2017 Montavilla Neighborhood Association board election guide

The Montavilla Neighborhood Association will hold its yearly meeting Monday, October 9 at the Montavilla United Methodist Church, 232 SE 80th Ave.

Check in and a board meeting begins at 6 pm, and a general meeting begins at 6:30 pm. You’ll need to check in before the election at 7 pm to be eligible to vote / run. You have to be present to vote.

Those eligible to vote: “​All residents age 18 and older including property owners, and individuals who hold a business license located within the boundaries as defined by these bylaws are eligible to be a member of the association. Individuals or entities not meeting the boundary criteria can request to become members of MNA.”

If you were wondering, yes, unhoused folk who live in Montavilla can vote. They will be asked at check-in where they live (according to this MNA election FAQ) and they will also be asked for a way of contact.

Here’s a link to the Montavilla Community Association Bylaws, if you’d like to learn more. The bylaws were approved in July 2015.

Image result for portland oregon map montavilla

Southern Boundary: S.E. Division Street (North Side)

Eastern Boundary: Interstate 205 (West Side of I-205/Veterans Freeway)

Northern Boundary: Interstate 84 (South Side of I-84/Banfield Freeway)

Western Boundary: S.E. 76th Avenue (East ASide from Division to Burnside AND NE 68th Avenue (East Side from Burnside to I-84/Banfield Freeway)

The election

Up to eleven board members can be elected Monday.

Candidates that haven’t already expressed their intention to run can be nominated from the floor, and decide whether they want to run for a one or two year term. This is interesting: candidates must get a majority of the votes cast to be elected. Any seats that aren’t filled at the election can be filled by the board. The board needs a minimum of three members to function.

The expectations

If you’re wondering what serving on a NA board entails, this MNA blog post from 2016 could help. Board members are expected to attend the monthly meetings, and responsibilities beyond that should take from eight to ten hours a month. The more recent elections FAQ says four to six hours a week, but I think it all depends on what role you fill.

Current chair Jonathan Ogden said the amount of work for the chair is unreasonable currently, and he thinks that’s why the board’s been “interpersonally dysfunctional”. He says there needs to be a lot of process improvement to get the organization back to capacity.

Unlike in some neighborhood associations, board members don’t run for specific positions. The membership elects the board members, and then the board votes on board roles.

Context

I’ve been living in Montavilla for a year and a half, and have been following the MNA since I got here. It’s been quite the saga.

I’m going to let the candidates speak for themselves, here’s my attempt to give a birdseye view of the ongoing conflict.

(I’ll encourage you to take special care reading the submissions of the candidates you don’t agree with. Everyone did a spectacular job sharing their experiences and emotions.)

Some neighbors have been organizing against racism / fascism through a group called Portland Assembly (website). The PA made a presentation to the MNA board here (audio of the meeting, the presentation begins at 1:10:00).

Another group call Montavilla Initiative formed based on a few issues that the candidates will describe, including the homeless sweeps resolution passed by the MNA. Here’s the story I wrote about it.

I think it’s also fair to point out that the PA affiliates running for board positions aren’t the people moderating the Montavilla Facebook pages. As you’ll read, what’s seen as heavy-handed moderation is a main concern.

The candidates 

I made a call for candidate submissions a few days ago through the MNA and Montavila FB sites. I’m happy to add candidate submissions anytime before the election, if you’re interesting in running. I asked them all the following three questions, as well as perused their FB pages:

What made you decide to run? What is your relevant experience? What are your priorities for the board and what would you do differently if elected?

I also asked a few of them follow up questions, based on concerns I’ve heard in the community— not as gotcha questions, but to give them an opportunity to explain themselves and their positions.

The questions were designed to be open, and I included almost 100% of what was submitted. I edited one that was repetitive, and did a little copy editing. If the candidates included the questions, I just left them in.

The candidates are listed in the order I received their submissions.

Jonathan Ogden:

What made you decide to run?

“So I had decided to run at the behest of a few friends who were involved with the NA already, but the history of the Portland Neighborhood Revolution is really what got me involved. The entire reason that the system exists is because of activists in the 60s and 70s working to make Portland more friendly to ecological living and social justice (they were immigrant communities including black folks and Latin communities banding together against the freeway projects going through their neighborhoods).”

Ogden included links about the origins of Portland neighborhood associations in the 1960s and 1970s to stop demolition and redevelopment of neighborhoods here and here, pointing to their activist origins.

What is your relevant experience?

“Well I have three years of engineering management experience in semiconductor manufacture, I utilize root-cause analysis tools a lot and feel that my current study in Systems (minor) is directly applicable to societal systems (holistic) due to the work of Jay Forrester and Immanuel Wallerstein, additionally I’m fairly well-versed in political theory and psychology so I feel like designing systems and processes is a strong suit.”

