Category Archives: development

Concordia NA’s proposal re: home demolitions.

This also strikes us (like yesterday’s NPLUG statement) as a call for action from nearby neighbors re: development that holds strong notions about how development should proceed in our part of town, this time with an eye towards affordability:


Letter from the Concordia Neighborhood Association Board of Directors

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


To Whom It May Concern,

The recent wave of home demolitions in the City of Portland has left many residents scratching their heads and looking for solutions. One concern often expressed is that many of the demolitions are simply to replace a smaller, older, more affordable home with a new, larger, more expensive home. For adjacent neighbors, it is difficult to understand what benefit is being received by anybody but the developer: no additional housing units are being created, so pressure on the Urban Growth Boundary is not reduced. The price of the unit in question is actually sharply increased, so the shortage of affordable housing units is actually made worse. In short, it’s hard to see how this trend actually helps the city or the region achieve any of our broader planning goals, aside from raising revenue.


Based on a series of recent discussions, and acknowledging that the wave of home demolitions will not be stopped, it is the position of the Concordia Neighborhood Association’s Board that the following solution should be implemented as a part of the Comprehensive Plan update process to ensure that at least some of the demolitions will be followed by projects that do actually contribute towards meeting some of our broader community planning goals:


Within walking distance of Frequent Service transit routes (however the City chooses to define this — 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 or 1-mile crow-fly or network buffer of frequent service transit routes or stops), there should be a new overlay zone created that allows for a residential property containing up to 5 separate residential housing units in a structure that otherwise conforms to the building envelope and setback provisions of its zoning designation (i.e. in an R5 zone, one main dwelling structure per each 5,000 sq ft lot, with required front, side and rear setbacks). The intended purpose of this overlay would be to allow for new residential structures to be constructed containing a number of “flats,” i.e. 2-4 story residential structures that look like houses where each floor is a separate housing unit (or a variation where each floor has two units, one on the right and one on the left). This type of structure is the workhorse backbone residential product of places like San Francisco’s Mission District, certain areas of Boston, London, and other successful world cities; indeed, Portland has examples of this type of structure in inner SE and the NW Alphabet District that were built in the late 19th and early 20th century.

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NPLUG’s vision statement for development and regulation in the future.

The North Portland Land Use Group  (NPLUG) recently adopted the statement below as official policy, to submit to the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability. It’s worth taking a look at, as each neighborhood including King works to understanding how to manage growth, planning, and construction.



North Portland is a vibrant, diverse community of single and multi-family homes, commercial centers, and industrial preserves situated at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Our eleven neighborhoods face increasing growth and density in the coming years. The City of Portland Comprehensive Plan identifies inner neighborhood areas such as North Portland as ideal for increased density. The plan recognizes, however, that increased density carries with it the challenge of maintaining a healthy, connected city where residents have access to clean air, accessible green space, and vibrant employment centers.


In order to meet the coming growth in our community without compromising the health and well being of our residents, North Portland’s neighborhood representatives recommend a health overlay zone. This zone applies specific land use, design, and monitoring requirements on new development in North Portland to mitigate negative health and safety impacts. The health overlay zone supports a vision along with goals and strategies outlined below that together preserve and enhance our way of life while accommodating new development in our community.


Our community draws inspiration for our recommendations from two key sources. Portland’s comprehensive plan update, Policy 4.28.d, encourages design and land use patterns that mitigate negative air quality and noise impacts in Portland neighborhoods, especially near high vehicle traffic areas, and other sources of air pollution. Similarly, Portland’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) goals 1-4 aim to reduce the environmental impacts of new development through more sustainable land use and design principles.



A North Portland community that preserves and enhances the health and well being of its residents while accommodating growth and density needs.



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UNR’s next public meeting on demolitions.


United Neighborhoods for Reform (UNR): Demo/Development SummitIII

Open to the public

Tues., Oct. 7, 7:00-9:00 pm  —  Summit III: Reaching Consensus

Grant Park Church, 2728 NE 34th Ave, Portland, OR 97212

(Please park in parking lot.)

An invitation c/o Beaumont-Wilshire Neighborhood Association (BWNA) and Central Northeast Neighbors (CNN)


On Monday evening, September 29th, representatives from seventeen neighborhoods gathered together for a Summit II follow-up meeting at Grant Park Church, united in addressing citywide concerns over problems associated with residential demolition/development practices.

Here’s a summary of that meeting by UNR Chair Al Ellis (

1.) The group now has a name: United Neighborhoods for Reform (UNR). While the focus of UNR is currently on demolition/development reform, the UNR network provides a means of uniting neighborhoods together for future collective action on other issues of common interest.


2.) The meeting was publicized as a “Prelude to Summit III”–i.e., with an objective of preparing the way for a decision at Summit III on items for inclusion in a proposal to be submitted to City Council on behalf of participating neighborhoods.


3.)UNR is pursuing a two-track approach to demo/development reform: first, support for ongoing efforts by local government to enact substantive reform; second, crafting of a UNR proposal to present to City Council on pressing issues that are either not being addressed by local government and/or are not being attended to in a timely manner in accordance with residents’ urgent concerns.

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Demolition in our Neighborhoods: information, upcoming meeting, and petition

The Land Use & Transportation Committee of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods tell us:

As you are well aware, demolitions and related implications have been a very hot topic in our neighborhoods for some time. Here’s a fairly recent article by Jim Redden that puts the issues and the stakeholders involved into context:
The NECN-LUTC is devoting time to some aspects of this topic at its Wednesday, October 22 meeting (7-8:30 pm).
Our speaker will be Claire Carder, community participant on the City’s DRAC (Development Review Advisory Committee). Claire would like to share information and get NECN neighbors’ input on proposed demolition delays and neighborhood notification.
[NECN-LUTC meets at the offices of NECN, 4815 NE 7th Avenue, in the King Facility Building.]
In the meantime, some of you may have already received the petition that is circulating regarding demolitions in Portland Neighborhoods.
In the words of the organizing group of neighbors, which is calling itself United Neighborhoods for Reform, “this online petition focuses on short-term fixes needed immediately to protect the character and integrity of Portland neighborhoods.”
Link to the petition:
United Neighborhoods for Reform website: