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.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Pirates' bounty never ends

In this fair city we used to get construction that allowed for this:


but now we get this:


There's a garage in that black hole somewhere,
but no one can park there.













If the owners of these bloated replacement homes weren't so busy making their mortgage, they might have cash left over for plants. Look how little the neighborhood gets in return with most of the new construction: fences or walls provide no open space or interest at the ground level for pedestrians and neighbors, mature urban trees are sent to the chipper, garages are dug under at such a grade that they can never be used for parking, and multiple stairs added out front send the message that no one entering should ever have a knee problem. Unlike the homes that were bulldozed to make way for these lot-sprawlers, no aging in place is possible here.

We hope the Residential Infill Project can make headway helping plot the shape of construction to come so it benefits everyone.

Activists from South Burlingame turn up at the Residential Infill Project
meeting last week, where city staffer Morgan Tracy described how
height is measured for new construction.
In the good news file, there are people coming forward from all parts of the city to express their dismay and displeasure. Plenty will be heard 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, at City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave., when Mayor Hales presents his version of a demolition tax that likely will increase demolitions. More here, along with a suggestion for a revised tax that would actually curb demolitions.

In this increasingly lawless built landscape, where Council staff has said there is no money to ensure enforcement of permitting rules, it's no wonder that developers are bypassing permits altogether. The "complaint-driven" systems for compliance also appear to be pointless, given that one developer—Metro Homes—doesn't bother paying its noise citations for construction work after hours. (Those citations are work; I tried to file one recently, and it took six phone calls, two emails, and a form to fill out and scan back—who has the time, especially when nothing happens, and behavior doesn't change?)

Recently a Portland Business Journal writer was interviewed by Oregon Public Broadcasting about shell companies and their role in the current development scene. One of the companies plying Portland—Columbia Redevelopment—runs all its management through an outfit in Cheyenne, Wyoming, that's caught the attention of a national wire service. Wonder what Columbia Redevelopment has to hide that it can't do out in the open and locally if it's so proud of being one of the few supposedly Portland-based builders?

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