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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 6, 2006 8:49 AM. The previous post in this blog was Busy, busy, busy. The next post in this blog is 'Tis not yet the season, but.... Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, November 6, 2006

Let's wreck Irvington next

There's nothing like reading the neighborhood news in Portland's excellent monthly newspaper, The Hollywood Star, to get one's blood boiling. (Too bad they never put their stories on line.) You know that condo development there have been rumors about, for the corner of NE 15th and Hancock? It's for real, all right. And get this: It's going to be six stories tall.

Six. Stories. Tall.

Gee whiz, guys. That four-story condo monstrosity at 16th and Broadway didn't sell out, it reportedly leaks like a sieve, the groovy ground floor retail was abandoned before it was occupied, and it is undeniably one of the butt-ugliest buildings ever erected in the Rose City. So now the neighbors deserve an even taller desecration, totally out of scale and character with the rest of the historic district, encroaching two blocks further into the vintage residential properties? How awful.

Mayor Potter, you want a vision? Stop letting them do this! Fireman Randy -- you grew up in Irvington. Is this right?

I know, it's all about "density" -- and when you hear that word, you must drop to your knees and bow toward Portland State. We're allowing this in the name of keeping the region "livable." But what's happening is that every move by the city's bloated, extravagant contingent of goofball "planners" makes the place less livable. History will remember this City Council for the present trashing of the city's character, and not favorably.

Comments (50)

I cannot comment on any specific proposed development because it may well end up in front of the council on appeal in which case I must wear a quasi-judicial hat.

Having said that, yes, I did grow up in Irvington (one house from the park on NE 8th and Siskiyou). The Irvington Portlanders live in today is not the Irvington I grew up in.

Thank God.

My neighborhood in the 60's and early 70's was one of the most least desirable neighborhoods to live in.

It was characterized by run down housing, violent crime and fleeing businesses and residents of all races.

The Irvington of today could not be more different. It's turnaround began with the Model Cities program in the 60's and the recognition that it's core housing stock was among the best in the city.

People began moving back in the late 80's and now the current generation of Irvingtonites think it has always been that way.

I understand why people hate to see developments and such in areas that did not have them.

However, stroll south from Irvington Grade School towards Lloyd Center (from 14th to 8th) and you will see a number of venerable, attractive multi story apartments that have coexisted in the neighborhood for much longer than I have been around.

Of course, any development proposed does have to reflect the character of the neighborhood it is being proposed for. I have been on the No side of a number of these proposed developments if they are not.

However, if you view Irvington in the context of the last 45 years it is a success story without parallel in Portland. Much of that success is due to prior city councils thoughtful decisions. Many of those decisions related to allowing multi story apartments within the neighborhood and wonderful new commercial development on NE Broadway between NE 15th and NE 7th Ave...a stretch that was previously best characterized as "challenged."

I imagine htis discussion has been had here before, but I have a question: Are there alternatives beyond the usual three of growing up (eg, towers), growing dense (eg, skinny lots, or growing out (eg, sprawl)? People have to go somewhere and I guess I just must be missing something, because people seem to oppose all three of these options.

b!X I imagine htis discussion has been had here before, but I have a question: Are there alternatives beyond the usual three of growing up (eg, towers), growing dense (eg, skinny lots, or growing out (eg, sprawl)? People have to go somewhere and I guess I just must be missing something, because people seem to oppose all three of these options.
JK: You bet there is!
Quit inviting people here!
Quit promoting Portland’s livability (we are losing it anyway)
Quit inviting out of town delegations to show off Portland.
Quit applying for awards of any kind.

Next take zoning control away from the planners. My choice would be to restore the zoning that was in place before they quietly re-zoned the city to higher density in the 80s, then require any zone changes to be approved by the surrounding property owners like it used to be

Then force Metro to quit trying to turn Portland into Los Angeles (electing Tom Cox would be a good first step) . See page 7 of “Metro Measured”, a Metro Publication:

We could not depart Figures 12 through 14 without pointing out some apparent disparities between perception and measurement, namely, Los Angeles. When we measure the LA region, we find high densities and low per capita road and freeway mileage and travel times only slightly higher than average. By way of contrast, common perceptions of Los Angeles suggest low density, high per capita road mileage and intolerable congestion. In public discussions we gather the general impression that Los Angeles represents a future to be avoided. By the same token, with respect to density and road per capita mileage it displays an investment pattern we desire to replicate.

You can get a copy from:
http://www.portlanddocs.com/metrodocs/metro_measured.PDF
(Although, I think Metro finally got around to putting it on their site, this is a scan from an original paper copy)

Remove the Metro density mandate for the city of Portland that requires Portland to take about twice as many people as Portland’s fair share. See http://www.stopmetro.com/DenMandate.htm
Again, elect Tom Cox.

Thanks
JK

A frustration I have on this subject, b!X, is that most people usually start off a discussion related to the first two options you list by saying

"Don't get me wrong, I support the urban growth boundary, BUT...."

The other side of coin in discussing the urban growth boundary is density as accomplished by narrow lots and larger residential buildings.

Having said that, I agree that design and proportionality must be part of any infill project as a precondition for any approval. The city, in my view, has failed on that in the past.

It is an area I have tried to focus on and bring improvements to.