“Also a big fan of Intercommunalism a la Huey Newton, Social Ecology a la Murray Bookchin, and Democratic Confederalism via Abdullah Ocalan, but also the real front-runners of the Municipalist model organizing Barcelona en Comu in Spain (the Catalan just fought for a contentious secession bid and it seems like they won). See their Fearless Cities model that Chloe Eudaly spoke at last year: fearlesscities.com.”

What are your priorities for the board and what would you do differently?

“I really have a vision of the NA being a democratic extension of the neighborhood, defining democracy as a one-one vote for each community member for all decisions requiring it as opposed to a representative board that makes decisions, in my opinion they should be directly-recallable to the neighborhood members and just be on rotating terms except for the admin officers who are responsible for stuff like making sure the bank account is setup and the IRS form filled out. As of now the representation of the neighborhood is paltry, it’s literally limited at 11 people on the board for an area of 16k-17k people, putting us below 1:1000 which is already poor representation.”

“I’d like to propose a system of small neighborhood groups (3 – 5 people on their block who meet regularly enough) that would send delegates to the board on a need-need basis, it sounds complicated but would really be a monthly rotating member of your group going and bringing the votes of your members and representing them directly. Additionally I’d really like to open up the transparency with open accounting (have all financials posted to the site in real time) and open process (all internal processes available, so if you wanted to get involved but didn’t feel comfortable you could train up, also should have different languages).”

“My main goal is to open up decision-making power over real things (things like infrastructure that literally determines your economic output), and I think a directly-recallable neighborhood delegate model is the way to do that. Especially one focused on the development of the area and actionable solutions defined by the neighbors.”

Ogden went into more detail on some of his ideas for Montavilla here, including ending evictions, lawn sharing for gardens, a local currency to help provide work for those who can’t find traditional jobs, and much more.

In the piece linked above, Ogden said the origin of neighborhood associations is radical and he wants them to return to those origins:  “It’s why the NAs exist, and why I wanted to join them, they are rooted in the Portland Neighborhood Revolution of the 60s – 70s and should return to that purpose: popular input on development of the city at large.”

Brad Purfeerst:

“Hey Folks! My name is Brad Purfeerst (pronounced purr-first like a cat) and I live on the stretch of 80th where the old streetcar service was between Glisan and Stark. We have both a home and a business there, and have a love for our neighborhood where we enjoy patronizing most all the local establishments and their thriving social magnetism. With Vestal right behind us, we are never far from that young energy and it reminds us who really owns the future. We, it seems, are only its caretakers until that generation is ready. It is the next generation that gives perspective to our own. And that is why I have decided to run for a seat on the MNA board. Portland and its neighborhoods are in a state of transition, and growth rarely occurs without growing pains. Managing these challenges and navigating a course that balances the concerns of the whole people is no light task.”

“What makes someone like me relevant in that great conversation? Humans are a particular kind of animal. They are a social animal and a political animal. They are motivated by love, family, community, achievement, safety, the future, and individual hopes and dreams which as numerous and different as the stars. The art of political craft is in bringing all those energies together for the common good in a way where each is satisfied that they were not just heard, but seen. No one will win every battle, but everyone deserves to pursue without hindrance or restraint their own ethical happiness. This is what the law guarantees and protects, and is our mission to watch and ensure. And this is the stuff that I am made of. How to create, maintain and perpetuate an inclusive political climate that ensures above all the rights, dignity and respect of its members while achieving its ends.”

“My priorities for the board are to no particular cause, but rather to serve the process, that is – to improve communication, observe best practices, promote organizational procedure, provide structure that serves fair and respectful discussion, and to help synthesize solutions from the varied and multiple concerns of our neighborhood.”

“In summary, when Alexis de Tocqueville came to America from France to study this new thing called ‘Democracy’ he was amazed at the level of democratic participation by its citizens. Not just voting, but the literal civic participation of so many citizens in local, municipal and civil duties. ‘We the people’ are the true government and it is to the detriment of all the great democracies that we have abdicated our gift to bureaucracy. My conscience compels me that I need to do better.”

Olivia Alsept Ellis:

“I decided to run after the town hall where the conversation finally broke away from ‘my side, your side.’ I saw a beautiful moment of collaboration and solution-making that had so much potential. It was then I realized the power of participatory democracy: the people with lived experience and motivation to do the work are given creative license to solve these problems and their solutions are resourced by the community to make that work possible. It’s genius and powerful. There is something really special happening here in Montavilla and I plan to maximize its potential.”

“My relevant experience is working in various collaborative decision-settings, a freelance communication career, a deep theoretical interest in the principles of direct democracy, and brief experience on the board of the Grant Park Neighborhood Association.”

“My priorities are on hosting more forums and opportunities for collaborative solutions, particularly to the contentious issue of houselessness. I see community-led solutions as highly effective and routinely creative so. I work in part with Right 2 Survive’s Ambassador program which encourages community dialogue between neighbors and houseless residents. I additionally work with Street Books, a mobile library that makes literature accessible and available to unhoused folks. Finally, I organize as well with Portland Assembly – a group that promotes ideologically the principles of direct democracy and mutual aid.”

