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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Apartment bunker pushers drooling over Rose Garden area

Portland's army of planners have come up with a new "master plan" for the freeway ghetto areas around the Rose Garden Arena, and it features... you guessed it... high-rise apartment buildings! And lots of them. Some of them 20 stories tall, and the developer sharpies will be allowed to slap them up 10 stories high all the way east down Broadway and Weidler to Seventh Avenue. Six stories all the way east to 16th. Enjoy the daylight while you can, Irvington.

Not to mention the traffic impacts. If you've ever tried to get onto or off of Interstate-5 at the Rose Garden -- and who in this area hasn't found themselves in that scene at least once? -- you know that it can already be a traffic fustercluck. I-5, I-84, and 99-E all coming together, and I-5 essentially two lanes wide in either direction. The surface streets there are also in a constant state of constipation, and when the streetcar starts running on Weidler and Broadway, the congestion is only going to get worse.

That's regardless of whether anyone builds anything new. Stick a few thousand junk apartment units in that neighborhood, and you'll have the worst tie-ups imaginable, both on the freeway and on the street. The nabobs in city government no doubt think that this will cause people to give up their cars, stick a feather you-know-where, and fly everywhere, the Blumenauer way.

The naive and the greedy are working together quite effectively on this one. The worst part is that the working people of Portland will wind up paying huge subsidies to the developer set and their construction cronies to make it all happen. If there are any working people left, that is.

Comments (36)

Wonder what the management of Lloyd Center and the owners of existing office buildings think of this proposal to gridlock the Lloyd District (since I'm sure there would be no improvements to streets in the area to accommodate the additional traffic).

Just throw a big casino into the mix, and everything will be perfect!

You don't understand, there's a trolley there now that needs people to ride so it can become a win-win thingamabob.

How many people are there in the planning staff of our city?

Seems to me that there must always be plans in place to stay employed.

Not that I am wanting unemployment for people, but at what expense? and how much money is spent on all these Master Plans around the city?

I heard a huge amount of money was spent just for the Master Plan for Lents Park, as I recall $100,000. Correct me if wrong on that.

Go by Streetcar.

Isn't that the entire scene here?

Streetcar = Housing!!

Isn't there plenty of housing empty at South Waterfront?

This is crazy making, we need a moratorium. Developers, pay your own way or go somewhere else to do your trade, public pockets are running too empty to continue this scene! Sadly, the character of our city is being taken down by these "redo" plans along with the quality of life here!

So is this part of another urban renewal district? Or would that make it an urban re-renewal district? Or perhaps re-re-renewal district, I've lost track of how many UR districts have been created in this area.

Anyway, what a great place to live, all that loud, stop-and-go freight traffic trying to negotiate the bike lanes and bubble curbs. With more car traffic from the apartment residents that area could easily have the worst air quality in the metro area. I think they call that livability!

"With more car traffic from the apartment residents that area could easily have the worst air quality in the metro area."

No problem - CoP simply won't allow the new apartment buildings to have parking spaces! Then the residents won't have cars! Problem solved!

This project is also recommending widening the freeway and rebuilding the interchange. But don't mention that part-it goes against the narrative and your readers might think it's a good idea.

If the project is also recommending widening the freeway, etc. it is because they absolutely have to in order to build this monstrosity, no other way possible, as instant gridlock is apparent. So the public will have to pay for all of that too. In my opinion no improvement in any road system is done here unless needed in order to assist development.

And none of the top three for mayor have any intention of stopping it. Put a bird on it and go by streetcar!!!

Another reason I'm arranging to disembark the SS Pequod before its too late.

No neighborhood is safe, I would go so far as to write that by the time they are done
all neighborhoods can be under siege. "Redo" "redo" "redo" and we will have the city "redone" until time for more "redo." They won’t stop.

Will we be told that the homes even in the west hills, are old fashioned and do not fit the profile anymore? The land beneath them is more valuable, so now blight? Make room for million dollar McMansions and Condos! ...and throw in another tram or two!!

The City of Crammed and Trammed!

The potential parking dilemma is as much of a problem as the street gridlock. If the proposed structure is within so many blocks of mass transit, the developers are not obliged to provide parking for all units, only a small percentage. So, if I were the Lloyd Center Mall or the Moyer Cinemas or anybody will a small business who counts of street parking for my customers, I'd be pretty upset at finding the inevitable tenants and condo owners parking their cars or their guests' cars hither and yon in spots meant for shoppers.