Randy Leonard My neighborhood in the 60's and early 70's was one of the most least desirable neighborhoods to live in.

It was characterized by run down housing, violent crime and fleeing businesses
JK: Right there with Lents and North Portland eh?

Randy Leonard and residents of all races.
JK: Well, that’s not a “problem” anymore, they all got driven out by high housing costs.

Randy Leonard Of course, any development proposed does have to reflect the character of the neighborhood it is being proposed for. I have been on the No side of a number of these proposed developments if they are not.
JK: The character of the neighborhood is 1-2 story with a few higher. You guys are claiming that the few higher is the character of the neighborhood. It is not! The character of the neighborhood is 1-2 story.

Even the character of Broadway/Weidler is much lower then the new building. To preserve the character, you must force the new construction to average the same height and footprint as the existing.

What you are doing is, having cured one problem, letting a new problem develop: traffic congestion (and resultant pollution) which wastes everyone’s time. I am constantly amazed at government’s almost complete disregard for people’s time.

Please don’t give me the “they will take trimet” fallacy: When density increases, driving does not decrease anywhere enough to make up for all the new people. Congestion would not increase only if 100% of the new people took transit. Otherwise, you put more cars on the road. That is why high density areas almost always have horrid traffic congestion.

BTW have youall figured out how those 30,000 new people (Metro target of 5000 people per station) along Interstate MAX are going to get around? Max is already almost Maxed out by Trimet shutting down the bus service on Interstate and Interstate ave. is already congested.

BTW2, is there a realistic plan for how the 5000 new condo dwelling freeloaders in the SoWhat are going to get in or out?

One last thing: Can I presume that those new condo farms in Irvington will be paying their fair share of the city services that they consume?

Thanks
JK

"JK: Right there with Lents and North Portland eh?"

Inner NE Portland -which included Irvington- was worse. Much worse.

Can I presume that those new condo farms in Irvington will be paying their fair share of the city services that they consume

Come on Jim! Between the E85-fueled Flex Cars, the green roof, the composting toilets, and the bioswale, what exactly will the residents be consuming?

In my mind the question is how much more infill can occur without improvement of the infrastructure. Streets, sewers et al. And what about water quality? We're increasing the impermeable areas so rapidly we'll need two or three more big pipes to handle the overflow.

It will be really interesting to see where the residents of six stories of condos, and their guests, are going to park their cars around that intersection.

BTW, I'm not against rental housing, and multi-family housing, at 15th and Hancock. What this post is primarily about is the six-story height.

Randy Leonard : Inner NE Portland -which included Irvington- was worse. Much worse.
JK: You’re stretching a bit. Irvington was never that bad. You are co-mingling it with the areas that were really bad, to the West, to make your point. You fail.
(I, too grew up in the area)

Thanks
JK

Jack Bog: It will be really interesting to see where the residents of six stories of condos, and their guests, are going to park their cars around that intersection.
JK: They won’t need any parking because all of the residents are going to give up their BMWs for mass transit. Just ask the planners.

Thanks
JK

Commissioner Leonard says, "I agree that design and proportionality must be part of any infill project as a precondition for any approval. The city, in my view, has failed on that in the past. It is an area I have tried to focus on and bring improvements to."

Then PLEASE, direct the Bureau of Development Services to work with the Bureau of Planning to add code language requiring compatibility with the neighborhood on all infill projects. You said in your first comment, Of course, any development proposed does have to reflect the character of the neighborhood it is being proposed for. That is absolutely incorrect. The truth is, there are hardly any development applications in which compatibility with the neighborhood is allowed to be considered as a standard or approval criterion for approving or denying the application.

Thanks, Amanda.

Jim-
Sorry...I don't know where exactly you grew up, but clearly it wasn't near the Irvington neighborhood in the 60's or 70's.

I did grow up in Irvington and it was that bad. I have no need to exaggerate to make any case for either side.

Let's just concede that both Randy and Jim walked uphill in the snow both directions to school. I had it worse. I had to do my ciphers on the back of a shovel by firelight.

The history lesson is interesting, and I can see how I called for it by citing Randy's Irvington roots, but how is it relevant to the six-story condo building proposed at 15th and Hancock? Is the message "It's better than it was in the 60s, and so you'll take what the city planners give you and shut up"?

JK: BTW, Randy, thanks for asking probing questions of that lady from the Parks Dept (about selling out Mt.Tabor.)

Thanks
JK

Us urban planning overlords think that the rising star of Irvington will rise even farther with some well-designed six-story condo buildings ("towers" tend to be taller than six stories - but that's just a semantic quibble). Having not seen the designs, I can't comment on whether they are "well-designed" or not, but it sounds like no one else has seen the designs either.

Six freakin' stories is too tall for that corner, no matter what the design.

The Hollywood Star was filled with stories about upcoming condo buildings--not just the 6 story beast on 15th, but the huge megaplex at the Albina Fuel site, another mega-plex along Belmont at the Tice Electric site, and then a few "small" 8-10 unit sites sprinkled here and there. I worry that these condo developers are a few years behind the times, and that there won't be the kind of market they're envisioning once the projects are actually done. And then what happens?

And, yes, what is it going to take for the Hollywood Star to put some of its articles online?

