By Lee Perlman
For the Hollywood Star
Capstone discusses Burnside & 26th plans
Capstone Partners, the developers of Grant Park Village, are also partnering with Mark Desbrow on a building on East Burnside Street at 26th Avenue, once the site of a Wells Fargo Bank branch. Desbrow and architect Kurt Schultz told the Kerns Neighborhood Association that the proposed structure would be four stories high, contain 135 units plus 1,200 square feet of retail space along Burnside, and 52 underground parking spaces. The developers are seeking three zoning code modifications: permission to exceed the site’s 45 foot height limit in order to provide an elevator tower that would serve a roof deck, permission to provide only one designated loading space instead of the required two, and a variance from the ground floor window requirement along Northeast Couch Street, where the parking will be. Both men said that if the modifications were denied they could build the project anyway.
Desbrow said that Opus Northwest had proposed a very similar project at this site in 2007, when he had worked for the company, but that they had withdrawn from this and all other ventures with the onset of the recession in 2008.
Overlook project on hold
According to Overlook Neighborhood Association land use chair Kevin Campbell, a proposed project by developer Wally Remmers has hit a snag. There is a design zone for this property. Remmers had been trying to meet the city’s community design standards, which would allow him to avoid a public design review process, but has had trouble doing so to the satisfaction of Bureau of Development Services staff.
Boise seeks to save historic house
Boise, developers reach compromise
The Boise Association has reached a compromise with another developer, this one with Urban Development Concepts (formerly Creston Homes) on their plans for a 42-unit building on North Mississippi Avenue between Mason and Shaver streets. In exchange for a letter of support, UDC has agreed to include ground floor retail and to give the structure a “more historical look” that includes changes to materials and color, according to Boise’s Caroline Dao. Ben Kaiser, another area developer and a member of the Portland Design Commission, also weighed in in Boise’s favor on this issue, Dao says.
At a neighborhood meeting she noted that UDC will still not provide any off-street parking and that agreement could be seen as an endorsement of this. However, she added, “It was the only way we could get any concessions from them.”
One resident said the new plans are “way better than the original proposal but still a mediocre design. It’s important to support them for the positive changes, but still not give implied support for the rest.”
Neighborhood members praised Dao for her work on the agreement. Kay Newell said, “It took a lot of work and a lot of tact.”
Lloyd Blocks planning continues
Langley Development and their team are continuing to plan for the Lloyd Blocks, a four-square-block project bounded by Northeast Seventh and Ninth avenues and Multnomah and Holladay streets; the site currently contains the Lloyd 700 office tower and a massive parking lot. According to architect Kyle Anderson, the project will have a total of 643 rental units. Block 100, on the northeast corner of the site, will be a five-story building with 143 units. Block 101, to the south, will be a 17-story tower containing 323 units. Block 92, on the southwest corner, will be six stories and have 177 units. All three buildings will have ground floor retail, and Block 100 will have a grocery. There will be a common underground garage with a total of 1,208 spaces serving the commercial space, the housing, and possibly other uses; current plans call for allocating .5 spaces per unit to on-site resident uses, Anderson says.
At an informal Design Advisory session in February, members of the Portland Design Commission expressed disappointment that the Bock 92 and 100 buildings would be so small, given that the zoning allows structures over 300 feet tall. Anderson says this is due to economic reasons; taller buildings require steel superstructures that make them too expensive.
A second advisory session last month dealt with the 100 building. The consensus on the Commission was that the design was good, but not good enough. “Everything you’re doing here makes total sense, but this is such an iconic building here,” Commission member David Keltner told the project team.
Another Commission member, David Wark, said, “If this were anywhere else in the city, this would be okay. But I want to push you and push you to do the greatest work you’ve ever done. Such an opportunity begs for dynamic architecture.”
