What's happening now

Formerly the home of Beaumont-Wilshire Neighbors for Responsible Growth, the Portland Land Matters blog explores citywide land-use concerns, such as home demolitions, with the belief that development should create an improvement.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Turns out, We agree

After relentless neighbor testimony against megadevelopments dropped in their midst, City Council in its afternoon session today saw the point. The impact of this kind of project—I think particularly of the four-story, 50-unit building proposed for Northeast Fremont—unacceptably puts people (tenants included); public safety; the responsible planning done so far to create pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods; and more at risk.

It was good to see the newly reconfigured council taking a stand and moving forward on the issue. I have high hopes that the creative people at Planning and Sustainability can come up with proposals to mitigate this impact. After a study showing that 72 percent of people living in this kind of building own cars regardless of whether parking is offered, it would be Nixonian to deny that there would be any impact at all. As one of today's commenters said, "These developers are laughing at you. They're laughing at us."

Five or 10 years down the road, after Wally Remmers sells the Northeast Fremont building per his stated plan, he'll likely still be laughing all the way to the bank, while we're stuck with a behemoth so low on amenities for both tenants and Beaumont Wilshire residents it may well be a blight.

While Planning and Sustainability chief Joe Zehnder gave his summary of the studies, I couldn't help but notice the fact that 80% of residents in the subject areas looked for parking for no more than 5 minutes. That leaves 20% (or 1 in 5 drivers) of us circling for more than 5 minutes (the upper extent of time was not quantified), adding more congestion to already burdened streets. Driving around like that, you can quickly erase all the environmental gains claimed by parking-less buildings.

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