My recollection from the mid-60s, not as an Irvington resident, was that west of about 15th it was fairly rough, and the blocks closest to Fremont Street(originally Cowlitz Street) weren't that great either. The southeast corner, closest to Grant Park, wasn't bad, and the area around Commissioner Ivancie's house (28th and Thompson) was well-protected.

What you are doing is, having cured one problem, letting a new problem develop: traffic congestion (and resultant pollution) which wastes everyone’s time. I am constantly amazed at government’s almost complete disregard for people’s time.

Jim gets it. Randy and the "planners" don't. To my everlasting chagrin, I once voted for Randy, naively believing that he might make a difference on the Portland City Council. Fortunately, I learn from my mistakes.

Issac-
Your recollection of the area is exactly what my experience was as well.

I used to hang out with some of the Ivancie kids at their house. It was and still is one of the premier homes/locations in Portland.

In my mind the question is how much more infill can occur without improvement of the infrastructure.

I agree that's one of the biggest questions, Dave. And I'm not liking the answers. In SE, on Division we supported a DivisionVision plan that included a lot of upzoning. Part of what came with that was Division "Streetscaping." METRO wants us to upzone and support density...but then our Streetscaping plans didn't even make their first cut. (The new zoning is now on the books, though. Can you say "bait and switch?")

In the meantime, PDOT can't maintain --lacks the resources-- to maintain the infrastructure assets it has...and, in my experience, we get zero support from PDOT when it comes time for them to review new development proposals in our neighborhood:

A new four story condo, with retail and a restaurant, 27 condos...do they need any visitor parking? Nah.

A loading zone (when the City Code calls for two)? Nah, skip it. It's Ok...

Not even a single visitor parking spot for a bike? Nah...gotta squeeze every single square centimeter of development out of this sucker for it to "pencil out." It's OK...everybody will take the streetcar! Not that there's plans to build any to support existing neigborhoods...just new development in the Pearl, SoWa...all the condos soon coming to the Central Eastside Use-to-be-Industrial District.

Building some multi-story condominiums and apartments along major streets within Portland neighborhoods does not necessarily, in my opinion, pose a threat to the quality of life in these neighborhoods. Current neighborhood residents might even find that new buildings bring benefits--such as new businesses that they might want to patronize and, in some cases, the replacement of dilapidated old eyesores or empty lots with well-designed new buildings. And increased density within the city limits does mitigate the problems of sprawl and excessive private auto use--which may not be problems in the eyes of Jim Karlock and a few of his fellow travelers, but which many other intelligent people do recognize as real threats to our wellbeing.

I place great value on the historical character of some of Portland's neighborhoods, but I also think that we should be able to find ways to protect valuable old structures within our neighborhoods as well as build new structures that enhance those neighborhoods. These neighborhoods aren't perfect as they are now, and they weren't perfect in the past. It's unreasonable to assume that the proposed new building in Irvington, no matter what it's replacing and no matter what it's going to look like, is bound to damage the neighborhood.

Those who think that a six-story building cannot possibly fit in with single-family homes should look at Northwest Portland, where detached homes from the early 20th-century blend beautifully with several-story apartment buildings from the same era. The old-Portland nostalgists who continually lament "what's happening to our city" would do well to recognize that dense housing, reliance on mass transit, and mixed-use development are not new ideas dreamed up by the current crop of urban planners and elected officials. These are old concepts that have been shown to work well in many great cities around the world and that can continue to work well in Portland.

Building some multi-story condominiums and apartments along major streets within Portland neighborhoods does not necessarily, in my opinion, pose a threat to the quality of life in these neighborhoods...

Sure, Richard...however, the threat is real when the infrastructure isn't there to support the "new neighbors."

And, in my example above, we lost an iconic single-family home --the last old homestead, with a now destroyed carriage house-- for a blank wall soon to be facing Division.

There's a feeling that we're not doing this stuff "right." That successful and quality development is a secondary consideration to maxing out build-out, taking advantage of SDC reductions for Transit-Oriented-Development...while the "cut and run" developers leave the problems they create for others to deal with.

Actually, to put it another way?

Want us to accept more density? Give us a park, give us safe access to the river just blocks away, give us a library, give us a community center. Give us something more than over-crowded buses.

Give us that --promised for years-- and then let's talk about us doing our part to accept more density.

Sound like a deal?

Those who think that a six-story building cannot possibly fit in with single-family homes should look at Northwest Portland,...

No, those of us who chose not to live in Northwest Portland should not have to live in a Northwest Portland. Six stories do not belong on NE Hancock Street.

Besides, the multi-family stuff in Northwest was built to fit in with in the single-family architecture of its time. The cr*p these boys build nowadays will be a blight in Irvington. It already is, at 16th and Weidler.

I'd like to hear from one homeowner, JUST ONE, who thinks having a six story monolith next to their single family home at NE 15th & Hancock. Which homeowner will be glad that their single family home is now at the bottom of a 100 foot canyon of high density?

Sound like more new urbanist reality coming home to roost.

I'll bet you couldn't find five homeowners within two miles of that location who would think that six stories is appropriate.

The whole Metro smart growth goal has dissolved into a stinking cesspool of developer greed, aided and abetted by arrogant bureaucrats with severe cases of Arlington Club envy. Tom McCall didn't want this. The majority of the people who live here don't, either. But many of our elected "leaders" are either too dumb to see they're being used, or in on the scam. Goodbye, livable city.

