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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Is NE 42nd Avenue the next bunker row?

There's a self-selected group, with a grant from the Portland Development Commission, doing the "vision thing" on 42nd Avenue north of Fremont Street in northeast Portland. Their website is here. "Community – Equity – Prosperity." Uh oh -- smells like the real estate weasels are nearby:

The celebration included a "visioning session" that asked the 120 people attending what they want to see in the future on the thoroughfare.

The group would like community input on everything from zoning issues, what kinds of development would be a good fit, how to make the stretch safer for pedestrians, how the strip should look and feel, and other issues.

If we had to bet where it's all heading, we'd say gargantuan cr-apartment blocks with corporate retail on the ground floor and little or no off-street parking. Even if well meaning people who don't want that are giving up their time now, that doesn't mean the whole process won't be hijacked between now and the time the wrecking balls show up. People who live up that way should be wary indeed.

Comments (15)

I don't think it's entirely inappropriate to mention that in my first glance at the post I read "Vomiting Session" rather than "Visioning Session"

This is actually fairly ingenious if it wasn't so terrible. They are going to get these folks to actually ASK the city City to help them get increased density.

My 2 favorite parts:

1. "Who is running the NPI?

In a broad sense, the initiative was introduced by the Portland Development Commission, which has created some baseline standards for participating communities. Beyond these standards, however, each district is responsible for managing its own initiative."

Uh huh.

2. "What are some possible projects that could be funded by the NPI?
Large projects could include major storefront renovations and funds to assist major site redevelopment."

Major site redevelopment? What could that possibly be?


"Community – Equity – Prosperity."

They forgot "sustainability". Start the whole thing over!

I think the PDC is required to start these types of group in any new urban renewal area. I seem to remember some of them recently asking what they heck good they were doing if the PDC never listens to them, and actually asking if they should disband. Central Eastside I think.

Anyway, the locals will make a report, and the planning bureau will pat them on the head, and then do whatever the planners intended to do from the start.

It is long overdue that the people have their own meetings rather than be under the thumb of. . .
what kinds of development would be a good fit,. . .
Words sound good, but what if none of the above development and
we want to retain our main street and neighborhood character is the answer?
I can hear the pressure and persuasion in the room now. . . to be polite and you will get better mitigation by working together with us as a community. Change does happen as a city grows and it is better to have your input.
Blah, blah, blah.
How about if any change, it needs to be positive, not to be short changed!

I think if they can stretch this out until the end of the year, developers may see that the market for $2000-$2500/month 2 bed apartments may be limited. This is where a lot of the inventory is coming online at.

Then they'll stop.

"I think if they can stretch this out until the end of the year, developers may see that the market for $2000-$2500/month 2 bed apartments may be limited. This is where a lot of the inventory is coming online at."

I've wondered about that. Wouldn't you need 100K of income in a household to come close to affording that level of rent?

And if you could, why wouldn't you rent a house, rather than a space in a car-free apartment bunker?

I just checked the prices at a very nice complex in SE Portland near Reed. It is one of the more attractive rental properties around, and offers parking, large landscaped common areas, patios, a pool and a hot tub.
A spacious 2 bedroom goes for a little more than a thousand.

Another friend had a newer, well-appointed one bedroom with a garage in Brooklyn for about 1000k. The apartment had two levels,
so a couple could live there and have a bit of privacy. It feels like 750-800 sq. feet
and there are some outdoor hard-scaped areas
with trees.

Here's my point: $1000.00 no-parking studios are over-priced. They will fail financially and then the maintenance will

The only firm development I've seen so far is a restaurant, butcher shop, and bar by the Grain and Gristle folks, plus other businesses to round out the space.


I live near there, and I'm cool with it. Buzzwords aside, that area could use some new, less sketchy blood than it's got now. There's already some old school crapartments on the scene that are no picnic, albeit with parking. A modest influx of money from the city and some actually community driven development doesn't have to lead to the usual parade of horribles, does it? It remains to be seen, but I'm going to wait for a while before I put on my crabby hat.

Apartments without parking reason enough to put on the crabby hat. There was no respect shown to the neighborhood another reason, don't know what you are waiting for or what it will take for you to wear one. If whoever is behind this "visioning" now had done so before they put the complex next to the Hollywood Theater, that space could have remained a lovely open space much needed with density around. Want vision? An outdoor space with tables umbrellas and nicely landscaped for people to meet before and after events at the theater.

Honestly, I think they might concentrate on putting at least one restroom and encouraging small sandwich or coffee vendors at the MAX stations. There's NOTHING there at the moment and there's no excuse for it.

I took the MAX out to the hinterlands of Hillsboro this afternoon. That's a looooong ride. Bursting at the seams, was relieved to see that there was actually a porta-potty on the grounds . . . until I discovered it was padlocked. Believe me, there's nothing around the Fairgrounds Station except the airport, the deserted fairgrounds and lots of traffic. One of the Beaverton stops has a vendor in a little booth, but it's closed most of the time. Fortunately there are a number of large fields with heavy shrubbery but it shouldn't have to come to that.

Sorry to seem off-topic, but my reaction to these new unaffordable hive-homes with chain businesses below and the ten-thousandth coffee shop is that I'd rather see some real businesses selling necessities and amenities like public restrooms considered when they make these "important" decisions about land use in communities.

Time to rally the troops and start showing up at meetings..

This is from many experiences. Almost invariably, every time PDC, Planners have induced a planning process (even innocuously sold) the option of doing nothing, very little, or letting a neighborhood/city form naturally, it is soon eliminated. Of course they throw those options out because their jobs are in jeopardy, they can't play developer, and they can't reward their favorites.

In one case several years ago CoP/Planners wanted to create a Plan District with increased density, many zone changes, etc. The neighborhood had suspicions, did its own studies and discovered that only 1/2 of the neighborhood was built out to its present zoning. That many of the present zoning designations already allowed for the "visions" of the Planners. That traffic capacity of arterials were close to maximum with no ability to expand. And a host of other reasons why a major plan change would be detrimental to the neighborhood as well as adjoining neighborhoods. In large part after much effort, even costs to the neighborhood, they prevailed. But in most cases this is not the outcome, especially in the past two decades.

Beware of the smiley faces PDC/CoP/Metro puts on with these supposedly innocent feelers. The neighborhood's life will dramatically change far beyond the naturally occurring changes of a city. And hopefully you will have the ability to move, or your income keeps up with the change.

One more thing, in case you're thinking CoP is going to slow this down.

They can get about $20k worth of SDC/permits for each approved unit from the developer.

We did a lot of "visioning" back in the early seventies. I am beginning to think the planners are having the same type of "visions". Could it be time for mandatory drug testing of city employees? And it would be appropriate to test city commissioners too, from what I've heard.

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