Letters to the Editor August 2018

To the Editor:

I had a fall from my trike – a combination of unfamiliar area, (I’m from SW)  failing light, etc. etc. The SE neighbors got me disentangled, and up on my knees, showing concern and common sense.

One man brought me a bottle of water from Lardo. They discussed with each other whether they should call 911. It was a horrible experience made as heartwarming as a horrible experience can be made….

My heart-felt thanks to my SE Portland neighbors.

Jim McGoodwin

OP ED By David Krogh, AICP

The July article “Proposed Permit Parking” – southeastexaminer.com/2018/07/proposed-permit-parking – was very informative.

As a retired planner and  former neighborhood association (NA) board member, more really needs to be said to allow a broader understanding of the situation. Per the article, this program will only be imposed if agreed to by vote of those within the proposed permit area.

It indicated both Richmond and Sunnyside NA’s solicited PBOT for permit parking consideration, but there is a big misconception in Portland that neighborhood associations are representative of the residents in their neighborhoods and that democratic notification (due process) for elections or issue discussions are involved.

Having previously served on my own neighborhood board for 10 years, unless something controversial was going on, it was like pulling teeth to get neighbors to participate.

Board members often tended to have vested interests and would serve for years until they either burned out or were replaced by another group with new interests. If you weren’t in the information loop, you might not learn that you could just show up at a given meeting and potentially vote for new board members or discuss a particular neighborhood issue.

When Richmond’s Board voted to participate in the permit program is unclear as my street only periodically receives neighborhood newsletters and NA notes in The SE Examiner are always after the fact.

In addition, the letter from Allen Field (southeastexaminer.com/2018/07/letters-to-the-editor-july-2018) suggests inconsistencies in recent Richmond NA Board elections resulting in members being “appointed” rather than “voted” in.

I hope that SEUL (SE Uplift) and ONI (Office of Neighborhood Involvement) will look into this matter as NA elections in apparent violation of by-laws only serves to create more concerns as to how much a particular NA really serves its neighborhood residents as a whole.

If the City is going to oblige certain responsibilities on neighborhood associations, it needs to verify those responsibilities are being implemented appropriately.

Back to the parking permit program, PBOT is a very large and segmented bureau in function.  I contacted permit program representative Antonina Pattiz to find out more information.

PBOT suggests a parking permit system is necessary because of “residential and/or commercial growth”, however, it appears most were created by actions (and inactions) of the City of Portland (including PBOT).

Why PBOT is unable (or unwilling) to look at ways to mitigate parking issues, other than by permit parking, is concerning.  Ms. Pattiz indicated such was beyond the purview of the permit program and something to bring to the attention of the City Council (which hopefully neighbors will do).

Why suggest the City bear the blame for parking problems?  In its quest to further gentrification, the City Council has reduced onsite parking requirements for apartment buildings along transit streets (including SE Hawthorne, Division, and Belmont).

Since a survey published by The Oregonian a few years back indicated at least 60% of residents in transit street apartments still had cars, guess where those cars are parking thanks to City Council policies?  On our residential side streets, of course!

Similarly, no on-site parking is required for commercial uses on these streets (although the larger stores like Fred Meyer, New Seasons, and Safeway all know that they need to provide on-site parking in order to retain driving customers).

In addition, neither the City nor Trimet want park and ride facilities close in. Because of that we are seeing Park and Ride people parking their cars on residential side streets and biking or busing from there instead of from their own homes.

(How about allowing mixed use parking structures on lower Hawthorne, or Division, or Belmont?)

The City has installed many rain gardens in streets where parking used to be.  Granted, rain gardens are a good idea, especially since Portland has inadequate stormwater collection facilities, but the City should realize that every in-street situated rain garden removes anywhere from 2-5 on-street parking spaces.

PBOT could help make more efficient use of on-street parking by striping parallel parking spaces on the streets.  If they did that, approximately 10-20% more vehicles could more efficiently be parked on the street than are now. This apparently is something the parking permit program has no involvement in. So, couldn’t that and other forms of parking mitigation be looked into by another branch of PBOT instead of just being ignored?

The proposed parking permit program has the potential to be problematic. Instead of remedying parking problems it might encourage drivers to just park a couple more blocks further into the neighborhood to avoid the permit area.

Whereas friends and family who visit within the permit area for more than 2 hours could get ticketed, and the residents who aren’t fortunate enough to have a driveway would have to purchase permits just to park at their own homes.

Will such a system really alleviate parking concerns or just be one more way the City can impose restrictions while charging fees to implement same?  After all, cars aren’t going away, no matter how inconvenient the City causes parking to become.

In conclusion, we have neighborhood association irregularities and a City that finds it easier to suggest permit parking instead of active parking mitigation measures.

Perhaps neighborhood residents will start asking the same questions I am.  I hope so.

Letters to the Editor August 2018

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