Frank, you are right about the "bait and switch" ethics of our city planning in regards to neighborhood plans. I've been involved in four in the past 30 years and each time it has been a "bait and switch" outcome. Any planning effort always ends up being "higher density" without the infrastructure.

We need to proceed to LUBA on a few of these plans based on lack of infrastructure not meeting state and city regs , then not stop there because that decision will be "watered down"; then head to Court of Appeals and then to the Oregon Supreme Court if needed.

Another way is to flat out tell Planning and City Council , like SouthWest Neighborhoods Inc. did with the Southwest Plan, that we won't accept it.

I would like to ask Randy if he would like a six story condo project next to his house with no parking, and commercial stores galore.

Third option added to above: elect Commissioners like Lister and Fritz that are listening and thinking.

New urbanists claim that President Eisenhower's 1950's dream of a national defense highway system turned into a "highway industrial complex" of powerful developers, road construction contractors, and lending institutions. They also claim it was this corrupt system that killed the inner city, and created sprawl and the suburbs.

Now the new urbanists cram so-called smart growth truthiness down our throats with new tall tales of high density utopia. Six story buildings! What a great solution! Current neighborhood residents might even find that new 100 foot high buildings bring benefits!

In the 50's, it was never about the freeways. Today, it's not about urban growth boundaries or high density. It's still all about the very same "stinking cesspool of developer greed..."

Livability is in the eye of the beholder. The Emperor's New Urbanist shiny cloth of high rise condos looks good as long as it's in the next town over the hill. But next door to our own homes, we can see that the six story condo is covered with naked greed, not livability.

In Troutdale, we're over our quota of Metro's Functional Plan Dwelling Unit(DU) Capacity for 1994-2017. Troutdale's Metro Title 1 housing capacity figure is 3,260 dwellings, which represents the number of new dwelling units Troutdale must accommodate between 2004 and 2017.

There were 3,508 total dwelling units constructed in Troutdale between 9/1/94 and 6/30/2006. Which means Troutdale has 248 dwelling units in excess of our allocated capacity of 3,260.

But the news gets worse. Troutdale's remaining dwelling unit capacity for vacant residential lots, infill residential, mixed-use zones, and accessory dwellings is 1,290.

Add that to our existing 248 dwelling units in excess of capacity, and you get 1,538 total existing and potential units in excess of Metro's Title 1 required allocation.

The new urbanist empire, however, has their hooks into our hides. According to Oregon Administrative Rules, Troutdale must provide "the opportunity for at least 50 percent of new residential units to be attached single family housing or multiple family housing or justify an alternative percentage based on changing circumstances." (OAR 660-007-0030)

In addition to the 50% attached single family housing (rowhouses) or multiple family housing (apartments) requirement, Troutdale "must provide for an overall average density of eight or more dwelling units per net buildable acre." (OAR 660-007-0035)

Most Troutdale residents are fed up with infill and developers who come with proposals for high density canyons of new urbanist condos.

What a mess. I'd say it's time for cities throughout the region to say enough is enough. I'm only speaking for myself here, but I think you'll find that most of my fellow Troutdale city councilors agree. That's why we're looking at ways to turn down the density.

(This got trapped in Jack’s spam filter hours ago, so I modified the links and am trying again)

b!X I imagine htis discussion has been had here before, but I have a question: Are there alternatives beyond the usual three of growing up (eg, towers), growing dense (eg, skinny lots, or growing out (eg, sprawl)? People have to go somewhere and I guess I just must be missing something, because people seem to oppose all three of these options.
JK: You bet there is!
Quit inviting people here!
Quit promoting Portland’s livability (we are losing it anyway)
Quit inviting out of town delegations to show off Portland.
Quit applying for awards of any kind.

Next take zoning control away from the planners. My choice would be to restore the zoning that was in place before they quietly re-zoned the city to higher density in the 80s, then require any zone changes to be approved by the surrounding property owners like it used to be

Then force Metro to quit trying to turn Portland into Los Angeles (electing Tom Cox would be a good first step) . See page 7 of “Metro Measured”, a Metro Publication:

We could not depart Figures 12 through 14 without pointing out some apparent disparities between perception and measurement, namely, Los Angeles. When we measure the LA region, we find high densities and low per capita road and freeway mileage and travel times only slightly higher than average. By way of contrast, common perceptions of Los Angeles suggest low density, high per capita road mileage and intolerable congestion. In public discussions we gather the general impression that Los Angeles represents a future to be avoided. By the same token, with respect to density and road per capita mileage it displays an investment pattern we desire to replicate.

You can get a copy from:
portlanddocs.com/metrodocs/metro_measured.PDF
(Although, I think Metro finally got around to putting it on their site, this is a scan from an original paper copy)

Remove the Metro density mandate for the city of Portland that requires Portland to take about twice as many people as Portland’s fair share. See stopmetro.com/DenMandate.htm
Again, elect Tom Cox.

Thanks
JK

Richard increased density within the city limits does mitigate the problems of sprawl and excessive private auto use--which may not be problems in the eyes of Jim Karlock and a few of his fellow travelers, but which many other intelligent people do recognize as real threats to our wellbeing.
JK: Really intelligent people recognize that auto use is not reduced enough by increased density to make up for all the new people. That is why traffic congestion increases when you add density.

