See below for the Land Use and Transportation update from committee chair, Stephenie Frederick. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here for a PDF version of this report or click thru to read the report on our website.
To: LUTC Members, Associates, and Affiliates
From: Stephenie Frederick, BDNA LUTC Chair
Date: 8 September 2020
Re: Current land-use, transportation, parks and other LUTC items
Hello, everyone. I hope this September 2020 “newsletter” finds you doing well. Be sure to send me questions, comments, corrections, and content I missed; I’ll respond, revise, and re-share.
Best wishes, Stephenie
The Climate Emergency
As this update was being developed, the National Weather Service issued a warning of high fire danger in NW Oregon, complete with Labor Day temperatures in the 80s and 90s and east winds unusually strong for this time of year. These conditions are the result of a gigantic heat dome centered over the United States. Heat domes have become more common with climate warming. (As we know, the wind showed up right on time.)
What is a heat dome? https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/heat-dome.html
How the U.S got caught under a heat dome. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-us-got-caught-under-heat-dome-180975294/
Local Land Use
Proposed or Pending Development in Brentwood-Darlington for August 2020:
- 5 Accessory dwelling units – 3 proposed; 2 permits issued
- 13 Single family dwellings or townhouses – 12 proposed; 1 permit issued
- 1 Land partition – Proposed
Data source: www.portladoregon.gov/bds/80319
The foregoing include:
- 3 single family dwellings on Bybee west of 7306 SE Bybee (bet 76th-74th);
- 3 single family dwellings at the NE corner of SE Crystal Springs and 72nd;
- 3 townhomes, each with an ADU, at the corner of SE Duke and 70th Avenue.
Homes Sold or for Sale
- Homes sold during Aug 2020: 31 homes in Brentwood-Darlington (www.zillow.com) + an apartment building located at SE 52nd-Flavel Drive . Homes: $270K-$500K (but one at $700K)
- As of Sept 6, 2020: 21 homes for sale in Brentwood-Darlington ($165K-$599K).
A major development: A large self-storage unit will be constructed on a lot between SE Harney Street and SE Luther Road, east of 82nd Avenue. Johnson Creek and the Springwater Corridor lie just to the northwest. The land lies mostly in Portland, and partly in Clackamas County. Portland’s regulations apply to the land located within the City of Portland; Clackamas County’s apply to the rest. Portland Maps assigns the property to the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood. (Mea culpa: I did not catch this in time for us to appeal; I am still setting up systems and learning data sources; we should have more capability to appeal going forward.)
Residential Infill Project
In-depth analysis of the Residential Infill Project’s expected effects on our area will have to wait for a future newsletter . . . but here are links to the resolution adopted by city council on August 12, 2020; a description of the new zoning effort; and some detail on projected displacement.
Residential Infill Project – Final adopted ordinance language
Description (rather on the positive side)
Staff report on displacement risk and mitigation:
– See page iii of Appendix B for BPS staff statement about increased displacement risk in Brentwood-Darlington, Lents, and Montavilla
– See Page 8 for a map of increased-displacement risk in Portland (east and south census tracts in Brentwood-Darlington are projected to be at risk; my thought: the east tract will not see much redevelopment and new housing but may be at risk because of rising land values caused by the redevelopment and new housing projected to increase in the adjoining tracts).
– See Page 17 for a map of areas most likely to see increases in redevelopment and new housing units (north and south [but not east] Brentwood-Darlington census tracts are projected to see this increase)
Speeding on SE Flavel Drive
Using radar speed guns, two Brentwood-Darlington residents collected vehicle speed data for the BDNA at two points on SE Flavel Drive. The data collected at SE 57th-Flavel Drive show traffic moving more slowly than in the stretch that includes Hazeltine Park. At SE 57th-Flave Drivel, northbound traffic is just coming out of a curve; southbound traffic is slowing down for the curve. The second point is squarely in a straight-away that invites speed increase.
On Saturday, September 5th, a northbound driver drove into a tree at the very point where the curve straightens out into the straight-away. The driver was unhurt, and the two trees did not sustain much damage.
