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After city code change, Overlook developer upgrades bike & car parking and moves upmarket

Posted by on January 24th, 2014 at 4:37 pm

A rendering of Overlook Park Apartments, which added an extra story, 17-20 auto parking spaces and almost 50 bike parking spaces in response to neighborhood concerns.
(Image: TVA Architects)
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Nine months after Portland began requiring on-site auto parking to be included in all large apartment buildings, one of the first test cases is about to break ground.

Overlook Park Apartments, which will start construction in April at the northeast corner of Overlook Park in North Portland, has been completely redesigned after the developer switched architects and scrapped a plan that had his neighbors up in arms over its lack of on-site auto parking.

The resulting building will have paid auto parking, larger rooms, three fewer units, higher rents and half again as much bike parking: 108 indoor spaces for 63 units, with an on-site bike service stand and built-in tools.

“I think all in all it was a blessing in disguise, because I think all in all it’s way better than it was before,” developer Vic Remmers of Everett Custom Homes said in an interview. “I think the space right now is going to be a lot more valuable than it was.”

The six-story building by Bob Thompson of TVA Architects, due to open in spring 2015, will have 17 to 20 auto parking spaces on site, Remmers said. Residents will have to pay if they want to use them; he’s not yet sure how much.

Rents, he said, will be in the $1,000 to $2,000 range depending on unit size. As reported in October by The Oregonian, the units will now range from 528-square-foot studios to 982-square-foot two-bedrooms, with more than half of the units one-bedrooms.

The building’s previous plan, Oregonian reporter Casey Parks wrote, “called for many 385-square-feet studios, a tiny space that residents worried would only attract people in their 20s.”

The old plan also had the minimum amount of bike parking, 1.1 spaces per unit. The new design opts into a new city rule that let Everett Custom Homes omit a few auto parking spaces in exchange for extra bike parking.

Remmers said he thinks the redesigned apartments will fetch another $25 to $50 per month in rent than comparable units would have under the previous design.

All Remmers’ changes were voluntary, since his earlier plan was vested. But the rebooted project may have avoided a legal battle with the neighborhood. Remmers said both he and his neighbors seem pleased with the compromise.

Dan Haneckow, a neighborhood resident who had objected to the previous plan, wrote in an email Friday that the new plan “does much to address my concerns, which chiefly center around flooding a neighborhood with little access, with cars. A shortage of on-street parking doesn’t mean much to me, it’s more about people driving fast, looking for parking.”

Remmers said the extra investment in bike parking and amenities, which he estimated at about $5,000 to $10,000 not including the opportunity cost of the parking space, reflects the fact that it’s an ideal location for people who use bikes.

“You’re close to the MAX, you can easily ride a bike down Interstate into town, and also you can go down Mississippi,” he said. “We think it’s going to be a real bike-friendly place to live.”

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  • don arambula January 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Wold be great to see a floor plan. Activating the LRT station platform and serving nearby Kaiser, ground floor retail at the corner of Overlook and Interstate is a must.

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  • Aaron Brown January 24, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    So, rents in this new building will be up to $50 a month HIGHER so that the building could be redesigned for folks who want unmitigated access to automobile parking? This, only blocks away from a multi-million dollar investment in high capacity transit and numerous businesses/shops/neighborhoods?

    Further proof that our city code can either promote affordable urban neighborhoods or you promote easy subsidized access to automobiles, but can’t in fact design for both.

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) January 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      If I understand Remmers right, the rents will be $25 to $50 higher than for comparable units under the old plan (due to the various amenities, including the nice bike parking). The bigger impact on price here is that the units will be larger and therefore command more. As I understand it, the loss to affordability is mostly from the disappearance of those 385-foot studios.

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      • Aaron Brown January 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm

        so, it’s fair to say that the developer decided against building smaller units to build the larger units that buyers who want automobile parking would want?

        I’m not trying to be reductionist except, well, I guess I am. I just see a revised building that gained automobile parking and nicer amenities as part of a tradeoff to avoid smaller units with a higher density and no auto parking amenities.

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        • Panda January 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm

          The bigger units and increased parking we’re added to broaden the appeal to include families, retires, etc.

