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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Irvington bunker plan: 49 units, no parking

The story we broke a couple of weeks ago about the revival of a proposed apartment complex project at NE 15th and Hancock has made the mainstream media. For the immediate neighbors, the news is not good: 49 apartments, ranging in size from 400 to 600 feet, and no parking except on the street.

At least the thing is supposedly going to be only three stories high, but 49 residents on a 10,000-square-foot lot seems awfully cramped. As for the utter lack of parking, the developers are pointing out that there are Max and streetcar lines nearby, but of course, that's a stretch. The nearest streetcar station will be around 10 blocks away, and it's a roundabout 11-block walk through the Lloyd Center Bulletproof Vest Zone to get to the Max.

It will be interesting to see what kind of look the exterior will have for those lucky folks who will be living in 400 square feet. Maybe Joe Weston will lend these developers one of his motel floor plans, with which he trashed much of the Buckman neighborhood 35 years ago. "Workforce housing" -- what a perfectly Portland way of putting it.

Comments (31)

That's the addition of at least 30 parked cars on blocks where its already difficult to find street parking.

City of Portland to Portland Neighborhoods: Go F**k Yourselves!

What if a resident buys a plug in electric car? Can't they have a garage for that? Or even a little Smart Car.

Jack--just one correction: 49 units does not equal 49 residents/autos. Figure that half of those units will be occupied by couples on a full-time basis and you've got 74 residents. Add a few others with significant others that sleep over, etc., and the impacts of parking on this neighborhood could be pretty severe.

I have nothing against urban density, but how can you build a residence for, at minimum 49 people, and not have parking available. I still can't believe they got away with no parking on Division. On top of that, there will be businesses on the bottom floor. I wouldn't want to open a business if my customers can't find parking.

A lot of Joe Westons "Work force housing" filled with low income renters were converted to "high end condo's" which are now empty. See 39th & Taylor, 49th & Stark, etc. etc.

Sounds like a Ghetto in the making. Densification stinks. If I wanted to live in New York city, I would have moved to New York city long ago. Metro artificially causes this ghetto like approach to treating families and their neighborhoods.

A lot of Joe Westons "Work force housing" filled with low income renters were converted to "high end condo's" which are now empty. See 39th & Taylor, 49th & Stark, etc. etc.

I don't know about the Stark one, but the one @ 39th/Taylor has sold all but one unit.

We've got a similar property just across the street from us: a conversion of an older building, 43 SRO units of about 350-400 sq ft each. I toured one when the building was first opened. I remarked that there was no closet; my wife said, "We're in the closet." But the interesting thing is that, apart from fairly frequent double parking for move-ins and move-outs, there is just zero impact on parking here in a NW neighborhood that is supposed to be notoriously difficult for parking. (That's just not the case.) The building has a resident manager, and on balance it is a positive contribution to the neighborhood.

How about the beautiful bed and breakfast house? How will that business survive?

Add this to my “Curtain Open – Curtain Closed”.
Curtain Open – Portland is so livable.
Curtain Closed – Portland’s livability is being destroyed.

We can thank former Mayor Katz and former Commissioner Charlie Hales of Planning for setting this up. Now we have planning guru’s to implement the agenda. No parking again? Why do these people hate the way others live in their neighborhoods?

Perhaps this will be the housing for the younger set the city may be indoctrinating, their “partnership” PSU students?

Where will all these newcomers that the city has with the “Curtain Open” lured them in with find jobs?

This is really quite sick, 49 units and no parking? I lived in Manhatten and this is no Manhatten. No slow light rail there - fast subways. Much open space there to accommodate that density. Manhatten is a narrow strip of land, with Central Park in the midst. One can go a few blocks to the huge park open space and a few blocks the other direction to a vast open space of the river. My point being there is open space that makes that density more livable than “the plan” here.

What the plan here is to overlay the density grid onto our already established city.
Mistake!! Our city land is a different pattern. Here it creates angst for the people who have chosen to live in Portland’s once nice city of neighborhoods. The character of our city and neighborhoods are being destroyed and less livable creating undue stress. Now some can get out to coast or mountains for relief, what happens if gas costs $10 a gallon? We need to keep the livability within our city. As it is some cannot get out and that creates more stress upon our population. Great planning, these planners are!!

