So much interesting and important information about your neighborhood comes to the neighborhood associations first— especially if you’re someone like me who wants to know what’s going to happen and be a part of the process, rather than learn about what’s already happened.
The December Montavilla Neighborhood Association meeting was held December 11th, and about 30 neighbors attended. Board members Jonnie Shaver, Antigonus Garret, and Micah Fletcher were absent.
Since being elected two months ago, it’s clear the board’s been working hard lately. There are four active committees (contacts here): land use & transportation, housing & homelessness, outreach & communications, and public safety; there’s a beautiful new website (with the events calendar here); a newsletter; and captioning for the hearing impaired was secured.
Members of the board are also spearheading a emergency warming shelter (the likely explanation for the board members’ absences from the meeting), and if you’d like to volunteer, offer supplies, or have your church or building considered for an emergency shelter, contact the housing & homelessness committee.
I keep thinking the MNA is past it, there’s still a lot of conflict surrounding the organization.
There is a MNA board member who said she armed herself because she thinks her life is threatened by white supremacists and bigots organizing in the neighborhood.
There are neighbors who still think the MNA election was stolen, and that members of the MNA board are guilty of misconduct.
The death threats are clearly most alarming and deserve more immediate attention, but all these accusations are important to anyone who has concern for this organization or this neighborhood.
I think at this point the best thing I can do, if you didn’t want to attend or watch a two-hour YouTube video, is identify the conflicts and quote Carl Sagan: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
As part of the neighbor introductions, Julia DeGraw introduced herself and her campaign for Portland City Council (FB campaign page).
The first presentation was from Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson (website with contact). She talked about (@ 7:30 in the video) her work on issues like homelessness, mental health, safe streets, and pushing back against federal deportation policies. She also said her office helped secure a grant to assist women with addiction and spearheaded a tiny house project for homeless families.
Since the City of Portland doesn’t have districts and the County does, she said she feels a special responsibility for East Portlanders and issues that impact them. She encouraged neighbors to reach out to her or her assistance or if they have any questions.
Afterwards, TriMet’s Wendy Serrano gave an update on the Division Transit Project (@ 20:05). Scheduled to begin service in 2021, the project plans to bring longer buses and faster service from downtown all the way to Gresham.
Committee reports were next (@ 51:00).
SE Uplift representative Olivia Alsept-Ellis said the SE Uplift grant applications were due January 8th.
Public safety chair John Rotter said the public safety committee was working on training neighborhood patrols and helping people learn how to report issues with the PDX Reporter App. Meetings will be held every two months, he said.
Land use chair Amanda Rhoads said there’s a new development on SE Alder between 77th and 78th, and the developer attended the first meeting of the committee.
Board secretary Briar Rose Schreiber said six grievances and two records requests have been submitted to the board. She said (@ 1:01:01) that she feels threatened by white supremacists and bigots organizing in Montavilla. Her story is hard to hear but it definitely needs to be heard and addressed.
At 1:06:00, new board member Brad Donahue expressed concern with Schreiber’s claims and asked for evidence for claims of the bigotry and white supremacy directed towards neighbors.
After the general meeting, the floor was open to questions (@ 1:09:25) and neighbors asked about the grievances filed against the board and another neighbor expressed an interest in having hard conversations about homelessness.
Among other issues, the board considered starting a accessibility committee and using an online forum called Loomio to have discussions on community proposals.
@ 1:45:30 David Linn, board chair said he would address the grievances filed with the board. The issue was discussed after that, and Linn said they would likely schedule a special meeting to discuss it.
@ 1:55:10, Linn said that there is a Facebook group fraudulently impersonating the MNA. Since an administrator of that group is the neighbor who filed a records request, he said he thinks that request should be rejected.
@ 2:00:00 Linn and board members talked about the Facebook group in question, and a (unidentified) moderator for the group joined the conversation. At about 2:02:00, he said he is not a white supremacist and that he got involved to help encourage a “level-headed” balance because he’s not seeing that on either side.