drive down Clinton. Such as it’s almost impossible to make a left (north) turn onto Cesar because there’s no turn signal. Fix the problem! Don’t create new ones for other people

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    • Chris I June 12, 2015 at 8:01 am

      The problem is that too many people are driving. Adding a dedicated left turn signal at 39th won’t fix that problem. Making it harder and slower for people trying to cut through neighborhoods will encourage them to leave the car at home. We should have diverters on all neighborhood streets, but it makes sense to start with the bike routes first.

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      • davemess June 12, 2015 at 10:27 am

        If we have diverters on every street, how will residents get to their homes?

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        • Alex Reed June 12, 2015 at 10:50 am

          I bet Chris is not advocating a Maginot Line of diverters that force long detours but rather diverters spread out so that it is slow and confusing to cut through a neighborhood.

          Personally, that sounds like maybe overkill to me. I think speed bumps and de facto street narrowing (through street seats type installations by residents, not concrete) on non-greenway streets could do the trick in most cases.

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        • 9watts June 12, 2015 at 11:58 am

          “If we have diverters on every street, how will residents get to their homes?”
          They will bike!

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      • Oregon Mamacita June 12, 2015 at 10:57 am

        Chris I, I must disagree with your assertion that PBOT can change people’s lifestyles and transit preferences. PBOT has been trying to make driving undesirable for years, and yet traffic is worse (thanks to an uptick in the economy).

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        • soren June 12, 2015 at 3:31 pm

          “PBOT has been trying to make driving undesirable for years”

          Hardly. Goal 2-6 of Portland’s Climate Action Plan is a farce:

          Reduce per capita daily vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) by 30 percent from 2008 levels.

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        • Bjorn June 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm

          In 1996 VMT in Portland was the same as the US average, in 2011 the most recent data I could find Portland was nearly 15% below the national average. It seems to me like whatever the city is doing it is having an impact.

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    • Bjorn June 12, 2015 at 8:28 am

      If you go to Vancouver BC you will find that they place diverters throughout their neighborhoods forcing all through traffic onto the arteries. The problem isn’t the diverter on lincoln, it is the lack of one on Harrison.

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    • Chris
      Chris June 12, 2015 at 10:45 am

      Adding a dedicated left turn phase at 39th will also make it safer for pedestrians crossing 39th at that intersection (like the ones ODOT just installed at 26th & Powell). I think that change would be a win for everyone.

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      • Adam June 12, 2015 at 6:05 pm

        No no no! The reason there is too much traffic on Clinton is **because** of that light.

        Where the dedicated left turn signal needs to be is Division. There is none there which is why so many cars shunt over to Clinton to make that left.

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    • TonyJ June 12, 2015 at 10:56 am

      A few years ago it was a bunch of Division St. people took over a board over density and parking concerns. So it goes.

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      • Allen Field July 17, 2015 at 6:28 pm

        Tony: You don’t know what you’re talking about. 2013 was the fist time we ever had a contested election with 3 people vying for 2 spots. Before that, we always had open board seats and we always elected in anyone who wanted a seat. Over the past 4 years, people did join the board who were concerned about the impacts of the explosive growth on Division but it was a gradual process over the years that these people joined, not all at once, and it was only to fill an open seat that was open to the pro-high density crowd. It was never a whole slate of people joining the board all at once. Based on people who attend our meetings the makeup of the board did accurately reflect the makeup of the meeting audience.

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        • TonyJ July 17, 2015 at 10:30 pm

          How many of the board members prior to this election joined the board (contested or not) primarily due to the apartment/parking issues?

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          • Allen Field July 24, 2015 at 12:50 pm

            I can’t point to any. The numerous people who have filled the vacancies over the years can’t be pigeon-holed into the anti-apartment or pro-parking label that you want to attach to people. These people who, span a wide spectrum of views, mostly said something like: I want to be more involved; or, there’s lots of change afoot and want to make Richmond a better place. These open seats were open to anyone, and some were filled by people in your camp (the anti-car, anti-parking, extreme high density crowd) and some were filled by people with a complex mix of opinions — sometimes they voted in ways you’d call anti-development and sometimes they voted in pro-development ways. But, the board has never ever voted “Less than bike-friendly”, not even remotely. What if someone called you “less than bike-friendly” (or used some other lie, like “less than kid-friendly”) as a way to get you vote off the board — you’d be ok with that?

