Southwest Hills Residential League


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NOTE: SWHRL Emails: or

Southwest Hills Residential League SWHRL c/o

Southwest Neighbors Inc.

7688 SW Capitol Hwy

Portland, OR 97219

General Membership Meetings are held the 3rd Wednesday of January, May, and October, 6:30-8:30pm at Ainsworth School. Annual Board elections are held at the May meeting. SWHRL Board meetings are the 3rd Wednesday of the other months, 7-8:30pm at Ascension Chapel.

Next SWHRL Board Meeting:

Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 7:00-8:30pm

Ascension Episcopal Parish
1823 SW Spring St.



The Strohecker's property owner recently filed an application with the City to remove conditions of the 1984 Ordinance requiring a grocery only, to allow the property to revert to the underlying Neighborhood Commercial zoning CN2. (Under the new Comp Plan effective 24 May 2018, the zone would be CM1).


Here are comments submitted by the SWHRL Board to the Bureau of Development Services in a preliminary response to the proposal. Your input on these comments would be welcome. 


Here are documents related to the application.

Main Narrative

Exhibits 1-4

Exhibit 3 Traffic Study


After 2 years of unsuccessful efforts to lease the site to another grocery, or to sell the property, put on the market in February 2017, the owner maintains that the restrictive, outdated Ordinance must be removed, or the property will become derelict. He and others say that the large footprint grocery is no longer the viable model that it might have been in Strohecker's heyday. We would point out that he doesn't mention two key factors in the equation: declining quality + high prices at the market and inflated purchase price & presumably too-high a rent or asking price.


The owner's application requests removal of the Ordinance's restrictions so the property can revert to the underlying CN2 Neighborhood Commercial zoning. Unfortunately, there is no development proposal on the table at this point that we could react to. The owner is not a developer. 


The SWHRL Board would like feedback from the community on what our response should be to the proposal. We're working to schedule a special neighborhood meeting to discuss strategy. Look for a notice here when we set a date. We need to be ready for the first hearing before the Hearings Officer on April 4. Meanwhile you can email your ideas to


Should we simply oppose the re-zoning proposal, saying we can't support it because there's no development proposal we can evaluate? Should we say we oppose it unless a condition is added to a rezoning that requires future use to be commercial or mixed-use, but not residential-only / condos? What's our best chance to preserve the potential for a revitalized commercial center here?


Some background:

Both the current CN2 and the CM1 Commercial/Mixed Use zoning would allow either all commercial; mixed use (generally retail on ground floor with condos or apartments above); or all residential multi-dwelling. Regulations on height, setbacks, property coverage, etc. for this zone would apply if the Ordinance is removed. Below are the descriptions of these zones.


Current Underlying Zoning for 2855 SW Patton Rd per

CN2-Neighborhood Commercial 2

The Neighborhood Commercial 2 (CN2) zone is intended for small commercial sites and areas in or near less dense or developing residential neighborhoods. The emphasis of the zone is on uses which will provide services for the nearby residential areas, and on other uses which are small scale and have little impact. Uses are limited in intensity to promote their local orientation and to limit adverse impacts on nearby residential areas. Development is expected to be predominantly auto accommodating, except where the site is adjacent to a transit street or in a Pedestrian District. The development standards reflect that the site will generally be surrounded by more spread out residential development.

Maximum Height: 30’ (see 33.130.210) 

Maximum FAR with Bonus: 2.5 to 1 (see 33.130.205.C) 

Building Coverage: Max. of 65% of site area (see 33.130.220) 

Under new Comprehensive Plan, effective 24 May 2018, the comparable zoning would be CM1 – Commercial/Mixed Use

Commercial/Mixed Use 1 zone. The Commercial/Mixed Use 1 (CM1) zone is a small-scale zone intended for sites in dispersed mixed use nodes within lower density residential areas, as well as on neighborhood corridors and at the edges of neighborhood centers, town centers and regional centers. The zone is also appropriate in core commercial areas of centers in locations where older commercial storefront buildings of 1 to 2 stories are predominant. This zone allows a mix of commercial and residential uses. The size of commercial uses is limited to minimize impacts on surrounding residential areas. Buildings in this zone will generally be up to three stories tall. Development is intended to be pedestrian-oriented and compatible with the scale and characteristics of adjacent residentially zoned areas or low-rise commercial areas.

Maximum height: 35'

To see Nancy Seton's notes from the August 22, 2017, Pre-Application Conference on Strohecker's, click here.

To see Nancy Seton's notes from the August 22, 2017, Pre-Application Conference on Strohecker's, click here.

