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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 8, 2012 10:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was Portland cop pension mysteries remain. The next post in this blog is Traffic safety in Portland = bikes, bikes, and more bikes. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Outrage over parking-less cr-apartments makes the DJC

Even the Portland business publication, which hasn't met too many real estate developers whom it didn't instantly like, is now covering the issue of the many apartment bunkers being built in eastside neighborhoods without off-street parking for their warehoused occupants. But the reporter does spout back the official party line from the clods at City Hall:

The city has encouraged this type of development since the 1990s, when changes were made so that many commercial zones, where residential development is allowed, do not require on-site parking.

When the changes took place, they were widely praised. They were made to encourage use of alternative forms of transportation and to promote multifamily housing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had warned Portland that it was not complying with air-quality standards, according to Eden Dabbs, communications officer for the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

"We had a real problem with dirty air," she said. "Portland is the way it is now partly because of (the zoning changes)."

Just as potholes save lives in Sam-Rand-speak, so too do soulless, out-of-place, particle board infill projects save the planet. What a joke our city has become.

Comments (16)

How many elected officials, or even city employees, actually live in one of these tennement slum warehouses? The likelyhood is NONE because it is all about dictating to the masses – lip service about what people should do, but not themselves.

Not having a requirement for on-site parking is the only reason it's possible to build 60 crapartments on a 10,000 square foot lot. If a reasonable ratio of on-site parking was required, developers would either have to build sub grade or surface spots. Subtracting area necessary for ramping and/or circulation and also for building structure would leave room for only a handful of on-site spots on lots this small. In other words, requiring on-site parking would kill the mixed-use infill dreams of the Portland planners (who probably live in Beaverton anyway).

Not having high density infill would kill the City of Portland's revenue stream; they charge $15,000 in SDC's and other fees per crapartment. If you think the zoning code will ever require on-site parking, think again.

That figures that it has to do with revenue stream, because
it has little to do with livability for the people who live in them
or for the adjacent neighborhoods.

Something is very broken in Portland: Outdated building ordinances that let developers build without off-street parking.
With the scarcity of rental units in Portland, the land-shark developers like Lorentz-Bruun, Creston Homes and Urban Development
Partners are having a feeding frenzy snapping up lots all over the city and building outsized 4-story apartments without either neighborhood
design review or any off-street parking for tenants. The results for the neighborhoods is a degradation of liveability. Along S.E. Division, for example,
all three of these land-sharks have been busy. The perfect storm is that with new restaurants and businesses going in customers and tenants have nowhere to
park, so cars have spilled into the adjacent neighborhood streets, with a big upward tic of car break-ins. Some residents are selling their homes as the looming buildings now eliminate backyard privacy as well as their street parking. The Portland City Council needs to fix this and the land-sharks need to be slapped with some off-street parking rules and mandatory design review.
Do developer campaign contributions continue to trump responsible growth? Where are the mayoral candidates on this? Why are the neighborhood associations so quiet when their residents are outraged?

"Why are the neighborhood associations so quiet when their residents are outraged?

I've been to a few of these neighborhood meetings, and (as puzzling as it is) I've seen support for this sort of development because (wait for it...) "It's green". Encouraging a "car free" lifestyle is what Portland is all about; without these "visionary" planning techniques, Portland would just be another Denver. So, this is all okay to Mr. and Mrs. Bikerson who moved to the Clinton "20-minute" neighborhood because these bars and restaurants are adding to the menu of nearby services they moved there for. In plannerspeak, this is a "win-win" for all neighborhood "stakeholders". The dream unravels, though, when Mrs. Bikerson takes that job at Nike and becomes more dependent on that car after all.

In October 2009 the current city council and current county commissioners adopted the Portland Climate Action Plan.

I advise everytone to read it. It's Portland's death sentence and it's being carried out before your eyes.

"Why are the neighborhood associations so quiet when their residents are outraged?"