Intelligent people also recognize the fact that the automobile is responsible for a significant portion of our high standard of living.

Intelligent people also understand numbers and find that high density is quite expensive: each added story of height costs more per square foot to build. Only where land is expensive, does higher density make economic sense. That is why Portland HAS to give subsidies to get people to build high density.

I generally find planners too stupid to recognize simple truths like these. Some planners even think pollution will go down if you jam people closer together.

Richard The old-Portland nostalgists who continually lament "what's happening to our city" would do well to recognize that dense housing, reliance on mass transit, and mixed-use development are not new ideas dreamed up by the current crop of urban planners and elected officials.
JK: No, they represent a life style abandoned years ago as our wants and needs changed. In general, people got out of high density as soon as we could afford it. That is why cities like London, NYC are far less dense today than they were 100 years ago. Densities of that kind are only found in low income cities (and Hong Kong).

Same for mass transit: At a time when America had the best transit system that it ever had, people abandoned it over a span of just few years as the automobile became affordable. Similarly, the corner store and little shops, for daily staples, became obsolete when we could practically travel to places with better prices or selections like Fred Meyer and Wal Mart. Why are planners trying to repeat the past, expecting a different result?

The planner theology that we should not have to drive to get a quart of milk, once agin, shows how stupid planners are. You can drive a couple of miles to Fred Meyer and get a quart of milk and a few other things cheaper and faster than you can walk the proverbial 1/4 mile to the neighborhood store.

Planners haven’t caught on to the basic economics of retailing - a certain number of people are required to support a store. A few people can support a small store, but that small store cannot carry a wide range of products and is less efficient and thusly more costly. To have the number of people, required to support a really efficient store like a Wall Mart, of Fred Meyer’s, within walking distance would probably require wall to wall 30 story condo towers. Of course that is the planners plan for the rest of us.

Richard These are old concepts that have been shown to work well in many great cities around the world and that can continue to work well in Portland.
JK: Care to name a few? Los Angeles, New York, Chicago? Or do you mean real density like Dhaka, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Chittagong, Khulna, Nampo, Sinuju, all poverty stricken except Hong Kong. Would you also like us to be poverty stricken, because that is the surest way to achieve high density, high walking and high bicycle use.

BTW, Richard, have you noticed that Trimet has cut service and lost riders? In 2001, 20% of downtown employees took MAX to work, now it is down to 14%., a loss of 5800 daily riders, while drive alone increased from 44% to 48%, a gain of 1500. My guess is that this is another example of people abandoning mass transit as their income goes up.

Have a nice day
JK

Frank Dufay Give us something more than over-crowded buses.
JK: You have the best transport option sitting near you front door - a car. It is cheaper, faster and more energy efficient than mass transit if you choose it carefully.

Frank Dufay Give us that --promised for years-- and then let's talk about us doing our part to accept more density.
JK: That sounds like you are getting tired of planner’s lies.

Thanks
JK

You know... the more I think about it... the more I look at cities I'd actually like to live in, and not the pie-eyed "wouldn't a studio over a cafe in Paris be marvelous" kind of live in... but a real place to raise a family, grow old in, set down real roots.... the more I realize: I like sprawl.

I like yards. I like having my neighbors more than three feet away. I like streets where kids still ride bikes and play games on the sidewalks. I like commutes on freeways with more than two lanes.

See... here's what it boils down to: I actually like people and the homes they live in. Seems like everyone else around here hates people, and houses...

I actually like people and the homes they live in. Seems like everyone else around here hates people, and houses...

My neighborhood, Colonial Heights, just east of Ladd's Addition has single family homes (big ones, small ones) apartments, duplexes, condos...two blocks away is a bakery and a produce market. In short, a variety of places to live, for a variety of incomes, and neighborhood stores and restaurants. Living between Division & Hawthorne, we've "decent" transit. I can --and often do-- walk to work downtown.

Variety helps make the neighborhood vibrant. Having infrastructure...sidewalks, decent streets, a tree canopy, two movie theaters, a half-dozen restaurants all within walking distance, makes this a nice place to live.

I don't mind more density...I do, however, want it thoughtful. And respectful of the neighborhood fabric, which is a pretty diverse quilt. And while we've got a lot...where's the government supported infrastructure: library, community center, neighborhood pool, park? We've none of those. And our neigborhood's waited a l-o-n-g time (my house was built in 1925).

Now we're being offered not civic amenities...but four-story boxes, not designed for families, and with no concurrent increase in infrastructure capacity. In fact, last year we closed a neighborhood elementary school.

If the City doesn't want to face continual neighborhood resistance to "development" then it --we-- have to face the issue of concurrency. I'm not anti-growth, I'm not anti-density per se. I very much am, however, opposed to doing this stuff badly and thoughtlessly...and subsidized by existing residents.


Actually, six stories condos in Irvington is about giving people choices.

Forty years ago condominiums didn't exist. People had to either live in a single-family home, or live in a rented apartment (except for the limited co-ops in places like New York City).

Condominiums were invented because people wanted them. People wanted to be able to own an apartment instead of a single-family home if they chose to.

