By Jill Riebesehl
Neighborhood streets and greenways, historic preservation and public outreach concerns filled our January agendas this new year.
The Hosford-Abernethy Neighborhood District Association board has been worrying about whether emergency personnel can efficiently respond to emergencies due to our narrow streets, which are more and more crowded with parked vehicles and traffic. Our neighborhood beat police officer has assured us that emergencies can be handled, but that congested streets can impact response time. In the future, we hope to have police and fire responders address our concerns more specifically. Regarding street safety, we are discussing what the reduction in Portland’s residential speed limit to 20 mph will mean.
Recent changes in Salem and upcoming city zoning codes will enable the creation of historic preservation programs that better align with community goals. Examples could include seismic retrofits, reconfiguring historic properties for internal retrofits, repurposing commercial buildings, solar codes and so on. A Bureau of Planning and Sustainability representative said the agency is hoping to update the inventory of historic resources, last done in the 1980s. HAND members discussed making more Ladd’s Addition Historic Guideline booklets available for the general pubic and realtors.
Regarding work on proposed amendments to Portland’s Comprehensive Plan: HAND is concerned that the city allowed less than two weeks for review before the City Council amendments moved to the public hearings stage. A segment of the Central Eastside Industrial District is within the neighborhood’s borders, and many of the proposed changes would affect them. They include, but are not limited, to light pollution, green roofs, the proposed Green Loop and a Mt. Hood view corridor, but short comment periods for public response in general are a chronic thorn in the side.
Also on the subject of public outreach, some neighbors of the proposed Lincoln/Harrison Greenway Project are deeply frustrated that outreach has been inadequate. Their main concern is the ripple effects of overflow and diversion, which were felt by Clinton Street neighbors when diverters were installed on the Clinton Greenway. HAND will re-address concerns about public process in detail, along with recommendations for more comprehensive outreach and opportunities for residents to be heard in a letter to the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Commissioner Saltzman.