We’ll be meeting this coming Wednesday, April 17th from 7 to 9 pm in the Community Room in the SE corner of McMenamins Kennedy School. Here’s the draft agenda:
See you there!
See attached for a copy of the letter that the Concordia Neighborhood Association submitted to the City of Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission on May 3, 2018 as public testimony on the Residential Infill Project.Residential_Infill_Project_Letter_CNA_May_3_2018-signed
In January, Concordia Neighborhood Association (CNA) made a formal request to the city of Portland to lower the speed limits on Alberta and Killingsworth streets.
Last December, CNA’s Land Use & Transportation Committee (LUTC) recommended – and in January, the CNA Board unanimously adopted – a proposal to request the city lower the speed limits on Alberta from 25 to 20 mph, and on Killingsworth from 30 to 25.
The 20 mph on Alberta would match the limit on Fremont Street through Beaumont Village, in keeping with state statutes for commercial districts.
The 25 mph on Killingsworth would more closely reflect its status as a mixeduse pedestrian and bicycle corridor through a residential area.
Oregon statutory standards for speeds are:
- 15 mph – alleys, narrow residential roadways
- 20 mph – business districts, school zones
- 25 mph – residential districts, public parks, ocean shores
Here’s the current status of our requests:
Alberta Street – The request has not yet been investigated. It was finally assigned to a traffic engineer at the end of August.
Killingsworth Street – In early August, the city wrote, “After reviewing available data, we have determined the current speed zones on Killingsworth to be appropriate, given the layout, and similar to other comparable-sized roads in the area. Therefore, no changes were recommended.”
It seems pretty clear the city engineer studying Killingsworth reached the wrong conclusion. The question should be, for the business districts on Killingsworth, what justification does Portland have for not implementing the 20-mph statutory business district speed? For the balance of Killingsworth, which runs through a mix of residentially-zoned properties, what justification does Portland have for not implementing the 25- mph statutory residential area speed? What is the rationale and justification for higher speeds in these locations, despite injuries and fatalities?
A local lawyer has taken notice, and wrote, “The Vision Zero Crash Map shows two people were killed while walking, and 33 people were seriously injured while walking, bicycling or using vehicles in 2005-2014 on N/NE Killingsworth. Those numbers appear similar to other comparable-sized streets in the area where speeds are similar… and where there are many businesses, schools, residences, and users of all modes. I believe it is reasonable to expect that if speeds and right-of-way uses stay the same, Portlanders will continue to die and suffer serious injuries on N/NE Killingsworth and on our other comparable sized streets.”
It’s my understanding the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has granted 95 percent (36 of 38, as of 2015) of Portland’s requests to lower speeds that were higher than the statutory speeds. I hope the city will increasingly feel it has engineering, moral and political mandates to seek revocation of ODOT orders on streets like Killingsworth, where speeds are posted at higher than statutory speeds, and where Portlanders are dying and suffering serious injuries.
CNA is appealing the city’s Killingsworth decision, and the issue is currently being re-examined by the city’s traffic investigations manager.
The city is also asking ODOT to consider all modes with a new proposed methodology for adjusting speeds on local streets (as reported recently by the Portland Tribune). Unfortunately, Killingsworth will not qualify, as it is classified as an arterial. Only collector and local streets would be eligible under the proposed guidelines. However, the traditional speed zone adjustment request would still certainly be feasible for Killingsworth.
By Garlynn Woodsong, Chair, CNA LUTC
I recently took a ride with my 5-year-old son, Noamie, on the back of my Dutch bicycle. We rode for about 20 minutes – to the beach!
That’s right, just north of the Concordia neighborhood is a good-sized beach on the south bank of the Columbia River, just north of the airport.
Just like at the Pacific Ocean beach, he loved the sand and building castles, finding (freshwater) mussel shells and other bits of flotsam and jetsam, exploring dunes, and just being there.
The best way to get there by bicycle is to ride north on 33rd Avenue, and take a left when the bicycle lane ends just before Marine Drive. That leads to an underpass entrance on the right, which leads to the Marine Drive bike path. Follow this path across Marine Drive to the river side of the levy, then look for the well-worn dirt paths leading down to the river. We found a large driftwood log to lean our bike against and locked it to itself.
How is this relevant to my work with the Concordia Neighborhood Association (CNA) Land Use & Transportation Committee (LUTC)?
Well, access to green space for all citizens is a goal stated in many state and city planning documents, including the current Portland 2035 Comprehensive Plan. To the extent people find their desire for a trip to the beach can be satisfied by riding a bicycle to the river – rather than driving a car to the ocean – having such a beach so close can help reduce auto miles traveled.
Plus it’s a great opportunity to get some fun exercise. All of this can contribute to our better health, both individually and collectively.