My Opinion:

As a former member of the Mill Park Neighborhood Association. I've witnessed over and over, the hammering we received at the Chairs meeting because we had the audacity to fly in the face of certain city council people over the water issue. I even had an e-mail, directed to me from the chair from an adjacent Neighborhood criticizing the chair of our association for wasting time pursuing this issue when in fact, the folks here backed the chair's position almost 100%.

To go on would take a big chunk here. Suffice it to say that many, many neighborhood Associations will no longer face down the city, when the reason for having these associations was to be the voice of the people, not the voice of the city.

The dream unravels, though, when Mrs. Bikerson takes that job at Nike and becomes more dependent on that car after all.

Or has a kid. Or needs to drive down to see her folks in Medford. I've said it before, and I'll say it until I'm blue in the face: I bike, my family bikes, and we encourage our kids to bike because it is good exercise and occasionally convenient. But it is a very specific demographic (by and large they are white yuppies or retirees without kids...and yes I know there are plenty of exceptions) that is able to make cycling a lifestyle choice, and it is a shame to see the city catering to this group of people at the expense of everyone else.

Hmmm, retirees like those with hip replacements, knee surgery, circulation problems etc, why yes, we are in that favored group.

Nice to know where we fit, now pass out the diplomas. Ooops. Never mind. Some of us have already passed out riding or old fashioned Schwinns up the hills of PDX. /s

Starting with that irresponsible 1990's parking deregulation ordinance!

Hmmm, retirees like those with hip replacements, knee surgery, circulation problems etc, why yes, we are in that favored group.

I meant no disrespect, I was primarily talking about people who have the time on their hands to make cycling a reasonable part of their everyday lives. In my part of town (inner SE), seniors do make up a significant % of the people biking past my house.

Now that parking space on Portland neighborhood streets is becoming a premium, Imbet the next move the greedy city government will undertake will be to require expensive permits for anyone to park on the street. There was a time when the public owned the streets in common. We paid for them and they belong to us. It seems like the world has shifted so that the greedy folks in city hall now think the streets are theirs (or theirs to manage), and if the public wants to use them as a parking lot, they should pay for the space. I wonder what the going rate will be? It's really diabolical - eliminate off-street parking, then charge for on-street parking. It's just a premonition, but what do you want to bet on it coming true?

Between the the abuse Americans suffer at the hands of local politicians, big banks, and health insurers, I'm surprised more people aren't angry.

Dave J. wrote: "I was primarily talking about people who have the time on their hands to make cycling a reasonable part of their everyday lives."

There's another group that relies on bikes for transportation, but they don't get much attention because they are not confrontational and don't take part in the closed street/bridge ride extravaganzas: workers at or below the poverty line who can't afford a car. They aren't biking because they have "the time on their hands to make cycling a reasonable part of their everyday lives." It is part of their everyday lives out of necessity.

However for everyone in that class, there are others who are not economically better off but for whom a car means a job. Recent articles suggest that a car is so important to these folks that they will default on their rent or mortgage payment rather than give up the car because they need it for work. You can live in a car; you can't drive an apartment, no matter how trendy and green, to work.

The quest for apartment bunkers spread throughout the city mirrors the hated Seattle, though, minus the money that has made it so widespread there.

The British writer Jonathan Raban, who has lived in Seattle for years, has written a number of good essays about how the demolition of older neighborhoods and the rise of places like S. Lake Union, similar to the Pearl, are the antithesis of what a city is all about, and just a collection of homogeneous folk no more diverse than the most reviled suburban areas laughed at by "urbanites" who revel in the fact that while they can easily walk to Yoga studios, hip coffeshops, trendy restaurants, and art galleries can't actually buy what they need in their lifestyle zones. They may have to travel to the uncool parts of the city to do that.


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Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
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David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
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Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 319
At this date last year: 172
Total run in 2013: 257
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In 2004: 204
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