Weasels will rip your 'hood
We got some mail yesterday from Portland city government. It's never a good thing to get mail from there. And if it's coming from the "planning" bureau? Forget it, it's going to be really bad.
These are the people who are overseeing the wreckage of the city's neighborhoods with cr-apartments and other schlock. What used to be called "crowding" and "congestion" are now "infill" and "density." "Tenement slums" are now "affordable housing." It's all part of somebody's plan to drive anyone with a real job, a family, and a car out of the city. Because they read some books when they went to Portland State.
A lot of the trashing of the neighborhoods goes on with no advance notice to anybody, and so if they're sending you a notice, you know something truly hideous is in the offing.
You have to go their website, fight your way through a bunch of drivel, and scroll down quite a ways to get to it, but buried deep down in the bureaucratese come the punchlines. The protections for historic districts, which several neighborhoods (like mine) have fought so hard for, are being watered down, or in some cases, wiped out entirely:
The existing code provides a list of activities that are not subject to historic resource review because of their minimal impact on the historic features and characteristics of Historic Districts. Existing exemptions include certain maintenance, repair, mechanical and vent work. The proposed amendments expand the list of exemptions to allow certain solar panels on all rear- and side-facing roof slopes, detached accessory structures, removal of service chimneys, replacement of non-historic windows and several other common improvements to proceed without review....
Allowing for the reuse of historic resources and infill on developable sites provides economically viable options for rehabilitation, increases public access to historic places and provides opportunities for interpreting the past through the lens of contemporary values. The proposed changes would allow both contributing and non-contributing resources to be used in ways not otherwise allowed by zoning, such as additional housing types in residential zones and certain retail and office uses near transit. Additionally, requirements for providing on-site parking would be removed.
Today’s regulations require a Type IV (City Council) procedure for demolition review to remove historic contributing accessory structures in Historic Districts. The proposed changes would reduce the procedure type to Type II (City staff) to reduce the time and cost of removing or replacing historic garages and sheds and, when historic accessory structures are proposed for replacement with a new building, allow for the demolition and new construction proposals to be reviewed together through one Type II procedure.
Districts listed in the National Register after January 2017 are proposed to be renamed as National Register Districts, to be consistent with the State Rules. These National Register Districts would be subject to demolition review, but not historic resource review. These areas include Laurelhurst and Peacock Lane and, if listed in the future by the National Park Service, Eastmoreland.
Bottom line: If you live or work in a historic district, prepare to have it defaced.
There are plenty of other changes being contemplated as well. Links to them appear on the right side of the city's web page. It's all part of surrendering everything good about our neighborhoods to the developer and construction heavies. All in the name of "equity" and "affordable housing," phrases that cause the knees of politicians like Chloe Eudaly and Sarah Iannarone to jerk up quite sharply. They probably don't even realize how thoroughly they're being played.
So anyway, Portlanders in the historic 'hoods, now's the time to testify. Particularly you folks in Laurelhurst and Eastmoreland, which are really getting the shaft.
And good luck. But the train is on the track. It's a real shame.