Bus Line 15 Update

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Update On Line 15: NW Thurman Street Service

TriMet held a neighborhood meeting on Thursday, August 26th from 5 – 7 pm at the Friendly House. The meeting was very well attended, with 100 +/- neighbors in the room. It was also well covered by TriMet with the Service Planning, Operations, Marketing, Transit Police and Executive departments represented. While the meeting was intended to be in an “open house” format, neighborhs shifted the format to a more conversation/presentation style.

The meeting opened with neighbor Steve McCarthy providing some history and context both for neighborhood activism and the provision of Line 15 service on NW Thurman Street, starting long ago with streetcar service. TriMet General Manager, Neil McFarlane, then addressed the group, making the following points:

1. Without excuse, TriMet deeply regrets how the cessation of Line 15 service on NW Thurman Street was handled without public process or even advance notification.

2. TriMet will provide a spotter to allow the buses to safely make the turnaround that was deemed unsafe and illegal as of Monday, August 30th, but on a reduced schedule that should accommodate most service users. This will include 7 am to 7 pm service on weekdays, a reduced 10 am to 6 pm Saturday schedule and no Thurman service on Sundays – until a more permanent and less labor intensive solution can be installed. All service not on Thurman Street will continue to operate to Montgomery Park.

3. TriMet met at the intersection of NW Gordon and Thurman with City traffic engineers, TriMet’s training staff and City police to consider the options. TriMet hopes that a bus-activated warning sign with flasher lights can be placed on each side of the intersection to warn oncoming cars and cyclists of the bus turning movement in-progress. That would take a couple of months to install (technical details still need to be developed).

4. A middle phase (which was not entirely clear) will include signage without the flasher lights that will take longer to install. That second phase could be in place in a few weeks and would allow the full schedule on Thurman Street to be reinstated.

There was apparent overwhelming support for reinstatement of the service in full, though one or two neighbors called for a review of the ridership and commensurate reductions in service on NW Thurman during off hours. Other neighbors noted that the full schedule is needed to provide riders with sufficient schedule options.

The needs of Lincoln High School Students was discussed, including a bus ahead of 7 am for the interim service schedule.

Neil noted that TriMet staff had considered other options, including rerouting the service at the bottom of the hill, but that those would not be presented, given the overwhelming support and need to restore the service for the full extent of the route.

Please visit http://www.trimet.org/alerts/15-belmont-changesrev.htm for more and official information from TriMet. TriMet did ask to work with a neighborhood committee as the details of a solution are worked out. The NWDA Transportation Committee will consider at its September 1st meeting if and how that committee will be a part of that process. The neighborhood is invited to attend that meeting at:

The NW Cultural Center
Lower Level Reception Room
Wednesday, September 1st, 6 pm

(this topic is allocated 30 minutes, roughly 45 minutes into the agenda)

The meeting last Thursday was very constructive. The neighborhood appreciates TriMet’s thoughtful response and Neil McFarlane’s willingness to put himself “on the spot” in front of a very engaged community. Thanks also to neighbors who came to the meeting ready to listen and contribute. More work lies ahead……

– Phil Selinger, NWDA Transportation Committee Co-Chair

Trans. Minutes – August 4, 2010

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NWDA Transportation Committee
August 4, 2010
Good Samaritan Hospital, Building #2, 2nd floor Conference Room
1040 NE 22nd Avenue

Committee Members Attending
Phil Selinger, Chair
Greg Aldrich
Juliet Hyams
Jeanne Harrison
Sharon Kelly
Dustin Posner

Members Absent
Charlie Grist

Guests
Karl Doppelfeld, Resident
Ron Walters, President, NWDA
Pete Colt, Resident
Mark Schmidtman, Umpqua Bank
Alan Clausen, NW Examiner
Don Genasci, Slabtown

Introductions at 6:00 p.m.

Announcements and committee business

• Karl will be eligible to join the committee at the next meeting. Later in the meeting, a vote was taken with Sharon making a motion and Greg seconding it to have Karl on the committee. The vote was unanimous in favor of the motion.

