Three days after the residential infill open house in Rose City Park, the steering committee for United Neighborhoods for Reform posted what it called “talking points” on social media.
The ad hoc group formed two years ago to combat the direction of development in Portland, eschewing what it said were demolitions of viable, relatively affordable houses; construction of large, expensive replacement houses; lot divisions resulting in demolitions and replacement by two or more out of scale houses; and threatened loss of cherished neighborhoods.
Alleging in the talking points that the infill scope and process was hijacked by “developers, housing advocates and moneyed interests,” the group charged that the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability lacks “objective proof that any part of the BPS plan would produce the original/initial desired results.”
The group said an “adequate infrastructure of streets, sidewalks, sewers, public transportation and traffic management does not exist to support the proposed increased density” and characterized the residential infill process as “seriously flawed” because it did not include “any publicly available analysis from transportation, environmental services and other city staff responsible for infrastructure planning.”
In its talking points, the group said the sole part of the BPS proposal it could support was the plan for substantially reduced house size based on the size of the lot, using the tool of floor area ratio (total square feet of the building/total square feet of the lot).
The group suggested improving the infill proposal by determining house height, size and setbacks by local neighborhood context, as opposed to a “the one-size-fits-all-neighborhoods concept proposed by this plan.”
The group asserted that one zoning code does not fit all the varied areas of the city and that “opening up vast tracts of single-family neighborhoods to very dense development is irresponsible.” The group instead suggested trying increased development for density in very limited areas, performing careful analysis of the results and then moving forward based on observed outcomes.
The talking points concluded by stating that neighbors write and e-mail City Hall to preserve Portland. “The BPS proposal to open up vast areas of Portland’s neighborhoods to developers without thoughtful analysis of possible outcomes is reckless. At this point, BPS shows no evidence that they know what is right for the city. Developers will make decisions based on the bottom line, not on what is best overall for the city.”