March 21, 2017 Castlegate Update:
Castlegate Apartment Access/PBOT Problem Nears Resolution
We don’t yet know how this will end, but the decision appears to remain open as to whether or not the Castlegate Apartment Homes development will access the Argay Terrace Neighborhood or NE 148th Avenue.
Over a two year period, former Transportation Commissioner Novick and PBOT Director Treat officially refused to review or reconsider the decision of a single PBOT engineer who based his decision on a finding by an outside engineer who used a safety standard not used by PBOT for its own identical studies. We countered with a study done by PBOT staff using PBOT standards and methods of the intersection opposite the south boundary of the Castlegate site – NE 148th Place. The Two Simple Questions which PBOT would not answer are:
· How could PBOT decide the proposed Castlegate access with a line of sight of 340 feet was too unsafe to use and the NE 148th Place intersection with a line of sight of 270 feet was completely safe?
· How could PBOT decide that routing traffic a full mile through a neighborhood is safe when PBOT has made the decision without doing any study of the risks to neighborhood residents of those likely routes? No studies, no data.
Without going too deeply into this, no intersection or street can be made perfectly safe, so each decision between two alternatives means that the City has to choose the “safest route”. How could PBOT staff choose between two alternatives when they had a small amount of challenged data on the route they denied and absolutely no data on the one they supported?
All this could have been resolved if the PBOT staff making the decision had had a PBOT staff engineer familiar with the section of roadway re-check the private engineer’s measurements and apply PBOT’s own standards to his mismeasurements. We have asked repeatedly that this process be done and been rejected.
So, what has changed? Dan Saltzman is the new Transportation Commissioner and is a many term veteran with a veteran staff. After meeting with a Saltzman senior staff member several weeks ago, a resulting exchange of information and further research by the Commissioner’s staff suggested that our case might just have some merit. ATNA suggested the “engineer-recheck” approach presented above be done. It appears that that review is now a strong possibility in early April. – All we can say right now is “Stay Tuned”.
The Actual Numbers: PBOT calculations state that to be able to stop safely at 35 mph a driver must be able to see a distance down the road of 258 feet. PBOT says the distance at the Castlegate access is 340 feet and the distance at the NE 148th Place intersection across from Castlegate is 270 feet. So, how can a margin of safety of 12 feet be safe and a margin of safety of 82 feet be completely unsafe?
NE 148th Place Intersection
- PBOT Observed Line of Sight: 270 feet
- PBOT Safe Line of Sight: 258 feet
- Margin of Safety: 12 feet
Castlegate Apartment Access Point
- PBOTAccepted Line of Sight: 340 feet
- PBOT Safe Line of Sight: 258 feet
- Margin of Safety: 82 feet
10-9-2015 Update for Argay Green Streets Project:
Environmental Services is designing a stormwater management project in the Argay neighborhood in northeast Portland. When it rains, water flows over streets, drains into the stormwater system and flows to the Columbia Slough. This project will build 53 green street planters (see map below) next to sidewalks to filter the stormwater before it enters the slough to protect water quality and help control stormwater runoff during heavy rain events.
Green streets are rain gardens that collect stormwater runoff from streets and allow water to soak into the ground as soil and vegetation filter pollutants. The city maintains green streets to ensure that they effectively manage stormwater. Portland has more than a thousand green street planters that manage stormwater, reduce sewer backups and add green space in neighborhoods. Go to www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/sustainablestormwater to see green street examples and get more information.
Environmental Services locates green street planters where they will be most effective in keeping stormwater out of the sewer system. The planters in this project will be curb extensions, extending into the on-street parking zone next to the curb.
Environmental Services will communicate with all adjacent property owners where proposed green streets will remove on-street parking spaces.
For More Information
With questions, comments or for more information, please contact Becky Tillson at 503-823-2827 or Becky.Tillson@portlandoregon.gov. To be added to an email update list, please email Becky with "Argay" in the subject line. Thank you for your interest in this important neighborhood stormwater management project.
City of Portland's Comprehensive Plan:
10-8-2015 Comprehensive Plan 2035 Update
– Major Successes but More Work Needed:
The Comprehensive Plan serves as the framework for Transportation and Zoning decisions for the City of Portland for a 20 year period. Mandated by State law, it seeks to determine and direct how the city will grow and meet its needs over that period. Now nearing the end of a full update and revision for the next 20 year period (2016-2035), most of the work has been completed. The Argay Terrace Neighborhood Association has taken a very active role in attempting to change the initial plans that city staff developed for Argay Terrace, and with the attention, careful consideration, and cooperation of those staff members who were guided by the formal comments of many of our residents, we have been very successful. Still, more work is needed and we now ask Argay Terrace residents to weigh in again over the next few months.
The problem the neighborhood faces is that over 30 years ago, while still part of Multnomah County, all of the land area within Argay Terrace not zoned for commercial development or already built up was re-zoned R-3, a zoning which can be used for small lot (3,000-3,750 square feet in size) single family homes, but is almost always used for apartment development (up to three stories in height and with a potential density nearing 2,000 square feet per unit). The challenge has become turning the future development of Argay Terrace back from apartments to the completion of the family friendly neighborhood of single family homes that was the vision of the original developers and is the future most residents say they want.
