Planning Minutes – 01/22/09

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NWDA Planning Committee 1 22 09

John Bradley, Don Genasci, Roger Vrilakas, Steve Pinger, Kevin Kenaga, Brian Bramlett, Lee Stapleton, Noel Johnson, Greg Tyson, Allan Classen, Dustin Posner (sp? lives in neighborhood.) Ron Walters.

Bradley—report on SOC, Major League Soccer. Financing might include LIDs, state income tax on this for bonds etc. City’s representative—in charge of bonding, says not a good time to be floating bonds, even with a steady revenue source would be 9% very steep for even a taxable bond. Spreadsheet handed out at SOC of PGE tax sources. Rose Quarter, parking structures at RQ, spectator fund kick in. PGE park drains .5 million per year on these funds, RQ kicks in about that much.

107 page report for a business group re practicality of MLS in Portland, commissioned by Shortstop LLC, will send out.

Welcomes comments. Lee ‘no’. Time to be skeptical is when they say it creates jobs. Not many family wage jobs are created by these facilities.

Paulson kicked in $16 million to purchase Timbers and Beavers, will do $40 million but wants $80 million from the city. (?)

Got report on how ten MLS stadiums were financed, most had some degree of corporate & private financing, but these were $150 million plus, and had other benefits & aspects. The reporting consultants will do more homework & report again.

Pinger—these arrangements need to be viewed as tenant-landlord, city is landlord: will it make money? Being spun that it would, but need more information. Opportunity is there, not dismissed out of hand, but is it a good investment? Not a blanket ‘no’, but must pass these hurdles.

Bradley—ticket tax can support increased debit of $19-$23 million without any additional source of revenue. Another source of revenue for owners, such as naming rights, is possible. But the value of facilities naming rights is going down. New naming rights value going up: Jersey-applied naming rights are going up. PGE Park naming rights sunset in 2010.

Hard to get a sense of how committee is leaning, lots of businessmen ‘poker players’.

Theisen—December 18 preapp for 20th & Pettygrove, former Dove Lewis site on SE corner. 5-story structure over podium of parking, 26 spaces 90 units. Access from Pettygrove and from NW 20th. 150′ down Pettygrove, 408 sf apartments. PDOT ok with everything, reminded them it was a ped district. Internal car movement interior nearly impossible, needs to be reconfigured. Noelle from Design Review said 5:1 FAR bonus to 120′, we didn’t remember it being this high in this area, she checked and said it was.
Onsite location of vehicle areas, not screening mechanicals, ground floor window requirement, no more than 50% ground floor parking etc. as concerns from planner.
Theisen brought up Pettygrove green street, PDOT not aware of it (silo.) Ground floor uses. All four sides of the buildings need to be treated with care.

Onsite filtration may be possible on site, but it’s close to maxed out.

Developer Chris Rogers, did buildings across the street. We talked with them a bit after the meeting. Different architect, who does a lot of low income housing projects.

There’s a record of the preapp.

Pinger—I own the property south of this, and am interested in seeing this cleaned up. Am troubled by the ground floor proposal, would like to see preapp notes. What’s the precedent from this committee for presumably allowable street-level open parking.

Bradley—we had the two square boxes up on Thurman near 25th, but haven’t formulated a set policy. Those were less open. If not active ground floor, no windows (garages don’t count) the committee won’t be very happy.

Theisen—saw only a ground floor plan, not exteriors.

Stapleton: 23rd & Johnson amendment to change signs, including a fairly large sign on N. end on Johnson. Sounds like branding. Brooklyn Industrial is tenant.

Pinger—Streetcar System Plan has been grinding forward over the last eight months, was supposed to have been done but delayed. Summer work by subgroups didn’t get done until November, reported back to overall plan advisory committee recently.
Advisory Committee met last week, began to compile the information from the local groups. Ultimate charge is to report back to the City with a proposed expanded system plan for the next 25-30 years.

Observation is that it seemed as though the recognition of Portland’s experience to date vis a vis the current economic environment hasn’t registered.

In particular, re the NW working group (which was a very small group, the others were much larger geographic areas) and the central city mysteriously dealt with.
NW Working Group—the methodology, the work, Kim Carlson, Jeanne Harrison, Sharon Kelly Phil Schlessinger did very well.

The whole system, though, re underutilized properties, means that in NW the 18th-19th corridor has priority over other corridors, and I don’t agree with the preference towards redevelopable areas. Peculiar to America.

