In October, approximately 70 residents representing about two dozen Portland neighborhoods met for a third time to finalize a statement on how the City of Portland should preserve older houses and refrain from granting developers demolition permits. The meeting, labeled Summit III, was held at Grant Baptist Church.
A committee was formed to draft a reform proposal that would be disseminated for endorsement of neighborhood associations and preservation organizations around the city, and eventually be brought to the City Council.
More than a dozen volunteered to serve, and Beaumont-Wilshire Land Use Chair Jack Bookwalter will chair that sub-group to review a list of more than 30 reform items suggested by Summit II attendees, decide what should be included in the draft proposal and disseminate the draft to neighborhood associations and preservation organizations for their consideration. BWNA Immediate Past President Al Ellis noted that the endorsement process will take a while to complete, but the group hopes to present the proposal to the Portland City Council no later than early December.
The group discussed the mission of the Draft Proposal Committee, such as the basis for including items in the proposal, whether to set a limit on the number of final items, whether to include a “statement of principles” in the proposal, whether neighborhood association boards should have an opportunity to vote on each proposal item separately to give the committee prior to finalization of the proposal or—to save time—if the As should vote on the package as a whole.
Ellis told The Hollywood Star News the discussion was “sometimes contentious,” but he said the group was unified in its purpose: “The passion of the debate underscored the complexity of attempting to reach consensus among individuals and organizations from such a wide variety of perspectives in uncharted waters. Nonetheless, commonalities on the demolition/development reform front unite us in purpose.” Ellis added that the smaller committee will now “parse” the proposal. One participant long active in neighborhood affairs subsequently said he was close to being “burned out” by the process.