Willamette Greenway trail link might wait decades if Tesla plan goes through

Posted by on May 4th, 2016 at 2:54 pm

(Image: Bob Cronk via South Waterfront Facebook group)

Half a mile south of the lonely riverside trail segment derided recently by The Oregonian as a “pathway to nowhere,” the city could miss a chance at a key connection.

Last week, Tesla Motors filed an application to convert an old metal-parts warehouse between Macadam Avenue and the Willamette River into an auto showroom.

But for people who would like to see a continuous riverside trail here, there’s bad news: a special section of city code exempts projects in the South Waterfront from having to connect greenway trail segments on their property unless they’re adding at least 50,000 square feet of new floor space. Because Tesla only plans to remodel the warehouse, not expand it, the unused space behind its shop wouldn’t have to redevelop.

The result is easy to see on Google Maps:

Here’s an overhead view of the area with satellite imagery. The vacant area between The Ardea and the Old Spaghetti Factory is currently owned by a development firm, so the “pathway to nowhere” at the north edge of the site could become continuous soon, except for the Tesla segment.

And here’s what you currently see when you’re biking northbound on the Willamette River Greenway from South Portland, immediately south of the would-be Tesla property:

This proposal has caught the attention of people who know the area well. One of them, Bob Cronk, posted the image at the top of this post on Facebook Tuesday, with the following message:

Tesla should complete their share of the Willamette Greenway Trail!

Tesla is remodeling a warehouse in South Waterfront. Their plans do not include completing their portion of the river path also known as the Willamette Greenway Trail. If you would like to see this trail completed, email Jeff Mitchem at Land Use Services at jeffrey.mitchem@portlandoregon.gov (case file number LU 16-116605 DZ) by May 20th and let him know you want this gap in the trail completed! Each new project in the neighborhood needs to fill in their portion so we will someday have a continuous trail along the river.

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But absent some change in the rules, it doesn’t look as if the city can require Tesla to do this. Amid the various Facebook users expressing support for Cronk’s proposal, Cronk posted a reply he received from Mitchem:

You have all emailed me regarding the Tesla proposal (4330 SW Macadam Ave) and Greenway Trail requirements. First, please accept my apologies for not replying to each of you individually, but I’m sure you understand my need for efficient communication during these very busy times. If the following does not adequately address your concern or you seek information about process, please don’t hesitate to call or reply.

Unfortunately, Staff cannot require the Applicant complete the path segment with this proposal as they are not increasing floor area which is the trigger for compliance with approval criteria related to accessway connections/improvements (see relevant code citation below.) However, I have advised that they do so voluntarily (we’ll see how far that gets us.) As for what Staff can do in this Type II Land Use Review, we are limited to reviewing the scope of work as proposed vis-à-vis the applicable standards and guidelines (33.258 Non-conforming upgrades and 33.510.253 Greenway Overlay, Central City Fundamental and South Waterfront Design Guidelines). Please know that I will do everything in my discretionary review powers to ensure this project meets the applicable approval criteria.

FYI, I’ve attached Stipulated Agreement which is the legal mechanism for allowing the gravel area to remain as accessory parking for Tesla for the term of the lease (including options).

And, here’s a quick summary of the relevant Portland Zoning Code sections:

233.440.240 refers to 33.272 which specifies when trails must be constructed. Section 33.272.030.C states that sites in the South Waterfront subdistrict must comply with the regulations of Section 33.510.253. The regulations of that section specify when recreational trails must be constructed within the South Waterfront subdistrict.

33.510.253.D.3 states: Trail and pedestrian connections and public viewpoints. When development on a site, or alterations to structures, the site, or rights-of-way are made which add more than 50,000 square feet of floor area to the site, the applicant must provide public access easements that will accommodate a trail, pedestrian connections that meet the standards of Paragraph e.5.d., Trail and pedestrian connections; and Paragraph E.5.e., Public viewpoints. The square footage added to the site is calculated based on the total amount added, regardless of the amount demolished;

Thank you.

Jeff Mitchem, AICP, urban design planner

This situation has strong echoes of a story from across the river — as it happens, one of BikePortland’s first big stories, broken 10 years ago last month. The recreational vehicle firm SK Northwest moved to block a link of the Springwater Corridor through their property. That resulted in a years-long legal battle but (as yet) no trail connection.

Unfortunately for Cronk, the code does seem clear in this case: it looks as if the city can’t require Tesla or anyone else affiliated with the site to pay for this short trail segment unless they redevelop it more substantially.

That said, it’s not too hard to imagine that there might be another option here. With this tiny segment of trail in play for what might be the last time in decades, the city or some other agency might scramble to find cash to help build it. And Tesla (which almost certainly hasn’t noticed the context of this trail segment) might actually be interested in having a first-rate trail connection running between its showroom and the river, if someone took the time to approach them.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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89 Comments
  • Avatar
    David May 4, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    …so how do we approach them?

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    joe adamski May 4, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    From a city that regards trails as an important feature, Tesla NOT completing the trail segment could well be a PR fail, and generate a fair amount of backlash. For a company that wants to be regarded for its environmental contribution vis a vis its product line, the inconsistency would be never forgotten. Tesla- do the right thing!

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      kittens May 5, 2016 at 3:02 am

      Ha! as if they actually care. It’s all just greenwashing.

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        Gary B May 5, 2016 at 9:54 am

        Well, perhaps, but in this case to greenwash would yield us a trail we need. We don’t need them to legitimately care.

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        soren May 5, 2016 at 12:10 pm

        Elon Musk:

        “If we don’t find a solution to burning oil for transport, when we then run out of oil, the economy will collapse and society will come to an end,” Musk said this week during a conversation with astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson.

        “If we know we have to get off oil no matter what, we know that is an inescapable outcome, why run this crazy experiment of changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere and oceans by adding enormous amounts of CO2 that have been buried since the Precambrian Era?” he added. “That’s crazy. That’s the dumbest experiment in history, by far.”

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        was carless May 5, 2016 at 9:35 pm

        Musk probably cares more than you – he founded three billion dollar companies to help change the world: Tesla, Solar City, and SpaceX.

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          Matt S. May 12, 2016 at 11:48 am

          Boooyaa!!

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    Chris I May 4, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Bypass the city and contact Tesla directly on social media. I’d say we have a better chance via that route. Tesla wants to keep a “green” image.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. May 4, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Disappointing that an auto manufacturer would choose to open up a car showroom in Portland’s most car-lite neighborhood. Though Tesla does not strike me as a very forward-thinking company…

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      q May 4, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      Why? Isn’t it better for many reasons that it be close-in, than out further?

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      was carless May 5, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      “Though Tesla does not strike me as a very forward-thinking company…”

      You’re kidding.

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      Matt S. May 12, 2016 at 11:49 am

      It’s where the rich are…

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    bikeninja May 4, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    My guess is that they will not complete the trail so they can have space for a sloped ramp to the river so that if from time to time a Tesla catches on fire they can push it in to the water to put it out.

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    Granpa May 4, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Tesla is a company that has shown they “do the right thing”. They build in America. They produce zero exhaust cars. They have changed the image of electric cars from dorky to cool. The are building a showroom and they want access and visibility. I will buy a case of beer if I am wrong, but I think they will put the trail in without being forced too by Portland’s bureaucracy.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. May 4, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      At the end of the day, they are still selling single-occupancy vehicles that impose massive environmental impacts. Burning coal to power the cars, harvesting rare earth metals to build the batteries, etc. Studies show that people drive electric cars more than ICE cars, so that makes them more deadly to people walking and cycling. They don’t solve any land-use problems, as they still take up just as much space and still need to be parked somewhere.

      Any company that envisions a future where everyone is still driving cars is not forward-thinking in my eyes.

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        Granpa May 4, 2016 at 4:16 pm

        The genie is out of the bottle regarding cars and there is no putting it back. Tesla is moving the world, as it is, in a better direction. I doubt that Tesla envisions a world where EVERYONE drives a single occupancy vehicle, but society’s current structure, the housing model, the transportation model, the economy hold the car as a significant component. Pretending otherwise is delusional. Moving away from cars is good, but there is no breaker switch that can convert the structure of society to a car free utopia.