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          • Doug Klotz January 24, 2014 at 11:10 pm

            Or, to appeal to those who could afford higher rent. By excluding those of modest means, the developer apparently made the neighborhood happy. Once he added auto parking, he had to enlarge the units so he could rent them for more to cover the cost of that floor of parking. I doubt it was out of an altruistic impulse to get more families and retirees into the building.

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            • dwainedibbly January 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm

              People will have to pay extra to get those parking spaces. It sounds to me like the automobile spaces are expected to pay for themselves.

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              • Jayson January 27, 2014 at 8:34 am

                Highly doubtful. At $10-20k per space (standard costs for ground floor parking), the parking spaces would have to rent for a couple hundred per month to actually pay for themselves. I doubt they can get more than $100 per space. So.. the developer had to make the building more attractive to affluent renters to offset the cost – they did this with larger units, more amenities, etc. This is a very interesting case study of the effects of parking requirements on housing affordability. Looks like the neighborhood got what they wanted – more wealthy neighbors and higher property values.

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              • Oregon Mamacita January 28, 2014 at 7:59 am

                Snarky, Jayson. You see, not everyone likes to be crowded. Some people like sun on their yards. The new buildings tend to be ugly and they reduce the existing homeowner’s enjoyment of their property by sucking up light and air. When you are middle class and your home is your big investment, it is disappointing when the city council changes the zoning next door to please campaign donors.

                As for these over-priced units being a blessing for renters- balderdash. Read Case & Schiller before you trust developers to read the market and behave in a rational way.

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        • Beth January 25, 2014 at 5:19 pm

          At the risk of sweeping generalities, I’d suggest that any new development that encourages too much density and too much affordable housing in one place is to be avoided. Because after all, we certainly don’t want to make housing available to anyone who can’t afford $1,000 a month, right?
          I’m sorry for sounding like sour grapes, but the average rent in this town now exceeds my monthly take-home by over 25%, and I am far from alone. Is it sour grapes to lament the advance of gentrification when in fact it continues to push out people who cannot find enough work? I have a ace to lve, thank goodness; but if I lived alone I would probably have to leave Portland on my present salary — or live so far out in the crumbling eastside suburbs that I couldn’t afford the cost of traveling to and from my present job. If people want to call that sour grapes, so be it. But I just can’t get excited about all this new development when it favors the upwardly mobile and leaves everyone else behind.

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          • Greg January 27, 2014 at 8:25 am

            My understanding of how supply & demand are supposed to work, is that the new units will help decrease scarcity, and because they are new, can command a higher price. Older rental unit prices are supposed to drop once supply increases.
            I imagine we’ll see if thats how this really plays out.

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    • Oregon Mamacita January 26, 2014 at 9:23 am

      Aaron, your point is not supported by the article. The units are bigger and there are more amenities. That is a driver of rents, yes?
      Studies in the Richmond neighborhood showed that 75% of renters have cars. C’mon- how many folks on this blog don’t have a car- they are a minority even here. So, get used to the fact that the neighbors don’t want the problems that come with inadequate street parking.

      At the big city council meeting about parking minimums last year, there was not a single renter who testified who was not a transportation activist. Why was that, Aaron? Because the average PDX renter has a car
      and doesn’t buy the koolaid idea that developers know best.

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      • Aaron Brown January 27, 2014 at 1:34 am

        Um, I’m a renter who doesn’t own a car who testified at city council last march. Sorry if you missed me and my gap toothed smile, but I was there.

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        • Oregon Mamacita January 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm

          I remember you, Aaron. You were confident and presented your case in an even tone. I don’t recall any cheap shots. But you were one of the only renters, and you are a big livable streets guy. That’s okay- but where were the other renters- the people there to support the trickle down effect of the high end units? I felt that you should have been introduced as a livable streets/density/TOD person- not an average renter.

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          • maccoinnich January 27, 2014 at 1:26 pm

            The average renter was probably at work.

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            • Oregon Mamacita January 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm

              Excuses, excuses. The support isn’t there. Young folks had energy to Occupy Portland and protest capping the resevoirs at Mount Tabor.
              But not to advocate for no-parking apartments or micro-dorms.

