Slabtown Design Concept

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The current draft of the Slabtown Design Concept was presented at Slabtown Community Workshop #5 on Wednesday, July 28. Community members asked questions and made suggestions on revisions to the plans. You may download a PDF copy of the presentation and design concept here:
slabtown workshop 5 (7.5 Mb)

The Slabtown Committee will continue to revise and enhance the Slabtown Urban Design Concept during the month of August. The Committee welcomes input from all interested parties. Comments may be submitted on the NWDA website or may be emailed to Slabtown Committee co-chairs Don Genasci ( or Ron Walters ( or Don

Committee meetings are public and everyone is welcome. The next Slabtown Committee meetings will be held Mondays, August 9 and August 23, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm at the Good Sam Northrup Building first floor conference room.

Trans Comm Agenda – 8/4/10

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The next meeting of the NWDA Transportation Committee will be Wednesday, August 4, 6:00 pm, at the Good Samaritan Hospital, Building #2, 2nd Floor Conf Room, 1040 NW 22nd Ave. You may download the meeting agenda from the link below:

NWDA Transportation Committee August agenda

Trans. Minutes – July 7, 2010

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Northwest District Transportation Committee
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Good Samaritan Hospital, Building #2, 2nd floor Conference Room, 1040 NW 22nd Ave

Members attending:
Phil Selinger, Greg Aldrich, Dustin Posner, Sharon Kelly, Jeanne Harrison

Guests: Ron Walters, Allan Clausen, Karl Doppelfeld, Pete Colt, Mark Sieber

Call to order – 6:04 p.m.

Committee Membership
After introductions, Phil told the committee that Devin Liebermann resigned from the Committee because of time conflicts. Bud Clark is moving out of the neighborhood so he has also resigned, and Kim Carlson has also resigned. Karl Doppelfeld, a newly-elected member of the NWDA Board is interested in joining the committee (he will be eligible after the next meeting he attends). Tony Cadena another new board member is also interested in joining and will need to attend three meetings to be eligible.

Future Agendas and Communication
Mark Sieber will post agendas for future meetings to the list serve. Pete Colt asked that the agendas be divided into four sections, to more equitably address transportation issues throughout the neighborhood. The group discussed pros and cons of that approach. Ron Walters says that different address lists can be set up to communicate with a broader audience or just with the committee. He also wants to have a regular email newsletter.


Sunday Parkways:
September 26 will be the date of the Sunday Parkway event scheduled for NW and a small part of downtown. Rich Cassidy (PBOT staff) attended last month and asked about parking options. Con-way will be allowing their parking lot on 23rd to be used. NWDA filed an application for a booth. Phil asked about what the booth should include as the City wants interactive booth activities. Suggestions from the group included Slabtown displays, 3-dimensional puzzle of the neighborhood to solve, and collecting contact info. Karl, Phil and Ron will come up with a proposal.
Sunday Parkways – Proposed Workplan

Pettygrove Greenstreet:
Jeanne noted that Mauricio LeClerc has postponed the mini-workshop on the Pettygrove Greenstreet but it should be in July. She asked him to notify Steve Pinger, Phil, and John Bradley of the workshop details. Ron said that he wants to wrap the neighborhood’s ideas for the greenstreet into the Slabtown concept to get it in front of City Council.

Pearl Access and Circulation Plan:
Phil noted that this planning effort held its first workshop last month to present existing conditions and modeling results. Jeanne noted that the City and Pearl Access and Circulation committee are starting to come up with a list of possible circulation and access changes for further consideration.

Cornell Coalition:
Dustin reported that once the MTIP (Metro) project process has been completed, Stuart Gwin (PBOT) will help them with an application. Coalition members met with Randy Leonard and Dan Saltzman and will meet with Amanda Fritz next week. They have had a discussion with Mark Lear (PBOT) about fire emergency vehicle-friendly traffic calming devices. PBOT wants to do two demonstration projects.

Parking Task Force:
Ron noted that the Task Force is progressing slowly. Ron said that a Con-way rep has been added as well as Tony (last name) and two business owners.

Portland Plan:
Phil has been tracking the Portland Plan.

The next workshop will be July 28 at the Coho Theater. Information is on the NWDA website.

