Division Street, Divided

Comments

1
Uh - you're on the wrong corner according to the fancy drawing you linked. It would be the old Egyptian Club building and parking lot that would be replaced.
2
How is this worse than those horrible "Micro Homes" at 43rd or the hideous project at 38th?
3
Nice catch! The correct photo is up now.
4
Levine, you are against development, quit pretending. We need more density in order to have better transit, developments like this will improve the city for everyone. Building too much parking = sprawl.
5
That's not that "Weird" considering all the development on Hawthorne and Belmont.
6
The linked proposal says that the zoning doesn't require them to build any parking at all. So this guy wants to force the developer to leave money on the table because he thinks most people who move into one bedroom apartments at 37th & Division will have cars?

How much is he willing to pay to ensure he can park his second car on the street in front of his house instead of stacking both of his cars in his driveway?

Under measure 37, property owners have the right to sue the state to recover the cost of regulations added after the purchase. If the push to require a parking lot (again, above and beyond what the current zoning requires) is successful, is the neighborhood association willing to shell out to pay the measure 37 claim? Or are they just going to whine about people moving into their neighborhood, thus increasing the potential number and variety of businesses?

This is one example (out of many) of why people say Portland is anti-business. Why should neighbors get veto power on what a property owner does (WITHIN THE CURRENT REGULATIONS AND ZONING)?
7
Because regardless of what the zoning laws say, these neighbors know better. They know with absolutely certainty that no household really doesn't own a car, so regardless of what people say, residents of this building will be circling the block looking for somewhere to park the car they say they don't have but really do.

And I would LOVE to see the NA have a bake sale to raise funds to keep density (along with livability and transit quality) low. You've got to love Portland: we want density - but (cue chorus:) Not In My Back Yard!

Susan Levine - candidate for NIMBY of the year 2012.
8
Somehow I skipped over the name Susan when I read this originally. Replace the male pronouns with female ones. Sorry.
9
It's easy to say the naighborhood is against development when you don't live in the neighborhood. But this space is backed by two short blocks of residential with barely enough parking for the people who live here already. If the city wants bike riders and transit users, are they going to force the developer to refuse to sell to anyone who has a car. Get real. Building an 82-unit apartment building with NO parking is akin to building a Fred Meyer with no parking. Would that fly at City Hall? Not bloody likely. How can Portland sustain an image of a liveable city when it is making it increasing unliveable for the people who already live here? Especially when there is space to create underground parking for the residents, keeping their cars off the already crowded streets. Oh. I forgot. All the residents won't have cars. Yeah. Right.
10
SUSAN LEVINE IS AN IDIOT; EVERYTHING ELSE IS A JUST AN ELABORATION OF THAT CENTRAL THESIS.
11
There are a ton of these projects going up around the city with no parking. It's nice that people contend that "they won't own cars" but there isn't a shred of data to back that up. It's just a hopeful assertion at this point. Common sense, statistics and my eyeballs tell me that many or even most of them will have cars.

It's strange that when this issue comes up here, typically anti-business, anti-growth, pro-neighborhood Mercury readers fall all over themselves to suck the capitalist developer's dong.

eldepeche, Measure 37 was largely invalidated by a follow-up measure. And the "current regulations and zoning" are stupid, short-sighted and destructive.

lostinPdx, I would disagree that most Portlanders "want density." That is a dictate which comes down from our "betters" in the planning bureau and city hall.
12
Car owners and single-family homeowners are among our most shit-upon citizens, right Blabby?

There are plenty of people who would love to live in this area who would either go without a car, or deal with parking a couple blocks away. Either way, parking is a separate problem. Maybe give out residential permits to the current residents and don't let anyone else park there. Problem solved. The proposal points out that there are multiple car-share spots nearby: maybe a car-owning prospective resident would sell their car because they found the neighborhood and building that attractive.

You shouldn't get to change whatever you don't like about a building just because you live near its site. I'll gladly support business over residents when I think the business is in the right. Rent is too high in inner Southeast, and more housing is more affordable housing.
13
"more housing is more affordable housing" Not sure how you figure that. New housing in inner Portland seems to translate into more affordable housing in outer east Portland these days.

I'd be fine if Portland started using a permit system. It doesn't really solve the problem with these apartments because the tenants would get a permit also.

Since you're interested in market mechanisms, you realize that a private business will do whatever it can to maximize profit. One excellent way to do that is to offload negative externalities from your business, and their attendent costs, onto the public instead of mitigating them yourself.