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              • maccoinnich January 28, 2014 at 9:45 am

                No, really. To most people, zoning regulations are about the most boring topic imaginable. It’s not really a surprise that anyone who was present at the hearing *which took place in the middle of the working day* was an advocate of some sort. To dismiss everybody who disagrees with you as not representing an average Portlander ignores the fact that you don’t come from a neutral position either.

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              • maccoinnich January 28, 2014 at 9:47 am

                FWIW, I live in an apartment without parking (albeit an older building), and I wasn’t there either. Because I had work to do.

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  • Trek 3900 January 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    They should be able to rent the units with car spaces for at least SOME price – I don’t know what price – I don’t rent so don’t know what the competition goes for.

    Units with no car parking spaces have ONLY part of those who read this website as their potential market. It would not work at all for buyers, but for renters, it might.

    It would be wise of the builder to do a poll of cyclists to find out how many people would rent with no car parking.

    How about you other posters:
    Would you pay $1,000/month for a 528 sq.ft. unit with no car parking? How about $2K for a 982 sq.ft. apt with no car parking?
    I say “no” to both.

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    • Chris I January 24, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      That’s why you don’t live in Portland.

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    • Adron @ Transit Sleuth January 25, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      I have, and will in the future rent an apartment without car parking – ideally without subsidizing the price as I have in the past. Many of these new buildings like this and the ones on Division offer exactly that. Already the ones on Division are filled up (the ones that are open) and it’s fair to say many of the residents don’t own cars, some do but a minimal # of them, and more are excited about the potential to get an apartment without car parking and knowing that their rent doesn’t go to subsidize the construction of spots that aren’t used (ie. many downtown buildings have LOTS of empty unpaid for spots, that 100k per spot cost goes back to the residents – such as in the Indigo building and others downtown).

      So are there people that will rent these units? You bet. I’m one of them. No car, 3 bikes and no intent to own a car ever again.

      On the flip side would I be happy if they stop showing such discrimination of those that aren’t upwardly mobile? Would I be happy if neighborhoods actually showed some empathy and let some reasonable housing be built for people of all incomes to be able to afford it? How about a few unites at 300-400 sq ft? I’d have loved that option when I first moved to Portland. Instead I scraped by a suburban shit hole for a while and kept trying to up my income. Fortunately I managed to land myself a higher income and had options open up to me. Not everybody gets that opportunity. Considering the market is willing to offer those people an option, and it doesn’t cost taxpayers a damn penny – I don’t see why anybody would limit this except for NIMBY attitudes.

      I’ll keep fighting for housing options and I’m glad to see we have more than the standard “build 2k sq ft” only options on the table. Hopefully we’ll have a lot more options beyond that in the near future, especially with how many people are being forced into the suburbs and by proxy unsustainable lifestyles because of it.

      Anyway, I digress…

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      • JV January 27, 2014 at 1:28 pm

        Thank you for sharing your perspective and it is good to hear that the Division street developments are bringing in people that actually don’t want/need personal cars. I think another solution that we will see in the neighborhood is likely a few Zipcar spaces and more Car2go in the area. I live in the area (in a house) and welcome the density, despite the construction noise.

        For the rest that feel like car parking is a right in apartment buildings : Have you ever been to any other major city? Most all multifamily properties within a couple miles of a metropolitan center that I have seen have no parking provided on site. Parking in most all cities close in is either permit-based street parking, or private garages. If you own a house and complain about parking there is an easy solution – use or install a driveway.

        Moderate income housing is needed in Portland, and we are not going to get it in convenient locations if parking is required in all buildings. This location right next to the MAX would have been perfect.

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    • Adam H. January 26, 2014 at 7:25 am

      I live in Chicago and pay nearly $1,500 for a 600 square foot apartment with no auto parking.

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      • Oregon Mamacita January 26, 2014 at 9:27 am

        And hopefully you make more than the average under-employed new PDX resident. 20,000 a year is a common income here. I got my career started in Chi-town and then moved here two decades ago. I moved, in part, because criminals in Hyde Park were always stealing stuff from my car. Get out in the morning, and someone had stolen your wiper blades. Then, a hub cap. Annoying.