However, this bicycle connection to the beach could be safer. In particular, the southbound crossing of Columbia Boulevard needs improving. Currently bicyclists have only a painted bicycle sharrow marker to tell fast-moving traffic the road is shared with bicycles. The bicyclists are navigating the southbound 33rd Drive ramp along Columbia Boulevard to the 33rd Avenue overpass to cross the railroad tracks and Lombard Street.
The LUTC is recommending the city plan to incorporate safety improvements – and better bicycle and pedestrian connections – on a redesign of this route.
We Concordia residents are lucky to have our very own beach within such easy bicycling distance. I’d like to see it safer!
By Ben Earle, Secretary, CNA LUTC
Things continue buzzing along for your LUTC, so without further ado, here’s the current scoop on what’s cooking!
In addition to Concordia’s participation in the Portland Alleys Allies Project over the past year, one of the benefits from sharing a part-time Portland State University “sustainability intern” with the Boise Neighborhood Association (BNA) has been development of a Neighborhood Sustainability Policy. The policy goal is to provide neighborhoods with guidelines for “…building more equitable, green, and just neighborhoods today and for the years to come.” The LUTC is reviewing the BNA’s version, and we expect to have a draft ready by early fall for community review and hopefully eventual CNA adoption.
Good news! Right before press time, mayor Charlie Hales agreed to join commissioner Dan Saltzman in sending a letter to developer Brian Spencer in support of the LUTC’s recommendations to address the design deficiencies of the four-story “mixed use” apartment building soon to go up at the corner of 30th Avenue and Killingsworth. The particular emphasis is on ensuring the ground floor is fully optimized for retail use as the current commercial storefront (CS) zoning guidelines clearly intend.
With this important, and most appreciated, support from the city, the LUTC is in the process of re-establishing contact with the developer, which will hopefully result in the desired changes. Toward this end, we are reaching out to key influential people and institutions in the community for their support as well, including:
- Commissioners Nick Fish, Amanda Fritz and Steve Novick
- Concordia University President Charles Schlimpert
- New Seasons Markets
- Oregon state senator-elect Lew Frederick
- Tom Kelly, CEO, Neil Kelly and Portland Development Commission chair
We also encourage interested neighbors to contact these people. To see contact info for these people and progress updates, visit CNA website’s “Bighouse” section.
Residential Infill Project
See CNA chair Garlynn Woodsong’s latest report about both the city’s and the RIP Stakeholder Advisory Committee’s residential zoning code update proposals to improve the scale of houses, narrow lot development, and alternative housing options. For more info, and to submit your comments – which are due by Aug. 15 – visit the infill project website, email Julia Gisler or call Jill at 503-823-7624.
At the Aug. 17 LUTC meeting, we hope to meet with an Oregon Department of Transportation representative about how best to ensure safe passage for all bicyclists and pedestrians using Northeast Portland Boulevard / US 30. This comes in the wake of the tragic death of a bicyclist at the 42nd Avenue overpass.
A promising new proposed Greenway Diversion Policy was presented to the LUTC in July. It would establish citywide greenways crossing arterial streets, would standardize greenway design and create transparency. It was brought to us by longtime bicycle advocate Terry Dublinski-Milton, who is also North Tabor Neighborhood Association LUTC chair and a member of the SE Uplift Board. The Portland Bureau of Transportation has expressed interest in the proposal’s “diversion by default” concept of “diversion at every main corridor would be [the] norm, thus becoming a part of the urban form not much different than a crosswalk or traffic signal” and Terry is asking the city’s neighborhood associations and coalitions for review and feedback. Read a full explanation and see his information here.
Concordia residents are always welcome at CNA LUTC meetings, 7 p.m. every third Wednesday in the Community Room at McMenamins Kennedy School. For more info see the LUTC section of the CNA website, send us your questions, and email the LUTC to join the notification list.
By Garlynn Woodsong Chair, CNA Land Use & Transportation Committee
Last month, I discussed the Residential Infill Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee (RIPSAC). I mentioned the staff proposal is not supported by the infill project’s advisory group, and a majority of the RIPSAC has instead been in support of the Portland For Everyone (P4E) proposal. It’s actually not very different from staff’s proposal regarding scale, but takes more progressive steps toward allowing more missing middle housing types in all of the city’s single-family zones.
This month, I focus on the differences between the staff and the P4E proposals on location, and specifically how it relates to equity. City staff has put forward a proposal for the Residential Infill Project that will allow only some new missing middle housing types within a quarter mile of centers, corridors and frequent transit service stops – specifically duplexes, triplexes and up to two accessory dwelling units per primary structure.
The P4E proposal would simply allow these same housing types, with a few bonuses intended to encourage the preservation of existing structures, within all single-family zones citywide.
