Public meetings: November 12 (tonight) and November 20

The next Good Neighbor Agreement Standing Committee (GNASC) is Wednesday, November 12, 6:30 p.m. at Providence Portland Medical Center. Information on the room location for the meeting available at the front desk, main hospital entrance on Glisan.

Neighbors and the general public are invited to GNASC and TWG meetings, but, as a courtesy and in order to know locations of meetings, please telephone Gary Naylor (503-232-3398) to make arrangements for the GNASC meetings and Jim Parker (503-234-8587) for TWG meetings.

The Transportation Working Group (TWG) (a subcommittee of the Standing Committee for enactment of the Good Neighbor Agreement between Providence Portland Medical Center and the neighborhoods of North Tabor and Laurelhurst.) is also meeting soon.

Transportation Working Group, November 20, 7 pm, 5520 NE Glisan

 Agenda:

  1. Presentation by Terry Dublinski’s (North Tabor) submission to the Bureau of Development and Sustainability about the 2035 Portland Comprehensive Plan, especially in regard to Glisan Street crossings and mass transit amenities, both of which are priorities for TWG in the next year.
  1. Discussion of North Tabor submission and of whether TWG should make any submission (If so, on what score?)
  1. Determination of the January agenda, proposed as follows:

Continuation of work on one of the three TWG priorities suggested by Terry’s presentation and the Comprehensive Plan;

Reports from PPMC on:

parking in the vicinity of 53rd
shuttles on 45th
anticipated meeting with PBOT.
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Healthier Hospitals, and Slideshow from Community Meeting

Hospitals are being pushed to be healthier!

Ironic, isn’t it. Fortunately, for citizens like you and I, who live next door to a hospital, this is brilliant news. In fact, it turns out, the push isn’t coming from neighborhood activists, or even from cities, though they push the large institutions to make changes. The push comes because it makes more sense economically to be more sustainable, to live leaner, and to use fewer resources.

As an aside, there are six areas hospitals are being challenged to be healthier: engaged leadership, less waste, healthier food, leaner energy, safer food, and smarter purchasing. I recall a report by the Sustainabilty Officer for PPMC some years ago and I thought it included waste and purchasing, but when I looked at the list of hospitals participating in a Healthy Hospitals Initiative, our PPMC was listed for leaner energy. Presumably, that includes transportation.

Recently, one of our Laurelhurst neighbors forwarded me an announcement for a webinar hosted by the Healthier Hospitals Initiative. When I saw the speaker was Paulo Nunes-Ueno, the director of transportation and sustainability for Seattle Children’s Hospital, one of the nation’s top pediatric hospitals and research institutes, and Vice President of Puget Sound Bike Share, well, I jumped at the opportunity. You see, many of us in this area hold up Seattle Children’s as the shining star in managing transportation demands and living with neighbors, rather than resisting and then resisting more. The neighbor sent me this:

Seattle Children’s is a leader in progressive transportation programs, winning 6 Diamond Awards for outstanding commute programs and several Governor’s Awards for excellence in Transportation Demand Management.

The City of Seattle created an ordinance that requires large employers to reduce their drive-alone rate to alleviate the impact of transportation on the roads and the environment. You’ll hear and see the SOV, or single occupancy vehicle, percentages as the primary measure.  Seattle Children’s goal was to expand its campus in North East Seattle but reduce the SOV rate and avoid the need to construct 500 new parking stalls at an estimated cost of $20 million. The precious space needed for the additional 500 parking places would be put to better use as clinical space. This, in combination with Seattle Children’s commitment to the health of its workers and community, led to the development of a comprehensive transportation plan, developed in tandem with the facility’s strategic plan, looking ahead twenty years, starting in 2013.

Now, Seattle Children’s goal is to reduce single vehicle car use from its current rate of 40% to the rate of 30% by 2028 or the completion of its master plan. The transportation plan has already received notice and has garnered The Governor’s Commute Smart Award, EPA’s Commuter Choice Leadership Award, Commuter Challenge’s Diamond Award; Zip car’s 2010 Wheel of Change Award and is recognized as a model in healthy commuting strategies, safety and prevention. Seattle Children’s has also won Practice Greenhealth’s Partner for Change Award.

This morning, I eagerly listened in on the webinar and got the confirmation I was looking for. Indeed, Seattle Children’s is making changes. Employees are charged $10/day for parking (maximum) and paid $4 a day if they don’t drive. That can add up to $1000 per year to take another mode of transportation to the office. Oh, and if employees park in the neighborhood, they are first warned. After the 3rd offense, they are fired. Apparently, Children’s takes it very seriously that their business and expansion won’t infringe on the quality of life for the neighbors.

While Mr. Nunes-Ueno declared they have worked well with neighbors and taken the initiative in their development plans, I did find this article from 2010 that leads me to think the plan being implemented actually came out of neighbors protesting that the development was too much. Because of that, they’ve struck a deal and everyone is happily moving forward with a reduction in traffic AND expansion. Regardless of whether it took protesting neighbors to effect a change, the difference is that Seattle Children’s listened and did the right thing. I still hold them as the example for all hospitals to follow. They spend $2 million every year on building up the infrastructure for those cycling and walking to their campus. The same walkways that benefit their employees also benefit their patients and patient families. And they make these contributions to the neighborhood proudly, it adds to their good relationship with the surrounding neighbors.