Extension of streetcar service—assuming service along Burnside and destination at Montgomery Park—it’s essential that a streetcar plan reinforce NW District Plan, main streets are 21st, 23rd & Thurman. Existing destinations vs. developable properties? Does it meet existing goals and objectives, or developable properties?
Johnson—you want to get people from where they are to where they want to go. Hopefully this is a 100-200 year system (if you don’t rip up tracks) and that makes me more comfortable with 18th-19th, get more bang for the buck to reinvigorate areas. Easier for us, Trammel Crow, to push a property if it’s on the streetcar.

Theisen—not a streetcar fan, but do electric overhead bus services also sell?

Johnson—busses aren’t seen as contributing to future development potential.

Vrilakas—Other cities on a grid, you can get there. In theory, I’d rather this had a master plan for a grid for transportation. Every bus in the 70’s went past Meyer and Frank, services go where a planner thinks it’s desirable. You can start there, but it needs to be a grid.

Genasci—Pinger’s argument makes sense, but cities develop in other ways. London developed along the rail lines. Vrilakas’ argument is good, too, maybe a balance is best.

Bradley—I think a balance is good, the development potential worked well in the Pearl, but it’s hard to see an area that is that blighted and which needs a high level of support. I’m not a fan of streetcars, they’re slow, they get stuck a lot.

Posner—part of the argument for putting it on 10th and 11th was about serving residential, so I understand 18th-19th. Putting it down 21st-23rd is destination shopping, not a local mover since it doesn’t capture the rider who wants to go there.

Theisen—there’s this system out there, have been thinking since the remand that the I-405 interchange is sitting there and no-one has stepped forward to address that issue. If the Con-Way properties go, and N. Pearl, I still see people flooding into this interchange.

Also on 24th & 25th. At the Port, when we did Ikea, we had to look at long term plan and major investment for the interchange there. Not happening in the City. On my mind when you talk about using 23rd for the Streetcar.

Stapleton—has concerns about integration of streetcars into the transportation system. Busses, streetcars don’t serve after-hours as people-mover. Tracks are not shared with any other system, such as light rail, lose flexibility. Needs to be more integrated, marketed as a tourist attraction. (Pinger—shares track size. Posner—but Light Rail can’t make the turns.)

Theisen—how does this fit with the Con-Way conversation?

Pinger—fits in with the I-5 conversation. I want to see how it reinforces the NWDP, mainstreets, and the longer range plan for density in N. edge of neighborhood. Will need transformative development tools to reach the density that’s allowed there.

Bradley—I suggest we’ll never get that density because of what we’ve seen. Upscale storage unit and rehab of existing buildings, but not for people. The people who live there, they want the area left alone, a nice quiet residential area.
Pinger—until you get beyond Lovejoy.

Pinger—in the three meetings we’ve had, I have had the feeling that it’s a lineal process of building consensus with us. I think that the exploration needs to go backwards and sideways more than it has. Assumptions in their economic modeling dismissed a number of other options. The fundamental assumption is the amount of needed parking—chasing your tail there, because they’re essentially suburban parking ratios for business and residential.

Genasci—they’re assuming everyone will drive in perpetuity.

Pinger—increasing costs per square foot as you go down levels underground. They are looking at cross-use agreements. The development team has the head set of the Brewery Blocks, it’s a different corner of the world with different constraints and possibilities.

Genasci—in order to meet city goal of 280 people per acre, you do not need to be at 6:1 FAR. They’re pumping the parking up as a weapon for more FAR.

Bramlett—they want to do development and pay for it by selling surrounding property and to get financing they need to have parking. This sets the train of events.

Pinger–They will probably parcel out to 50-60,000 sf parcels (one block)

Bramlett—they also say they can’t do the amenities without a URA.

Bradley—we should sometime bring this down to a political level, this is a task force and the participation of the NWDA legitimizes it. If led by consultants from the developer, we need to stand up and say we need to look at this as a livability and architectural exercise rather than an economic plan.

Bramlett—Con-Way is definitely in charge.

Pinger—the questioning of assumptions needs to happen at the next meeting.

Genasci—it can’t be run by Con-Way, the City needs to step in and take some responsibility, it’s not just the Con-Way property, but there are other properties there and it’s being skewed towards Con-Way. What should be the functional center of the area.

Bramlett—city is looking at it, as we saw last week, but not first in the context of the neighborhood.

Genasci—a conversation with the city needs to happen.

Hyams—We have an opportunity with Amanda Fritz, she’s interested in this, has brought it up each time I’ve met with her, and she’ll be the featured speaker at the Annual meeting and wants to have more contact before that.
Walters—I’m pleasantly surprised by their openness to new scenarios. They even built models for the 3:1 plan, said it doesn’t pencil out. We said guys, it does pencil out, but just doesn’t meet your plans.

