Sunshine Dairy seeks street vacation

 

The Sunshine Dairy at 801 NE. 21st Ave. is seeking a pair of street vacancies to facilitate its truck loading. As consultant Peter Fry told the Kerns Neighborhood Association last month, the company wants to totally vacate NE Pacific St. between 20th and 21st avenues, (the company owns buildings on either side of the street) and partially vacate 21st for one block to the north.

In the latter case, what would remain would be one travel lane one-way northbound. Fry said that this would facilitate loading operations for the company and allow them to do them in ways that are less disruptive to neighboring residential properties. The company makes, packages and ships dairy products for outlets that include Whole Foods markets and Burgerville restaurants, Fry said.

 

Historic review changes get mixed review

 

Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability has drafted a series of proposed changes to city historic review processes, and the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission approved it after a public hearing last month. However, some of the principal advocates for change aren’t happy with the result.

In the city’s National Historic Districts such as Ladd’s Addition, any work on the exterior of structures other than normal repair and maintenance must go through a design review process. Critics, including the advocates for the districts, have complained that fees for this process (starting at $900) and the time involved are an unreasonable burden. Advocates say they could interfere with the creation of new districts.

Last year, Portland City Council directed staff to look at changes. The result is the draft Historic Resources Code Improvement Project.

The draft proposes to exempt some work from review, including the installation of storm windows, handicapped access ramps, fire escapes, skylights, and any work on a part of the house that involves 150 square feet or less and is “not street-facing” on a structure that is “non-contributing” to the district.

For other work, including changes that total 150 square feet or less, and “restoration” work that makes the structure more like it originally was, the review will be a Type I process. This takes a maximum of 45 days, is done by a city staff person and can only be appealed to the Land Use Board of Appeals, a complex and costly process.

Currently, most historic reviews are Type II, which take longer and give those unhappy with the outcome the option of an appeal to the Historic Landmarks Commission. (Neighborhood associations can do this for free.) Finally, there are changes to the definitions of “maintenance” and “repair.”

Those who testified acknowledged the need for changes, but differed as to what those should be. They all criticized the process and fee structure as excessive. Several historic preservation advocates lamented the loss of local appeals as an option.

Harris Matarazzo, representing the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission, said current historic review  is a “confusing, time-consuming and expensive process. It could potentially jeopardize the formation of other districts”.

Proposed changes “could provide a speedier, less expensive review”. He regretted the loss of local appeal and questioned square footage as a trigger for review. However, he said, “You couldn’t address all concerns with an eight month timeline and no real budget”.

Tim Askin of Buckman, part of a team seeking to create a new National Historic District in that neighborhood, agreed the staff work was “reasonable given the time limits and funding”. He and others question exempting everything except street-facing facades from review, saying it failed to account for many things visible from the street.

He suggested requiring review for anything that was bounded by two street-facing facades. Askin added, “Portland has the highest fees for design review in the nation”.

Linda Nettekoven of Ladd’s Addition said the proposed changes would “make historic review more understandable and affordable”. She called for the return of local review committees and lamented a lack of notification to current and potential property owners about historic property restrictions and requirements. “My deed says I’m in an historic district, but it doesn’t give a clue to what that means.”

John Hassenberg of the Oregon Remodelers Association said the proposed changes are “something that needed to happen.

“Many homeowners were blindsided, they didn’t know what they were buying into, and many projects were put on a shelf,” he said, noting that in addition to fees, homeowners must hire professionals to help them navigate the historic review process.

Craig Lewis, who said he lived in a “non-contributing” house in Ladd’s Addition, offered this. “To bring houses like mine back to a contributing state would require substantial contributions from the homeowner. I want my neighborhood to retain its historic character, but living in a museum is not practical.”

As to non-street-facing areas, he said, “The backyard is a private space”. He called for measures to “inform purchasers of requirements and restrictions”.

There was consistent complaints about the review fees, which Matarazzo said often cost more than the work itself. Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Executive Director Susan Anderson said that these are set by the Bureau of Development Services.

In a related matter, the Historic Buckman Committee is moving forward with its proposal to have an area bounded roughly by SE 12th and 20th avenues, Ankeny and Morrison streets as a National Historic District.

As The Southeast Examiner went to press, a hearing on this was scheduled before the Landmarks Commission. A public meeting will be held at 7 pm, February 7 in the Multnomah County building at 501 SW. Hawthorne Blvd.

 

Landmarks supports Washington designation

 

Portland Historic Landmarks Commission last month voted unanimously to support the designation of the former Washington High School building to the National Register of Historic Places.

The designation, and potential tax benefits, is part of Venerable Properties, its owner, to convert the structure at 519 SE 14th Ave. to housing and other uses. The project was begun by the late Art DeMuro, owner of the firm.

After the vote, Venerable’s current head, Brian Nelson, said it was “far too early” to discuss detailed plans for the building.

 

Southeast Uplift awards grants

 

The Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program last month awarded 15 Neighborhood Small Grants, totaling $21,603, to neighborhood and community organizations for a variety of projects.

The Neighborhood Small Grants Program is funded by the City General Fund through the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. SEUL and the city’s six other neighborhood offices and coalitions award grants for projects that “increase the capacity” of such groups, encourage partnerships among them and encourage participation by “under-represented communities.”

SEUL’s grants were as follows:

• Voz Workers Rights Education Project: $2,000 for training in employment and living skills for migrant workers.

• Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association: $1,250 to help create a Mt. Scott-Arleta Community Garden.

• Inclusion, Inc. and Portland Public Schools: $3,543 for classes for developmentally disabled adults.

• Montavilla Neighborhood Association: $1,960 for the Eastside Forum Project, in which SE 82nd Ave. residents create and perform in an original interactive play.

