Planning Minutes – 04/23/09

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NWDA Planning Cte
April 23, 2009

John Bradley, Bill Welch, Don Genasci, Ron Walters, Steve Pinger, Noel Johnson, Juliet Hyams, Stephen Metzler Allan Classen, Lee Stapleton,

Green Streets–Metzler There’s a walk tomorrow at 26th & Pettygrove, “T” intersection with Linda Dobson from BES. Issues are school busses, Swifts event, end of green street.
Will invite to come to Planning Committee (next week.)
Stapleton notes that there was a re-do of one area with swales since school bus stop wasn’t safe for students.

Metzler–We’re hoping we can work with the Pearl to have what they’re working on apply to our side of the freeway, should talk with Patty Gardner.
Has been asked to do display board of the Pettygrove layout. Will use the hardboard version of Bramlett’s.

Planting plan is apparently in the works.

Pinger–should we update the guidelines we had a year ago to bring the work on the sections since that time up to date.

**Mark to send out latest set of Greenstreet plans to the committee.

Bradley–Pettygrove is on Platinum Bicycle Master Plan as Bike Boulevard. 3 other major categories, Boulevard is regular street. Other designations are elevated bikeway (3 or 4 inches, then another 2 inches up to the sidewalk), and a separate bike lane with an island dividing it from the main ROW. Do either of these models work for the lower section of Pettygrove.

Pinger–there isn’t much room, and the idea is to blur the hierarchy of modes. A Bike Boulevard does this, and a green street is an implementation of this.

Johnson–Portland has wide range of bicyclist types. The faster folks avoid these areas, prefer to ride on the road. I think there are additional safety concerns when cyclists not on the road.

Genasci–there may be one difference, as Carlson’s been talking about, with a festival street where the sidewalk is flush into the street.

Bradley–Hyams and I went to see Commissioner Saltzman, got zero information and he listened politely. I did mention (to blank looks) the form-based zoning. I’d like to ask if we think this is appropriate for the Conway area, and does anyone know of a small online document that describes this to a T? There are some ‘bibles’ on this, $100 tomes… there’s nationally certified site.

Metzler–Joe Zehnder seemed resistant to the idea “we’ll do this at the end”.

Genasci–this is the next logical step, we’ve been looking at heights.
This is taking what you want, modeling it to test it, make decisions about types of buildings (glass? etc.) and can write what you want into code. Code now is general, but architects feel it’s proscriptive. We can make decisions as a community or city staff as development occurs.

Bradley–the architects don’t like that it’s proscriptive, but also complain there’s no surety. This will give surety. Form based code is less usage driven, you put up the box, market drives occupancy.

Johnson–suggests that form-based code should be informed by fundamentals on the development side. e.g. parking stall minimums, drive aisles equal the full parking tray. This is 60’ and can run into problems with 100’ blocks in Portland. Not to resist form based code, but needs to be economically efficient.
Genasci–requires a lot more planning. Parking, shared parking, put into the ground before buildings are built–done collectively–while not tied specifically with form based code work with that model well. Public realm is the result of what’s built, can look to the ideal public realm in the planning. Pinger–this is the key, flips the old model of building the structures and what’s left is the public realm. 20 years ago Portland moved away from prescriptive zoning codes to form-based codes. The design community will be driven nuts either way. Dangers with proscriptive codes.
In most localities this is the norm, but you never get the results you want. Even Portland’s more enlightened code is a pain to work with, and still misses some huge issues, such as height of ground story.

Genasci–there does need to be developer input, not just represent the values of the city.

Welch–one of the real problems is the real estate values; form-based implies that somebody’s blessed and somebody isn’t.

Genasci–not just a function of density. Another set of 8-floor max buildings used the land more densely than the podium/tower model. Building type can support the street.
Mansard did the project now called Place Vendome, built complete facades, and you bought the bays and built houses behind that.

Bradley–Conway is an ideal area to try this, public informing the built. This could be done easily by the city, exceptions are allowed so long as they are accepted by the public.

Genasci–there are numerous specific examples in California (worst is Seaside ‘disneyland with houses’) but there are many more.

Johnson–worked on this type, density was in the center, there was an urban plaza. It was a local attempt at form-focused code. FFA started it. Process was not ideal, the actual code kept getting delayed while the development moved forward and the code had to respond to the development–plus the insecurity was a real problem. Wilsonville’s center area is now under this code. This applied overlay to PUD zoning.

Pinger–when Portland shifted zoning style, with overlays EXD, etc. there was the idea that there was room to negotiate good design.

Johnson– for example, Mississippi 188 unit $40 million project went through Type II but not to design commission, and site plan didn’t work well.

