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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Immigration jail throwdown set for Wednesday

The Portland City Council will hold a hearing on Wednesday afternoon on the appeal of the decision by a city planning staffer, barring the federal immigration authorities from installing a jail (with an office building attached) next door to a grammar school in the South Waterfront (SoWhat) District. Fireman Randy's developer buddies (and one of his staff members) have been pushing this project, which we were one of the first to cover, and so there's quite a bit of entertainment potential involved. We can only assume that the mayor is also on board with the builders, and so it will take the three other council members to do the right thing.

But surprise! The building's owner has hired land use lawyers to press his case who are not Steve Janik! This could be a sign that the outraged neighbors, who have won the case so far, may actually win out all the way. Nobody fixes like the Janikmeister.

If you're patient enough to sit around while a giant pdf file downloads from City Hall, you can read all about Wednesday's shindig here. The hearings officer's report is an interesting read, in that unlike most bureaucratic documents, it gets to the real heart of the matter: The place would be just too darn dangerous.

Comments (10)

The Pearl would be a far better location as that would bring balance and give texture to the existing Manhattan-esque mono-culture, no?

And right before that, city council has three (!) agenda items about Oregon Sustainability Center.

Dangerous,how can that be? We've been told that its inhabitants are only here to do jobs that Americans want do. How dangerous could vegetable pickers, drywall hangers, etc. be?

So safe the floor plan is secret for security reasons?

It's not a jail. It's a federal cafeteria. With offices. And a few hundred patrons who come and go in handcuffs every week.

Repeat after me: not a jail. It's a cafeteria.

There are other factors that the Hearings Officer and CoP have been ignoring about the SoWhat Jail.

The site's access is directly onto SW Bancroft right at the intersection with SW Macadam and the exit ramp off I-5 into SoWhat. This intersection is the largest, almost only access into SoWhat from the whole city. According to PBOT, over 68% of all trips into SoWhat are through this intersection. That is one reason that the Transportaton Plan for SoWhat has designated SW Bancroft in this area as a "Restricted Access Street". Believe me, if a McDonalds wanted to build here at this very high traffic count, they would say "NO". Why is Jail being given a pass?

Also, a 1999 PBOT Traffic Study for SoWhat also shows this intersection as having a "F", "Failure" of service. The other day I counted over 32 cars just exiting out of SoWhat at this intersection having to wait over 3 light sequences to exit. That should be wonderful for ambulances to endure going to all the medical/research facilities OHSU and others plan in the district.

Since PBOT had the foresight to recognize the "F" and place "Limited Access Street" at this site, why are they ignoring it?

What is more exasperating is that the future traffic counts for this area is based on having 40% of all trips into SoWhat by transit. So the reality of traffic chaos at this intersection is even worse.

Making any sense out of this isn't what counts here.
Unfortunately, over and over again in pdx,
we know it is who counts that matters.

If they had called it a Welfare Office, it would already have received an emergency variance and we wouldn't have heard anything about it.

Mister Tee, well Randy and his senior adviser just forgot to call it "welfare", but they didn't forget the "office" portion. But they "forgot" the Jail part. That's why the neighborhood and others prevailed having this conditional review process as required for Jail facilities. City knew it was going to LUBA and beyond. And it may still, after the Council's decision either way.

Good luck to the neighborhood.
Good that the conditional review process was still in place.
Parks attempted to remove the CU for recreational purposes in neighborhoods and implement a Good Neighbor Agreement instead.
Have not been able to keep up with this, if in fact the city did remove the CU.
I imagine the city prevailed,
as the less standing the neighborhoods have the better for them!!
Why do we have to battle so much with our city here?
Wouldn't it be nice to have cooperation and knowing that those we elect and pay for would be on our side?
I would like to live in such a community -
where does that exist?

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