Letters to the Editor December 2016

To The Editor:

I’ve lived in Portland since 1965 and in the inner eastside for the past 34 years. We were in Irvington until this year and now in Colonial Heights. I’ve always lived in old houses because I like their ambience, and I like the feel of these neighborhoods.

When we moved to Irvington about 1982, it was still a diverse neighborhood, especially below 15th Ave.

Today in the inner eastside, we still have most of the architecture intact, the housing stock, but architecture alone does not make a city. One thing that’s missing is the demographics, and the city has lost much of its charm and character because of it.

It isn’t the housing stock for the most part; it’s the vitality that’s been lost, the life on the street. Nobody can afford to live in the inner eastside anymore except the affluent and I’m sorry to say that a lot of the affluent seem to like it that way.

A contributing factor to the homeless crisis is that many people can’t afford housing. They have been evicted from their apartments. As long as people cannot afford a home, they will remain homeless.

The way to lower the cost of housing, or at least slow down the rise, is to build more housing.

We need mid-scale housing, and we need residential development above the retail establishments on main arteries, and apartment buildings and condominiums.

We need it everywhere, not just somewhere else besides our own neighborhood. There are many older apartment buildings and multiplexes scattered throughout inner eastside, and they are neither out of place, nor out of scale with the neighborhoods.

If my vision of greater density were realized, how would it affect me in my nice house in Colonial Heights?

There would be more traffic, it would be harder to park a car, and my house might lose value.  Worse than that, the feel of Old Portland would be changed to a new and different feel.

I am willing to pay these prices because something more important has been lost and is still disappearing: the vitality and the diversity of the city.

I have seen firsthand the results of making Irvington into an historic district.  I was originally in favor of the historic designation because there was a need to restrict the demolition of houses to create giant houses.

That need still exists.  Giant houses are a blight on the community, but the restrictions of an historic district are greater than necessary.

The high cost of housing is wrecking the charm and character of Portland, just as much as is the loss of houses to demolition.

Adding density does not “preserve” the character of our neighborhoods, because there is no way to preserve the past. The neighborhoods will change, but in a way that preserves vitality and diversity.

That’s what it means to live in a real city.

David G. Robboy

To the Editor:

As a citizen concerned with huge and out of scale Infill development in our neighborhood, I attended the Infill Projects meetings over the last year.

Despite the Mayor’s lofty promises, the current proposal being considered by City council does nothing to address problems of scale and neighborhood compatibility and is a handout to developers to ramp up demolitions and build pretty much whatever they want most anywhere.

We are all concerned about affordable housing, but this proposal will not provide affordability, and will increase demolitions and land prices.

If passed, this Proposal would:

Rezone most of the city, WITHOUT going through a rezoning process

Eliminate single family residential zoning in 65 % of the city, allow 2 1/2 story duplexes on most every lot, triplexes on corners.

Allow over a  4000 sq ft home on a R5 lot (yes it would, look at the details)

Would increase density on R5 10,000 sq ft lots up to 300 %,  More than R 2.5.

Does almost nothing to address Scale, the primary objective concern of citizens of this city.

Does nothing to address demolitions, a primary concern of citizens.

Ignored the Strong opposition voiced in Public Meetings. 27 neighborhoods opposed, with only 4 in support.

Is a Conflict of interest.  Committee weighted with builders, lobbyists and those aligned and spearheaded by a member who specializes in this housing, and is on the planning commission.

Does not align with the Comprehensive Plan to densify near centers and (legit) corridors.   Ignores the previous Inner Rings previously trotted out to the public.

Will not provide what we think of as affordable housing.

This is an intentional move to deceive the public, wrapped in a flag of affordability.

Please help in exposing this to the general public.  I have attached my public testimony given last week in Council hearings

Feel free to contact me for more background information.

Thank you,

Robin Harman

Letters to the Editor December 2016

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