An inevitable by-product of Portland densification is the loss of local landmarks. This is a tale of Two City Sites with very different outcomes.

SE 50th & Hawthorne Blvd.

First, an update on the East Portland Eagles. Rumors of the demise of the Lodge at Hawthorne and 50th Ave. were premature.

The Aerie has restored its suspended status and apparently rebuffed a proposed sale to a developer in order to continue as a haven of hope, refuge and pride for members that stepped forward to save it from the wrecking ball.

It will stand, at least for the near future, as a symbol of how Portland residents can save what they cherish. Even the Goodwill truck that recently moved from the parking lot will likely return once the Aerie’s future is certain.

6025 SE Powell Blvd.

Some 20+ blocks away, a nursery that once sported flats of greenery will soon be flattened to make way for a 900 unit, 10,000 square foot storage facility; a use few residents support in an era of critical housing shortages.

Ironically, the arrival of new transplants moving into apartments too small for their belongings has resulted in rising demand for self-storage.

Residents who have worked diligently in recent years to reduce crime, maintain nearby school safety and make the area more livable have responded to a survey about the property that indicates concern about a windowless building that could hide nefarious activities in what they call a storage “dead zone.”

The survey is largely symbolic since the City is obliged to approve uses allowed within current codes. The property is in a General Commercial Zone that allows storage according to Cassie Ballew of City Planning.

She added, however, that the code requires the facility to go through a Design Review which may provide opportunity for public input. She says the review will be at the staff level. If the project is appealed within 14 days of the decision mail date, an appeal hearing before the Design Commission will be held.

The survey posted by neighborhood activist Albert Kaufman can be found: tinyurl.com/7DeesSurvey.  MP

The Brooklyn train yard

Aaron Hunt, with Union Pacific, attended a recent HAND board meeting to talk about the railroad and answer questions concerning traffic tie-ups at SE Division and 11th/12th and 8th Avenues where they intersect with the tracks.

Brooklyn Yard, with its 20 tracks, affects the HAND neighborhood.

Hunt, the public affairs director in Oregon, briefly gave a history of the railroad and described  its national network and the company’s concerns and goals.  He said UP suspects its the manual switching system that is causing the freight trains to stall at the intersections and is exploring the idea of switching to power.

They expect their analysis, which includes meetings with Tri-Met, will take six more months, and after that rollout could take a year. JR