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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.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A case of "greenmail" stuck it to Eastmoreland

Developer to neighbors: Drop the LUBA appeal,
or kiss those huge evergreens goodbye.
With Beaverton developer Wally Remmers chasing projects headlong throughout Portland—how long can all the foul balls stay up in the air?—he finally might have hit a wall in Eastmoreland, where a large-scale building proposal for 3058 S.E. Woodstock Blvd. is encountering the usual neighbor resistance, only this time it's in the blue-chip part of town. 

Watch some of the drama go down Thursday, April 10, at City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave. [UPDATE: As of Wednesday afternoon, April 9, the hearing was postponed because neighbors had reached a proposed settlement with Remmers; as last reported on the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association website, neighbors were offering up to $150,000 for Remmers to leave the Southeast Woodstock Boulevard property alone—presumably on top of the original purchase price?] 

This could be the start of a nice new business strategy for Remmers & Co.: Buy low, threaten big, and cash in high. If only Beaumont-Wilshire had similarly deep pockets; neighbors here have struggled for almost two years to defend ourselves from a Remmers project that shouldn't have been permitted as designed.

Regardless of the details of Eastmoreland's wide-ranging dispute, it did have some echoes of Remmers's building in Beaumont-Wilshire, namely preferential treatment for a developer, hazy code history, and radically different visions clashing over the future of a neighborhood. 

One wonders if the city of Portland has succeeded in chasing most of the quality developers away. How much longer can the city and its taxpayers afford to spend so much energy and resources on a guy who's gathering up the choice sites around town, then squandering them with "greedy," even noncompliant, buildings? We can do better, and do business with those who also care about Portland's neighborhoods. To quote the news ticker off the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association website
"The neighbors working with Vic Remmers on the 'greenmail' issue have worked hard, but Remmers continues to want almost $200k to leave the Moreland Lane [the site that's subject of Thursday's City Hall hearing] property alone. The discussions have generally been courteous except for one somewhat ominous email that includes ... 'In regards to your current LUBA appeal, if you prevail and we end up having to tear up Moreland lane to add the sidewalk, we will have to tear down those 3 huge evergreen tree’s that are currently are being saved. I understand that you are trying to give us a hard time and make this difficult for us, but I really think you will be unhappy with the results if you were to prevail with that appeal. Those tree’s are magnificent and provide shade for your basketball court and your backyards.'"

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