The Saga of the Historic Goldsmith House at 1507 NW 24th Avenue

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Newsletter updates have documented the plight of the historic 1902 shingle-style home at NW 24th and Quimby, which was already undergoing interior demolition when the NWDA Planning Committee learned if its imminent loss. On April 17th, the neighborhood made an urgent plea to the City to reverse issuance of an improperly issued demolition permit and based on that impassioned request, on April 18th a Stop Work Notice was posted on the property.

With a “stay of execution” the next step was to meet with the developer who indeed met with the Planning Committee on April 24th. In a thoughtful, frank and civil discussion, the committee make a strong case for saving the house. The committee was pleased when the developer responded on April 28th with an offer to split off the house on a reduced parcel and make it available for resale. The terms for putting the house back on the market have not been determined, though it may be tough finding a buyer under the circumstances. Its partially dismantled status may make bank financing difficult for a prospective buyer. The NWDA can facilitate that process and can support the developer in final permitting for the remaining rowhouses, but the NWDA cannot be a party to any property transaction. Failing success in finding a buyer, demolition would proceed with seven rather than four townhouses being constructed on the combined site, once a new permit is issued by the City. Anyone interested in investing in this historic property is encouraged to do so. You can contact Phil Selinger, NWDA Board President, at president@northwestdistrictassociation.org or 503-224-5122 to be pointed in the right direction.

This tragic circumstance is being repeated across the City as rising property values in urban neighborhoods have tempted developers to demolish often great homes to create more profitable multiple-unit housing. The concern is exacerbated by an ambiguous City process for notifying neighborhoods of proposed demolitions. The NWDA will direct its efforts, coordinated with other neighborhoods, in rectifying this problem, though a complete solution will likely require the difficult process of rezoning so as not to jeopardize good old houses.

 

Closure of the Couch Park Play Structure Due to Safety Concerns

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The following is paraphrased from an April 24th press release from Portland Parks and Recreation:

Due to safety concerns and after years of close monitoring, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) has closed the wooden play structure and wooden stage at the Couch Park Playground. The closure comes after PP&R staff and an independent engineering firm, G2 Consultants, determined that the structural stability of the wood playground structure (approximately 40 years old) and stage are at risk. Other, newer play equipment at Couch Park is not affected and will remain open. Though PP&R has stated we want to replace the play structure, no time frame nor funding are available at this point.

“We simply will not take any chances when it comes to the safety of the children who play at our playgrounds,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “Our staff has been evaluating the wooden structure at Couch Park for years. We’ve had to remove several pieces of play equipment in that time frame, bit by bit; it’s the reality of decades-old, wooden playground attractions in a rainy climate. We know the wooden play structure has been a beloved, popular attraction for children and families. I know people will be disappointed, but I hope they’ll all agree that safety is, and should be, our bureau’s top priority.”

“The fact that we need to close a showpiece element in a playground where hundreds of children play illustrates the grave need for more money to maintain our system,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “Portland Parks & Recreation is grossly underfunded. Despite the long-acknowledged challenges to our system, we have made PP&R a nationally-recognized parks bureau thanks to amazing staff, valuable public-private partnerships, friends and partner groups. But such efforts can only go so far. This playground structure closure shows that we’ve reached our limit.”

PP&R owns and manages the playground. The land on which the playground sits is PPS property, specifically the adjacent Metropolitan Learning Center. The consultant report lists several concerns, including:
• Poor overall structural condition; some structural elements are coming apart, others contain dry rot
• Severe rotting of wood in parts of the structure’s flooring
• Presence of termites
• Wood and steel railings severely deteriorated due to weather
On several occasions staff removed pieces and portions of the wood structure – as well as other play equipment in the Couch Park playground – as they fell into disrepair. PP&R crews have done their best to repair and maintain the structure, but it is no longer possible to consider it a safe place to play.

“This is disappointing news, especially for the young students of MLC,” says Trent Thelen, a Couch Park advocate and parent of an MLC student. “The play area is valuable for all visitors – kids and parents alike – to engage in free, unfettered play. However, we look forward to working with Portland Parks & Recreation and hopefully, neighborhood partners, on efforts to revitalize the playground. We look with optimism towards a revitalized Couch Park as an improved open space for the next generation of park users.”

Though PP&R has stated they want to replace the play structure, no time frame nor funding are available at this point. Building a new playground will require community involvement and input. A meeting was held on April 29th at the MLC School to consider the needs of the children, interim play spaces and to organize a course of action to restore the structure since funds for a new structure are not available.

Major repairs and equipment replacement must come out of Portland Parks & Recreation’s General Fund, allocated by the City, rather than System Development Charges (SDCs). SDCs are revenue from construction development, restricted to expanding capacity only. SDCs cannot be used for other purposes such as the Couch Park playground.

Based on PP&R’s current Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the annual funding gap for repairing/renovation of existing assets is $36.5M. This means PP&R has $36.5M of unfunded maintenance projects planned each year for the next ten years; a ten-year total of$365M of unfunded maintenance projects. The Couch Park play structure has been and remains on PP&R’s capital improvements list because Children need a safe, accessible and enjoyable play structure. PP&R notes that no project will go forward without community input.

Upcoming Annual Meeting and Elections

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Date: Monday, May 19, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Place: Legacy Good Samaritan Auditorium, 1015 NW 22nd Ave. (The auditorium is in the main hospital building.)

