Oregon Poetry Association Board Meeting of April 4, 2020

Meeting scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. via Skype

Present:  Bruce Parker (President), Diane Corson (Membership Outreach), Jennifer Rood (Vice-President), Carolyn Adams (Treasurer), Dave Mehler (Submittable and Membership List), Dale Champlin (Newsletter)

Not Present:  Susan Morse (Assistant Secretary)

  1.  Call to Order

President Bruce Parker called meeting to order at 7:17 p.m.

II.  Approval of March 9, 2020 Minutes

It was moved and seconded that the minutes be accepted with an amendment, to be included in the April minutes. One action item was left out: Bruce was to contact Erik Muller to tell him that OPA approved a donation of $500 for the La Grande meeting series and ask for an address to which to send a check. After agreement to add the above statement to these April minutes, the March minutes were accepted by voice vote without objection.

III.  Report of Officers

            A.  Treasurer’s Report (Carolyn Adams):  Submitted on-line on April 3. Total available nonrestricted funds were $13,325. Restricted Cascadia anthology production funds were $320 and contest prizes totaled $350 All anthology copies were mailed out.

            B.  President’s Report (Bruce Parker): Conference Status:  There was a discussion about canceling the October annual conference due to the corona virus crisis. If we cancel within the next month, we would lose 50% of our deposit, about $1600, but if we don’t cancel, given that membership has declined by a third and there may be continued or recurring virus crisis/social isolation requirements, we would likely have fewer than 100 attendees (the break even point), and could lose up to $8,000. Most conference attendees are older, and they might be reluctant to attend even if the crisis has eased. Jennifer noted that the bylaws require a general annual meeting for the election, and asked do we need to change the bylaws in order to cancel? Action item: Bruce will check the bylaws. He suggested we could have an internet general meeting or ballot by mail. Dave said that many people might join at the conference, so if we cancel it we may sacrifice member recruitment. Motion to cancel the conference tabled pending an extraordinary emergency board meeting to be held April 11 at 7 pm, at which a decision will be made. Action Items: (1) In the coming week, Bruce, Diane, and Jennifer will contact the hotel to see if they will reduce the cancellation fee, and (2) Bruce will contact State officials to see if we can avoid this fee because the crisis constitutes an unforeseeable “act of god.” 

            C.  Membership (Diane Corson): It is unclear why OPA lost so many members from last year. 204 memberships were up for renewal and 100 haven’t renewed; overall membership is down from 340 to 250-60. The members we do have are very committed. Dave sent out a postcard mailer mid-February and an email and second reminder after the March 1 expiration date. It might be that some members who joined in August and then would have had to pay again by March 1 might have resented getting only 6 months membership and so did not renew, but there were no complaints about this. Bruce asked why the membership year starts March 1. Dave suspects it was to avoid Xmas and tax time. Action Item: The committee will discuss whether to change from March 1 to January 1, the fiscal year end, or another date. Bruce asked past President David Hedges what he did to increase membership, which included mailing news releases and public service announcements about contests. Bruce said we need to push publicity harder and perhaps have open-enrollment periods before conferences, so people could enroll and join conference at same time. Hedges said that chapters used to actively recruit, and Bruce suggested asking them to do so again. Diane asked what was the structure for enrollment during Hedges time (late 1990s to early 2000s). Action item: Bruce will ask Hedges about this. All agreed it is not a good time to raise dues.

IV.  Spring Poetry Contest (Contest Chair Stella Guillory)

Report submitted by email on April 3. 123 poets participated, including 6 very interesting individuals in the new “Under 30” category, which Stella recommends keeping. Three judges have submitted their selections and three have yet to do so. Winners will be announced in early May.

 V.  New Business

            A.  Action Item: Pursuant to Stella’s suggestions, Bruce will write letter about OPA in this time of corona virus crisis to communicate with membership via the newsletter. Stella suggested soliciting poems from members, to be send to her email address so she can post them. All thought this a good idea. The date of the next Board meeting will be decided at the Extraordinary session of April 11.

 VI.  Adjournment

            The meeting was adjourned at 8:28 p.m.

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