Public Safety/Crime

Our neighborhood coalition SWNI’s Public Safety Committee hosts quarterly meetings with police reps on crime and public safety for residents in SW Portland. Anyone is welcome to attend to discuss their concerns. Kim Silverman and Nancy Seton attended the meeting on Jan 4, 2018, and shared what they learned at the Jan. 17 SWHRL member meeting. Check SWHRL’s website for a summary. Watch for dates of these special quarterly meetings and other events on the SWNI Public Safety site:


Also on this SWNI Public Safety site watch for announcements on emergency preparedness:  NOTE: New Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) class in March 2018. Portland (and SWHRL!) need more trained volunteers to respond in emergencies. The next Basic NET class has been scheduled for March 3, 10, and 17.

Ongoing meetings of Westside Neighbors for [Property] Tax Reform:

The initial December meeting of the group featured an overview of how our property taxes work, how they got that way, and how we might exert influence to make them more rational and equitable. At the January meeting the group heard about strategies for change with guest speaker - tax attorney - and SW neighbor Michael Mangan of Tonkon Torp. If you need copies of the background materials, and/or want to get on the group's email notification list for upcoming meetings, contact:

Ainsworth ReaderBoard coming soon...

Ainsworth Elementary School's new ReaderBoard will be approx. 20 SF, 2'6"x8'-0" and be located just above an offset to the right, the existing Ainsworth sign on Vista. 

The expectation is that the reader board will be illuminated from 7am-7pm. The school's main audience will be dropping off and picking up their little one, as well as passing the school on the way to and from work. These hours will accommodate aftercare children and parents. 

SWHRL Bylaws Revision

The new, amended SWHRL Bylaws were adopted on October 18, 2017.  They are now in synch with the city's Bylaws template, with a few tweaks. Bylaws 

Continuing Need for SWHRL Board Members, Other Volunteers:

SWHRL can only carry out its mission to look out for the interests of our community if we have help from all corners of the neighborhood. Are you retired, and willing to take on some rewarding activities? Or not retired, but care greatly about the quality of life in your neighborhood? It’s time to let new volunteers to take their turns. Please join the SWHRL Board or any of its committees to make an impact on the future of your neighborhood.

Please step up now and volunteer for: 

  • The SWHRL Board (at large members representing different areas of the neighborhood)
  • Transportation Committee (especially those with an interest in bike, pedestrian and transit issues):
    • Tracks transportation issues relevant to SWHRL & formulates SWHRL positions & responses;
    • Meets with representatives of other neighborhoods on issues of mutual interest
  • Land Use Committee:
    • Responds to the City’ Land Use notices of proposed development in the neighborhood;
    • Tracks land use issues relevant to SWHRL and formulates SWHRL positions & responses;
    • Crafts SWHRL Neighborhood Plan
    • Meets with representatives of other neighborhoods on issues of mutual interest.
  • Schools Committee
  • Outreach Communications:
  • SWHRL History:
    • Help with documentation and archiving of SWHRL history – oral and written
    • Do you have a family or Portland Heights story to share? Let us know!
  • Reps to SWNI Committees, e.g. Land Use, Transportation, etc.)

We are so pleased to have John Neumann sharing the SWHRL President duties with Nancy Seton this year. John and Nancy will also manage SWHRL communications, including the newsletter and website, but they would be happy for help collecting news, if you're so inclined. Kim Silverman is our new Treasurer, and Aesha Lorenz Al-Saeed will try out the Secretary role. 

Interested in getting together with neighbors to discuss issues, such as the future of Strohecker's? Schools? Trails? Emergency Preparedness? Let us know your email address so we can contact you.  

Please attend our general membership meetings to let us know your views and concerns, and even sit in on our monthly SWHRL Board meetings – they are open to the public.

Sign up for our E-Viewpoints newsletter via our email below or our website: on the main SWHRL web page click on the words “Join Our List.”

Contact us by email at

Volunteers Welcome: SWHRL "Invasives to Natives" Restoration Project to Beautify Corner at SW Vista Ave. at SW Spring Street

We’ve been made great progress during the winter and spring, removing invasive, non-native species from the City’s right of way at the corner of SW Vista and Spring Street. With the help of dedicated volunteers, we've weeded, added a seating area with boulders, and paths (courtesy of Boy Scouts).  There will be ongoing weeding and replanting with native and hardy plants. We're exploring ideas to add a little public art - a book kiosk/little free lending library and ceramic art from Ainsworth students. Any ideas?

To join future work parties, contact SWHRL: or Nancy Seton at 503-224-3840 to get on the email notification list. All ages - students, parents, Boy/Girl Scouts, and any others welcome. This will be a beautiful spot we can be proud of!


SWHRL Action Plan 2017-18

Join Southwest Hills for neighborhood news:

Join the discussion on what's happening at the Strohecker's site. See announcments for upcoming SWHRL meetings. Find recommendations for contractors, babysitters, piano teachers. Read about the latest coyote sightings. Look for the Southwest Hills Moms Group and women's biking group on social networking site NextDoor. NextDoor is a great way to find out what is happening in our area and connect with neighbors. The more of us who use it, the better tool it becomes.