LUC Minutes 2009-10-12

Eliot Land Use Meeting Notes
Date: October 12, 09 6:30 pm
Present: Mike & Laurie
Prepared by: Laurie Simpson

Thomasina Gabriel and Emanuel’s new administrator (do not recall his name) discussed the new utility plant and the new children’s hospital in more detail. Thomasina said this is the once a year that the administrator attends the land use meeting to discuss the operations of the hospital (Thomasina primarily deals with the Impact Mitigation Plan (IMP) and facility / land use).

The new administrator said the hospital is known for its acute trauma but does not support post care as well as it could (physical therapy, social workers, etc). In terms of growth, they could branch out into neuroscience, heart, cancer, and/or women’s services but there is heavy competition with a high concentration of hospitals in the greater Portland area.

The height of the new children’s hospital tower was discussed. It is 175’ tall and the maximum height allowed within Emanuel’s IMP is 150’. Buildings along Williams and Vancouver have been rezoned in recent years to a maximum allowable height of 100’ (RXd zone) and buildings within the IRd zone (the hospital property is within this zone) has a 75’ maximum allowable height.

The new siding for the utility plant is the same metal siding used on ZGF’s new offices downtown. The hospital is trying to create a new, consistent design vocabulary that started with the new parking garage (recently constructed) and will follow with the children’s tower.

Emanuel marked the height that the new children’s hospital tower will be with a band about 60’ down from the top of the crane. Mike distributed photos of the crane from dozens of vantage points throughout the neighborhood. Board members present did not have a problem with the height and felt it was not intrusive on the skyline. Mike said it was difficult to find views where you could see the band from the neighborhood. Laurie cautioned to not let this set a precedent to allow height increases outside of the IMP.

The IMP was originally set up, as most big developments within a Portland neighborhood were, to have an inward focus –thus turning their back on the neighborhood. Mike said this ‘boundary’ was probably reinforced to limit growth into the neighborhood. The more recent view is to ‘blur’ this boundary and engage in the neighborhood. Hospital support activities such as the café and US bank would be appropriate on the perimeter of Emmanuel’s property to support the neighborhood (rather than current location which is buried within the hospital).

Laurie commented on how well the new parking garage is constructed using good quality materials (stainless steel, aluminum) and that she appreciates the neighborly gesture that the landscaping makes toward Dawson park – very nice landscaping. The next likely spot for a new building within Emmanuel’s campus would be the surface parking lot

within the cluster of buildings near the new children’s hospital. The vacant land facing Williams and Vancouver is not as likely to be developed any time soon since it cannot be physically linked to the rest of the hospital. Over the years Emmanuel has been approached by many developers interested in partnering on development here – a ripe opportunity for mixed use with retail facing Williams and Vancouver (historically it was a commercial / retail corridor, and the recent rezoning to Rxd supports this use). One of the Williams / Vancouver lots is being used for staging and will be turned back into grass when construction is completed.