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  • peejay January 24, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Because anything’s better than the scourge of people in their 20’s, walking on everybody’s lawn.

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    • shirtsoff January 25, 2014 at 7:51 am


      lol I’m glad the nature of that comment didn’t go unnoticed by others.

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    • Adron @ Transit Sleuth January 25, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      Odd how discriminatory people can be in a neighborhood when they’re predisposed to some notion that X people are going to mess things up for them.

      I guess their own kids hitting 20 are little angels? Agism at its finest. 🙁

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    • Paul January 26, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Yeah. I wouldn’t want people in their 20’s living a block away inside a sealed building either. Who knows what they could get up to in there: sleeping, cooking, eating, brushing their teeth, cussing. All in their own sealed building.

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  • Matt January 24, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    I’m like to see a story on BP about what constitutes “bike parking” in these sort developments. Can a developer simple install a .99 cent hook in the ceiling of each unit and get the OK from the City?… Or are there standards which will create facilities which increase in quality based on increased number of units?

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) January 24, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      Great story idea. Thanks.

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    • dwainedibbly January 25, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      The city has standards.

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      • Matt January 27, 2014 at 3:12 pm

        Sure, the city has standards, but it seems from what I can tell they mostly are in the public right of way and designed for ground floor commercial type use (short term bike parking). When a property developer is required to provide a certain amount of off street car parking (in certain instances), then they should be required to provide high quality bike parking for residents which is out of the public ROW.

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  • Doug Klotz January 24, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    And the neighborhood’s happy because these will be “their type of people”, rather than those poor people or students. Remmers is happy because he gets more in rents. Only those who would benefit from lower rental rates are unhappy, but because they don’t live there, their voices don’t count.

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    • Blake January 26, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      He also has a rather fanciful idea of a nice ride to downtown via Interstate. I have ridden that route for years, and I am trying to get it improved, but anyone who does not ride regularly and bravely would be hard pressed to see that as a nice place to ride to downtown from.

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  • Doug Klotz January 24, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    A legal battle with the neighborhood would have resulted in costs to both sides, but no change to Remmers’ original design. Note that costly LUBA appeals in Richmond, Kerns and Beaumont-Wilshire, have resulted in no substantial changes to any of the appealed buildings. No reduction in size, and no addition of parking. Only a lot of time and money spent by both sides.

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    • Oregon Mamacita January 26, 2014 at 9:33 am

      I contributed $ to one of those those lawsuits, and the contribution was worth every penny to me. It’s homeowners vs. campaign donors, Doug.
      As a sfh owner, I feel good about those lawsuits- it returns some control to the neighbors. Heck, I’ll settle for revenge.

      Gosh, Portland planners are sure getting unpopular in outer neighborhoods. Bad results, a lack of trust, being called “highly motivated” by Novick and NIMBYs by activists. Don’t expect consenus- expect Tigard-style rebellions. Enjoy.

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      • Jayson January 27, 2014 at 8:41 am

        “revenge”? that’s awfully petty.

        I am also a sfh owner and the thought of excluding people in my neighborhood because of income, mode of travel, age, etc is repulsive. I also don’t claim to own the public street or care who parks in front of my property. I have a truck purely for home remodeling and yard work. If I lived in an apartment, I would sell the truck as I lived 7 years in portland without one quite happily.

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        • Oregon Mamacita January 28, 2014 at 8:07 am

          My gosh, the new units are anything but inclusive. Expensive units for singles. Portland is becoming whiter and more childless.
          The coolness is being sucked out by gentrification. Sigh.

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  • Trek 3900 January 24, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Avoid lawsuits whenever possible. The lawyers are usually the only winners.

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  • DIMcyclist January 24, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    This is just further proof that Portland is- seemingly with some desperation- doing its level best to repeat all of the mistakes San Francisco made during the ’90s tech boom…

    Will it, like SF, eventually become a city comprised of (essentially) millionaires & homeless bums?

    These ‘human-hives’ destroy the very character that draws potential residents to these neighborhoods, via raising the surrounding local property values & accordant property tax rates (& thereby rents- which then erodes the basic affordability that makes them attractive to begin with), and through a more simple, physical process of crowding, which ultimately makes the area less desirable.

