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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Filmmaker tackles the hard questions

Longtime North and Northeast Portland journalist Cornelius Swart is wrapping up a film chronicling Portland's evolution—and needs our help. (He's not new to the topic: This second film picks up where the first left off.) Readers of this blog and supporters of responsible growth in Portland should consider taking part in the Kickstarter campaign to get this worthy project in the can and on the screen before more neighborhoods are plowed under.

Priced Out: 15 Years of Gentrification in Portland, Oregon 
looks at what happens when homes come down.
Photo courtesy Cornelius Swart.
This movement to curb demolitions, protect affordable housing, and prevent displacement has asked little of activists financially apart from the option to buy a sign or a T-shirt. Kicking in some bucks (pledge levels start at $5) costs less than $9 cocktails and it'll make you feel at least as good—if not better—and the results last a lot longer. Again, here's the link to be inspired, and to inspire others.

Meanwhile, in a sleek office building downtown

The Developers Review Advisory Committee, or DRAC, continues to meet monthly. Last week the entire meeting was dedicated to examination of DRAC's "role/purpose/work." I was pretty excited about this one! The august body, and its spin-offs, often come up with code and policy that do not seem to "implement[] the City's goals for ... neighborhood livability and the environment," as stated in its mission.

DRAC is overwhelmingly made up of developers, and underwhelmingly of the people who must bear the impact of that development. DRAC also has had trouble adhering to Oregon's Public Meetings Law, making it hard for Portlanders to learn what DRAC is doing, much less participate.

In the center of it all, DRAC vice chair Rob Humphrey of Faster Permits (in black), Bureau of Development Services
director Paul Scarlett (middle), and DRAC chair Maryhelen Kincaid (in blue) wrap an inconclusive
meeting on a mission.
Despite some DRAC members' support for sticking to the mission as codified, clearly other aspirations may trump any desire to stay the course. "We're the Supreme Court," Chairwoman Maryhelen Kincaid said in the July 16 meeting, and later, as justification for why DRAC should go bigger in scope and ambition: "We're the one well-rounded body." If this body's so "well-rounded" why the City Hall showdowns where the public protests how developers get to decide new rules for demolition delays, whether to protect neighbors from hazmat during demolitions, and so on, with little, if any, public input?

Claire Carder (right) is meant to represent "neighborhood coalition
land use committees" on DRAC but here she expresses concern
for developers having to pay additional fees in permitting. The fees
could help slow the trash-and-build bonanza or at least help stockpile
 funds for needed affordable housing. Maybe they just haven't figured
out how to shovel such city-sponsored projects to Humphrey's clients—yet.
After much discussion, DRAC decided to extend the monthly meetings by a half-hour.

It can be done

Returning to a more positive note, here's a pic of newer construction in Beaumont-Wilshire. I do not remember what was there before, if anything, but oh how I love this house. Let's count the ways:

• scaled to fit its surroundings, including adjacent homes
• provides plenty of off-street and useable parking
• designed with care and creativity
• built with quality materials
• makes smart use of space
• presents a friendly and interesting mien at street level
• allows neighboring properties access to privacy and light


  1. While this appears to be new, it was a remodel--unless I am mistaken.

  2. I agree, if it is the house I think it is. It is a very nice remodel.

  3. Many monster homes have been erected in Portland under the guise of "remodel" so this home is a win for all involved. New construction can strive to be similarly sensitive to its surroundings, taking advantage of great neighborhoods and also adding to them.

  4. do you have an address for that house i can send to the committee on Single Family?

  5. @thesmallviking, it is 3225 NE 44th Ave.