Portland’s neighborhood associations are gearing up to generate significant attendance and broaden their involvement at a public forum 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 11, at Concordia University’s Luther Hall. Office of Neighborhood Involvement Director Amalia Alarcón de Morris will moderate the session sponsored by Portland’s North, Central Northeast, Northeast and Southeast neighborhood coalitions, according to Mary Jaron Kelley, North Portland Neighborhood Services associate program director.
Experts from Portland’s Bureau of Development Services, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, home builders, housing and community organizations will make statements and respond to questions about city regulations governing residential tear-downs and new construction, the effect of demolition and infill on neighborhood affordability, stability and equity, environmental issues surrounding the demolition of buildings, and the attraction of infill to home builders.
Following a meeting early in May characterized as a “neighborhood infill summit,” Beaumont-Wilshire Neighborhood Association Immediate Past President Al Ellis said participants “who represented every part of Portland — but mostly Northeast” reached consensus on three points: city policymakers must be convinced that Portland residents are upset about the rapid spread of infill-demolition development, residents have an urgency regarding the need for legislation to stem the problem and neighborhood associations are united in advocating a building code revision to address the problem.
Summit attendees enumerated dozens of infill demolitions that they claim have been very upsetting to residents for any number of reasons. Ellis said those who have spoken with the Mayor, City Commissioners and Bureau of Development Services sensed non-responsiveness to the alarm expressed by residents, saying there was “a seeming reluctance at City Hall to get involved.” Ellis said those attending the summit agreed that, from a political perspective, the optimal move would be building code reform endorsed by a vast citywide majority of neighborhood associations.