The restoration of the historic 1880 Morris Marks House (2177 SW Broadway Drive, bounded by SW Grant) is moving forward. Design Review recently approved site alterations which include a parking area and landscaping. While SWHRL applauds this restoration, we are sorry the Design Review decided to forego the sidewalk requirement on the SW Broadway Drive frontage. Choosing to not continue the sidewalk from SW Grant along SW Broadway Drive strands pedestrians with yet another abruptly terminating "sidewalk to nowhere," without clear direction on how to proceed. Presumably, PBOT wants the pedestrian to cross SW Broadway Drive without the benefit of a cross walk (with cars coming from four directions), rather than use the marked crosswalk near Lincoln Street, with only one-way traffic. PBOT explains their rationale for this decision:
Findings: PBOT had specifically not required the applicant to provide a new sidewalk along the SW Broadway Drive frontage of the site due to pedestrian safety concerns. The concerns, as mentioned previously, being that a sidewalk along SW Broadway Drive could lead to pedestrians attempting to cross SW Broadway Ave, which is a four-lane arterial with no receiving sidewalk to the north. Understandably PBOT considers this an unsafe crossing due to the high volume of vehicles travelling at high speeds on this multi-lane “Major City Traffic Street”, per the Transportation Service Plan (TSP) (see Exhibit E-7).
Given that there are two other sidewalk segments and a crosswalk along SW Broadway, PBOT's reasoning seems thin. SWHRL has for decades advocated for safer pedestrian facilities along SW Broadway Drive but, contrary to the Bureau's stated goals of moving toward active transportation modes and lowering the City's carbon footprint, PBOT continues to exempt projects from code-required pedestrian improvements.
The Marks house is across the street from PSU, downtown's Transit Mall, the terminus of the proposed SW Corridor MAX, and the Central City in Motion N-S Bike Lane--it is maddening that PBOT won't take the steps needed to improve pedestrian safety along SW Broadway Drive so that southwest hills has access to the public transportation jewel box north of 405.
SWHRL unfortunately missed the deadline to appeal this project. The Morris Marks house is actually in South Portland Neighborhood Association's territory, so it slipped under our radar. But the problem of I-405 walling off downtown from neighborhoods to the south is an area-wide problem; walking north to downtown is difficult and dangerous for pedestrians, no matter what Neighborhood Association they live in. The city should implement a comprehensive plan for reconnecting the southern neighborhoods to downtown, across the I-405 chasm.
Residential Infill Project (RIP)
2/13/2020 Commissioner Fritz recently wrote her opinions about RIP in an insightful memo:
"Let’s turn to the global climate crisis and the crisis of traffic crash deaths on Portland’s streets. Reducing vehicle-miles traveled and thus pollution and traffic crashes depends on locating housing density close to arterials where transit is or will be available. Allowing increased density far from arterials will require people to drive to get to transit, worsening the climate crisis. Putting more people where they will have to walk on streets with no sidewalks or other safety features will hamper our work to achieve Vision Zero. The City has recently adopted plans for which streets citywide will receive city-funded improvements in the next 20 years. Instead of putting more density on these streets, RIP completely ignores whether safety features like basic sidewalks exist or will be provided in the next 20 years. What is the point of planning street improvements if we then ignore those plans when planning density increases? Where will people recharge electric vehicles, if there are no off-road parking spaces? . . ."
Some neighborhoods are concerned about how the City’s new Residential Infill Project (RIP) may affect our single family neighborhoods, by allowing certain multi-family dwellings. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s website states:
“The Commission’s revised proposals would allow a wide range of housing types, including triplexes and fourplexes in single-dwelling zones. They also pushed to broaden the area where these housing choices would be allowed. To address the demolition of single-family homes, they created more incentives to retain existing houses, such as allowing them to be split into multiple units. They pushed for more flexibility for accessory dwelling units to incentivize their construction.”
If you are interested in learning how this might affect Portland Heights, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and we can research together.
SWHRL receives notices of proposed demolitions. Though there haven't been many in the past several years, it's good for SWHRL and neighbors to keep an eye on them. Email email@example.com if you are aware of a proposed demolition near you, and have concerns. Since the city does not monitor contractors specifically for abatement of hazardous materials such as asbestos, we need to watch what’s going on.
July 2017: 3115 SW 36th Ave, Permit 17-212123-RS
May 2017: 5409 SW Paton Rd, Permit 17-139917-RS
April 2017: 4410 SW Hewett Blvd, Permit 17-160284-RS
Questions or concerns? Contact Kareen Perkins, Bureau of Development Services (BDS) (503) 823-3622 or firstname.lastname@example.org