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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Score one for the good guys

It's a miracle -- the City of Portland has said no to the Goose Hollow condo tower!

Kudos to the Trib, whose well timed story on the latest development scam doubtlessly helped to kill this stinker.

Comments (1)

Not to take anything away from the Tribune, but the neighborhood Northwest Examiner also had this air rights story as the lead in its latest issue appearing a week or two ago.

Posted by: Allan L. at August 23, 2006 08:59 PM

I spent an enjoyable afternoon collecting every provision I could find in the Portland zoning code that allows transfers of FAR, and it looked to me as if transfers are limited to 3 to 1; that is, if your site allows a 6:1 FAR, you can use FAR transfers to increase it to only 9:1. You can get bonuses for other things, such as low-income housing. It looked to me, however, as if the Allegro developers obtained all the extra FAR from transfers, and I haven't figured out how the code allowed them to get to 13:1.

Posted by: Isaac Laquedem at August 23, 2006 09:46 PM

'Tis a FAR far better thing that the Council did than it had ever done before...

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 23, 2006 09:58 PM

Perhaps this is a make-up call for the giveaway to OHSU/Homer et al in South Waterfront?

I noticed that Allegro has some heavy hitters lobbying City Hall for the past few months: I guess they didn't put enough grease on the wheels.

Or maybe the fact that Tri-Met was giving away the farm stepped on their tows. They can't tear up the rules book like that; only WE can tear up the rules book like that.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 23, 2006 10:00 PM

"Tows" = toes.

I type too fast.

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 23, 2006 10:01 PM

You can be gracious all you want about the Trib's role in this - and it did help - but the city council-private developer scam machine here in Portland would be rolling along on its merry way, if it wasn't for this site. I used to be sort of neutral about city politics - now I'm full of anxiety and rage. Thanks a lot, Jack.

Posted by: Bill McDonald at August 24, 2006 07:46 AM

What a tangled web. It seems that Sienna has an obsession with blocking views. It also has a long (and sordid) history in SoWa. Moreover, Charlie Hales is a "big Sienna fan." From the April 25, 1999 Oregonian:

"Sienna first wrestled with the association over Macadam Village, which blocked some residents' vistas of Mount Hood. But the more brutal fight was over the Avalon Hotel, designed by Lee Winn. Best known for his sleek, high-design restaurants, Winn merged his firm with Sienna in January."

Posted by: Skateboard Charlie at August 24, 2006 08:40 AM

Perhaps they felt some tightness in their cojones.

Posted by: Bark Munster at August 24, 2006 09:47 AM

Comparing Goose Hollow and the South Waterfront is pretty inapplicable. Goose Hollow is an established neighborhood. The South Waterfront is an old industrial wasteland.

Posted by: Gordon at August 24, 2006 09:58 AM

You don't buy the view when you buy your property.

Posted by: libertas at August 24, 2006 12:11 PM

The Oregonian's coverage today stated that "... council asked the planning staff and the city's Design Review Commission to suggest standards for making future decisions".

I may be naive here, but I thought the FAR rules were pretty clear. And since when does the city have the responsibility of revealing to developers what their minimum threshold of tolerance might be for breaking city codes? The job of the developer is to submit a lawful application, if they want to proceed with a development. The task of the bureaus is to approve it if it's legal, or deny it if it's not. Period. Things always work much more efficiently that way.

But when back room deals are made, then later appealed by watchdog groups, it puts the city in an odd position of defending whatever it was they told a developer to do that doesn't meet city codes, and trying not to get sued by either side for their role in all of it, rather than simply following the law. I saw it all the time when I served a neighborhood association. Let's not go there.

Posted by: John Rettig at August 24, 2006 01:15 PM

libertas: Your comment on views need some correcting in regards to North Macadam.

The state and city Willamette Greenway regs require the stepping down of building heights to the river, one purpose of reg was for views.

Secondly, the Terwilliger Parkway Scenic Corridor requires views to the east/Mt. Hood not be blocked by buildings. The first two condo towers as well as the tram east tower blocks Mt. Hood views. The under-construction John Ross condo tower will even block views more as it ascends an additional 12 floors above the other towers. The six additional towers on the drawing boards now will also be aspiring to the 325 ft height.

Third, the last City Council action regarding zoning/height issues in NM increased the density/FAR by 25% when they allowed the John Ross to exceed the previous, just passed zoning increase from 10,000 sq. ft to 12,000 sq. ft for each floor plate. This made for a 25% less views for us all on all four sides of NM.

Bye, Bye views.

Posted by: Jerry at August 24, 2006 01:46 PM

Have these developers seen what the national real-estate market (esp. condos) has been doing in the past few months? They may end up needing to send the City Council a fruit basket before too long--the Council might have saved them a ton of money.

Posted by: Dave J. at August 24, 2006 02:03 PM


If City Planners say the view isn't blocked, then it isn't blocked. They can pass an new ordinance to prove it.

Enjoy life, drink Kool-aid more often!

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 24, 2006 07:01 PM

" The South Waterfront is an old industrial wasteland."

Oh BS.
There's no waste about it.
The bulk of it is simply prime river front city center real estate.
The realively insignificant brownfeild parts are easily remedied without any problem as demonstrated by the heavily subsidized towers coming out of the so-called wasteland.

Zeidell will need some cleanup along with a couple other small areas and the rest of the district is entirely routine.

Posted by: Steve Schopp at August 24, 2006 08:49 PM

Mister Tee: You get a lot of kool-aid served by Portland's planning bureau. I remember meetings with developers, planning bureau staff (Troy Doss), and neighborhood reps as requested by Mayor Potter, where Troy said, "don't worry, North Macadam zoning will not create a "wall effect" with the wide spaces that will be generated by zoning FAR."

I ask anyone to stand two-three blocks south of the present towers on SW Moody and look back to the north, and ask yourself if all the "permeability", "openness" as promised by the developers and Troy is realized. And that is only three buildings out of over 58 than can be built in the central part of NM.

I knew that we were being served kool-aid then, as we were when we went to city council with these same concerns at all the Council hearings. Thanks Vera for drinking from the well too. Goose Hollow beware!

Posted by: Jerry at August 24, 2006 10:37 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


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