Genasci–it’s the edge of the Conway property, the infill component that we’ll have to decide how it fits. At the same time, if the neighborhood will be represented in the form-based code how do you work that into the transition to the existing neighborhood? Could be solved, but as part of the larger development (not separate just because it’s another owner’s piece of property. They’d have to agree.)

Bradley–I’d like it to be more proscriptive, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Metzler–there area also carrots, like LEED certification, some points earned here meet some of our desired design concepts.
Bradley–I’d like to get away from the bonus concept.

Pinger–there are advantages, incentive for things you want.

Bradley–because there are few centers, hard to organize businesses locations.

Pinger–the Pearl is collection of buildings, not a formulation of public space, which is the opposite of what we want to do here.

Genasci–Paris is one building type; London is too. Not necessarily monotonous.

Pinger–Conway dismisses the low level as blocky, but to dismiss this would be to dismiss Paris.

Johnson–our strength is economic. Pearl has changed from 100’ to 60’ because you need double-loaded buildings as people can only afford smaller units. 5 years ago, 80’ depth of mass, now 60’. Office 50’, call center 100’.

Genasci–depth of building can be flexible if we work with the public realm first. Johnson–John Carroll did big buildings, now the form has changed to L-shaped, as plate width shrunk, to fill the site.

Stapleton–John mentioned there’s no real center to the Pearl, driven by requirement for ground floor retail space. Might be better if those businesses were to service that building, or not in every building.

Walters–doesn’t this emphasize that form-based has these factored in.

Welch–aren’t you talking about form-based for the public areas? Yes.

Genasci–there are european examples where what was build behind the public face was very flexible.

Pinger–what is the problem that form based code is trying to solve?

Bradley–how the public realm ends up looking, curing this. Talking volume, here.
Pinger–could you apply a form-based code overlay to the existing NW District Plan, extend that work a couple of notches.

Genasci–since that work represents the neighborhood’s desired character, this seems a good place to start. There’s a lot of detail in there about how buildings should look.

Walters–what’s the status of our view of the NW District Plan?

Bradley–I haven’t brought that up for a vote, as I’m still reading through the 1977 plan and the Transition zoning plan.

ParkScan a Great Tool for Parks Comments

This new system “ParkScan” allows for direct public comment about park issues.  If you see graffiti or notice that a bench or water fountain needs TLC and can’t make it in person to the NWDA parks meetings it is worth posting your concerns and compliments at this PP&R site.  I encourage you to post on the NWDA website as well, but this can be your way to directly access PP&R.

1.  Send observations

2.  Look at what others are posting about Wallace and Couch Park (and all the city parks)

3.  Connect to Parks and Volunteer opportunities in Parks

4.  Follow Up observations are public viewable by all check out the response to your post or images



Board Minutes – March 16, 2009

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Members Present:
Juliet Hyams, Greg Aldrich, Brian Bramlett, Kim Carlson, Tavo Cruz, Perry Heitmann, Sharon Kelly, Stephen Metzler, Steve Pinger, Scott Seibert, Ron Walters

Members Not Present:
Jeff Love (excused)
Noel Johnson (excused)
Rachel Cody (excused)
Bud Clark (excused)
Dan Anderson (excused)

Call to Order
• at 600p by President Juliet Hyams

Call of the Roster
• as noted above
• also in attendance: Mark Sieber, NWNW; Allan Classen, NW Examiner; Pete Colt; Lee Stapleton; Sandra Stapleton; Frank Silva, ONI;

Prior Board Minutes
Motion 11.02, R. Walters: approve January minutes with corrections as discussed, P. Heitman second;
• Motion 11.02 approved

Old Business
• Irving St. Garage Appeal status:
• L. Stapleton: LUBA tends to be insider oriented, our technical grounds for the appeal have been made, no remand at this level

President’s Report
• Amanda Fritz meeting report:
• She is glad that the NWDA is involved with the Con-way redevelopment proposals, requests that our letter be sent to the other commissioners, recognizes the urban renewal issues with regard to the stadium proposal

• Elections Committee nominations:
Motion 11.04A, P. Heitman: approve nominated roster for Election Committee, S. Metzler second;
• Motion 11.04A approved

• Discussion Group user guidelines, NWDA
representative Code of Conduct:
• T. Cruz: most ListServ guidelines tend to be informal;
• S. Pinger: what is the President’s and the Board’s authority over the conduct of its members, officers?
• L. Stapleton: how would a user agree to the guidelines?
• T. Cruz: the President has the authority to halt the activities of any committee or member operating outside of their granted authority. The revised website will take on the discussion group functions, will the ListServ will be reserved for more formal communication. Users would agree to terms by check-box acknowledgement

