Eliot Land Use and Transportation Committee
Minutes for November 14, 2016
Submitted by Vice-chair, Mike Warwick
7:15 pm Vice-chair Warwick called the meeting to order before a quorum was present in order to proceed with Emanuel Hospital’s annual review, as required by the Institutional Management Plan (IMP) it has with Eliot and Boise Neighborhood Associations.
Present: Mike, Montse, Phil, and Paul. Visitors from Emanuel were present as was one neighbor/resident.
As background to readers of these minutes who were not in attendance, Eliot negotiated the IMP with Emanuel in an effort to prevent the kinds of problems residents in northwest Portland had and continue to experience with encroachment of Good Sam into their neighborhood. Eliot was specifically concerned the hospital would lease or purchase houses adjacent to the campus, annex those properties, and then demolish them. That has been the practice of Good Sam in northwest and other hospitals (and PCC) throughout the city. Eliot’s view was Emanuel had plenty of vacant land for expansion and should be prohibited from expanding into Eliot’s limited residential area. It should also be required to plan future expansion collaboratively with the adjacent neighborhoods and abide by design principles mutually agreed upon and enforced by the city through the IMP. This IMP was one of, if not the, first IMP in the city. It has served Eliot well but Emanuel considers it to be overly complicated. Most other “institutions” (hospitals and colleges) in the city do not have IMPs. They operate under conditional use permits that allow their use on property that may not be zoned for it, typically residentially zoned property. As part of the Comprehensive Plan process, the city is proposing to adopt a new “Institutional” zone to replace both the IMP and conditional use processes currently used.
The purpose of the annual IMP review is for Emanuel to share its plans for the year with Eliot and Boise, specifically, any planned construction and any associated neighborhood impacts, including traffic impacts. Their presentation covered two projects; the ongoing OR-ICU expansion along North Kerby and a newly proposed lodging facility for patient families.
Emanuel presented its plans for the OR-ICU project to the LUC at least twice previously. Briefly, the project will extend the current OR-ICU wing of the hospital west onto property used for parking and patient drop off along North Kerby. The building will be 4 stories and 65 feet high. It will present a single face along the two-block stretch of Kerby. A portion of the ground floor will be parking with patient facilities above. Previous comments from the LUC were that this façade was “too much” and needed some relief. The current plan will use a brick face, as proposed, in a lattice for ventilation of the parking. The brick will match those on the Medical Office Building. The revised plan includes a patient entry and lobby on Kerby side of the building that splits the first floor into two parts, providing relief from a single long façade. Construction of the building will require closure of one land on Kerby, which has four lands in this location. Closure for 16 months is anticipated. Staging of construction trailers (for contractors) is TBD, but the Hill Block may be used (again) for that purpose. It was used for the construction of the Children’s Hospital previously. For that project the grass was removed and the site covered with gravel, but the site was restored to grass afterwards – many long months afterwards is should be noted.
The second project if for a hotel, Emanuel House, for families of patients under long-term care, primarily those in the Burn Unit. The hotel will be located in the unimproved parking area east of Ronald McDonald House and up the hill from the Community Garden. This area is currently used for parking construction trailers and has been an eyesore for many, many years. The hotel will have 10 guest rooms and a large lobby. The parking lot just east of the site will be expanded to provide parking for the hotel rather than developing a new, separate lot. The project is expected to have only minimal impact on the Community Garden.
Mike asked about other recent construction on the campus. A new, large fuel tank was recently sited between the Ronald McDonald House and the Physical Plant building. We were told the previous tank, which remains, was to fuel emergency generators which are mandatory for all hospitals. The previous tank was smaller than required, but it was grandfathered when the new requirements were adopted. Expansion of the hospital for the Children’s Hospital and the new OR-ICU triggered expansion of fuel storage and emergency generating requirements. A new hyperbaric chamber trailer was also sited on the south edge of the main surface parking lot, next to the burn unit. The presence of a trailer suggests a temporary use. We were told it was being used on a trial basis and depending on the results; a permanent chamber would be included in the new OR-ICU. That trial has another year or so to run.
Allan asked about Emanuel’s intentions with the Hill Block and other properties between Vancouver and Williams it owns. It was explained that the IMP restricted the use of these buildings because of height and set-back requirements. Plus, we were previously told there are no plans to expand medical treatment facilities across Vancouver because of gurney and wheelchair access issues. Adoption of the new Institutional zone will relax some of the construction restrictions and permit consideration of development for medical office uses. The existing buildings are older and are likely to be replaced over time. Allan noted that development along the residential edge should be more “friendly” that the current parking structure facades. It should include services valued by the neighborhood if possible. Emanuel staff have heard this from Eliot before and agree with us; however, the IMP would have to be modified to do so. Therefore, they are waiting until the new Institutional zone is adopted.
Having finished its formal presentation and Q&A, Allan launched into what he characterized as a “rant” about parking. The IMP requires the hospital to manage parking and implement parking management strategies to prevent encroachment into the neighborhood. They offer employees bus passes, bike parking and shower facilities, and other transportation options. But, we were surprised to learn that over 75% of employees still drive themselves to work.
Emanuel was thanked for their presentation.
Once Allan arrived a quorum was present for review and approval of minutes from previous meetings, which was done by consensus. Minutes, draft and final, are posted on the Eliot web site.
LUTC Committee Membership and Officer Election
After a brief discussion the committee voted to recommend the current committee members and existing officers to the Board for approval. The vote was unanimous.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9 PM.