About three dozen Beaumont-Wilshire Neighbors for Responsible Growth gathered at Northeast Fremont Street’s Blackbird Wine on Veterans’ Day evening to celebrate and fund raise. After 18 months, multiple appeal filings at Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) bore fruit. On November 14th, LUBA heard BWNRG’s claims that “…inconsistencies in scale, impacts, and code issues” render the permit for the 50-unit, mixed use Beaumont Village Apartments on Northeast Fremont invalid.
Vic Remmers, whose Beaverton-based VWR Development just installed windows in the four-story structure between 44th and 45th Avenues expressed confidence following the LUBA hearing. “Everything we’re doing is what the City Code allows,” Remmers told the Star. “We’ve done lots of work and met several times with the neighbors and have had lots of success stories with other projects.”
The Fremont Street residential/retail structure dwarfs two older one-story structures on either side of it and private residences to the north, turning the BWNRG group’s elation at securing the November 14th hearing into a $50/person fundraiser to foot legal fees to fight the project which was planned without additional parking. According to Margaret Davis, fewer than 40 people attended that event and more than $1,500 was raised.
John Golden told the gathering that forcing the builder to comply with City of Portland codes requiring projects in excess of 30 units to include one parking space for every four units are not now aimed only at the Fremont project but to ensure, “…that a building like that, over 30 units, cannot be built anywhere in the city without providing the code-required parking.”
Speaking for the group, Golden credited Davis with organizing the fundraiser and keeping the appeal on track. Davis is hoping to prevail at LUBA so that the developer will, “…either have to provide the parking or reduce the number of units to 30.” Golden continued to remind the group that “…we residents know what makes our neighborhood most livable, and we need to have more of a voice in shaping the development that occurs within it.” Golden said BWNRG’s case before LUBA is clear:
“It’s too big a project for too small a space.”
Also attending the fundraiser was Gary Davenport of Overlook Neighbors for Responsible Growth. Davenport confirmed that the fight in Beaumont-Wilshire is not localized, but a struggle throughout the city. He and others predicted the next high-occupancy projects neighbors will have to deal with are so-called micro-housing, where as many as 50 units are being wedged into the footprint formerly occupied by a single-family house.