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.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

It's hard to scale down 41,000+ square feet

About the time the permit was issued for Wally Remmers's mondo project on Northeast Fremont, a staffer at the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability put out a plea for letters of support so that the bureau can win a grant from Metro to study development issues such as appropriate building heights, massing and scale, and transition to adjacent single-family housing. I'm not sure why these considerations aren't already part of the work at the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, but if you would like to help out, contact Debbie Bischoff, debbie.bischoff@portlandoregon.gov or 503.823.6946or Julia Gisler, julia.gisler@portlandoregon.gov or 503.823.7624.

The contractor has only begun pushing the dirt around on the Northeast Fremont site but if Wally has his way, we will have a showcase issue of scale and a project that could be the poster child for the study. Here's a view of the west end of the proposed building adjacent to the existing office for longtime neighborhood business Barrett Automotive, at Northeast 44th and Fremont. 


It gets better. Here's a view of the east end of the building (the entire frontage of the building wouldn't fit on one piece of paper—apologies), with the existing Beaumont Health Care Clinic shown at right, at Northeast 45th and Fremont:


And here's what neighborhood and other east-side residents will come home to every evening if they work downtown or near the central city and as they spy the building's west side:


A previous rendering of the building showed plenty of windows on both sides of the building, but they're gone now. Except for a smattering of windows at the front corners (indicated by the blue cross-hatching), and the two existing Barrett Automotive buildings at ground level, there's nothing to break up the expanse of lap siding. Too bad—there's a beautiful view toward downtown that's soundly ignored; instead there are 12 balconies off the back of the building (those notches shown to the left, above) to take in any action happening in neighbors' yards and homes up the block.

Even if the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability doesn't get that grant, hopefully it can still do something about scale and other issues posed by these massive projects.

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