More on Flavel Drive speeding: On August 6th, the BDNA board formally approved asking the city to (1) install speed bumps on Flavel Drive (using a style approved by the Portland Fire Department); and (2) install a flashing beacon crossing on Flavel Drive at Hazeltine Park. We also asked for improvements that could be provided more speedily and at lower cost: more speed-limit signs, useful pavement markings or reflectors, and bumps along the road edges to narrow the street.
Ogden-Knapp Greenway – Slow Streets
The proposed greenway from 82nd Avenue to 45th Avenue has been posted with “Local Access Only” signs and semi-barriers to deter through traffic. The goal is to provide residents with safe stretches of roadway on which to walk, bike, scoot, and skate.
New Speed Limit for SE 52nd Avenue
The speed limit for SE 52nd Avenue from Harney Drive on the south to Powell Blvd on the north has been lowered to 25mph from 30mph.
Springwater Connector serving 80s and 70s Neighborhood Greenways
Work has begun on a connection from SE Flavel Street through Flavel Park to the Springwater Corridor. The project will be completed in January 2021. For detail, see https://www.portland.gov/transportation/policy-and-planning/construction/springwater-connector-neighborhood-greenway
Many TriMet bus lines resumed regular service on August 31, 2020. For detail on safe transit travel in the time of Covid-19, go to https://trimet.org/health/index.htm
TriMet replaced and upgraded nearly 9,000 feet of rail, signal equipment, switches and switching machines on the 108-year-old Steel Bridge. Steel Bridge has re-opened to vehicle use.
Portland Traffic Fatalities:
As of September 6, 2020: 31 traffic fatalities
As of September 6, 2019: 38 traffic fatalities
Data from: https://bikeportland.org/fatality-tracker
Proposed Operating Levy for Portland Parks & Recreation
On July 22, 2020, the Portland City Council approved placement of an “operating levy” on the November ballot. If approved, the five-year levy would allow Parks & Recreation to re-open community centers and pools, once again offer classes and camps, and maintain the city’s parks – with a strenuous effort to enable low-income residents to use parks and pools, and join classes and camps. The levy would NOT raise property taxes! This is a point of extensive misinformation. See the full explanation of the levy at the end of this newsletter.
A joint hearing of the Urban Forestry Commission and the Planning & Sustainability Commission was held on September 8, 2020 to take public testimony on proposed amendments to the city’s tree preservation code. Here is a list of the amendments:
- Remove the exemption from tree preservation and tree density requirements in IG1 (General Industrial 1), EX (Central Employment), and CX (Central Commercial) zones on private and City-owned or managed property
- Keep the existing exemption from tree preservation and tree density requirements in IH (Heavy Industrial) zones on private and City-owned or managed property
- Reduce the threshold for required preservation of trees on private property from 36 inches to 20 inches in diameter at breast height (dbh) wherever tree preservation is required
- Reduce the threshold for the application of an inch-per-inch fee in lieu of preservation for trees on private property from 36 inches dbh to 20 inches dbh
Here is the City of Portland Trees website: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/trees/59505
Read proposed amendments here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/trees/article/765310
The amendments have not yet been adopted. If I understand correctly, public comments may be submitted to the Planning & Sustainability Commission through September 17, 2020. (Note: I listened to 1.5 hours of the September 8th joint hearing, and understood very little. I came away thinking that trees are more regulated than anything else in the city . . . and everyone connected with tree preservation or non-preservation knows the short-cut lingo for all of the regulations, placing a novice at a disadvantage. I did grasp one issue: that IH [heavy industry)] land – if it were to be redeveloped – would remain exempt from tree preservation because heavy industry offers so many jobs to people without college degrees. Thankfully, there were people providing testimony of a more nuanced, future-looking, public-health-oriented fashion.
Our concern here in Brentwood-Darlington is preservation of tree canopy on individual lots targeted for housing construction. I will learn the code; but so far the applicable code or city summaries appear (to me) to offer three conflicting versions of the regulations that apply. We will sort this out later . . .