Trash Truck Crash:
Phil asked if the committee wanted to do anything to make sure that the two street trees are replaced that were destroyed by the truck crash. Phil will check with Urban Outfitters to see if they plan to replace them.

Burnside/Couch Project
Phil noted that Bill Hoffman (PBOT) was supposed to come to this meeting but declined because of a request from the Mayor to relook at the Enhanced Burnside proposal. It was looked at before and wasn’t pursued because of unacceptable traffic congestion. Bill will come to the September or October meeting. He feels that upper Burnside should be part of the overall project rather than postponed. Greg Aldrich passed out a list of improvements to Burnside that he thinks will help make it a better street. The list includes reducing the speed limit, adding marked crosswalks, changing signal timing, removing sidewalk obstructions, repaving the outside travel lanes, and requiring wider sidewalks from new development. The ensuing discussion talked about traffic calming without pushing traffic onto other neighborhood streets and making the odd intersections more ‘normal’. Other ideas were to leave Couch as it is and putting a reversible lane on Burnside. Dustin made a motion to write a letter that voiced our desire to keep the Committee involved in the process, and to keep upper Burnside linked to the Burnside/Couch project. Sharon seconded the motion and the committee unanimously supported it. Phil will draft a letter and circulate it to the Committee. Ron noted that the Board could consider the issue and letter at its next meeting. Further discussion included the operation of couplets and, it was suggested that people pay attention to how the eastside Burnside/Couch couplet operates once it is completed.
Download Couplet Letter

Transportation Committee Work Plan
The group discussed the current work plan and made some suggestions for changes. Sharon suggested something that was less of a wish list would be more like a real work plan. Pete asked that the 18th/19th couplet be added to the list of priorities. The group generally agreed that a work plan should focus on what the Committee wants to advocate for and to prioritize efforts. Phil will draft an update for discussion by the committee and try to better link the work plan with the adopted NWDP. The work plan should give direction to the committee and let the Board know what we are working on. The need for better communication was discussed.

A resident on NW Wilson asked Phil whether the Committee could support his desire to get a sidewalk installed between NW 29th and 30th adjacent to a vacant lot. While the Committee was supportive, it agreed that there wasn’t much that it could do to help.

Phil said he was willing to contact the postmaster about the problematic drop-off configuration at the 97210 post-office and see if it could be reconfigured to avoid the conflicts that occur now.

The meeting adjourned around 7:32 p.m.

Slabtown Workshop #5

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The NWDA Slabtown Committee is leading a public, community-driven urban planning and placemaking process to develop a design concept for the Slabtown area of Northwest Portland.

The next Slabtown Community Workshop will be held Wednesday, July 28th from 6 to 8 pm at the CoHo Theater (2257 NW Raleigh Street).

Workshop No. 5 will begin with a slide presentation of a draft design concept based on principles drawn from the Northwest District Plan, previous Slabtown workshops, the Slabtown survey, and other planning documents. In this open-house format workshop, attendees will be invited to view and comment on masterplan maps and conceptual drawings of potential buildings, parks, squares, green streets, and other public spaces. The Workshop will conclude with a moderated discussion of attendees’ questions, ideas, preferences, and comments.

The Slabtown Plan workshops are open to the public and all interested parties are encouraged to attend. Additionally, the Slabtown Committee will meet on Monday, July 26 (from 5:30 to 7:00 pm in the Legacy Northrup Building first floor conference room at 2282 NW Northrup Avenue) to review progress on the Design Concept. All interested parties are welcome.

Slabtown Minutes – 7/12/10

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Slabtown Plan Committee
Meeting Minutes
July 12, 2010
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Northrup Building, 2282 NW Northrup Ave.

Committee Members Attending: Ron Walters (co-chair), Don Genasci (co-chair), Greg Aldrich, Peggy Anderson, Mary Czarnecki, Dan Volkmer, Bill Welch

Committee Members Not Attending:
Craig Boretz, John Bradley, Brian Bramlett, Wayne Clark, Patricia Gardner, Dan O’Brien, Steve Pinger

Guests Attending: Sam Postel (Slabtown Work Group designer), Karl Doppelfeld (NWDA Board), Chris Nutwell (resident), Alan Classen (Northwest Examiner)

No Motions.

No Votes.

*** End of Minutes ***

Meeting Summary:

The meeting was called to order at 5:35 pm.

