March 3, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Neighborhood leaders step up for Far West

7 min read
Board members from the reactivated Churchill and Far West neighborhood associations are welcomed to join other neighborhood boards at the hybrid June 27 NLC meeting.

NLC panel discussion to share ideas June 27

A second Eugene neighborhood reactivates after going dormant in recent years. With help from neighborhood leaders and city staff, Churchill elected a board on April 22nd. June 21st was Far West’s turn.

[00:00:15] Cindy Koehler (OECE): I’m Cindy Koehler, work in the Office of Equity and Community Engagement. My work primarily is the neighborhoods programs…

[00:00:22] So a little bit about the (Far West) charter. The charter calls for elections in the fall and it has a specific process that is called out for holding the elections. Because Far West Neighbors have been inactive for a number of years, we are welcoming an interim board to get the neighborhood active, moving, moving forward, developing a work plan, perhaps taking a look at the charter. The charter hasn’t been reviewed in a number of years. And then also scheduling the elections in the fall at a general membership meeting.

[00:00:56] The participation in voting rights: The participation is open to homeowners and tenants residing within the association boundaries as well as to individuals owning property or business here. Voting is open to all persons qualified for participation after Section 1 who are at least 15 years of age. And no voting participants should have more than one vote. No one may vote by proxy.

[00:01:17] Because this is a temporary board, an interim board, the board tonight will be the board that helps carry us through so that we can engage in the full robust process in the fall.

[00:01:26] John Q: Volunteers stepped forward and offered to serve their neighbors.

[00:01:32] Kat Lakey (Far West chair): My name is Kat Lakey and I am your neighbor who lives just around the corner. I’m currently a student at the University of Oregon and I’m studying for a degree in cultural anthropology.

[00:01:45] And also, I participate in the Accessible Education Center, the Non-Traditional Student Union, as well as a branch of the Student Support Services called TRIO, which is also geared towards non-traditional students. Prior to that, for 10 years, I worked as a senior program manager for a local nonprofit.

[00:02:04] In that role I managed 12 to 20 people, depending on where I was shuffled about to, as we know about nonprofits.

[00:02:12] But also in that role I organized and facilitated weekly staff meetings of up to 30 people, which I think falls in line with this potential role here. I have extensive experience working across difference especially different than age ability, race and socioeconomic status.

[00:02:33] Also, like, not fully in line with this, but prior to my time in social services, I am the seventh woman ever to journey out, earn a journeyman’s card in Ironworkers Local 29. I think that shows grit and dedication and more importantly work ethic.

[00:02:51] One of the things that I think is really, really important that I think we all can agree on is that in the position of chair, that it is absolutely mandatory that the chair represents with fair and equitable representation especially when acting as a conduit for the city. And focus on having clear and open communication amongst ourselves within our neighborhood and our community.

[00:03:16] Two other things that are really important to me to bring forward to our neighborhood and our community is to discuss building a cohesive community through, I don’t know, like a block party or some other sort of community engagement activity where we can all get to know one another a little bit more.

[00:03:33] And the other is to work towards some disaster preparedness and speak with our neighbors and find out who vulnerable populations.

[00:03:44] Levi Mason (Far West Second Chairperson): Hi, I’m Levi Mason, and I guess my main…man, I have a lot of feelings about this. I feel like we live in hard times. Our community has really suffered during the pandemic and it was really hard to take care of even our friends cause we were stuck in our houses for years. We’re venturing out in little ways and it seems like it’s time to start rebuilding.

[00:04:11] So for me, I really try to really set a tone where people are really listening to each other and, looking for ways to take care of our own, our neighborhood, our friends, our people…

[00:04:24] A nice newsletter that’s bigger than a 3×5 card, more likely to get noticed by our neighbors. Mm-hmm. Because a lot of ’em are getting thrown away and not even read. At least, you know, a newsletter’s a little bigger.

[00:04:37] I used to live in Friendly Area Neighborhood and I actually thumbed through those, so I know it makes a difference. So to me, that’ll be a primary thing. And of course, coming up with what’s in that newsletter, what can we do as a neighborhood that would sense for us and communicate about it.

[00:04:54] Far West Neighbor: What would you do about the nutria?

[00:04:57] Levi Mason: I don’t think that’s in the purview.

