LUTOP Committee Draft December Minutes

CNN Land Use & Transportation Committee
Meeting Minutes – December 16th, 2015
Amanda Petretti (NA Rep), Terry Parker,
David Sweet (NA Rep)
Josh Capps (NA Rep), Jo Schaefer (Chair)
Karen McAninch (NA Rep), Evan Burton, Yvonne Rice (NA Rep)
Lorajean Kelly (NA Rep)
Ted Carlston (NA Rep), Bob Price (NA Rep)
Jim Howell (NA Rep)
Karl Dinkelspiel (Portland Housing Bureau)
Sandra Lefrancois; Chase Ballew
Resident of:
Representative of:
Minutes prepared by Chase Ballew, CNN LUTOP Intern. For errors/omissions contact [email protected]
1. Welcome and Introductions
Attendees introduced themselves.
2. Review Meeting Guidelines
Sandra Lefrancois reviewed the guidelines for friendly and productive meetings.
3. Review and Approve Minutes
Attendees reviewed the minutes from November. No changes were proposed. Ted Carlston moved to approve, Yvonne
Rice seconded; Approval of minutes passed unanimously.
4. Intern Proposal for Transit Improvements
Chase Ballew (Central Northeast Neighbors) presented a proposal for improving transit reliability in the Sandy Corridor.
About a year ago he presented an idea for a bus lane on the Sandy overpass of I-205, an idea which has subsequently
been implemented by TriMet, and the proposals discussed today expand on that concept.
The first concept discussed was a bus lane from the Parkrose Transit Center to the I-205 northbound ramp, so that
C-tran buses to Vancouver aren’t stuck in traffic on Sandy; at rush hour it can take 9 minutes to get from the transit
center to the freeway, a trip that takes 1 minute in the off peak. Since Washington is studying having buses use the
shoulder of the Glen Jackson Bridge to bypass freeway congestion there, that leaves these four blocks of Sandy
Boulevard as the weak link. Various options for bus lane placement and lane configuration were explored.
The second concept discussed was an eastbound bus lane in the Roseway neighborhood, from 69 th to the signal at
72nd. The idea is to remove the unused parking on the north side of Sandy adjacent to the Safeway parking lot, and
shift the road centerline north, creating space for a queue jump bus lane on the south (eastbound) side of the street,
saving up to five minutes during rush hour. Various options for where and how the bus lane begins were explored,
options which included a left turn refuge into the Safeway parking lot, and rush hour parking removal between 69 th
and 70th.
Ted Carlston comments that the neighbors would be unlikely to support parking removal between 69th and 70th since
the neighbors are already complaining that parking on those side streets is congested at all hours.
Chase responds that his informal survey of the adjacent block faces found a parking utilization rate of 33% or less
during rush hour, and while the on-street parking might be more heavily used at other times (e.g. during happy hour at
the bar) that wasn’t directly relevant because parking would not be impacted during those hours.
Terry Parker comments that an 11-foot travel lane is sub-standard, that moving buses more quickly is not important,
and that the queue jump poses a possible safety issue at 72nd.
Chase responds the ITE is in the process of revising the standard for travel lane widths on urban streets from 12 feet to
10 feet, that the NACTO has already made this change in their standards, and that the recently passed federal FAST Act
legislation makes using these alternate standards easier. Moving buses faster is important even if you don’t ride the
bus, because they are paid for with our tax dollars, and TriMet pays roughly $2 per minute to operate each bus
whether it is moving or not. While the need for the bus to merge into traffic at 72 nd is a concern, TriMet does this all
the time elsewhere, but if this intersection poses a particular problem a short 5-second bus-only signal phase could
enable the bus to merge in front of other traffic.
Amanda Petretti notes that the effort in the concepts to not inconvenience drivers may be misplaced, and that
prioritizing buses over cars in important to meeting the Comprehensive Plan goals.
David Sweet disagrees with Terry, and advocates that moving buses faster is important.
5. Portland Housing Bureau Funding Strategies
Karl Dinkelspiel (Portland Housing Bureau) came to speak and answer questions about affordable housing in Portland.
