The June 07 online issue of Willamette Week has a article about a upcoming road improvement on Powell blvd. which will involve the removal of 570 trees. This in a region of the city which is decades behind in road and sidewalk improvements. It also unfortunately has serious heat island issues… This sounds like it will make for some very colorful discussions of choices and alternatives. Stay Tuned.
It does seem like the city of Portland has put environmental concerns on the back burner despite saying they value our environment Look no further than the environmental destruction caused by unsanctioned camping in Portland. Now with the new obsession to allow developers to build more the city is considering allowing more variances to our environmental regulations.
From recent Bike Portland post:
“Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio and the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) sent out a survey asking which building requirements the City of Portland should consider suspending or modifying to help them reach that goal.”
A very small percentage of code requirements are environmental regulations. For instance, my top five barriers are arbitrary seismic upgrade requirements, arbitrary system development charges, ineffective ground floor window standards, an unwieldy design review process, and cumbersome nonconforming zoning upgrade requirements.
Plus, asking for people’s opinions is different than making changes anyway.
LOL…Portland could not care less about the “environment”. All talk.
On a related issue have you seen this from
Williamette Riverkeeper on HB 3414? A bill Kotek supports. Yikes!
Please Help STOP HB 3414 which would Exempt Housing Developers from Land Use Regulations.
HB 3414 uses the current housing crisis to advance a monumental giveaway to housing developers at the expense of our communities and environment, with absolutely no safeguards to ensure that this would result in either lower housing costs or increased housing units. HB 3414, as written, would require that municipalities give variances (exceptions) from land use regulations to housing developers under almost all circumstances. Developers could request an unlimited number of variances and there is no requirement in the legislation that a developer demonstrate any benefit to the community as a result of these variances.
Our land use regulations exist to advance health, safety, equity, and livability in our communities and our environment. Nobody questions that we need thoughtful and effective strategies to address the current housing crisis, but HB 3414 represents neither.
Under HB 3414, a housing developer could bypass regulations designed to protect trees, wetlands, and floodplains. Developers could encroach on the Willamette River Greenway and environmental zones, and build in ways that completely disregard the impacts to their neighborhoods and neighbors. s HB 3414 allows them to do this regardless of whether they are building affordable housing units or McMansions. We can, and must, do better.
This bill has a head of steam so WE NEED A WAVE OF PUSH BACK!
The housing crisis should not be used as an excuse to bulldoze land use regulations designed to protect our communities and our environment. We may indeed need modifications to existing regulations to advance housing solutions, but those modifications should be carefully crafted to ensure maximum housing benefits and minimize unnecessary impacts to other community values. This bill does the opposite.
Please write the legislators and the governor’s staff at the bottom of this email asap and let them know that you oppose HB 3414. Key points to make:
- Please oppose HB 3414 which would allow housing developers to obtain an unlimited number of variances from land use planning regulations without any commitment to lower housing costs or build housing capacity. HB 3414 is a pure giveaway to housing developers at the expense of our communities and environment.
- HB 3414 would allow developers to bypass critically important land use regulations, including regulations to protect trees, wetlands, floodplains, and high value habitat.
- HB 3414 would allow housing developers to encroach into places like the Willamette River Greenway and other sensitive natural areas.
- HB 3414 would force municipalities to give variances against important regulations regardless of whether a developer is building affordable housing or a giant McMansion.
- HB 3414 does not require the developer to pass any of the savings they accrue from bypassing important regulations onto house purchasers. They can keep all the profits they accrue.
- Our land use regulations are critical for protecting our communities and environment. HB 3414 will allow housing developers virtually unlimited ability to blatantly disregard these protections.
Please email your representatives TODAY to STOP THIS LAND GIVEAWAY!
Thank you for speaking out for our environment!
Urban Conservation Director
Sure but it’s worrisome how the new obsession has become “housing at all costs”. The developers love this I’m sure. Take a look at HB 3414. Not good for the environment.
I agree “housing at all costs” is a dangerous attitude.
One interesting wrinkle–like I said in my last comment, there are lots of barriers to developing housing that DON’T involve wiping out environmental protections. They fall more in the category of fixing technicalities, or easing restrictions that are arbitrary and don’t necessarily really protect anyone or anything.
The barriers to converting downtown commercial buildings to housing are dominated by those types of things. Fixing those could result in filling vacant commercial buildings and adding thousands of downtown residents, which would have environmental benefits.
But if Portland (or Oregon) guts environmental rules that makes building suburban and/or low density housing easier to develop, then that will compete with filling empty existing downtown buildings with housing. So the “pro-housing” environmental compromises could end up hurting the developers who could be doing some of the most environmentally responsible (re-using underutilized existing buildings) residential projects.
Yep, I agree with you. I realize there are a lot of obstacles to converting downtown offices into housing (besides just fixing regulations which is needed) but hopefully the demand for housing combined with the sky high vacancy rate in Portland will push that forward.
Unfortunately the city bureaucracy is really not running well currently. Portland leaders have spent years laying out to employees that a religious style devotion to racial and social justice ideology is much more important than making “Portland the city that works”.
It’s going to take a while to change the culture and get rid of the employees they have hired who are ideological extremists. Jenni Lovell is an example of this. These types have been hired by all areas of Portland city government. They need to be shown the exit. It’s time to get back to PRAGMATIC progressivism.
If citizens of Portland learned how many were hired, and how much they are paid, because their qualification was solely their skin color and they follow a specific book, they would be shocked. In some cases they are paid more than the technical, college required, fields.
It’s really a shame that wokeness is more important than actual qualifications.
Thanks for the responses which distort and careen completely off my posting’s topic.
That’s what happens when you live in a city where our elected leaders and city employees no longer seem to care about the environment or our carbon footprint (except via virtue signaling). Sigh.