Vol. 21, No. 9 • Mailed monthly to over 13,500 homes in the Gateway & Parkrose Communities Free • JANUARY 2006
FEATURE ARTICLES Memo Calendar Memo Pad Business Memos Loaves & Fishes Letters Home
Maywood Park citizens get involved
Banfield Pet Hospital national headquarters opens
TriMet begins testing biodiesel
A look back at what was happening in February 1986
East Portland Neighborhood Office considering moving digs
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Banfield Pet Hospital national headquarters opens

Campbell was right: the Glenhaven property had been declared surplus by the district. In the district’s view, the cost of bringing it into compliance with seismic and other codes was considered to be more than the building was worth. When Banfield expressed an interest in buying the property, it tipped the balance in favor of selling it.

Unfortunately, the decision was initially shared only with Vocational Village principal A.J. Morrison, who was given strict instructions not to share the news. The staff knew the building was on a list of potentially disposable properties, but not that a sale was imminent. When a member of the staff accidentally discovered what was going on, staff, parents and students were dismayed and angry. They questioned both the decision to sell and the process by which it had been arrived at. They protested the fact that meetings to receive community involvement were held during July and August of 2003, when no students were on campus and some families were out of town on vacation.

When it seemed clear that the sale would in fact go through, the Vocational Village community lobbied for the best deal they could get on resettlement. They insisted that their program be placed in a vacant building, not a vacant part of an existing high school where they would be second-class citizens. They also insisted that the new building be retrofitted to accommodate their auto shop and industrial lab facilities immediately upon opening, not at some future date as the district’s facilities management people had suggested. The district eventually decided to move the program to the vacant Joseph Meek Elementary School, and to spend more of Banfield’s purchase price than they’d originally intended to retrofit the new facility.

Throughout all this, Banfield representatives carefully kept their distance.

“We’re not the school killers,” representative Kurt Campbell said at one public meeting. “We’re interested in this property if, and only if, it’s declared surplus.” They attended all public meetings relating to relocation of Vocational Village, but never gave one word of testimony. Later, Banfield made the gesture of naming the new building Glenhaven.

Then came the zone change. Because this involved a Portland Comprehensive Plan map amendment, Banfield had to prove that the CG general commercial zone it sought to put on the property was the best possible. It also had to satisfy the city’s “No Net Loss Housing Policy”. This meant the potential for developing 47 housing units under the five-acre property’s R5 zoning would have to be restored somehow, somewhere in the city, either by rezoning a commercial property for residential use or increasing the density of a residentially zoned property.

Banfield ultimately solved the dilemma by pledging to build 54 units on a designated parcel of property when, and if, its current use ceased to be. The parcel in question was the dog park.

Fortunately for Banfield, it had a powerful ally in the person of then-Mayor Vera Katz. Stung by the decisions of companies such as Louisiana-Pacific and Columbia Sportswear to move out of Portland - and the accompanying criticism that she ran a business-unfriendly city - Katz made staff available to help Banfield through every obstacle. It was through her efforts that the Northeast Enterprise Zone was gerrymandered to include the Glenhaven property and make the Banfield project eligible for various kinds of public assistance.

Campbell later said that he had seriously considered the Kansas City offer, “but city government and the school district made it a better business decision to stay in Portland.”

City Planner Sylvia Cate recommended approval.

“The proposed re-designation and zoning would not prevent future to be developed at the same density that would be allowed under the current zoning,” she wrote in her staff report. “On balance, the requested designations will be equally as supportive of the Comprehensive Plan as the existing designations.”

Hearings officer Gregory Frank approved the land use request in August 2003. In September Portland City Council followed suit, unanimously. Commissioner Erik Sten thanked Banfield for its “vote of confidence in our city,” and called it “an important day for Portland.” In November, with Katz and past canine patients in attendance, Banfield broke ground on the project.

For a project of its size, the building phase went well.

“I was really surprised at how well the contractor kept the site clean, and the consideration he gave to our neighbors,” vice president of operations Kelly Orfield told the Memo.

The dog park will be completed sometime this summer. Users will be required to bring certificates showing that their dog’s inoculations are up to date, and proof their pet does not have a vicious nature. The owner will then be given an identity card with their dog’s picture on it. This card can be used to access a double gate - this system will help ensure dogs don’t escape into Northeast 82nd Avenue traffic, and will provide owners with a covered shelter to stand in while their dogs frolic. Interior fences will divide the park into four sub-areas, and one of these will be set aside for smaller dogs.

Although the building has more than 300 parking spaces, Banfield officials hope that a significant number will take mass transit. Some have been happy to find, as Vocational Village students did, that the building is within walking distance of the 82nd Avenue MAX light rail station. In addition, while each employee has been issued a parking pass allowing them to park in the building’s lot, those who chose to come to work some other way can turn the pass in and receive $100 in cash, possibly toward purchase of a transit pass.

The building can accommodate future expansion, with 45,000 square feet “warehoused” for future use.

“We’re here to stay,” Orfield says.
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