Minutes of the West End Neighborhood Association (WENA) Meeting
Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Reiche Community Room
Board members present: Jennifer Defilipp (vice-president), Ian Jacob (president), Elizabeth Parsons (secretary), Pamela Shaw, Clifford Tremblay
Board members absent: Leana Good-Simpson (treasurer), Wells Lyons; Chip Martin; Michel Michaud
Others present: David Argitis (PPD), Allen Armstrong, Elissa Armstrong, Dana Fischer (Efficiency Maine), Peter Hall, Morgan Beede, Joan Gauche, Rosanne Graef, Cassie Graham, Chris Herlihy, Marco Lattimore, David Marshall, Christine McHale, Susan Nelson, Eben Peck, Lin Parsons, Penny Rich, Shar Richards, Ed Rosenthal, Barb Wood, Tony Zeli (WEN)
The meeting was called to order at 6:35 PM and self-introductions followed.
Minutes from October’s meeting were accepted as written.
In the Treasurer’s absence, the secretary reported that WENA’s regular fund stands at $729.34. There is $16.46 in the Swim for Life fund. Rosanne Graef requested that accounting of any donations made to the Aging in Place initiative be reported separately. The Secretary will communicate this to the Treasurer.
David Argitis reported on the following:
- The PPD conducted a special prostitution detail last week in which he participated. There were six arrests. He noted that the operation was well conceived and executed by the Crime Reduction Unit and that this may temporarily tamp down activity. The PPD may conduct another such operation soon since repeated efforts may eventually drive this activity away. The zone affected seems to be State Street down to St. John/Mellen Streets, along Congress Street and up onto Walker and Neal Streets.
- Jen Defilipp reported that in the untimely death of a neighbor on Winter Street, police had been very helpful and informative. David responded that it is disheartening how many times police are called to find a person dead and urged everyone please to check on their neighbors.
- Jen also noted an increase in the number of transients coming up and down Winter Street. David said that Winter Street is the corridor that many people use going to and from Amistad.
- Lin Parsons mentioned that a car on Winter Street had one rear passenger door window smashed a few days ago. David said the PPD has not noted any increase in automobile break-ins but that they remain a constant issue. He requested anyone who sees such evidence to notify the police.
- Since last month’s meeting, there have been no further incidents of a man trying to get into people’s cars as David had reported.
In coordination with the Armstrong’s work with the Portland Climate Action Team, Dana Fischer, residential program manager at Efficiency Maine, offered a presentation on their programs. These include Home Energy Savings Program and Low Income Home Energy Savings Program. He also spoke about a bulk buy or collective purchase of heat pumps.
Some discussion followed his remarks. Of particular interest to the group were any energy efficiency opportunities for renters. Elissa and Allen Armstrong also invited anyone interested in a group buy of heat pumps to talk with them.
Board Member Announcements
- Ian Jacob and other Neighborhood Association (NA) presidents are trying to start a conversation with Hospital officials about Maine Medical Center’s (MMC) expansion plans. This will be a major, multi-year project that will affect the neighborhood. A first meeting of NA and MMC representatives is scheduled for 10 November. Information gained at that session will be shared at our December meeting.
- WENA board elections will be held in December. Ian will appoint a nominating committee consisting of Rosanne Graef, Michel Michaud, and Pamela Shaw. More information will be forthcoming.
Member Reports and Announcements
- Rosanne announced that there will be several fundraising efforts from November through January on behalf of Swim for Life. There is a fundraising committee that Paul Stevens is helping co-chair along with Rosanne. The Fund needs to raise $3000 by January.
- Pamela Shaw and Ian Jacob updated everyone on the City’s interest in amending West Commercial Street’s zoning on behalf of Americold’s building plans. Those interested in being informed about planned changes on the Western waterfront should contact Ian so they can learn how to receive communications from the City on this matter.
- Since our previous meeting, Pamela has spoken with the City arbortist and the Parks Department head about a possible new orchard and community garden in the West End. Both officials received the idea warmly and there is reason to hope for progress being made next year. The orchard would be located on the slope below Harborview Park. The community garden’s location is not yet settled.
- Susan Nelson reported that people with housing vouchers are continuing to be displaced in Portland in favor of people who can pay higher rents. Ian encouraged her to continue raising this matter with the Housing Committee.
- Elissa Armstrong informed everyone that a build of window inserts coordinated by WindowDressers.org will take place at Allagash Brewing in January. While the inserts will not be specifically for West End residents, West Enders would be invited to come learn and help. Plans are in the offing to do a build for the West End next fall, windows being measured in the spring. She invited anyone interested to speak with her.
The meeting adjourned at 7:51PM.