Trouble in the 'hood
Seems like Commissioner Big Pipe Saltzman has endeared himself to yet another group of Portland neighbors. We're sure there is more than one side to this one, but the neighbors have reached us first, and here is what one of them writes:
Dear Jack,She asked for it. Readers?
Thought you might be interested in this story. The Miracles Club, a center for drug and alcohol recovery, will soon be obligated to move from its current home on MLK and Mason to a newly-purchased location, just across the street to 4218 NE MLK Blvd. The move sounds innocuous enough until you hear Herman Bryant, the Miracles Club Board Chairman, speak about the proposed development.
What he proposes is a facility that would encompass the entire lot from MLK to Grand; the section of Grand Avenue in question is currently a quiet, family-centered block (I live on this block.) That will all change if Mr. Bryant has his way, and we neighbors are alarmed and angry.
The proposed facility is to house 30-40 low-income transitional housing apartments, which will sit atop a space for recovery meetings which will occur at literally all hours of the day and night (starting 6:30 am to 12 midnight.) In addition, the space will be used for parties of 200 + persons every weekend night that get out at 12 midnight. The space will also be home to a coffeeshop. Finally, the developers and architects (Guardian Management and Carlton-Hart, respectively) plan to create a thru-way for cars to stream across the lot from MLK to Grand and back, essentially creating a road in the middle of the block. Total number of parking spaces for this multi-purpose facility? 15. Yes, that's right -- fifteen.
This is all a pet project of Commissioner Salzman, who appeared before the PDC last October to ask them to move the Urban Renewal Area boundary from the Oregon Convention Center area in order to recieve stop-gap funding from the PDC (which they gave in the amount of $3 million dollars.) This is in addition to the massive city dollars already sunk into the project, as well as county dollars.
With all this taxpayer money being poured into this project, which is supposed to help the poor, troubled residents of King... wouldn't you think that someone would think to alert the residents of the King neighborhood, in detail, that this hugely impactful project was happening in their neighborhood? The ONLY notification that was given, at a neighborhood association meeting, was back in October -- and that notice was merely to say that the PDC had expanded the URA in association with the project. No details about the project. No notice whatsoever to residents that their tax money is shortly going to be used on a project that is going to seriously and negatively impact their quiet neighborhood. We know the impact on the neighborhood to be negative not due solely to common sense -- we also hear the remarks and comments from the neighbors who surround the current location, who are all too glad that the club is moving.
We on the block are extremely angry and upset. I am enclosing my letter to Commissioner Salzman's office; I did receive a polite call today from Sara King from the PDC in response to this letter; she assured me that the PDC's part in the matter had ended, and encouraged me to contact Commissioner Salzman. The upcoming King Neighborhood Association's upcoming board meeting on June 11 will most certainly result in a KNA official position on the matter.
What upsets me the most is the condescending attitude inherent in the hasty and underhanded way this project was rushed through the system; plenty of public funds are being used, with NO opportunity for public participation of the process. Would the powers that be try this in Alameda? Hillsdale? Irvington? And yet, for the King residents, it is foisted upon us like an unwelcome gift. Ironically, there is absolutely no data nor evidence that the majority of the users and members of the Miracles Club are from the King area.
I'd be very interested to hear your and your readers' thoughts on the matter... Thank you for your attention.
Portland, OR 97211