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.
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.