The neighborhood group that's been fighting a large parking-free apartment building on southeast Division was left with a bad taste in its mouth last week, when council made clear the project won't be subject to new parking minimums.

It's also left holding the bag on a rather large legal bill. So Richmond Neighbors for Responsible Growth is asking supporters for monetary assistance.

"Because of the many roadblocks thrown down by a wealthy developer to add complex wrinkles to this process, we are left with a hefty legal bill to pay," reads an e-mail sent yesterday by Judah Gold-Merkel, a member of the group. "Any contribution you can make toward our legal fund is greatly appreciated."

According to the group's website, it expects to owe about $5,500, mainly for "legal and communications support."

The bills stem from RNRG's partly successful bid to change the project, an 81-unit apartment building stalled at SE Division Street and 37th. In February, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals partly upheld a complaint from the group, resulting in a stop-work order on the project from the city.

But while the Richmond residents helped spur what look to be sure changes to the city's zoning code—adding fervor to the emotional debate—the object of their ire will likely continue unchanged. In last week's council hearing, commissioners declined to put proposed changes into effect immediately. That means developer Dennis Sackhoff will be able to secure a new permit before the minimums kick in.

"Council was forced to make a decision because they were coerced by a developer who threatened to sue them," Gold-Merkel tells the Mercury. "They didn't feel like they could risk the lawsuit."

The amendments, which in part assign varying parking minimums to projects depending on their size, are expected to be voted into law at Wednesday's council meeting. Whether or not commissioners will elect to enact them immediately at that point remains to be seen. Measures not voted in as emergency ordinances take effect 30 days after a vote.