- Alex Despain
Oregon's Land Use Board of Appeals might want to ready itself for more action courtesy of a now-defunct Portland parking policy.
The Kerns Neighborhood Association appears to be seriously considering a formal fight against the proposed construction of a building at NE Couch and 20th. That building will contain four floors and 50 units and, like a bunch of apartments that have popped up over Portland lately, has no planned on-site parking.
That, unurprisingly, isn't sitting well with neighbors of the proposed development, which was first reported by the Mercury. Like folks in Richmond and Beaumont-Wilshire, neighbors worry on-street parking will become non-existent and say the building is out of step with the rest of the neighborhood.
Beaverton Developer Dennis Sackhoff applied for a building permit for the project last month. It is the last proposed project in the city to take advantage of laws that allowed even large developments within certain zoning designations to forego on-site parking. The policies went out of effect May 9, after a city council vote last month.
"I'm gonna look out my window and see balconies out there," Kerns resident Marti Heard said at a neighborhood association meeting this evening. "This is going to destroy the livability of this hub."
More-colorful were comments by area resident Jeremy Ginzberg, whose hat—black, emblazoned with the words "Good guys wear white hats"—I admired. Ginzberg described a large parking-free development near the Hollywood Theater as a "Stalinist monstrosity"
He called Sackhoff—who's behind similar buildings all over town—a "repulsive human being," and said the proposed project is "nauseating."
As is often the case in these debates, many folks in the room championed the idea of urban density, but argued the building coming to the neighborhood would only hurt the city.
It was not a particularly kind room to be in if you were David Mullens, a representative for Sackhoff's company invited to the meeting to explain the project. After a half hour or so, he seemed to grow tired of the epithets being hurled his way.
Regardless of neighbor's opinions, Mullens' company can move forward as it pleases. Portland zoning laws allow the project to proceed without public scrutiny, and this realization led the neighborhood association to discuss their options.
Looming large is a LUBA appeal, a last-ditch protestation which earlier this year stalled a large Sackhoff project in Richmond, but ultimately caused little change. Neighbors also considered lodging an objection with Portland's Bureau of Development Services, which will vet the permit application in coming weeks.
"Sounds like we have to work fast," said Angela Kirkman, the neighborhood association's chair.