Unlike many, I don't think post World War II suburban development is a cancer in and of itself. It was only a cancer in the sense that it was the only choice given individuals and families at the time that wanted home ownership instead of a rental agreement.

And today, we have a lot more individuals and families that don't fit the standard nuclear family single-family house in the suburbs model. They deserve a home ownership choice too.

When someone starts tearing down single-family homes on the side streets in Irvington, Alameda, Laurelhurst, Ladd's Addition, Mt. Tabor, Montavilla, Parkrose, St. Johns, Burlingame, or any of the other various and diverse neighborhoods in this city, then I'll start screaming. Until then, I will proudly step up and applaud the kind of development that is occuring in the City of Portland.

"Want us to accept more density? Give us a park, give us safe access to the river just blocks away, give us a library, give us a community center. Give us something more than over-crowded buses.
Give us that --promised for years-- and then let's talk about us doing our part to accept more density.
Sound like a deal?"

Frank, I always respect your comments on this blog, and I'm especially interested in them because we live in the same part of town (I'm up Hawthorne a ways around 50th), we apparently both take the 14 bus to work downtown, and we therefore have a somewhat similar experience of this city. And I specifically agree with you that the displacement of the Clay Rabbit House on Division is a genuine loss, and I also find Rapaport's greedy shenanigans shameful.

However, I don't agree that the quality of life overall in our part of town has been deteriorating due to increased population density or that infrastructure improvements have failed to keep up with population growth. I even doubt that the population of our established neighborhoods is greater now than it was 20, 50 or 80 years ago. Yes, a few little condo projects have gone in recently, but I doubt that the population increase resulting from them comes close to offsetting the population decline that's due to today's much smaller average household sizes. As you must know, declining public school enrollment in inner-city Portland schools is in large part due to the simple demographic phenomenon of people having smaller families.

That, I think, is the demographic reality. But for what it's worth, I'll offer my subjective sense that our neighborhood doesn't feel crowded to me. This, obviously, is in opposition to the general sense around here that metro, the city, developers, planners, Erik Sten, et al are "packing us in." I'm not jostled against other people when I walk down the sidewalk, I don't wait in interminable lines in the bank or grocery stores, I don't have a hard time finding a place to sit down in a bar or restaurant, I'm not overwhelmed by the noise and hubbub of human activity. Often I walk from the Blue Monk on Belmont to my home on upper Hawthorne at night, and I see almost no one when I get off the main street and I hear almost nothing, hardly even any cars. The neighborhood often seems pretty empty and sleepy to me; but to hear many people talk, on this blog and elsewhere, much of Portland is now pretty much indistinguishable from midtown Manhattan.

So I, for one, don't quite get it when I hear about how our neighborhoods and quality of life are going to hell on account of "density." If our subject is the quality of life for people who own places in the old neighborhoods (and not the difficulty of life for those who would like to buy in but can't afford to), then I'd say the neighborhoods have improved a great deal over the last decade or so: less crime, many rehabilitated old structures, some decent new structures replacing ugly ones, more good restaurants, bars, music clubs and other retail places of many kinds.

If there's a problem of overcrowding, maybe that's mainly evident when you're driving around (I rarely drive). And I wonder how much that problem is of one of individuals' own making. It strikes me that for all the appreciation of Portland as a cool and happenin' real city, many people want to conduct themselves here as if it were a suburb or small town. Why is there this weird expectation that no one but the homeowner or the homeowner's guests should be allowed to park in front of a house? Why the almost fetishistic belief that we should always be able find a parking spot right in front of any place we want to go to, and "by god I'll keep driving around in circles until a space opens up"? Why the belief that driving down Hawthorne on a Saturday afternoon should be a breeze, devoid of consideration for pedestrians, bicyclists or buses?

The road and sidewalk infrastructure of inner SE Portland seems basically adequate to serve the current or even a substantially larger population. To the extent there's a problem of overcrowding, it seems to have to do with unreasonable expectations about the right and ability to drive anywhere and everywhere at any time for the slightest of reasons. How can the city possibly plan adequately for that kind of attitude? And should it?

Until then, I will proudly step up and applaud the kind of development that is occuring in the City of Portland.

Er, excuse me, Matilda or Martin Smithy or whatever your name is, could you please not do it on taxpayer time?

Here's "Matilda's" IP address info when "she" posted at 10:15 this morning:

Search results for: 159.121.27.66

OrgName: State of Oregon
OrgID: OREGON
Address: 530 Airport Rd
City: Salem
StateProv: OR
PostalCode: 97301
Country: US

NetRange: 159.121.0.0 - 159.121.255.255
CIDR: 159.121.0.0/16
NetName: OR-GOV
NetHandle: NET-159-121-0-0-1
Parent: NET-159-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Assignment
NameServer: LYNX.STATE.OR.US
NameServer: PANTHER.STATE.OR.US
NameServer: MANX.STATE.OR.US
Comment: http://www.oregon.gov
RegDate: 1992-04-14
Updated: 2003-01-13

Matilda, there has been houses in most of the neighborhoods you list that have been torn down for increased density.

Ask the Multnomah, Johns Landing, Lair Hill, Corbett, Fulton, Burlinggame, etc. neighborhoods about the loosing single family homes to rowhouses, condos; duplexes built behind a house on a 50'x100' lot; grannie additions in the back yards with renters and no parking, no yards.

