May 22, 2024

Whole Community News

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RRCO candidates, voters prepare for March elections

7 min read
The River Road board tested its election software in advance of a big voter turnout expected during the March board election.

The River Road board tested its election software in advance of a big voter turnout expected during the March board election.

A clash of political views has brought out the voters in the River Road community. With neighborhood elections coming up in March, RRCO board member Charlsey Cartwright.

[00:00:09] Charlsey Cartwright: Since the last board meeting, Joshua (Kielas) and Jon (Belcher) and I have met several times to talk about the procedures to follow for the election in March. And my portion of that has been the gathering and maintaining of membership data because we knew that we were going to have to have that absolutely in perfect shape, and I was very happy to work on that. And I want to report that around the first of the year we had approximately 50 members in good standing, which means they were members who had come to a meeting in the preceding 12 months and had signed in. That was around 50 people, and now it’s around 244 people, so we’ve made an enormous positive change, I think, in the active participation of our community in this, and I expect that tonight, we’ve gotten some additional members that I’m very happy to welcome.

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[00:01:08] John Q: Some of the growth may be attributed to board member Harry Sanger. Often expressing dissent, Harry states his case using Robert’s Rules and board member announcements. RRCO chair Jon Belcher.

[00:01:19] Jon Belcher: Are there any other agenda adjustments or announcements to be made today? If so, please raise your hand and we’ll call upon you. Harry, you have your hand up.

[00:01:29] Harry Sanger: I just wanted to acknowledge that today’s a holiday and wish everybody a Happy President’s Day and we’ll be celebrating the great George Washington’s birthday tomorrow on February 22nd, one of the founders of our great nation and deserves a moment of recognition. Thank you.

[00:01:46] Jon Belcher: Thank you, Harry.

[00:01:47] John Q: Harry’s seat is one of four up for election in March. Some of the candidates introduced themselves Monday night.

[00:01:55] Carly Gabrielson: I’m Carly Gabrielson… I grew up in South Eugene, so, I know that I can be frank in saying that it’s a different experience in this pocket of the neighborhood and I’ve honestly just really loved it. I’ve loved the diversity, the richness, the opportunities to access the river paths via bike and the businesses that we have access to here.

[00:02:15] I’ve spent the past decade of my career working in electoral politics at the federal government for our Congressman, who as many of you probably know, is this year choosing to retire. And so I now find myself with some time on my hands and, at a time that I was asking myself how I could become more involved and utilize the things that I’ve learned, both working in electoral politics and also for the federal government, with a focus on transportation, of course, this opportunity presented itself.

[00:02:43] Susan Kittleson: Hi, my name is Susan Kittleson… My experience, I have worked over 25 years in the technology space, in multinational companies. And the reason I think that that actually is relevant today and for this conversation is when you’re working with multinational companies, you’re dealing with people across multiple organizations, faiths, backgrounds, languages, et cetera. It’s really important to have diversity of thought, diversity of conversation, and I’m very passionate about that. But I’m also passionate about not letting things get in the way of progress and making sure that we are constantly moving forward, ensuring voices are heard, but also recognizing that action is necessary.

[00:03:29] Stefan Ostrach: Hello, my name’s Stefan Ostrach and I’ve lived in the neighborhood since 1979, and I’m very happy to live here and have easy access to the river among other things. But my career was as a labor union representative for city, county, and municipal employees, …and then the Teamsters. My interests are probably primarily around transportation issues in the neighborhood and I’m interested in serving again on the board.

[00:04:00] Mysti Frost: Hi, my name is Mysti Frost. Yes, that is my real name, and my parents were hippies.

[00:04:09] I was born in Billings, Montana, and I grew up in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I’m bilingual in English and Spanish. I’m a mother and a caregiver to my father who is a Vietnam vet and an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe of Montana. Previously, I was on the board of LRAPA. I was a paralegal for a local law firm, an environmental justice community organizer for Beyond Toxics, and I currently work for the COVID information hotline for the state through a nonprofit called 211.

[00:04:45] I was helping organize Bethel in the West Eugene community around clean air and Baxter. I attended Active Bethel Citizens meetings and learned about RRCO. And I started attending meetings and very quickly, lucky for me, elections were right around the corner and I landed a seat.

[00:05:04] During my time on the board, I learned a lot about our neighborhood. I helped establish the Social Justice committee and I founded and organized the Emergency Preparedness Committee and asked Jacque to co-chair with me.

[00:05:19] Jan Spencer: First of all, I would really like to say, thank you everyone who’s interested in being on the board… Personally, I consider the neighborhood association to be one of the absolutely most important assets we have here in the community. We have our own version of much larger issues, much larger social economic, political, environmental issues, and all those big trends that we read about in the paper. We see our own version of those right here in River Road, and it’s pretty fascinating. I mean, this is sociology and the term I like is civic culture. I think we face big challenges moving into the future in all kinds of different ways with resources and energy, urban planning of the environment… and my particular focus is, producing more basic needs, closer to home: food, energy, water, and and I appreciate those items being on the agenda now and then here at RRCO.

[00:06:22] DW Owens: Hello, I’m Dwight Owens. My nickname is DW and that’s what’s on the screen. A lot of people have a tendency to call me Duane so I go by DW. This would be my second term on the board. I joined the board three years ago. I’ve been Secretary for the last year and a half or so.

[00:06:37] I have a lot of expertise— where I lived in the Portland area, most of my adult life— I was either on a board of a business organization or a neighborhood association or a coalition of neighborhood associations. I have a lot of interest and expertise in developing affordable housing. And I served on the Board of Directors for Rose Community Development Corporation, who is responsible for building approximately 1,000 units of affordable housing in Southeast Portland. I also have a background in land use, and I served on the Coalition Land Use committee.

[00:07:15] Joshua Kielas: Hello. I’m Joshua Kielas. I have been on the board now, this is the end of my second term, so I feel like I’m finally getting a decent idea of how things work. I’m on the communications committee communications and outreach… I joined the focus groups when the neighborhood plan was rocking and I do a lot of work helping the board with technology, keeping things organized and keeping things running. And I was one of the spearheads of the lawn sign committee, to get that going a couple of years ago.

[00:07:49] John Q: The RRCO board then conducted a trial election with voting software they hope the City will make available to the neighborhoods.

[00:07:57] Joshua Kielas: Everyone that’s a member in good standing will receive a username and password type combination before the election at the next general meeting in March. And then, at the meeting, we’ll have essentially another round of the candidates having an opportunity to speak with everyone that has come to vote. And only the people that show up at the meeting will actually be voting.

[00:08:22] When we’re ready to start the election, we will put the link into the chat, and everybody can click on that link and then using the information in their email. they will go ahead and log in to the website and there’ll be a list of all the candidates, and then you’ll be able to vote for up to four of them and then submit your result.

[00:08:42] John Q: The board conducted a practice election to work out the kinks.

[00:08:47] Jon Belcher: We got six votes for Lisa Simpson, six votes for Betty Boop and six votes for Stimpy. Yosemite Sam and Wonder Woman both got five votes. Poor George Jetson only got three votes.

[00:09:00] I think with a few glitches to be worked out, I think we demonstrated that indeed this process can work.

[00:09:09] Jan Spencer: I think Betty Boop, you know, deserves better than that.

[00:09:12] Mysti Frost: Boop-boop-de-boop.

[00:09:16] John Q: A big turnout predicted for the River Road Community elections in March.

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