A reboot for one of Eugene’s storied neighborhood organizations, as over 30 residents meet at Churchill Estates. The April 22 meeting followed months of planning.
[00:00:10] Cindy Koehler: Hi everybody. I’m Cindy Koehler. I’m the neighborhood and community liaison for the City of Eugene in the Office of Equity and Community Engagement. And the neighborhood associations, we have 23 formally recognized neighborhood associations, of which 21 are largely residential, two are largely industrial (they receive a different level of support), but the city provides support to those 21 formally recognized neighborhood associations. And Churchill Area Neighbors (CAN), like the other neighborhood associations, are integral to our community engagement process.
[00:00:41] As people move to our city, as the state has changed some of our land use laws, as the city is moving and considering growth: That’s where the neighborhoods come in.
[00:00:52] That’s where it’s really important that you are all plugged in, that the neighborhood association is active, that the City of Eugene has a conduit of information where we are sharing information out to the neighborhood association, but also capturing that information back and taking it to the city of Eugene when it comes to making policies or making new rules for communicating out to the broader community.
[00:01:14] I’m really looking forward to seeing Churchill be the active neighborhood association that you have been in the past.
[00:01:23] Steve Schilling (Churchill board member): My name is Steve Schilling. I’m a resident here in CAN. And as I’ve laughed with Cindy, I’m the last surviving member of the CAN Board, which means that the rest of the board resigned and moved on to other projects. Many of them had other family and personal challenges to deal with, so they had to leave. And some of them were really instrumental in keeping the Churchill Area Neighbors group active and engaged in the community.
[00:01:54] So we are here today to try to reorganize and revitalize, reinvigorate the Churchill Area Neighbors.
[00:02:05] Councilor Randy Groves: Thank you, Steve and thank you, Cindy and I’m just real excited that this is going again. It broke my heart when the Neighborhood Association disbanded. So I’m very appreciative of the people that are stepping up wanting to be in leadership roles because that’s what it takes to have a successful neighborhood organization.
[00:02:23] And then it takes participation like this. And I’m thrilled with this level of turnout. That’s fantastic.
[00:02:28] John Q: The neighborhood’s connection to the city is important.
[00:02:32] Rich Locke (CAN member): My name’s Rich Locke. I own a business in West Eugene and I’m very involved in the neighborhood around here. And I’m all for this. This is your power conduit right here. If you want to, you have a direct line to the city. I want to make sure this succeeds.
[00:02:51] Dr. Michael Bratland: I’m Dr. Michael Bratland, I’m actually running for 4J School Board. I actually worked here (at Churchill Estates) when I was in high school, graduated from Churchill. So I’m going down to the neighborhood, community, and just kind of seeing what we’re talking about. (On the) school board, you also represent the parents and lot of times the parents come here. So it kind of gives us an idea of what’s important.
[00:03:08] John Q: Several neighbors talked about dangerous conditions for pedestrians.
[00:03:12] Churchill Area Neighbor: There’s a speed limit sign as you start to come up Warren, right there. But there isn’t one as you come down before the blind curve. So if we could get another speed limit sign? The biggest problem we have is people are flying down that hill and they’re not on their side of the road and you come around and you’re just lucky if there’s not somebody in the middle of the road coming 40 (mph), you know? (Sure.) So if we can get another speed limit sign, that would be good.
[00:03:36] Sue: I went to the transportation open house a couple of nights ago and had a very disheartening discussion with Rob Inerfeld from Public Works. It really seems to be a case of the perfect being the enemy of the good, they’re totally focused on putting in a concrete sidewalk for half a million dollars on Warren. But it’s last in a long line of other deserving projects, and he said that they’re not really willing to consider a good enough gravel walkway that will serve the immediate need for getting pedestrians out of the road.
[00:04:18] Councilor Randy Groves: What’s going on with Warren is we have a lot of brush that’s coming out very close to the road. There’s no sidewalks. There’s a fairly steep grade. There are curves with blind spots, and it is a route to school for kids, and that’s not a good situation. They always say in risk management, if it’s predictable, it’s preventable. Well, it’s predictable that there’s going to be an event that happens up there if we don’t address it.
[00:04:45] John Q: One Churchill Area Neighbor spoke about land use issues.
[00:04:48] Churchill Area Neighbor: I just wanted to see you were aware of the situation at the corner of Randy and Hawkins they’re planning new units of housing (Yes) on a wetland and wildlife corridor.
[00:04:59] They’re going in over wetland. There are heritage oak trees that are over 300 years old there. There’s no more open space requirements as there was in the first iteration, but it was open space in between. That’s gone and there’s like, there’s no access road in and then out, and everyone’s going to be coming down Warren or down Hawkins or up and over and down to 29th.
[00:05:29] Steve Schilling: So this is why it’s really important that we have a community association, so that you folks who are really the most impacted and the most near this particular problem can be a part of the discussion about that particular development.
[00:05:46] Cindy Koehler: There’s ways to weigh in and make sure that the neighborhood association’s needs are met and if it meets the law, it’s likely that that project is going to go through. So, the best thing to do is make sure that your voice gets heard so that your thoughts and your concerns can be incorporated in the overall project.