I say we have a lot to learn from the folks in Seattle, about how they were so successful. I feel like they must know something we don’t know, or have a mandate for preservation of neighborhoods much stronger than we have here in Portland.

. . .

Update to the Annual Community Meeting:

Please take a look at this slide show prepared by Jim Parker, Laurelhurst representative to  Transportation Working Group, a subcommittee of the Good Neighbor Agreement Standing Committee. Somehow there was an error and the slides Jim submitted for the audiovisual portion of his presentation were not the ones available at the time of the meeting. 

My dream about Slide #3 is that we could also see how many patient visits there are to campus. I don’t know if the City of Portland includes those numbers in their total data for the number of cars driving on the surface streets to Providence Hospital for outpatient treatment, a number that continues to grow. I recall from looking at the Conditional Use Master Plan, there were no estimates of patient trips. 

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Annual Community Meeting at Providence Portland Medical Center, 2014

The most recent Good Neighbor Agreement between Providence Portland Medical Center (PPMC), North Tabor Neighborhood Association (NTNA), and Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association (LNA) states as follows:

Annual Community Meeting: 
i.  PPMC will host an Annual Community Meeting;
ii. The purpose of the meeting is for the Standing Committee to share with other community members their progress on matters identified in this Agreement. 
iii. NTNA and LNA shall provide an announcement of the date, time, location and agenda of the Annual Community Meeting in their respective newsletters in order to provide timely notice of the meeting of the neighbors. 
 

A half dozen Laurelhurst neighbors and representatives, a few North Tabor neighbors and representatives, and as many Rose City Park neighbors attended the annual community meeting hosted at Providence Portland Medical Center on October 28, 2014, from 7pm to 8pm. There were an equal number of Providence staff in attendance. These numbers are estimates, and it is safe to say there were 25 or fewer people in the room. Why there were so few is a mystery. Was it because of poor promotion of the event? Was it because the World Series was on television? Was it because people simply have better things to do?

What was impressive were the two families who attended who’ve been in the neighborhood since 1941 and 1945. Very impressive. I’m sure their perspective on the neighborhood is quite unique.

The agenda included an update on the Neighborhood News section of the Providence website. Long have neighbors been asking for a way to be informed and updated on issues effecting the neighborhood. Jean Marks, public relations, invited anyone who has ideas or suggestions about how the Neighborhood News can be improved to send them to her via email, but she also qualified that statement and said the upkeep of the website happens on a region-wide basis for the entire Providence system and there is little local control of the content or the speed of implementing changes. You can email her at jean(dot)marks(at)providence(dot)org.

The long-anticipated Guest House is currently under construction at the old Moore Lithograph property. Slides were presented depicting the demolition, excavation, and building of the foundation, consistent with what Laurelhurst and North Tabor neighbors have witnessed daily as the project has progressed. At six months into the construction, it would be interesting to get neighborhood feedback on these comments regarding the potential impact of the construction on the neighbors. How do the folks in the nearby apartments feel, or the folks directly across the street?

Jean Marks, Manager for Public Relations, said,  “There will be minimal construction disruptions to neighbors as it will all be on Providence property. We will notify neighbors of anything that affects them, as we do now with construction projects.”

Jim Parker, Laurelhurst resident and representative to the Transportation Working Group (TWG, nickname Twig), a subcommittee of the Standing Committee of the Good Neighbor Agreement committee, presented briefly on the progress of the TWG committee. The focus is on reducing number of automobile trips to the Providence campus, improving crossings on Glisan, and managing the connectivity issues in the Laurelhurst and North Tabor neighborhoods. Terry Dublinski-Milton, North Tabor Land Use Chair and representative to the Standing Committee, chimed in with his support for the positive efforts the city is making with regard to zoning and connectivity. Providence representatives to the Good Neighbor Standing Committee had no comments.

Finally, a quick presentation by the PPMC Volunteer Coordinator promised to be (quote) “way more important than where you cross the street.” Anyone interested is encouraged to sign up online as the most efficient way to expedite the process.

Note: This blog is being dusted off and put back in business. The more people comment or ask questions, the more active it will be. None of the views here are representative of any of the official representatives of the neighborhoods that surround Providence, of which there are four: Laurelhurst, North Tabor, Rose City Park, and Hollywood. 

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If Neighbors Seem Adversarial aka What’s Wrong With What Providence Does?

At a neighborhood meeting not that long ago, comments were made that indicated that Providence Corporation thinks the neighbors in the Providence Portland area are adversarial.

Yes, that’s what my sources say.

