Ever wonder how great things happen in your neighborhood?
Been looking for a way to make a difference in your community? Most Neighborhood Association elections happen in May and with that comes volunteer opportunities!
If you live in Southeast Portland, you live in one our city’s officially recognized neighborhoods–each equipped with its own association. A Neighborhood Association serves its residents by holding a welcoming and encouraging space for community action and input. These groups typically meet monthly to learn about, and weigh in on changes in the community like new development or proposed city policy; create opportunities for neighbors to come together at events like picnics, concerts in the park, and block parties; and get their hands dirty – both literally and figuratively, by planting trees, hosting litter pick-ups, taking action against hate crimes, and more!
No matter your interest or skill set, the neighborhood associations need people like you to make the place we call home healthier and happier for all! Becoming a board member is also a great learning and leadership development opportunity for you. Go here to find out more about the neighborhood you live in.
NA Elections During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Neighborhood associations must abide by state law (ORS 65), Office of Neighborhood Involvement Standards, their bylaws, and any policies they have adopted. Each neighborhood association’s bylaws and policies outline requirements for annual elections differently, making it important to review and familiarize yourself with your organization’s bylaws and policies specifically.
- Click here to download the Bylaws Template (legal size)
- Click here to download the Bylaws Template (LTR size)
- Notice of elections must be provided to members 30 days in advance with date, time, location and description of topics to be covered, full agenda can be provided later.
- Your bylaws state who can be a member of the NA, generally it is someone that resides in the neighborhood including renters, owners of property, and business license holders or a representative of a business or organization
- Members must consent to be members
- Board eligibility is covered in your bylaws as well
- Make a call to action to get people interested and excited!
- Rather than focusing on process or definitions you should focus on your outcomes
- Share successes, projects and work from the past year to help people understand the impact of your NA
- This will add clarity and build enthusiasm
- Make sure to spread information about your candidates ahead of your election!
- PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE with your virtual meeting platforms before the actual meeting
- Since the State of Emergency has been extended and large gatherings will likely not be allowed until the declaration ends, you should prepare to hold meetings and elections virtually
- General meetings can be a time to update members on elections process, allow nominations from the floor, candidate speeches, share NA successes, give reports, etc.
- NA’s should continue sending out this information in newsletters or social media posts as well
- Continue to send meeting minutes to your SEUL liaison
- PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE with your virtual meeting platforms before the actual meeting: practice polls, hand-raises, muting, phone systems, etc. We are available to help! Connect with your liaison.
- Communication funds can be used to cover costs of virtual meeting platforms
- Coordinate with your staff liaison to set up a zoom meeting. Meeting should have 2 facilitators/co-hosts.
- Provide your members with both the zoom link and call in number (should be part of your notification)
- You can turn on the registration feature on zoom calls so anyone joining has to enter their name and email before they join the call (sign-in)
- Before the election begins everyone on the call should verbally state where in the neighborhood they live and verbally certify that they meet the NA member eligibility criteria
- Record the meeting and send to your staff liaison for record keeping.
- Zoom also allows virtual hand raises and polls so elections can also be conducted through those means as well.
- Connect with your liaison for more options!
- A ballot can be created online using Microsoft or Google Forms, ballots should remain secret (this is stated in most bylaws) so please send the information over to your staff liaison and they will create an online ballot.
- Some people may have trouble accessing internet and this process should be as accessible as possible. We also recommend a physical ballot drop off site in the neighborhood.
- People that cannot or do not want to vote online can walk over to the ballot drop off site, fill out a paper ballot and leave it in the ballot box (all while following social distancing rules).