Land Use

SW Broadway Drive Survey Results, Summer/Fall 2020

Over the summer, SWHRL handed out questionnaires to our residents living along SW Broadway Drive from SW Sherman to SW Vista, asking about their neighborhood concerns, transit, and their experiences using SW Broadway as pedestrians and cyclists. This survey was JUST of actual residents living along SW Broadway Dr; owners of vacant land or other properties were not included - a vacant lot doesn’t walk out the front door and grab a bus that often - but if you are a land or property owner not previously contacted, please write us at contact@SWHRL.org and request a copy of the questionnaire. We’d be happy to include your responses in the results.
 
The responses were grouped into ‘Upper' and ‘Lower' SW Broadway, with the intersection of SW Broadway Drive and SW Davenport St as the dividing line between the two groups; not surprisingly, the two populations had some similar concerns, but overall a different perspective on what most affected their immediate neighborhood.
  • For the residents of Lower SW Broadway, the primary concern was overwhelmingly the lack of sidewalks, followed by crime and safety, lack of transit, and traffic. Other concerns mentioned houselessness and greenspaces. 
  • For Upper SW Broadway, the primary concern was speeding/traffic; crime/safety was a close second.  The lack of a grocery store was mentioned by both groups.
  • The greatest percentage of Lower residents had lived there one year or less - interestingly, the next largest group was ’10 years or more,’ with a few residents having lived on the street for many decades.  For Upper, most respondents had lived on the street for 6 or more years.  Most households consisted of 2 people in Lower, and 3 in Upper.  No one reported being mobility-impaired or differently-abled. We did not ask ages.
  • Residents in both groups with school-age children said they generally took the bus (school or Metro) or were driven there; only residents in the Upper group reported children walking to school. [One assumes these walked up the hill to where sidewalks begin, and not all the way down Broadway.] Reasons for not walking were the same in both groups: too far, or no sidewalks. No one in the Upper group was a secondary-education student themselves; a small percentage in the Lower group was, and they mostly walked or bicycled to campus, with a few taking motorized options (car, bus, MAX, ride share).
  • Every resident who answered “Do you have a personal vehicle" checked “Yes.” Both groups said local parks were accessible without a car (although it was 60/40 yes/no in the Lower group), but agreed groceries and medical were not accessible without one, by significant margins.  Significantly more residents of Lower Broadway reported using transit; the majority of responses said they walked to transit options, with one reporting they scooted (and while a minority of Lower residents mentioned using scooters, no usage was reported by neighbors in Upper). The majority of both groups reported they did not bicycle as a commuter or recreationally in the area, with ‘too dangerous,’ ‘not on Broadway’ and ‘no bike lane’ being most frequent reasons. Those who did bike - all in the Lower group - reported that they did so even though it was dangerous.  It was mentioned that the sensors in Broadway Drive that trip the Hoffman light do not detect bicycles, leading to cars on Hoffman pulling onto Broadway in front of cyclists.  
  • All of the Upper respondents felt safe accessing Downtown from their house; the majority of Lower residents did not.
  • All but two residents expressed concerns about the speed of Broadway traffic, and those two indicated it was ‘sometimes’ a concern. In both groups, the solution most often proposed was 'speed bumps,' with ‘sidewalks’ the second most mentioned; other solutions included “your speed’ signs, enforcement, and crosswalks. Residents in both groups seemed to feel that they would walk or bike more along Broadway if it had lower speeds, sidewalks and a bike lane… but not before.

Other comments offered ranged from the unsightly trash along the road, a request to rebuild the Council Crest amusement park, and an astute observation that the city seems to treat SW Broadway Drive as an extension of the highway system. We offer a solution to that last problem, using one of PBOT’s own programs… post these on the Sylvan exit off-ramp:

What is the Slow Streets Program?
Proposed Solution using Slow Streets Program


How the Residential Infil Project (RIP) affects SWHRL   

Portland’s Residential Infill Project (RIP), Oregon’s recent HB2001 statute, and the Portland 2035 city plan usher in changes to land use zoning which will have dramatic effects on neighborhoods throughout the area. These efforts allow many lots which were previously limited to a Single Family Residence to now support increased housing density by permitting Accessory Dwelling Units, and conversion to duplexes, triplexes - on up to a sixplex if certain affordability metrics are met. 