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        Andrew K May 4, 2016 at 10:22 pm

        Are you aware that Tesla, along with their partner MobilEye, have deployed advanced collision avoidance to the current fleet of Teslas? They are also continuing to develop a sensor and software suite for fully autonomous cars.

        Also, rare earth metals. Tesla has chosen to avoid using rare earth minerals because of their cost and environmental damage. Unless you were talking about lithium? In which case… The car require very little and the lithium cycle is a closed resource loop unlike say, oil.

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          was carless May 5, 2016 at 9:42 pm

          Also, lithium is the 3rd most abundant element in the known universe.

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        wsbob May 4, 2016 at 10:46 pm

        “…they are still selling single-occupancy vehicles…” adam h

        Tesla sells sedans that from what I’ve seen of them, seat at least two people, maybe four or five. At times, the person driving the cars is the only occupant, they could be rightly regarded as single occupancy vehicles.

        I’ll be interested in hearing any response from Tesla officials they may be willing to offer, in regards to requests made of the company to participate in making way for the Greenway Trail segment across their waterfront property. Tesla is a very forward thinking company, smart people, ahead of the game as far as successfully putting an innovative electric car on the market.

        Supporting the completion of this trail segment would be a great opportunity for the company to show its recognition of the value of cleaner transportation modes of travel extends beyond the electric cars it produces and sells. Tesla cars cost a small fortune. For what the cars cost, the company ought to consider producing, and throwing in an e-bike or two on the purchase of a car, to interested prospective owners. Creating the trail segment, would make even more sense in that respect; a suitable off-street paved trail for people to test ride the bikes.

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        Dan A May 5, 2016 at 8:17 am

        I rode a single-occupancy vehicle in today.

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        Mike 2 May 5, 2016 at 9:32 am

        In your eyes.

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        soren May 5, 2016 at 12:37 pm

        that impose massive environmental impacts

        EVs only impose a significant impact if they are charged with fossil fuels. I own an EV that is charged with 99% renewable energy credits and gets a mpg(e) in the the low thousands (due to my vegan diet i get a high~300 mpge when cycling). Because driving my EV unequivocally generates less CO2e than cycling, one of my internal debates is whether I should drive more*. I should also note that my EV is not a single occupancy vehicle and is almost exclusively used to replace someone else’s ICE vehicle miles.

        *the health and safety benefits of cycling are my primary ethical justification for choosing to ride vs drive.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. May 5, 2016 at 12:47 pm

          How does your EV solve the problem of wasteful land use, parking demand, highway expansion demand, enabling aggressive driving, vulnerable road user deaths, etc.? EV’s only solve a small fraction of the problems that cars cause. The fact that people and the media seem to be treating them as a panacea is worrisome.

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            soren May 5, 2016 at 2:13 pm

            adam, i personally have no need for motorized transport in portland (including ICE mass transit). i bought a used EV for a variety of reasons, but the main ones were to replace trips in a car owned by someone else and to serve as a symbol of substantial incremental progress.

            imo, the main reason motorized vehicles are so bulky and deadly is because people drive them. i also believe that as people drive less, the distinction between EVs and human-powered transport will shrink. imo, people who cycle should be looking at EV owners as natural allies, not as the enemy.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. May 5, 2016 at 2:36 pm

              I have no doubt that you personally operate your vehicle responsibly and safely, but understand this is not the norm. EV’s enable people already addicted to car transport to continue their unhealthy addiction and feel better about themselves, thus fueling more addiction. It’s hard for me to see the j3rk yelling at me from his Tesla window to get off his road as an ally.

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                q May 5, 2016 at 3:20 pm

                The typical EV driver does not operate safely or responsibly?

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                Mike 2 May 6, 2016 at 8:09 am

                According to Adam, most drivers do not operate vehicles safely or responsibly. People buy electric vehicles to feel smug, and we are all addicts too. It’s amazing there are not more automobile accidents, this being the case.

