Minutes of the West End Neighborhood Association (WENA) Meeting
Wednesday, 10 June 2015
Reiche Community Room
Board members present: Jennifer Defilipp, Leana Good-Simpson (treasurer); Rosanne Graef, Ian Jacob (president), Mitch Mason, Michel Michaud, Elizabeth Parsons (secretary), Clifford Tremblay, Judy Witherell
Others present: Sarah Colton, Nan Hadden, Peter Hall, Lesley Heiser, Anne & Darrell Jones, Wells Lyons, Betsy Mayberry, Heather McCargo, Janet Mishoe, Josh Murphy, Susan Nelson, Pamela Shaw, Penny Stevens, Spencer Thibodeau, Liz Trice, Bryan Van Dussen, TrevorWatson, Guynne Williams, Tony Zeli
The meeting was called to order at 6:35 PM and the 50/50 raffle commenced.
Minutes from July’s meeting were accepted as written.
The WENA swim fund stands at $2,770.01. The general operating fund contains $137.09. This report was accepted as given.
Board members’ reports
As WENA representative, Ian Jacob reported on the State & High Street two-way conversion issue. The task force had its final meeting last week and voted seven in favor of moving ahead with the conversion. Two task force members abstained from the vote and two were absent. The next step in the process is that the recommendation goes to the Transportation and Safety committee of the City Council. Ian noted that, while the price tag for conversion is estimated at about $3.2 million, of that $2.2 million is expected just for updating traffic signals along the route. This work is supposed to take place regardless of the conversion. Some discussion followed Ian’s comments.
Rosanne noted that the Portland Public Library book sale will take place next week at McCauley High School. On the last day of the sale (Sunday the 21st) people can take books to increase holdings at the Book Nook. She asked for help with this and said anyone interested should contact her to learn the proper procedures. Penny Stevens said she would send around a list of topics on which books are most needed.
Avesta housing is planning a housing development at 17 Carleton Street and Ian relayed that a mandated meeting for abutters will take place on Thursday, 11 June from 6:00 to 8:00 PM in the Reiche cafeteria. Ian said he would attend and invited others to come as well. He noted that WENA will not take an official position on this matter since the Association has not been asked to be part of the process. The policy is that WENA only officially takes positions on issues in which a representative has been formally involved (such as the State and High Street two-way conversion issue).
Rosanne recently signed up for WeCompostIt curbside composting service. She talked with them about WENA’s community garden activities. If WENA members join (for a fee of approximately $9.95/month), they can request compost which could then be used for the Association’s new plot at the Clark Street community garden.
Rosanne and Mitch reported progress in the years’ long attempt to increase adult education enrichment offerings at Reiche. The first class offered will be ukulele lessons that will start on Monday, November 9th at 6:00 PM in the community room. Others classes in the works include tai chi and creative writing classes; possibly some shorter courses that would deal with practical matters such as working with particular new technologies. Courses will be listed in the adult ed catalog for the City of Portland. Anyone wanting to teach a shorter course should let Rosanne know.
Clifford reported that WENA’s new plot in the Clark Street community garden has been weeded and sewn with a variety of beans. The produce will be donated to a local organization, possibly 100 State Street or something similar. A rota of people to water the plot will be established.
Sarah Colton reported as liaison to the Police Department since David Argitis, the officer assigned to the West End, has child care issues on Wednesdays. She offered to stay after the meeting to talk with people as needed.
- There have been multiple robberies in the City the past month, far more than normal. Investigations are ongoing so she was not at liberty to say more.
- About thirty-five car break-ins were reported in the past two days. She admonished people not to leave anything in their cars.
Josh Murphy reported a suspicious incident he encountered near Thomas Street and wanted people to be aware.
Ian reported on efforts of the membership and outreach committee to establish greater reach of WENA. He asked for additional volunteers to participate and Liz Trice agreed to help.
Lesley Heiser of Cultivating Community gave a presentation. The organization has been collaborating with the City of Portland for the past two years, emphasizing food production and access. Items of note from her remarks include: that they will probably not offer a CSA stand at Reiche stand again; that they are committed to creating new gardens throughout the City, including another one in the West End by 2016; that the citizen gardener workshop series is open to anyone. Those interested should check Cultivating Community’s website and/or Facebook page. She made literature available to the group and a brief discussion followed her remarks.
Spencer Thibodeau, who has announced his running for the District 2 council seat, made a brief presentation and invited the group’s questions and comments. He was particularly interested in hearing responses to his questions “Where we see Portland going in the next ten years? What would the City look like?” He may be contacted at www.spencerforcouncil.com and/or via Facebook. A discussion followed his remarks and he stated that, if elected, he would commit to attending WENA meetings as often as his schedule would permit.
Liz Trice, owner of Peleton Labs, spoke about the business and in relation to her interest in generally improving Bramhall Square. She is taking over management of the building that previously housed the Mr. and Mrs. Muffin business and is interested in hosting a charette to obtain people’s design ideas regarding the Square. She asked people to help work with her on this project and a brief discussion ensued.
Rosanne reminded everyone of the slate of activities available at Congress Square Park during June.
The meeting adjourned at 8:10 PM.
Elizabeth Parsons Secretary