Letter from the Land Use Chair Summer 2018

7th Avenue Traffic Calming Island

I think it is probably time for me to step down.  It has been 10+ years of involvement with the ENA Land Use committee and quite a few as chair.  During that time we have gone from a bust-to-boom economy and that means a bunch of new buildings in the works.  While many under-constructions projects are about to start renting out units, another cluster of buildings on the North Williams corridor is in the works with 4 new proposals adjacent to Williams and Cook alone. Portland’s new zoning map will be going into effect any day now and that might mean another flurry of proposals under the new rules, or a gentle slowdown in the incoming permits.

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Hill Block: Visioning to Heal the Past

The healing: In August of 2017, Legacy Health joined the City of Portland and Prosper Portland (formerly Portland Development Commission) in announcing a collaborative effort to develop a vacant 1.7-acre block on the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center property. This land once housed the Hill Block building and was considered the heart of the Albina business community where many African Americans resided in nearby homes until urban renewal came in the 1960s. Though vacant for nearly 50 years, this plot of land still evokes painful memories for many African Americans who still talk about the unfair destruction and loss of their community.

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Eliot’s Unique Bike Hive

Image of Breadwinner Cycles
Breadwinner Cycles

While many neighborhoods in Portland have a local bike shop, few neighborhoods have what could be considered to be a “Bike Hive”. Eliot is home to a vibrant community of businesses and nonprofits passionate about supporting people who ride bikes at any level of expertise. The intersection of North Page Street and North Williams Avenue is home to several local businesses dedicated to cyclists: Metropolis Cycles, Igleheart Custom Frames and Forks, Ahearne Cycles, Breadwinner Cycles and Café, Signal Cycles, and Endurance PDX, with Bike Farm and Cycle Oregon just a few blocks away. I wanted to learn more about these businesses, how they collaborate, their views on what they offer to Eliot, and what they want the neighborhood to know about them.

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The Hill Block Project Update

Vacant Land at Williams and Russell

A Community-led Effort to Develop the Vacant Block on the Legacy Emanuel Campus

On August 1, 2017, Prosper Portland, the City of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Legacy Health announced a collaborative project to develop the Hill Block property.  All three have agreed to work together to facilitate a community-driven process that will determine a community vision and development proposal for the vacant site.

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Seth Prickett: The Waypost Owner and Philanthropist

Photo of Seth Prickett
Seth Prickett

Thirteen years ago, Seth Prickett’s life was changed by a decision participate in a study abroad program while attending Linfield College. He was the fifth-generation to be born and raised in Washington County, and he was eager to go somewhere far away and culturally different. The class offered in Ghana, Africa seemed to fit both of those desires. Ghana was the first sub-Saharan colony to gain its independence in 1957. Ghana hosts a diverse population and is an example of democratic success. Prickett was a political science major and was also active in student government at Linfield. The history course he took that January was “Emergence of Modern Ghana,” and his project looked at the political structure of the country and how it manifested from 1957 to today. What started as just a curiosity about Ghana’s culture and history became a humanitarian and philanthropic venture that has helped to shape the future of Ghanaian children for years to come.

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Development Plans for Hill Block lot

Legacy CEO and president, George J. Brown, M.D
Legacy CEO and president, George J. Brown, M.D

Legacy Health has joined the city of Portland and Prosper Portland in a collaborative effort to develop a vacant 1.7-acre block on North Russell.

The development process is aimed at engaging the people in the community impacted by displacement and will include medical care services, affordable housing and community amenities.

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Microcosm Publishing

Microcosm Publishing Store
Microcosm Publishing Williams and Graham

A series of posts about places where you can buy, borrow or donate books in and around our amazing neighborhood. 

The​ ​east​ ​side​ ​of​ ​Portland​ ​has​ ​an​ ​affinity​ ​for​ ​buildings​ ​that​ ​are​ ​painted​ ​outlandishly​ ​bright​ ​colors.​ ​It is​ ​necessary​ ​in​ ​a​ ​city​ ​that​ ​has​ ​more​ ​overcast​ ​days​ ​in​ ​a​ ​year​ ​than​ ​sunnier​ ​ones.​ ​Another​ ​essential aid​ ​for​ ​surviving​ ​the​ ​melancholy​ ​Portland​ ​winter​ ​is​ ​books.​ ​Add​ ​a​ ​lime​ ​green​ ​coat​ ​of​ ​paint​ ​and books​ ​together​ ​and​ ​you​ ​get​ ​Microcosm​ ​Publishing​ ​on​ ​Williams​ ​and​ ​Graham.​ ​Microcosm Publishing​ ​is​ ​an​ ​independent​ ​publishing​ ​house​ ​that​ ​highlights​ ​skill-building,​ ​telling​ ​hidden​ ​histories, and​ ​fostering​ ​creative​ ​pursuits​ ​by​ ​publishing​ ​books​ ​about​ ​DIY​ ​skills,​ ​food,​ ​bicycling,​ ​gender, self-care,​ ​and​ ​social​ ​justice.

