By Gabe Frayne

Mayor Ted Wheeler attended the North Tabor annual General Meeting on Tuesday, October 17 and addressed a range of issues that have animated neighborhood association meetings across the city in recent years.

Wheeler began his remarks by noting that approximately three busloads of transplants are moving into Portland daily (or roughly 44 thousand people per year), which has created an overwhelming need for investments in infrastructure. When questioned about ever- worsening traffic congestion on Portland’s streets and freeways, the mayor acknowledged the problem but said the solution lies in “behavioral change” and “alternatives to single-occupancy trips in the automobile.”

However, he did not delve into the specifics of these alternatives other than mentioning another MAX line at some point in the future and perhaps more express buses.

Predictably, concerns about housing and homelessness were also among the comments directed at the mayor. “We have lots of high-end housing coming on line, and that’s fine,” Wheeler responded, “but we don’t have a good mix of workforce housing.” He added, perhaps with North Tabor in mind, “We’ve been smart about increasing density where density is appropriate…skinny lots are off the table.”

Wheeler used strong words to defend the homeless, saying they were not “criminals” but human beings who have rights. He explained that the increase of homelessness in Portland’s streets owes much to the fact that when deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill began years ago, “a promise was made that the money [for community health services] would follow, but it didn’t.” He added that five thousand formerly homeless people in Portland have been housed in the past year, and that the city is making progress in disposing of abandoned RVs and other vehicles.

Meanwhile, the grand crusade to create a bonanza of affordable housing through more infill development continues apace in the North Tabor area.

In this month’s news:

The five attached townhouses on the 5700 block of E. Burnside, over a year in the making, will go on the market at the end of October, according to Ryan Zygar of Tieton Built, the contractor for a California-based developer. He expects they will be priced at 600k and up.

The six three-story condos at 53-109 NE 58th which replaced a small home and two rental units are nearing completion. No word yet from Renaissance Homes on the price points.

A 1901 single-family home surrounded by mature fir trees on an R5 lot at 230 NE 65th Ave. remains unoccupied several months after the passing of the owner. The estate’s attorney, Kate Joseph, did not return numerous phone calls requesting more information.