St. Francis Park to be developed
St. Francis Parish proposes to redevelop St. Francis Park, a square block of private land devoted to public open space since the 1970s, for housing. A preliminary proposal for the block bounded by Southeast 11th and 12th avenues, Oak and Stark streets calls for eight townhouse units and 11,688 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, 144 housing units on the upper four floors, and on-site parking for 69 vehicles. The project would be a joint venture by St. Francis, the non-profit Caritas Housing, and the for-profit Gerding Edlen Corporation.
Designed and built by volunteers, the park originally contained a windmill and a waterfall. Although it adjoined a private school, it was intended for use by the wider community. In later years, after the school closed and the St. Francis Dining Hall started, the park was given over largely to the homeless. At a recent meeting of the Buckman Community Association, those who came lamented the loss of the park’s trees, but said that it had long ceased to be useable recreation space.
Valerie Chapman, spokesperson for the parish, declined to comment on the project.
In mid-March Dave Mullens of Creston Homes told the Star that the company’s 47-unit building under construction on Northeast Sandy Boulevard next to the Hollywood Theatre was “a month away” from opening, with most of the remaining work involving a required public pedestrian plaza on the west end. To the west, Lauren Golden Jones of Capstone Partners says her company is still seeking city permission for a new traffic signal on Broadway at 32nd Avenue as part of their Grant Park Village project. The development, which will include 200 rental units, a New Seasons Market and additional retail, and off-street parking on the former Albina Fuel property, should break ground in “late spring or early summer,” Jones says.
Injury closes Jazzkats
A severe auto injury to owner Whitney Baskins has forced her to close Jazzkats, the popular café at 1925 N.E. 42nd Ave. Baskins says she stopped for traffic and was rear-ended by a car driving 50 miles per hour. Although she can get around, she told the Star, “I’m one of the walking wounded,” and will require extensive medical treatment in the months ahead, making it impossible for her to run a business in the immediate future. She is trying to sell the business, and her friends are looking for volunteer help to get her to and from treatment, and the like. For more information contactgiveforward.com/helpwhitneyheal.
Atomic Pizza plans opening party
Atomic Pizza has already opened its Hollywood store at 4144 N.E. Sandy Blvd., but it will have its grand opening from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. April 6. The opening will be a benefit for Officer Paul Meyer, injured in a training accident, with bubbly from six brewers, a silent auction of local artwork, and a raffle. The place has been a hit for years in the Overlook neighborhood at 2150 N. Killingsworth St. “We make our own dough from scratch, and Bill [McCracken, partner and head chef] has been doing this for 25 years,” says co-owner Jenna Forzley. Their hours in Hollywood are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Brenn’s Blend expands
Brenn Simonen and friends last month celebrated the opening of her second studio on the third floor of Lloyd Mall. The space will be used for, among other things, massage therapy and footbath detox (removing bodily toxins from the soles of the feet). Brenn’s Blend, as she calls it, utilizes exercise, physical therapy and counseling to address a wide range of physical and life issues. Simonen can be reached at (503) 91.4520 or BrennsBlend.com.
Shop owners support sick leave
Portland’s new sick leave policy, which the Portland City Council adopted last month after several hours of testimony, has been characterized as a worker versus business dispute. However, two local shop owners, Milagro Boutique owner Tony Fuentes and Grain and Gristle owner Ben Meyer, testified in favor of the measure. Fuentes said that a similar measure was adopted in San Francisco, and that concerns raised prior to its enactment – that it would cause businesses to flee the city or go under, and cause people to lose their jobs – have proven unfounded.
Commission approves new parking rules
The Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission heard testimony last month that proposed new parking requirements for new multi-family development were unnecessary and contrary to city goals, and also that they didn’t go far enough to solve urgent problems. After hearing two and a half hours of such testimony, the Commission approved the recommendations of staff with minor tweaks. City Council is scheduled to take action on the matter at 2 p.m. April 4.