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            • TonyJ July 25, 2015 at 11:24 am


              I have faced a fair amount of criticism on my side of Hawthorne for supporting the things I think are best for the future of our neighborhoods. I know there are people with different opinions, I know that there are plenty of people who are also supportive of the things I advocate for.

              Ironically, some of the people in my neighborhood who are so shocked at what happened in yours, were saying worse things about me than “less than bike friendly” in the weeks leading up to the election.

              Nevertheless, I decided I would be up front about my views on density, I made it very clear in my statements that I think higher intensity development on the corridors (with design review) is the best option we have right now, and I would support it.

              These are politics, albeit local, and it’s kind of silly to me that people seem, in some ways, to be more concerned about these things happening locally, when we have no one running against a pretty disappointing council in city hall. Nevertheless, they are politics, I don’t think you should have taken your re-election as a given, I certainly didn’t take mine for a given.

              I don’t think you are a terrible person, but there are several issues I think were really important in the last year that we were on opposite sides of the table on. The people who came out in your neighborhood to vote to change the board probably felt the same. Seems to me that Doug recruited people to vote for and he told likeminded people that they would have options that were more in line with their opinions. To argue that that is somehow nefarious is pretty puzzling to me.

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  • Chris
    Chris June 12, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Chris I
    Anyone that advocates for parking minimums is really just trying to restrict development. They know that it makes developments more expensive, and they know that fewer of them will be built if the city requires parking.

    I don’t think anyone is holding off on building a new apartment building because of the high cost of parking. I don’t think this theory holds much water.

    You can probably find some cities (NYC, San Francisco) where lack of parking does influence decisions over car ownership, but we are light-years away from that in Portland. Trying to make people ride bikes by forcing everyone to park on-street will only engender a much bigger backlash against new development than has already happened, and will be counter-productive in the long-term.

    Don’t we want less on-street parking to make life better for cyclists?

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    • Alex Reed June 13, 2015 at 10:59 am

      According to a Sightline Institute study, apartment developers in Seattle can’t charge anywhere near enough in parking fees to pay for the cost of providing parking. This results in a $246 increase in rent for every apartment on average. You’d better bet that having to increase rent that much in order to cover the cost of parking influences developers’ decisions on whether or not to build.

      (Oh, and 37% of parking spaces in the apartment buildings studied were empty at night…)

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    • soren June 14, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      “Trying to make people ride bikes by forcing everyone to park on-street will only engender a much bigger backlash against new development than has already happened, and will be counter-productive in the long-term.”

      You evidence for this is…

      I lived on Capitol Hill in Seattle where on street parking was far more constrained than any neighborhood in Portland and there was no “bigger backlash” against new development” in the 90s and zeroes.

      We need restricted parking zones for on-street parking in Portland now! And fees should be high enough to discourage frivolous car storage by both property owners and renters.

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  • Jim Labbe
    Jim Labbe June 14, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I lived in Richmond 20 years ago and attended the Neighborhood Association meetings for a spell. At that time the NA was all about promoting more compact urban growth along the corridors. There was a real forward thinking perspective that viewed more compact urban form (and the people and disposable income they brought to the neighborhood) as a source of vibrancy and renewal as well as part of the regional strategy to protect forests, farmland and natural areas outside the UGB. The rapid pace of growth recently has clearly strained people’s patience with this strategy and shook their sense of place in the neighborhood. But it is good to see there are still people willing to step up to support a more inclusive and people-oriented vision for Richmond and Portland.

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  • Malcolm June 14, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Allen Field is the most civic-minded person I know. As a long-time resident of the Richmond community, I would like to formally thank Allen for all he has done to improve the quality of life here in SE Portland. Rest assured, Allen Field is pro-cycling. I know him very well. But Allen is more than that. He is truly a renaissance man and a neighborhood treasure. He advocates and volunteers for Friends of Trees, keeping parks free of pesticides, community gardens, responsible off-leash areas for dogs, movies in the park, neighborhood watch, awesome block parties, Richmond clean-up, good schools, and cycling. What I’ve read doesn’t describe Allen at all, and attacks on him personally are misguided. I hope Allen decides to stay involved in the Richmond community for years to come. If we are lucky enough that Allen decides to run for office again, I’ll be sure to attend the meeting with my many local friends and cast my vote for Allen. He has my support, admiration, and utmost respect.

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