After visiting Louise’s Facebook page, I had some additional questions for her.

I think many people don’t know about Portland Assembly. Could you explain what PA is and your role in it?

“Portland’s Neighborhood Associations (and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement) were founded on the heels of what many historians call the “Neighborhood Revolution” – when protest movements of the ’60s and ’70s turned into meaningful civic oversight for neighbors to hold back destructive urban development. Portland Assembly is a movement of people who have once again come together in this tradition. People who believe that citizens deserve inclusion in and accountability over the decisions of city hall. When Portlanders are finding it harder to stay in the city they love – let alone keep their necks above the rising tide of rent or property tax increases – it’s critical that we reawaken these conversations about where our tax dollars go and who decides how this city gets shaped.””Portland Assembly has hosted a number of events from houseless resource shares and feeds, neighborhood block parties, community free stores, educational forums and debates, as well as organizer meetings. I’ve attended a number of these events as a participant in a public organization and this work has inspired me to get involved in my neighborhood!”

During a PA presentation at an MNA meeting in August, the representative expressed a reluctance to work with the police, and instead build new systems. If you were elected to the MNA board, would you be willing to work with the police and city officials?

“To begin, I want to loop back to what I tried to convey in my original statement: I am running for the board in order to serve the community and host as many opportunities as possible for civic participation and direct democracy. My interest is in inclusion, democracy, and participatory forums.”

“To answer the ideological question: Portland Assembly has not entirely clarified its stance on police so I cannot speak for every organizer, nor can they speak entirely for me. Nor am I running “as a Portland Assembly representative,” so I feel like we’re getting a little bit off topic here. Technically speaking, municipalists support a pathway to the democratic community oversight of public services and resources; such a social change would be a transformative reform to an institution like the police. Debate aside, does this mean I would ignore or intentionally mistreat city officials or officers when working with the MNA? Not at all. I hope you will see in person that friendliness and professionality are consistently my tools for communication.”

I’ve also seen PA graffiti. Is that something you support?

“As I stated before, my role in Portland Assembly is as a participant and supporter of a neighborhood movement. At Portland Assembly events, there have been flyers distributed and it has been advised that people not post on neighbor’s property without permission. Unfortunately, I cannot control the actions of everyone who attends Portland Assembly events although I’m sad to hear if a neighbor was negatively impacted by their decisions.”
You’ve also expressed support for Antifa, another group that I feel has been stigmatized in the media, on your Facebook page. What does that mean to you, and how would that influence your service on the board?
“For the last 3 years, I’ve been living in Germany – in the eastern part of Berlin. While I was in that city, I saw a jaw-dropping rise in extreme right-wing activity. Brutal attacks on Muslim, Arab and Turkish women, 10,000 marching in the nearby city of Dresden against Islam, and neo-nazi bars opening in my own neighborhood. This is actually where I would say I first got my start as a neighborhood organizer – using my mediocre German to help rally neighbors to protect our community from this rise in hate crime. Portland itself is not free from similar activity with a black youth Larnell Bruce murdered last year by a Gresham-based European Kindred and the recent Max stabbing by white supremacist Jeremy Christensen.”
“I’ve been rather confused that my hatred for fascism – both historical and contemporary – has been an issue raised at all. I personally intend to stay vigilant when it comes to hate crimes and white supremacist attacks here in Portland, as I was in Berlin. I would like to work to reduce harm and increase safety in our neighborhood. I am open to dialogue and conversation on this issue with my neighbors.”
Briar Rose Schreiber:

What made you decide to run?

“I’ve lived in and around Montavilla my whole life. I’ve seen the neighborhood change in positive and negative ways. It’s something I talk about a lot to friends and neighbors. A few months ago it was suggested by some neighbors that I join the board and bring some of my ideas on tackling livability, safety, and mutual aid.”

What is your relevant experience?

“I am a servant of my communities. I have served on multiple nonprofit boards including as President of Stumptown Syndicate, a 501c3 that works toward building inclusive events in the tech industry. I’ve also regularly volunteered for neighborhood efforts like last years warming shelter and Rahab’s Sisters. Most importantly, I bring the experiences of 30+ years of history as a resident of this community.”

What are your priorities for the board and what would you do differently if elected?

“I strongly believe that we as a neighborhood hold the solutions to our biggest struggles. And we need those solutions to violence, safety concerns, the drug epidemic, unaffordable housing, houselessness, and so many other issues. My strategy to address these issues is to work among and with neighbors to form volunteer based projects. I am very interested in seeking grants for some of these projects where we could take uniquely Montavillian approaches to tough city wide problems that the mayor and city council has been unable to deliver on.”

On her Facebook page, Schreiber’s addressed some concerns neighbors had about her attitude towards police and policing. She gave me permission to use it.

“A few neighbors have asked me about comments I’ve made about police. I answered those questions elsewhere, but I want to post them here as I’m certainly not trying to hide my position.”

