Tag Archives: portland development commission

Vanport Square III Proposal Forgoes Retail

Rendering of the original plan for the "King Commercial Center"

Businesses in the Vanport Square development are concerned about plans under consideration to complete the project on the vacant block at Alberta and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. with an office and clinic instead of retail. Long envisioned as the cornerstone of the partly-built Vanport Square development, Phase 3 has suffered many delays. Originally intended to be anchored by a new grocery store or 24 Hour Fitness, the Portland Development Commission has struggled to attract a commitment to the project.

At one time, PDC tried to lure a call center to locate in Vanport as retailers shunned the site. Once again, PDC appears to be changing its plan for the project and looking to consider development even if it doesn’t result in retail-based neighborhood center that could bring life back to this stretch of King and survival to the isolated businesses already there.

According to KNA’s Alan Silver who attended the last PDC public meeting to mention the plan:

PDC has been approached by two development teams about Vanport phase 3. One proposal would include the Urban League, medical offices, and commercial; the other team includes Jeff Sackett (one of the developers of Vanport Square), and its proposal includes commercial real estate, including negotiations with an anchor tenant whose identity the team is “not disclosing publicly at this time.”

The PDC is ‘gathering information’ on these two proposals at present. It expects to have no funds available to aid developers of Vanport phase 3, who will have to rely entirely on private financing to complete construction.

Vanport Square, aka the King Commercial Center, is the keystone in the future of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in the King Neighborhood. Without the original long-term vision being realized, King’s center could be resigned to many years of low property values in a district that does not create a pedestrian friendly environment. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Vanport is caught in a “catch 22” situation where a lack of businesses fails to attact foot traffic. Lack of foot traffic fails to attract businesses. If a proposal is accepted that is not retail based at the street level, the long sought-after connection between the existing Vanport development and the Alberta corridor will not be fulfilled.

The Portland Development Commission has scheduled two informational meetings held December 21, 2010 for Vanport Project Advisory Committee (PAC) members and Vanport Square business owners. A morning meeting will be held to accommodate Vanport Square businesses and an evening meeting will be targeted to PAC members.

The purpose of the informational meetings is to outline the developer selection process and to clarify the role of the PAC in the selection process. As this meeting is scheduled only a few days after the developer’s submissions are due, PDC says they won’t be able to answer a lot of questions about the specific projects; however, they will schedule future meetings as their process develops.

New Housing Planned for Vacant MLK Frontage

Ivy City Homes is the name of a new mixed-income housing development planned for Ivy Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. just south of King Neighborhood. It is to be one of the first projects nationally to earn the Earth Advantage Community certification for sustainability.

A public/private partnership with the Portland Development Commission, the project provides a provision for permanently affordable homeownership with a subcontractor base consisting of a high percentage of minority-owned, women-owned, and emerging small businesses. Permanent affordability of 30% of the units to families earning up to 80% of the median family income through a partnership with Proud Ground, a community land trust with deed covenants that restrict the resale prices of the permanently affordable units through future resales.

The homes are to achieve a LEED for Homes certification with energy-efficiency of 45% over current energy code and will have energy efficient appliances and secure bike parking. Construction on the 28 units of residential and live/work space is scheduled to be completed summer 2011. Of the 28 units available for sale, approximately nine will be affordable to families earning 60-80% of the median family income for the area.


N/NE Economic Development Initiative Videos Online

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwepUaH3ZaI&feature=related]The Portland Development Commission’s North/Northeast Economic Development Initiative, which is intended to make urban renewal in these areas benefit the residents and businesses already here, has posted videos of its input gathering efforts.


The initiative has its own Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/pdxNNEDI

PDC’s N/NE Economic Develpment Initiative Raises Doubts

Via the Sentinel:

Mistrust, doubt unleashed by N/NE urban renewal
Submitted by Sentinel News Service on Wed, 09/02/2009 – 3:45pm.

“I’m not sure the PDC has the guts to change what’s going on,” said James Poise, owner of the E-Mat Cafe on Northeast MLK Jr. Boulevard. Posey, one of Northeast Portland’s longtime African American residents, stands before a packed room at the Elks Lodge on North Tillamook Street. It’s a sweltering night in August, and over 50 residents have turned out to give the Portland Development Commission a piece of their minds.

“We got nice bike paths, but right down the street we have people living on the streets,” Posey continues. “The priorities are all screwed up.”
One after the other, residents tell the same story: Decades before, urban renewal bulldozed the heart out of this once predominantly African American neighborhood and left only vacant lots and abandoned buildings in its wake. Recently, investment has come, but many longtime black residents don’t see their lot in life improving.

“I’m wondering what PDC is really doing for the neighborhood,” Adron Hampton wondered. “I don’t see a thing done in this community.”

Since last December, the PDC has been considering consolidating or modifying the two vast urban renewal districts that cover North and inner Northeast Portland. Together, the Interstate Corridor and Oregon Convention Center Urban Renewal Areas (ICURA and OCCURA) comprise some 3,769 acres. This year those zones will set aside approximately $47 million in neighborhood tax dollars for regional and local improvement projects.

On Aug. 19, the first of 11 citizen advisory meetings convened to discuss just how to divide, expand or extend the city’s urban renewal areas in this huge swath of territory.

Read the full story at:http://www.portlandsentinel.com/?q=node/5095