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Monday, August 8, 2011

What -- no bird on it?

Readers have alerted us to a controversy brewing in the Hillsdale section of southwest Portland. Apparently some of the residents there are taking umbrage at the plan by Chase Bank to locate a branch in the neighborhood.

Portland's a funny place. On the east side of town, neighbors have to fight methadone clinics, gangster halfway houses, drunk tanks, homeless shelters, centers for the criminally insane, cell phone antennas outside their kids' bedroom windows -- on the west side, they protest Holocaust memorials, rec centers, streetcars, and bank branches. (Although Fireman Randy is about to stick the SoWhat District with an immigration jail next to a grammar school, which is deliciously ironic.)

Anyway, in Hillsdale, Chase and its landlord are apparently seeking a legal "adjustment" to build a branch that is less dense and has more parking than the city's straitjacket of land use rules normally allows, and some of the neighbors are vowing to fight it. (One guy even went so far overboard in his outrage as to have to take down an overheated blog post and apologize for what he said.) The location is on Capitol Highway near Bertha Boulevard, along a stretch of road that's already got lots of retail and several traditional parking lots next to the stores.

One gets the impression that the neighbors are more upset about a large national bank moving in than they are about the parking. We can't say that we blame them. We despise Chase and its ilk, and are happy to have pulled our measly accounts out of there after they stole our business in the Washington Mutual debacle.

Since we left Chase, its behavior has only gotten worse. And it's now actually taken over all of the financial functions of the state of Kentucky, and will get to use idle state funds to make profitable loans to its customers. These guys will never stop reaching into the little guy's pocket, and they operate with the full blessing of the Obama sellout team. (Or maybe it's the other way around.)

But we digress. One important thing that the Hillsdale neighbors can do if that branch does get built: never use it, under any circumstances. Better yet, informational picketing -- it can be pretty powerful.

In the meantime, it appears that the real estate in question has been vacant for a long time, and that any Portlandia dreams of a granola and bike co-op with five stories of creative class condos above it are never going to come true. Maybe the neighbors ought to settle for a bank branch, before the county decides to site a big, dense methadone clinic, with no parking at all, at that location, like it does from time to time in the Buckman neighborhood.

Comments (4)

It's a great location for a bank except for the fact commuters are acclerating on a downhill stretch of Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. I would be curious how they plan to mitigate the egress traffic impact (that's when some a$$hat leaves the parking lot and turns right at 5 MPH when you're going 30 MPH and you almost rearend him because you didn't think anybody was that stupid.

The construction location was demolished about 2 years ago: it's next door to the Baskin Robbins store in Hillsdale.

One gets the impression that the neighbors are more upset about a large national bank moving in than they are about the parking.

From what I've read from the opposition, I didn't get that impression. Unless they're arguing in entirely bad faith, they claim to be fine with Chase building there, but want a different building.

The discussion leading up to the compact should include, but not be limited to: mixed use building occupancy, more than one story, transit-pedestrian orientation, affordable housing, sustainability, community needs (meeting room, financial support, gathering places), architectural integration with adjacent properties, undergrounding utilities and streetscape aesthetics, local lending and on-going Main Street involvement and cooperation.

Those guys have a funny way of showing their appreciation to the Obama sellout team!

The concerns center on the Dodd-Frank Act, the financial regulatory overhaul that has emerged as the scorn of Wall Street. Enacted in the wake of the financial crisis, the law reforms some of the industry’s biggest profit centers, including derivatives trading and debit card fees.

JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and other financial titans are positioning themselves as victims of the law, amid rising fears that it will enable big European banks to poach their business. Foreign regulators, the banks complain, have a lighter touch than Washington policymakers.

Source: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/06/16/wall-street-frets-over-new-rules/

Loverly. There is already enough stupidity on the road in that general icky sort of intersection. Between illegal (solid lines anyone?) last minute lane changes and bikes that do whatever they feel and some going too fast and some going too slow and too much traffic at some times of day, I say welcome cluster.

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