Clark stays on as OWN head; low election turnout

       The Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) board unanimously re-elected Welling Clark as its president Jan. 24. This marks the third year that Clark has been president of the advocacy group for the older Westside. Elected to the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) board Jan. 10 were incumbents Welling Clark (left) and 
Bunny Blaha and new member Travers Jordan. At the Jan. 24 OWN board meeting, Clark  was elected president for a third year and Blaha named secretary.
Westside Pioneer photo
       At the same meeting, other officers were also named: Sean Chambers as vice president and acting treasurer and Bunny Blaha as secretary. Amy Filipiak and Dick Strauch, the past vice president and secretary, respectively, did not seek to retain those posts. Dave Hughes, the past treasurer, resigned from OWN at the Jan. 24 meeting (see historic-overlay story, Page 1).
       A replacement for Hughes will be selected by the board to serve the remaining two years of his term.
       The officer election followed the annual meeting/ board election Jan. 10, at which OWN elected by acclimation three board members and announced the appointment of a fourth member to a partial term.
       The annual meeting is open to all residents of the Westside. At the January '07 annual meeting, 35 ballots had been cast. However, attendance was minimal this year, with just OWN board members and less than five other citizens.
       The board has nine positions in all.
       Two of those elected Jan. 10 were incumbents: Clark and Blaha. Clark is now starting on his second term. Blaha had been appointed to replace Jim Larsen after his death last summer.
       The new board member is Travers Jordan, who grew up on the Westside and runs a computer-repair business. He said his “biggest concern” is the state-proposed Highway 24 expansion plans, the size of which OWN as a group has also opposed. “I like the Westside the way it is,” he said.
       Each will serve a three-year term.
       The appointed board member, Kristine Van Wert, was also an incumbent. Her term as At-Large 2 representative was expiring. She will now serve the remaining year of the At Large 3 post held by Stormie Wells, who had given the board her resignation a few weeks ago.
       Clark, the current board president, had told the Westside Pioneer in December that At-Large 3 would also be voted on Jan. 10; however, he explained at the meeting that the board later agreed by consensus to go ahead and appoint Van Wert before the election, which is consistent with the bylaws.
       Van Wert had previously told the board that she only wanted to serve one more year to finish her involvement with OWN's effort to create a voluntary historic overlay zone for the older Westside. As part of that, she has been serving as the chair of the subcommittee that is working with the city and an architect to draw up design guidelines.
       With the Van Wert appointment, At-Large 2, District 3 and District 5 were the seats available Jan. 10. There were representation changes here as well. Clark (formerly District 5) migrated to At-Large 2 and Blaha (formerly District 3) went to District 5, while Jordan took District 3.
       All three actually live in District 5 (north of Highway 24, south of King Street and between 7th and 14th streets). Clark said it seemed appropriate to move to an at- large slot because a lot of his neighborhood-support efforts have involved the broader OWN area. District 3 is north of Highway 24, west of 25th Street and essentially south of King and Uintah streets to the city limits). Under OWN by-laws, a person outside a district can represent it if no resident from that area offers to serve.
       An all- volunteer entity, OWN is the city-recognized advocacy group for the Westside, receiving about $8,000 annually in public funds.

Westside Pioneer article