Maybe there should be parallel efforts, dialogues. It’s not like this has failed, it’s not doomed to failure, though it may not succeed. The best outcome we can hope for is that it’s not us against them, we lose then. They get 25 story buildings and we get a tree or a phone booth sized park.

They’re hearing that we don’t think they need 3000 parking spots, they haven’t even gotten a transportation study—how do people get in there?

I don’t see this as a disaster. We couldn’t agree if we were to build it…

(Cte—sure we could.)

They still have a desire to make more money, which isn’t a bad thing, but what do we want there. If we stick to our guns and say 3:1…

Theisen—I continue to be challenged by the lack of process, the major property owner should step up to fund a public process. Intel funds projects in the region, it happens all over the region—hospitals do it.

It’s great that there’s an ongoing dialogue, but I see echoes of Linnton where the real public process comes along and the positions aren’t supported.

Bradley—people can cherry-pick what they like out of the meetings, since there’s no unified process, where support by one individual for one aspect is represented as ‘neighborhood’ support.

Hyams—we need a commitment about when we’ll move to a public process. Mark Lerner from Hillside is really dishing it out to them, too.

Stapleton—when driven by a private group, we have problems.

Hyams, agrees.

Genasci—I hear something different than Walters, I hear “we’re going to do it our way”. I may be wrong but I know some of the players, businesses try to maximize what they make, I understand but those aren’t our values.

Walters—I agree that’s their values. I think we do need at some point to take it public, at least a public report on what’s going on.

Vrilakas—that parcel is close to unique in metropolitan US, and in the end it’s our city. For the citizens and city, and knowing the cost basis on the other, there is so much room in the middle. We don’t want to give them the farm, much less sell it. There’s opportunity for them to make money. Should be a showpiece for the city and show off responsible developer. Should make a big deal, a collaborative effort to showcase this. In favor of making this public.

Hyams—Bradley and I will go to Fritz, and

Posner—a public after a private process would feel like a done deal.

Bramlett—we’ve given them feedback, but it’s not a process where we’ve agreed to a collaborative result.

Planning Minutes – 01/15/09

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NWDA Planning Committee 1 15 09

John Bradley, Don Genasci, Noel Johnson, Ron Walters, Larry Westerman, Lee Stapleton, Greg Theisen, Steve Pinger, Kevin Kenaga, Brian Bramlett, Allan Classen, ___ Meyer, Juliet Hyams

Karl Lisle, Steve Iwata,

John Bradley—Major League Soccer committee, 20 people from all walks of life. Not into much detail yet, three sub-questions: Is MLS viable, how much would we pay, where do Beavers go?

MLS wants a great deal of money, $35 million to remodel PGE Park to make it soccer ready, layout of stadium not appropriate for MLS, and another $40 million for relocating the Beavers, build new, smaller, stadium for another $40 million. They will be $56 million in. I did not know that FIFA limits the number of professional soccer teams in any one country, we’re at 20, so only four openings for new teams, then capped. Newest team will be in Seattle, already sold out all the season tickets before the team arrives.

We have not yet seen a survey of similar work in other cities.

Current remodel still $36 million short.

Pinger—it’s still a landlord-tenant relationship, does the City want to be the landlord? There have been other arrangements, but there aren’t a lot of options here, or in recent history elsewhere.

Bradley—someone asked why not build another new stadium, but that’s very cost prohibitive. Last single-purpose stadium was in KC, cost more than $150 million.

Portland State would still continue to use PGE Park.

Stapleton—do professional sports teams actually benefit the community? Could these funds got toward local sports or other recreational options? Concerned whether there’s a real benefit.

Another option is to not put any public money into it, let the team owners find own funding.

Bradley—two key reports, one says there’s benefit, other says not. We’ll be looking at those.

Committee’s charge is to come up with a report for City Council, which can make suggestions as to whether this is a good idea, how much money, how financed, where located, should the City take a pass on this. Set up to allow for a minority report of three people or more. Timeline is short—March, 2009.

Central Portland Plan
Iwata—Susan Anderson new director of merged bureau, Planning and Sustainability. Still working on work scope for bureau. Check out website of Adams 100. Adams supports several districts including Con-Way. He wants a strategic plan to guide the other area plans. Sending out invitation to an update meeting (neighborhood chairs and planning chairs.)

Central Portland Plan isn’t suspended, we’re doing work, but the schedule is changing with a bigger focus on strategic plan development at front end, to identify city’s priorities for the next few years. Policy document pushed back. Framework developed, ‘City Strategies’ is drafting for beginning of next year. Still doing other work, Urban Design staff working on framework and analysis of Central City, Karl Lisle doing work on Urban Renewal, Portland Plan completing technical analysis.