The proposed changes would require developers to provide .25 on-site parking spaces in developments of 41 residential units or more. The requirements would apply in the RX high density housing zone and most commercial zones, where there are currently no requirements for such parking. The new rules would continue to exempt multi-family development from parking requirements when it is within 500 feet of frequent transit service, but it would redefine “frequent” to mean service every 15 minutes or less, rather than 20 (as at present), and it would exclude areas that once had such service but no longer do.
Other changes would allow developers to provide the required parking on new or existing lots up to 500 feet from the residences (the distance was increased from 300 feet by commission member Chris Smith), and permit developers to reduce the amount of required parking in exchange for adding additional bike parking or space for a car sharing company.
A week before, an ad hoc task force of neighborhood representatives had called for stricter requirements. The Parking Task Force called for buildings with 20 or more units to provide parking, and for the ratio to be .5 spaces per unit.
Allen Field of the Richmond neighborhood, one of the most impacted communities, said the city wasn’t considering the cumulative impact of multiple projects; on and near Southeast Division Street, he said, 400 new units are planned. Gary Davenport of Overlook said that of 20 new east-side buildings built without parking, more than half were by Jeff Sackoff of Creston Homes or the Remmers family. “City staff needs to get busy writing code that developers can’t exploit,” he said. Several Division merchants, including Division Hardware owner Kathy Lambert, said parking congestion is interfering with their business.
Barbara Ross of Hollywood said, “The city is full of frustrated and angry residents. I would urge the city to do this immediately, and to work with property owners and managers to tell prospective tenants that there won’t be parking nearby. We also need consistent enforcement.” She said she is sometimes forced to park 10 blocks away.
There were also opponents. They argued that the changes weren’t necessary because on-street parking was available within two blocks, as a city study had found, that the changes would encourage car ownership and use contrary to city goals, and that they would reduce the number of units that could be built while increasing their cost. Activist Doug Klotz and Ted Labbe of De-Pave complained that the changes for proximity to transit would require 5,000 lots to provide parking that isn’t required now.
Tony Jordan of the Sunnyside neighborhood said he “reluctantly” supported the staff proposals but added, “Certainly there are greedy developers who build unsightly and mismatched buildings. These will still be built; now more of them will have garages. Certainly there are landlords who won’t pass savings on to their tenants; now there will be less savings to bargain for. Certainly many people need to own cars; now those who don’t will be incentivized to keep them by the promise of free parking.” He also accused parking advocates of using parking requirements “as a tool to prevent dense and affordable housing from being built.”
Brian Soppolo called off-street parking “unnecessary and costly. Street parking is not an entitlement, and if it is, it should be prioritized for classes such as the elderly.” He also called for allowing for exemptions from the rules if neighborhood groups endorsed them.
Mayor Charlie Hales addressed the Commission and framed the changes as a temporary, emergency measure. “We call on you as volunteers to take on big, complicated issues, but also urgent community problems, and this is one of them,” he said. “We’re eager to take this up as well, and to act on it in time for the next wave of development.” Several commission members, including Smith and Mike Houck, made it clear they supported the changes only as temporary measures that could be revisited. Kathryn Schultz voted against the proposal.
Council adopts historic review changes
In late February the Portland City Council adopted a series of changes to the procedure for exterior work on historic landmarks or buildings in National Historic Districts. The changes, in response to criticisms of the process by both proponents and opponents of such districts, are designed to make the reviews easier, shorter and cheaper.
As part of the process, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability called for exempting some things from review, such as handicapped ramps, fire escapes, storm windows, and minor changes on parts of he structure that are not visible from the street. Other matters, including changes that cover a total of less than 150 square feet, and restoration work that makes an historic structure more like it originally was, will be subject to a Type I review process. In this case, a city planner will make a decision on the appropriateness of the change, and his/her word is final; the only avenue open to someone who disagrees is an appeal to the state Land Use Board of Appeals, a costly and time-consuming process. Currently all exterior work on structures in historic districts beyond routine maintenance is subject to a Type II procedure, which takes six to eight weeks, costs a minimum of $900 and allows an appeal to the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission, which involves more time and expense. Type I takes no more than three weeks, and the proposed fee is $500 or less. At a subsequant session, council set the fee at $250.
