A mid-January explanation from senior planner Barry Manning seems to have put to rest allegations from the Beaumont-Wilshire Neighborhood Association that city staff substantially altered and falsified BWNA comments on the city’s comprehensive plan. The serial theft of lawn signs stating opposition to residential demolitions, however, remains unsolved.
The signs began disappearing from residential property in Northeast Portland late in 2015. In some instances, when the signs were replaced, they disappeared again. Community activists said they believed there to be a conspiracy behind the sign disappearances, but nothing has been proven about this theory.
The editing allegations were made in a news release from Margaret Davis for BWNA. Davis stated, “I believe that when public comment is submitted, it becomes part of the public record, so the city may have falsified the public record here. Without an audit of the comment process, who knows what other voices have been silenced? This behavior should result in suspension of any planning activities, including the comp plan and the Mixed Use Zones, until integrity and value can be instilled in the comment process.” She referred to the Portland Matters blog for further details.
Manning responded, “Staff compiled comments from the public, Planning Advisory Committee members, and technical advisors into a spreadsheet, primarily for internal staff review of issues and further analysis. We have kept the original comments from BWNA and others in our records as well. In that compilation process, some comments were summarized for brevity or in some cases to consolidate issues. However, the intent was to capture the main points of the comments in a summary spreadsheet document.”
Manning further stated that a complete text of all comments would be posted as submitted to the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s Mixed Use Zones web page, while notifying the committee so they might review all comments. Manning also offered to meet with BNWA to discuss the comments and concerns. There was no reaction from BWNA to Manning’s offer.