2035 Comprehensive Plan Draft Hearing Tonight

by on Oct 2, 2014 | 0 comments

The public is invited to share what they think of development in their neighborhoods and their comments about the 2035 Comprehensive Plan Proposed Draft in person with planners at four upcoming public hearings hosted by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Commission. The second hearing is Tuesday, Oct. 14 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Parkrose High School Community Center, 12003 N.E. Shaver St. According to bureau planners, Portland’s new long-range plan for growth and development was created over several years, based on research and analysis, as well as community and business input and inter-agency collaboration. The result of their work, according to planners, is a new comprehensive plan that carries forward the best of the old one, infused with new ways of thinking about public health and equity, designing with nature and the environment, job growth and prosperity, infrastructure and public services, climate change and resilience, all of which are thoroughly grounded in preserving neighborhood character and the transit-oriented development. Who thought 30 years ago when Mid-Multnomah County was annexed by the city, it would transform from a suburban, bucolic area of large lots, old growth trees and mostly white population into today’s suburban plantation for the poor? Because of the same sorts of long-range planning and zoning changes, and the documented inequitable distribution of low-income, high-density infill housing, ‘East Portland’ is better known for its socioeconomic disparities, crime, city neglect, inadequate infrastructure and as one of the few places in Portland where both legal and illegal immigrants can afford to live. After whiffing decades ago, what do city planners envision for their ‘East Portland’ of the future? “New development in Eastern neighborhoods should enhance the area’s distinctive mix of building types, improve connectivity and integrate natural features, like buttes, streams and large native trees. The area could benefit from stronger neighborhood business districts, improved pedestrian and transit access and improved parks,” according to the 2035 Comprehensive Plan Proposed Draft update published July 2014. The Planning and Sustainability Commission, which will eventually make a recommendation to the Portland City Council for adoption, is now considering all feedback on the proposed draft. An online Map App allows the public to view their property and/or neighborhood and comment on the proposed land use changes. If you can’t make the hearing, you can provide testimony online via the Map App, by clicking here, email comments about the plan to psc@portlandoregon.gov, with ‘Comprehensive Plan Testimony’ in the subject line, and include your name and mailing address, or send a letter with comments to Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, 1900 S.W. 4th Ave. Port., OR...
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Mill Park medical marijuana dispensary marks two years with two-fer

by on Aug 21, 2014 | 0 comments

To celebrate its second year in business, ReLeaf MM, an east Portland medical marijuana dispensary is offering new and current patients a buy one get one promotion during the month of September. When patients buy one gram, they’ll get a second of equal or lesser value free. Owner Dave Slack said he loves his Mill Park neighborhood location at 1034 S.E. 122nd Avenue. “We support and love our community. We have gotten to know many neighbors who are now patients,” he said. “122nd Avenue is a great location for not only the neighborhood patients, but also very convenient for people to find us from all over Portland; just like our [business] cards say.” Slack said his business, one of 71 dispensaries in Multnomah County—and 183 in Oregon—that the state has licensed since March, underwent a three-hour inspection by Oregon Health Authority inspectors in August; one of 58 conducted by the state since May, according to a recent report in the Oregonian. “They weren’t harsh, they weren’t mean, they weren’t rude about it,” he said of the inspectors’ procedure. Asked what ReLeaf’s violations were, Slack demurred, but said he submitted a written plan to correct them, and will be in compliance with the letter of the law now that he has authoritative answers to many of his questions. “It was nice to finally get a lot of questions answered,” he said. “It’s not that that stuff is vague, there’s not a lot of detail in the way its addressing some of the items, which it’s ok.” The inspections are part of the new law (HB3460) passed last year by the Oregon Legislature directing the OHA to draft rules of operation and create a dispensary registry and databank.   Tom Burns, director of pharmacy programs for the OHA, said in the Oregonian article that the agency’s three inspectors are taking a hard line when it came to violations. He said some of the problems they discovered in dispensaries, from inadequate record keeping to a lack of written procedures, are expected for an industry just getting off the ground. “What it shows is when you build a brand new program that operated in a gray area for many years and you put it in a box and try to provide safety for patients and the public, there are going to be growing pains,” he said. “We went in with a white glove and checked the dust behind every crack and crevice to make it clear we are serious and you really do need to bring your business up to the level that’s mandated by the...
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Gateway homeless population grows

by on May 30, 2014 | 0 comments

At recent public meetings about ways to revitalize the Gateway business district, people in the audience have denounced “those people” who are causing problems. “Those people” turn out to be homeless people. Without resources or portfolio, sometimes without families or hope, they panhandle along Northeast Halsey and Weidler streets. Others congregate or sleep in the roundabout on Northeast 102nd Avenue and Halsey Street. Some business owners claim these displaced denizens are scaring customers away. A few nervous shoppers say they are frightened by requests for spare change. They demand planners “do something” about the homeless campers as if they could be swept away like dirt on the sidewalk, To address these concerns–so vocal in the past few months–Marc Jolin, executive director of JOIN, a nonprofit that runs a day space for people sleeping outside as well as a housing program, and Jean DeMaster, executive director of Human Solutions, a nonprofit that serves mainly homeless families appeared before the May meeting of Mid-county’s neighborhood association chairs group. Jolin told the group on any night that there are more than 2,000 people sleeping outdoors in Portland. A few years ago, JOIN moved its day center and office to 1435 N.E. 81st Ave. because “there was such an increase in the number of people living out in east Portland,” Jolin said. About 80 to 100 people each day come through JOIN‘s day space program, which is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The space provides showers, phones, snacks and a library with computers, job help and mail service.  “It’s a space welcoming to anyone sleeping outside who wants to come into that space,” Jolin said. Jolin explained the growing numbers of homeless people in east Portland resulted from a combination of a weak economy and a tight rental market that pushed many families and individuals into homelessness. He noted that his organization deals primarily with single individuals who are “chronically homeless.” That definition fits anyone who has lived on the street more than a year and who has a disability. More people are sleeping out on the street, in cars or in the woods partly because there are not enough shelter beds or not the right type of shelters, Jolin told the group. Some shelters will not take couples, and others will not take dogs. Others are large congregated living facilities where some people feel uncomfortable. Some, like Transition Projects downtown, require a person to be clean and sober, and even then there’s a two- to three-month waiting period. Other shelters downtown use a lottery system so a person never knows each night if there will be a bed available. Someone from east Portland might not want to...
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Argay Terrace development plan adjusted

