By Jill Riebesehl

HAND is often privileged to receive crime reports from Portland Police Officer Leo Yee, who covers our neighborhood. At our November board meeting, he said the one standout statistic for October 11 to November 18 was a doubling of car thefts, to 15.

Sara Wright from the city’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability explained procedures that developers of certain properties must use to contact neighborhood associations. She informed us of new rules, such as developers posting signs that are easy to read and that explain their intentions for the property. Her goal is to facilitate better communication between the city, developers and stakeholders. These should help as we all cope with new zoning changes. She is available at sara.wright@portlandoregon.gov for feedback.

RIP doesn’t only mean RIP City and basketball anymore. Property owners in wide swaths of Portland are wondering how the new RIP, or Residential Infill Project, will be affecting them. HAND has been regularly receiving reports from city staff and those of our members who have been following the proposed changes. The plan arose out of the need to respond to increased growth, housing needs and certain architectural features of new houses. The project is coming into focus as the deadline nears to respond to city staff on zoning and development options in our single-family neighborhoods. A final City Council vote is expected by spring next year.

Two citizen groups responding to the RIP recently addressed HAND:  Portland for Everyone is a coalition of residents sponsored by 1000 Friends of Oregon whose concern is addressing the “lower end of the missing middle” with changes in 1950s’ zoning that would allow for more housing choices – duplexes, triplexes, ADUs and internal divisions in houses already built. Portland for Everyone supports the RIP. United Neighborhoods for Reform, which formed early on in objection to McMansions, would save the cheapest, greenest old houses and has several critiques of the RIP:  including insufficient HAZMAT protection during demolitions;  displacement of renters and homeowners in small older houses; lack of city infrastructure investments; and lack of analysis of the impact on neighborhoods.

Happy holidays everyone as we head into the New Year with lots on our minds and agendas.