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Friday, February 3, 2012

So many options

Over in northwest Portland, just west of the I-405 freeway and in the higher letters of the Alphabet District, there used to be some actual industry, especially trucking. Blue collar jobs, like the ones the politicians around here keep telling us they're trying to bring us. But now all those businesses have been chased away by the bad attitudes in City Hall, and there's no hope of them ever coming back. And so it's time to decide what else should be located on that prime real estate.

You'll never guess what the city planners have come up with.

What's that you say? Well, how did you know?

That's right, apartments!

Those glorious, wonderful, ugly crackerbox apartments. But hey, there's still a lot that hasn't been decided: eight stories, or 22, or 30?

There's also some debate about park space. Some people have suggested an actual traditional park with, you know, a playground. But to the creative 20-something know-nothings running city government, that's an impossible sell. They'd rather have some super-sterile concrete thing with a few blades of pathetic "native" grass that no one will ever sit by, except maybe the occasional junkie tying up.

There's a whole public involvement charade in progress on this, but let's face it, it's going to be more high-rise apartments that existing residents will heavily subsidize, some hideous totem poles, a bunch of Subway sandwich locations, a lot of fake brick, and a ton of pretension. Cue Randy Gragg! Go by streetcar!

Comments (22)

Won't that require another new light rail or trolley line?

So which will the the "PLANNERS" recommend be going in FIRST?

Who do I need to bribe to get dibs on the "No Cars Allowed" sign contract ?

Con-way isnt leaving the site are they? I thought they were just trying to develop all those surface parking lots. As long as they're not violating development regs, don't they have that right? Even apartments would be better than those parking lots and cyclone fencing.

Maybe Tri-met's Deer Baby can be resurrected for the park.

There are other needs for open spaces. I remember when the city said they needed some land in NW to put emergency vehicles, etc. As I recall, SW became a location.

My point being, we don’t need to have every empty space for apartments. Even parking lots provide a form of visual open space, granted not as nice as a park, but open space it is where perhaps one can get a glimpse of a mountain such as Mt. St. Helens or a glimpse of something other than apartments.

Isn't it actually ConWay that's presenting this proposal, not the city? Granted, they have to follow city rules, so maybe that forced them to make certain design choices they wouldn't have made had they been located, say, in the 'Couv.

Considering the open parking lot next Con-way was supposed to be a parking garage, when the new building was built, I'm surprised they are trying to do anything with the city.

BTW, the garage was killed by DaKitz, so Con-way left the parking lot open and have not made any improvements, they've also leased the parking rights for the their old "truck shop" to Legacy. Of course the "truck shop" is a superfund site in waiting and built hell-for-stout.

At this point, Con-way's new building has an entire second floor empty and so is a building across the street thanks to UPS buying the Emery Organization from Menlo, UPS swallowed Emery and after moving the Portland IT group back to the Montgomery Park building from the second floor of their new building, UPS laid most of the them off. So now the 6th floor of the Montgomery Park is nearly empty as is the Second floor of the Adtech II building (which has been available for lease for almost a decade now)

Of course Con-way has outsourced their IT to HP and laid off about 200 employees in the process, with some being replaced by HP employees.

Looking at the way the company is running from the inside, I can say that I have serious doubts about the organization existing in its current state in a decade.

I would keep an eye on an up and coming competitor, UTI, who is staffed with many of the people who were laid off from Emery and Con-way and are getting down to business.

Re: open spaces -- "...a vibrant urban plaza and a smaller, traditional green space with playground equipment."

What architect-designed urban space isn't vibrant these days? And what traditional dog wouldn't love a traditional green space? Fun for all!