I'm using the Lloyd Center as an example, but of course this would be true of any neighborhood. In NW near Montgomery Park, neighbors and local businesses were up in arms about a proposed 10 story luxury condo with minimal parking in the neighborhood. Street parking is presently at a premium and that would have blown it out of the water. But the city said it was OK because it was a block from a bus line.

The city can find a way to say anything is OK if it serves their masters.

This project is also recommending widening the freeway and rebuilding the interchange.

The freeway needs two more lanes in each direction now. You couldn't widen it enough to accommodate all the new junk housing that's being proposed here. "If you want traffic improvements, you'll have to give nine figures over to Edlen and Weston." That fits squarely within this narrative.

Impeach, impound and implode the PDC.

What's wrong with the planners who can't seem to include underground parking? Is the water table too high?

Yes, I am one of the crowd who thinks the development is unneeded, but where it is necessary it seems obvious that underground parking should be a requirement.

Same goes for road improvements.

This project is recommending widening the freeway and rebuilding the interchange.

Ha! I won't believe that until I see it. I recall Metro specifically asking the Oregon Transportation Commission not to widen that section of I-5 around 10 years ago despite it being one of the worst bottlenecks in the entire state. I think even Metro estimated it would cost about $20 million to add a lane to each side. Good luck trying to find that kind of money around here! We've got trains and condos to build for the million people expected to move here in the next 100 years or whatever.

"Yes, I am one of the crowd who thinks the development is unneeded, but where it is necessary it seems obvious that underground parking should be a requirement."

You forget, in the Portland of the future, no one will have private cars, so there will be no need to provide parking.

Read the Portland Climate Action Plan - it explains that.

Honestly, this is probably the best idea so far - provided that the housing is affordable (not low-income, but simply affordable - rents should be affordable to a household in Portland making the median income.)

It's clear that any other use has been an utter failure in Portland - commercial development in the Rose Quarter has been a dud; nobody wants to build retail there, it isn't suitable for industrial; no one wants to build office space there. It has never been "vibrant" and won't be.

That said...Portland needs to grow up and be honest with itself. Yes, it'll have light rail and the Streetcar and buses, and it'll have a Transit's close to bike paths -- but the MAJORITY MODE of transport is still the automobile, and this area is a flustercluck. Too little capacity, poorly designed roads from the 1950s that need massive upgrades. A stalled car can tie up traffic for hours. Streets are in very poor condition. And just like we've seen in SoWhat and in the Pearl - people there love their cars there too. The SoWhat district is complaining of a lack of parking. The Pearl has clogged streets all the time. This district MUST be rebuilt with cars in mind. Not exclusively, but admitting that even in Portland, 70-80% of the trips WILL be by car no matter what - despite having light rail trains every couple minutes, despite having buses every couple minutes, despite having Streetcars every 10 minutes, despite having bike lanes and bike paths....the auto will remain the predominate mode of transport.

By the way, as part of the international branding of Portland, the Portland Climate Action plan has been translated into Chinese.

I imagine a group of Chinese bureaucrats reading it and laughing hysterically, before they go off to the dedication of a new Chinese coal plant. (China builds a new coal plant a week.)

I completely agree with Erik H.'s comment. This has been zoned as high density residential since at least 1988. And, that is probably the best use. Some efforts were made years ago to build affordable rental housing, but that was squashed by more lofty planning goals that were never realized.

Given the vitriol for "apartment bunkers" in historic neighborhoods, it makes far more sense to put it somewhere like the Rose Quarter where any sense of history has been demolished, there aren't any single family homes, and that poor lone senior housing project is just an island.

The parking and traffic will probably suck, but that is just a fact of life in the central city.

"Not exclusively, but admitting that even in Portland, 70-80% of the trips WILL be by car no matter what"

Heretic! If you would read the Portland Climate Action Plan, you would learn that our betters have decreed that just 30% of trips will be of people driving alone (down from 66%) now, plus 10% carpooling (up from 8% now).

25% of trips will be by bike (up from 8% now), plus increases in walking and transit.

Refusal to provide parking is just one of the tools in CoP's tool box to force you out of your car, in accordance with the planners' directives!

Land - Who owns the land there?
Could it be someone wanting to sell before the house of cards falls down?
The way things are going here, more people will be wanting to leave,
rather than coming in.
How many empty units are still in South Waterfront?

Yeah, Max is wonderful - due to the COP Police shooting yesterday, the Red and Blue lines didn't run until late yesterday morning - I drove, guessing the green lines would be stuffed to the ceilings. This morning the train I was on sat at Lloyd Center for 5-10 minutes, for unknown reason(s). All it takes is a car wreck, police activity, a broken water/sewer/gas line, and Max shuts down.

