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Friday, January 7, 2011

Sustainability, with ambition

The green people wanted to get greener. Wonder if they got their $150,000 -- anybody heard?

Comments (20)

Okay, so we should develop Tryon Farm because its a "rare (undeveloped) place within the Portland urban-growth boundary." And we certainly shouldn't develop anything that is outside the urban-growth boundary. So I guess the only place to put newcomers is in mid-rises and high-rises.

Alternatively, maybe we would be better off if this group didn't get their $150,000.

I wish them luck. To me the point here is that they are pursuing their green agenda through market means, i.e. buying the land to use it for what they want. If enough of their supporters value the land enough for that use that they can pay for it, more power to them.

Something like that already exists in NE Portland, it’s called Dignity Village.

I thought the whole purpose of having an urban growth boundary was to save productive farm land and to "fill in" these sorts of areas. I fail to see what they grow on this east facing downsloped area other than moss.

Another inspiration from Scandinavia...?


I checked out the website of this "intentional" community, and it appears as though 20 people live on 7 acres. How is that high-density? Sounds more like a bunch of folks looking for a rural experience in the City.

This is so stupid and such a contradiction to all things central planning/Metro/Trimet and the stakeholders.

It's 20 people living on 20 acres yet they call it "sustainable high-density living"

What for? So the land won't have houses on it and paying around $150K in property taxes?

"tours for school kids and classes on sustainable growing" Oh boy. Society gains big time there.

We're in a crisis at every level. Boot them all off, list it, sell it for the highest return and let it be built out.

It's just more fraud to keep claiming that any major structural development would harm Tryon Creek.

The city itself is the biggest threat to Tryon Creek with regular sewer breaks in the creek and it' tributaries because of neglected sewer lines that were placed in the stream corridors decades ago.

Building practices and regulations on the other hand go to the extreme in preventing run off and requiring other protections.

There is not a shred of public benefit from this commune.

"It's cramped, [the high-density-living enthusiast] said

The plan is to build 8 houses, or, per their "blueprint", dozens of little buildings and a huge parking lot? Hmm...

To make this effort complete, it needs a Jerry Garcia sighting.

Snards -

"Market forces" ? Buying the land?

These hippies living 20 people on 20 acres within the urban growth boundary are masters at putting their hands ointo your tax and fee dollars paid to the CoP.

Their initial acquisition of the land, after threatening to hold up any potential developer with almost endless Land Use appeals, was largely funded by a -- wait for it - Portland Water Burteau and BES ( Sewer) grant, based upon the very imaginative theory that preventing additiomnal development upon the property would increase water quaklity in storm runoff in SW.

Market forces and investment of their own funds?

Truly funny.

And so far from the reality of what actually went on - the spending of Water and Sewer fees and taxes to pay for their mega estate - as to be pure fiction.

This is all a total "contradiction", which becomes hypocrisy.

CoP says they want density. Average now is 10 homes per acre x 2.5 people (per home)=25 people per acre. But Tryon Farm has only 1.9 people per acre; 1/12th of required.

CoP says density can be handled environmentally with it's many codes and regulations. The 400 page BES Water Management Plan assures that "pollution" to Tryon Creek, that proponents of the Farm says would be caused by development, would be nil. They make all other developments strictly adhere to the Management Plan; they believe it works.

The Farm occupants says that an "old growth forest" would be destroyed. All of that land was logged many decades ago. It isn't any more natural than other parts of Portland.

Why is it, when my neighbor and I wanted to buy a vacant R5 lot adjacent to our two homes that has a seasonal stream, very steep, has a history of slides along the street, were denied by CoP to divide the lot giving half to each neighbor? We wanted to protect the resources. They said we want density, another house-it's mandated. We want the tax revenue.

Contradiction to say the least.

If property owner(s)like Tryon Farm want to do this on their own dime, not like before in their first 7 acres using taxpayer dollars and subsidies, then fine. Then, are they being taxed the market value of the land whether developed or vacant for the ultimate use zoning allows, like the rest of us?

Sounds like another case of more favors from those in power and a blind eye from the state watchdog.

We do agree on that the Milwaukie Light Rail simply must not be built. I have thanked you for all the reporting you have done.