Prior to reviewing initial draft drawings of the Slabtown Design Concept, Ron and Don proposed that the Slabtown Committee focus on providing feedback to the Slabtown Work Group based on its drawings and visual renderings rather than trying to distill existing planning documents into a single set of design guidelines. The Committee agreed that this approach would be a more efficient and productive use of time.

Prior to beginning the presentation, Ron reminded the Committee that the Slabtown Design Concept should be thought of as an update and enhancement of the Northwest Urban Design Concept map that appears in the Northwest District Plan. Don proceeded to present initial design concepts that are based on the agreed upon Slabtown principles. Overall, feedback was very positive.

Committee members asked questions and made suggestions:

Mary Czarnecki asked the work group to consider alternatives to high rises near I-405 that might block morning light for St. Patrick’s church.

Ron asked the Committee to comment on the need for a historically meaningful, iconic focal point. The consensus was that a single iconic focal point is not crucial. Greg suggested that a network of green streets can be a neighborhood-wide unifying theme. Mary suggested there could be unifying design elements such as gates, obelisks, or fountains. It was noted the fountains not only have the potential to be visually appealing, their sound could be appealing and could help mitigate traffic sound from I-405 and the off-ramp. Others suggested that churches and bell towers could be desirable focal points that would showcase or accentuate neighborhood history.

Greg inquired about a multi-block super park. Mary asked about creative street options such as diagonals or curves, possibly oriented toward the river. In both cases, Don explained that they are certainly possibilities but that the Work Group erred on the side of pragmatism.

It was noted that the next Slabtown Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 26, from 5:30 to 7:00 at the Good Sam Northrup Building 1st floor conference room. Committee members and other interested parties that would like to participate in the Slabtown Work Group should contact Don Genasci at to make arrangements.

Slabtown Community Workshop #5 will be help Wednesday, July 28, from 6 to 8 pm at the COHO Theater at 2257 NW Raleigh Street.

The meeting adjourned at 7:08 pm.

Comments after the meeting suggested that the Slabtown principles and additional planning caveats should be added to the Design Concept drawings to provide appropriate context for those who view the drawings without the benefit of commentary from the Committee. The Work Group will proceed to add such materials to the Design Concepts and will post the updated drawings to the NWDA website as soon as possible.

H & E Minutes, 7.12.10

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NWDA H & E Minutes

Present:  Karen Harter, Bob L, Mitch Ritter, Karl Dopelfeld, Lisa Selman, Caroline Skinner, Monica Russell (DEQ) Sharon Genasci

Sharon Handed out Carter Webb’s response to our request that Esco curtail or stop production on air advisory days this summer, to reduce the air pollution in the neighborhood, the group was disappointed in his alternative suggestions:

1. “Adding bike racks to the building and landscaping construction plans now   underway
2.  Looking at other options for encouraging bike commuting, especially in summer
3. Looking at options for stepping up our employee bus pass program
4. Establishing an “ESCO carpool” program via our internal newsletters and bulletin boards
5. Increasing communications around Clean Air Action Days to alert employees to best environmental practices in their commute, at home and at work.”

We felt that these strategies should have been done already and are completely inadequate in proportion to the impact of odors, VOCs and heavy metals carrying  particulate emitted by the company into the neighborhood.

We then discussed Andy Ginsburg’s reply (on behalf of Dick Pederson, Head of DEQ to whom we sent the Esco letter).  Most in the group agreed that Allan Classen’s response to Andy was a perfect summation of our own reaction:

“Mr Ginsburg:
I read your email response to Sharon Genasci’s request that Esco shut down on ‘bad air days’.  Why are you running interference for Esco?

Wouldn’t a better response have been:  “While we have no power to require Esco to accept this suggestion, we would applaud them if they choose to make such a gesture on behalf of cleaner  air.”

Next we   looked at the letter from Richard Albright, Director, Office of Air, Waste & Toxics, EPA Region 10 in Seattle.  This letter will be fully answered by our committee.
We had written to the new Administrator at Region 10, Dennis Mc Lerran, whom we have decided we would like to invite to Portland to meet with both our committee and Neighbors for Clean Air.  We will take the lead on arranging the visit.

There was some discussion about the need to explore collaboration with Slabtown on possible URA opportunities for cleaning up the air shed ahead of development on the Conway site.