Dean Gisvold, Irvington Community Association land use chair, objected to the loss of the right to appeal to a local body. Since initiation of the Irvington National Historic District, he said, 100 cases have gone through design review, and only two of them have been appealed. This prompted mayor Charlie Hales and commissioner Steve Novick to question why local appeals are such a problem if they occur so rarely. Planner Tim Heron replied that Type II decisions must wait two weeks to go into effect to give interested parties a chance to appeal.
Others testified to the need for the changes. Barbara Christopher of Irvington said the current fees and process are causing people to oppose the creation of new historic districts, and others to ignore the review process illegally. Tim Askin of Buckman, which is trying to create a new historic district, said there is fear of the effects of inappropriate redevelopment there; despite this, he said, the fees and process are causing many to want to “take their chances with developments and tear downs rather than preservation.”
“People have put a lot of money and sweat equity into preservation,” Hales said. “We have this amazing resource, and we rely on private homeowners to care for it for us. We want to make it as easy as possible.”
Kenton faces sewer repair, and bills
Representatives from the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services told the Kenton Neighborhood Association last month that BES will be inspecting some sewers in their area and, in some cases, it could cost adjacent property owners big bucks.
The Bureau is inspecting sewers in Kenton in about a dozen places, none of them more than two blocks long, consultant Anne Marie Garcia told Kenton. They will determine whether the facilities need to be simply repaired or replaced entirely. If the sewer is “conforming,” the city will foot the expenses, Garcia said, but if it is non-conforming the adjacent property owners will have to pay the cost. The city will offer financing help, but the cost per owner is likely to be about $5,000.
Some Kenton board members raised another issue: Why can’t city agencies coordinate so that the expensive and disruptive process of opening up the street doesn’t have to happen more than once? The BES representatives replied that when North Denver Avenue was being refurbished they hadn’t known sewer repair work was needed in the area and hadn’t had money to pay for it. In any case, they assured the residents, Denver will not be torn up again.
Planners hold Comprehensive Plan workshops
The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability held a series of workshops over the last two months to get public input on the draft Portland Comprehensive Plan, and drew respectable if not spectacular crowds. By far the largest turnout was at Beaumont Middle School, where 90 people attended. An earlier session at La Salle North High School had disappointing attendance, possibly because it conflicted with a hearing on West Hayden Island. A session at Franklin High School had 40 to 50 people.
A session at the Northeast workshop turned to apartment development without parking. (See above.) Another area of interest was schools. Planner Spencer Williams said, “We expect that most new housing will be for people without children, but there will be more housing for children.”
This summer the bureau will publish proposed maps showing future zoning, transit corridors and areas needing new infrastructure, and there will be new workshops at that time.
The Plan will set regulations governing public action and private development through the year 2035.
Health Fair draws vendors and participants
No one was really counting at last month’s 42nd Avenue Health For All Ages Fair at St. Charles Catholic Church, but 150 is a very conservative estimate of those who showed up to get information and services from 15 vendors that included both non-profit organizations and businesses. The fair was organized by the Northeast Neighborhood Nurses, 42nd Avenue Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative, and others.
Fritz visits Lloyd District
About 30 business people last month accepted the Lloyd District Community Association’s invitation to a free breakfast at Qdoba, courtesy of owner Stan Kramer, and to mingle with each other and commissioner Amanda Fritz. Among other topics, Fritz brought up the city’s upcoming budget deliberations where, she warned, potential cuts include “a lot of things that people care about. At some point we’ll have to say, ‘Sorry, we can’t do that.’” Mayor Charlie Hales had ordered each bureau to submit a budget reflecting a 10 percent cut in expenditures from the previous year. Fritz mentioned a recent budget forum attended by 200 and said, “This is what’s unique about Portland; we figure things out together.”
