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Thursday, March 22, 2007

What about the breathing, the panting, the moaning, the screaming?

So... was Fireman Randy just grandstanding with his supposed outrage over the Ikea sign? This commenter seemed to think so, writing in part:

[D]idn’t the current Mayor and current City Council approve these changes to the Code for Cascade Station in 2005, changes that would allow this signage to occur? Answer: Yes. Also, didn’t council approval also include amendments that allowed the signage program to be developed and approved by the Cascade Station Design Committee as part of the Development Agreement with Ikea? Yes again, but oops, good old Randy Gragg, diligent as always, left out that important detail in today’s half assed Oregonian article. Oh, and wasn’t there a bureau of development services staff person (Commissioner Leonard’s Bureau) appointed to the project as a bureau liason who was asked by the Design Review Committee to be present at all meetings to provide recommendations regarding permitting issues such as signage and to communicate these decisions back to their bureau? Why, yes there was. Finally, didn’t the Bureau of Development Services approve the sign plans in order for them to be built? Yes, yes, and yes, again....

I call B.S. on any whining from any City Council member at this point regarding this issue. Council had up to January of 2005 (not 1999-2001 like Gragg alludes to) to put the kibosh on the project by NOT APPROVING the plan district amendments but instead passed them unanimously, I believe. If they didn’t know, or didn’t read, or didn’t understand this signage issue then it shows bad communication and due diligence on the part of Council and their bureaus, cause it’s pretty damn clear in the Plan District Amendment what would be allowed, and what wouldn’t. And this vote for approval in 2005, ladies and gentlemen, has little to do with Katz or PDC.

Fireman Randy? I thing you got some splainin' to do...

Comments (18)

Give Randy some ain't easy runnin' for Mayor. Think of all that power...Randy, so little time.

The city council agreed that signs in Cascade Station need to be approved by the "Design Review Committee".

Nobody on council knew that meant a design committee made up of the Port of Portland, the Portland Development Commissioner and the developer, Trammel Crow. That language was not in the code we voted on.

In fact, at this point I don't think even the developer is defending the current DRC. We are close to resolving the issue by having the Cascade Station Developer go through the same process as all others must for future sign permit applications, ie, through the sign review staff at the Bureau of Development Services.

"Give Randy some ain't easy runnin' for Mayor."

I know you don't like me KISS, but why would you wish that on me?

all of the problems in Portland it was a sign the got the fireman's attention.

Mount a sprinkler on it and go on Randy.

Mount a sprinkler on it...

That would be an attraction/distraction on par with the tram over I-5. I would be 100% behind this. It could flow green on St Patrick's Day. Red White and Blue on the 4th of July and Lars' birthday. How do we make it happen? Randy, you're water commissioner...

Randy Leonard Nobody on council knew that meant a design committee made up of the Port of Portland, the Portland Development Commissioner and the developer, Trammel Crow. That language was not in the code we voted on.
JK: Huh?? You didn’t know that oversight committees are typically made up to get the desired outcome or to favor the developers? Just look at the SoWhat URAC. How many developers are making decisions as to how the city should give them money?

Or look at the CRC - carefully chosen to have a majority of light rail zealots to be sure we spend a billion or two on more useless toy trains while dong nothing for traffic congestion.

If you want impartial review groups try random members of the public, like jury duty only pay them a realistic wage.

As to the big sign. I like it. I want more of them, so I don’t have to waste gas and time looking for the store I want to drive to. It also lets me know what stores are where.

Of course, in perfectly planned Portland, appearance is more important than things jobs, keeping the cost of living low or having affordable housing.


Do yo still think all of North Macadam was a toxic wasteland? LOL
It's amazing you figured out the Tram wasn't a $15.5 million project.
If you check you'll find not a single thing in the 1999 SoWa plan that was true.
And I do like you.

Commissioner Leonard, with all due respect, in the amendments to the Cascade Station Plan District that council APPROVED and (presumably reviewed) in January 2005 (well before the sign was approved by the Design Review Committee and your bureau BDS) it is very clear who would be on the Cascade Station Design Review Committee and the process that would occur for permitting and design approval including signage. You can read it yourself as the whole document is available on PortlandOnline. (

As taken directly from the Amendments to Title 33, Planning and Zoning for the Cascade Station Plan, page 17:

"These master plans and subsequent building designs will go through a design review process established for Cascade Station. There are three stages of design review: pre-design, preliminary plan and final plan review. A design review committee will be established with four members – PDC, Bureau of Planning, the Port and CSDC. The committee will be advised by Bureau of Development Services (BDS) and an architectural consultant hired by PDC. The committee will also seek the input of the City’s Design Review Commission through an informal briefing.”

Ok, well then that settles who was on the Design Review Committee Issue.

And on the same page, second paragraph:
“The DA (development agreement) establishes design standards to be used to review the plans. These standards were designed to require high quality site planning, engineering, architecture, and landscaping. The standards are extensive and address pedestrian circulation, transit station area design, parking, loading , public and private streets, landscaping, building design including standards for large retail stores, lighting and signs. These standards supplement the standards of the plan district..."

Ok, that explains how the sign was allowed to be approved by the Committee and the overall signage allowments for the district itself.

And in Paragraph 3, same page:
“The City’s sign code in Title 32 acknowledges that signage within Subdistrict A of the CS/PIC Plan District will be regulated by a signage program
approved under the Development Agreement. Signs will be subject to the
design review process described above.”

Did you not know of the signage plan either? Please don't tell me you didn't.

