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Springwater development update

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 25th, 2006 at 8:29 am

[The lot in question.
Click to enlarge.]

SK Northwest's plans to develop on the Willamette River, and their opposition to an existing trail easement (see this comment) a potential trail that would connect a popular portion of the Springwater Corridor Trail, has been met with serious concern from the community. Last week's post has generated over 40 comments and many groups - including the HAND neighborhoord association, the BTA, and the Wasabi Paddling Club - have written letters and expressed strong opposition to their application.

[The public comment period ends this Thursday, here's a handy mailto link that will email all the necessary contacts.]

According to an SK Northwest representative, the company has received "a lot of negative feedback about this." However, despite the huge outcry and negative PR (KOIN-TV also paid them a visit), they don't seem to be backing down from their application.

Shawn Karambelas (the SK in SK Northwest) showed up to a recent HAND neighborhood meeting to present his case. According to HAND president Frank Dufay, Shawn was "pleasant enough...but he claimed his purchase agreement includes the provision that he NOT provide an easement and trail." The owner of the property is Wayne Kingsley, Chairman of American Waterways, Inc, the company that runs the Portland Spirit cruise boats. (I have left messages with Wayne Kingsley and Shawn Karambelas and I will update this post when/if I hear back from them.)

Frank also said that the Board voted unanimously to support the City Code language that requires the easement and trail and that the umbrella coalition of Southeast neighborhood associations (SE Uplift) also voted to send a letter of support for the trail/easement.

Bikes at Earth Day
[SK rep at Earth Day.]

Concerned citizen Ethan Jewett approached a representative from SK Northwest at Earth Day (they were giving test rides on a billboard-laden Segway). Ethan thinks their plans are a Trojan Horse, "She essentially repeated the SK line...that the facility is only intended to be a repair facility etc...yet they are clearly excited about the higher exposure the Willamette location will have. What kind of exposure does a repair facility need?"

Other people are worried about the expected increase in traffic, which according to Karambelas could be 20-30 trailers a day.

If you would like to weigh in on this application, the public comment period ends this Thursday. Please direct your emails to Kate Green at the Bureau of Development Services, and CC the Commissioner in charge of BDS and his staff person. To make it easier, I've made this handy mailto link that fills everything in for you.

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Comments
  • John Replinger April 25, 2006 at 10:02 am

    I regularly ride the Springwater corridor as a bicycle commuter and with my 5-year old children on bicycles. I think it is important that the riverbank trail be maintained and that it be expanded to the south from its current terminus at Caruthers Street. Even if its extension cannot be made at this time, I think every property that develops or redevelops should be obligated to dedicate an easement to assure the path's eventual completion as a riverbank facility.

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  • Randy April 25, 2006 at 11:38 am

    Sample letter:

    Kate Green
    Bureau of Development Services
    1900 SW Fourth Avenue Suite 5000
    Portland, OR 97201

    Re: SK Northwest Development Proposal: Case File Number LU 05-178171 GW

    Dear Ms. Green:

    I am submitting comments on this proposal because it is my understanding that the developer is requesting a variance from requirements to provide an easement and construct the segment of the Willamette River Greenway Trail through this property that City Code 33.440 and State Administrative Rule OAR 660-015-0005 requires him to provide.

    This segment of the Willamette Greenway Trail is a critical link between the south end of the Eastside Esplanade and the north end of the Springwater Trail, and should be provided by the owner/ developer as required.

    The current greenway trail detour (SE Caruthers and SE Fourth) is not an acceptable permanent long-term solution. The current on-street bike lane / pedestrian path detour is frequently blocked by parked delivery trucks and other large vehicles associated with local businesses, and these roads have not been maintained by either the city or the local businesses in a manner compatible with or conducive to the presence of a heavily used recreational path; especially the segment on SE 4th, which is typically filled with sand, large gravel and other road surface hazards. The volume of traffic present, particularly large truck traffic, also is incompatible with, and a hazard to, families and individuals using the path and trail system. The trail segment on this property is a critical link and should not be omitted from the development plan.

    If you have any questions about my comments, please feel free to contact me.

    Sincerely,

    cc: City Commissioner Randy Leonard

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  • elljay April 25, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    Portland Boathouse (the consortium of rowing/paddling/etc in the Holman Building) and Audubon have also written letters. Theirs specifically cite the trail issue, but also the purpose of a Greenway Review and how it must consider river impacts.

    It might be a good idea to CC Commissioner Adams on the letters as well, since he's the Transportation Commissioner and helping lead the charge to "Go Platinum."

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  • Evan Manvel April 25, 2006 at 12:56 pm

    My sources write to clarify: the easement doesn't currently exist. Rather, there are public recreational trail stars on the maps in Portland's Comprehensive Plan. When development occurs on sites with those markings, the greenway review process determines whether an easement is donated and the trail becomes reality.

    Anyway, keep up the pressure!