• Pete Colt Grievance:
• S. Seibert: what are the complaints?
• F. Silva: that Pete’s methods are intimidating;
• K. Carlson: Pete is perceived as representing the NWDA when he is acting on his own;
• P. Colt: the SE quadrant of NWDA is being ignored;
• R. Walters: has Pete done anything wrong?
• S. Pinger: if Pete is to function as the Public Safety Committee Chair, then he needs to develop the required committee work plan, work through the Board, and avoid cultivating confusion as to who he is representing;
• L. Stapleton: that is relevant to all committees; third parties perceived as representing the organization;
• S. Seibert: the television coverage of Pete represented him as the chair of NWDA safety committee;
• T. Cruz: committees serve at the mandate of the Board;
• R. Walters: rules need to be clear and apply to everyone;
Motion 11.04B, S. Pinger: require that for the Public Safety Committee to continue to operate, its work plan be brought current and available to the Board for review before the Board’s April meeting, S. Kelly second;
• Motion 11.04B approved

• Retreat follow-up:
• S. Metzler: proposing a work plan for the Board based on the action items from the Northwest District Plan;
• J. Hyams: how would that coordinate with the committee work plans?

Treasurer’s Report

Health and Environment Committee Report

Public Safety Committee Report
• proposing new crosswalks at several locations;
• review the status of the proposal to “de-couple” Everett and Glisan Streets;
• Westover/Cornell traffic issues being reviewed by FHNA, HNA

Parks and Recreation Committee Report

Transportation Committee Report

Planning Committee Report

New Business

Staff Report


• at 730p by President Juliet Hyams

Motions Summary:

MOTION 11.03 approve February minutes with corrections as discussed.

MOTION 11.04A approve nominated roster for Election Committee.

MOTION 11.04B require that for the Public Safety Committee to continue to operate, its work plan be brought current and available to the Board for review before the Board’s April meeting.

Voting Summary:

All motions were passed unanimously.

Work Plan Comments?

We welcome your comments about the Public Safety Committee work plan.

Minutes April 9th 2009

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Minutes NWDA Parks April 9th, 2009


AM: Alan C., Tanya M., Bryan A., Pete C.


Minutes from March were not approved yet, Bryan is contacting Sue.


Summer Concerts need more helpers:  Pete thought that it would be worth approaching Freddy’s and McDonalds on Burnside to be sponcers.


The new playground at Couch: constructions questions and timeline questions were addressed parks responded to community concerns in their report via e-mail.

Phase I of the playground modifications should be completed by the end of the day on Wed. April 15, 2009.  This will not be the final phase of construction the playground will close for phase two when the new equipment that has been ordered arrives.


A few minor issues caused delay in phase I, but work has progressed nicely.  The new fence, a new retaining wall, ADA access ramps and replacement of rotten timbers have all been completed in Phase I.. 


Celebration planning for the “New” Playground:

Couch Park has really improved over the past number of years.  An event to celebrate the park and an article on the history of the park could help really get the word out to the community that the park is safe and fun for all users.  The tulips planted last fall are about to burst into bloom too.  Come check them out!


Report from Parks:


Wallace:  Parks is working with R.A.C.C. to find a suitable location for the sculpture currently in the dog park at Wallace.   There will be a  temporary fence placed around the art to protect it prior to the move.  The artist is not able to join the process due to his age, however a partner of his is helping RACC with the re-siting process.


The water feature at Wallace is on the list for to be converted to a spray feature.  It is hoped that this will be included in the anticipated Parks Bond.


Couch – an explanation of contruction phasing:   There have been several questions from the community about how the construction has been moving along.  Just as one might expect with a home remodel, the improvements at Couch involve a number of different skilled work crews in Parks, including staff from the equipment section, electricians, playground specialists and the irrigation shop. They work well together and have been incredibly efficient to get this project done in the short three-week timeframe, while coordinating with one another, as well as the folks from OPUS and our playground equipment sales representative. 

Construction is a very sequential process, in that A  often has to happen before B can start. For example, sometimes things need time to set/dry/cure (like the new concrete retaining walls) before other work can be done.  From one of the early construction timing schedules here’s a laundry list of some of the tasks that needed to be coordinated and synchronized:  locates, construction fencing, footing removal, relocation of sign and plaque, equipment demo, retaining wall demo, play barrier demo, excavation, remove/cap irrigation, electrical, drainage, concrete formwork/pouring, and fencing installation.  This set of tasks was just for the first few days, with additional tasks and teams coming in later.