by on May 16, 2014 | 0 comments

Developer Chet Antonsen submitted an adjusted plan to the city for three-acres of former farmland in east Portland’s Argay Terrace neighborhood. “You really can’t get a development that is more neighborhood-friendly, in my opinion,” Antonsen said in a telephone interview. Antonsen presented his original plan for the Castlegate Apartments, a 51-unit complex at the November 2013 Argay Neighborhood Association general membership meeting attended by more than 140 people (“Argay Angry over farmland development,” MCM January 2014). “It wasn’t a productive meeting,” Antonsen said. Part of the original Van Buren Farm, the narrow, three-acre finger shaped parcel is from Northeast 145th to 148th avenues, and between the Parkrose Chateau retirement community and Argay Downs condominiums about a quarter mile south of Sandy Boulevard. Antonsen’s original plan calls for building two, 24-unit buildings instead of the six buildings with eight units apiece the R3 Zoning requires. He also plans to construct a duplex at the west end of the parcel for his personal use, and retain the original Van Buren home on 148th Avenue. At 1.8 spaces per unit, the proposed complex will have 48 carports, 35 open spaces, and 11 garages for the 51 units. Antonsen is targeting early seniors (50- years and up) with rents from $1,200-1,250 a month. These parts of Antonsen’s plans remain the same. What he altered is the west end access to the complex that the city requires. He said the city wanted him to terminate Rose Parkway and Morris Court in cul-de-sacs. However, since they had no authority in the city code to require it, they could not make him. “They couldn’t require it,” Antonsen said. “I negotiated it so I could get principle access to 148th [Avenue], which is what the neighbors wanted.” Originally slated to open two dead-end streets–Rose Parkway and Morris Court–into the development, Antonsen’s new plans have only Rose Parkway opening. “I met with the city and negotiated with them extending Rose Parkway to the north, on our property,” Antonsen said. “It will be a back, or secondary access to our apartment community.” He added, “We’re going to extend it and we’ll be sweeping it a little bit back to the west just to clear the retirement center, maybe 50 feet, so it continues making a sweeping turn.” Morris Court remains a dead-end street, which should placate some of his new neighbors. “The duplex that I want to maintain for myself now isn’t part of an apartment complex,” Antonsen said. “It’s part of a single-family neighborhood. In addition, the way we’ve arranged the garages, that’ll be a buffer completely between the single and multifamily.” He added, “The end of Morris Court will only be the access to the duplex building,...
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Truck traffic roils Argay neighborhood

by on Nov 6, 2013 | 0 comments

Trucks carrying crushed rock to repair the Union Pacific railroad bed along the north side of I-84 are ravaging streets in Argay, says longtime resident Alan Brown, who has been documenting the damage. Into the third week of all-day heavy construction activity on Northeast Rose Parkway and 131st and 135th avenues, Brown said streets trucks use are showing wear and tear, even cracks. The trucks enter the Argay neighborhood from Sandy Blvd. onto Northeast 141st Avenue, move north to Fremont Street and then either continue up to Rose Parkway or turn, and go along Fremont to one of the numbered streets that connect to Rose Parkway. The activity, Brown said, consists of a trip by the dump truck through the Water Tower property to the rail bed, a return trip to load the second dump container of rock, and then a return to pick-up the first trailer and go get another load. In most cases, the trucks to the west of the Water Tower turn around to head east by backing down the adjacent numbered street with limited visibility. On average, Brown counted three truck and trailer rigs are on the street or in process throughout the day. Trucks and trailers are parked on both sides of the street, many times several feet from the curb, and many times on the wrong side of the street. The street surface shows obvious signs of degrading including softness and open cracks in the surface. Complete turn-around time is approximately an hour and the activity takes place over an eight hour period week days; that’s  24–29 double loads. Brown has taken his concerns to the police, the city and the railroad, all to no avail. The police told Brown he needed an alternative to give the contractor, that the contractors had to earn a living, and that there was nothing the police could do. “I bet I would get a ticket if I did these things in my car,” Brown said in an email.  “An alternative is one truck in and out at a time, or parking on the rail road property.” Brown contacted the city’s Bureau of Transportation twice. in the first call they told him the railroad was there first and that they had no control. The second time he called to apprise them of the damage to the street and the need for a permit for this activity, he got no response. Brown got no return call or email from Union Pacific. The Union Pacific did not return phone calls or repeated emails from the Memo asking for comment. Brown also contacted commissioner Steve Novick’s office for help–he is in charge of the Transportation Bureau–and spoke with Constituent Services...
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