    If 90% of cyclists also own cars, then it’s a fair bet that- even if ALL of the occupants of this complex were cyclists- 90% of them would own AT LEAST ONE car (if not two)– where then will they park them? How many available spaces are there on any adjacent street? Will anyone really welcome the local traffic that will swarm around these hives two or three times each day as their occupants leave for work & later return home? How much further money will then have to be spent to make the adjacent narrow & congested streets ‘safer?’

    I mean, honestly- look at what a can of worms all the increased traffic has opened up on nearby Williams… how many times does Portland need to indulge in this kind of crap before it just becomes a rainy version of Scottsdale?

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    • Doug Klotz January 24, 2014 at 11:18 pm

      At the Portland Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting this week, we saw a presentation on a Metro traffic safety study. One of the findings, long suspected, was that congestion actually makes streets safer (as in, less crashes). If all the cars are traveling slowly, there are fewer injury-producing crashes. Narrower streets are a benefit if they slow traffic as well. Plus, such congestion rarely slows walkers, and only sometimes slows cyclists. And the upside is that greater numbers of people within walking distance of a commercial street can support more local businesses. This new “character” draws people to the neighborhood. I don’t see apartments on Division going empty, and I do see more infill houses being built in the adjacent neighborhood.

      But perhaps you’re right, perhaps these neighborhoods will become so crowded that nobody goes there anymore!

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      • DIMcyclist January 25, 2014 at 4:36 am

        I see the error of my ways & stand corrected: Viva la Nouvelle Bland!

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    • Oregon Mamacita January 26, 2014 at 9:34 am

      Please run for office. Seriously.

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    • maccoinnich January 26, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Portland is doing exactly the opposite of San Francisco: making sure there are enough new rental units in the market to cope with increasing demand for them. Prices are out of control in San Francisco because it’s next to impossible to build anything there. Last year San Francisco added 68,000 new jobs and just 120 new housing units. (http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Bay-Area-tech-boom-not-cause-of-region-s-problems-5080195.php).

      Furthermore, even if new construction did increase property values (a dubious assumption), under Oregon’s property tax laws, it would no impact on taxes, which can only go up 3% a year, or by new voter-approved levies.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson January 25, 2014 at 8:54 am

    The image shows the project on the corner, but that lot has a Kaiser facility on it; did the developer buy it? I always believed that corner would be a great location for a project aimed at older folks, as Kaiser clinics are right across the street and its right on MAX.
    Doug hit the nail on the head, yet again. Thanks Doug…wasn’t Yogi Berra who said of a once favorite bar “its so crowded now, nobody goes there anymore!”

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) January 25, 2014 at 11:34 am

      I don’t think this building is directly on the corner. See the documents linked above in my reply to Don Arambula.

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  • RH January 25, 2014 at 8:58 am

    It’s a nice design, good views, and access to a great park, transit, and bike lanes. The 2 prior houses on property were deconstructed and moved via bike too.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson January 25, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Got it, but the pic is a bit misleading. Too bad the developer couldn’t do a deal with Kaiser to develop out to the corner with half the units being affordable senior housing (there are PDC funds for just that sort of thing in the Interstate URA).

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  • Trek 3900 January 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    If they actually build this thing, I hope they actually put some sound transmission stopping measures into the walls. And that the windows are triple pane low sound transmission.

    If I were going to live there I’d want a unit on the south side for good solar gain. 😉

    With a south facing balcony you could use solar panels to charge batteries for a back-up power supply.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu January 25, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Less inconvenience to neighbors, more parking for tenants’ bikes, everyone should be happy. If you want a no- car-parking apartment that might be $50 cheaper than this one, there are plenty of those going up.

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  • GlowBoy January 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    The cynical view would be to ask what happened to the savings from eliminating car parking that’s supposed to be passed along to tenants, according to so many BP posters. Hahaha.

    Of course the real reason is that they’ve reduced the number of units and enlarged their average size. Which is fine, as long as that’s not what is happening everywhere. Too bad it was due to pressure from the NA – these are the folks who are resisting the moderate increases in density that are our future, and IMO will help us maintain our quality of life in the face of population growth.