The argument for allowing these types in all single-family zones boils down to equity. It is more equitable to allow housing types with more than one dwelling unit per lot in all neighborhoods. That will allow for the possibility of creating new more-affordable housing units across the city, including in wealthier neighborhoods that are currently more exclusive. All neighborhoods would thus share in the burdens and benefits of these changes to our single-family zoning code to make it more form-based and focus on the size and scale of buildings rather than also limiting the number of dwelling units within.
The argument for allowing only these units near centers, corridors and frequent transit boils down to smart growth – density should be located near transit and amenities.
The Portland plan lays out a goal for 80 percent of the residents of the city to live in complete neighborhoods by 2035. (A complete neighborhood is one in which residents can walk to most regular destinations in less than 20 minutes.) It is the very policy of providing for additional dwelling units on what are currently single-family lots citywide, at a scale that is compatible with single-family homes.
That will help to develop more complete neighborhoods citywide by adding to the demand for amenities and services, including additional frequent transit.
The city has a housing shortage currently, which is driving up the prices for all types of housing, both to rent and to own. Add the additional demand of more than a thousand people moving to Portland each month with the normal housing market churn driven by existing residents.
It would seem Portland needs to make a bold commitment to provide for abundant, diverse, and affordable housing to meet the needs of all family sizes in every neighborhood.
Concordia residents interested in discussing this or any other issue related to land use and transportation are invited to attend the Concordia Neighborhood Association Land Use and Transportation Committee (CNA LUTC) meetings at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month, in the Community Room of McMenamins Kennedy School. Click here to join the LUTC mailing list.
By Spencer Parsons
This past spring, I was part of a group of five neighborhood professionals – three architects, a designer / builder, and a land use attorney (me) – who collaborated on behalf of the Concordia Land Use & Transportation Committee (LUTC) to address neighborhood compatibility issues with the proposed Bighouse Development at the corner of NE 30th and Killingsworth Streets. These concerns arose from the drawings developer Brian Spencer of Ascend Holdings and builder Rick Porter of Union Corner Construction provided at the February LUTC Meeting. Mr. Spencer agreed to review any recommendations we might provide.
In early April, the LUTC submitted the “Bighouse Redesign Team’s” conscientiously researched and carefully considered design changes intended to dramatically improve the building’s integration into the long-standing character of this unique intersection at the heart of Concordia – without negatively impacting its functionality or the project’s overall economics.
Problems with the proposed design
The most obvious shortcoming of the planned 4-story, 30 unit apartment building is that the design is totally tonedeaf in relation to the surrounding quaint yet vibrant “mini” commercial node.
First, though the lot is zoned “Commercial Storefront,” it provides a bare minimum of ground floor business space, sacrificing most of this valuable commercial real estate in exchange for three residential units.
Who wants to live on the ground floor at such a busy intersection, with passing pedestrians, a constant stream of cars and busses, and ambient noise from nearby stores and restaurants at all hours? The blinds will be pulled on the first floor residences 24/7. Count on it.
Additionally, none of these units open on to the street, a fatal flaw for any design striving for a compatible character. The stated reason they must face inward, with a single shared outside entrance, is for “security” purposes, though many close-by residential and commercial units open to the sidewalk without a problem.
Compare the Rexall condo building, a few hundred feet south on 30th, where all ground-floor units face outward – some are residential, some commercial, and their use changes periodically as occupants change. Opening the Bighouse ground level units to the street would preserve future flexibility for commercial use. However, walling them off from the outside blocks the building from community integration, both literally and figuratively.
What the regulations say
Portland Zoning Code (PZC) 33.130 calls for new developments that “enhance the economic viability of the specific commercial district” and directs them to “preserve and enhance older commercial areas … compatible with the desired [storefront] character”. It explicitly intends accommodating and fostering “a full range of retail, service and business uses with a local and regional market area” and that all new buildings are “pedestrian-oriented” and built “with a storefront character.”
What we’ve asked for
While the Team determined the development, as proposed, does not progress the City’s vision for commercial use of this site, our list of suggested modest modifications sent by the LUTC to Mr. Spencer and Mr. Porter were prudently crafted to address the design shortcomings without going back to the proverbial drawing board.
The first and most significant item on our list requests conversion of the three ground-floor residential units to commercial use, or at least making them mixed use live/work spaces with separate entrances to the sidewalk.
We also asked that an acoustical engineer be engaged to mitigate Killingsworth’s heavy traffic sounds and noise from nearby businesses, both of which will negatively impact the first floor living experience.
Also recommended are several affordable improvements to the building façade to better link it with the neighborhood, including — but not limited to — delineating the building base, upgrading exterior cladding, adding cornices, improved exterior lighting, and integration of sunshades, awnings, and public art elements to enhance the exterior and deter vandalism. The Team’s complete report is posted under the “Bighouse sidebar” on the CNA website.
