|Deal done for FBI headquarters at Cascade Station
Editor's note: Welcome to Perlman's Potpourri, news items from across the Gateway and Parkrose neighborhoods of mid-Multnomah County from veteran Beat Reporter Lee Perlman.
Coming up, the Portland Development Commission finalized an agreement to sell eight acres of land by the airport - next to Cascade Station - for the construction of a Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters building.
In other PDC news, they're holding an open house this month to get public input on plans to create a park at the now-vacant 4-acre site of the old J.J. North's Restaurant on Northeast Halsey Street at 106th Avenue.
Also in this month's Potpourri, Perlman reports on the cuts to programs and positions for the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and its East Portland Neighborhood Office in Mayor Sam Adams' budget.
The Citywide Tree Project, a reorganization of the city's regulations on the planting, cutting and preservation of trees on private and public land, is still being reviewed by the Portland Planning and Urban Forestry commissions in joint sessions.
At a cost of $95,000, Sunday Parkways, a city-sponsored event, is headed to Southeast Portland in July. Blocking off streets for five hours on a Sunday, the event will meander along a 6-mile route going by three parks, one school and a wildlife refuge.
The Portland Bureau of Parks & Recreation is offering free movies and live concerts at some east Portland parks this summer. A schedule is below.
And finally, this year's National Night Out celebration is Monday, Aug. 3rd. NNO is a time when groups and individuals are encouraged to hold gatherings in parks and other public spaces after dark.
But first, let's get inside the FBI headquarters deal
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO
PDC okays FBI Headquarters
The Portland Development Commission last month approved a deal that will lead to the creation of a new Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in the Cascade Station area.
PDC owns development rights to 36 acres, owned by the Port of Portland, located adjacent to the Rentrak Corporation. They agreed to sell the rights to eight of those acres for $3.25 million to the Molasky Group of Companies of Las Vegas, Nevada, which will build the headquarters complex. According to PDC staffer Bruce Allen, the plans call for a four-story, 113,000-square-foot main building, a 21,000-square-foot annex, and a 220-space garage on the site to accommodate a staff of 220 people. All buildings will have brick walls. The entire project will cost $60 million. PDC will contribute no money to the project, Allen said.
Although the PDC in general was impressed by the project, commission member Stephen Straus was concerned about its design. The building will face Cascade Parkway, which contains the MAX light rail Red Line tracks and a grass mall, and will have its (less attractive) back to Airport Way, which carries most of the through traffic. I drive to the airport every week, and this is the entryway, Straus said. Many people will see Portland for the first time through this building. I'd be ashamed if I didn't do my share to assure a level of design excellence.
Allen said that the complex's design, like all structures in the Cascade Station Plan Area, had undergone design review, and had received approval. A new row of trees and other vegetation will eventually shield it from view, he said.
Straus remained unconvinced, but the PDC approved the project by a vote of three to one.
PDC sets Gateway Park open house
The Portland Development Commission is scheduling a public open house to get public input on plans for a future Gateway park. The session will be from 6 to 8 p.m. June 22 and will be truly open, on the now-vacant site of the old J.J. North's Restaurant on Northeast Halsey Street at 106th Avenue.
The city plans to develop 3 of the 4 acres as a park, PDC's Justin Douglas told the Memo. Plans call for the remaining one acre to be a public plaza. There are no specific plans as to what this might contain, he says, and the site's commercial zoning could accommodate a variety of uses.
Budget cuts clip graffiti, small grant programs
Mayor Sam Adams' draft budget did not deliver catastrophic cuts to the Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement or its East Portland Neighborhood Office, but did trim some programs.
The deepest cuts went to the popular Neighborhood Small Grants program. Initiated three years ago, the program allocated $200,000, distributed through EPNO and the other six neighborhood offices, for special projects by grass roots organization. This year the citywide allocation was cut to $116,000, and of this, $30,000 will go to administration of the program, leaving just $86,000 for grants.