“A great day for the Irish” at heart
What do Irish wolfhounds, Irish setters, bagpipers, mounted police officers, volunteers from the non-profit Off the Couch, false beards and lots of green have in common? All were there at last month’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade through Grant Park and Irvington. Once again, all thanks to organizer Steve O’Slavik, as he goes by one month a year. As the film Paolo once put it, “Italy is too wonderful a place to be left just to the Italians”; many non-Irish feel the same about this holiday.
NECN holds School Candidates Fair
The Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, in cooperation with Concordia Neighborhood Association and University and the City Club of Portland, is sponsoring a School Board Candidates Fair beginning at 6:30 p.m. February 3 at Concordia’s Hagens Center, 2811 N.E. Holman St. All declared candidates for Portland School Board seats have agreed to attend, NECN says. Sam Adams, former mayor and now City Club president, will preside, and columnist David Sarasohn and Mary Nolan, the latter a former state senator and City Council candidate, will participate.
Beaumont-Wilshire, Cully plan elections and food
Once again, two great local neighborhood events are on tap a day apart. Beaumont-Wilshire Neighborhood Association will hold its annual meeting this year starting at 6:30 p.m. April 8 at Beaumont Middle School, 4043 N.E. Fremont St. Those who come can hear the Beaumont Jazz Ambassadors under the baton of Cynthia Plank. Next is A Taste of Beaumont-Wilshire, with samples from, among others, Alameda Brew House, Amalfi’s, Fire on the Mountain, Delphina’s Bakery, Grand Central Baking Company, Pizzicata and Papa Murphy’s Pizza, with contributions from Beaumont Florist and Green Dog Pet Supply. The following night, 7 p.m. April 9, Cully Association of Neighbors will hold Cuisine in Cully at Grace Presbyterian Church, 6025 N.E. Prescott St., with samples from Alameda Brew House, Amalfi’s, Delphina’s, Dutch Bros., Eclectic Kitchen, Grand Central Baking Company, Pizza Nostra, Prescott Café, Rose’s Ice Cream and Yo Choice Yogurt, with door prizes by the Missing Link Bike Shop. Commissioner Steve Novick will attend.
At both events, members of the neighborhoods will have a chance to vote for members of their respective boards, or even put their own hat in the ring. This is your chance to participate in democracy in action.
NEBBA sponsors recycle and shred
The Northeast Broadway Business Association, in cooperation with Here We Go Again resold clothes and Paper Chase Recycling, is holding its second annual Recycling and Shredding event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 21 at the 2100 Broadway building parking lot. For shredding, a donation of $5 a box is requested.
Happy 100th, Broadway Bridge!
The PDX Bridge Festival will throw a 100thbirthday party for the Broadway Bridge from 1 to 5 p.m. April 22 at the Rose Quarter. There will be music by the Ukeladies and Trashcan Joe, food, and foot and bike tours of the bridge. Donation requested. For more information consult www.pdxbridgefestival.org
Kenton benefit at Disjecta
The Kenton Street Fair, which seems to get better every year, is due 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 19 on North Denver Avenue. However, the Kenton Business Association needs up-front money to put it on and so, this month, there will be a benefit party from 6 to 9 p.m. April 25 at Disjecta, 8371 N. Interstate Ave. There will be a live auction of prizes by merchants, including gift certificates from “nearly every restaurant in Kenton,” we’re told, as well as live music, food, beer, wine and more. Tickets are $10, and are available at the Little Red Press on North Denver Avenue. For more information visitten.e1503277322ciffo1503277322tsewq1503277322@renr1503277322ohdna1503277322lrag1503277322.