  • We want crossings marked so the seniors who live at Emilie House can safely cross to the bus stop. That is adversarial.
  • We want a stronger commuter program to cut down on the number of single occupancy vehicles so our neighborhood feels less like a car lot and more like a residential area. That is adversarial.
  • We want Providence to provide a place for smokers so we don’t have to see patients or staff outside in all kinds of weather in various stages of undress loitering along the sidewalk while they smoke. We don’t want to empty the cigarette butts from our planters or sweep the sidewalks in front of our homes. We don’t want to smell the smoke of the hospital and clinic employees who stand in front of our homes because it’s a  less hostile environment than the main streets in front of the hospital. Apparently, neighbor requests are adversarial.
  • We’d like to know that our children can safely cross all of the streets in our neighborhood to get to and from Laurelhurst Elementary. Wanting safe streets is deemed as adversarial.
  • We want Providence to share. We want them to share our space, our streets, our parking spaces, our gardens, our open spaces, and to benefit from our amazing neighborhood that is practically a park in which their patients and families are seen walking on a regular basis as they deal with the illness of loved ones. We welcome them. And, we want Providence to take some of the responsibility of the burden the hospital brings to a non-commercial neighborhood. We have ideas of how they could do that. But, rather than listen to us or indulge us and stripe a few crosswalks for a pittance of $$, Providence has met neighbors with a highly paid land use attorney who seems to speak for them as of late. And, neighbors are the ones who are adversarial.

When I heard about the comments at the neighborhood association meeting, I just shook my head. I’m disgusted with the whole land use process. I want Providence to get what they need to have a world-class facility and provide the best medical care. At present, when I am sick, that is where I go. But, they could be a good neighbor and they are not. When the chips are down, they are the ones being adversarial and laying blame on the neighbors. They are smart enough to realize how to play the system and how to wait and outwait the neighbors. Neighbors are busy living lives and don’t have corporate dollars funding every meeting they attend. Thus, issues get dropped. Time goes by. Providence wins by default.

I had to let it all go. I have ill family members to tend to and that has consumed all my spare time.

Then, one of my neighbors sent me this link to a recent article in Willamette Week.

Very Healthy Paychecks

Yikes! Greg Van Pelt is GONE….gone from the Providence Payrolls. He sure took a bundle with him when he went. So much for asking for street crossings to be striped and marked.

But Van Pelt’s own swelling paycheck topped $4.2 million, according to Providence’s 2011 tax return, the most recent on record. That’s triple what his predecessor took home two years ago.

For all the crying about losing revenue in the current system. For all the arguing that they can’t be forced to put in pedestrians crossings, or set a building back a bit from the street, or keep an aquatics center open, the CEO is rewarded with megabucks.

Who is adversarial? Indeed.

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Time Magazine . . . and jaw-dropping pay for non-profit hospital CEOs

In case you missed it, Time Magazine took on the issue of CEO pay in a time of struggling healthcare coverage and sky-high bankruptcies due to inadequate healthcare coverage.

Take a look here for the full article.

One of our neighbors alerted me to this article and of course, had concerns about Providence Hospital, our near neighbor. I agree with his concerns. Decisions are made right here in Laurelhurst and North Tabor that will further erode our quality of life.

IMG_2867To add insult to injury, at a recent North Tabor Neighborhood Association meeting, the efforts of the neighbors to advocate for maintaining a high quality of life in our largely residential neighborhood were referred to by Providence’s representatives as ADVERSARIAL.

To that, I say WHAT?

Neighbors are willing to work with Providence AND we want to hold Providence Hospital and Providence Corporation responsible for the side-effects of their actions. Just as a medication has side-effects and you taper it back until the dosage is the right amount to not harm the patient OR you compensate and provide other treatment to make up for the medication’s effects.

Providence could eliminate the side-effects of rampant growth by installing crosswalks when a new building goes up. It could stripe or signal intersections for pedestrians. It could add bike lanes or widened sidewalks. It could ramp up a more aggressive employee carpool program. 

There are many things that Providence can do to make themselves look more favorable to the neighborhood and to the city administration. Nowhere among those is calling neighbors adversarial or paying CEOs exorbitant amounts of money.

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Nonprofit hospitals in Oregon are increasingly pushing to take newly acquired property off public tax rolls, and assessors in cash-strapped counties are pushing back.

Nationwide, hospitals are swallowing private practices, hiring their practitioners, absorbing their patients, and buying or leasing buildings and equipment.

Counties have long granted charitable tax exemptions to nonprofit hospitals in exchange for their care for the poor. But health reform’s coordinated care model along with changes to Medicare are driving mergers between hospitals and private practices to an all-time high.

In Oregon, county assessors are fighting the trend. Douglas County recently denied Roseburg’s Mercy Medical Center’s request to extend its exemption to four properties worth $18 million. Hood River and Josephine counties, currently gathering information, may follow suit on similar requests, assessors there say.

Oregon’s county assessors challenge hospital acquisitions’ new tax breaks, murky law

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News Flash: Protest Rally at the Providence Bridge Pedal Health & Wellness Expo

This from the Facebook page, Save Providence Therapy Pool.

Come out this sunday for a protest rally at Providence Health and Wellness Expo, help highlight the hypocrisy of Providence’s move to promote health for some while taking it away from others!

JELD-WEN Field
Sunday, Aug. 12
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

directions http://www.portlandtimbers.com/stadium-renovation

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