What do Pine State Biscuits, Sizzle Pie Pizza, the Community Cycling Center, and Reverend Nat’s Cider have in common? All are expected to be new tenants in the re-purposed Trade Bindery building on NE Schuyler between NE 1st and 2nd. In fact, the Community Cycling Center moved their administrative office around the first of March (their storefront on Alberta is unaffected).
In October 2012, developer Andre Kashuba purchased the Historic Rayworth House property located at 3605 N Albina in the nearby Boise neighborhood. He immediately filed plans with the city to demolish the existing 1890 single-family house and construct two attached larger homes on the lot. Around November, the city granted approval with a new proposed lot line splitting the property down the middle. In recent years, it has been a primary goal to encourage increased population density in close-in neighborhoods. Even though the Rayworth House is in the middle of a block of single-family homes between N Fremont and N Beech, most of the area is zoned for two families per lot, which explains the short of approval time by the city.
Did you know that Eliot has a beautification committee? The group, loosely an extension of the Neighborhood Livability Partnership, is exploring projects to plant street trees, personalize intersections and street signs, and reduce visible trash and litter. Broad goals of the committee, which includes local residents, businesses and nonprofits, are to build on the vitality of Eliot, and recognize and act on major opportunities to make sure the identity of Eliot is recognizable to those who live in the neighborhood, or who are just passing through. We want to take a collaborative approach, so if you are interested in sharing your ideas or lending a hand, we would love to hear from you.
I’ve lived in Eliot for 5 years now, and Martin Luther King, Junior Boulevard (MLK) is less than half a block from my house. If I had to use one word to describe it I would say ‘highway’ probably. The traffic is what defines MLK, slow and busy at rush hour, and fast and sparse throughout the rest of the day.
Readers of this column will know that the NE Quadrant phase of the Central City Plan update recently finished. The resulting Plan was approved by City Council. This plan is “advisory” and may be changed of modified subsequently. Concern about possible changes that would upset the compromises agreed to by the stakeholder committee resulted in a request that the committee be notified of any prospective changes and re-engaged to review and comment before they are adopted. It isn’t clear Council will be bound by that request, but here is hoping it will be.
When I sent the moldings in my home off to the stripper, I noted the name on the back appeared to be German. I also suspected the owner worked for the railroad because the front door is a custom size, probably to accommodate a window in the shape of a Union Pacific shield, which dates from the 1880s, and my home was built in 1908. A recent Oregonian article, (“NE Portland church tells story…” 1/12/2013) confirmed these suspicions. Although the article warned of the potential tragic loss of churches founded by German immigrants, it noted that these settlers were from the Volga region of Russia.
As a fairly recent transplant to Eliot I am excited for the developments along Williams and Vancouver. The addition of New Seasons and mixed use residential buildings are just the beginning of local economic growth, and this has the benefit of also increasing scrutiny of factors that affect Eliot as a walkable and healthy neighborhood. There is a general theory of walk-ability that requires satisfaction of four main criteria: it must be useful, safe, comfortable and interesting. Having a grocery store return to Eliot will meet the first criteria, and I for one will enjoy the proximity of my favorite place to shop. The nature of walking allows you to meander and find your most interesting and safe route, although the two can often be mutually exclusive. Safety for pedestrians, a very fragile group, requires well-lit paths, well-marked crossings, a buffering from cars and an overall sense of security. Residents of Eliot must deal with high traffic volumes, and a proximity to the freeway that compromises this sense of security.
The State requires the City to adopt and update a comprehensive land use plan for a 25 year future period. Multiple plans are embedded within this process, including transportation plans, district plans, and Portland’s Central City Plan. The City is in the midst of updates to both the Central City and Comprehensive (city-wide) Plans. Portions of Eliot are in the Central City and are covered by that Plan update, as has been described in this column for the past two years. The Central City update is proceeding in four stages corresponding to different quadrants of the central city. Eliot is in the Northeast Quadrant, which is the first part of the central city plan to be updated. That update is now complete after two years of meetings, in which Eliot was well represented. The final plan will go to City Council for review and approval in October, with the other central city quadrants to follow.
One of the hot button issues in the NE Quadrant Plan process was bike and pedestrian safety, particularly along Broadway near I-5. In response to a spate of recent vehicle/bike accidents and pressure from multiple parties, including Eliot, City staff have agreed to try and speed the adoption of some of the proposals in the Plan. One of these was to limit access to North Wheeler from Broadway as that has been a contributor to bike accident statistics. To do so the City erected temporary wooden barriers with “no right turn” signs.
The Portland Brownfield Program has grant funding available until September for North and Northeast Portland property owners. These funds can be used for free or low-cost or Environmental Site Assessments on brownfields or properties where previous use may have contaminated the soil or ground water with petroleum or other hazardous substances.
This column has described the NE Quadrant Planning process over the past 20 months of Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) meetings. That portion of the Central City Plan is nearing its end with the SAC’s adoption of the Facility Plan. The process has been driven by the desire of ODOT to expand I-5 between I-405 and I-84 and PDOT’s hope of leveraging federal freeway dollars for surface street improvements. Because the City’s hope depends on federal money, this hope has always been a house of cards and remains so.
The NE Quadrant planning process is part of the Central City Plan, which is part of the longer term Comprehensive Plan. Each of these plans are required by State law and need to be updated every 20 to 25 years. Now that the transportation component of the Quadrant plan is ending, the land use component will wrap up over the summer. This will only cover Eliot land use issues in Lower Albina and along Broadway. The rest of Eliot (and the City) will be covered in the Comp Plan, due in two years.
Lori Simpson and I have represented Eliot in a joint State/City effort to plan the NE quadrant of the as part of the larger Central City Plan. The Central City includes all of downtown as well as the Southeast Industrial area and our quadrant that is the area from the river east to 15th, south of Broadway to I-84, including Lower Albina and part of Eliot west of Williams south of Russell. The process is near its end after 15 months of meetings. This link provides access to the formal proceedings, which are well worth reviewing: http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?c=53257.
In case you hadn’t already heard…a News Seasons Market is coming to Eliot! On January 5th New Seasons Market announced they intend to open a store on the “Bakery Blocks” – the parcel of land bordered by Cook, Williams, Fremont and Vancouver. The 13th New Seasons store is expected to open in 2013.
If you have wondered what is going on at the triangular shaped parcel of land where MLK & Hancock and Grand meet up here’s what is happening. This 15,500 sq. ft. parcel is called the Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd Gateway and Heritage Marker project and is scheduled to be completed by Spring 2012.