"Urban Development Group" of Beaverton doesn't give two craps about Portland's livability and smart growth dreams. They are just happy to be dealing with a city stupid enough to willingly take all of the additional parking burden created by the new project, and put it squarely on the city's own infrastructure. It's "sustainable" for the developer's bank account.
14
@blabby, there are tons of examples that disprove your thesis, they just aren't in Portland. Look just a little way to the north in Vancouver BC. These types of developments have helped them to increase density, which makes it easier to live in the city without a car. Sprawly places with tons of parking like houston require a car, portland does not and there should be an option for people who want to live closer in to be in a place where they don't have to pay for a parking space that they are not using.
15
Bullshit. The majority of these new dwellers will own cars, and they know it. That's far too idealistic to take seriously.
16
Ohh, parking is SO hard in Southeast Portland! My lower lip is protruding an inch right now
17
econoline, I'm talking about actual data that show that buildings without parking are filled with people who don't own cars. I'm sure your trip to Vancouver was nice, but that isn't data.

There are lots of options for people with no car. They can live in any unit and not have a car. There are many older apartment complexes predating mass car ownership where they can rent and not pay a premium for a parking space they don't use. There are many buildings on the westside where parking is extra anyway, so it isn't included in one's rent.

I want to be totally clear: I think it is absolutely fantastic if someone doesn't want to have a car. Good for them.

But many or most of the people in this new building will have cars, and this developer and many like him are taking advantage of Portland planner stupidity to shove the impact of those cars onto the people who already live in those neighborhoods.

I promise you this will be a more widely-discussed issue across multiple neighborhoods within two years. You will see that plenty of nice, bonafide, Democratic-voting citizens of inner Portland agree with me on this.
18
Yeah somehow all the new condo/apartments being built in Portland are aimed at "a target market of alternative transport users". Anybody with half a brain can smell the bullshit on this one. Can we just pass a law requiring parking already? somehow developers in many other places have managed to including parking and still make money.
19
I said we should give permits to *current* residents, to placate them so the building can go up.

I realize there's more to the situation, but I'm making a basic supply/demand argument. If there were magically 1000 new units between 30th and Chavez along Hawthorne, it would be cheaper to live there. If you didn't need to have a car, that neighborhood would be ideal. In addition, some of the people moving there would vacate apartments in East Portland, so rents would go down there, as well.

I understand that a car that has to be parked on the street is a cost imposed on other people who might like to park there. I just think you're overstating the effect. The absence of a parking lot would make this building less attractive to someone who wants to live there and own a car, since they wouldn't have a guaranteed parking spot outside their door (just like current residents without driveways). At the same time, it becomes more attractive to those who don't need to own cars, since it's cheaper because the developer didn't have to forgo additional units to accommodate a parking lot.

There are positive externalities to large developments as well. 100 new residents on that block are 100 potential customers for a hypothetical business within walking distance, which means previously marginal businesses (niche cuisine &c) can become viable. You can't talk about the (hypothetical) parking externality without talking about the benefits of increased density in the area.

But mostly, Division/Hawthorne/Belmont is among the most desirable areas in the city, especially among young people who stay in that area for a huge fraction of the time. If there's anywhere in the city where being car-free is reasonable, it's there, even more than downtown, in my opinion.

Also, it's unclear to me why the city needs to guarantee everyone a parking spot on the street in front of their house. If it gets to be a real problem, area residents can get together and discuss a solution (and, again, I'd support some kind of action preventing new residents from parking in the neighborhood, because I'm pretty confident that 82 people without cars will want to move in there).
20
"If it gets to be a real problem, area residents can get together and discuss a solution"

Are you fucking kidding me? The problem needs to be addressed before the condos are built not after. Your whole long winded argument is utterly devoid of logic.
21
"If there were magically 1000 new units between 30th and Chavez along Hawthorne, it would be cheaper to live there." Point taken.

"At the same time, it becomes more attractive to those who don't need to own cars, since it's cheaper because the developer didn't have to forgo additional units to accommodate a parking lot." The owner will charge the optimum rent they can get away with while keeping the building full. They will not pass any construction savings onto tenants.

The argument about young people wanting to live in inner SE isn't here nor there.

"Also, it's unclear to me why the city needs to guarantee everyone a parking spot on the street in front of their house." I don't think the city needs to do that. But I don't think the city should have an active campaign to destroy our car network for the benefit of out-of-town developers, bike and bioswale projects.

This is basically the same street grid that we're going to have to work with in Portland forever. As much as it goes against the current ethos, we actually need to be trying to preserve car infrastructure for when there actually are thousands of more people living here, instead of creating false city-designed congestion before it needs to be that way.