“I believe in safe communities. I of course understand that violence happens in society, and at some point we will need some sort of armed force to defend ourselves from that. I believe very strongly in the idea of community defense as opposed to community policing. The issue I have with the current policing model is how it is over-extended and over-uses heavy handed violence in situations that don’t necessitate it.”

“For example, the way the police bused extreme nationalist demonstrators, the transphobic Hell Shaking Street Preachers who have threatened my life on numerous occasions, and MAX killer Jeremy Christian back to their cars after they held a hate rally in Montavilla Park. I don’t understand how the police could work with these types, but at the same time the police found it necessary to harass me while I was eating a sandwich at one of the picnic tables in the park telling me sternly “you better not cause any trouble”. Something is very wrong with how this went down and how the police and mayor handled this situation.”

“Also, the memory of standing with the friends and family of Quanice Hayes as they shed tears for the young man who was gunned down by a police AR15 blocks from my front door. The candlelight flickering, the hugs, the rage, and the need for justice was in the air. To me it is obvious that the current policing model for public safety needs drastic change.”

“I think we need a whole new approach to community safety. I recently founded a collective that works toward the community defense of queer folks living in Portland. The goal is to defend our community by increasing access to food, shelter, education, and security. One proposal we are working on would set up an anti-hate hotline where we could have trained volunteers rapidly respond to anti-LGBTQIA+ hate crimes.”

“In moments of rage and sadness have I said “Fuck The Police”, and “All Cops Are Bastards”, yes.”

“When a police officer asked me what I wanted him to do instead of busing far right nationalists around Montavilla did I say “you could just leave; that would be better”. Yes, and I stand by that.”

David Linn:

“I am asking for your vote for the Montavilla Neighborhood Association Board of Directors. I was born in Montavilla just off 82nd Avenue. I am a graduate of Vestal Elementary, Binnsmead Middle (Harrison Park), and Madison High Schools.”

“I hold degrees from Portland State University in History, Political Science, and a Master’s in Public Administration, Specializing in Local Government.”

“I have previously served on the Montavilla Neighborhood Association Board from 2005-2010. I previously served as the Secretary, Treasurer, Outreach, Parks, Land Use, Vice-Chair, and Chair.”

“My goals have not changed since I last served on the Board. I hope to serve the community by increasing involvement and ensuring the monthly meetings are well-run, informative, and end on time. The Association should have a strategic plan that is periodically reviewed. It should have a yearly schedule of events and guest speakers. My favorite activity was always the yearly tree plantings through Friends of Trees.”

“Most importantly, we must have respectful dialog between neighbors. We must find ways to work past the frustration and anger and come together to find common solutions. As long as we respect each other, there is no limit to what Montavilla can accomplish.”

When I asked him why he decided to run, he responded:

“It is simply because I feel I have a duty to serve my community wherever I’m needed and several community members asked me to run. I see many controversies in our community that even elected leaders shy away from. I feel that if someone should do something about a particular thing, it might as well start with me.”

Other Volunteering Experience:
– Precinct Committee Person for the Multnomah County Democratic Party and Assistant
District Leader for House District 45
– Trustee for the Oregon Memorial Association (Consumer Protection for End-of Life
Services)
– SEIU 503—Former Union Steward and Sub-Local President
– Fundraising for the Montavilla Volunteer Library

Angela Todd:

What made you decide to run?

“I think most of us would agree the MNA needs an infusion of positive energy. I found myself waiting for others to step forward and realized recently I needed to be part of the change I wanted.”

What is your relevant experience?

“I own a small business in the neighborhood and I employ a small team, two of which live in Montavilla. I give a portion my net profit each year to nonprofits that support programs for youth and families in need. I believe in empowering people and giving a hand up. I have served on five board of directors including two large associations: the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), the Home Builders Association (HBA). I have balanced books, planned and executed events and fundraisers, and have a track record of creating results and bringing people together. In addition to offering these experiences, I find myself passionate to help create a neighborhood where we know our neighbors, we have pride in our neighborhood, we are safe, and we are able to find common ground.”

What are your priorities for the board and what would you do differently?

“I am interested in being part of creating a fantastic, thriving community. I think we have gotten off track and it is a perfect opportunity to reset our goals. From my perspective, we are thirsty for better connections in our lives. Connection takes all kinds of forms like knowing your neighbors, communicating as a neighborhood association, hosting community events, community service projects, helping those in need, offering dialogue about issues we face, and neighborhood watches to name a few. Secondly, it is imperative we have better housekeeping infrastructure at the MNA. Our bookkeeping, membership roster and documents have not been managed well, and that infrastructure would be a priority for me.”

Todd is one of the founding members of the Montavilla Initiative. It uses a closed Facebook group, and a few neighbors, fairly, have had questions about what the group is about.

“Who is Montavilla Initiative? We started as six neighbors who started talking. In those early days a few months ago we talked about what a great neighborhood would be like. The first time we met we found common ground and at the end of the evening laughed at how different our political, spiritual and life views were. We realized we all valued our connection to neighbors. We felt true community was accepting and had room for different ideologies, politics, and values. Still, the totalitarian nature stirring in the neighborhood association had us concerned.