I ask you and others who think negatively about this to consider my views, perhaps outside the box a bit because I am looking further out in time here. However, as I see it, may not be as far into the future as we may like.

Are there some who think the city should only be this lock-step approach that we must all live now in this planned density? Pointing at this group at Tryon Creek like why should they live like this within our city is a bizarre attitude as far as I am concerned. There needs to be room for diversity, in this sense I am referring to ways of living. We are human beings with individual needs. Should law-abiding citizens who do not wish to live under such stringent controls and attitudes not be allowed in our city and to be looked at with negativity? Is the next step to destroy homes with yards that are not in compliance with the lock step attitude?

The UGB in my opinion needs to be evaluated - I see mistakes for the future here by continuing on this extreme density plan. For those who think this is based on a free market, this has been a forced plan on our city for the benefit of those making money on the land, not for the benefit of human beings living here.

There are reasons I am relieved that this group at Tryon Creek is within our city UGB.

Food, food, food, is a basic.
My viewpoint is that we need the places such as these within the UGB that are left now to be able to grow food.

The economy has changed and worsened. Some call it a recession; others claim that we are in a depression or headed there, and that the plan is to head there incrementally instead. Do any of us know?
In difficult times people did grow food and survive. We have less space for gardens, many people living in very dense places, not even a patio to grow a tomato plant. There aren’t enough community gardens and in my view we need the larger spaces, including larger yards.

I would much rather see we the citizens within our community productive and growing our own food/having the space rather than standing in line with government handouts, should it come to that.

Outside the UGB, I see the estates and mansions, go out and look!! Haven't heard much complaint about that! Are those the productive farmlands we were supposed to save?

The gobal picture and commodities are a big part of this. I read where those as in Wall Street, etc are using commodities including food perhaps as the next "bubble" holding back for their benefit while people are without.
I am not against business making profit, however, outrageous manipulation for excessive profit on something as basic as food needs to be questioned. We have seen what has happened with manipulations in the housing market. It doesn't help us that government is favoring huge conglomerates with subsidies and less help for the small farmers. This pattern will come back to bite us all when we enter the grocery store.

Rising transportation costs, with oil costs rising, food costs will increase further. Corporations in control of our food are becoming more of a factor in all of this.

This past year I found in a high end store organic frozen vegetables with a stamp on it - Product of China. People in the Yakima Valley told me the best apples are being exported to Asia. We are getting lesser quality and paying more now. Is this the future for us? We pay more and more including costs importing from China. We have the land here, we have rain, this is crazy-making.

I do not know the history of the property here and looks like some favors, but I suspect rather small in comparison to the pet projects we often complain about in this blog.

antiplanner, I think we have enough empty mid-rises and high-rises for newcomers for some time to come.

Lee, I just read what you wrote and can understand the points and why you would be upset. The hypocrisy there is ridiculous, when the city didn't really care about saving resources.

In my view, this UGB plan turned out to be a money making benefit for some, but not for quality of life matters. It has caused forced density sacrificing very good parts within our city. Even environmentalists apparently thought SoWhat was within the UGB and lock stepped with the mantra rather than working to preserve a waterfront for the public. This whole lock step approach has been carried to an extreme. The world around us is changing. All the more reason we need to have a new discussion about the UGB.

clinamen, I hope you understand that I posted not to strongly oppose the Farm, but to highlight the hypocrisy. The "lock-step" approach to our planning hurts. The selective/biased lock-step approach hurts. In my example of the side lot not being appreciated for its environmental benefits vs. a home-it hurts for our city. besides me.

I've walked the Farm property, and many years before it became the Farm. I've done projects nearby. It is usually clay up to the top one ft to 6" of surface. The soil is not class 1 or 2. It's not agricultural land, but with a lot of work, you can make tomatoes grow about anywhere in western Oregon. But does that make this property useful for agriculture versus housing that has existing urban services?

I did understand that you highlighted to illustrate the hypocrisy. Your story and all the others like yours when added up in our city do hurt the whole of our area in addition to the people who live there and in those neighborhoods.

Enough hypocrisy for a book.

Thanks for the information about the property.