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Richard Basi – Cherry Blossom Orchestra and Jazz on Williams

Cherry Blossom Orchestra on stage

Richard Basi, a longtime Eliot resident who only recently moved a block beyond the neighborhood’s bounds, loves jazz. Hailing from England, Richard fell in love with swing dancing when he moved to the US. As Richard improved in his dancing, he became entranced by the jazz that allowed swing dancers to be so expressive in their movements. Soon, Richard progressed from being a casual listener of jazz to becoming an eager student of the genre.  Richard argues passionately that jazz provokes a broader range of emotional responses than any other genre of music—from sheer bliss, to utter disappointment and sorrow. He has dedicated much of his energies to learning about the history of jazz, and how it has evolved over time alongside shifts in society. Through this research, Richard learned a great deal about the history of jazz in Portland, and specifically, the jazz scene that once existed on Williams Avenue in Eliot. Now, Richard is one of the most prominent advocates in the city for “bringing jazz back to Williams”.

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Portland’s Jazz Scene Yesterday and Today

Williams at Russell 1937
Paul’s Paradise, was around the corner at 19 N Russell Street—now a grass lot. Photo courtesy of Portland City Archives

In the early 1940s, Floyd Standifer could be found playing his trumpet to the hills. He would listen as the sound came echoing back. This was the way, in the farmlands outside of Gresham, he worked on perfecting his tone. However, he also learned a lot from Williams Avenue in Portland.

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I-5 Overpass Reconstruction Moving Forward

I-5 Overpass Reconstruction
I-5 Overpass Reconstruction

“The Box”

The recently adopted NE Quadrant Plan (a part of the Central City and Comprehensive Plans) was conducted in cooperation with the Transportation offices of the State (ODOT) and City (PDOT) to coordinate ODOT’s plans to expand capacity on I-5 through the Rose Quarter and the I-5 ramps with PDOT’s plans for the area between at Broadway/Weidler, an area known as “the Box”.

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Development Roundup

Current Projects:

  • Ace Hardware on Broadway– Opened early in 2016 with hardware store and self storage units
  • NE 7th and Russel- 6 story 68 unit apartment project with 43 car parking spots underground.
  • Cook Street Lofts – 104 unit 5-story building at Vancouver and south of Cook
  • N Vancouver and Cook- Cook St Apartments – 206 Apartments with ground floor retail to be rented by New Seasons offices, 2 stories of underground parking.
  • 1 North- Office and Commercial buildings north of the Williams New Seasons. Construction almost complete
  • 300s NE Morris – 11 townhouses are going up quickly and for sale in the 375-450,000 range

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Williams Ave Art

The Committee to Honor the History of Williams Avenue (the Committee) announces the selection of artists Kayin Talton Davis and Cleo Davis as the artists who will create artwork for Williams Avenue. The artists, who own Soapbox Theory & Screwloose Studio on North Williams Avenue, will install 10 tile sidewalk “murals”, 30 commemorative signs and an interactive kiosk along N. Williams Avenue from Broadway to Killingsworth Street. Final designs will be reviewed by the committee in July with installation expected in late summer.

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Proposed Development

Development in North Eliot.  P - proposed, C - under construction.  CS- construction staging.
Development in North Eliot. P/Pr – proposed, C – under construction. CS- construction staging.

There are quite a few projects going up right now in and around Eliot.  North Eliot is getting most of the action. The two proposed large six-plus story tower developments at NE Fremont and Williams as well as the project at NE 7th and Russell have driven the most uproar.  However, there are a number of  other developments being proposed  or already under construction.

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Vacant Land

A letter from the Land Use Chair…

Vacant Land at Williams and Russell
Vacant Land at Williams and Russell

Vacant land in Eliot has been one of my biggest annoyances since moving here in 2008.  I realize many of you have lived here longer than I have and some of you have even gotten permission to use the vacant land that you experience around you every day.  However some of the bigger pieces really leave holes in the urban fabric that surrounds us.  Some of the vacant land is used for parking, but at its worst some of our land is used for nothing at all.

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