                Such violent language.

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            mo May 7, 2016 at 8:34 am

            Watch Tony Seba talk about the future of EV/Solar and autonomous cars. They are part and parcel of a total improvement that together address your concerns as best we will be able for the near future.

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        Anna Gadsby June 5, 2016 at 10:24 pm

        Yeah, too many cars driving around with one able bodied person in them. Big thanks to all who already shed the car. But some people still need cars: grandmothers handling 2 small kids (me) or transporting very elderly people (also me), so cars are not going away entirely..but I’d like an electric one, and I’m thrilled that Tesla wants to build a showroom here and re-purpose a building too. I’m sure they’ll be happy to connect the path voluntarily.
        So email, tweet, get their attention!!
        Hey there, Elon!

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      rick May 4, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      As if Portland steps in to preserve what might be the most important trail in the SW Hills neighborhood?

      https://www.facebook.com/SwTrailsPortland/posts/826020877508691

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    axoplasm May 4, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    This does seem like a no-brainer for Tesla, but who knows?

    There’s a selfish part of me that wants to keep the Willamette trail twisty, narrow & disjointed. It’s way more chill to ride on than the Springwater trail across the river. I remember having to ride on the trolley tracks & through parking lots in several spots here…um…10 years ago? This segment is kind of the last of that.

    But with all the new development along Landing Dr, and connections to the Sellwood bridge arriving soon, my twisty little trail will see more traffic.

    Speaking of trolley tracks, what’s happening to the Lake O Trolley ROW?

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      Oliver May 4, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      I think about this from time to time.

      Given the state of the Springwater, there’s a significantly less than 0% chance that ROW sees anything resembling an MUP in our lifetime.

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        rick May 4, 2016 at 6:15 pm

        Why would there be tons of crime on the Willamette Shore trail?

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          Granpa May 5, 2016 at 7:50 am

          I don’t know how crime could be measured by weight, but the reason that residents in Dunthorp would be justified in anticipating a significant rise in crime if the trolley trail became a bike route is because the Springwater Trail has provided the example.

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    Eric Leifsdad May 4, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Is this pavement going to cost more than the profit margin on one car? Whatever: If they don’t want to and the rules say they don’t have to, how long will it take to fund this on kickstarter, really?

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    bikeninja May 4, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Electric cars ( Tesla or others) are a bit better than old fashioned fossil fuel cars in small doses. They frontload much more of the climate and energy impact in the form of the huge batteries which are energy and resource intense. A small quantity of them could be fueled in off peak hours and effectively used as storage for wind or solar based grid system. In large quantities they would force us to enlarge the grid and put in more gas, or coal powered generation plants. If we replaced our current fleet of gas guzzlers ( approx 250 million in the U.S.) with electric cars it would not save us from Climate change and in fact would increase emissions in the near term if we changed over rapidly. Not to mention they have the same impact on traffic, urban design, parking and bike and pedestrian safety as petro burners. There is no way they can be considered sustainable the same way that bikes can.

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    J4son May 4, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    This will be an interesting test of Tesla’s commitment to the environment.

    However, when I look at the aerial photos which display a number of parking lots on other parcels, I have to wonder how in the world any development (including parking lot pavement) is allowed that CLOSE TO A FLOOD ZONE??

    FEMA highly restricts development (defined as any earth movement; even for parking lots) in the “floodway”. Many of the parking lots in the aerial appear to be really close to the visual floodway (obviously the official “floodway” is defined vertically, and maybe the river bank is very steep).

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    Roland Klasen May 4, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    It would be nice if they complete this little section of the trail but then you’d hit another dead end after just a few hundred feet. I used to commute through there on my way home but now I cross the new Sellwood bridge and take the Springwater north, it’s much nicer.

