January 3, 2019 OSU Extension Multnomah County Master Gardeners December (delayed due to holiday) Board Meeting
Jack called to order at 6:00 PM and Jack gave introductory remarks.
Minutes were approved with no changes.
Review of new board members and introductions of all present.
Corinne had some remarks and gave Jack a welcome and incoming president gift.. She told us she plans to help communications committee.
Artwork submitted by Eddie Rosen approved by board as cover of directory for 2019.
Proposal to increase dues: John Jordan discussed history of dues which were raised about 2009. Also discussed various dues of other gardening organizations. Corinne suggested a choice of 3 levels of dues to $21 or $26 or $31. Rich Becker moved to adopt the sliding scale and Stephanie Pringle seconded. Motion carried with no opposition.
Copy of Budget presented: Starred items discussed in some detail. Final bank balance has been about 66k at the end of the year for several years. This year the final fundraiser allowed us to be at the same. Projections are for a similar balance at the end.
Discussion of greenhouse: Jack introduced a discussion of the Greenhouse and the Annex in a round robin i.e. everyone has 1 or so minute to present their viewpoint on moving forward with a greenhouse.
Round Robin: Pete Jacobsen: What's the hurry some have asked. He says we're finally to it as the next step of a multi step process in our Demonstration Garden. 5 year process.
Stephanie Pringle: Full support of greenhouse for education and fundraising. Appreciative of past efforts to get us here.
Carolyn Dixon: Absolute essential must for education.
Marcia McIntyre: initial pass
Suzanne Cavicchi: Absolutely in support. Concerned about sneaky expenses.
Linda Goldser: Full support of greenhouse. Surprised there is a question. Been working towards this since the beginning.
Jennifer Simpson: We need a greenhouse this year. Fully in support.
Marilyn Frankel: Strongly feel need to revisit total plan and how it will look inside and out. Where – electrical, ductwork, water the whole plan needs to be ready. We need to know capacity of people for classes in this structure. Has to be welcoming, nice looking facility so people know this is ours. POW! Signage welcoming. We have to have outdoor water station and cleaning area – we have to do the right thing to clean them and stay in line with health rules. Strongly believe that we have to follow normal lines when putting up a building and we need to clearly see permits and what city requires us to do and see parks agreement. It takes time. Paying for it – are there things we can do such as putting rock down for base. Think we need to add 20% to all predicted costs. Out of the box ideas for blue sky: Put up a yurt as outdoor classroom. Is there any way to approach PPR to become a partner so that they help promote their programs on that property as well. Outdoor water source essential for health and safety concerns. All permits and agreements to be met. Complete plan needs to be in place before we start. Paying for it with out of the box ideas: Yurt as an outdoor classroom after greenhouse? Approach PPR t o be a partner in this?
Claudia Groth: Written remarks. Strongly oppose 70% of our money for annex gh this year. Reminder that public education is our mission. History – demo garden pivoted to donating food but that is not our mission. We have no recent track record to attract public to educational work and have them attend or pay. To have a gh seems premature. Dilapidated gh on property reminds us what happens. Annex is good way to re-establish educational mission. Recommendation – develop these classes to see if we can be successful. If we can prove it, then revisit. We have a template for this. The IE sale. We did little projects. And we proved that we could bring in the money. We can do that with annex. Let’s walk before we run.
Dave Owen: Wants project to succeed. Massive collaboration but has concerns. Senses that there is not a long term plan for the space and he is uncomfortable with the large expense of our reserve. Agrees with Claudia in many ways. Spend time to develop solid plan and plan for reserves. Expects that we need more time.
Tom Ralley: Annex is necessary and greenhouse is necessary. Development of classes can be simultaneous with building of structure.
Rich Becker: Working on agreement with committee and City. Should not be an up or down vote but a consensus. We need to sell the group on what we can do and a task force is essential.
Beven Peters: Agree with an overall plan and vision and a greenhouse is a possible educational tool not revenue. Wants it to be a city approved plan entirely in each stage. All for it- need a better plan.
Robert Medley: New to process. Why no development campaign? Giving is a way to see buy in from membership and public. Cart before the horse in this case. Capital campaign is needed to move forward. Expects it to be a much more expensive project.
Adele Thompson: Lot of confidence in the past planning and the plan as presented. We need a small greenhouse for our seedlings but maybe not this year for the big project.
Bob Shaw: Given the cost we need to take a deep breath before proceeding. Great things have happened in the past and understand urgency but feel like we need to pause and consider.
Lucy Keating: Did a personal remodel and knows turns and twists. Communicate the service of a greenhouse and build it as a resource for the future. Find new funding sources (grants, etc.) to make it happen. Banks, people, and others to fund. Annex was presented and it was clear and visuals are important in selling.
John Jordan: Been working since 2009. Almost lost garden due to PPS changes in rent. Curent greenhouse is about to fall down and electrcial systems are inadequate. Ticking time bomb of swamp cooler. Huge proponent of annex gh soon if not this year then next.
Linda Kenney: Agrees with John about swamp cooler.. Need greenhouse. Need development campaign to pull off. Educates public about what we do as well as raise funds.
Christine Semeniuk: Generally supportive of greenhouse and need a vision. We promised membership a greenhouse in last year's budget and we need to update membership.