    And to those NIMBYs and no-growth advocates who think we can just bury our heads in the sand, take a look at Seattle where they tried the same thing: failing to plan for growth, and ending up with a mess that sprawls from the Sound to the foothills and ran out of room to take in new population. Now the place is a spectacularly beautiful but unlivable (and still smug) disaster. Well, except for those – including most of our friends – who bought property when it was still affordable, and have ridden the rising tide of property values. We saw that coming and got the efffffff out of there back in the 90s when we realized Seattle wasn’t planning for growth and saw that Portland was. Despite the much more limited job market here in my field, we have never regretted our decision.

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    • Paul January 26, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      It’s more on the suburbs than Seattle, since Seattle has a defined city limit that can’t grow. But Seattle should have started building high-capacity transit decades ago. Too bad.

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      • Paul in the 'Couve January 27, 2014 at 5:26 pm

        Also, Seattle has a very small (smallest of any large city?) percentage of territory zoned to allow density and affordable apartments. Yes, the suburbs ballooned out, but in Wallingford and Capital Hill and Queen Ann and Madrona etc. etc. the neighborhoods are still opposing any relaxation of height limits. Seattle neighborhoods have willingly exported growth to the suburbs it sounds like many want to keep it that way.

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      • GlowBoy January 27, 2014 at 5:50 pm

        You’re right, and I was referring to the failure of the Seattle metro area to plan for growth, when the city was often pushing for better transportation and land use policy. It was always the suburbs who got in the way. (Not that we don’t have the same problem here, but not as bad).

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  • Trek 3900 January 25, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Large cities are not “livable”. Smaller towns would be better. A farm even better – much healthier in every respect. But cities are a necessary evil when population growth (including immigration) isn’t controlled. The lower the population density the greater quality of life.

    High density such as in apartments is fine for young people with no family on a temporary basis; but most are far to noisy due to extremely poor construction to be considered “livable”.

    If you live on the opposite side of the Portland megalopolis from where you work; your commute is not a pleasant experience – just like Seattle.

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    • paikikala January 27, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Wow. Portland is a megalopolis? I guess all those people in NY, London, Paris and Amsterdam are all deluded. Maybe your concept of livable isn’t the same as others???

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      • spare_wheel January 28, 2014 at 9:39 am

        the amsterdam metro region has a smaller population than the portland metro region.

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    • Kimberly Kinchen January 27, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Wow, my densely-populated NYC neighborhood filled with young parents and their children, plus older people who’ve lived in the area for years, 3/4 of whom don’t own private cars, walkable to multiple parks and virtually all key services including an ER (not that you’d want to walk in most ER cases, but I’ve done it), affordable by NYC standards (so no, not Brooklyn), a weekly year-round greenmarket and seasonal CSA, where we regularly encounter hawks, owls, herons, egrets, muskrats, and the occasional seal . . . we must be deluded in thinking that we live in an area with high quality of life.

      People who are this uninformed about the benefits and detractors of density — sorry, I have to laugh. I’m guessing you’ve never experienced it, plus maybe have watched too much Escape from New York and not enough Sesame Street. The truth lies in between but in general I’d place the needle on the scale about 3/4 of the way to Sesame Street. (Except for traffic — that’s crappy for a lot of reasons that are fixable.) Please note that I’m not knocking suburban life or farm life (I’ve lived in the suburbs and in rural suburbs) but am saying that I think you must have very limited experience when it comes to assessing life in a dense city to the point that it’s hard to take your comment seriously.

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      • Oregon Mamacita January 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm

        NYC has a different cultural history, different geography, climate etc. Density in PDX consists of old rich retirees in the Pearl district, gentrification and displacement of artists and people of color, and crap treatment of the poor neighborhoods with large families. Also, while the new 2000k studios look cheap by NYC standards, they are unaffordable here due to low wages.

        You are welcome to Bloomberg, bike share whatever. But all places are not alike. If you want to see the future of Portland, look at the attacks on the Google buses in San Fran.