Drive down SW Corbett and see the skinny houses on 25 ft wide lots created from a 50ft lot. See the five condo/rowhouses across the street from Corbett St. Fishhouse with no outside spaces but for a 4'x 6' deck. See the loss of parking on the street where most houses remaining never had garages, especially for two cars or visitors (selling for $550T to $675T).

Drive down SW Slavin off Corbett and see the 100 plus condos/rowhouses jammed in with four to six variances for each project that allowed even higher density than the base zoning allowed.

Your "until then" time has arrived several years ago.

Richard,

I love my close-in SE neighborhood, Hosford-Abernethy. I've welcomed the changes I've seen over the last nearly two-decades I've had my house here. I love walking the 'hood. My step-sons walk to school (not so true when Edwards is closed for the next generation.) However...

The "pedestrian improvements" won't do anything to make crossing SE 22nd and SE 23rd any safer. Every morning people run across the street; PDOT's offer of bulb outs just makes the run shorter. I love to walk to New Seasons, but the "seven corners" intersection is crazy, and getting unsafer as the traffic has increased.

I hope the Clinton brings us cool new shops, and another great neighborhood restaurant. But we lost some of the only green we had, with the Clay Rabbit site,...and I promise to be out there, in force, when the delivery trucks start parking on the sidewalk my step-son takes to school...but PDOT doesn't think this is important. Anyway...

We should take this discussion off Jack's Blog. Did you know our #14 will no longer be taking you downtown past 2nd...and going home via the Morrison? They take our neighborhood, and our patience, for granted, these bureaucrats (and god knows I am one). I'd like to see a community center in my lifetime...

Mr. Bogdanski,

If your lowlife tactics have as their purpose my exit from your comments section (and your entire blog, for that matter) you have succeeded in said purpose. I shant despoil your site any more. Have fun in your echo chamber.

Regards,
Matlilda

I srongly agree with Jack, Frank, Jim and others that city planning is way out of line, and ruining our city through insensitive and inappropriate rezoning, and then making it worse through bad enforcement of existing zoning ordinances. (I won't pin all of the above-mentioned with precisely those opinions, but just the general tone of the sentiments expressed (!!)). And I'm not one of those hates land use and Metro. I love the idea of cooperative, regional, land use planning. I just think they've got the general concepts right, but do just about everything wrong on the details. It starts from letting residents choose the character of the area they live in. The Metro tradition, however, has never intended to do this.

It is sad when, to see the positive, I can only point to isolated developments and areas. When the whole region is viewed, though, is the point at which the land use disaster we are creating becomes obvious.

But this is no new news. There are so many nightmare examples of bad development that who could even get started. And frankly, the fabric of the city and region as a whole is the best proof. Today, today, because we now allow overdevelopment that does not require concurrent development of infrastructure (a fix that I understand was put on us in the early 1990s in the legislature), the following critical aspects of Portland life have been made dangerously unsafe for all individuals: bicycle safety, pedestrian safety, auto safety, and public health (too much auto exhaust everywhere, particularly near transit oriented development). The list goes on and on.

The laws we used to have (giving local governments the power of implementing selective building moratoria), have been stripped away. That was probably the most irresponsible legislation in Oregon history, in my personal opinion. Instead of slow, wise, carefully crafted development, we are subjected to more and more unhealthy levels of auto exhaust on a broad scale, and the pedestrian and bike safety that we value so highly is in fact close to being ruined. And the financial consequences of getting so far behind on public safety infrastructure? Those consequences put us way behind the monetary eight-ball for years to come.

I'm for strong land use laws, and in favor of compact growth and against sprawl. Philosophically, I have much more in common with the liberal sentiments that created Metro and Oregons land use laws. However, it has been implemented in ways that have been disasterous for our health and safety. (Not to mention quality of life).

We need revolution now. Not Ortem's revolution, not the Cascade Policy Institute's revolution, but a revolution that returns the character of our region to the livable, healthy character that I KNOW the wonderful residents of our region desire.

dave (dave@forestream.com)

Matilda, I don't think Jack was dismissing you. He pointed out that you are posting while on the taxpayer's dime, and many resent that. And you have been doing this for quite some time.

There have been several bloggers that are government employees that blog in their self-interest/job goals. Fine to do it on your own computer and time. But if ones' public job has something directly or indirectly that affects there expressed opinions, it should be noted.

I would like also to point out that the belief that new development has helped spur neighborhood improvement has a major fallacy. Over the last 16 years, most all Portland neighborhoods, even the blighted ones, have been significantly improving, WITH OR WITHOUT special densification projects brought about by rezoning. There has been a steady trend of people improving their homes in almost all areas. In fact, property values and quality of life would probably have continued to increase even more if so much added density had not been added. This is because quality of life deteriorates, and values decrease, as the safety and health factors of pedestrian, bicycle and driving deteriorate. In fact, it would be very difficult to calculate how much property values have in fact deteriorated because of added density and a much less safe living environment. I believe that the fact is that current development is largely parasitic on the good quality of life we had as a result of our wiser development policies of the past. My personal hypothesis right now is that we are witnessing a gold rush environment, where a small regional group of well meaning politicians and planning executives, under a self-deceiving rubric of "sustainable" and "green" growth, are in fact creating almost the opposite of what they think they are creating.

