On November 1, United Neighborhoods for Reform asked Portland’s neighborhood associations to approve a demolition regulation resolution to send to the Portland City Council. The document, drafted over the past three months in three “summit” meetings, is backed by 2,300 online petition signatures requesting a limit to housing demolitions and nearly 500 individuals completing an online survey—84 percent opposed current demolition rates, 91 percent supported city code and policy changes to limit demolitions and replacement housing sizes.
UNR said at least a dozen associations had already voted to approve the document by mid-November. Among those approving: Arlington Heights, Beaumont-Wilshire, Bridlemile, Concordia, Eliot, King, Multnomah, Northwest District, Overlook, Powellhurst-Gilbert, Roseway and Woodlawn.
The resolution has three main sections: six demolition process changes, creation of a task force to study demolition notifications and three requests for City Council implementation. The task force would be composed 50 percent NA representatives and 50 percent of city staff and concerned citizens.
The process changes include restoration of an automatic 35-day delay on demolition of single-family structures, definition of “demolition” as 50 percent of any structure and demolition permit applicants’ mandatory compliance with all state/federal environmental and safety regulations. The resolution requests the City Council enact measures to protect residents from toxic substances released by demolition of a building, an update of the Historic Resources Inventory with a mandated waiting time before properties may be removed from the Inventory and a user-friendly on-line tracking of demolition activity.
After collecting neighborhood endorsements, UNR plans to deliver the resolution to the City Council as early as mid-December. UNR also asked NAs attend any City Council meeting to support resolution recommendations. The date of that hearing would be set by the City Council.