Housing is considered affordable if a family earning 60% of the median income spends no more than 30% of their
income in rent. This works out to around $1,000 per month in rent for family of four, although the actual rent is based
on a table provided by the federal government, and varies from $700 – $1,200 month.
Bob Price notes that the city has a goal that a certain percentage of housing should be affordable, and that currently
we are not meeting that goal. He asks if the city is the city serious about this goal?
Karl responds that current estimates are that the city is 23,000 housing units short of the goal, and the growth
projected in the comprehensive plan process calls for an additional 10,000 on top of that, for a total shortage of 33,000
housing units.
Another way of measuring that need is identifying how many people are homeless. The biannual street count found
2,000 people living on the street, and another 20,000 people couch surfing.
Regardless of which estimate is used, providing housing for that many people would cost billions of dollars. The city is
serious about the goal with what resources they have, but the city doesn’t have the resources to address an issue that
big without significant outside help.
David Sweet comments that the federal government gives us a lot less money for housing than they once did, and the
Oregon Constitution prohibits a real estate transfer tax. What funding is the city pursuing?
Karl responds that one of the main ways they have pursued funding in the past has been through Tax Increment
Financing (TIF) and urban renewal, which hasn’t helped us because the CNN area doesn't have any TIF districts, and
our two Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative (NPI) districts don't generate funds for housing. So the city is looking at
other options. They are currently asking the city to bond for the AirBNB tax, which is estimated to bring about a million
dollars a year. They are also studying the idea of a linkage fee; used in other jurisdictions (e.g. Boston), linkage fees
require large commercial operations that induce demand for employees to pay for affordable housing efforts. Other
options being looked at include a housing bond for the city that would replace the TIF, removal of the statewide
prohibition on inclusionary zoning, and bonus zoning for affordability.
Terry asks if they have considered that the tax burden contributes to making housing unaffordable, particularly for
seniors on fixed incomes, and have they explored a tax break for these individuals?
It was noted that Multnomah County has a tax deferral for seniors, and Washington State has a tax freeze for seniors
over a certain age, but the city hasn’t looked at that specifically.
Terry asks about the relationship between affordability and the recent spike in home demolitions. One of the points
United Neighbors for Reform (UNR) has noted is that it is the affordable homes that are being demolished, with the
average new home being 2.5 times the cost of the one replaced.
Karl responds that they are of two minds on these demolitions, because while it does remove affordable units, the
taxes on demolition and redevelopment make money for affordable housing efforts elsewhere.
Sandra asks about the ten million dollars that was recently announced.
Karl responds that there are a lot of different figures that have been publicized lately, and it has produced some
confusion. The Mayor has publicized a $30 million figure, but the Housing Bureau isn’t sure yet what that will go
toward, although some of that will likely go to homeless efforts, etc. The Housing Bureau has asked for $10 million
from the general fund, but don't yet know where that will come from, whether that will be part of the Mayor’s $30
million commitment or if it’s separate. If approved that $10 million would be for capital building, most likely in East
Portland because there are few TIF resources there, but they haven’t defined yet if in this context the CNN area would
be considered part of East Portland.
Amanda asks about the growing gap between the scale of the problem and resources available to address it. Are there
public/private collaborations or tax schemes that can potentially address the issue, maybe crowd source a solution?
Karl responds that there was a recent project (new seasons?) that prompted people to come out of the woodwork to
offer spare bedrooms, but there are bureaucratic issues turning that into a city program. Another example is the
temporary SDC relief for the permitting of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) which reduced the cost of building by as
much as 50%.
One of the benefits of using public money for affordable housing is the ability to regulate the units, so the public
money not only buys more units but also buys affordability for 60 years. There are a group of people dedicated to
enforcement of existing housing, and confirming to the county tax assessor that residents are making 80% of median,
The Portland Housing Bureau works with a number of partners, but they don’t have a partner that they work with in
the CNN geography, and so would be open to rectifying that. There is also the Portland Housing Advisory Committee
(PHAC) that meets the first Tuesday of the month at the Portland Housing Bureau’s offices (421 SW 6th Avenue, 5th
Floor). These meetings are open to the public and can be a good way to provide input.
