June 16, 2024

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RRCO elects four new board members

5 min read
With high voter turnout, River Road Community Organization elected four new board members on March 14, 2022.

With high voter turnout, River Road Community Organization elected four new board members on March 14, 2022.

River Road Community Organization elected four new board members. Co-Chair Jon Belcher.

[00:00:05] Co-chair Jon Belcher: Welcome everybody to the March 2022 River Road Community Organization annual meeting, as so defined in our charter, because this is the time of the year when we elect a new board. And our agenda for tonight is electing a new board. Not much else.

[00:00:23] John Q: Two of the incumbent board members stepped down before the vote.

[00:00:26] Co-chair Jon Belcher: If there was anyone who wanted to withdraw, and with that segue, Joshua.

[00:00:33] Joshua Kielas: Yes. Just to let everyone know, I have decided that I am going to take this year off instead of running. Sorry for the confusion, with the, all the statements and stuff. But yeah, I’m going to, I’m going to take this year off and just be an involved community member instead of an actual board member.

[00:00:46] Co-chair Jon Belcher: Thank you, Joshua. Thank you for your wonderful work for the community, and we’re not going to let you off the hook entirely.

[00:00:53] John Q: Board member Harry Sanger also did not seek re-election.

[00:00:56] Harry Sanger: I thought Joshua was going to be on the candidate list. Did that change?

[00:01:00] Joshua Kielas: I decided that I actually am really going to need to focus on some work stuff this year and that I’ll just be involved and not actually run.

[00:01:08] Harry Sanger: All right. Well, you and me both, brother. Sorry to hear that.

[00:01:12] John Q: RRCO piloted an online voting system, with voters registered in advance. The neighborhood election officials also accepted votes by phone.

[00:01:22] RRCO Co-chair Clare Strawn: I got to say that I, as far as I know, we’re the first ones to ever do this thing in a Zoom meeting and for a neighborhood association with so many participants, and appreciate everybody making this great leap forward.

[00:01:40] RRCO Co-chair Jon Belcher: So I have taken the votes of the two people who voted via phone and combined them with the votes that were done electronically and drum roll, please. Our top four are—I’ll do it alphabetically, so—Carly, Mysti, Stefan, and Susan are our new board members.

[00:02:01] John Q: The new board members spoke earlier in the meeting.

[00:02:06] Carly Sylva-Gabrielson: My full name is Carly Sylva-Gabrielson and it’s great to be here with all of you tonight. I came to the neighborhood about six years ago when I decided to make a lifestyle change and build a tiny house on my mom’s property. I was equally excited about reducing my carbon footprint and just changing my lifestyle in general, but truly my motivation was to find a solution to pay off my student loan debt, which is something that just plagues so many Americans. So I’m really passionate about unique housing models and ensuring that we are focused on affordable housing that allows folks to stay in our community. So I’m incredibly passionate about that.

[00:02:44] I’m really eager to get involved with this community and to implement some change, particularly with the noise pollution that we’ve all been impacted by from the Zip-O-Laminator manufacturing plant.

[00:02:56] I also care a lot about public safety. There is not sidewalks on Elkay Drive and I’ve had some close calls with vehicles and I also was impacted by a really terrible car accident on Beltline at the River Road intersection. I have a full and in-depth understanding of some of the issues that are impacting this area and also how to build coalitions and work with our elected officials and government entities to enact change. So I’m really passionate about expanding civic engagements, particularly with younger folks and those who have been marginalized in the past.

[00:03:30] …I spent the past decade working for a U.S. Congressman, both managing his campaign and also working as his director of outreach, and I’m also passionate about transportation infrastructure. And would like to be involved here locally as the funds flow from the Build Back Better and our federal government down to localities.

[00:03:50] Mysti Frost: Hi, my name is Mysti Frost and I’ve been here for about five years. I’m originally from Montana. My father is an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe, and he’s also a disabled veteran who I cared for for the last 10 years. I grew up in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. I’m bilingual and multicultural. I’ve lived in Oregon for 20 years, 15 of those in Lane County. I graduated from Cottage Grove High School, attended Lane Community College, and I’m just 16 credits shy of my degree in social science, focusing on Globalization, Environment, and Policy. I previously was on the board. And was voted off last year. It was a pretty hard blow, but I have recuperated. It was pretty rough couple of years. I’m sure all of you also had a rough time. I learned a lot from that loss. And in my solitude, I wanted to figure out who I am, do I belong in a leadership role and I did some research and I found that Abraham Clark, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is my sixth grandfather. And my ancestors came over. We’re one of the first Europeans on this continent. And so I feel really connected to this land and the people and. I want to do the best I can to support folks in my community and I’m very grateful to be here.

[00:05:21] Stefan Ostrach: Hello, everybody, I’m Stefan Ostrach, I’ve lived here in the River Road area in the same house for 43 years now. My background is in the labor movement. I represented state, county, and municipal employees here in Oregon, including Lane County employees and City of Eugene employees, for 10 years in the ’80s. And then I spent more than 20 years representing Teamsters throughout Southwest Oregon. After that, I’ve served on a number of boards. I was a long-time board member and president of the Lane County Labor Council. I was appointed to by Gov. (Barbara) Roberts to the Management Labor Advisory Committee on Workers’ Compensation. I served on our local workforce development board, Southern Willamette Private Industry Council. I’m on the state committee of the Oregon Working Families Party, and I’m treasurer and a board member of Temple Beth Israel here in Eugene.

[00:06:24] Susan Kittleson: Hi everybody. My name is Susan Kittleson… In October I left Microsoft Corporation where I served for over 18 years, and I also worked at Dell Corporation for a long period of time. I served on the board of directors for three years at Central Texas SPCA. I have also served on the board for three years also in Austin, Texas, on Urban Patchwork, which is an organization that helped turn people’s front yards into community gardens…

[00:06:51] I moved to Eugene about six months ago with my husband, Joseph Kittleson, who was born and raised here, and has my mother and father-in-law, who many of you may have met in the past, Hillary and Charles are my next-door neighbors. So we’re very excited to have moved into the area. One of the big things I want to do is really get involved in community. It’s a very important part of my life.

[00:07:14] John Q: RRCO is expected to ask the City to adopt the secure voting system for all neighborhood elections.

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