Cynthia Chase: Supportive of greenhouse sooner rather than later and wants to see money spent after prudent reserve is met as that is the responsibility of a non-profit.
Pete again: I can provide a lot of the things that people are looking for in terms of pictures and descriptions. To ease concerns, these are kits. The contractor I am working with has installed this gh kit four times. So there are not as many unknowns as a remodel. This year we had enough volunteers to donate 3000 pounds, put on a bunch of classes and install the gardens. We welcome more people but have met our needs.
Corrine: Numbers of volunteers not discussed before but needs to be examined. Look deeply at both recruiting and retaining volunteers. Huge piece. Love the idea of a greenhouse but we need to figure out how best to accomplish the education of the public as our primary mission. We all donate food and the Demonstration Garden donates a significant amount of food and that is good, but that is not our mission as MGs. We have a responsibility to Extension and to our role as a MG to put the education mission as Don't believe that we build it and they will come. Develop the plan and it needs to be a really good plan. Finances are an issue and we need to do other things first.
Nancy Fine (in writing): I support the continued funding of the greenhouse for the new Demo Garden, aka the Annex garden. It's a necessary component for programming and events that are open to all MGs and the public. This year we had MGs from the Chapter, MGs from the current Demo Garden, and people from the neighborhood involved in planting perennial beds. And a Mosaic project that brought together Chapter members and friends to create art pieces for the new garden. But we had to bring materials, tables, and equipment in to do this. A greenhouse would greatly help. There is currently a higher estimate to complete the project. A fundraising campaign has raised close to $3000 so far. Additional funds are being sought. We are mitigating those higher costs. If too much time is lost stalling the greenhouse project, we may lose the contractors involved in the project which will cause more delays. Let the greenhouse project progress!
Heidi Nichols (in writing): Though I really want to go forward with a greenhouse for the Annex and bring this wonderful project to fruition, I have some concerns about the future. First, before we proceed further, I feel we need the legal agreement with Parks and/or the City to be in writing. Too many times people rely on good faith that an agreement will be signed as stated, only to discover, when the deadline arrives, that changes have been made. It’s hard for me to trust verbal promises from a government entity.
Second, after reading a bunch of articles online about reserves for non-profits, it seems like we should leave anywhere from 3 months to a maximum of two years of minimum operating expenses for the Chapter in the chapter reserves before we spend money on other items like the proposed greenhouse. That said, the proposed budget includes an operating reserve that should cover that amount, depending on what the Board considers necessary for reserves.
Once we have a written agreement and have determined what is needed for reserves, we need some really accurate estimates on what it will cost to install electricity and heating/cooling, and what it will cost to run them each year. We need a plan for meeting those expenses before we embark on this huge undertaking. I can recommend West Side Electric for a second opinion on the electricity, if needed. I’ve said, albeit quietly, at numerous planning meetings that electricity, heating/cooling, water and sanitation (porta-potty or, better yet, bathroom) all have costs, and we have to know that we can afford them before we start. No one has ever spoken up to agree or disagree with me, so I’ve assumed it wasn’t a big concern for anyone else.
It’s also important to know that we have the support of the chapter for this endeavor. We all know that there may be people strongly opposed to this project. We need to know how large this group may be, and, perhaps, what can be done to allay their fears or counter their objections. People have mentioned a survey of the entire membership, (not just those present at a Chapter meeting) to see if the group supports the idea of the Annex garden. That would be a great idea. We have all discussed how much more people-power we will need to take care of the increased space. We’re going to need the support of more than the core group of DG enthusiasts to maintain the garden in the future. It would also be helpful to have the contributions to the Education in the Garden Fund exceed the minimum amount needed to cover the gap between the amount budgeted and the amount quoted for installation. Hopefully this would show that we have support from the chapter as a whole.
I know the Annex/new garden is a really appealing idea to everyone.
Marcia McIntyre: What the group has done is just amazing. There is so much respect for what the dg has done. So nice to hear people share their concerns. It is nice to know that everyone has the best interest of the chapter. It would be wonderful for the gh to support our educational outreach, but to be successful has to be in measured steps. We have an opportunity to outreach to the community, and a community that is struggling more as that is the neighborhood we are in. Opportunities for partnerships with banks and businesses. Lucy is the person who could walk into the bank and ask for it. We have to take measured steps. People have held back because they did not want to. To have a healthy organization we have to be comfortable to: ask questions, listen to out of the box ideas, and express all our concerns. We need to exercise fiduciary responsibility and need to spend the money. Also this is an opportunity to bring in the whole chapter and get them to buy into it. That is what was done with the annex, when plans were brought in last year. Kudos to the demo garden volunteers and Jack for giving everyone this opportunity.
Jack: Greenhouse Advisory Task Force proposal detailed with areas to be addressed.
Motion to adopt Greenhouse Advisory Task Force idea. Tom Ralley moved and John Jordan seconded.
Motion passed. Discussion of what the Task Force should be. Ideas added to its scope based on tonight's discussion.
Marilyn moved and Rich Becker seconded that 2019 proposed Budget 1 Column B be passed as modified during the meeting.
Unanimously approved. Greenhouse portion of budget tabled and to be revisited.
E-news editor needs contributions for January and February. January articles are due Saturday morning at the latest.
Next Tuesday is the monthly meeting. Linda Chalker-Scott will be the speaker.
Meeting adjourned at 7:57 PM.