It is true that no one expected quite the extent of the growth pressures we have seen in our region in the last 20 years. (This of course includes tremendous national and international macroeconomic pressures on property values). But I am afraid that in this environment of extreme temptation, the minds, personalities and perceptions of our local politicians have not been equal to the task of protecting our local livability.

dave from multnomah village dave@forestream.com

Dave Nadal, if I understood you correctly, you stated the state does NOT require "concurrent development of infrastructure" because of early 1990 legislature action. Can you verify this? The original State Comprehensive Plan Goals require concurrent infrastructure before development can take place.

Many times government jurisdictions have used insufficient infrastructure as reason(s) to stop/delay a project, or even enact a moratorium, like the Portland City Council has implaced on Hayden Island and West Linn has in place.

In numerous hearings I have attended, proper infrastructure (sewers, storm water management, sufficient water, roads, parking, traffic management, etc.) has been used as a tool to stop a development, or extract more public services from a developer/property owner.


What you say is in part true. But I wish that the "teeth" were what once used to be. What happened is that in the early to mid 1990s the legislature took the teeth out of the previously fairly strong laws that allowed local jurisdications to pace development with moratoria.

You are right to the extent that the moratoria ability was merely stripped down. But, from my standpoint, the ability was effectively gutted. So, technically, a weak form of the "development moratorium" still exists. For a specific development or area, if the government enacts a morarorium, the action has a short timeline, by state statute. (By the statutes enacted in the early 1990s). Before a certain number of months (12 or 18), it must work out the issues, but then allow the development, one way or another.

I am about four years from having seen the exact language, and being in direct touch with this information. Perhaps others can help fill in some of the details of any ways in which I am wrong, anything I've missed, or new developments. However, at the time I looked into this a few years ago I also ran it by some development attorneys, and I had no doubt about the essentials of what I've mentioned above.

I do also remember reading in the last couple of years about a couple of local jurisdictions enacting moratoria regarding water availability and traffic congestion. However, I read nothing that led me to believe that these moratoria weren't subject to the short calendar of 12 to 18 months I mentioned, and which I recall being in the state law.


Generally, speaking, I recall the laws were quite specific that for a number of important infrastrucure areas, like school capacity, police, fire, roads, etc., you could not stop or significantly slow any development. (The list of services included was CLOSE to the list I mention above----again, I haven't been close to this for awhile, but I'm pretty sure the basic essentials are correct).

dave@forestream.com



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In Vino Veritas

Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
Trader Joe's, Grower's Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2012
Vintjs, Cabernet 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White 2012
Rainstorm, Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Silver Palm, North Coast Cabernet 2011
Andrew Rich, Gewurtztraminer 2008
Rodney Strong, Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Canoe Ridge, Pinot Gris, Expedition 2012
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose 2012
Dark Horse, Big Red Blend No. 01A
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Rose 2012
Fletcher, Shiraz 2010
Picollo, Gavi 2011
Domaine Eugene Carrel, Jongieux 2012
Eyrie, Pinot Blanc 2010
Atticus, Pinot Noir 2010
Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
Coppola, Sofia Rose 2012
Joel Gott, 851 Cabernet 2010
Pol Roget Reserve Sparkling Wine
Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
Rombauer Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2011
Beringer, Chardonnay, Napa Reserve 2011
Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Schloss Vollrads, Spaetlese Rheingau 2010
Belle Glos, Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone 2010
WillaKenzie, Pinot Noir, Estate Cuvee 2010
Blackbird Vineyards, Arise, Red 2010
Chauteau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005
Northstar, Merlot 2008
Feather, Cabernet 2007
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Alexander Valley 2002
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2002
Trader Joe's, Chardonnay, Grower's Reserve 2012
Silver Palm, Cabernet, North Coast 2010
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone 2009
Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio 2011
Alamos, Cabernet 2011
Cousino Macul, Cabernet, Anitguas Reservas 2009
Dreaming Tree Cabernet 2010
1967, Toscana 2009
Charamba, Douro 2008
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend
Familia Bianchi, Malbec 2009
Terrapin Cellars, Pinot Gris 2011
Columbia Crest, Walter Clore Private Reserve 2009
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Termpranillo 2010
Ravenswood, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Quinta das Amoras, Vinho Tinto 2010
Waterbrook, Reserve Merlot 2009
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills, Pinot Grigio 2011
Tarantas, Rose
Chateau Lajarre, Bordeaux 2009
La Vielle Ferme, Rose 2011
Benvolio, Pinot Grigio 2011
Nobilo Icon, Pinot Noir 2009
Lello, Douro Tinto 2009
Quinson Fils, Cotes de Provence Rose 2011
Anindor, Pinot Gris 2010
Buenas Ondas, Syrah Rose 2010
Les Fiefs d'Anglars, Malbec 2009
14 Hands, Pinot Gris 2011
Conundrum 2012
Condes de Albarei, Albariño 2011
Columbia Crest, Walter Clore Private Reserve 2007
Penelope Sanchez, Garnacha Syrah 2010
Canoe Ridge, Merlot 2007
Atalaya do Mar, Godello 2010
Vega Montan, Mencia
Benvolio, Pinot Grigio
Nobilo Icon, Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2009

The Occasional Book

Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 119
At this date last year: 21
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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