The neighbors are right, as usual
I see that The Oregonian, normally a bastion of fairness, now calls people "NIMBYs" in the headlines of its "news" stories. It's ragging on the folks who have the nerve to think that maybe a new, six-story condo bunker in the Irvington neighborhood, where even the existing high-density apartment buildings tend to top out at three floors, is just too tall and bulky.
Since the insane City of Portland zoning of the property, at 15th and Hancock in the historic district, allows a building 75 feet tall, apparently the O thinks it's wrong for anyone to object to anything up to that size.
In reality, the people who drew up that zoning and approved it should be taken out and shot. Let me guess: some bureaucratic hacks in Portland Planning Bureau along with esteemed members of the City Council. I understand Michael Harrison was a big player at the time -- the city's chief planner. Is that same guy who later went on to work for Jim Francesconi and Earl Blumenauer, and now lurks in that shadowy Portland satellite office of a firm called Parametrix? The people that "facilitate public involvement" for sterling projects like the aerial tram [rim shot]. I don't know all the history, but isn't Portland Planning where old Don Mazziotti also got his start? Good times.
But I digress. Bad call on this one, Mike. Another underwhelming product of that special Portland State urbanism.
Here's what the site looks like now. Not pictured is the beautiful historic bed and breakfast just next door, obscured by the trees on the right in this view:
Granted, the lot ain't much to look at. But does it really need a six-story building, with 18 condo units, built out to within a foot or two of the sidewalk? Here's how they say it will look with the condo bunker on it. Note that this simulation was reportedly furnished by the Lake Oswego sharpie developer, and so it's the rosiest possible view you can make of it. It makes the power lines sort of disappear in places, and it views the building from such an angle that you can't see the top floor of condo tackiness, which to its credit is at least set back a little bit:
Don't let the computer fool you -- check out the top of that power pole compared to the building height. This monstrosity is going to be so tall, you wouldn't be able to see the top of it in the "before" picture.
Superimposing the "before" over the "after," I come up with something like this:
Of course, it could be worse. The condo dude could be proposing more of the garbage that was built about two blocks away at 16th and Broadway. But just because his building's more ornate than a wart doesn't make it appropriate.
Six stories is out of place for that property; it's wrong to put that much housing there. If that's the zoning, then the zoning needs to be challenged, any way the neighbors can. (Of course, the developers could simply back off from their obsession with money, but that's not going to happen.) Here's to the challengers.
And raspberries to the O. Reporter (or columnist or whatever he is) Stephen Beaven seems to have a little attitude thing going about neighborhoods. Guess he's fixing to be the new Randy Gragg. Maybe they should have him stick to what he's good at.