I suppose one could say in hindsight we should have gone about planning differently. I regret that at least planners that should have known better would not have insisted that before we went this "lock-step" approach, that the land within that proposed UGB would have been graded according to agricultural value. As I recall I was told that no attempt was even made in that direction to save the best fertile agricultural land within the UGB.
Perhaps you can fill me in on that.

I believe that the community fell hook line and sinker for the UGB plan - I imagine the fear of sprawl helped to sell the plan without too much questioning.

The past is past. However, I propose that we do stop now and evaluate. Land should be given grades and valued for agriculture.
Good fertile land should not be taken for developments.

Lee, do you know what the land was like for agriculture in Happy Valley? What about the land they might extend next time UGB moves out in west areas?

Several months ago, I put on a thread about a place in BC versus our plan. Later if I can find it.

The best strawberries ever and the land here they grew on are filled now with housing developments. I remember the taste as I type, and haven’t had one of those luscious berries for years.

I imagine there are people who would say so what, that is the way of progress. Some things of quality are worth more than words can describe. Being able to see the milky way, having land for children to play freely, seeing Mt. Hood, sunsets, good drinking water, and those strawberries.

Take care.

...and Where will the Children Play....


Lawrence, if you are seriously asking "Where will the Children Play"?, they can play in the adjacent Tryon Creek State Park of 645 acres. Or across Boones Ferry Rd. in 26 acre Marshall Park with their picnic, playground, trail facilities. They all interconnect with over 25 miles of trails.

Clinamen, I was around in the early 70's when Oregon began the soil typing of our entire state. In fact in the late 60's, early 70's I was working for the Soil Conservation Service. Oregon hardly consulted with SCS. Little of Oregon was typed except for some of the Willamette valley. But Oregon simply used topography mapping, aerials, other data and did a broad "felt-tip pen" marking up of the state for use designations.

It was much like Portland did in the 80's when they established environmental zoning. They merely took aerial photos, if they saw a grouping of trees, or the topography maps correlated with maybe a swale, or possible seasonal stream, they marked it as an environmental zone. CoP staff even admitted to this procedure. I even have quotes.

They sometimes made "field visits" to check on some of their broad felt-tip marked maps. I've even accompanied city environmental staff to sites when they substantiated their E zoning because they found a rush plant growing in the the ditch of a city street. They've even called a city ditch (and SW Portland has many unimproved, ditched streets) along a street a "wetland area".

This explains why in many cases land in the state's inventory is a hit and miss typing for it's true agricultural value, or its environmental value.

An example is our own family's farm near Eugene. One-half of the property is Class 1, river-bottom, beautiful soil. One quarter is steep, cliff side, heavily treed land, and the other one quarter is 15 degree sloping open grass field with Class 3 clay soil with 8" of top soil, enough to grow grass with enough fertilizer. But Oregon's broad-stroke maps show all the property as Class 1. This broad-stroke, misapplied classification scenario is prevalent throughout the state.

Lee, I raised children, and I also have driven BFRd many times. Having the choice for my kids to play at home or cross that road on a daily basis is a no-brainer.

I also ask it in the spirit that Cat Stevens did, taking it beyond the immediate concerns over this piece of property. We are park deficient in my neck of SE Portland.

Your explanation of Oregon's inventory is quite enlightening, thanks for sharing it.

Lee: . . . In fact in the late 60's, early 70's I was working for the Soil Conservation Service. Oregon hardly consulted with SCS. . .

Thank you for that history and information.

They must have been as deficient then as now.
Too much fragmented thinking in my view.
Holistic thinking never in place, not wanted, too much trouble, forgotten?

Have you seen what has been developed in Happy Valley? Do you know what the soil conditions were there?

Clinamen, I've done a few projects in the area. One was right off SE Foster on level land. It is probably Class 2. The owners had horses and cows on the property, and the foundation work had soil depths of 1-1 1/2 ft +-before clay showed. Another project was on the side of one of the buttes. It was mostly forested in the sloped areas, but in the less sloped area it was grass land. It varied from Class 2 to 3. Like much of western Oregon soil type can vary a lot in a small distance, topography. The Missoula floods affected much of soil types left. Plus, we've had 150 years of some forms of agriculture in the area that has affected somewhat what we have today.

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