Sydney, Australia has done a strategic plan we will reference as a model, also New York, Melbourne and more US cities.

Not different from Portland Plan, but more formalized by Mayor Adams’s current thinking and 100 day list. We just saw that list last Friday, still absorbing that information.

We were thinking about how to approach the Portland Plan more strategically, and this is now more formalized.

Pinger—how have Neighborhood Associations been included in Strategic Plan?

Iwata—we had one round of interviews for Citizen committee, on hold, hiring of public involvement manager, also now on hold. Hasn’t had a chance to talk with Susan Anderson about this, anticipate public involvement will be strong. I hope to restart the process for a citizen committee. Expects Neighborhood Associations will have role on that committee, have hoped all along that neighborhood planning folks would be involved. All neighborhoods inside the central city and those immediately adjacent.

In the current Central City plan, for example, are action charts, which would be more a strategic plan item, policies in the plan itself.

Lisle—Central City plan covers many policy areas, strategic plan would focus on items to come soon, leaving out some areas which would still need policy statements on those items.

Strategic Plan would have shorter time frame.

Iwata—it would also provide a baseline and metrics, key benchmarks. My interpretation is that there would be near-term benchmarks and some longer benchmarks for such things as global warming.

Stapleton—Strategic Plan seems to miss connections with other jurisdictions, bordering municipalities and coordination.

Iwata—METRO is in the process of looking at the 2040 plan, we’re meeting with METRO staff to coordinate, we sit on the landuse committee for 2040, IMPAC. METRO anticipates update in about a year, same as our timeline.

METRO is asking municipalities for their ‘local aspirations’ and will look at what that means for expansion of UGB, what development would look like in adjacent areas.

Pinger—what’s next?

Iwata—I would hope to present to you, soon, our final scope of work, and more precisely the community involvement component.

Bradley—how will District Plans be rolled into this whole project?

Iwata—I don’t have a good answer at this point. There’s been some discussion of the District Liaisons role.

Lisle—There’s a huge amount of interest in getting to the work on the Central Portland Plan, the question is how do we get to this through the larger, strategic process. Can we get into the micro-process first and let it feed up into the strategic discussion? There are some advantages to this, but question of resources.

Pinger—You referred to Slabtown-ConWay study area, is this designated?

Iwata—this has been discussed for a while.

Lisle—this and other areas were added to the study area, just outside the Central City boundary. Background work and analysis have been done to date, next step is to talk about planning.

Theisen—how did you come to this boundary? Areas around Con-Way’s property are similar. We’ve discussed at this committee what this boundary should be.

Lisle—it’s not just Con-Way, but includes adjacent properties that are vacant or clearly redevelopable. We avoid the historic districts and industrial areas, for the most part.

Bramlett—we already have an area plan that addresses that district.

Lisle—it wouldn’t necessarily be included in the Central City.

Iwata—it’s a chance for us to look at adjacent areas holistically.

Bradley—where’s the remand?

Iwata—as far as I know (from before Christmas) it’s still at PDOT.

Theisen—do we have a map for the URA study?

Lisle—first, the background is that there was a study last year, with the decision to end the Parks Blocks, develop the Douglas satellite, and look at the possibility of a new URA around downtown. From that last piece, we were directed to get data to inform the discussion
as to whether there should be a new downtown URA. Push came from downtown retail folks.
In addition to looking at downtown core area, where URA expires in some areas, we also looked at other downtown core pockets and Goose Hollow, Con-Way (larger than potential Portland Plan area study) Lair Hill area in-between downtown and South Portland.

Not making recommendations, but including all areas that would be included in the conversation. Includes lands which are vacant or seriously underdeveloped or owners have expressed interest in URA tool.

Working draft map is to identify everything not in current URA—S. Waterfront and River District are excluded. Next step is to crunch numbers, with different scenarios: how long to take to develop, estimate tax increment output.

Theisen—what is blight?

Lisle—sort of ‘back of the envelope’ look in this upcoming study. The reason the blight question is downplayed (this is PDC’s area) is that this area wouldn’t all be able to be in a URA (acreage cap) and because areas are still servicing the debt. 30 to 40% could be moved to another district.

Not a necessary correlation between district areas and URAs. These aren’t recommended boundaries, but are the area that need to be looked at in the study area. E.g., the park is included because we know there’s a recreational lack.

The map notes sites that are under construction, some sites we know a lot about what’s planned or have had some analysis done, and areas that we don’t know a lot about but which appear to be eligible.

