|Property owner, neighbors reach win-win
Editors note: For your reading pleasure, we present Perlmans Potpourri a roundup of news items from the Gateway and Parkrose neighborhoods of Mid-Multnomah County from veteran Beat Reporter Lee Perlman.
Perlman begins this month with an item about neighbors banding together to save a stand of mature trees in the Hazelwood neighborhood. Next, a note about Multnomah Countys Childrens Receiving Center, also in the Hazelwood neighborhood, followed by some good budgetary news for Mid-county neighborhood associations. His next report is a clarification about a report from last months Potpourri about efforts to get Portland Parks & Recreation to begin the master planning and budgeting process for future parks in Mid-county. In Marchs Potpourri, Perlman provides a report on the vociferous and ongoing protests from Madison South and Roseway neighborhood associations over plans to build a 190,000 square foot retail store (most likely a Wal-Mart) on Northeast 82nd Avenue, across from Madison High School. Last, but not least, Perlman updates us on Gateway Area Business Association president Alan Sanchezs notorious motel property in inner Northeast Portland and the agreements recently penned by Sanchez and the police to better police his property.
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO
Neighbors may buy land to save trees
A property owner and his tree-loving neighbors may have reached a win-win.
Florin Drutu had declared his intent to subdivide and develop six properties he owns on Northeast 134th Avenue between Halsey Street and the grounds of St. Therese Catholic Church. The properties are zoned R7, which allows one dwelling per 7,000 square feet of lot space, and the lots vary in size from 13,000 to 14,000 square feet each, allowing for two houses on each lot. The lots also have a large quantity of mature trees that, neighbors fear, would be lost in the building process.
A group of neighbors offered to buy the land from Drutu. They would then place a deed restriction preventing development or cutting on the most heavily treed parts of the land, and then resell it. Last month, Drutu said he was willing to sell.
Child Center chugs along with new director
The Multnomah County Childrens Receiving Center is alive and well and operating under Director Chad Westphal. He succeeded Craig Opperman, who has gone on to other pursuits.
The facility at Northeast 103rd Avenue and East Burnside Street, operated under contract by the Christie School, provides temporary housing for children under the supervision of Multnomah County for example, children removed from their homes by court order. They stay at the center until caseworkers find an appropriate longer-term placement. The center has 16 rooms for such children, and is occasionally at capacity. Each child has a room of his or her own except in the case of young siblings.
The center, whose financial situation was once precarious, receives funding from the county together with fundraising by Christie and supporters.
Neighborhood office has budget surplus
The East Portland Neighborhood Office has an unfamiliar issue this year: what to do with a budget increase.
For the first time in years, the Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement is not faced with at least a potential budget shortfall. Instead, the bureau has submitted a budget of $6,835,587, an increase of $446,066 over the current year. The commissioner in charge, Mayor Tom Potter, has indicated support for the budget, and its approval by the full City Council, although not assured, is considered likely.
The budget includes add packages of $350,000 in additional funds for the citys seven district offices, $70,000 more for communication expenses by the citys 96 neighborhood associations, and a doubling of last years allotment $200,000 for the pilot Neighborhood Small Grants program.
For EPNO, Executive Director Richard Bixby presented a budget last month to district coalition chairs that, after allowing for inflationary cost increases, left slightly under $22,000 unallocated. The budget and add packages would also give the office $36,000 to distribute to local Small Grants projects.
The group decided that this year, and all subsequent years, there should be a plan in place for spending a $3,500 contingency fund. If not used by the end of the fiscal year, the fund would go back to the city. Without a plan, as Argay Neighborhood Association Chair Valerie Curry put it, People say, I have to spend this somehow or I wont get it next year. Thats how millions of dollars are wasted.
In a related matter, the assembled chairs discussed ONIs proposed performance indicators, its method of judging the effectiveness of programs. One is the number of people at neighborhood meetings. Bixby questioned its use for this purpose. You could have a meeting about a proposed jail siting and bring in 150 people, he said. It looks great, but those people are only interested in that one issue; you still have six people doing all the work.
Requests made for parks master planning process
Last month we reported that Portland Parks & Recreation had allocated funds to do master plans for three Mid-Multnomah County properties: Beach, Park Lane, and Clatsop Butte. Our report, it turns out, was optimistic and not fully accurate. The bureau has allocated funds for these plans as add packages, proposals that would compete with similar requests, after the main bureau budgets are passed, for the money left over. The requests are critical, for only after a master planning process will the bureau consider budgeting money for physical improvements in a given park. Hazelwood Neighborhood Association parks guru Linda Robinson said that in her opinion, Park Lane, a former gravel pit, is the most critical planning need.
In a related matter, Robinson said that volunteers are hoping to turn part of Midland Park, adjacent to the Midland Library branch and dubbed Jane Baker Park, into a butterfly sanctuary. They will plant vegetation that can serve as food and habitat for the winged ones. There will be a work party March 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to begin work on the butterfly park
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