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, June 30, 2013

Meanwhile down in Hollywood

With the permit for Wally Remmers's proposed project at 4419-4439 NE Fremont still undergoing "value added revisions" ranging from zoning clarifications to plumbing changes, let's check on another of his family's projects in Hollywood, a neighborhood just south of Beaumont-Wilshire.

Now showing in Hollywood: The Building that Tried to Eat a Neighborhood Landmark. A couple of blocks away, a similarly oversize project offers units from $1,125 to $1,750/month, with a map to neighborhood parking included.
Two buildings went up recently in Hollywood, both big on the number of units and low on amenities. At one of the two, the building across from the library at Northeast 41st and Tillamook, a tour comes with this handy map to all the street parking in the vicinity.

Would-be tenants taking a tour of the new building receive a map to neighborhood parking for vehicles, but nothing on nearby transit or bike facilities.
At the numerous city hearings dedicated to discussing amendments that would put a stop to no-parking buildings of a certain size (like those just opened in Hollywood), many activists in favor of affordable housing and car-free living spoke up in support of this kind of development. They argued that this was precisely the type of housing Portland needed.

Color-coding shows how long to leave a car.
Now the buildings are leasing up. Two-bedroom units at the 41st and Tillamook building run from $1,550 to $1,750, and one-bedrooms are $1,125 to $1,425. Developers enjoyed the support of those activists but the results fall short of expectation—expensive and, for the neighborhood, exploitive.

That is, if Hollywood residents and businesses have no friends or customers.
Here in Beaumont-Wilshire, we hope for better. As the city and developer continue to work on the permit for the troubled, much-delayed development on Northeast Fremont, hopefully they also fix the scale and size of the project and further improve the investment in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We've been here before

Two days short of the city's deadline to submit its record of the permit decision, a required part of the proceedings with the Land Use Board of Appeals, the permit has been withdrawn yet again. For more "strengthening"? Why wait until deadline? All neighbors want is straightforward, transparent process and a final, objective ruling on Wally Remmers's out-of-scale, unmitigated project at 4419-4439 N.E. Fremont. 

No matter. Beaumont-Wilshire Neighbors for Responsible Growth are in it for the long haul, with a belief that the permit, however weak it is, shouldn't have been issued at all. The only silver lining to the delays is that we could get more exposure to our cause and more donations once those 45-foot walls start to rise in the heart of the neighborhood. It is our right to call attention to a development mistake, but these delays prevent us from following the only process with which we can respond. 

After cultivating a hostile environment from the day the developer introducing the project at a neighborhoodwide meeting last summer, and after BWNRG filed its first notice of intent to appeal in early April, Wally Remmers can't be surprised at the seriousness and strength of the pushback. Here it is two months after filing our first notice of intent to appeal, and the city and developer are still working on the permit. It's bad enough that city planning failed us, and now the city keeps throwing a wrench into the path toward resolution.

In happier news, we saw a heartwarming response—and influx to the legal fund: thank you!—at our root-beer social adjacent to the site last weekend. We appreciate all who came out for news about the biggest development in the neighborhood and brainstorming for a better future. If you missed the event, you can contribute online here or through the link at right. As the appeal drags on, costs rise. We are grateful for the support and time people contribute, along with the many professionals who have given us hours of expertise. It's been a long slog getting longer, but we're not alone.

Stay tuned for further developments (ha) as we learn them.

On June 9, members of Beaumont-Wilshire Neighbors for Responsible Growth and concerned citizens gathered to view construction at 4419-4439 NE Fremont, site of a controversial development.

Participants sketch out a better future.

Business owners, neighborhood residents, and more came to get the scoop on Fremont.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

You know what they say: failing to plan is a plan to fail

In research trips to the Bureau of Development Services, this map on the wall caught my eye. The island of white inside the blue identifies the neighborhoods without plans. No wonder our neighborhood's having problems, such as Wally Remmers' proposed 4-story 50-unit building without parking on Northeast Fremont between 44th and 45th avenues.

With some sites in Beaumont Village still zoned Commercial Storefront, which now we've learned can encompass mondo residential, Beaumont-Wilshire residents have a chance to take a proactive approach to shaping future development.

It may be years yet before we see the revised, long-awaited comprehensive plan from the city. That plan is meant to fix the kind of problems we're seeing with the Remmers project, according to the city's Northeast Liaison Debbie Bischoff. But better not to wait for or depend on that; let's get a plan, man.