Former planners of our once beloved city must shudder at these projects. Should not be allowed. Who changed the codes this drastically? Adams must be worse than Katz in this regard. He should live in the 400 sq. ft. housing unit. Instead he wants his yard, garden and chickens. This is the kind of housing he promotes for others? The city is turning into one hypocritical mess by the time they are done with it. We allow this to continue?? They want to transform every inch of this place? Whatever happened to our City of Roses? The character of our city has been destroyed and is continually being worked over by “The City That Works”.

"No parking again? Why do these people hate the way others live in their neighborhoods?"

Oh no, Clinamen, it's not that they hate us. It's just that they are BETTER than us. They must improve us through central planning.

Once you just accept that an employee of the Portland Bureau of Planning is inherently a better human being than you in all respects, it becomes so easy to acceptall the social engineering.

Fix me, City of Portland!

Clinamen is absolutely right that the problem here is that Portland planners are taking a look at a ideal urban environment (NYC) and assuming that you can just make a place just like NYC overnight. But the density and the transportation that supports it in NYC developed together. Subways addressed density, which enabled more density, which caused more subway service, etc. Same with places like Tokyo, Madrid, etc. But you can't just start making a place really dense and have this utopian idea that "if you build them [without parking] the bus lines will come!" The sad truth is that people now use cars. They might not use their cars all the time, and they might walk most places in their highly walkable neighborhood, but they still own the cars. Wishing doesn't make it otherwise.

"...@ 39th/Taylor has sold all but one unit." Having lived close in southeast since the 70's I know that particular conversion was a big improvement. I used to bike up to Tabor park using Taylor street and would cross at 39th with the light. Everyone seemed to have their windows covered with aluminum foil and no one used the parking lot pool. It was a pretty creepy place.

Relax. Its all part of "The Plan".

You don't need a car.

Go by Max! Go by streetcar! Go by WESQ!

Just don't go by bus, because TriMet has no interest in running busses.

Since it appears many of the jobs in the region are in the outer areas (think Hillsboro, Gresham, Wilsonville), it would seem likely that at least some of those moving into this bunker would have to have a car to get to a job, to pay for their bunker.

Folks, enough blogging - it's time to get the pitchforks out!

Do they think they are better than us or do they need to implement the plans in order to keep their job?

Years ago, I had a planner, perhaps was one of the earlier good planners, come to me and say we need to stop a certain Commissioner. This planner did not approve of what that Commissioner was doing. We used to have codes in place that protected our livability, and unfortunately, I have witnessed the dismantling of those codes. One I had much angst over was Title 34, our land division code.

Don't know what they think these days. However, I have experienced strangleholds if one does not go along with their plans, so you may be right. Now, they may be hiring those who willingly go along and do think they know better.

Take care Snards,
Like your comments.

Is happathy the swine flu of livability in beloved Portland?

Inadequate parking in any neighborhood (except downtonwn) is made insufferable in no small measure by the city's complete failure to enforce its own parking code. The code says that vehicles are to be moved off the block face daily, but anyone who has made repeated calls to the city asking for relief from vehicles parked in front of their properties for weeks, even months, will be met by a "we can't do anything" answer, because the city has other priorities (e.g. streetcars). If you press hard enough, you will be told: "tires go flat," and after scratching your head for a while, you realize the full import of what they are telling you, since the vehicle can only be towed if it appears inoperable or has no license plates. As a basically law-abiding citizen, you are between a rock and a hard place on this, but you finally decide you can't let your moronic neighbors get away with their selfishness. Having said this, I really feel sorry for the neighbors near 15th and Hancock and anywhere else where density and its parking problems will probably force them over the edge because we live in a city where "quality of life" means never having to ticket or tow.

Building units do not equal cars folks. I have lived car-free for many years. I walk [keeps me in shape , the ol heart loves it] and now and then , ride the streetcar [which is great] It is fine not having to worry about cars , insurance and licenses.
Give it a try , go car - free for a week !