And, yes, we will be driving single occupant vehicles - they may not be old school internal combustion engines, but we will drive - for crying out loud, it's dark and rainy and cold six months of the year, and those of us +50 may no longer have the bodies to be riding any more.

Here's is the first of many apartment towers that will be going up around the Rose Quarter.

"Here's is the first of many apartment towers that will be going up around the Rose Quarter."

Eighty apartment units. On-site parking for thirteen cars.

"Urban workforce housing", indeed!

despite having light rail trains every couple minutes, despite having buses every couple minutes, despite having Streetcars every 10 minutes, despite having bike lanes and bike paths....the auto will remain the predominate mode of transport.

Uhh... what city's transit system are you talking about? That doesn't sound like Portland. If by "every couple of minutes" you mean every 20 minutes at best ("express" service, ha!) on overcrowded, dirty old buses, then that sounds more like the future of Portland transit. Assuming that transit could in some way be an effective substitute to driving for a large percentage of the population living in transient oriented apartment blocks, TrainMet will not be there to provide this hypothetical efficient transit system. It's simply too obsessed with trains to the point that it will reduce service quality simply to build a train (e.g. PMLR). And if you think TrainMet is in dire financial straits just wait until the Gresham line ticks over 30 years of age. These systems are known to crap out and require massive rebuilding/restoration every 30-40 years (just look at D.C.'s decrepit subway now somewhere around 40 years of age). The federal fairy godmother probably won't be there with a "match" to pay for that reconstruction.

With that said I peg the percent share of auto use well north of 90% for the foreseeable future.

The building will have smaller units in an effort to keep rents low.

How small?
...and what will the rent range be?

Uhh... what city's transit system are you talking about? That doesn't sound like Portland. If by "every couple of minutes"

Ryan, on the "core" MAX segment between the Rose Quarter TC and Gateway TC you have the Blue, Red and Green lines all operate approximately five minutes apart, about six minutes during off-peak periods, and sometimes sooner than five minutes during rush hour. When you throw in the Yellow Line that serves the Rose Quarter-Interstate stop (a separate platform but never the less the same location) you do, in fact, have trains every "couple of minutes".

That is...if TriMet dispatches its system properly. We all very well know that TriMet hasn't figured out how to run trains the way the Japanese do (where Conductors are timed to the second, being three seconds off is considered off-schedule, and being off-schedule twice when at fault is grounds for termination.) On the bus system, "late" is three minutes or more, and there is absolutely no accountability by ANYONE at TriMet for tardy trips.still get into Portland early.)

We've all been downtown when there'd be a lull of no activity, then all of a sudden the trains just back up, with trains stopped inbetween station platforms, and nothing is moving...

That's the best description yet of what goes on here. The naive and the greedy working together. That is the gist.

despite having buses every couple minutes

A genuine howler! Yes, I've often been lucky to wait as little as 20, 25 minutes in between buses on our city's major thoroughfares. How ever so convenient and world-class.

Oh yah, it is by the numbers. All the people living in these new tenement bunkers are expected to ride transit – the costs of which will continue to be operationally subsidized at 75 percent per one-way trip by taxpayers. What is left out is that PBOT and the city planners fail to inform the public that transit only carries less than 3 percent of the per capita passenger miles traveled in the Portland area even though nearly 50 percent of the transportation dollars received from the Fed is being spent on transit. Mayor Sam calls this hush up transparency.

So, because they weren't allowed to demolish Memorial Coliseum, they're just going to ring it in with 20-story buildings so that no one can see it anymore.

That will teach those preservationists!

And since that area has no neighborhood association, it ought to be a slam-dunk to get it approved.

I think there must be some equation- the higher the density the more dense we become...

Construction mafia to the rescue!

That district gives off "black hole" and "ghost town" vibe . . . even to visitors from out of town. The only exception is on Blazers game nights and then most people just file into the arena, see the game and leave afterwards. I spoke with a couple of Chicago visitors to Portland, here to set up for the auto show at the Convention Center and they told me they preferred to walk around downtown Portland even though there were what they considered to be a lot of street people there.

And since that area has no neighborhood association, it ought to be a slam-dunk to get it approved.

The city seems to get what they want whether there is a neighborhood association objecting or not.
My opinion is that most don't bother objecting any more, or like the plans
OR like to go along with the city for whatever reason.


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