“Our collective curiosity led us to the MNA bylaws, board members backgrounds, aliases, criminal records, and a neighborhood coalition called Portland Assembly, and a group associated with it called Antifa. Antifa stands for Anti-Fascists. We would all likely agree we do not align with fascism. Portland Assembly is considered the more conservative of the group. Some of these collective members believe we have Neo-Nazi’s among us and it is their job to find and identify these neighbors. To us, this is a scary slope.

“Our neighborhood association board has Portland Assembly and two known Antifa members. And this type of witch hunting for racist neighbors appears to be contagious. On our neighborhood Facebook boards, past and present board members have called neighbors racists, homophobics, transphobes in a public forum to intimidate, silence or ostracize them. Some neighbors have shared they are afraid to stand up to the MNA for fear of retaliation.”

Jack Sanders:

He reached out to me, with the following message. I sent him the questions and a bit of friendly advice on what serving on the board means.

“I’m a recent home-buyer in the Montavilla neighborhood – moved in on May 15. I would love to be considered for a board position. I plan on attending the Monday night meeting – let me know what I need to do and how I can best prepare.

I have several years of marketing/communications experience with expertise in community events and fundraising – but mostly, I have a passion for making our neighborhood a great place to live.”

Amanda Rhoads:

What made you decide to run?

“I’ve long intended to get involved in the neighborhood association, but my kids were too young for me to really give it my all. This year, there is so much drama and strife, and it is tearing the community apart. I think the board could do some fairly straightforward things to get themselves back on track, and with procedural issues out of the way, we can start focusing on our core functions, new priorities, and how to have open conversations around them. I want to help the board get better on process so it can be effective and a tool for community building, not a source of more strife.”

What is your relevant experience?

“I’ve been a business owner with two dozen (seasonal) employees. I’ve been a manager at statewide and national nonprofits. I have served on nonprofit boards, I’ve run grant programs. I am a city planner with experience in public engagement and land use. I’ve got a background in peace and conflict studies. All of these experiences have taught me a lot about how organizations can be functional, and how they can turn dysfunctional. I want to use what I have learned about everything from budgeting to public process to help the board be effective. Given my land use background, though, I would hope to use my knowledge of the land use process to help Montavilla have a bigger presence on issues around development in our neighborhood again. We’ve been floundering in this area a bit since Lew Scholl finished his term of service. The City has a new comprehensive plan and zoning code going into effect next year, and it will mean some big changes in what we can do and where. Now is a great time to have a planner on board!”

What are your priorities for the board and what would you do differently if elected?

“In my statement I highlighted three priorities for the MNA in the next year: transparency; creative and effective public engagement; and rebuilding trust. We need to get the basics of process down and be really clear about what we’re doing so people can stop feeling like the board is trying to hide things. We need to set up our meetings to feel welcoming – so that people can see and hear the board, and have some opportunities to take part in the problem-solving. Then we need to figure out better ways to reach people, which might not look like what our monthly meetings have looked like before. There are lots of groups who probably don’t feel particularly welcomed by the standard way of doing things or don’t even know about the neighborhood association and what it does. We can no longer simply say, “well, they didn’t show up. They must not care.” It’s up to us to figure out how to reach them.”

“If we do both of these things better – transparency and engagement – I think that will go a long way toward rebuilding trust. But we can’t just invite people to come listen. Really building trust is done by sharing power. We need to come together and collectively work on the issues we have. We should see the board as facilitators of neighborhood conversations, and not just the final decision makers. How can we have meaningful conversations on hard topics like homelessness, where there are so many perspectives, some of which are divergent? How can we come to resolutions that most people can support? We won’t really know until we hash it out.”

“This is all simple to write, but hard to accomplish, especially this year. As a society we need to learn to talk to one another again, or we’re going to keep breaking apart. I have hated the drama in our community this year, and all the mistrust and snarkiness that have come along with it. We can be better than this. Social media is not how we are going to come together. Perhaps we can make the NA into a tool for having those conversations, finding the common ground that I’m sure still exists among us.”

Julie McConnell:

“My name is Julie McConnell. I am a founding member of the Montavilla Initiative, running for the MNA board.”

“I have been a resident of the Montavilla neighborhood as a student, renter, small business owner and homeowner over a span of nearly 40 years. My husband and I have raised nine children in this neighborhood and have enjoyed being part of this great community. Our roots are deep in Montavilla and I am passionate in my defense of all who live here.”

“I have actively served as a volunteer for the Montavilla Little League and Journey Theater Arts Group. I have been on board positions for my youngest daughter’s American Heritage scouting troop as well as my sons’ Boy Scout Troop. I have owned and administrated a choir for home school students and currently own an Avon business and a test administration and scoring service for standardized testing. I enjoy planning events and working on the details of orchestrating those activities.”