These sites are owned by Conway who should be able to do what they want with them. Conway, not the city, is calling the shots here, so if you don't like the plans they're producing, blame them, not the city. For Conways part, there is money in housing. They will make money by selling or developing the land. Good old free market property ownership and property rights. What could be more American. And apartments happen to be very popular right now, as the Willy Week and others have recently reported. There are thousands of Portlanders who want to live in the NW. It's a great neighborhood. In fact, so is the Pearl, where thousands of people have paid plenty of money to live. There are a lot of fantastic restaurants there that are not Subway. Just because you don't like these neighborhoods and you don't want to live there does not make it right for you to say its wrong. Prohibiting these places would be social engineering just as surely as the actions you accuse others of taking. Of course you could argue that they are subsidized but as the article says the Conway properties are not in a URA and I doubt any of the projects there will receive tax abatement. The city's main abatement program is for affordable housing. As I posted before, almost none of the residential projects in the Pearl received tax abatements, while they here they can (in the absence of urban renewal), put lots of money on the tax rolls. I agree with you on the issue of height. The city, who will ultimately call the shots on height via zoning, should be sensitive to any neighboring residential areas. However, since much of the surrounding blocks are semi industrial or freeway, I could see some tall buildings at conway--who will they bother?

Timber Jim wrote:

These sites are owned by Conway who should be able to do what they want with them.

Owners doing what they want with their own property? in Portland? Somebody should alert Columbia Sportswear, the Schumacher family, and Ted Pappas.

I can't even plant a tree in front of my house, but I'm responsible for my parking strip. Does this mean I can plant trees now? Thanks for that.

I don't mind new Apartments.
I just wonder where these new tenants will find jobs.

The artist's rendering of the neighborhood indicates that the new residents will be white.

I think I spy bioswales along the curb!

Timber Jim, developer water boy, is back. Haven't heard from him since his "aerial tram was a great deal" rant of a few weeks ago. Today he's posting from the Bay Area.

Le Corbusier would be proud.

As long as they're not violating development regs, don't they have that right?

Simply stated, no. The current zoning is EX (Central Employment). The applicant wants a higher-density residential designation. That change, along with others, requires a process involving government and the public.

Even apartments would be better than those parking lots and cyclone fencing.

Once such a change is approved, you'll never be able to go back. It isn't a matter of what looks better for the moment. It's a question of the most appropriate land usage in the long run.

As I posted before, almost none of the residential projects in the Pearl received tax abatements, while they here they can (in the absence of urban renewal), put lots of money on the tax rolls.

And take lots more more off of the payroll (and payroll taxes).

I could see some tall buildings at conway--who will they bother?

Lots of people who have their view blocked. And many of them are lawyers.

Plus, higher density here won't be well managed by existing infrastrusture - despite claims that there is a nearby freeway (I-405 / US 30), the two interchanges in NW that access these freeways are currently near overload. Everyone is impacted by that.

Here is the thing that just burns me up. Do you think any- ANY- of the planners, developers, architects, and others that participate in putting up bunker after bunker LIVE in one? Absolutely not. To a one, they live in nice single-family homes with yards. I challenge anyone to find an example to the contrary. Yet, they build this housing for "others"- but would never want to live in something like this themselves. Why is it ok to create housing that you would never want to live in? Can't we make that the Golden Rule- you have to live, for 5 years, in the housing you create. If its not good enough for you, its not good enough for anyone else. If you, the creator of such housing, think that you deserve a bit of privacy and a modicum of space, then so should everyone else. Its just so snobbish and privileged. Rant over.

Good comments.
Would like to know how many of these planners, etc. live outside the UGB?
As I recall a Metro planner promoting this density lived in the Stafford area with acreage outside the UGB...others on here might have that information.

Another matter, it has been my experience that various environmental groups/coalitions etc. will not come out to protect much inside the UGB, do they think of where we mostly live as a sacrifice zone to accommodate the infill agenda?

In my view, it looks like the plan is to push as many people as possible into not the little boxes as when this song was written -
but now teeny unit/boxes - and then for others big/giant boxes.

Times have changed in size anyway.
Go out to Happy Vally and see what has happened to once forested hills.

The first Zidell pre-app.

No street parking, no on-site parking.

BUT...152 bicycle spaces!

Thanks for the link.
Unbelievable, that they would have retail and residential and No on-site vehicle parking,
but parking for 152 bicycles!
So if a friend of mine lives in one of these units and invites me over for dinner, I have to go over in the evening with a bike?
Is this residential complex to be owned or rented out only to those who are avid bicyclers?

Northwest corner of SW Moody Avenue and SW Grover Street
Pre-Application Conference for a new seven-story building having ground floor retail with residential use on the upper floors. No on-site vehicle parking is proposed, but parking for 152 bicycles will be provided. A loading/service area will be accessed from SW Grover Street. A Type III Design Review is required.


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