Aside from this, both Parks & Recreation crews and the OPUS crews do work all over town on various other projects.  So there is orchestration of who comes to do their bit of work at Couch in tandem with other projects they are working on in other parks (or OPUS on their other jobs).  It really is quite the dance with a lot of moving parts. 

If people have questions they are welcome to contact me – Bryan Aptekar, (503) 823-6973 or by e-mail at


May agenda:

Kidzone in the area.

Pool update.

Ribbon cutting at Couch.


June agenda:

How can work together with the dog owners.  Is there an interest in a pooch prominade on I-405 land.

New Equipment for Couch Park

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This was the winning of the vote.

This was the winning of the vote.

January 2009 Minutes

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Minutes for NWDA Parks and Recreation Committee

Thursday January 8th, 2009

World Cup Cupping Room

Material Provided were the agenda which covered the committee’s activity for the last 8 months and copies of the article “Couch Park fence to keep dogs out of playground” by Allan Classen

AM 10-11am Tanya March (Chair), Pete Colt (Chair of Public Safety), Bryan Aptekar (Portland P&R), Don Sterkel (resident), Nancy Davis (Portland Central Families), Juliet Hyams (Pres. NWDA)

PM 6:30 pm Tanya March, Bran Aptekar, Britta Drettrich

I. Introductions.

How do we include non-members into our committee and how to we increase participation?

II.  Reviewed current NWDA website information,

Juliet offered to make changes to update the section on Parks and Recreation.  Effort to post the Couch Park Master Plan of 2003 was proposed. 

III.  Discussed the List of Issues

Britta asked if we had a purpose or mission.  We need to clarify that in order to manage the list of items.  There is no current mission statement to work with.  Nancy thought that a survey of residents might help to access goals.  Monkey survey a web style survey was proposed (? Access to seniors).  Pete was concerned about survey validity.   E-mails from those unable to attend were reviewed.  General sense that many issues would fit under the goal to examine and revisit Couch Park Master Plan.  A letter is being sent to Nick Fish stating that Couch Park and the new fence are on the NWDA radar and that we need to be kept in the loop.  Pete and others expressed that they would like to see a 360 degree fence around the playground that the playground should be fully enclosed.  Nancy asked about pesticides and wood treatment at Couch Park, Bryan returned to the pm meeting with answers.  The dog park and its history at Couch and Wallace was discussed also the need to include dog park users into this committee, posting agenda at the parks was suggested.  There are 270 participants in the Hillside Soccer League which uses Wallace Park and PPS land as well as other parks and schools not in NWDA.  There are 252 children in the river district east of I-405 that until the fields comes online are limited to Couch park Wallace it too far to walk.  Pete suggested concern over heavy use at park during the Swifts, contacting Audubon Society.  Many children of MLC, Cathedral School, Kindercare {been re-named} and Chapman do not live in the NWDA boundaries how best to include them in a survey of park needs (left unanswered)?  Summer concerts at Couch went much better than in the past OPUS NW support helped to create a better concert experience and increased crowds.  What grants are out there for our parks?   How can we promote volunteerism in our parks?  The need for a lead free community garden space in our community was expressed by Nancy.   The need to have NWDA talk to ODOT regarding the creation of new dog parks in our community.   Look into a movie night at Couch to be linked into Music nights.  KCLC expressed the need to fix MLC pool.  The pool has been drained, PPS has proposed infilling the pool with gravel.

Goals: (these need to be inclusive top level and prioritized by urgency)

1) Couch Park revisit master plan

2) Our community needs a community pool


A number of items will be moved to issues for the public safety committee Pete will report back to Tanya regarding issues of overlap and partnership.

IV.  Draft Letter of Support for MLC Pool

Looking over the letter it was advised that the letter should be directed more broadly to be in support of a public pool in Northwest Portland.  Letter is being revised to be more generalized.  A mid-term approach for this time without a pool was proposed where there is a partnership between PSU PP& R and NWDA to enable the community to have swim lessons at the new PSU pool.


V.  Update from Portland Parks and Rec.

OPUS Grant: Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) partnered with the Portland Parks Foundation to seek funding from the OPUS Foundation to support ADA accessibility improvements as well as safety improvements for the playground at Couch Park.  Our grant application was successful, as we were awarded $50,000 for this project, which combined with PP&R matching funds will be able to make some nice improvements for the playground.  Planning for this will begin shortly, at which point we will reach out to NWDA as well as the broader community, park users and the adjacent MLC School community to provide input on the project.