• Sunday Parkways in NW will be September 26 from 10 am to 3 pm. NWDA will have a booth, probably in Wallace Park. Phil passed out a handout with potential activities and display materials.

• Phil noted that a second neighborhood clean-up is starting at the south end of the neighborhood with the sponsorship of Umpqua Bank.

• Greg attended the Pearl District Pettygrove Greenstreet workshop. He noted that their vision is not the same as ours and they are not interested in our concerns. Pete noted that he wanted Johnson to be a green street. [Note: Steve Pinger also attended the Pettygrove Greenstreet workshop and asked that the block from 16th to 17th be included in the Pearl Pettygrove plan to allow for a good transition into NWDA.] Ron noted that the Mayor said we wouldn’t be getting any help on Pettygrove for at least six months. Ron thinks we should tie the green street into the Slabtown project to get it going and include additional green streets. Karl noted that the UAR has a “green” grant. Jeanne added that the NW 26th and Pettygrove green street facility is under construction. The Pearl District Circulation & Access Committee will not meet until September.

• Dustin reported that the Cornell Road Task Force project (Washington Co. to Lovejoy) was progressing with lots of meetings with city commissioners and their staff and continuing contact with Stuart Gwin (PBOT) on the MTIP process. The committee will continue to look for additional funding sources, but they believe it should be “city-driven.”

• Juliet reported that the Parking committee had its first meeting and said that there was an economic study by consultant, Eric Hovee. She said NWDA members will be reviewing the neighborhood’s positions. A new issue is that the proposed URA includes the MLC parking lot. The Mayor said it is included because of the potential for a parking structure there. Juliet said she gave the Mayor some background information and Ron said the Mayor wants to not pick out single sites or issues to focus on. Sharon said we should be encouraging a holistic approach.

Transportation Committee Work Plan

Phil handed out a draft work plan for 2010-2011. Pete asked that couplets be listed as a work plan item (already included under 3b and 4d). Sharon asked that we add “process” after Slabtown under 3c. Members asked that 3f be modified to something like “Pursue appropriate traffic calming and pedestrian safety improvements on any street in NWDA that would benefit from changes, for example, NW Thurman.” It was suggested that street lighting be added to 1e. In response to a question, Ron noted that the NW Remand process still needs Metro’s approval and that process has slowed down a little.

Phil asked that additional comments come to him by Sunday. He will then circulate it to the committee and finalize it for future Board approval. Greg suggested that we do a field trip to some of the streets in the work plan.

Slabtown Presentation

Don Genasi and Ron Walters said that the recent work was a consolidation of the U of O students from the last two terms and feedback from the four workshops. A future piece of the work will be a set of design standards. The powerpoint presentation showed the key elements of the proposed Urban Design Concept – more public space, a network of green streets and access to the river. The proposal includes three new parks and three pubic squares. Changes to Thurman would create a through street and connections to the river. Right-of-way would be used to create linear green spaces. NW 21st would be strengthened and have wider sidewalks. NW 18th and 19th would be decoupled with 19th being a two-way commercial street and 18th a green street. Allowed densities would rise slightly above the adopted neighborhood plan. No specific designs are being proposed but the basic site size would be 100’ X 100’ to keep the scale small. Higher heights would be allowed near the freeway.

Phil suggested that on-street parking should be kept away from street corners to allow for curb extensions on all corners. Dustin suggested mid-block crossings where there are long blocks.

The Urban Design Concept shows a traffic circle at NW 23rd and Vaughn as a placeholder to indicate a future need for a long-term solution at the intersection. NW 20th would continue as a through street under the freeway, improving connectivity. The curb-to-curb cross-section is shown as 30’, which may not be acceptable to PBOT. Phil asked if some of the streets could be shown as “festival” streets and Don said that could be a possibility, for instance, next to parks and open space. Streetcar alignments are probably premature because they are 10-15 years off, but new lines could be phased to serve new development, get to the river and serve Montgomery Park. Phil said streetcar lines should be thought of in context with bus service and designate transit streets rather than for a specific mode.

