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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Portland wins 2009 planning award -- for 1891 plan

Finally, I can agree with something that the planning bobbleheads are saying -- Ladd's Addition is a darn fine neighborhood. But the same people who are pinning a ribbon on Ladd's will also tell you how wonderful the awful, awful SoWhat District is. I'm almost tempted to say I want some of what they're smoking, but actually, I don't.

Comments (21)

The interesting part is--no planners were involved in its design. Not a single one.

“Ladd’s Addition is a beautiful example of a 20-minute neighborhood, where neighbors can walk or bike to commercial corridors and enjoy parks and open spaces,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams.

Pretty, but devoid of facts. Ladds residents own just as many cars as other neighborhoods. In fact, based on per capita income, I''m guessing the car ownership ratio is even higher.

“As the City focuses its attention on climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by creating walkable communities, it’s affirming to see that the origins of Portland’s visionary planning and smart growth are imbedded in historic neighborhoods such as Ladd’s Addition.”

Pretty, but false. Not a single "visionary planner" was involved in its platting, design or building.

Ladds is cute. We like to walk in it; the trees are wonderful. But it has no part at all in "reducing greenhouse gas" or "visionary planning". And that part about visonary smart growth being imbedded in places like Ladds? Most all of Portland's layout was already platted and built (included the inner southeast) by the time Ladds was created.

And guess how many condo boxes are being air dropped onto the fringes of Ladds?

Meanwhile, this kind of vapid, brow-furrowing, self-congratulatory earnestness is what will lead us down the same old path, with the same old consequences.

Some of the other "great neighborhoods" are in Spokane and Fargo, ND. thank you

"I'm almost tempted to say I want some of what they're smoking, but actually, I don't."

But you will when you see the absolutely fab plan the new consultant for the BuBr comes up with...

... or maybe not.

Other Portland neighborhoods are also nice, and this is the beauty of Portland city proper. But these things were accomplished well before the Goldschmidt-Katz-Adams regime. The Katz-Adams condo building regime with its Flower Pot crusade is actually diminishing the charm of Portland's single-family neighborhoods by making it more and more difficult to get in and out of them to work, shopping and vacationing.

I guess there's no easy money in just preserving access to the great neighborhoods of single-family households.

I have to ask. How about those building codes? Must have been pretty extensive in those days. And those zoning laws. Can't do without them and all those permits and fees.

I also notice the Montrose neighborhood in Houston is mentioned. Houston doesn't have zoning. OH!Heaven forbid. Who ever heard of building a city without zoning.

Such nonsense. We'll have to pass a law!

Ask the inmates of Rockwood what they think if all these transit/planning geniuses - the stretch, centered on East Burnside from 148th to 181st was a solid working-class neighborhood of single-family homes until the 'transit-oriented' rezoning to crappy apartments to 'justify the City's investment in Max." What it did was allow the real estate biggies to move the lumpenproles and illegal aliens to these parts, so their old close-in haunts could be gentrified. Now it's 24/7 gunfire, drugs & police activity - Thanks, Planners!

"I also notice the Montrose neighborhood in Houston is mentioned. Houston doesn't have zoning. OH!Heaven forbid. Who ever heard of building a city without zoning."

Yes Houston is the big developers dream. No restrictions on what they want to do. For examplke the Montrose neighborhood has several high rise condominium buildings located in it. In addition one of the big controversies in Houston right now is City approval of a 23 story high rise in the middle of single family residential zone. Exactly what we want in Portland. Right?

errr that should say high rise in a single family AREA since Houston technically doesn't have zones. Sorry.

So...If I want to build an abatoir and rendering plant right next to the new highrise, no problem, right?

I've just got to have the bucks to buy the land and build the plant, right?

C'mon, most planners are the least creative people in the world.

They just re-cycle the same ideas they share at all of their conferences - For residences they like stacked boxes with different looking exteriors and they need to be dense and totally isolated from the street.

So these Stalingrad style building going up in P-town are okay?

Sam and his Planners have little knowledge of Portland history or of Planning. Ladds Addition was a suburb to Portland when it was built. In fact it was somewhat of a jumpstep out from the city proper-sin to our Planners now.