“I care deeply for the members of this community and it is my desire to see the MNA board become a positive resource for this community. I see great possibilities in this election to provide the neighborhood with a board that is welcoming to a variety of viewpoints, non threatening, concerned for the safety of its residents and respectful toward all members of the community.”

“It is a blessing to live and work here and I would be honored to serve on the MNA board.”

I asked Julie about the Montavilla Initiative, and why it’s a closed group. Her response:

“In reality, the MNA is also a ‘closed’ group. There isn’t anything unusual about a group of people choosing to make their group ‘private’ as opposed to open to any and all who might post. And having a private group does not mean that any of us are unwilling to engage on issues that people disagree about. It’s a private Facebook group, not an exclusive club for only people who agree with one another. We disagree with one another A LOT. But everyone is treated with respect (in stark contrast to the MNA pages).”

“… people in our group no longer felt safe or free in the MNA safety group in particular. It was suffocating. I tried to post about two men who broke into my neighbors house that was up for sale and I was accused of being a racist.”

“We wanted people in the MI to feel safe to dialog openly and honestly with one another. We don’t want people to feel afraid to debate. So… people who throw around the race card, bully and intimidate neighbors are not welcome on our page.”

McConnell also said that she thinks the MNA board wasn’t trying to represent the entire community, and was pushing an agenda. The MNA got her attention when she said the board tried to bully Multnomah University, by accusing them of racism and hatred.

And on Facebook groups and in meetings,  she said there’s an attempt to silent people who don’t agree with them. “They tolerate verbal abuse and profiling by the members that are on their side and shout down other voices. There is no reasoned debate or dialog in their meetings.”

Evelyn Macpherson:

“My name is Evelyn Macpherson. (My Facebook name is shortened)”

“I am running for an At Large position with the Montavilla Neighborhood Association.
I have been a participant for a couple years as moderator for the MNA and the Public Safety Page as well as my own neighborhood involvement group called Montavilla Initiative. You can check out our front page to learn more or message me with questions.”

I’ve lived in Montavilla 30 years of my life. I grew up backed up onto Montavilla City Park. I was a well-known “pool-rat” as they call them at Portland Parks. I jumped my fence and frequented the park nearly every day from June to September.”

“My husband immigrated here from Canada and I am a homeschool mom of five spicy, opinionated and beautiful girls.”

“I was on a board of directors in Canada for just over 3 years for an organization called the Urban Bridge. We worked with the homeless and helped 3 people move from the street to their own homes with jobs as well as helped hundreds of other street people eat, shower and find adequate shelter and medical care. Many of them went into long term treatment because of our relationship-based counseling.”


“I am interested in having a voice in the MNA as a local mom and active neighbor. I would like to participate in patrols and service as safety is my passion. On a less serious note, we need more karaoke nights, potlucks and block parties. I am a passionate person with a heart for people and a strong sense of purpose.”

“I’d love to have your vote and I look forward to meeting more of you at the elections!”

Ben Tertin: 
“My name is Ben Tertin, and I intend to run for a Montavilla Neighborhood Association Board position. I hope to serve as secretary.”
What made me decide to run?
“I would like to know this neighborhood better and be a part of a team that enjoys working on creating a culture in Montavilla built upon goodwill toward one another and a genuine love for neighbors.
What is your relevant experience?
“I currently sit on another non-profit religious board and have been serving in a point-leadership capacity for almost 10 years. Currently I am the lead pastor of a church in Montavilla that was built here in 1957, and we serve several hundred families and employ more than 40 local workers.”
“I have also served on the MNA Board during part of the last term, working as the secretary. So I’m well-versed in how the MNA operates and I enjoy the secretarial duties. My background in journalism and writing/editing makes this job especially fun for me.”
What are your priorities for the board, and what would you do differently if elected?
“When I was serving on the board, I realized quickly that the primary intention behind board activities was to raise awareness to certain handpicked socio-political issues and essentially operate as gentle activists, choosing and fighting for certain causes by using the MNA as a platform for attention. This was the reason I stepped down from my role, as I lost interest in participation because a certain anger and aggression seemed to pervade each meeting and every vote toward the end of the summer.”
“So, I would like to be a force for change in this way: I would think and operate in a way that understands neighborhood associations to be loosely-yet-meaningfully connected associations of neighbors — from every walk and political background — who believe that togetherness is a powerful force for good in a community. This togetherness does not mean that “belonging” is only for folks who hold this or that position on social issues; instead, it means that we have block parties. We organize neighborhood get-togethers, parades, celebrations and clean-up projects for our schools and parks. We think about how to solve issues with infrastructure and safety. We gather as liberals and conservatives, republicans and democrats, atheists and people of faith, and we hang out. Get to know each other. And enjoy living in this genuinely cool neighborhood.”
“In other words, I would like to be a presence on the Board that helps to bring peace to all that it does. Peace within itself and peace toward the neighborhood.”