Underground (paid) parking would be distributed throughout the area and be shared. NW Naito would be redesigned to be a “normal” commercial street. Heights of buildings would vary from 4-5, 6-8 and 8-10 stories depending on the area. Jeanne noted that the plan should pay more attention to pedestrian circulation and to bicycle circulation and parking.

Next meeting. There was general support for having a walking tour of the south part of the neighborhood before the next meeting starts and try to meet in that part of the neighborhood.

The meeting was adjourned.

Bus #15 – TriMet Letter

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For community members concerned about the loss of #15 bus service on NW Thurman, please read the attached letter from Neil McFarlane, TriMet General Manager, describing measures that are being taken to restore partial service.

TriMet Letter – 15 Line – August 25, 2010

Slabtown Minutes – 8/23/10

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Slabtown Plan Committee
Meeting Minutes
August 23, 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, Craig Boretz (Con-way), Mary Czarnecki, Steve Pinger, Dan Volkmer, Bill Welch

Committee Members Not Attending: Peggy Anderson, John Bradley, Brian Bramlett, Wayne Clark (Legacy/Good Sam), Patricia Gardner, Dan O’Brien,

Guests Attending: Fran Goldstein

No Motions.

No Votes.

The meeting was called to order at 5:38 pm. The sole agenda item for the meeting was to review progress on the Slabtown Urban Design Concept. Ron opened the meeting by letting the group know that the “cement was settling” on the initial design phase of the Slabtown Urban Design Concept. The last work day for Sam Postel, the Slabtown work group’s primary designer, will be Friday, August 27. Don and Sam are focused on putting the finishing touches on the maps and drawings such that the Committee can properly present and “frame” the finished work with the proper introductions and caveats over the coming weeks.

Ron shared that the Planning Committee was generally very pleased with the Slabtown Urban Design Concept presented on August 19, the notable exception being Steve Pinger, who expressed numerous concerns about the Urban Design Concept as currently presented. Planning Chair John Bradley plans to draft a formal letter of support for the Planning Committee to review in anticipation of sending it to the NWDA Board for consideration. Ron also shared that Tad Savinar, a significant private land owner in the Upshur Warehouse area, also known as “The Squish,” had visited the design studio and offered generally positive feedback on the plan. Tad subsequently provided some of his design concepts for the “Squish” area so they could be incorporated into the Slabtown Urban Design Concept. The concepts were quite consistent and required few changes to be compatible.

After Ron’s introduction, Don walked the group through the urban design concepts and drawings, focusing on updates since the previous meeting. Don and Ron highlighted some of the macro implications if the Urban Design Concept were built out to the limits of what were drawn (roughly 4:1 rather than the 3:1 plus bonuses described in the NWDP). Using rough calculations, the Slabtown area could conceivably include 6,500 new housing units, 10,000 new residents, 6+ million square feet of commercial and retail space employing up to 20,000 workers when it is fully built out. While potentially daunting figures, the group considered that a certain level of density is required to achieve sustainability goals typical of eco-districts and 20 minute neighborhoods. Ron pointed out the potential traffic and transportation challenges suggested by such development.

Committee members were invited to comment on the Urban Design Concept. Most members weighed in. Mary offered that a larger square at 21st and Pettygrove would be a desirable alternative to the one shown. Don and others noted that the size of the proposed square is similar to some large squares in Rome and Pioneer Square in Portland. Dan suggested that the slides showing historical “landmarks” should show “historically significant properties” to avoid confusion. He suggested showing these properties with a more prominent color coding. Bill was concerned that the plan might be too detailed for consideration by the NWDA Board and might need to be consolidated. Craig was complimentary of the plan. Steve reiterated some of his strong concerns about the Urban Design Concept, including its failure to capture the “sole of Slabtown,” inappropriate degree of detail, its lack of prioritization, lack of specificity about street car routing, and its lack of a plan for engaging and influencing public and private investment.

