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Pensione owner signs police agreement

Neighbors protest plans for big box retail store
Last month about 70 people, members of the Madison South and Roseway neighborhood associations, lined Northeast 82nd Avenue with picket signs to protest a “big box retail” outlet proposed for the area.

More than seventy Madison South and Roseway neighbors turned out last month to protest a proposed big box (many surmise a Wal-Mart) retail store to be built on 20 acres across the street from Madison High School on Northeast 82nd Avenue.
SmartCentres of Canada is proposing to develop a 20-acre former landfill on Northeast Siskiyou Street, across from Madison High School. The company is seeking a code adjustment to build 240,000 square feet of retail space, 190,000 feet of it in a single building, served by 900 parking spaces. The property is zoned for industrial activity, and commercial uses would normally be limited to a maximum of 60,000 square feet.

The two neighborhoods feel a “big box” of any sort would be inappropriate at this location, but they are particularly nervous about what sort of big box retail store it will be. SmartCentres spokespeople claimed they have not as yet signed up any particular retailer, but Frank Walsh of Madison South said that of the group’s existing shopping centers, two-thirds have Wal-Mart as anchor tenants.

The two volunteer groups said they have recruited 700 area residents to their cause. They are now seeking to raise funds to hire legal experts.

Pensione owner signs police agreement
Alan Sanchez, owner of the troubled Portland Pensione motel, has signed an agreement with the Portland Police Bureau regarding its future operations.

According to Officer Rick DeLand of the Central Precinct, Sanchez has agreed in writing to do background checks on long-term tenants — defined as people staying longer than three weeks — using the Police Bureau’s database. Sanchez and two of his managers have also signed up to attend a Police Bureau-sponsored workshop for landlords on how to avoid renting to drug dealers and other criminals.

He did not agree to renew a Trespass Agreement to allow the police to come onto the property to investigate suspicious behavior without a warrant, and DeLand said the bureau did not urge him to do so. Sanchez has said that he wants to rent as many of his units as possible to longer-term tenants. According to city codes, any place that people reside in for a week or longer is their home, and the police would need a warrant to search it regardless of trespass agreements with the landlord.

The police and neighbors have complained that the Pensione at 109 N.E. San Rafael St., formerly the Coliseum Budget Inn and the San Rafael Motel, had become a focus for drug dealing and prostitution, and that Sanchez was not doing enough to counteract these activities. He initially signed a Trespass Agreement, and then withdrew it. The police were beginning to pursue a Chronic Nuisance process against the premises, which theoretically could have resulted in the motel being declared vacant for a year. In addition, Mayor Tom Potter’s office had suspended Sanchez, president of the Gateway Area Business Association, from his seat on the prestigious visionPDX Committee until the issues could be addressed. Sanchez’s suspension was lifted late last month.

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