Antigonus Jarrett: 

What made you decide to run?
“I recently moved to Montavilla and want to get active in my community. I saw a lack of candidates and then I saw time to fill on my schedule. I realised I could probably get a lot done for my neighbors ifI put my mind to it. Though I’ve only been actively living in Montavilla for a few months, I’ve lived in the greater Portland area for over 3 years. I want to meet my current neighbours where they are so I can hear everyone’s needs. I intend to fulfil the board position by listening to my neighbours, supporting their grassroots causes, and celebrating the glory of the neighborhood. Montavilla is beautiful and I think the MNA can help it flourish.”
What is your relevant experience?
“Earlier this year I lobbied in Washington, DC. regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline and police militarization.  I witnessed war crimes in N Dakota, and saught for Congress to open an investigation regarding police and national guard conduct at the Sioux reservation while I was there in November and December. This ‘intro to politics’ really revved up my urge to do good in my community and maximize my organisational efforts. It gave me experience dealing with elected officials and their bureaucracy, too.”
“I also have 10 years experience volunteering for a non-profit called MAGFest, a Music And Gaming Festival which draws over 20,000 attendees per year. I co-chaired their Registration dept head position for around 5 years. The backend of that job required keeping track of thousands of registrations, which demanded general organisation skills, triaging capabilities, follow through on long-term resolutions, and more. Face to face aspects of the position also required outstanding customer service, problem resolution/compromise, resilience, and emotional regulation in the face of extreme social distress. I feel that these skills will come in handy if I am elected to the MNA board.”
“For the last three years I have also been a Ministerial Friend; providing spiritual ministry and support for those who need it. I go where I am spiritually led to do this work. Though I am a non-theist minister, I consider myself a Friend and minister to all.”
What are your priorities for the board and what would you do differently?

“My priority is to facilitate a healthy neighborhood association and to influence my neighborhood positively. I believe in loving one’s neighbors fully and unconditionally. That means supporting tenants and homeowners, transient neighbors, families and their kids growing up here, and the vibrant social scene that bring us all together. I’m here to listen to your priorities and make them a reality.”

“I haven’t seen much of the current board’s work. The website and facebook discussions lead me to believe that the board just needs steady management and time to start working again. I aim to provide my vote and stabilise the association while it gets back to business.”

Lucy Elizabeth:
“I’m running for the Montavilla Neighborhood Association Board of Directors on the platform of replacing the police with wolves at least until we can figure out what’s going on, hiring goats to clean up garbage at a fair labor wage, and starting a wasp hatchery because this neighborhood just doesn’t have nearly enough wasps.”

Joan Jones:

“My name is Joan Jones. I am running for the MNA board.”

“I have been a resident of the Montavilla neighborhood for 40 years, first coming as a student and staying as a homeowner and small home business owner with my husband, while raising our 4 kids here. We have seen many changes in our 40 years and we are very connected and committed to our community.”

“Having raised our kids and getting the business established I went back to work eleven years ago for a nonprofit, networking local churches, community organizations and social service agencies to serve people who struggle with poverty, kids who are aging out of foster care, single moms and people at risk for homelessness. It has been a rich and satisfying opportunity that has taught me much and provoked me to more compassionately care for neighbors in need.  I still have much to learn, but I believe my experience has prepared me for community service.”

“These experiences as a mother, business owner and Director of a nonprofit has affirmed the reality that the greatest determiner for healthy communities is the attachment and connection of its individual members.  This is what is motivating me to want to serve as a member of the MNA Board.  I would like to participate in seeing bridges built between neighbors, recognizing everyone needs a healthy, happy and safe neighborhood.  I look forward to our future together as neighbors, and would be honored to serve in this small way for our common good.”

Ruth Donohue: 

“My name is Ruth Donohue (“Ruthie”), and I am running for the board of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association. Our family has lived in Montavilla for 28 years, and this neighborhood is our home. We have been part of the community in a number of ways, especially as our children grew up – Montavilla Little League, playing at the park, picnicking and swimming lessons there, Madison High School. It’s a long list.”

What made me decide to run?

“At the most recent neighborhood meeting, it was announced that 11 board members were needed.  That is a lot of positions to fill. I am moved to run because I care about the community, and believe my service could help.”

What would I do differently?

“At a recent MNA meeting, there were disagreements and shouting.  I believe that one focus of the board should be respectfully listening to our community members and to one another, even if we disagree, to work together for the benefit of the community. We all have dignity as human beings and deserve respect. When we choose to seek a cooperative effort with common sense and listen to all sides, we are more likely to accomplish goals.  Our differences of backgrounds and opinions can be helpful in seeing the bigger picture and help us accomplish our goal of doing what we can for the health and betterment of the community.” 

 What is my relevant experience?

“I don’t have any political experience, though I do follow what is going on around me.  But I have a lot of common sense which comes from working with the public as a nurse for many years.  I am a compassionate person and am passionate about helping people. I am and have always been an advocate for those who needed someone to stand up for them or help them out. Advocacy often requires collaboration, persistence and research.”

“I worked as a staff nurse in local hospitals for years, caring for the elderly, newborns, for those in between, the sick, the injured.”

