Special Coverage of SK Northwest

SK Northwest, a retailer of jet-skis and personal watercraft, wants to develop a parcel of land on the Willamette riverfront just south of OMSI. They are fighting to be exempt from putting a trail easement through their property.

Browse the stories below for more coverage of this issue…

City denies Springwater development appeal

Posted on October 2nd, 2006 at 8:35 am.

[Scan of appeal decision mailed out Saturday]
Editor’s note: Lines drawn by my daughter ;-)

The City of Portland Hearings Office* has denied the land use appeal of Shawn Karambelas. Karambelas is the business owner who wanted to develop a parcel of land just south of OMSI without including plans for public trail access on the waterfront.


Update on SK Northwest hearing

Posted on August 17th, 2006 at 2:52 pm.

portland spirit at end of esplanade
[Looking south at current
end of Esplanade path.]

Yesterday was the public hearing on the SK Northwest development case. Unfortunately I wasn’t there but here’s a report from what I’ve heard and read so far.

According to Evan Manvel of the BTA there were about 45 people there which is “significantly more than these hearings usually get.”

The BTA showed up to support the City’s ruling against the development and to, “deflect some arguments put forth by the applicants.” Here’s more from Evan’s post on the BTA Blog:

“The developers argued that the trail wasn’t a transportation facility, because it’s managed by Portland Parks rather than PDOT. They argued that they….weren’t impacting public access to the river and hence should not be required to improve such access. They also argued that bicyclists much prefer bike lanes to off-street paths.


Public hearing for SK Northwest today

Posted on August 16th, 2006 at 10:27 am.

Dang. This is way late but the public hearing for SK Northwest is today at 1:30 at the Bureau of Development Services (1900 SW 4th Ave, 3rd floor).

To refresh your memory, SK Northwest is the company that is in escrow on a property just south of OMSI on the riverfront. They want to be exempt from allowing public trail access across their property. The city of Portland denied their application (in part after receiving 125 letters in opposition from the public). SK Northwest then appealed the decision.

The public hearing today will hear from both sides and I imagine there will plenty of lawyers in attendance. If you’re downtown and can sneak away, it might be interesting.

SK Northwest case on front page of Oregonian

Posted 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.


New appeal in SK Northwest case

Posted on July 11th, 2006 at 6:17 am.

The SK Northwest case is getting messier by the week. There has just been a second appeal (links to PDF) filed against the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) decision to not allow their permit. SK Northwest is seeking to build their business on a key section of the Springwater Corridor Trail and not grant the city any trail access across the property.


UPDATE: SK Northwest appeals permit decision, public hearing set

Posted on June 20th, 2006 at 2:01 pm.

[UPDATE: Download appeal JPEG, 94K.]

SK Northwest, the company that wants to develop a parcel on the Willamette River and not allow public trail access through their property, has appealed the recent denial of their development permit.

According to Kate Green of the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services, a public hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, July 12 at 1:30 PM (location TBA).


City denies Springwater development

Posted on June 10th, 2006 at 9:34 pm.

The City of Portland Bureau of Development Services (BDS) has denied the development application of Shawn Karambelas and his company, SK Northwest (PDF of the official decision).

SK’s application to build on the Willamette River became a big deal because they didn’t want to allow a trail to be built across their property, in spite of the fact that it lies on a city-designated “Greenway”, contains an unofficial City trail easement, and lies between two very popular paths; the Eastbank Esplanade and the Springwater Corridor.


Springwater situation looks bleak

Posted on May 4th, 2006 at 1:40 pm.

[See this comment for an update.]

Yesterday I received a phone call from Shawn Karambelas, owner of SK Northwest (I had left a message for him last week). This is the company currently in escrow on a lot just south of OMSI on the Willamette River, smack dab in the middle of a potential trail connection between the Eastbank Esplanade and the Springwater Corridor Trail (for background on this story see this post).

He was clearly frustrated by the community push-back he has received so far and I could sense the anxiety in his voice. I had to re-assure him several times that I wasn’t out to get him and that I just wanted to find out more about his intentions.


Economics, security cited as reasons against trail

Posted on April 26th, 2006 at 10:04 pm.

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

This morning I spoke with Wayne Kingsley, the owner on record of the land being purchased by SK Northwest. Wayne is a well-known local businessman and president of American Waterways, Inc. owner and operator of the Portland Spirit cruise ship that runs on the Willamette.

While Kingsley can’t speak for SK Northwest (they haven’t returned my call), he was able to illustrate for me the concerns he has for allowing a recreational trail to go through the property.


Springwater development update

Posted 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.