Written By Angela Kremer
The Rose Quarter is a regional attraction with regional traffic, noise and trash that impacts the Eliot Neighborhood. The redevelopment of the Rose Quarter is both an opportunity and threat to the livability of Eliot. Fortunately, there is a way for Eliot neighbors to have a say in what happens in the Rose Quarter; the Good Neighbor Agreement.
The Good Neighbor Agreement is a mediated process that is meant to either smooth out conflicts or prevent them between neighbors and businesses. In March, the Eliot Board officially adopted a resolution that will put Eliot Board members at the table, calling the meetings, and detailing the parts of a Rose Quarter agreement that can make all Eliot residents more secure. The goal of this GNA is to articulate key issues, solve problems and develop creative solutions and communication practices. As the Rose Quarter and Eliot evolve, we want to improve safety, improve livability and join forces for positive change.
Why does Eliot need such a committee? While there was talk of providing traffic and litter abatement when the Rose Garden was developed, there is no written agreement. Today, litter is just one of the issues. Noise and traffic have also created significant problems, making bringing in the groceries on game night a tricky endeavor if you don’t have a driveway. Now there are significant changes proposed for the Rose Quarter that could bring more litter, traffic and noise. The Goose Hollow neighborhood has an excellent GNA that governs the activities at PGE Park and used a similar committee process to hammer out the details of the agreement with the City and the operator of PGE Park.
What prompted this Rose Quarter GNA? Last Spring the mayor wanted to raze the Memorial Coliseum and put up a baseball stadium. Concerned with the existing problems, a group of neighbors on the southern end of Eliot, lobbied against this idea with a city-wide coalition of people who wanted to save the Coliseum. At that time the Eliot Board formally came out against baseball at the Rose Quarter and asked the City Council to include a GNA before redevelopment takes place. With the March 2010 Eliot Board resolution, we are taking the necessary steps to begin the GNA process.
Why should you care about the Good Neighbor Agreement with the managing partners and the City at this critical juncture?
The GNA will provide Eliot with a way to influence the changes that are rolling our way soon. The neighborhood needs jobs and good housing development. The vacant and empty places will soon have Streetcar edging Broadway. There are exciting new plans for the Memorial Coliseum even with a down economy.
The GNA is based in a public process and has the binding power of a City resolution. A standing GNA Committee provides a place that neighbors can occupy and negotiate from with the City and operators of the Rose Quarter.
I participated in the last planning process for the Rose Quarter in 1999 and there were many good neighborhood outcomes from that process. Unfortunately that plan was never adopted and we have lived with the uncertainty of what will happen at the Rose Quarter ever since. Now we have another chance to influence the outcome of this regional resource that sits on our doorstep. I encourage you to get involved in the GNA committee and stay tuned for our next update.
For more information about the GNA committee contact Angela Kremer at 503-284-9136 or AngelaHKremer@gmail.com.