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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Countin' flowers on the wall

The nasty apartment infill bunker that's slated for North Williams Avenue just above Fremont Street is back in front of the City Council this morning, and the opponents are still quite up in arms. The current issue is a tax abatement for the project as "transit-oriented," even as transit service in the immediate area is being cut. But the outrage extends to several other aspects of the building -- its height (four stories), its bulk (72 units), its big parking lot, its inadequate landscaping, its utter incompatibility with the little houses around it, its lack of true low-income units, the absence of any need for more apartments in an already overbuilt city -- the list of complaints goes on and on.

The neighbors also complain that while the builder has been making vague noises about "LEED" this and that -- the magic incantation that sends PC Portland politicians and bureaucrats into an ecstatic swoon -- there's nothing in writing anywhere that actually commits the owner to doing anything all that "green."

Yesterday we were copied on one e-mail message to the City Council in which an opponent complained that many of the units in the large complex will have bedrooms with no windows. Is that right -- windowless bedrooms? For this we're giving developers tax breaks? Has this City Council got no shame at all?

Comments (14)

windowless bedrooms?

Interesting...I thought the UBC stated that a room intended for sleeping had to have at least one opening window?

Since these things are impossible to finance without giveaways, I'd look more at PDC.

You sure the thing has a parking lot even or will overflow be on the street? The street level retail kills me also, since they never have enough parking so they'll probably give that away to one-man pizza shops and beauty supply stores.

Be really nice if we had one ounce of creative thinking when it comes to planning. Perhaps Mr Streetcar joining the planning commission will be that breath of fresh air.

As problems became issues so bedrooms have become resting closets.

I have a very hard time believing that there will be units without windows. I believe that is illegal.

But neighbors shouldn't be complaining about the parking lot. Pdx now allows these things to be built with little or no on-site parking. The idea is that residents won't own cars. This idea is hogwash, and the residents instead park all over the surrounding four blocks in front of existing homes.

There's a current development on the corner of 14th and Alberta that has 7/8 "live work" units and no parking. Thanks a lot for looking out for the neighbors, city. Glad we pay you to make parking miserable.

The new code allows windowless bedrooms. Go to the Street of Dreams, almost all the units at 937 have windowless 2nd bedrooms.


Many of the new units on Belmont have windowless bedrooms.


We'll see a lot more in the future. Its the new black.

Thats dumb, I would never buy a place that didnt have windows in a bedroom. What about fresh air? Natural light? That means electricity would have to be used even during the day for light?

And God forbid there is a fire.

Thats not a bedroom, its a closet.

Getting light and air into bedrooms was literally one of the major impetus of developing modern housing codes. This was in reaction to dangerous and inhospitable tenement slums in the large cities.

Ironic that we're now reversing this to allow development of future tenement slums.

One of the basic tenants in the LEED rating system is to provide human occupants of dwellings a connection to the natural environment. This includes exposure to natural daylight and fresh air. Operable windows are an important component in green building.

Sleeping in windowless crypts sounds like a questionable proposition in Sam's quest to proclaim his kingdom the most "sustainable city in the world".

I mentioned the windowless bedrooms to my teenagers and they thought it was an absolutely STUPID idea. They immediately recognized the danger in case of fire, plus wondered who in the world would want to have a bedroom without a window. If a 14-year old can see through this load of manure, why can't a grown-up developer? Oh yeah--he's got dollar signs dazzling his eyes.

This just really bugged me, so I called my husband (who's a building inspector) and asked him how windowless bedrooms could be legal. Without seeing the plans, he said that he's guessing that they have sprinkler systems for fire suppression. But he also thought that windowless bedrooms wouldn't be very nice to live in, even if the ARE code-compliant.

Whoever (or is it whomever?) approved a housing code allowing for windowless bedrooms should be fired/recalled immediately.

There goes the last shred of Portland's once-lauded reputation for livability.

windowless bedrooms , don't you mean Gro-Rooms for that funny tabbacky ? I think it is way admirable the C.Council is helping the local economy by allowing 'agriculture' hidden inside apartments. Think of all them youngsters learning how to run their first biz thru the miracle of
Mother Nature [ and gro-lites]

If bedrooms are for sleeping, dark and quiet would be in order. Areas that a person would be awake in would warrant windows and view. Kitchen, dinning, and family rooms are ideal. Urban infill has the music of sirens, garbage trucks and gunshots lighted with neon.
In quiet dark rural areas it is nice to have the fresh night air spiced with crickets as you sleep.

In addition to windowless bedrooms (glass is expensive) this place is 1/4 mile away from MLK (the transit zone)...there was much frank discussion about the ineffective out-of-date TOD structure (subsidizing a 6.4 percent return on this property when most folks are lucky to get a guarantee of about 4)...And, about the public benefit elements the developer will provide in exchange for the abatement including, LEED (which is standard building practice and cheaper in the long run for the property owner anyway), one car share space (which costs the developer nothing as there is already a 49 space parking lot there (required for commercial financing) and commercial spaces which also earn the developer income.) He is giving nothing and receiving over $ 1 million dollars...But he 'played by the rules' and should be 'given an award' according to Mr. Fish, because in this climate he was able to scrape up financing to build it...forget the 30 minute discussion on all this and more admittedly really bad and obviously wasteful property tax abatement policy - money talks. And, it's only a smidge over a million dollars... oh, is this Transit Oriented? great because on the same day -- we can pat ourselves on the back - we are saving schools so much money bussing kids on tri met - (paid for by?) that teachers don't have to beg for money ...and can now spend their time....TEACHING KIDS.

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