Cell Tower Flap o' the Week: 69th and Foster
All sorts of e-mail comes in over our transom. Here's a message from an outraged neighbor down in southeast Portland:
I and my neighbors are working hard to oppose the placement of a new 45-foot Verizon Wireless cell phone tower on the property of Mt. Scott Fuel Co., 6904 SE Foster Road. The City of Portland will hold a formal hearing on this matter on October 3 at 9:00 am at 1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 3000.
This proposal is widely opposed by neighbors for numerous reasons detailed below. We will make our voices heard at the hearing and appeal to the hearings officer to consider several critical flaws in Verizon’s application and the city’s tentative preliminary recommendation to allow construction of this facility.
As recommended by the city, the proposal is nothing short of a giveaway by the city to a mega corporation and an absentee landlord who has zero interest in being a good neighbor or contributing to the common good in our area. We feel as neighbors that Verizon and Mt. Scott fuel are betting they can make a fast buck because those who surround this facility lack the resources and organization to oppose this. They are wrong.
Summary of concerns:
This proposal doesn’t live up to the city code.
Verizon is requesting to place a tower within 2000 feet of an existing tower. In a case such as this, the applicant bears the burden of proof to demonstrate that this is the "only feasible site" to provide service.
Federal criteria regulate RF emissions from cell towers such as this. Verizon’s health and safety justifications are dubious, citing only its own engineering staff, who clearly have a conflict in objectively evaluating these factors.
The city was wrong to deem a four-story cell tower in keeping with the "desired character" of our neighborhood, using a nearly 20-year-old neighborhood plan as justification. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Foster Road is a key transportation corridor and this site is within an Urban Renewal Area. Placing a four-story cell phone tower effectively prohibits any higher or better future use of not just this site, but those around it.
A noisy industrial site surrounded by barbed wire, guarded by vicious dogs and spewing dust most hours of the day isn’t the best neighbor to begin with. This proposal greatly worsens matters.
The Mt. Scott Fuel property is already a non-conforming use and a non-conforming development. Adding a cell tower to this property will clearly take it further from the desirable direction for the area.
This proposal conflicts with the vision expressed by the City in documents and processes related to the local Urban Renewal Area, the Foster Road Transportation & Streetscape Plan and the Mt. Scott Arleta Neighborhood Plan.
This proposed tower does not align with or advance the city’s (and our) vision and development direction for our neighborhood. This proposal is wrong and should be stopped.
We know for sure that the city won't listen to safety concerns -- they'll tell you they're precluded from doing so by federal law. As for the rest, we wish the neighbors luck. But once a site gets dedicated to a neighbor-unfriendly use, things don't usually get better -- they usually slide down a slope in the other direction.