South University Neighborhood Association
Executive Board Meeting May 9, 2016
Attending: Board members & officers Pamela Miller, Marsha Shankman, Bill Aspegren, Nancy Meyer, Carolyn Jacobs, Tim Shinabarger, Malcolm Wilson, Connie Van Flandern, Kari Parsons; SUN resident Tracy Phelan; Karen Hyatt, University of Oregon office of community & government relations
Approval of April Board Minutes– Bill moved to approve the minutes. Marsha provided the second. Approval by voice vote. None opposed.
Guests and Public Comment: Nancy said Andrew Provencher from Sponsors, Inc. would not be attending as expected; instead, he had requested time on the general membership meeting agenda to do a brief presentation about Sponsors. The board agreed to provide five minutes at the general meeting. Nancy and Carolyn said it is important to provide time at the beginning of all board meetings for public comment for neighbors who attend to express concerns to the board.
Livability Issues at 1046 E. 20th Avenue — Nancy said neighbors of this rental house had contacted her in her role as board chairwoman. She said the neighbors are nearby property owners but they are ready to move out because of constant party noise from this rental. The neighbors’ communications indicated other families have sold properties and moved away because of noise and behavior at the rental. The neighbors said it’s rumored that members of a “dry” fraternity rent 1046 and hold their alcohol parties there. Chinook Properties manages the rental. Because of constant outdoor socializing and loud music, three families in adjoining and nearby properties have logged 50 calls to Eugene Police to file noise complaints. Nancy said apparently the noise does not rise to the level to which the police respond with citations. According to the neighbors, on one occasion the tenants “mooned” (exposed themselves to) a neighboring family including young children.
Malcolm said he had spoken with an officer who works that area and 50 calls is accurate. He said police respond to calls but don’t feel the party noise is loud enough to enforce. He said board members need to grasp that there is a noise level that is vexatious but not enforceable. He said if there is going to be some approach to dealing with the issues it may have to be from someone other than the police.
Karen said the police department could contact the tenants and say the neighbors are concerned. She said she had contacted Chinook and their management is frustrated that they can’t do anything about the situation because the tenants have a contract. She said she offered the university’s mediation services but Chinook was not interested. She said there have been 13 calls to police so far this year about the property but each time EPD considered it quiet on arrival.
Carolyn said there is frustration when repeated calls do not result in citations. She mentioned two other rentals, 1370 E. 19th Ave. and 1470 E. 19th Ave., that are on the police log every month for party calls but never result in citations. She asked if there is any limit to the number of times neighbors have to call police.
Bill said he’s had experiences in which the noise was louder in the back yard or in his neighboring house than it was at the front door of a party house, and that may explain why sometimes police consider a party “quiet on arrival”.
Tim suggested the aggrieved parties and a SUNA board representative make a presentation to city council about the issue and the need for city response. Malcolm asked if there are experiences where that has accomplished anything. Tim said he had no examples.
Karen said it takes a long time for a police officer to issue a citation, and issuing “Unruly Gathering” citations takes even longer. She said the police priority when responding to parties is to shut down a lot of parties in a short time.
Connie said if the police are unable to issue citations where deserved because they have so many parties that need response, it indicates there’s not enough city resources being provided to effectively address the problem.
Kari said by just creating a constant annoyance, the tenants of 1046 indicate disregard for basic courtesy.
Board members discussed ways to have input in the absence of effective police response, including: bang pots and pans outside the party house early in the morning after the partiers are finally gone to bed; play classical music back at them; attend the party yourself in your pajamas if the partiers woke you.
Nancy said she doesn’t want to lose any more neighbors to the effects of this rental house. Karen said the UO has a site at firstname.lastname@example.org for sending information about student behavior when you know the students’ names. She said to send specifics, especially names of tenants or participants, date and time of incident, and to indicate that you called Eugene police to report the party. She said getting names is the challenging part of that formula. She said if someone sees a student doing illegal behavior off-campus, first to call Eugene police, then to contact the Good Neighbor site. She said the UO does not require students to provide their current address to the UO, so just having the address does not provide enough information for UO to respond.
Bill said the SUNA Board should send the renters a letter saying the board needs to meet with them and get the problem resolved. Karen said the UO has not yet sent the renters a letter simply because the Eugene Police Department has not cited them. She said because the problem rental is two blocks from campus the UO Police Department is not going to take the lead on addressing the problem.
Carolyn said given that this is the biggest problem in the neighborhood, it might be the appropriate focus for a general membership meeting or else for a focus group meeting with neighbors welcome to attend.
UO Report–Karen said about 150 students participated in the Student Day of Service by planting street trees in South and West University Neighborhoods and working in Hendricks Park. Carolyn said the Eugene Marathon organizers blasted music into the neighborhood from the recreation fields near Hayward Field all day the day before the marathon.
Livability — Connie said Saturday night she saw a man riding a bike down her street strung with bags and backpacks and using a flashlight, very likely casing cars to burglarize.
UO Design Project re: University Park– Connie said the May 2nd student design review day in Professor Ron Lovinger’s landscape architecture design studio showed a lot of imaginative designs for University Park but not much that would stand the test of reality. She said the next stage is when the students have to look at what is really possible and realistic. Carolyn noted that none of the designs included a gathering place, even though this is a neighborhood park.
Little Free Libraries — Connie said the international LFL organization awarded a certificate of excellence for the University Park LFL, designating it a “Library of Distinction”. Members thanked Bill, Kari and Connie for the work they put into it.
Mailings and Web site announcing the May 18 general membership meeting: Connie said the SUNA board candidate biographies are up on the Web site and she finished designing the post card and delivered it to the City to print and mail out to SUNA households.
Use of City Funds: Nancy said the money designated by the city for SUNA use could be used to send an early postcard announcing the summer meeting, and for reimbursement for designing the mailings.
Summer General Meeting/Picnic. The Board rescheduled the meeting/picnic to Friday, July 29th starting at 6 p.m.
Wednesday, May 18 SUNA General Meeting: Nancy confirmed that Jeff Petry, a City of Eugene Parking Program specialist, and Edison School Principal Tom Horn would speak. Nancy said Jeff told her college kids are selling Zone A parking passes on CraigsList. Jeff said the city takes corrective action when able to identify offenders.
Members planning to set up for the meeting emphasized the need to arrive early, ideally by 6:30 p.m. but definitely by 6:45 pm. Meeting starts at 7 p.m.
Street Signs: Connie said the city has replaced signs on the edges of the neighborhood but eight signs in the interior of the neighborhood are missing. She said none of the new 12-foot tall signs on black poles had been taken.