The February edition of the Hollywood Star is here, and as ever, this little monthly shopper paper keeps us up to speed on all sorts of land use and other issues affecting neighborhoods over here on the Idaho side of the river.
Two continuing stories jump out this month. This post will cover the first one: The family that owns the Colwood Golf Course out by the airport (the one you might cut through if you're coming into PDX from the west) is pressing ahead with its plan to have the whole joint, 140 acres, rezoned from open space to industrial. This is tragic on a number of levels, but my biggest concern is that "industrial" here means "airport." The bloated Port of Portland bureaucracy has been licking its chops over this land for years, to put yet another runway in.
With the land clearly identified on all sorts of airport master plans as the new runway, there's little chance, is there, that any serious industry would relocate there? Why would a business put down roots knowing that they'll be ripped out by a condemnation proceeding in a few years?
Tragedy level 2: PDX does not, repeat, not, need another runway. The place is already overbuilt, and this has the strong odor of a makework project about it. If we can't bring Porkland back as a real shipping port, the staff at the Port ought to be downsized, not egged on to spend more money.
Third problem, as is wisely pointed out by Star story: If a runway goes in, as a safety matter all the birds in the area will have to be actively chased away. This after environmentalists have spent decades trying to clean up the Columbia Slough, which runs right through the property, so as to attract wildlife.
And the noise! Any runway built where Colwood is now is going to have a majorly deleterious effect on homes in the Alameda and Rose City neighborhoods. There's already all kinds of static about the auditory pollution inflicted on area residents by the airport; why the neighborhoods are not putting 2 and 2 together and screaming bloody murder about the expansion of the problem is puzzling.
Finally, it's a real drag that the city isn't trying to get its hands on this whole tract and make it part of the municipal park system. They've got $7 million to buy contaminated land in the SoWhat district for a two-acre park for the empty nester condo dwellers, but there's not a penny left to save a blue collar golf course out on NE Columbia. It figures.
The City Council will eventually have to bless the rezoning, but based on its track record in matters such as this over the Katz years, I suspect it wll slide right through. Somehow the well-connected Tom Imeson types will make a few hundred thou off the deal. And as the golden era of the Rose City fades further into memory, the Colwood deal will be just another brick in the wall.