United Community Partners P.O. BOX 545 Halfway, Oregon 97834 president@unitedcommunitypartners.org 541-742-4065

Minutes – April 15, 2013

Pine Valley Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 1:40-3:30pm

Present: Liz McLellan, Larry & Celinda Miller, Steve White, Bill Schuhle, Bill Shields, Mark Christianson, Ruai Gregory

This was a special mid-month meeting called to address the Cornucopia Arts Council’s request for $2,000 in funding for their planned fall music festival. Also on the agenda were meeting “norms” and discussion of UCP’s mission and strategies per our founding documents.

  1. Meeting Norms. Mark Christianson, who had been tasked with drawing up some norms for conduct of our meetings, distributed copies of his typed list for discussion. Clarification of the “Listen respectfully” item included subcategories of “No side conversations”, “Wait until speaker is finished to ask points of clarification”, and “Use respectful language”. In collaboration with Mark and Steve, Bill will create a poster-size list of the agreed-upon norms to be posted at each meeting.
  2. Mail List Issue. Liz stated very strongly that she would like to see our group email dissemination of information and discussion happen through Google Groups so as to simplify the mechanics of discourse as well as maintain a coherent record of that discourse for future reference. This was acceptable to all with the exception of Celinda who will meet with Liz individually to iron out any issues and come to a solution that Celinda can be comfortable with.
  3. Cornucopia Arts Council Request for Funding. Mark re-read for the group’s benefit the overview from CAC’s written proposal/request. He strongly suggested that we honor the efforts being made by CAC to meet our request for a written proposal and respond to their request in the context of the recent granting precedents extant at the time CAC approached us and to take up consideration of other ways of handling such requests subsequent to making this particular decision. Bill Shields commented on the long history of CAC in the valley and its bringing of many musical and artistic events to the community, normally on a donation basis, and felt that they deserve our support in this new endeavor. Bill Schuhle indicated that, even though musical events are enjoyed by a good number of folks in the valley, we have already put approximately 25% of our available funds toward musical projects and that maybe it was time to shift our focus to supporting projects – such as an emergency gravity-fed drinking water system and less expensive, more environmentally friendly sewer treatment options – that would benefit an even larger portion of our community and materially address issues related to its sustainability and survivability. Celinda expressed that she would like to see us move away from a granting model and back to what, as best she could determine from a reading of the founding documents, was an assistive role rather than a granting role. She supported Bill Schuhle’s contention that community sustainability is an important issue to be addressed. Steve spoke of the potentially huge long-term benefits to the community of both the MainStreet Stage and the annual CAC Music Festival. He felt that support of these was money well spent and that denial of this particular CAC request would be “hurtful”. He offered his support of “sustainability”related projects, but pointed out that we’ve not yet seen any concrete proposals for such. He also felt that use of the term “sustainability” on our part would be a huge turn-off to the large conservative portion of the valley community and Liz confirmed this, suggesting that we get on with building a good track record of things done as a way to re-establish UCP’s credibility as an organization. Steve emphasized the need to get the word our about our support for grant writing efforts. Larry brought up the issue of responsibility for grant monies received and indicated that if recipients are not willing to pay the money back at some point, he would vote “no”.  Liz voiced strong concern for use of terms like “welfare” and “responsibility” in relation to the Arts Council which has done so much for the community. Bill Shields summarized our current position very succinctly and urged our support of the CAC request. After some further summarizing discussion, a vote was taken and unanimous approval was given for a $2,000 grant to the Cornucopia Arts Council in support of their first annual fall music festival. This with a proviso that they kindly remember UCP in the future as a conduit for giving back to the community. Bill Shields will put all of this in writing.
  4. Discussion of Vision and Strategy Statements as presented in original UCP founding documents. Bill Shields indicated that the vision statement, including the “premier rural living experience” wording, was primarily written as a PR piece to appease the County. He suggested that the paragraph beginning with “Our desire…”, with “desire” changed to “vision” would be perfect. There was agreement all around. Regarding strategy and goals, Bill Shields suggested slimming our document wording down to include: 1. Strengthen locally owned businesses; 2. Advocate for a strong traditional and innovative agricultural base; 3. Encourage locally developed, owned, and operated tourist services; 4. Support City of Halfway growth within the 2000 urban growth boundary; 5. Actively network with regional economic development agencies and organizations. It was agreed that we would take Bill’s minimalist ideas and each add to them as we see fit or create our own version to compare with Bill’s and bring to our next meeting for further discussion.
  5. Our next regular meeting will be May 6, 2013, and will be held at the Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall at 1:30pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Schuhle, Secretary/Treasurer

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