Evan made reference to the recent blog posting “That’s a goddam (Purple) shed.”
Terry comments that Metro’s housing preferences study found most people want a single family home, but most of the
public housing being built is multi-family.
Karl responds that the city won't support increased investment in single family public housing. There is a program for
building that, but the city won't support increasing the size of the program because it simply doesn’t offer enough
benefit relative to the cost.
Karl may come back to another meeting in the future. The budget committee is meeting now so that's another forum
for advocating for increased funding.
6. Neighborhood Roundtable Discussion
Josh Capps reports that Hollywood has the Providence offices in their neighborhood, but hasn't had good lines of
communication with them. Hollywood had begun work on a Good Neighborhood Agreement (GNA) but that was never
finished, so they are beginning discussions to finalize that, to help mitigate some of the impacts their offices are having
on the neighborhood. Providence is currently looking for a TDM staff person.
Jim Howell reports that Beaumont-Wilshire has been pushing for better bus service, and TriMet has agreed on a bus
route but has no money for service.
The neighborhood is working on a crosswalk safety project on Fremont Street. Fremont between 42nd and 51st is a
commercial corridor, but the cross streets are offset, so it is confusing which of the many corners is actually crosswalk,
so there is a project to mark more of the crosswalks to clarify to pedestrians and motorists where people are expected
to cross the road.
David Sweet reports that the Residential Infill Project has taken walking tours in four different areas to see the good,
bad, and ugly of infill development. They are going to look closely at the scale of infill, and what to do with skinny lots.
He reports that there seems like a lot of agreement on where to go with infill, like ADUs, cottage clusters, small lots,
stacked flat, density bonuses for small houses, etc. The Committee will have two meetings in January, the first one is
developing evaluation criteria, while the second is charrette. They are moving quickly because the Mayor is anxious to
move things forward.
Terry comments that he has heard some committee members are dissatisfied with the scope of the committee. David
responds that there have been two people who have been very vocal about wanting to expand the scope and have
been told no; mayor has given the committee it's duties.
Evan Burton reports that while the city told Sumner they were committed to building sidewalks and crosswalks
between on Sandy between 89th and 92nd sometime before the first of the year, no progress has been evident. He
also reports that the neighborhood has planted trees in the SAN lot.
Bob Price reports that Roseway is teaming with Portland Parks and Recreation for a redo of the 72nd Avenue park
blocks starting in January. The project will start with Block 2 (second block North of Sandy) and will remove nine trees,
with replanting to following later in the year. Roseway has a plan for all of the blocks, and hopes to complete one per
year. Last year they had a cleanup/weeding of all the park blocks that was well supported by residents. Bob Price also
reports that the changes to the traffic signal at Sandy and Fremont have prompted a lot of cut through traffic on Beech
Lorajean Kelly reports that Nan Stark attended a recent Madison South meeting. Also, Jason Lee Elementary is having a
tree recycling fundraiser.
Amanda Petretti reports that the city will be meeting with Rose City Park in January to discuss their concerns about the
Comprehensive Plan update. The neighborhood wants to reevaluate the up-zoning at the 60th Avenue Max Station,
and would like to explore up-zoning only along NE 60th Avenue and not in the neighborhood itself. They would also
like to discuss the misfit between the comprehensive plan designation and the desired transportation improvements
on NE 60th Avenue, and ways that those improvements could be implemented with or without up-zoning.
Terry Parker reports that United neighbors for reform is working on getting third council vote for their proposed
reforms, most likely Commissioner Nick Fish, and is trying to figuring out what he would want included in order to
support the proposed changes.
Sandra reminded the committee that David Sweet (RIP SAC Rep to CNN) will lead a discussion with neighborhoods
regarding residential infill at the January 20th LUTOP meeting. Neighborhood Committee Representatives are to
prepare a summary of neighborhood preferences and needs regarding residential infill. David will be taking this
information back to the RIP SAC.
7. Adjourn