It never went through any plot plan review, planning review, design commission hearing, planning commission hearings, nor city council hearings. Metro never put their two cents in, nor did Land Use Board of Appeal. It didn't have a trolley or light rail with a TOD tax incentive, in fact NO tax subsidies. Transit wasn't it's motivator. The cart wasn't ahead of the horse-it was still being pulled by the horse.

The homes and businesses have withstood earthquakes, windstorms, snow loads of over 3 ft. without any building inspectors or building fees. Hopefully it will endure the next 100 years of Portland's now excessive, intruding Planning without leaf pickup.

Former Ladds Circle resident and Rose Garden helper who rode his bike into town without a bike lane.

Greg C. I'm kinda dunce so i went and googled some stuff and get this. I find that in Portland in 2005 a house from the survey below went for $304,650 but in Houston a similar house went for $151,600. Like WoW! man. Why the difference? Now did I read that wrong or what? Like let me know man.

"(CNN/Money) -- Most homeowners know that how much house you get for your money depends entirely on where you live.

But Coldwell Banker's annual Home Price Comparison Index (HPCI) shows just how huge this affordability gap can be, comparing selling prices of similar homes in similar neighborhoods in more than 300 markets.

Specifically, Coldwell Banker looked at a 2,200-square-foot house with 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, a family room and a two-car garage. The neighborhood - a more subjective measure - is one "typical for corporate middle-management transferees." "

Boy, we've got some armchair architects on this board. Ladd's Addition and much of Portland's inner neighborhoods are "streetcar suburbs". Furthermore, Ladd's Addition was inspired by Washington DC -- A PLANNED city by a Frenchy planner/arcitect named L'Enfant which was commisioned by none other than George Washington to design our Capital.

Houston does have "zoning", just they hide their fairly relaxed regulations behind other names. Like Greg C says, zoning and planning is what's preserving your lifestyle. A few condos along Portland's eastside main arterials is not a bad thing. Who are you to say private developers can't do what they want with their property?

You can't be a NIMBY and then want no zoning/planning and then complain that your 'hood has changed and blame the city.

Regarding planning and Ladd's Addition: It's about two to three times as dense as most suburbs outside of Portland limits, it has connected elm lined streets, modest homes on minimal lots, mixed-uses, alleys, and skinny streets.

Yes, it is everything that planners and architects champion in Portland. It was achieved by a "plan"; however planners didn't need to mess with people's business like we do now because developers built within a certain framework that was not detrimental to the built environment.

Most suburban developments since WWII have taken what we know about design, cities, and habitation and completely perversed it into a terrible, land-consuming beast. Modern day planners only stepped in to mitigate the situation. Don't blame them, blame consumer habits and the idiotic masses.

Modern day planners only stepped in to mitigate the situation. Don't blame them, blame consumer habits and the idiotic masses.

Yeah, really. Our neighborhood would be so much nicer if it weren't for those darn consumers and their preferences. Sheesh.

ws, Ladd's Addition was developed before the street car line on Hawthorne which only borders the development on the north side only. You are also wrong about the density being 2 or 3 times greater than suburbs outside of Portland limits.

Of course there are exceptions, but the density of neighborhoods in many of the surrounding towns in the same time period (and even later) in the inner parts of Milwaukie, Gladstone, Oregon City, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Fulton, Sellwood, St. Johns, etc. is similar to Ladd's Addition. And now with the required densities required by Metro and each city, the density of Ladd's Addition with it's front yards, back yards with gardens and sideyards with landscaping many times is less than even the newer developments of the last 20 years.

The clowns running Portland now would never let you build a Ladd's today. Or any part of it! A 5,000-square-foot lot for a single-family home is simply not allowed. And wood-burning fireplace? Grass in the yard? Strictly prohibited.

Ladd's and many inner-ring suburbs are colloquially know as "streetcar suburbs". The date the streetcar line went in is irrelevant especially considering most of the homes in Ladds were built after it was designed, mostly in the early 1900s-1920s, after the streetcar line was built. Who knows, maybe it was assumed there would be a streetcar line installed at a later date by the developer?

How dense is Ladd's and how dense is a 1970's era neighborhood in Beaverton? Hmmm... A 5,000 SF lot is about 8.5 dwelling units per acre. That's denser than most sf homes in the suburbs. A 10k lot is quite normal in Beaverton.