We have to be the only city in the country so actively trying to make traffic more horrible. It's not because we "get it" and no one else does. It's because we're missing something that everyone else gets.
22
Thousands more people can't live here if we insist that every dwelling come with a parking spot, and if all the new residents drive everywhere, traffic will be totally balls all the time anyway.
23
Here's a (maybe) interesting question: if there were a legally enforceable way to ensure that none of the residents owned private automobiles (or regularly parked them nearby), would you still think the same thing about this development? It seems like a lot of the particular incredulity comes from disbelief that the residents of a big apartment building without a parking lot would ever possibly not own a car.
24
Mandating that a developer provide parking where it is not needed and simultaneously reduce (by half) the number of units in a multi-family housing development will increase the per-unit costs of renting or buying a dwelling in said development. If you want affordable housing, make it affordable for people who don't own cars (often because - surprise! - they don't have the money for a car). If you want unaffordable housing, mandate parking minimums and density maximums like every other city in America. Pretty soon after that we'll start to look and feel like every other city in America, which is why we all left those other cities and moved here, because we really didn't want to leave those other cities in the first place because they're all so great, right?
25
Very convenient to the Oregon Theater!
26
You parking socialists make me laugh. I have several friends that live completely car-free. My wife and I share one car. Just because you need a car doesn't mean that everyone else does. More importantly, you all fail to realize that part of the reason you own a car is that car parking has been so socialized and subsidized. Everywhere you go, you take up public and private space with your vehicle and pay nothing for it. Future growth in a world where energy is more expensive will not support this lifestyle. Adapt or die.
27
Just put meters along all the street for a few blocks off SE Division. Problem solved.
28
"I have several friends who are completely car-free"

But not you, and not 95 percent of the people who live in the city. Did you copy and paste that directly from Jonathan Maus' diary?

If the city is going to continue to push development based on fantasy, I wish they'd do something more fun, something like requiring every new condo bunker to have a Sasquatch feeding station. At least people claim to have actually seen Sasquatch, unlike the "no parking = no cars" argument, which is is refuted by reality on a daily basis.

BTW, pretty interesting that his is exactly the opposite viewpoint from which Sarah Mirk would have written this article.
29
I just read the whole thread, and gosh I think elderpeche has the winning idea. Feel dumb that it never would have occurred to me.

Give the current residents parking permits, and deny them to people living in this new complex. That allows for new development and greater urban density and all the other "wins" that we want, but it also prevents a developer from KNOWINGLY impacting the surrounding neighborhood out of greed. Why can't we do that?

30
I think that's a good approach, Reymont. But if you did that, I think you'd find that the developer suddenly and mysteriously doesn't want to build an 82-unit building with no off-street parking any more.
31
An important point of clarification: the Richmond Neighborhood Association has never taken a position on this proposed project, so it's not correct for the blog to say that the "The [RNA] is peeved." But, it is correct that Susan, as well as anyone who lives, works or owns property in Richmond, is a general member of the RNA. However, she is not a board member of the RNA, and it does not appear that she represented herself as such. The RNA has not yet seen the proposal and will likely not take a position on the project in general. But, it may be asked to vote later on a request for land use adjustment on one small aspect of the project, probably concerning a loading dock requirement.
32
How about the developers add a small garage for a half-dozen or so zip cars and add the cost onto the rents. Make them available to all tenants.
33
I live two blocks away from Urban Development's "Move the House" project on Division and 38th. This has been my home since 1997 and I've enjoyed the neighborhood. Until now. The new building only has 26 units or so plus some ground floor retail and the impact on parking on adjacent streets has been significant (to say the least).

We have a driveway, so parking our personal vehicle isn't a problem but there are never any spaces for guests, and the double-loaded street has become very tough to navigate in bi-directional traffic.

We brought these issues to the City before this new project was built and they didn't care because we had an "automobile-based complaint" that wasn't addressed in the city zoning code. Oh well, right? We met with the folks from Urban Development Partners several times to address our concerns, and I can tell you...those people are sniveling, greedy, bay-area opportunists who don't give a damn about Portland. While their website is filled with all sorts of drivel about creating neighborhoods and walk scores and all the other urban do-gooder BS you can think of, take it from me: those guys are here to make money and that's it.

I'm convinced that Division Street is going to look back and realize how unlivable UDP has made our neighborhood.
34
I lived a block from there for 6 years. This will destroy parking for condo neighbors. Most of which park on the street. Placing permit spots on the roads will only slightly help the neighboring residents but will shaft apartment renters. Problem not solved.