Specifically, almost any lot currently zoned R2.5 through R7 may be eligible for more housing density. R10 lots and below are exempt. [In zoning, up is down; more housing in a given area is a smaller R number. Increasing units on a lot is ‘upzoning’. See current City of Portland zones for a more precise description  https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/index.cfm?a=92204] 

Depending on whose opinion you read, this will either increase our housing supply and help address houselessness, or destroy neighborhoods forever! There are concerns over how this will play out, and who will benefit. Many fear the loss of historic structures which help define the community, parking issues on narrow streets, the destruction of smaller, family-friendly, or affordable homes and their replacement by market-rate studios and 1BRs. Indeed, the Multnomah Village Neighborhood Association has turned to the courts to fight . . .   https://unitedneighborhoodsforreform.blogspot.com/  https://www.portlan…

This map shows SWHRL and parts of surrounding Neighborhood Associations: tax lots colored WHITE are not eligible for infill - usually R10 or below; RED lots are areas which would be eligible except that various constraints disqualify them; YELLOW are lots which ARE eligible to have increased density upon them.

 

Residential Infill Project

While a lesser proportion of SWHRL is eligible for upzoning and infill than some neighborhoods - primarily due to landscape, hazards,  or environmental features - the areas most affected are the “Ainsworth Grid” to St. Thomas More, and areas around Council Crest and Healy Heights.

Not addressed is the infrastructure needed to safely support this increased density. While SWHRL may get infill, it is not likely to get any additional sidewalks due to stormwater restrictions. And despite much effort, we haven’t been successful at getting better bus service. In short, increased density is coming, but if all the infilled units are priced at market rate, we won’t benefit from more affordable housing, nor are we likely to get increased bus service or more sidewalks.

Useful Links 

https://www.portland.gov/bps/rip Residential Infill Project

https://www.oregon.gov/lcd/UP/Pages/Housing-Choices.aspx Housing Choices

https://www.portland.gov/comp-plan-2035 2035 Comprehensive plan


 

Land Use Roundup

>> Park Avenue Apartments 2055 - 2057 -2061 SW Park Ave. (2020-161464-000-00-EA) - The Park Ave tower developers held an informational neighborhood meeting, October 22, 2020 which was not the Land Use Neighborhood Meeting.  Some documents have been made available online including the Design Advice Request Commission Summary Memo - 8/6/2020  

Park Blocks
The Braided District is one of three South Park Blocks Design Concepts that SWHRL residents referred to when evaluating the impact to public realm and mixed use of the proposed high rise.
Tower of 89 studios
Proposed High-Rise to replace pre-1900 Homes on SW Park Blocks only shows homes directly adjacent to project. A yellow line  has been added to indicate where the homes on Cardinell Drive and 10th Ave are in relation to the project as well. 

Park Avenue PSU LLC has requested to build an eleven (11) story, eighty-nine (89) unit tower, with no on-site parking. Despite the name of the ownership entity, this project is not part of PSU Student Housing. The project will be a prefab structure using modular micro-units (units total size is under 300 sq. ft.), and is being pitched as affordable housing. SWHRL supports affordable housing, especially for families, but many questions will need to be answered about this project including the safety of the current and future residents and stability of neighboring homes along the toe of that hill during the construction and post construction. Volunteer organizations are concerned about the population density increasing at this unexpected of pace and how it might overtax the infrastructure. Neighbors fear that geotechnical stress could trigger another Cardinell landslide.  ​​​​​​

Currently full of historic homes and landmarks, heritage trees and vibrant gardens, the developer is suggesting that as an improvement to the neighborhood, some of these studios will be available to single or two person households making no more than 60% of AMI, studios will cost no more than $1,045, each unit offers less than 300 sq. ft of living space, and some have amazing views of the city. 

 

>> Preliminary and pre-development activity on the Strohecker's site     Strohecker redevelopment - Background work on this project continues; an application was made to identify all affected lots on the property, and understand what lot consolidation or property-line adjustments might be needed. 

>> The proposed Tangent Village townhouse development Tangent Village (LU 18-119056 LDP EN PD), SW Broadway Drive - Update: SWHRL has submitted our arguments before the Land Use Board of Appeals regarding Tangent Village: (see the above website.) After the city and developer have submitted their counter arguments, LUBA will have a hearing on Nov. 24, 2020, with a decision shortly thereafter. SWHRL’s position is that City Council erred when approving this project without adequate provisions for pedestrian and bike safety along its frontage.

>> 1990 N/SW Mill St Terrace (2020-148797-000-00-LU) - A Design Review for a boardwalk and deck, which if constructed would further erode the publicly-accessible easements in this area. This property was long a connection between Portland Heights and Goose Hollow and Downtown, and further construction here may permanently eliminate the possibility of a reconnection. SWHRL and Goose Hollow Foothills League are looking to protect these easements, deeded to the city in 1909 “...to the public forever.”

 


Morris Marks House

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.

Marks House map

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: president@swhrl.org and we can research together.


Demolitions

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 president@swhrl.org 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.

Questions or concerns? Contact Kareen Perkins, Bureau of Development Services (BDS)  (503) 823-3622 or kareen.perkins@portlandoregon.gov