Ron thanked Committee members for their input and reiterated the desire for broad support but acknowledged that the Committee may not achieve complete consensus. In the time available, the Committee was not able to resolve differing opinions and ideas for improvements. Ron proposed that he would follow up with Steve to see if there could be a meeting of the minds. Ron will also survey Committee members not attending to see where they stand on the Urban Design Concept.

Next steps include follow up with the Planning Committee and engagement with the Board of Directors.

The Committee expects to meet in September and October to but meeting dates have not be set.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:10 pm.

TriMet Meeting – Thur, Aug. 26

On Friday, August 13, TriMet discontinued Line 15 bus service from NW 23rd Avenue along NW Thurman to the intersection of NW Thurman and Gordon. TriMet will hold a meeting this Thursday, August 26, 2010, from 5 to 7 pm at Friendly House (1737 NW 26th Avenue) to provide information to riders and community members about the sudden decision and to discuss options for alternatives that would mitigate the loss of service.

This is a TriMet meeting, not an NWDA meeting, but members of the NWDA Transportation will attend the meeting to participate as appropriate. The next meeting of the NWDA Transportation Committee will be held Wednesday, September 1, from 6 to 8 pm at the NW Neighborhood Cultural Center – Room TBD.

Quoting from TriMet’s website:

TriMet recently discontinued Line 15 bus service from NW 23rd Avenue along NW Thurman to the intersection of NW Thurman and Gordon. This abrupt change was made in response to the agency’s comprehensive safety review. On Friday, August 13, TriMet was informed by the Transit Police Division that by making operators reverse the bus in the intersection of N.W. Gordon and N.W. Thurman, we were requiring them to make a maneuver that is unsafe and illegal. Once this became clear, TriMet determined that the appropriate decision was to adjust the route to eliminate the illegal movement.

TriMet deeply regrets the lack of notice given to the riders of the Line 15 when the service on Thurman was discontinued. Due to the heightened sensitivity about safety, our staff took immediate action to correct an unsafe situation. Our normal procedures call for public notice. In this case normal procedures were not followed and for this we are very sorry.

TriMet is exploring options for alternatives that would mitigate the loss of service. This includes a review of the Thurman/Gordon intersection with the City of Portland traffic engineer and the Transit Police Division to see if there are safety mitigations which would allow the route to return. As an alternative, TriMet has mapped out other routing possibilities for this portion of Line 15.

TriMet will host an Open House on Thursday, August 26th at Friendly House to talk to riders and neighbors about alternatives. Friendly House in located at 1737 NW 26th Avenue (corner of NW 26th & Thurman). The Open House will provide an opportunity to get information about why this decision was made and to provide feedback on the options being considered.

S&L Meeting – Mon. Aug 23

The first meeting of the new NWDA Safety and Livability Committee will be held at 10 am. on Monday, August 23, at World Cup Coffee & Tea on NW Glisan. Committee Chair Tanya March and NWDA President Ron Walters will lead a discussion regarding Committee priorities, members, and developing a formal workplan. Please join us.

Slabtown Design Concept

Key slides from the most recent version of the Slabtown Urban Design Concept presented at the NWDA Planning Committee on Thursday, August 19, are available for download by clicking on the link below.

slabtown_2010_08_18_web

Please add comments to the website or email them to Slabtown co-Chair Don Genasci at dgenasci@spiritone.com.

The next meeting of the NWDA Slabtown Committee will be held Monday, August 23rd, in the Legacy Good Sam Northrup Building first floor conference room at 2282 NW Northrup Street, near the corner of NW 23rd Avenue, from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. The meeting agenda is to review progress on the Slabtown Urban Design Concept. This is a Committee meeting, not a Community Workshop, but the meeting is public and all interested parties are encouraged to attend.

Board Meeting Reminder

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The NWDA Board will meet Monday, August 16 at 6 PM. The meeting will be held in the Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Building #2, 2nd Floor Conference Room, at 1040 NW 22nd Avenue, directly across from Good Samaritan Hospital between Lovejoy and Marshall Streets. The meeting agenda will be finalized and posted shortly. The meeting is public and all interested parties are encouraged to attend.

