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SK Northwest case on front page of Oregonian

Posted by on July 13th, 2006 at 12:09 pm

I just love it that when someone opposes a recreational path in Portland it’s considered front page news.

This morning the Oregonian splashed the SK Northwest story on their front page.

This coverage will add fuel what is becoming a growing fire. Let’s just hope we can figure this mess out. Regardless of what happens with this case, we need a vastly improved detour around the property than what currently exists.

There were no new developments presented in the article but there’s some important background information so I highly recommend reading it.

Unfortunately, despite all the exciting community activism around this issue that has taken place on this site, the article makes no mention of BikePortland.org.

The story first appeared here three months ago and so far over 100 comments have been posted on seven different posts including interviews with both of the men who have now filed appeals to the city’s decision.

I also have a hunch (because no one else had yet covered the story) that a majority of the 125 letters to the city in opposition of this development originated from awareness created by this site.

It seems to me like this level of community involvement should be part of the story and I think Heinz missed a chance to share that with his readers. Oh well, I’ll get over it ;-).

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Comments
  • Carl July 13, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    Even if they didn’t mention the blog, I think BikePortland deserves some ownership of this victory. Letters to the editor are good way of patching that oversight and keeping the issue in the paper…

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  • Evan Manvel July 13, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    Yes, kudos to BikePortland.org. Watch for a story tonight at 5 and 6 on KGW (Channel 8). I spent about an hour with their reporter Vince Patton this morning over at the site.

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  • Jonathan Maus July 13, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    Great Evan,

    Glad to hear more coverage is coming. I’m really interested to know what the wider public opinion on this case turns out to be.

    Will people think the city is posing a dangerous threat to private property rights or will concern for the livability of our city be more important?

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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  • Jonathan Maus July 13, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    Check this out. Looks like The Portland Mercury is pretty fired up about this story.

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  • benschon July 13, 2006 at 2:45 pm

    The Oregonian graphic is misleading because it makes it look like the City is asking for the trail to cut right through the center of the property. In fact, the City’s decision says the trail should be close to the river, within the 25-foot Greenway setback. It would skirt completely to the west of the proposed building. Since buildings can’t be located in this setback anyway, so SK Northwest isn’t really losing potential buildable area.

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  • Randy July 13, 2006 at 3:36 pm

    I believe if you read the BDS documents, there is a dispute between the city and the developer regarding exactly where the setback boundary should fall.

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  • Garlynn July 13, 2006 at 5:19 pm

    Yeah, the city does say that the building would need to have a very slight adjustment made to its position to remain out of the greenway setback (and they kind of scold SK Northwest for attempting to evade this by using their own definition of what constitutes a setback, as opposed to that used by and available from the city).

    However, the path would remain in the setback. And the argument that they shouldn’t build it because it doesn’t already exist on the south end really doesn’t fly. The whole point is, it needs to be built through this property when it is developed. As the property develops to the south, so to will the path be punched through it.

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  • Curt July 13, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    As a journalist, I find it shameful that the Oregonian wouldn’t give credit to bikeportland.org for first breaking this story. Oh well. Maybe the reporter didn’t want his or her editor to know how little work he/she actually had to do to report this story …

    Thanks again, Jonathan, for helping set the agenda for what’s important to talk about here in Portland. The Oregonian is following your lead, and the TV news (as usual) is following their lead. So I guess that makes you a media leader!

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  • Jason McHuff July 13, 2006 at 8:52 pm

    I read the article today and it really seemed to miss some of the issues that I had read about here. One of them was the dock and how it may be used for more than they say it’s going to be used for. Oh, and I was kind of expecting a mention of this blog in the article.

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  • SKiDmark July 13, 2006 at 9:22 pm

    I don’t what makes these businessmen think they can weasel out of City green space and setback requirements. I worked in civil design for a while and if the City says no to your plans, It’s NO.

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  • Donna July 13, 2006 at 9:40 pm

    They think they can weasel because they’re spending a lot of money on attorney fees. I’m glad that the Oregonian picked up the story. The only thing that can counter expensive legal muscle is public outcry.

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  • Dr. Mark Ross July 14, 2006 at 2:11 am

    Maybe we can picket SK’s current site on Sandy . . . hmm?

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  • scott July 14, 2006 at 5:49 am

    Isn’t SK’s case more than just trying to outspend the city on attorneys fees?

    I thought I read in a prior update on this that the City really does not have an enforcable easement over the property, just a “planning goal” to complete the Greenway.

    That goal depends in part on cooperation of private land owners, and this private land owner does not wish to cooperate.

    I think the “danger to cyclists” argumant is a ruse, but I can’t yet understand what SK’s true objections are, if, as is stated above, that the trail would be placed in the non-developable setback anyway…

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  • Clinton rider July 14, 2006 at 7:21 am

    I have a hard time buying the “land locked” SK line. They have an outlet up on Marine Drive that rents personal watercraft. Maybe that site could be expanded to handle repair?

    I also don’t buy Mr. Kingsley’s comments about safety of his clientele. There are just as many bikes on the path by the Submarine/Willamette Jetboat dock as would be on the path by his property, yet he subjects his jetboat customers to such “risk.”

    I think it’s about 2 issues. First, with the SoWa development, new towers near Riverplace and all sorts of great things going on on the eastside, SK sees the property as a way to make its jetskis more visible on the Willamette. It’s apparent to me that they are using the “repair facility” as a back door to let the site evolve into a retail/rental site. Early on, someone at the City acknowledged that there is little the City can do if this occurs.

    Issue 2 is testing Oregon’s property rights law. In a society that thinks Measure 37 is a good thing, certain folks are going to push as hard as they can. Then again, Hercules, California is using eminent domain to acquire a 17-acre waterfront property so that WalMart can’t build there. The City’s plans for that site included small retail, pedestrian orientation, high density residential, and a walkway not unlike the esplanade by Riverplace…not a discount superstore. Recent Supreme Court rulings on the use of ED seem to support such action.

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  • Craig July 14, 2006 at 8:00 am

    Last night one of the local channels has a segment on this issue. They interviewed a women and her son riding along the path. The women felt that property rights should be respected. Funny thing is a little while later she came racing back and told the camera crew she had changed her mind after almost being hit by a truck in the industrial detor area. It was both funny and a little sad to see someone who can only understand something if it directly effects them.

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  • SKiDmark July 14, 2006 at 8:46 am

    I think we all know if this was a street for CARS it would get built, whether it dead ends or not.

    I had a feeling there was an issue with the bike path intersecting their water access. What’s the big deal? All they have to do is throw up a couple of STOP signs. Contrary to how we are portrayed (most of the time) the majority of us stop at stop signs.

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  • kl August 13, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    i hope you guys are just joking. the property consists of two building; one of them is under a deal with SK for a new dealership. at the other end of the dead end is another property which the owner have already said that he will not build a trail through until he dies. even if sk loses the case in court, they’ll have to fight it with the owner which i totally don’t think city of portland will win. it’s a private property again; i would totally understand it if it belonged to the city becuase then there would be no choice.

    i guess there is a detour going around the property; instead of spending more money on these attorney for the city, why not use the fucking money and improve the road and street signs to decrease the traffic congestion and etc that you bicyclists are having trouble with….

    picket sk…? my ass…..what is that going to do to us?

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