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        • Kimberly Kinchen January 28, 2014 at 8:29 am

          I lived in the PNW for more than a decade, including the denser parts of Seattle, and close-in in NE Portland. I’m familiar with their cultural history and their geography. My point is that pronouncements about large, dense cities having low quality of life are questionable, especially when they come from people who sound like they don’t speak from experience. And the underlying point to that point is that people have different preferences, and if you assume that density = crappy lifestyle and don’t plan for the fact that lots and lots of people want to live in those areas, you screw everyone in the long run. My interpretation of what happened with this development is that what was a somewhat affordable development was made less affordable by the bugaboo of parking, which is really just an excuse to keep out the less affluent. It’s code for undesirables. And frankly, when people freak out about density and quality of life in larger cities it is really hard not to read it as “I don’t want to live/interact/work/acknowledge those people.” Most of the time this comes from people who have spent little to no time in the places or circumstances they are dismissing.

          P.S. DeBlasio is mayor of NYC, and Citi Bike is freaking fantastic.

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          • Paul in the 'Couve January 29, 2014 at 1:24 pm

            Here! Here! Kimberly. You hit a bunch of really good points.

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    • MaxD January 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      what does that look like in terms of global resources if every person in every city moves to a farm or small town?

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    • GlowBoy January 27, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Not the first time I’ve heard an Oregonian refer to Portland as a “megalopolis,” and it’s just laughable every time.

      Two million people is merely a metropolis, and a modestly sized one at that. Seriously, do some traveling and get out more. To me this is a small metro area — and I am NOT even from an actual megalopolis like LA, NY or possibly Chicago.

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    • spare_wheel January 28, 2014 at 9:38 am

      you want to spread 7 billion people over even more habitat?


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    • Beth January 29, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      Finally! Someone has said something about overpopulation.
      The fact is that cities with room are growing partly as a response by residents of cities with no room left to grow — people will move where they want to. LOTS of people are moving to Portland, and many more will follow, and eventually Portland will be just like any other big, gritty city with a larger share of all of the things that contribute to crime — including overpopulation, unsustainable schools and other services that aren’t equipped to handle booming populations, and a road system that isn’t equipped to handle the thousands and thousands of additional cars that WILL come to Portland.
      There is no going back, folks. Growth is the American way and Portland is not, and cannot be, immune. Either deal with it, or leave Portland and look for some smaller city to move to and help begin the great muck-up there.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson January 26, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Note that urban renewal areas…Interstate, Lents, Gateway as well as South Waterfront and River District (Pearl)…are all required by code to spend 30% of their resources (tax increment) on “affordable housing.”
    “Affordable” is fairly broad and includes partially subsidized workforce housing, etc. as well as senior, low income and the like.
    I sure wish New Seasons had worked with PDC to put housing on top of the Arbor Lodge store on Interstate as well as the new Williams Avenue store. Both are within Interstate URA. Safeway figured out how to do this; Zupan’s as well. NS and Zupan’s are retail destinations that tend to drive up desirability (hence rents), so we should be holding them to do some affordable housing as part of their projects.

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    • Beth January 26, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Maybe the problem comes when an Urban Renewal area becomes somehow “finished”, no longer in need of “renewal”. What exactly do we MEAN by “renewal”? Do we mean re-visioning a poor neighborhood so that it looks and feels more like an upscale one? Does renewing a neighborhood also renew job and housing opportunities for the people who’ve been living there? Or does it simply mean converting land into a greater revenue stream for developers?
      A closer examination of what is meant by the term “Urban Renewal” would be useful here.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson January 27, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Beth, in the case of the Interstate URA a committee of 50 residents of the affective neighborhoods met for months hammering out guidelines to address just those concerns. Language in that document, approved by City Council, specifically called out the need to hold harmless existing residents and businesses. Making that happen is more complex.
    Some residents wanted more amenities, better parks, more attractive streetscapes, others were more concerned about dislocation of residents and businesses. Condemnation was prohibited by the agreement. And of course the center piece of the URA was the MAX Yellow Line, the City’s share of which was paid for with URA funds.
    The Interstate Citizens Advisory Committee oversaw the work in the URA for over a dozen years until it was disbanded last year when PDC decided to focus most of their resources on job creation. But note that still 30% of URA resources must be devoted to affordable housing.
    The big challenge is holding URAs to their 20 year life span; once a community gets a project list started there is really no end, and City Council must have the guts to say, “no this URA is finished and now all tax proceeds will go to the general fund.” Keep an eye on North Waterfront on this score.
    My wife just looked at the picture of the new proposed apartment building and groaned…”Oh no, not another ugly box!” How can we raise the level of architecture in this town?