Various individuals and groups (including some neighborhood associations) are seeking to relocate “the Albina and Brooklyn yards, as railroad relocations have yielded enormous benefits including: decreased air pollution, alleviating traffic congestion, improvement in railroad’s operational efficiency, increase for new economic development, safer routes for hazardous materials movement, and elimination of obstruction to emergency vehicles.”
The quote comes from an email sent out by Mo Badreddine of Vibrant Portland LLC, 1616 NW 13th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209. Find fascinating background at: https://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/2018/12/proposal-would-move-longtime-n-portland-railyard-develop-waterfront-property.html
Ongoing statement from the National Weather Service: “Drought conditions persist across most of Oregon, as depicted by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Almost half of the state is in severe or extreme drought, primarily affecting north-central, south-central, and southwest Oregon. Another quarter of the state is in moderate drought. The only part of Oregon not currently affected by drought or abnormally-dry conditions is northeast Oregon. For map and detail, see: https://www.weather.gov/media/pqr/WaterSupplyOutlook.pdf and https://www.drought.gov/drought/states/oregon
OPERATING LEVY PROPOSED FOR PORTLAND PARKS & RECREATION
The PP&R Problem
To minimally maintain parks and offer extensive rec programming, Portland Parks & Recreation has had to depend on fees for swim lessons, exercise classes, and summer camps. To try to meet its funding needs, PP&R has sought grants, developed public-private partnerships, and relied on thousands of volunteer hours. Even so, an annual infusion of general funds has always been needed – just to barely keep things going, with much maintenance deferred.
Because of Covid-19, PP&R was forced to close community centers and swimming pools in early March. Without fees, its income plunged.
What the operating levy would do
PP&R would be able to re-open community centers and public pools, and restart recreational programs in summer 2021 — and would have funds to do so safely, if the Covid threat remained. The funds would:
- Deliver recreational programs, including, but not limited to, environmental education and access to nature for youth, summer camps, family-friendly movies and concerts, fitness and arts classes, teen- and senior-focused programs, life-saving swim lessons, and a summer playground program serving free lunches to children experiencing hunger.
- Remove financial barriers for low-income households by ending current dependence on recreation fee revenues, allowing an equity-focused delivery of community events and programs and reducing the likelihood of further cuts to recreation offerings. (My editorial comment: PP&R would most likely collect fees according to ability to pay; low-income residents would not have to pay fees.)
- Clean litter and hazardous waste in parks and natural areas, maintain grounds and landscaping, provide safety checks on play equipment, improve preventative and traditional maintenance.
- Keep public restrooms open and cleaner.
- Plant new trees in communities where today canopy coverage is lower, to improve air and water quality, diminish the impacts of climate change, and provide wildlife habitat.
- Protect Portland’s 1.2 million park trees by performing proactive maintenance, safety checks, hazard removal, and replacement of damaged trees in parks and natural areas.
- Modernize data systems to improve internal efficiency.
- Prioritize services for communities of color and households experiencing poverty, including equity-centered engagement and outreach, community partnership grants, and increased engagement with volunteer and partner groups.
Why no one’s taxes would increase.
The levy would not raise property taxes! Oregon calculates annual property taxes in two different ways, one based on market value, the other on local assessment; a property owner pays the lower of the two (which, yes, increases annually by 3%). A new levy must fit into the annual lower payment – that is, other levies included in a person’s property taxes must be “adjusted” in order to squeeze in the new levy. The PP&R levy would shrink the existing Children’s Levy, amongst others, but PP&R would compensate the Children’s Investment Fund annually to offset the loss; and would work with other entities to “reduce the financial impacts to their levies”.
The levy would collect $.80 per $1,000 assessed value (approximately $13/month for the median residential property owner). Although PP&R expects to collect an average of $48 million per year from the levy, annual funds from the city’s general fund would still be needed to permit full operation.
The levy would begin in FY 2021-2022 (July 1, 2021) A citizen oversight committee would be set up to analyze expenditures and report to council. An audit would be carried out to ensure that levy expenditures correlated to voter intent.
A permanent solution would still be required
Five years would provide enough time to find a permanent solution, mostly likely creation of a district like those of the public library and public schools.
Find resolution and related documents at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/article/764115