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, March 21, 2013

We stand with our Southeast neighbors

Wow. I grimaced when it became clear the sidewalk-closure permit for the proposed project for our neighborhood had been fast-tracked without satisfying a critical required step—and still feel aggrieved it hasn't been corrected. Then I winced when I saw in the news that the folks at the Bureau of the Development Services had to be convinced of the state Land Use Board of Appeals' authority in revoking the permit for Southeast 37th and Division. Now, however, something's really starting to smell with the backroom deal to expedite a permit to renew construction at that controversial Richmond site, intended home of yet another mondo-project without space for all its tenants' possessions.

Yesterday's sneaky deal made Richmond's scheduled meeting for community input for next month moot, so where once neighbors (the original stakeholders, with the most to lose) thought they had a chair at the table the door was slammed in their face.

Who, in city hall or government, wants as their legacy these exploitive buildings? Without LEED features, a size scaled to fit the neighborhood, or interesting architecture, they contribute nothing to their environs and in return deliver a wallop of impact in terms of increased traffic, pedestrian risk, slowed emergency response times, and near-permanent use of on-street parking, already well-used by thriving local businesses.

When the Bureau of Development Services sees fit to follow its own processes and correct its mistakes is when I'll believe city government's working. Such special favors to certain developers erode taxpayers' faith in the system. It also makes it hard for the upstanding ones to fairly participate.

"Selective" enforcement—as well as expedited permits for certain people—breeds a disregard for the law by both would-be developers and officials. It begins with rationalization and/or laxity and can become corruption.

We look forward to details on the Richmond deal, and a course correction at the Bureau of Development Services.

UPDATE: Per this O post, Mayor Hales has stepped in to stop BDS from reviewing revisions for the Richmond project. Hopefully the reporters will dig for the rest of the story.

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