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Why doesn’t the new apartment complex on Northeast 148th Avenue have access to it?
I am a resident at Argay Terrace and I wish that the new apartment development known as Castlegate Apartments (which faces Northeast 148th Avenue) would find a way to get approval to fully access Northeast 148th Avenue.
Current plans have it access Rose Parkway in the back without having any traffic access to the main traffic artery of Northeast 148th Avenue.
All apartments facing Northeast 148th Avenue should have access to Northeast 148th Avenue. Real estate values might be aversively affected by routing all Castlegate traffic through the neighborhood and away from Northeast 148th Avenue. In addition, all prospective tenants must go all the way around to either Northeast Fremont Street or Northeast 141st Avenue just to see the apartments. This is not a good business practice for a new rental development. This detour adds least four to five miles to someone wanting to rent there because they must find a way get to the apartments via a very long route.
Please advocate for the opening of Castlegate Apartments to Northeast 148th Avenue, if you can. The developer was for it and even laid out $200,000 to make it safe to access Northeast 148th Avenue but was turned down by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT).
Do you have any thoughts on this?
Argay Terrace resident
Editor’s note: We sure do, Mr. Pine. Your analysis is spot-on. The Castlegate imbroglio is a lesson in how a bad bureaucratic process tainted by politics, results in a bad decision.
Since Chet Antonsen first proposed his Castlegate apartment development in November 2013 (“Development roils neighborhood,” MCM Jan. 2014) to a packed Argay Terrace Neighborhood Association (ATNA) meeting, the Memo has covered this issue extensively.
Now that major construction is finishing and Castlegate is set to open in March 2019, it is apparent to anyone with eyes that the decision to keep Northeast 148th Avenue closed to the 55-unit complex looks at best incompetent and at worst stupid. Both the developer and the ATNA wanted 148th Avenue, a collector street, to be accessible for the very reasons you state.
However, because the neighborhood association east of 148th Avenue (Wilkes Community Group) opposed it, city bureaucrats sided with their conclusion that the proximity of the proposed driveway onto 148th Avenue would be unsafe, despite many Wilkes residents accessing 148th Avenue from a street directly opposite where a Castlegate entrance would be sited.
Memo reporting showed that PBOT ignored its own rules and twisted logic to deny Castlegate that connection. The decision was appealed all the way to Leah Treat, the director of PBOT at the time, who along with Steve Novick, the city commissioner in charge of the bureau, met with ATNA board members at one of their homes to discuss the issue. But the decision stood.
Despite both Novick and Treat exiting the public stage—the former voted out of office, and the latter, his hand-picked PBOT director from Chicago, leaving in May for a job in California—they’ve left their mark on east Portland.
Since residents cannot depend on bureaucrats who live in their neighborhoods to make these consequential decisions, they must depend on technicians and experts to make decisions based on facts, logic and precedent rather than their political motivations and biases. Decisions made by people who not only don’t live in the neighborhood but also are here today and gone tomorrow have long-lasting and expensive impacts for Portland taxpayers.
Just ask Castlegate neighbors.