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.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Here we go again

Wally Remmers's contested development gets into the spirit of Fremont Fest earlier this month.

We couldn't have asked for a nicer day for the annual neighborhood festival.

Hundreds of people stopped by the Beaumont-Wilshire Neighbors for Responsible Growth's table to find out how the 50-unit 4-story project is far from a done deal.

We studied the revised plans for Wally Remmers's much-delayed project on Northeast Fremont between 44th and 45th avenues and are disappointed that they don't incorporate changes that would improve the investment in the neighborhood. That leaves us with the course of last resort, an appeal to the state Land Use Board of Appeals, and a list of items that are not to code. It's the only chance for neighbors' day in court, and something we've been asking for since April—before the permit was withdrawn twice for developer-led changes.

None of us expected to be working more than a year to defend the neighborhood, but it's worth it because this is a building we'll have to live with, and—as our membership made plain—if we have a glimmer of a hope of making it better, we better try.

Remmers dropped the Myhre Group, architects of the project on Fremont, for another building he has planned for Overlook. So that relationship is more tenuous than it's been—and/or these low-amenity high-impact buildings don't seem like such a great idea anymore. City Council effectively agreed by passing amendments requiring parking in these mondo projects.

Hopefully we can effect some change before Remmers starts printing up maps to the available parking in the neighborhood. In defense of all that perceived open space (of which there isn't much anyway) is that it deserves to exist, not something to be filled at every opportunity. We all need breathing room, Remmers's tenants, too, considering the hutchlike apartments designed for them, and especially so when tripling the number of households on the block in one fell swoop.

In even sadder news, veteran Northeast Portland journalist Lee Perlman has passed away. His willingness to delve into neighborhood issues big and small, attending meetings and hearings, and wrapping all of it up for community readers will be missed. I always looked for his byline first in the Hollywood Star. Hopefully he's at peace now, far from neighborhood debate and deadlines.

Another way to reduce parking in the neighborhood: park in the middle

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