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  • Jim Labbe April 25, 2006 at 1:20 pm

    April 24, 2006

    Kate Green, Land Use Services
    City of Portland
    Bureau of Development Services
    1900 SW Fourth Avenue, Suite 5000
    Portland, Or. 97201

    Dear Ms Green,

    I am writing to provide input regarding File # LU 05-178171GW Applicant: SK Northwest. I just today received notice from a colleague about the proposed development of a marina, possibly with a focus on jet skis, on the east bank of the Willamette River just north of the Ross Island Bridge. I want to convey three major issues of concern to the Urban Greenspaces Institute with regard to the application. First, the proximity of a marina, particularly one that may cater to jet skis, poses unacceptable risks to the ecological and aesthetic attributes of two of the city's most treasured resources, Holgate Channel and the Ross Island complex. We have for many years advocated for a no wake or non-motorized zone in the Holgate Channel due to its serene, idyllic and ecological attributes.

    Construction of a marina and jet ski facility at the mouth of the Holgate Channel would, in our opinion, have serious detrimental environmental and aesthetic impacts. Secondly, as Ross Island Sand and Gravel moves toward completion of its restoration activities and transfers Ross and Hardtack Islands to the City of Portland, we believe strongly that the City should integrate the Holgate Channel, Ross Island complex, and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge into a unified urban wildlife refuge management unit. We believe the project as proposed will pose a serious threat to the management of what we believe is a unique, world class urban refuge and passive recreation area. Our final concern is the Greenway Trail. My understanding is there has been a request by the applicant to vacate or eliminate the Greenway Trail requirement. We are opposed to that request as well.

    My recollection of the River Renaissance initiative is that the City of Portland is considering future development, management and restoration on the Willamette River in zones, including the working harbor, industrial and natural reaches. The proposed marina is at the downstream end of a zone that is more appropriately managed and developed for its natural, scenic, and passive (contemplative) recreational values. We urge you to address these issues in considering the proposed development. We consider the proposed marina development to be incompatible with the natural, scenic, cultural, and passive recreational values of that reach of the river.

    Sincerely,

    Mike Houck, Director
    Urban Greenspaces Institute
    PO Box 6903
    Portland, OR 97228
    Phone: 503-319-7155
    Fax: 503-725-3166
    mikehouck@urbangreenspaces.org

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  • Mike Houck April 25, 2006 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for getting the word out on the Marina proposal. Jim Labbe apparently submitted my letter to the Planning Bureau. Your spreading the word is much appreciated.

    I know that both Willamette Riverkeeper and Audubon Society of Portland have both also submitted letters in opposition to the project.

    Mike Houck, Director
    Urban Greenspaces Institute

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  • Mike Houck April 25, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    I would appreciate it if you would pass on information to your subscribers that Portland Audubon Society, Willamette Riverkeeper, and Urban Greenspaces Institute will be co-hosting a kayak and canoe paddle around Ross Island from 10 am to 1 pm, on Sunday, June 11th as the culminating event for the annual Great Blue Heron Week. The trip leaves from the docks at Willamette Park at 10 am sharp. We hope to form our own "critical mass" of human powered craft and show participants the fabulous values of the Holgate Channel and the Ross Island complex.

    More information can be found at http://www.audubonportland.org

    Mike Houck, Director
    Urban Greenspaces Institute

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  • Katrina White April 26, 2006 at 12:56 pm

    Dear Ms.Green,

    I am writing this letter to give another outlook on the Springwater development issue. I feel that most are looking at this problem one-sided. This land is going to raise issues no matter who buy's it. From what I understand SK Northwest is not trying to take away anyone's daily routine. That piece of land was not going to sit forever, and what a perfect place to have such a business? I believe that SK Northwest will bring nothing but a positive environment, what a fun business! I have only heard good things about the company. Why can't the community work together on maybe a different approach to this problem instead of picking apart SK Northwest? If this will effect so many why hasn't someone pushed this trail route way before this proposal? Just talking about it will only let time slip, and change all the circumstances. Hopefully a compromise ends this story well...

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  • Randy April 26, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    The reason there is not a trail there already is because the current owner is unwilling to negotiate an easement agreement with the city, and is attempting to impose his will in this regard on any prospective purchasers of this property.

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  • Ethan April 26, 2006 at 9:26 pm

    Dear Ms Katrina,

    I am writing this letter back towards you to show that i feel the opposite. Someday somebody somewhere was going to put the trail in until SK came along and messed up everything that had been done before. I have been to a perfect place for SK to have a business like they have and it wasn't a place called Porltand . . . it started with a V and they had the sales tax and didn't want no light rail neither. But anyways I also wants us all to get along but i think this is not going to be a way for that to happen any time soon. That is why I am "pushing the trail", as you so eloquently put it. End of story . . . well?

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  • elljay April 27, 2006 at 6:15 am

    Regarding Ms. White's comment about daily routine, the 36-slot PWC dock will seriously affect the daily activities of the youth, collegiate, and master's rowing programs based at Portland Boathouse, as well as classes and tours from PB and Riverplace. Not to mention the daily routine of wildlife on Ross Island and Holgate Slough.

    There are other "perfect locations," farther downstream but still easily accessible to the core of Portland, where habitat impacts and safety of other river users would be minimized.

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  • [...] [For reference, here are the previous posts on this issue: Springwater development may nix trail improvement Springwater development update] [...]

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  • [...] The current route around this parcel jolts inland from the river through dangerous industrial traffic (including train tracks) and is not an acceptable, long-term solution. I first posted about this nearly two months ago and have been following the story ever since. [...]

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