I’m terribly sorry, but I am extremely disappointed in your lack of understanding and your overall finger pointing on this issue. With the above clearly presented to City Council back in January 2005 for review and discussion, with Council’s vote and approval of the above in early 2005, with a staff representative from your bureau BDS appointed to give the Cascade Station Design Review Committee recommendations, and with your bureau BDS ultimately responsible for approving the sign in the permitting process, you should have known. I find any excuses otherwise to be a sad commentary on communications within Council, your office, and the city as a whole, not with regards to the Cascade Station process itself.

You may not like the sign, and you may (rightfully or not) be concerned with the process that it was allowed, but since you had a chance to object and to vote NO on it in 2005,well before IKEA applied for signage approval with the Committee and the City and you did not object (although I am curious what your vote was for the amendments to the code), you have only yourself and the rest of council to blame. I would suggest in future votes for out of the ordinary changes to planning districts, planning code, and review processes that your staff properly prep you and flag any potential areas of risk or concern or that you actually read the documents presented before your vote.

Thank You

Here is the shorter version of the above:

Leonard Wrote:
"Nobody on council knew that meant a design committee made up of the Port of Portland, the Portland Development Commissioner and the developer, Trammel Crow. That language was not in the code we voted on."

My Reply:

"Well, what code did you vote on? Because in the official zoning code ammendments posted on PortlandOnline it is clearly written in the Ammendments to the Planning Code Title 33 for Cascade Station that came before Council in January 2005 for vote, and which Council passed. It's on Page 17."

Oh BTW, I still like you too.

It was obvious to folks in the neigborhoods when the first version of the Cascade Station plan was approved, back when I was on the Planning Commission (1996-2003), that it was a Done Deal. It was the payback for private funding of airport MAX, mandated from the Council down to the Planning Bureau and then through the Token Public Hearing process. So most neighborhood land use volunteers, myself included, didn't bother reviewing later changes, as we assumed they'd be Done Deals, too. Without neighborhood experts informing the City Council, they rarely catch details in land use code language, because nobody on the current Council has experience reviewing those fine-tuned regulations from the neighborhood perspective.

I'm just glad everyone has stopped referring to it as the pretentious "CascadeStation", all one word, which you see on the highway signs for the area. The rest (the important stuff) was all a done deal long ago, in my opinion.

So Amanda, are you saying Council or their staff do not read important legal documents concerning development in the City and instead are reliant on volunteers and unpaid citizen activists, many of whom are disillusioned with the process and don't bother reading the documents either?

Whoa. Well then, that explains a lot doesn't it?

It is the job and responsibility of City Council to read and understand any and all changes to legal code in the city, including the "fine print" of what they are voting on. If they are not doing this, then they are not doing their jobs.

And completely pulling the process for design review and approval outside of the normal city process and instead putting it into the hands of 2 city staff, 1 Port of Portland staff, and 1 private developer with recommendations from a Bureau of Development Services staff is not "fine print."

The Ammendments to the Zoning code that came before council did include language that clearly outlines who is on the Design Review Committee and clearly Outlines the Process. I know, I checked the Council agenda for January 20th.

Council, including Randy Leonard, should have known.

Who has time to review all the sign stuff when you're trying to stop Portland from invading Iran?

NotSurprisedAGAIN. You said it well again. There are an abundance of City Council approvals that lack the proper review and understanding of the consequences. And many times they are NOT "details" as Amanda suggests, but have major consequences throughout the city. Cascade Station is just one.

Take Councils eliminating SoWhats four Standards that allowed a little more "permeablility"-now it is wall-to-wall buildings.

Consider the past year Councils action that allows corner lots on blocks to have two units of housing on one lot, even down to 2300 sq.ft. lot sizes in a R5 zone-that's increasing density by twice. The neighborhood associations aren't even yet aware of the consequences, but soon will be.

Consider the City Councils intrepretation that height of buildings are NOT determined from the existing grade, but from any new grade height. Now you can pile 20 ft. or more of earth on your property and measure from this new point.

These are just a few examples of Council and their staff not understanding the consequences. But the many bureau staff members also are at fault for not knowing or telling Council the possible consquences too.

Garage Wine, that was funny.
Is Iran in SE Portland, in fellony flats?

in the end, it always seems like government is trying to do too much, too quickly, for too many goals and too many corporations.

and so we become jack of all issues, but master of none.

what will Portland do to "grow" after there's no more room in the UGB for big box IKEAs, condos, towers, "affordable" housing, Starbucks, etc? already, only a small percentage of Portlanders can actually afford to own a home or pay leases on storefront properties. the middle class is becoming more of a myth every day.

we're against war with Iran, but for trashing the local landscape and environment?

Grow or Die. that's Portland's new motto. then again, that's America's motto, isn't it?

Randy was for it before he was against it?

Amanda, is there a neighborhood next to Cascade Station or is this a general observation on how the city does business everywhere in the city?

In any event, I think it is the perfect place for a large sign...everyone in Vancouver can read it!

By the way, I would think that a large sign is the least of a resident's problems with jets taking off every 5 minutes.

Cascade Station really set the mold for subsequent planning. The current methods of the PDC and others were fine tuned at Cascade Station.
The revenue and spending schemes were completely obscured and today SoWa takes it to a new level.

Randy and the rest haven't a clue where the money comes from, where it goes or who gets it. There's no way they could since it ISN'T WRITTEN DOWN ANYWHERE THEY HAVE ACCESS TO.
Of course they might not want to admit it.
But they won't even respond for fear they would have to admit they don't have it to share and have never seen it.

So all we will get is silence of the lambs. I mean commissioners.


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In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
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