Land Use Update Winter 2018

Another turn around the sun and a number of new buildings coming to Eliot.  We’ve got a bunch of under-construction projects, including two projects on MLK – Cascadia’s Garlington Center at NE Morris Street (housing and social services) and PCRI’s C-shaped building a few blocks up between Cook and Ivy. There are also two projects going up in the southern Vancouver/Williams Corridor- 160 Units at Hancock and another 45 on Vancouver near Page.  A co-housing complex is going up at 20 NE Tillamook and Bridge Housing is proposing a 4-story building at Williams and Tillamook as well.

Two more proposals have come across our desk recently including two projects that are proposed as shared living apartment buildings. Sometimes called micro-housing, these units would have a bedroom and bathroom and a shared kitchen for every six units.  One is proposed at NE Fargo and Williams, and the other off of N Russell in Lower Albina.  Only a few of these projects have been built in Portland so far, but from what I understand they are the cheapest type of new housing going in.  It remains to be seen whether they will be desirable long-term, but these units will add to the diversity of housing types in our neighborhood.

On the Williams corridor, at Fremont and Williams an 8-story luxury condominium project is nearing completion. It is one of the first buildings in the state to be built with Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) and rumor has it that this project will sport the highest asking prices of any housing in the neighborhood.  With private elevator access and mechanized underground parking, it certainly is trying to appeal to a different demographic than has traditionally lived here. Just to the south of that project is a proposed 6-story project with 2-story buildings to be sited next to the residential houses on the east side of the lot.  This seems to be a good compromise to keep from having a towering building right next to adjacent homes, but I liked the project when it was first pitched to us as a 5-story project. Sometimes, a developer will show us a design they are not locked into and get our opinions on it and then change it in the exact way that we told them we didn’t want.  Unfortunately it is an often unspoken secret that neighborhood associations have no real power over developers.

Also on the Williams corridor, an interesting project is being proposed at the People’s Pig/Bluehouse Greenhouse site where the long-time owner of the property has figured out financing to build a big apartment building and maintain ownership of the building.  It is encouraging to me that someone other than an outside developer may be able to reap some of the inflated property values and cash in on the real estate game as well.

In southern Eliot, I often visit Creo Chocolate and Pine state biscuits, and it feels like a bustling mini-hub of businesses is thriving around the car dealerships.  There has been a proposal for a 5- or 9-story tower to go into the Coast Mirror site at 2nd and Schuyler.  There have been some other proposals for that area south of Broadway near 2nd in the Lloyd district as well.  A few smaller projects have been proposed on the Eliot side of Broadway as well.

In the coming year, we will see if any of the proposals filed in the 2017 rush to beat the zoning map changes get built or changed, and if anyone comes in under the new rules to try to take advantage of the new zoning, new density bonuses for affordability or a myriad of other rule changes that are going in through Portland’s Comprehensive plan.  On the transportation side of things, we are discussing a parking permit program for southern Eliot, watching the NE 7th or 9th greenway project from the Lloyd district to Woodlawn and the I-5 Broadway Weidler Interchange widening proposal which we have been staunchly against for a long time.

The Land Use and Transportation Committee meets the 2nd Monday of the month at St Philip the Deacon Church, 120 NE Knott at 7pm.