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  • Jayson January 27, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Oregon Mamacita
    As a sfh owner, I feel good about those lawsuits- it returns some control to the neighbors. Heck, I’ll settle for revenge.

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    You could also move into a gated community with an HOA. Then you can control everything!

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  • Kiel Johnson
    Kiel Johnson January 27, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    i’d like to see some survey or info on whether built in bike tools actually get used.

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  • esther c January 27, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    this is a joke, allowing developers to build 60 unit buildings with auto parking for 17 cars. unless they can refuse to rent to people with cars, where will all these cars go? this building has one block of street frontage so they will be spread out all over the surrounding neighborhood. These neighbors park in their driveways but their guests will be unable to find parking when they come to visit.

    I find worrying about young neighbors a bit silly, “only in their 20’s”. How about bringing some youthful vibrancy to a neighborhood, what could be better?

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    • spare_wheel January 28, 2014 at 9:41 am

      “this building has one block of street frontage so they will be spread out all over the surrounding neighborhood.”

      imo, the more difficult it is to find free mobile couch storage space, the better.

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      • RH January 28, 2014 at 9:46 am

        “free mobile couch storage”…Love this comment…it gave me a good chuckle. I can totally visualize this. Thanks! 🙂

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  • Trek 3900 January 28, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    “How about you other posters:
    Would you pay $1,000/month for a 528 sq.ft. unit with no car parking? How about $2K for a 982 sq.ft. apt with no car parking?
    I say “no” to both.”

    I’m betting there aren’t 20 people on this website who would pay $1000/month for one of these small units with no car parking. And those reading this website are the only potential market for these units.

    But, please, prove me wrong: Speak up and let the developer know you will be over to rent a unit. Go ahead – your turn.

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  • Trek 3900 January 28, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Concerning the rendering of building shown above: The units in the middle (of what appears to be the long wall) have a lot of glass to let in sun and warmth which is extremely desirable in the PNW. BUT the units on either side of the center appear to have small windows and thus may be dark and less desirable.

    To the developer: locate the building so the long wall runs east/west. This way at least one side of the building will have more light and warmth. To maximize these desirable traits, consider making the building only one unit deep in the north/south direction, with few windows facing north (north side of building can contain access corridors/elevators/utility rooms). That way every unit will have south facing glass! 🙂 Insulate the north walls heavily. Provide shading devices for the windows to keep sun off the south glass during June, July, and August: shading device might be the balcony above, or a stainless or aluminum parallel blade damper (operable type would be awesome), etc. Consider interior insulated window coverings for winter when it’s cloudy and cold. Hinged “insulated shutter” type would be one of many ideas.

    With this arrangement, good summer ventilation and cooling can be obtained merely by placing a box fan (or 2) in a south facing window at night and pulling air through the small north facing windows. Will work best if the south window is high so hottest air goes out first. If north side of building is corridor access, then would need a shaft from each unit over the corridor to the north exterior wall – say with a screen/louver at exterior and with screened operable window in each unit. Keep area generous – box fans don’t have a lot of static pressure.

    I’m guessing that with a high percentage of glass in the south walls you can get the heating requirements of most or all of these units down to zero on sunny days. I’m thinking minimum 50% – may need a code variance. Hire a mechanical engineer to study best glass/insulation arrangement for best energy efficiency.

    A good intro to the calculations can be found in “The Passive Solar House” by James Kachadorian. Get the hardback -it’s awesome.

    Provide balcony railings that allow the sun in but do not allow pets or other objects to easily go thru – wire mesh of some type?

    I was thinking rooftop sunbathing area would be good but no need – with design outlined above each unit IS a sunbathing area. NOW you can increase the rental rates. 😉 Highly recommend car parking for each unit.

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  • esther c January 29, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    And why does every new construction not have solar panels on top?

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