[00:05:09] Shane O’Neil (Far West secretary): This is my opportunity to tell you a little bit about myself, I gather? I’ve lived in Eugene for the last 17 years and lived in Far West neighborhood for probably about, 12 of those on and off and the last seven homeowner in neighborhood right by MLK City Park.

[00:05:24] So I’ve been remiss during the last seven years to not have a neighborhood association that I can participate in. I was part of the process last fall that I thought went really well, and then it didn’t.

[00:05:38] So I’m excited to be back here tonight and glad to see everybody who showed up. I’m an architect and community member. I’ve got two kids who are at Chavez Elementary. We moved to this neighborhood because we like the neighborhood so much. We wanted to be a part of our neighborhood school and wanted our kids to grow up here and be able to enjoy everything that this neighborhood has to offer.

[00:06:03] I am just excited to be able to participate and be part of getting the neighborhood association off the ground.

[00:06:10] So, secretary’s great, I’m comfortable with taking notes, helps me listen and I do a lot of in my professional work working with groups, interactions with the city, really diverse stakeholder groups.

[00:06:26] And so I’m very comfortable being in a position of kind of neutrality, hearing what others are saying and echoing back to make sure that I’m understanding and offering a follow up and a record of what people said and what folks agreed to or what a consensus might look like.

[00:06:45] Julie Grisham (Far West publicity director): Hello? I’m Julie Grisham. This is my neighborhood, I’ve lived here for, in Eugene 2005, so 18 years. And then in this neighborhood for coming up nine years. I have three kids, three little girls, 10, eight, and four years old. I love working with people. Love meeting new people.

[00:07:07] For this meeting specifically, I, when I got the postcard, I just started texting all of the people who I know in the neighborhood. And I was like, ‘Are you going? You need to go! Like, it’s important to show up to these things and meet as many people as we can to have a really great neighborhood association to build a sense of community.’

[00:07:25] So I have no problem just reaching out to people. When people walk by our house, we just sit by the street. But when people walk by, we see like they have a dog. I’m in the yard. We start just chit chatting. And often my own girls will see kids walk by and they’ll like, ‘Mom!’ Getting to know people as they pass by or on walks.

[00:07:53] Warren Quanstrom (Far West treasurer): I moved up here five years ago. I worked at a CPA firm here in town, did a lot of local nonprofit audits. I currently work from home remotely at a firm that works all over the United States doing employee benefit plan audits. I’m a qualified accountant, unfortunately.

[00:08:12] And really interested in serving my community and using my very not so, kind of boring skills for good. And that’s about it. I’m from Austin, Texas.

[00:08:19] John Q: The next steps include meeting to organize the fall election.

[00:08:28] Cindy Koehler (OECE): …And all board meetings and general meetings are posted on the city website. So the city, Eugene has the neighborhood page and we have our public meetings calendar and I post all of those meetings. Hopefully all the neighborhoods will keep giving me their meetings. Most of ’em are really, really, really good about it.

[00:08:42] So those we posted, they are considered public meetings. So if there’s a board meeting, anybody can attend.

[00:08:49] John Q: Neighborhood leaders welcomed Far West and others to attend their next meeting.

[00:08:49] Cindy Koehler (OECE): I would like to take a minute to introduce folks from the Neighborhood Leaders Council. We have Chris Jockheck, who is the current chair of the Neighborhood Leaders Council, and we have Rene Kane who is the organizer of all great things with the Neighborhood Leaders Council.

[00:09:10] Rene Kane (NLC, JWN): I’m also here on behalf of your neighbor to the east, Jefferson Westside Neighbors. I’m on the board and we’re really glad we all have reactivated and we look forward to working with you on issues we share.

[00:09:26] As Cindy said, Chris is the one of the acting co-chairs of the Neighborhood Leaders Council, and our next meeting is all about neighborhood activities. So folks talking about outreach, engagement, board work…What else?

[00:09:42] Chris Jockheck (NLC, SHiNA): How we kind of interact together, work together, yeah.

[00:09:50] Fabio Andrade (OECE): Thank you, thank you for volunteering. It is an important work and we will be available to support you as much as can.

[00:09:55] John Q: Two more members are welcomed back to the Neighborhood Leaders Council, which meets June 27 at 7 p.m. It’s open to all neighborhood board members on Zoom, or in the city council’s work session room. A panel will discuss neighborhood purpose, outreach tools, board business, gathering neighbors together, and then share some final thoughts.

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