Toga bowling for LDCA
The Lloyd District Community Association’s annual bowling tournament is set for noon April 26 at Hollywood Bowl, 4030 N.E. Halsey St. Once again, four-person teams will bowl two games each for fun and prizes. This year the costume theme is togas; you can also add appropriate accessories such as laurel wreaths, Roman swords and the like. The price is $150 for a four-person team and includes lunch and shoe rentals; two people can sign up for $75, individuals for $40, and they will be formed into teams. Proceeds go to the LDCA’s operations and charity. Participants are encouraged to sign up by April 19; to do so, or for more information, visit moc.r1503277322ehcmi1503277322lg@re1503277322mmirg1503277322a1503277322 or call (503) 528-8515. Oh, yes: you are required to wear something underneath the toga; people have asked.
Irvington Home Tour approaches
The annual Irvington Home Tour is approaching again; it is set for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 19. Participants will get to tour eight historic homes, plus gardens selected by the Hardy Plant Society. They will also get to hear a free lecture from the Society’s Eileen Fitzsimons at Irvington School. Hancock Street Preschool volunteers will be selling refreshments at their Irvington Café at the Irvington Tennis Club. And, for the second year, the Portland Horseless Carriage Club will have their vintage cars stationed along the route for your viewing pleasure.
Tickets this year will be $25, with proceeds going to the good works of the ICA, including their Charitable Giving grants to local non-profits. By the time you read this they will be available at Broadway Books, Caffe Destino or the Architectural Heritage Center, and online at irvingtonhometour.com. On the day of the tour, tickets will be available at Portland’s White House. Or you can put in a three-hour shift as a volunteer (they are badly needed!) and take the tour for free. For more information check the Web site or call (503) 288-3150.
Bike to Work in May
It’s a little ways off, but put on your calendar that the Lloyd District Transportation Management Association has set their annual Bike to Work Day for 7:30 to 9 a.m. May 17 at Oregon Square, Northeast Holladay Street between Seventh and Ninth avenues. Plans so far call for free bike repair courtesy of the Bike Gallery and massage from East West College students. For more details watch this space next month.
Sunday Parkways scheduled
The Bureau of Transportation is happy to say that there will be Sunday Parkways this year. For those not familiar, for five hours on a given day a roughly circular route along residential streets is cleared of auto traffic, allowing pedestrians and bicyclists to explore it in a new way. There are special activities in the parks along the route, and vendors of all sorts along it. The schedule is June 23 for the northeast route, July 28 for north, and August 25 for southeast. More next month.
Neighborhood leadership changes
Murray Koodish of Great Wine Buys was re-elected chair of the Northeast Broadway Business Association last month without opposition. Things went less smoothly at the Concordia Neighborhood Association. Daniel Greenstadt had volunteered to take the post, vacant for some months, but was unable to attend the meeting due to illness, and some members were reluctant to vote for him sight unseen. Former chair Katie Ugolini, who had served as interim chair, said she could no longer do so. The group then agreed to name Greenstadt interim chair pending a new election in May. Meanwhile the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods is moving ahead with their process to find a new permanent executive director; Shoshanna Cohen has been doing the job on a part-time basis for several months, but says she has no interest in a full-time position. The application deadline is April 25. For more information or an application consult www.necoalition.org/hiring.
North Tabor discusses mural
About 20 North Tabor neighborhood residents discussed a proposed mural, to adorn the walls of the Penumbra Kelley building at 4747 E. Burnside, with members of the Spacecraft art collective at a February open house at Laurelhurst Café. Based on this, Spacecraft has drafted a design that includes the 60th Avenue MAX station, Providence Hospital, the historic Shogren mansion and the Mount Tabor soap box derby, as well as the farms that used to occupy the area. The artists are now pursuing grants for the necessary funding.
Popina opens with gala
Popina Swimwear officially opened their new space at 2030 N.E. 42nd Ave. last month with a blowout gala that attracted hundreds. There was live music, snacks, beer from Kona Brewing, spiked punch and snacks from Noho’s Hawaiian Café and modeling of the store’s extensive swimwear offerings. Many took advantage of the night’s 30 percent off sale, and a few tried their new suits out in a hot tub temporarily installed in the parking lot. The party’s over, but the store remains and is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.