Couch Park Playground Fence: A separate but related project is happening at the playground at Couch Park.  Based on Commissioner Saltzman’s promise to the MLC School and neighboring community, PP&R is working on installing a fence around the play area that will serve several functions.  It is designed primarily to delineate the play area from the rest of the park to help separate the children’s play area from dogs and their owners who currently use the stage next to the play area when using the off-leash area.  Another goal for the fence was to alleviate concerns about children running down the hill onto Hoyt Street, or the potential for people from Hoyt Street to grab children from the playground.

In the early stages of this project PP&R invited community representatives from both the MLC Parent Teachers and Student Association (PTSA) as well as the NWDA to meet on site to discuss their goals, and map out the what and where of a fence. The PTSA followed up with a drawing of where they would prefer to have the fence, and what they would like to see it look like. PP&R then tweaked the fence outline slightly due to engineering constraints, tree root issues, fall zone concerns, and to retain access to the playground.

Coordinated Efforts: The fence plan and the safety/ADA improvements for Couch Park’s play area are being coordinated together so that both projects recognize and respond to the needs of the other.  They may not be actually implemented at the same time, but staff working on them are working together on these two projects.

Public Participation: We anticipate having a public meeting sometime in the next month or two to get public input on the Couch Park playground features and improvements.

Arsenic Wood: Additionally, at the meeting a question was raised about whether the wood used in the Couch Park playground might have been arsenic-treated wood.  I said I would find out and get back to folks on this.  Now that I have, the answer is no – the wood used at Couch Park, and all of our other wooden play structures, is not arsenic-treated wood. Parents and others have no need to worry about this.  This question was raised several years ago, at which point the issue was studied throughout our park system. The wood used in our playgrounds is not of the type or from the time-frame arsenic treated wood was common.  There is none in any of our playgrounds.


Agenda for upcoming meetings:


Five “Working” Goals:

1) improve access to public swimming pools for our community

2) revisit the unfunded Couch Park Master Plan of 2003

3) survey our community to establish future goals regarding our parks and recreation

assets for the NWDA

4) to establish a clear mission and purpose for our committee

5) to foster citizen participation and sustainable parks





Agenda: February

AM meeting only Thursday February 12th 10am World Cup 18th Ave.

Approve minutes:

New Business:

1) ADA access and playgrounds

Chloe  from Everybody Swings! Increasing Accessibility at Portland Parks is planning to talk with us

2) Ideas for our Mission Statement

3) PP&R updates

Old Business:

1) Goals

Motion to pass our five “working” goals.

Pool where to go from here.


Agenda: March (looking for a Wed PM space closer to Wallace Second Thursday 10am World Cup)

What has changed that might make some of the Couch Park Master Plan “out of date”

1) dog park use at Couch

2) designs for playgrounds and dog parks for small and large dogs at “The Fields”

3) the update to our current playground at Couch

    a) fence

    b) OPUS and Parks Foundation grants


Agenda: April

1) pesticides in our parks

2) volunteer opportunities in our parks

3) O-dot land for new dogparks

4) community gardens

H&E Minutes – April 13, 2009

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We decided to meet at our regular time (second Mondays) because there were some who couldn’t make the meeting last week, and asked to have our regular meeting.

We talked about Earth Day (April 25th 10 am to 7 pm), arrangements for the table, fliers etc. to be displayed, more lawn signs organized. The table will have a cover in case of rain. We will share the table with the NWDA Board. Mary Peveto will also have a table with baked goods (“Cookies for Clean Air”) that have been donated by a bakery. We will get petitions signed there etc.

Sharon had copies of the EPA letter sent to Lisa Jackson, the new head of EPA in Washington. Our committee is mystified at the EPA decision to monitor air at Harriet Tubman School, in NE Portland (mainly traffic emissions), rather than Chapman or several other schools in North and NW Portland near industry indicated in the USA Today article about the vulnerability of children at school near industrial air pollution. We learned that ODEQ recommended the choice of Harriet Tubman School.

The group discussed the Marietta, Ohio solution to air pollution from a nearby foundry that involved the neighbors working directly with the offending plant, rather than with a regulatory agency. Sharon mentioned that she has received a number of emails from people wanting to drop support for the DEQ. The group is divided on this issue.

People on the committee are beginning to compile questions for George Davis the new ODEQ Inspector at Esco, who will begin to write the new permit soon. We hope to participate in writing the permit at the draft stage this time.

There was some discussion about the high benzene levels in fuels, and that they won’t be lowered until 2012 (EPA rule). Some people felt that since benzene is a Class A carcinogen, we should ask our lawmakers to move to clean up the fuels much sooner.

– Sharon Genasci

NWDA Executive Committee

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The NWDA executive committee will meet on Wednesday, April 15, at 8:10 a.m. at Neighbors West/Northwest.

Public Safety & Livability

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