That's a great choice for you or others satisfied with doing very little in the way of enjoying all this region has to offer. I'm willing to bet you have to rely on friends or significant other(s) to get around beyond a limited radius. I didn't drive until I was 30, but I consistently needed a driver to pick me up, or take me places off the bus routes, or involving hauling stuff. That's a reality. So many times people had to drive their car out of their way to accommodate me. And a lot was delivered to me by a third party. When I started driving, I got a pickup and it was payback time. I think it all evens out in the end. If you're just referring to short jaunts, then sure - walk bike, whatever. But there's the beach, the mountains, the desert, ...

Fine if that is your choice.

Others made their choice when they moved into this neighborhood and invested in their homes.

So now, the neighbors after paying taxes all these years don't matter? Is this project such a priority that it trumps the character, stability and livability of the rest of the neighborhood?

Informants are telling me there is a stealth change to the zoning code being approved by the city council today that completely takes number of parking spaces, and equivalent measures of intensity out of approval criteria. In other words, they are tired of getting beaten up for giving developer weasels what they want by defying the process, so they are changing the process so it says impact doesn't matter. Welcome to the Houston of the North, Baby!!! (Although somebody told me Houston has a 1/2 decent bus system serving all the employment corridors, so maybe we're the Birmingham of the North.)

"how can you build a residence for, at minimum 49 people, and not have parking available."

Apparently you've never seen PDCs vision for MLK or any retail project they do. They hate parking for cars.

I'd be kind of curious, though, since I thought one of The Civic buildings was built without parking (yes, I know the MAX runs right in front of it) what their occupancy was.

I can't help but notice the previous attempt at developing that site had big units (only 14-18) and on-site parking. That was pretty soundly rejected, wasn't it?

How is this any different from any of the numerous such apartment buildings in NW and SE Portland? Most people who choose to move in will obviously take into account the lack of parking and will either move in or not. Personally it does not sound very appealing to me but the neighborhood is popular and people want to live there. If they want to live in a shoebox with no parking......well more power to them I guess.

That's precisely the problem, Macky Wacky. All the power resides with the guy or gal who decides to move in and wing it parking their car on the street. Maybe they only use the car on the weekends, so that it sits all week in front of a neighbor's house. Is that fair to the neighbor? Or to the entire neighborhood, one where parking is already tight? Until the city puts money and effort into enforcing its parking regulations in the neighborhoods, apartment or condo bunkers such as these should be required to have on-site parking.

There are differences in characters of neighborhoods, that is the difference.

You don't just place bunkers into single family neighborhoods without parking. . .
unless there is a larger plan here.
Devalue the neighborhood, cause enough stress and chaos that one by one people will leave and voila! A whole little NYC will be put in, does it have anything to do with the behind the scene plans with light rail and tax abated projects?

Patsy, maybe the farmer who used to be next to your house 100 years ago thought your house was a problem too. After the apartments are built someone might close the coffee shop all the hipsters like to go to and it will be vacant. Welcome to big city. Things change.

"big city?"

Most Portlanders live here because it isn't a big city. God knows the number of refugees from places like Philly, etc that are here.

We like mid-sized because ideally it it offers many of the advantages of a city with fewer of the disadvantages.

This condo-density-no car schtick is killing that

If you want fake NYC move to San Francisco.

Yes there is change.
Reasonable change is one thing, being short changed is another.

I imagine the farmer sold his property and gained something. These neighbors gain nothing and only lose with devalued property and less quality of life. They may not be able to sell their property easily. Don't think the farmer had the same problem.

Look, I don't live in that neighborhood. But, I am tired of having the city give favors and exceptions to some at the expense of others. I am tired of them pushing their agenda on us and how we should all live. We pretty much have seen evidence that neighborhoods and businesses don't matter much to our council. Maybe we should have those whom they favor pay their salary and perks and be done with it!

Yes, John, change is inevitable. But we can have good change or we can have bad change. We can have change that reflects how people actually live, or we can have change that reflects only how planners want us to live. And with no off-street parking provided, this project appears to represent the latter. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe none of the residents of this new building will have cars and there will be zero impact on the area's parking. But even if only a few of them have cars, and taking into account that the city does not enforce it's own parking regulations, there could be quite a bit of impact on the neighborhood, and that impact would not be positive. That's the reality. And with that reality in mind, wouldn't it be better to design this project to account for it rather than ignore it?

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