Con-Way, the starting place is existing zoning—and there are some questions about even that with the remand—and the owner has his own concepts. Might be an increase, but that’s a big ‘if’ given the questions.

Theisen—I struggle with any part of this neighborhood as being ‘blighted’. We live on the edge of this, what fundamentally underlies this approach is that there’s a lift to be had by applying this designation which allows dollars to flow into this area. My gut reaction has always been ‘no’ to a URA in this area.
We attempted to articulate the need for a park or community center in this area, but the city seems to have some problems getting these to happen without this kind of designation, though SW and East have had centers built without it.

Lisle—we will be looking at areas including Con-Way under wavelight (?) and while not an expert, I believe that parking lots can count. You don’t need to find blight everywhere, just somewhere.

Pinger—it’s important in this discussion that we engage some sort of description of the underlying assumptions for Urban Renewal as a whole. Who is it serving? If it’s simply replacing what taxation used to do, we have a real problem.
Assessing blight is the first step, this is out of whack to look at redevelopement first.

Lisle—we are analyzing to get numbers just to see what’s possible, a base map to have the conversation.

The draft report will be from Echo Northwest, you will be able to comment. We anticipate getting the report in the next couple of weeks with approximately a month turn-around timeline. Adams wants to get a new URA set up to capture some projects already underway… which could be in the next 10 months.

Theisen, Pinger—should be capturing dollars, not projects.

Johnson—we’re addicted to this, and we need to get off the junk. URAs tie up potential tax revenue, schools can’t be built until paid off.

Bradley—Portland isn’t a city that works, it’s a city that builds stuff. People—children, lawyers etc need to go into those buildings, and we’re not paying attention to this.

Lisle—this is the big picture conversation. One of our concerns is that this URA is a big deal, they last for a long time. Bureau of Planning & Sustainability is in this discussion, not just PDC.

Theisen—Yards come with properties in order to do business.

Bradley—to lose Parr Lumber would be staggering, for instance.

Lisle—the scenarios would not assume that everything would redevelop. The concern is that once zoned out of an industrial area, can a lumber yard afford to stay in the face of the option to sell the property.

Can come back in three weeks.

**Pinger next week.


Bramlett—looking at getting intel folks in to a committee meeting for virtual walk-though tool (sketch up models etc.) Could include traffic models, look at impacts, what buildings would look like on a particular site. Can we get an hour session this or next month to demo this system? January 29th or February 2nd. Full hour.

Transportation Minutes – January 7, 2009

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NWDA Transportation Committee meeting
January 7, 2009
NW Library

Members present: Kim Carlson, Jeanne Harrison, Bud Clark, Sharon Kelly, Devin Liebmann, Charlie Grist, Greg Aldrich, Scott Siebert, (Stephen Metzler-excused)

Guests present: Allan Classen, Mark Sieber, Chris Smith, Mark Lerner, Peter Stark, Don Singer

NW 24th Avenue Bike Boulevard: This topic will be deferred to the March meeting. Mark Lear cancelled due to illness.

NW Bike Parking Map update: Devin Liebmann lead the group in an exercise to put bike corral and staple locations on a map. He will submit our recommendations to PDOT for inclusion on a master wish list for bike parking.

Cornell Road traffic: Peter Stark, President, and Mark Lerner, Transportation Chair, of the Hillside Neighborhood Association shared with us their vision of a unified coalition of effected neighborhoods and stakeholders in support of a common goal for making Cornell Road as a Green-road through Forest Park. They are drafting a white paper with ideas that could decrease traffic on Cornell Road and ways to redirect it to more appropriate streets. For example, signals at Skyline and Barnes Roads and at Miller and Barnes Roads would facilitate cars turning left onto Barnes Road. These improvements could redirect some traffic that now takes
Cornell. They will send me a draft of their white paper once reviewed by their Board, and I will forward it to the committee.

February Meeting: Instead of our regularly scheduled February meeting, the NWDA Transportation committee will attend the Pedestrian Rights Clinic on Monday, February 2, 2009, 6:30-8:00pm, at the Northwest Cultural
Center in the Board Room. The Northwest Cultural Center is on Everett between NW 18th and 19th Avenues. The event is hosted by Neighbors West-Northwest. We encourage members of our neighborhood to join us.

Kim Carlson will call in an RSVP for the following members who expressed availability and interest: Kim Carlson, Sharon Kelly, Jeanne Harrison, Bud Clark, Greg Aldrich and Stephen Metzler. Scott Siebert and Charlie Grist are excused due to conflicts. Devin Leibmann will check his calendar.

All others interested in attending should RSVP to Willamette Pedestrian Coalition: 503-223-1597