The Annual Meeting and Election of the NWDA Board is coming up. This is a good time to come to a meeting and to have a direct stake in shaping your neighborhood association. You need to be a member to vote, but you need to sign on as a member before the meeting. If you haven’t done so, you can do that at under the website “Join Us” tab. The meeting will include a summary of the work of each of the five NWDA committees. The Annual Meeting and Election will be followed with a short meeting of the new Board. There’s lots going on. Come, participate and consider how you might want to play an on-going role in shaping your community.

See the Calendar for other meetings and details!

 

NWDA Air Quality Committee Minutes April 14, 2014

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Present: Bob L, Evan Farnham, David Arrow, Judy Grace, Sharon Genasci

First item of business was the election of the representative from the AQC to the Site Logistics Plan meetings under the Clean Diesel Good Neighbor Agreement with John Residential in the Con-way Master Plan area. Sharon received a unanimous vote to be the representative from the AQC.

The group went on to discuss how the neighborhood might work in partnership with the City to implement clean diesel agreements in other parts of Portland, in order to reduce diesel emissions throughout the city. Diesel is a known carcinogen.

Two people at the meeting then raised the issue that their housing, which is located next to the railroad station in downtown Portland, is being polluted by diesel on a regular basis when trains are idling, particularly during the night. The Committee will work on this.

Regarding the Clean diesel Good Neighbor Agreement with John Residential, the first Site Logistics Plan meetings will be for the construction of the New Seasons Grocery on NW Raleigh and 22nd. We don’t have a definite start date for construction yet, because of pending permits.

The AQC also would like to see Good Samaritan Hospital use clean diesel. Opportunities exist within their fleet, vehicles delivering goods to the hospital and especially their aged back-up generator, which is tested monthly and put into operation when there is a power cut. Diesel fumes fill the neighborhood and are brought into hospital units through the air systems.

Sharon and Bob pointed out that odor complaints about ESCO are continuing, in spite of the GNA agreed with ESCO several years ago and the improvements they have made.

A meeting of the NAC (Neighborhood Advisory Committee under the GNA) is scheduled for April 25th at 9:00 am at Friendly House. The public is free to attend.

The AQC voted unanimously to choose Kathy Sharp as an alternate to the NAC from NWDA.

Sharon Genasci, Chair, NWDA Air Quality Committee

 

April 2, 2014 NWDA Transportation Committee minutes

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Attached are the minutes of the April 2, 2014 NWDA Transportation Committee minutes. 4-2-14 NWDA TransCom minutes

Revised April 21st NWDA Board Meeting Agenda

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Attached is the revised April Board meeting agenda reflecting the addition of an update regarding the historic house demolition at NW 24th/Quimby. For your reference:  NWDA_Agenda_April 21 2014 . All are most welcome to these meetings!

Air Quality Committee Agenda, April 14th, 2014

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1.  Election of representative to Site Logistics Plan meetings under the Clean Diesel GNA with John Residential (we will need a quorum).
2.  Discussion about how we might work with the City to achieve some AQ goals.
3.  Discussion about continued Esco odor complaints.
4.  Need to put Kathy Sharp on the NAC as alternate (Neighborhood Advisory Committee, under Esco GNA)
5.  Discussion about collaboration with other neighborhoods on clean diesel initiatives.
6.  Discussion about collaboration with Good Samaritan Hospital to clean up diesel emissions from their generator.
7.  Discussion about odor complaints from Cascade Rubber Products.
8.  Annual meeting, NWDA, May 19th,6:00 p m, Good Sam Hospital (Wistar Morris Room)
9   Finalize a list of active AQC members.

Volunteer for a Neighborhood Spring Clean-Up!

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Neighborhood Spring Clean-Up!

Join Friendly Streets and the Northwest District Association (NWDA) and help cleanup up the neighborhood just in time for spring. Volunteers are needed to help pick up litter, remove graffiti and collect abandoned grocery carts throughout the Northwest neighborhoods.  The cleanup will be held on Saturday, April 26 from 9-11am. It will begin at the Northwest Community Garden on NW 16th between Johnson and Kearney. Meet there for light snacks, instructions, maps, and all necessary supplies. The cleanup will end at the Lucky Labrador Brewery, 1945 NW Quimby Street for free pizza and raffle prizes.

Please dress for the weather. The event will be held rain or shine and is open to all ages.

To learn more and register, visit either website for more information and registration:
http://www.friendlystreets.org/

www.solv.org/get-involved/events/northwest-portland-litter-pickup-graffiti-removal

This cleanup is organized by Friendly Streets and the NWDA and is one of the many SOLVE IT Earth Day events. For more information, contact info@friendlystreets.org.

Travel Advisory for West Burnside

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TRAFFIC ADVISORY

Street Improvements to close lanes on W. Burnside Street from

SW 19th Avenue to SW King Avenue

April 7 to 9

(April 4, 2014)  – The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation advises the traveling public that street improvements will require lane closures on W Burnside Street between SW 19th Avenue and SW King Avenue Monday, April 7 through Wednesday, April 9, 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. each day.

The lane closures are necessary to allow crews to pave .33 lane miles. This is the second phase of the two phase process.  Crews last month had ground down the old asphalt to prepare for paving during a stretch of dry weather.   Paving is weather dependent and the schedule may change.

At least one traffic lane in each direction will remain open at all times. Local access to residences and businesses will be provided.

The public is advised to expect delays while repairs are being made. We ask the public to travel cautiously, observe all lane closures and directions by flaggers, and use alternate routes if possible.