The budget also leaves unfunded a vacant Neighborhood Crime Prevention Specialist position. This means that the remaining 12 specialists, including Roseanne Lee, will have to absorb the additional responsibilities. There were major cuts to ONI's Graffiti Abatement program, but most of them were restored, on a one-time basis, through an Add Package proposed by ONI and accepted by Adams.
Trees project moves forward
The Citywide Tree Project, a reorganization of the city's regulations on the planting, cutting and preservation of trees on private and public land, is still being reviewed by the Portland Planning and Urban Forestry commissions in joint sessions. Last month the review bodies agreed to require that property owners and developers create tree preservation plans as part of conditional use and design review processes, but not for code adjustments as staff recommended. The commissions are accepting written public comments on the draft through June 8.
Sunday Parkways approach
Having pulled off a highly successful version of the event in inner northeast last month, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is moving forward with plans for East Portland Sunday Parkways from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 18.
In this event, a 6-mile, circular route along low-traffic streets is cleared of auto traffic for five hours, allowing cyclists and walkers to tour the neighborhood in a new way. The Southeast Portland route will be roughly along Southeast Bush and Harold streets, the Springwater Corridor, and 93rd, 100th and 115th avenues. It will touch on Ed Benedict, Bloomington and Lents parks, Earl Boyles School and Beggars Tick Wildlife Refuge.
The city is encouraging public and private organizations and community groups to conduct activities in the parks during the event, including food and refreshment vendors; permits for this last cost $50, although fees for nonprofits will be waived.
PBOT is also seeking volunteers to help the event run smoothly. In particular, they are looking for Intersection Super Heroes who will mind barricades at minor streets and allow residents to get on and off their own street. (The Portland Police Bureau will direct traffic at major intersections.)
The five Sunday Parkways events cost about $474,000 or $95,000 each, with $217,000 coming from taxpayers; the rest from sponsorships and donations.
According to the organizers, the northeast event drew some 15,000 participants and 15 or more different organizations at each of four parks. Head organizer Rich Cassidy of PBOT had decreed that participating groups could not simply sit at tables and hand out literature, but some of the groups appeared to violate this.
For more information call 503-823-6051 or visit portlandsundayparkways.org.
Parks offers free music, movies
The Portland Bureau of Parks is offering free movies and live concerts, the latter in partnership with local neighborhood associations, in city parks this summer. In most cases, the movies are preceded by some brief live entertainment. The schedule is as follows:
July 10: the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs/River City Band at Lents Park. July 17: Rich Halley at Powell Butte. July 17: the 2007 movie version of Transformers/the Working Stiffs at Ed Benedict Park. July 18: the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen/River City Band at Ed Benedict Park. July 24: Trashcan Joe at Powell Butte. August 4: the movie Shots/Sounds of Norman at Gilbert Heights. August 11: Joni Harms at Ventura Park. August 18: Aaron Meyer at Ventura Park. August 19: the movie Alice in Wonderland/Sounds of Norman at Parklane Park. August 24: the movie Old Dogs/Working Stiffs at Lents Park. August 24: the movie That's Entertainment/Sounds of Rayvis at Ed Benedict Park Memory Garden. August 25: Conjunto Alegro at Ventura Park. September 2: the movie Princess and the Frog/Rose City Trio at Argay Park.
At most of these performances there will be food vendors, but feel free to bring your own grub, along with a blanket or lawn chair. Be polite to your neighbors and enjoy the show.
National Night Out due
National Night Out, this year Monday, Aug. 3rd, is a time when groups and individuals are encouraged to hold gatherings in parks and other public spaces after dark. The idea is to symbolically take back these places, making people feel safe to go there and discouraging antisocial behavior.
For information about gatherings in your area, by neighborhood associations or others, call the East Portland Neighborhood Office at 503-823-4550. If you can't find an activity you can identify with, EPNO can help you organize one of your own; for instance, they can provide required insurance for and tell you how to set up a block party. If not everyone on your block agrees to have the street blocked off, you can perhaps block a portion of it. Or you can hold a gathering on someone's porch or yard. If nothing else, leave your porch light on to help passersby get home safely.
MEMO Advertising | MEMO Archives | MEMO Web Neighbors | MEMO Staff | Home