Monthly General Meeting Minutes
March 28, 2013

The Watershed Building in Hillsdale
6388 SW Capitol Hwy
Portland OR 97239


Attendance: Don Baack, Lee Buhler, Sharon Fekety, Virginia Hendrikson, Chris Mays, Richard Marantz, Liz, Marantz, Arnie Pantich, Carl Fink, Hans Stench, Michael Kisor, Barbara Bowers, Mark Turner.

Don called the meeting to order at: 7:01

The agenda was approved.

Sharon made a motion to approve the January and February 2013 minutes. Hans seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

Walks:  Virgina said Sharon will lead the April hike and Pete Schmierbach will lead the May hike.

Treasurer’s Report: Chris said we have $1557.50 in the checking account and there was an additional  $40.00 he received tonight.

Trail Liability Laws:

Carl talked about trail liability.  He said there is a state statute and city ordinance covering trail issues. He said no one has ever sued under either one. Carl said there were problems due to land-owner concern about liability. SW Trails was also concerned. Therefore, this new state law which makes it clear that you cannot sue adjacent property owners or non-profit organizations that build the trail. Carl said this only applies to cities with population of 500,000 or greater. However, smaller jurisdictions can opt in. Don said he would like to ask Multnomah County and Clackamas County to opt in for sections of trail that are not in incorporated Portland. Carl passed out copies of the laws. He said the city ordinance conflicts a little with the state statute. He said usually state law trumps city ordinance. Vehicles would not be covered by the state law. He gave an example of someone who sued after using the beach for recreation and then using a trail. Carl said there could still be a risk when there are cars on the path. Don said asked if this law would apply to the Cornado trail in the Arnold Creek neighborhood and Carl said yes as there are not cars on the section. Richard asked what the obligations are to keep an unbuilt right-of-way in proper maintenance. He asked why the adjacent property owner has liability for unbuilt right-of-way and no liability for a street. Don said this could be a good asset for Trails to move forward with after we get the IRS letter of determination and insurance. Harry asked if we need language on how trails get approved. Liz said she was taken aback to find out that she was liable for the unimproved street by her house. She said many people are not aware of this.  Carl recommended putting signs saying “local traffic only”.

Coronado Trail:

We discussed the Coronado trail in the Arnold Creek neighborhood.  Liz handed out maps of the area. Richard said many people have been walking through the right-of-way. He said there was an error in the SWNI neighborhood saying there was going to be a vote on the trail in February. People close to the trail organized against it and people for the trail were not informed. They passed a resolution against the trail. He said it was unclear whether the vote will be appealed. He said the neighborhood association is in disarray and would probably not reverse the vote. Richard said Hans had been working with Greg at the city. He said one neighbor put barb wire on the trail which has since been removed. He was told a survey was done and they were going to bill SW Trails. He said he is not aware of a survey and would like to get a copy of that survey.  Don said SW Trails has a budget with PBOT and they have used it to do different things. He was not aware they billed a survey to that fund. He said we have a survey requested for Multnomah Presbyterian church. Don said without the neighborhoods in support of the trail it will be hard for SW Trails to do anything.  Liz said one neighbor was told by the city that anyone can walk through the right-of-way but they cannot do anything else. Richard asked if someone could hire a survey for a parcel of public land.  Arnie asked if the barb wire was removed and Richard said yes. Richard said they are not clear on the exact location of the right-of-way.  Don said the legal description and survey notes could be retrieved from the county. Arnie pointed out that it is clearly a street on the map handed out.  Richard pointed out that the street could not be vacated. Arnie asked why the adjacent property owners are against it. Liz said they look at the property right-of-way as theirs. Don asked if people want SW Trails to get involved. Richard said there was a petition with 52 signatures on it against the trail. Richard said he did not think that if the NA voted for it it would help with the city. Don talked about a vote  in the Hillsdale NA that was reversed at a subsequent meeting.

Motion: Michael made the following motion: “SW Trails supports determining the Coronado trail right-of-way and encourages education about the advantages of a trail at that location. Lee seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

Liz talked about all the advantages of the trail to the people who have property on the trail. Don said an adjacent property owner told him that there used to be a trail on that location and he was against the trail because he thought he would have to maintain it. Arnie suggested SW Trails going to Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association to talk about trails. He said if they are still against it we have to walk away. Liz said one of the arguments is that it is an environmental zone. Don said, in that case, there was an additional permit that would be needed.

Don talked about the trails along Terwilliger between Homestead and South Portland. He said Michael Harrison of OHSU wants to walk around and look at the trails. Don said there are two trails going down. One is on Whitaker and the other is above Woods. Both trails need work. He said the Whitaker trail is very convenient for people working at OHSU. Don talked about the work needed on that trail. The walk around with be on April 2 at 2:00pm. Don said he hoped we could get letters from Homestead and South Portland requesting SW Trails assistance in improving these important connections. Don said it might be possible to get the Bureau of Environmental Services involved as there are storm water issues.

Don said we should develop a policy on how to deal with neighborhoods. Mark asked if there was opposition to this. Don suggested asking the neighborhoods to support SW Trails efforts in their neighborhood. Don said he would work on draft wording for such a policy.

Chris said they have been interested in having SW Trails help in Maplewood on April Hill Park trails.

Don suggested a membership director for SW Trails. He said we have about 1000 people on our email list and we need to work on contacting them to re-up.  Don said he has a booth at the Hillsdale Farmer’s market on May 5th. Chris said he has canopies that we can use.

Don asked people to help distribute SW Trails brochures.

Don said Greg Raisman has requested a survey for the possible trail on the  Multnomah Presbyterian church property. Don said with the new liability law, this project should go faster.

Don said we need a small work party to spread gravel on Tunnelwood. There is a problem at 19th and Boones Ferry that BES needs to fix as they dumped dirt that diverts water onto the trail which will cause erosion. He said They dug a hole that is dangerous.

Don said the Maplewood extended shoulder will be posted no parking when it is done. They hope to have an opening ceremony.

Don said there may be a memorial bench for Phyllis Towne on Fairmont.  Her daughter is collecting donations.

Mark said he is working on the web page and needs feedback.

Don said there will be a citizen advisory committee on the Hillsdale-Lake Oswego trail.

Arnie said he will lead four hikes in Lair Hill with Ten Toes and Senior strolls. He will give a talk on April 21st on Lair Hill history at the Cedarwood School. They will have a PowerPoint presentation.

Barbara said she has listed all the books that was given her. The Phyllis Towne Hiking Library is now open. But since the building is secure, you can only check out books before or after a trails meeting.

Richard asked if there were planned revisions for the SW Trails and if Coronado trail could be put on the SW Trails map. Don said they are constantly doing updates but he doubted that they would put it on  unless it was permitted. Micheal asked what the latest printing of the map was and Don said August 2012.

Don said there is another trail in Arnold Creek that should be considered and it is important to point out that a trail would take away liability and possibly reduce insurance costs.

Hans said he still wants to help audit SW Trails books. Don said we will have to file Federal 990 and state CT-12.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50pm

Respectfully Submitted,

Lee Buhler



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