We have come a long way in the last two years. Detailed written Hearing testimony was submitted by the Association. The Association filed a request to remove the extension of NE Fremont Street to a connection with NE 148th Avenue from the future Transportation System Plan. A massive number of individual comments (264) were submitted by Argay Terrace residents asking planning staff to revise their suggested plans for our neighborhood. Armed with this new information and these requests, city staff open-mindedly reviewed the existing plan leading to these results:
- The most recent version of the Transportation System Plan Map shows NE Fremont Street terminating as it does now, just beyond NE 145th. Extension of this street would have created a shortcut for much of the traffic now carried on NE Sandy Blvd. and would have seriously damaged the livability of Argay Terrace.
- Most of the vacant land between the eastern developed area of Argay Terrace and NE 148th Avenue has been reclassified to become single family home sites using an R-5, Single Family classification. The south half of this area was re-classified through an early reevaluation by city staff themselves. The balance of the area was re-classified following the Association testimony and a flood of neighbor comments which caused city staff to take a second look. A small area along Sandy Blvd. is designated for office space and light industrial use to act as a buffer between NE Sandy Blvd, the industrial uses north of Sandy Blvd, and the newly designated single family area.
- Our other area of concern was for the land on the southeast corner of NE 122nd Avenue and NE Shaver Street, but here the staff planners decided not to make any major changes. As it now stands, a narrow strip fronting NE 122nd remains zoned for commercial development. Since it matches the land to the south and north of it, we support that decision. Immediately east of that strip is a relatively small area designated in the new Plan for office, repair, warehousing, and light industrial uses. The site is actually very small for these types of uses, is isolated from any other similar uses, and conflicts with the surrounding uses (both current and planned). This use also does not take into account the volume of bicycle and pedestrian traffic currently using NE Shaver Street and the significant increase in that traffic which will occur with the completion of Beech Park and the installation of a planned bicycle lane on NE Shaver Street. Here we disagree with the city staff. The remainder of the area is planned to remain in its current R-3 (apartment) zoning. We disagree with this decision. With Parkrose Middle and High schools immediately across NE 122nd and our new Beech Park forming the east and south boundaries of this vacant land, the area between the commercial zoning and Beech Park should be re-classified for new single family homes, eventually zoned R-5. Next door to a major new city park, with a grade school just beyond the park and the area middle and high schools less than 1,000 feet to the west, there are few areas in the City of Portland still awaiting development which can match this particular vacant area as an ideal place for new single family homes.
The Association position is that the area located on the Southeast corner of NE 122nd Avenue and NE Shaver Street which is currently designated for Mixed Employment and R-3 zoning should be re-designated R-5, Single Family to allow its eventual development for single family homes only. As a result of a vote of the Membership at our September General Membership Meeting, we are submitting a request for review and re-designation to the staff working with the City Council.
As individuals, you can make your opinions known and we encourage you to do so. The responses of Argay Terrace residents have been a major factor in the progress we have made so far and we think it will be even more important in getting the city planners to make this one final change. We will all live with the result, so let’s make sure it’s what we want it to be.
How to Submit Your Comments:
U.S. Mail: Comprehensive Plan Testimony c/o Council Clerk
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 130
Portland, OR 972014
Interactive Map App: https://www.portlandmaps.com/bps/mapapp/
Whatever your opinion may be, please comment. This is your neighborhood and your chance to make it better. Even if you disagree with the Association’s position, send in your comment. If you agree with the Association’s position, just make a simple comment to the effect that you appreciate the changes made so far for the Argay portion of the Comprehensive Plan, but want to see the area at NE 122nd and NE Shaver re-designated from R-3 and Mixed Employment to R-5 for single family homes. The few minutes you spend can make a major difference in the future of your neighborhood.
For More Information:
The Comprehensive Plan Website: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/BPS/57352 (Find the Map App here.)
The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Help Line: 503-823-0195, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Comprehensive Plan Timeline:
The first public hearing at City Council will be on November 19, with other hearings to follow. The Council will then hold additional sessions to consider amendments to the Plan. A City Council vote to adopt Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan is anticipated in February 2016. Once the Plan has been adopted, it then goes to the State Land Conservation and Development Commission for acknowledgement. Likely time for full implementation of the plan is early 2017.
Comprehensive Plan Changes Map:
This is a handout which was made available at the September 2015 General Membership meeting. The handout shows the areas of proposed changes under the 2035 Comprehensive Plan as color coded areas. The letters on the map indicate which zoning applies and a description of that zoning as provided in the text of the Comprehensive Plan. As stated in the key, we have added some further explanation in bold type and within parenthesis. We apologize for the quality of the map; the city planning map does not reproduce well and the actual streets are very faint making exact positioning difficult. A clearer copy can be found on the city Comprehensive Plan website. The area at 122nd and Shaver which is currently R-3 is not subject to change under the Plan and so it is not color coded by the city, so we have outlined that in black on the map.