[00:06:06] Churchill Area Neighbor: I’m just going to say it because I can’t keep my mouth shut. I love the way that you. describe that, but that is not the tone of the conversations that have happened so far. They’re not collecting information about what the neighborhoods want. They are moving forward with their pedal on the gas and see they can make it through inside the law and the code and the land use. They’re not interested in what people on Warren are going to have to do to keep their kids safe when all those people that are living in those houses come screaming down the road.
[00:06:39] John Q: After thanking Councilor Groves, Steve and Cindy explained the election rules based on the neighborhood charter.
[00:06:45] Cindy Koehler: We will go through nominations, I’ll capture those nominations, and this is for the folks online too, you have to have attended a general membership meeting before you can vote for a position on the board. So we would close out the general membership meeting and then immediately go into elections.
[00:07:01] So the first position would be the chairperson.
[00:07:05] John Q: Steve encouraged volunteers to step forward.
[00:07:08] Steve Schilling: Let me just say, I don’t think it’s a huge time commitment. You will get assistance and support from Cindy and the staff. (Yep.) Other members of the board will be happy to be involved with you.
[00:07:21] We met several times in person, but we also met by Zoom, so it’s easier for people on a board.
[00:07:30] And a board in our case is four officers and then it’s six zone representatives, so 10 total people. What we’re looking for is someone to be interested in serving (chairperson) chair. (Yes.) Yes.
[00:07:43] Chandra Paetsch (Churchill Area Neighbors): I’ll put my hand up. (Yay!)
[00:07:47] I’m Chandra Paetsch. I have lived in Churchill area for the last five years. I am a labor organizer, but I also want to get more involved in making sure that our community has the resources that it needs.
[00:08:00] Along with David (De La Torre) here in the back, we expressed interest and so we’ve been getting in contact with the city and going through the training and I just really want to make sure that our neighborhood has this space, has this forum to be able to discuss things.
[00:08:17] And like I said earlier: I know there are a lot of resources that we can potentially be availing ourselves of that we haven’t had that conduit to be able to come forward and advocate for ourselves. So, I want to make sure that this is functioning again, and that’s why I’m raising my hand cause I didn’t see others.
[00:08:34] I don’t necessarily want to be the first one up. I’ve got a little kid and I’m super busy like many of you, I’m sure. But I want to make sure that we have this.
[00:08:44] Cindy Koehler: Okay. Let’s move to vice chair.
[00:08:48] John Q: Another volunteer stepped forward.
[00:08:51] David De La Torre (Churchill Area Neighbors): My name is David De La Torre. I am also a parent of a small child (y’all may have heard her at some point). I have a background in a little bit of community planning as well as public health advocacy, and organizing. I care deeply about public health issues and having an inclusive voice of people represented in the community and making sure that we’re heard, and, and we have a process that is accessible and open.
[00:09:17] So they do care about Spanish translation, for instance, or making sure that we have accessibility with reaching out, to different forms of media.
[00:09:25] John Q: With the next office up for nomination, Cindy Koehler:
[00:09:29] Cindy Koehler: Next, you’re moving on to secretary. And one of the great things with the hybrid meetings, the Zoom meetings, you no longer have to take minutes because it records and it’s brilliant, and it’s fabulous!
[00:09:40] John Q: Another volunteer steps up.
[00:09:43] Sara Zoll: I’m Sara Zoll, my husband and I moved to Eugene almost five years ago.
[00:09:47] Cindy Koehler: Next up is treasurer, and with that I’ll call for nominations for treasurer.
[00:09:53] Churchill Area Neighbor: I would like to nominate Steve (Schilling) ‘cause he has done it before and I think that we could keep some institutional knowledge.
[00:10:01] Cindy Koehler: Most excellent.
[00:10:02] John Q: Others were elected to represent zones within Churchill.
[00:10:05] Kent Willocks: Kent Willocks. I’ve lived in just about every part of town but I’m down here, 18th for the last seven years. I said I wouldn’t do it (run for the board). Then I said I’d do it.
[00:10:17] Deborah Taylor: Deborah Taylor.
[00:10:19] Pat Carlstrom: My name is Pat Carlstrom. I live on Warren Street for about the last 35 years, and I have watched the community change over that period of time. I find development and the construction and the housing situation very frustrating.
[00:10:37] For a lot of reasons. I would like to be able to just be able to give some input from my own personal interest in it and that sort of thing as we’re trying to grapple with House Bill 2001, restricted urban growth boundary, high density requirements, urban forestry department and how you make all of that come together in a way that keeps rents reasonable, housing costs reasonable. I think we have a very tight circle tie that supply and demand has taken everything up. And so that’s where I come from. And we’d like to be part of the things that are continued going forward in the community.
[00:11:26] John Q: With the general meeting closed, those in attendance were eligible to vote.
[00:11:31] Cindy Koehler: Congratulations. You have a full board. Thank you to those who join us online. Thank you everybody.
[00:11:45] John Q: The Churchill Area Neighbors reactivate and, with more residents on the way, share concerns about safety on Hawkins Lane and Warren Street.