• AARP Oregon and Help Advocacy Solutions: $1,500 for outreach to create Eastside Village, an aging-in-place community.

• Foster-Area Business Association: $600 for multi-lingual outreach materials to build a community website.

• Academy Sports and Montavilla Neighborhood Association: $1,200 for a series of family recreation nights at Konko Church of Portland.

• Montavilla Neighborhood Association and the Junior League: $1,000 for an adventure scramble in Mount Tabor Park by Jim Bridger PTA.

• Warner-Pacific College: $1,250 for a free summer day camp by the Tsuga Community Commission.

• North Tabor Neighborhood Association, Laurelhurst Café and the Portland Police Bureau:   $2,000 for a community mural on the wall of East Precinct.

• Buckman Community Association and Portland State University: $500 for a litter collection program start-up.

• Montavilla Community Center: $800 for a summer intern program by Post5 Theatre, resident theater company of the Milepost 5 Artist Community.

• Sunnyside Neighborhood Association: $$1,250 for tree planting in narrow planting strips.

• Woodstock Business Association: $750 for an information kiosk at Woodstock Community Center.

SEUL received 20 grant applications seeking a combined $54,698, of which two were ruled invalid under program criteria. All but two of the grantees received less money than they had asked for.

This may be the last year in which this program is available. Anticipating a major budget shortfall, Mayor Charlie Hales has directed all City Bureaus to submit budgets reflecting a 10 percent spending cut. In ONI, the Grant program is in jeopardy, and so are the Graffiti Abatement program and grants to neighborhood associations for communications. The Neighborhood Crime Prevention Program is expecting the loss of a paid position.

 

North Tabor plans community mural

 

As noted above, the North Tabor Neighborhood Association and partners have received a $2,000 grant for a community mural on the wall of the Penumbra Kelley Building, 4747 E. Burnside St., which houses the SE Precinct and the Neighborhood Crime Prevention Program.

The non-profit Spacecraft, which recently completed a massive mural on N. Mississippi Ave., has been contracted to do the project.

Its cost will exceed $12,000, Spacecraft’s Jakub Kucharczyk told The Southeast Examiner, but they hope to get additional funds from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and others.

Spacecraft is “a non-profit organization that works with communities on collaborative art projects”, in the words of Matthew Allen Wooldrige. They work with community groups to devise a theme for their project, then use input to flesh out that theme. The Mississippi mural contains “stories and small vignettes” that they picked up, Wooldrige says.

Wooldrige himself has a background in “art and entrepreneurship”. He has helped others to “learn practical skills” while producing art.

Kucharczyk has done large art installations. “I really wanted to share what I’d learned.” He worked in Chicago in after-school programs and community-building projects.

Outreach will start with a public meeting February 4 at Laurelhurst Café, 4611 E. Burnside St. at 4 pm. Contact them at www.northtabormuralproject.com.

 

New development projects (with parking)

 

Capstone Partners,working on a major mixed-use project on the old Albina Fuel property on NE Broadway at 32nd Ave., has irons in the fire in southeast too.

According to Capstone’s Chris Nelson, the company is seeking a development on a long-vacant former Wells Fargo Bank property on E. Burnside St. at 26th Ave.

Another developer attempted to create a four-story apartment building there, but plans fell through. Nelson says Capstone’s plans call for apartments, ground floor retail and parking, but that they are “very preliminary” at this time.

They have more developed plans for the former Nature’s/Wild Oats building at 3016 SE Division St. owned by New Seasons founder Stan Amy.

Here Capstone plans a 4,000 square foot anchor restaurant or brew pub, another five ground floor storefronts, and up to 14 second floor commercial offices or lofts for a total of 22,000 square feet of commercial space.

On two adjacent parking lots there will be housing – 55 units on the main lot, 30 on a smaller employee lot – with a total of 9,000 more square feet of ground floor commercial. The total project will be “an urban village” Nelson says.

Aware of Division Street’s recent history, he assures us the project WILL include off-street parking and WILL NOT include a gym that could in any way compete with Loprinzi’s.

 

REACH seeks new director

 

Two months ago, REACH Community Development moved into new quarters in the new Gray’s Landing building at 4150 SW Moody Ave. in the South Waterfront, sharing space with housing for low-income veterans. In many ways the organization itself is going in new ways.

Last October, Dee Walsh, the agency’s executive director for more than two decades, left for a position with a Housing Coalition in Boston. REACH is in the middle of a nationwide search for a replacement.

Kathy Kniep, who says she is a long-time “fan” of REACH and is a referral of the Non-Profit Association of Oregon, is interim director. She is not and never was a candidate for the permanent job. “We hope to have a permanent replacement on board in March,” Kniep says.

REACH is the largest private non- profit low-income housing provider in Portland, with 1600 units. It started in SE and most of its holdings are here, but it owns and manages buildings elsewhere and intends to add new ones.

 

Comprehensive Plan meeting due

 

Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will hold a series of public workshops in February and March to acquaint the public with the proposed Portland Comprehensive Plan and invite feedback on it. These workshops will include one from 5:30 to 8:30 pm February 28 at Franklin High School, 5405 S.E. Woodward St.

Another will be 5 to 8 pm March 5 at Portland State University’s Smith Center, 1825 S.W. Broadway.

The new Plan will update one in place since 1980. It will set regulations, including zoning, that will govern public activity and private development through the year 2035.

The City is seeking input on potential Growth Scenarios, which will decide where new growth and density should be accommodated. A Default Scenario would pretty much leave things as they are.

Growth could be concentrated along major transit routes such as SE Hawthorne Blvd, Belmont or Division streets, in commercial nodes such as Montavilla, or in the Central City (including the Central East Side.)

For more information about the Plan or workshops, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/pdxcompplan.