City council voted 4-0 last Wednesday morning, March 5, to site an access center for the homeless on Block U in Old Town, opposite Union Station. If for some reason the center can't be developed on Block U, council also voted to keep Block 25 as a fallback option. City Commissioner Erik Sten originally proposed siting the center on Block 25, before outspoken neighbor-hood opposition forced a compromise. Most community members were reluctant to include Block 25 as a fallback measure, and Mayor Tom Potter even drafted an amended resolution, removing that paragraph. But Commissioner Sten said he wanted to keep Block 25 on the table in order to "hold people's feet to the fire." Sten also had harsh words for property developer John Beardsley, whose back-of-a-napkin eleventh-hour proposal to site a center on an alternative block was turned down by the Portland Development Commission three weeks ago. Sten accused Beardsley's proposal of being a "bogus" attempt to further delay the process. The site will now be turned over to the Housing Authority of Portland for development in June. MATT DAVIS


Last week, the St. Johns neighborhood association met to discuss a proposed plan to place a Walgreens in their area. Over 100 residents—many of them local small business owners—showed up to voice their concerns and ask questions about logistics. There was one problem: The representative for the Summit Development Corporation, the group responsible for the Walgreens idea, was a complete no-show.

The representative, Steve Collinson, was scheduled for a 15-minute presentation and then a 35-minute question and answer session with the audience.

There was no word on Collinson's whereabouts until the next morning, when he reportedly emailed the chair of the St. Johns' neighborhood association, saying he had a family emergency.

The packed crowd was noticeably annoyed at Collinson's absence, and used the scheduled Q&A session to voice their opposition to the Walgreens development plan and inquire about strategies to halt the plans from moving forward. JONATHAN SHAPIRO