NWDA H & E Minutes

8.9.10 Minutes, NWDA H & E Committee

Present: Bob Amundson, Bob L., Mitch Ritter, Caroline Skinner, Mary Ann Pastene, Allan Classen (Examiner) Sharon Genasci

First, we discussed the Esco bag house failure from July 9th to 19th when all the bags had been replaced. We received 13 odor complaints during that period, all for Esco, but one was for fuel odors. Since that address also gets Esco odors, the two may have been combined here. It was a distressing time for those who complained, and some who didn’t (at least one person has stopped complaining, as she says the odor continues every day). (Esco pdf attached below)

Bob L discussed possible changes to odor complaints, sending them to Esco, as well as to H & E Chairman and ODEQ. This was agreed as a good idea, as it would provide more data for Esco about their impact on the neighborhood. For example, in the recent ERM report commissioned by Esco to look into their air emissions, they cited 107 complaints on record against Esco emissions. We have nearly 850 complaints since 2004, and 65 per cent are for Esco odors.

Bob mentioned also his meeting with Ron Walters about possible changes to the NWDA website and the H & E section. This is currently under consideration.

Caroline reminded the group about the small fliers with our website, which she is currently handing out again to neighbors.

There was some discussion about new procedures for the committee regarding the new NWDA Board and President.

Sharon informed the committee of the current status of the DEQ RFP for an independent audit at Esco. The search has closed, and DEQ is in the process of selecting an auditor.

The group spent some time discussing the new report by ERM, an engineering firm hired by Esco to analyze the processes in the plant for their air emissions and to make suggestions for reductions in air pollution. There will be a follow up meeting between ERM, the neighbors’ representatives and DEQ on September 20th. The H & E Committee will be represented by Dr. Robert Amundson, Bob Holmstrom and Sharon Genasci.

Sharon Genasci, Chair, NWDA H & E Committee

Fuller Incident Ltr to DEQ

Slabtown Minutes – 8/9/10

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Slabtown Plan Committee
Meeting Minutes
August 9, 2010
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Northrup Building, 2282 NW Northrup Ave.

Committee Members Attending: Ron Walters (co-chair), Don Genasci (co-chair), Wayne Clark (Legacy/Good Sam), Dan Volkmer, Bill Welch

Committee Members Not Attending: Greg Aldrich, Peggy Anderson, Craig Boretz, John Bradley, Brian Bramlett, Mary Czarnecki, Patricia Gardner, Dan O’Brien, Steve Pinger

Guests Attending:
Fran Goldstein

No Motions.

No Votes.

The meeting was called to order at 5:35 pm. The sole agenda item for the meeting was to review progress on the Slabtown Urban Design Concept. After a brief introduction by Ron, Don walked the group through the urban design concepts and drawings, drawing attention to changes since Slabtown Workshop #5 and the previous Committee meeting. Because attendance was very low, the group focused on ideas and concerns expressed by Wayne Clark of Legacy/Good Sam.

Wayne provided input on the Good Sam masterplan boundaries and allowances. In particular, the Slabtown urban design map showed proposed building heights that were less than those allowed in the Good Sam masterplan. The group agreed that the Slabtown Urban Design Concept was not trying to restrict heights allowed by the Good Sam masterplan and agreed that the concept map should be changed to reflect allowed heights.

A second inconsistency with the Good Sam masterplan noted: a large public square shown on Good Sam property between NW Overton and Pettygrove and NW 21st and 22nd. Committee co-chairs acknowledged the inconsistency as an aspirational community desire for the neighborhood. The location is flexible but the co-chairs believed that the location made a lot of sense as drawn. The group acknowledged the fact that Good Sam currently owns the property, it is in within the masterplan area, and has no plans to sell the property or commit to development as shown. Wayne said he could not support public square in the location drawn but agreed to move on, acknowledging that he had a single vote.

The group briefly discussed progress on documenting historical buildings and the treatment of the rotary at 23rd and Vaughn. The group agreed that it would make sense to present the Slabtown Urban Design Concept to the Planning Committee at an upcoming meeting ASAP.

The meeting adjourned early at 6:35 pm.

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