“For the last 19 years, I have been a telephone triage nurse. I take calls from people in need of medical advice, and direct them to the appropriate level of care based on their symptoms and needs – an appointment, go to the ER, or simply home advice for their illness or minor injury. It is a job of listening, trouble shooting, using medical protocols, advocacy and common sense. I have heard just about everything, and my personal goal to encourage people, treat them with respect and get them help. Triage is what we need now in our community. What needs to be done right now, and how do we do it? What can wait while we focus on what is most urgent, most important? And how do we plan for our common future?” 

What are my priorities for the board?

“Dealing with the problems of livability in Montavilla, short supply of housing, helping our homeless population.”

“In Montavilla, we are having increased crime. Personally, our car’s window was broken and the radio stolen.  At least one package has been taken from our steps.”

“But I have a soft place in my heart for the mentally ill homeless. My mother had schizophrenia and was a homeless “bag lady” for many years when she wouldn’t take meds. I am grateful to the many people who were kind to her.  Recently, I have become friends with a couple who live at the Hansen Shelter. He is a former gang member and drug user.   What they are going through is not easy. Our community needs safety and livability and those who want help, should get it.  This is not a simple issue, in fact very complex, but I can see both sides of it.  If I am chosen to serve, I will work hard to help.”

Abigail Garwood: 

“My name is Abigail Garwood. I am running to be on the board for the Montavilla Neighborhood Association. I would like to tell you a little about myself and why I chose to run.”

 “I grew up in Montavilla and have had close ties here my whole life. I have currently been living here as an adult for 5 plus years. Along with being the proud mother to three marvelous children, I also work in the Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation program (AIR) for Portland Parks. I love my job, I serve a group of amazing Seniors with Disabilities, and they are among a few of my favorite people. In my spare time I enjoying reading, dancing, blogging, hiking, and playing volleyball. I am also obsessed with coffee.”

“More about why I chose to run for the board. I honestly surprised myself when I made the decision, but I was confident that it was something I needed to do. My motivation to run was fueled by my desire to take a more active role in the community. I have some amazing neighbors, but I know far too few of them. I want to be more than just a part of this neighborhood, I want to be an active role in helping us grow together. I have been asked what my relevant experience is, and to be honest I am not sure whether or not my experiences and/or education are relevant, because if elected this will be my first time serving on the board of anything. I do however have a diverse and useful skill-set, and possess qualities that I feel will be of value.”

“I am a good listener, compassionate, and open-minded. I am a team player, I believe in always trying to find the good in any situation or person, and I have a willing to serve. My Priorities for the MNA are simply to put the Unity back in Community. Let’s get to know and enjoy our neighbors better, let’s support one another and help all those in need, and let’s learn to respect and accept our differences and always be working to find a common ground. As to what I would do differently, I do not know exactly how to answer, but I do know that I will always advocate for unity, and for the whole community to have a voice. So I hope you will consider me when making your selection. I would love this opportunity to be an active role in our community, which I truly care about and want to see stronger, safer, and more whole. Thank you 🙂

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4 thoughts on “2017 Montavilla Neighborhood Association board election guide

  1. A couple of quick points here. First of all I find it troubling that you bring up one candidates involvement with the Portland Assembly with a line of questioning about its policies and philosophy, but don’t mention the involvement of 3 of the candidates with Multnomah University and it’s affiliates. MU petitioned the federal government to be exempted from laws protecting LGBTQ rights and is opposed to women’s reproductive rights. I think lines of questioning about these sorts of relationships are as appropriate as questions about the PA.

    Secondly there is much made about the “heavy handed” moderating on the MNA Facebook Page by those who identify as members of the Montavilla Initiative, yet one of the candidates from that group was a moderator on the MNA FB Group for “a couple of years”. That doesn’t make any sense by my reading.

    Thanks for putting this together so quickly!

    • Thank for the reply Scott. I did a lot of thinking about how to approach allegiances to organizations. Let me explain my thinking and address your points.

      I think there is a lot of misunderstanding and fearful assumptions associated with all the groups I inquired about, and I thought it was important to let candidates explain what it is. I know the answers to the follow up questions helped me better understand Portland Assembly and the motivations behind all the organizations discussed.

      I didn’t inquire into affiliations with Multnomah University because no one claimed them. Julie McConnell mentioned MU, but it didn’t sound like she was to closely involved. I’ll definitely concede an ignorance of organizational history of the MNA, and perhaps I should have looked deeper into Julie’s claim. If it would have been more of a personal claim, against a specific candidate, I definitely would have.

      Her claim about moderation wasn’t directed towards another candidate, and I did indicate that none of the candidates were moderators. But as one of the moderators, I understand your need to respond, and I’m glad you did.

      I’m glad you added that context to the claim about Multnomah University, I’m going to look into the situation tomorrow. I also think it’s fair for me to contact Julie about this comment so she can weigh in if she wants to.

      Thanks for your work, Scott. I’m happy to continue this conversation if you’d like.

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