Finally, The following proposed DEQ rules mostly developed at the previous meeting
were discussed and approved by the group.  These will be presented by Sharon in a motion at the next NWDA Board meeting, and then  following approval will be
sent to all key ODEQ personnel.

Following are the proposed rules:

1.  A strong, enforceable rule for nuisance and odors.

2.  A rule on diesel particulate that focuses on portable, but not mobile sources, such as generators, heavy equipment etc.  About half of non mobile sources of diesel come from these sources.

3.  The above ground oil storage tanks are sources of fuel odors. Some of them are leaking.  Hence, a rule to require oil companies to tighten up the tanks and stop the leaks.  (The tanks also should be prepared for earthquakes.  This would not be a rule, but DEQ discretion could enforce this.  And we would like to see DEQ require wind direction and speed monitors on fuel storage tanks).

4.  ODEQ should move forward the rule that requires oil companies to reduce the benzene content in fuels in this region to the lower level of the rest of the country a year earlier (they aren’t required to clean the fuels until 2012).

5.  A zero emissions rule on the most dangerous, persistent heavy metals, arsenic, lead, manganese and chrome 6.

Sharon Genasci, Chair, NWDA Health & Environment Committee

Walkability in NW

Here is an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal titled “A Walker’s Guide to Home Buying: Traffic jams and aging boomers spur a focus on walking distance.”

It discusses walkability and WalkScores, including mention of NW Portland.

WSJ Walker’s Guide to Home Buying – July 2, 2010

Slabtown Meeting – 7/12/10

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The next meeting of the Slabtown Committee is this coming Monday, July 12, 5:30 to 7:00 pm at the Good Sam Northrup Building first floor conference room. The agenda is to quickly discuss updates to the Slabtown Design Principles and then review and comment on the initial concept drawings of the Slabtown Work Group. Slabtown Plan Committee meetings are public and all interested parties are encourage to attend.

The next Slabtown Community workshop will be held Wednesday, July 28, from 6 to 8 pm at the COHO Theater at 2257 NW Raleigh Street. The workshop will be an open-house format so interested parties should attend for some or all of the presentation. Community members will be invited to offer feedback on initial renderings of the Slabtown Plan Concept.

H & E Minutes – 6/21/10

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Present: Bob L, Caroline Skinner, Bob Amundson, Karl Doppelfeld, Kristie Perry (Aide to Sen Bonamici) Allan Classen (NW Examiner) Sharon Genasci

The group welcomed Kristie Perry, Sen Bonamici’s Assistant and Karl Doppelfeld, a new member of the board. We began the meeting by briefing Kristie on the history of the committee’s work with DEQ. Bob Amundson led the discussion of new rules we feel that DEQ has the discretion to promulgate if they wish. They would, we feel, result in real improvements in the air shed.

First, we would like to see action taken on diesel particulate. The rule could focus on portable, but not mobile sources, such as generators, heavy equipment etc. About half of non mobile sources of diesel come from these sources.

Second, the above ground oil storage tanks are sources of fuel odors. Some of them are leaking. A rule should be written to force oil companies to tighten up the tanks and stop the leaks. The tanks also should be prepared for earthquakes. And while this would not be a rule, we would like to see DEQ require wind direction and speed monitors on the tanks to help determine where the odors come from.

Finally, regarding the fuel odors, we would like to see DEQ move forward the rule to require oil companies to reduce the benzene content in fuels in this region to the lower level of the rest of the country a year earlier than planned (they aren’t required to clean the fuels to a higher standard until 2012.

Caroline spoke to her idea to ask Esco not to operate on DEQ Air Advisory Days this summer, as a way to reduce pollution during hot summer months before Esco can make improvements recommended by the independent auditor. Caroline has suggested this for some time. We see this as an opportunity for Esco to demonstrate their good will toward the neighborhood.

Bob L spoke about the odor complaints. We will establish a subcommittee to deal with this. The committee will look at the complaints, compile data and decide how to proceed.

Trans Comm Agenda – 7/7/10

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The next meeting of the NWDA Transportation Committee will be Wednesday, July 7, 6:00 pm, at the Good Samaritan Hospital, Building #2, 2nd Floor Conf Room, 1040 NW 22nd Ave. You may download the meeting agenda from the link below:

NWDA Transportation Committee July agenda