Where we are now
Unfortunately, the answer is not clear. Mr. Spencer agreed to respond to our requests in writing at a meeting last month between he, Mr. Porter, CNA Board Chair Isaac Quintero and myself that Concordia University’s CFO Denny Stoecklin facilitated. However, while we appreciate finding out on May 16 that his “design and construction teams have had discussions,” as of press-time we still have not received anything in writing addressing the recommended specifics, other than an email indicating “some of the façade, lighting and shadings enhancements are being considered.”
It is fair to say neither we, nor anyone at CNA, knows what, if any, changes might be incorporated into what is perhaps the most significant new Concordia development since the transformation of 33rd & Killingsworth. It may be time for others to begin asking …
Spencer Parsons is a land use attorney whose home and law office are both in the Concordia Neighborhood. Reach him via email or call (971) 279-2018.
By Ben Earle
May brought another full slate of issues into which the nine members of your Land Use & Transportation Committee could sink our teeth.
We made a first pass at identifying goals and objectives for the rest of the year and beyond:
Development. Implement programs to:
- Establish Design Guidelines for residential and mixed use development.
- Encourage developers to comply with demo and construction codes and laws, and establish responsive communications with neighbors and the community.
Good Neighbor Agreements. Renew or create GNAs for:
- Concordia University’s on & off campus development plans, new buildings, parking, traffic, bicycle and pedestrian passage, and neighbor relations.
- As many area businesses as possible.
Transportation. Pursue actions to improve:
- Traffic safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles.
- Alleviation of increased parking.
Homelessness. Work to:
- Identify temporary “placement” locations and support resources.
- Promote community awareness and engagement.
LUTC Operations. Work on:
- Improving administrative and public communications.
- Reviving the Safety and Livability Committee (SALC).
- Engaging with like-minded local and city-wide groups.
- A half-day planning “retreat.”
See Bighouse Redesign Team member Spencer Parsons’ article (next page) for the status of developer Brian Spencer’s response to the redesign recommendations resulting from his and CNA Chair Isaac Quintero’s meeting with him that was facilitated by Concordia University CFO Denny Stoecklin. For current info, check the CNA website “Bighouse sidebar”.
Nice to have some relatively good news to report on this front! On behalf of the nearby neighbors who received a demolition notice for the house at the SE corner of 37th and Killingsworth, I contacted developer Satterberg Construction to find they are using deconstruction to salvage many internal features and materials for use in the four “standalone” 2-story single family residence homes they’ll fit on the property’s R2 zoned lots totaling nearly 12,000 sq. ft. One house has a detached garage with the others integrated, and all have basements, 3 bedrooms, and 2 baths.
Not only do John and Brandy Satterberg, Portland natives who live in Hosford Abernathy, specialize in building classic Portland bungalow style homes with quality construction designed to fit with surrounding older homes, but they are also meeting with the neighbors and a LUTC representative as part of their commitment to establish a positive relationship with the neighborhood throughout the year-long development.
Residential Infill Project
Public outreach meetings to get feedback on proposed residential zoning code updates to improve the scale of houses, narrow lot development, and alternative housing options are slated for June 13 – August 8. For schedule details and more info, see www.portlandoregon.gov/ bps/67728, email , or call Jill at (503)823-7624.
Mixed Use Zoning Project
Though public testimony on the Mixed Use Zoning Draft closed May 24, comments on the resulting Composite Zoning Map can be submitted in writing and via the online Map App until the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) July 12 Hearing. See www. portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/572733, email, or call the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) at (503) 823-7700.
The final City Council vote on its Comprehensive Plan Amendments will be June 15 and the full package vote is expected in August. BPS is holding “Neighborhood Drop-In Hours” Tuesday June 21 at the Hollywood Library from 5-7 p.m. And you can always contact the City Council directly, call BPS at (503) 823-7700, or go to www.portlandoregon. gov/bps.
In response to calls to “provide safe passage for all bicyclists and pedestrians using N.E. Portland Blvd./US 30,” after the tragic bicyclist death last December at the 42nd Avenue crossing, ODOT says its traffic study indicates this “road” is “too busy” to qualify for traffic calming installations. The LUTC is sending letters to elected and bureau leaders at both the City and State to help pressure ODOT to act. We encourage continued citizen requests to “Ask ODOT” at 888- 275-6368 or www.oregon.gov/ODOT.
Concordia residents are always welcome at CNA LUTC Meetings, 7pm every third Wednesday. The June 15 meeting will be in Room GRW 303 at Concordia University Library. For more info see the LUTC section of the CNA website at www.concordiapdx.org/category/landuse-livability, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and email email@example.com to get on the LUTC notification list.