Only recently have lot sizes come down in the metro area, except outside of the city of Portland you have relatively dense requirements (5,000 sf lot is very acceptable for single family home) with little oversight of how new development is built in context to the city at large (most of it is the monotonous leap-frog development).

"The clowns running Portland now would never let you build a Ladd's today. Or any part of it! A 5,000-square-foot lot for a single-family home is simply not allowed. And wood-burning fireplace? Grass in the yard? Strictly prohibited."

The "clowns" in Portland actually ensure that most people enjoy their R-5 neighborhoods. That's right, zoning is set to MAXIMUM densities:

Usually when cities run out of room, they densify. This is a natural, emergent condition. It makes little sense to keep developing 5,000 acre lots (except maybe for infill). I don't know if you anti-density folks realize, but Portland metro area is expecting 2 million more people (double what we are now) by 2060, and 1 million more people in the foreseeable future.

Or we can do away with the "clowns" and we can get to having a free-market, Houston system (yes, developers want to develop denser because it equals more money). Bye-bye Irvington and Laurelhurst single family homes -- condo city!

Spoken like a true clown.

Portland metro area is expecting 2 million more people (double what we are now) by 2060, and 1 million more people in the foreseeable future.

Metro propaganda. Of questionable validity, and especially irrelevant within the city limits.

The population of the city of Portland proper has been growing for quite some time now at about 6,000 people a year -- just over 1 percent. You and your friends can build all the infill garbage you want, but it isn't going to make the city population grow any faster. People don't want to live in the overpriced cardboard boxes that the Randy Rapaports of the world are building and that the PSU cabal is forcing on Portland's neighborhoods.

SoWhat is a complete and utter "epic fail," as are most of the recent condo crackerboxes that Portland planning has encouraged. Belmont, Division, the list goes on. A great western city is being turned into Fake New York, and the results are disastrous. They are only going to get worse. Surely there will be no prizes handed out 120 years from now for the trashing of Portland that's taking place now.

"Like Greg C says, zoning and planning is what's preserving your lifestyle."

Sure. Over priced housing and inadequate transportation for many low income people.

Ya know lot's of people here complain about buying local but say nothing when regulations drive up the costs of housing and that increased mortgage money is sent to an out of state mortgage bank and then overseas.

WS, you may know the zoning codes but you left out some important parts of the codes that make your claims incorrect.

First, CoP allows corner lots on a block to have two dwellings. That means a typical 200 ft x 200 ft block with R5 zoning can have 12 houses versus the previous 8 houses-that is a 50% increase in density with just this one caveat.

If you add in the provision that guest housing/mother-in-law units can be built in the backyard or over a garage, then that would mean a 100% increase in potential density in just that category. With the increased FARs, reduced yard setbacks, increased height limits, and reduced or no parking requirements, density is also increased in those ways.

Plus you have the rezoning that has occurred along transit streets, in new neighborhood plans, and anywhere the city has designated a "neighborhood center" you again have increased density.

Every time in the past thirty years our neighborhood has been told by Portland Planning that "oh, you are going to have a major road or transit improvement", "oh, you are now in a new district like Central City", we have been told that we need to have our Neighborhood Plan reexamined. This has always met increased density in every one of the designated zoning categories.

You make the claim that R5 zoning is "very acceptable for single family homes", but its not in Portland. Less than 1/4 of all residential zoning is R5. And that has been frowned upon by CoP. Skinny lots where 50ft wide lots are reduced to 25 ft. are now encouraged for skinny houses. Any pocket developments are encouraged or required to have 3500 to 3800sq. ft. lots. We had a case where a 4000 sq. ft lot was divided into a two 2000sq ft lots with two homes-base zoning was R5.

Any multiple housing zoned property is encourage to have the maximum units allowed. Plus, if the project has one or more of over 12 amenities like bike parking the maximum units can even be exceeded. It's like there really is no "maximum"-it's whatever a designer can cram onto the property.

I believe the general population is catching on to the reality of what is happening regardless of what politicians, planners, bureaucrats are saying. They don't know the fine points of just how and why it has happened, and they don't believe your claims.


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