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      maccoinnich May 4, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      That dead end won’t be forever. The gap between the trail at the Old Spaghetti factory and the recently built South Waterfront Greenway is all owned by one property owner. They currently have an active Land Division Review under consideration, with the following description:

      “PROPOSAL IS TO DIVIDE THE SITE INTO SIX LOTS, A GREENWAY TRACT AND DEDICATE PUBLIC STREETS. TYPE II ADJUSTMENT TO ALLOW ELEMENTS OF THE RIGHT-OF-WAY TO BE LOCATED WITHIN EASEMENT INSTEAD OF DEDICATED ROW.”

      Even in the best case scenario it will probably be quite some time before there is a continuous, uninterrupted trail all along the river. But it will never happen if all the little gaps aren’t filled in whenever there’s an opportunity.

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        rick May 4, 2016 at 6:03 pm

        What case file is that?

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          maccoinnich May 4, 2016 at 8:18 pm

          2015-176363-000-00-LU

          There doesn’t appear to have been any activity on it since November, but that’s not totally unusual.

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    Mike Sanders May 4, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    One could argue that putting in the trail thru the Tesla property would create an emergency exit from the building in case of fires, earthquake or other bugout situations. Besides that, allowing the trail to pass thru their lot would be good common sense. Ths is a long distance greenway trail that one day could run from Eugene to Kelly Point someday, if we play our cards right and everyone plays along nicely. There are other gaps along this route that still need to be linked together. If Tesla does the right thing, it could be a precedent for filling in the other missing pieces as well.

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    rick May 4, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Another slap in the face for SW Portland.

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      q May 4, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      Why?

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        rick May 5, 2016 at 7:44 am

        because of the situations like the SW Coronado pedestrian trail, getting rid of the public process for the mountain bike plans for the River View Natural Area, no pedestrian bridge on SW 25th over Fanno Creek despite the $40,000,000 Stephens Creek Crossing affordable housing project ¼ mile away, and ODOT’s slow plans to make Barbur Blvd safe.

        https://swtrails.org/right-of-way-on-sw-coronado/

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          q May 5, 2016 at 9:39 am

          Those are all other things in SW Portland. Why is this Tesla thing a slap in the face?

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            rick May 5, 2016 at 10:06 am

            For not respecting the safety needs of the neighborhood.

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              q May 5, 2016 at 11:04 am

              Nobody’s “not respecting the safety needs of the neighborhood”. Tesla isn’t arguing against doing anything that’s required. They just haven’t agreed to spend their own money on a public project on their land. They haven’t refused, either. And they don’t even have a building permit yet–this is all way early in the game.

              Plus, there are no “safety needs” involved yet. If Tesla went ahead and built the trail, all it would do is extend a dead end a bit further. The section of trail on their property is almost irrelevant until the trail is built on property to the north. And Tesla certainly hasn’t refused to build the trail on their land in the future.

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    Pdxraised May 4, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Please educate yourselves a bit. The tenant is not at fault here. Look at the landlord. You all need to do a bit more reading if you think Tesla would intentionally cause this issue.

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      q May 4, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      Please educate us–what do you mean by someone being “at fault”? Or “intentionally caus(ing) this issue?” All I see is that some people want to see the trail built on this parcel. The code doesn’t require it. So people are discussing how to convince Tesla to to build it voluntarily, and how to convince the City to either pay for it, or to help in convincing Tesla to build it.

      The landlord is not “at fault” either. There is no fault.

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    Bob Cronk May 4, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    I wrote Jeff about getting contact info for Tesla. He wrote this back in response:

    ——————
    Bob,

    I spoke with the local rep re volunteering to put in the trail. He was silent in response. I advise reaching out directly to Tesla:

    Jimmy Chapa | Design Manager | Retail Development
    | Tesla Motors Inc.
    45500 Fremont Blvd | Fremont, CA 94538
    P 510.946.4019 | F 650.681.5200 | Jchapa@teslamotors.com

    Good luck!
    ——————

    There you have it! Everyone, please reach out to Jimmy Chapa at Tesla and let him know how important this is to the community they are about to become a part of!

    Thanks,
    Bob

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    Mark McClure May 4, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Thank you, Michael, for reporting this story. On a recent walk from Sellwood to South Waterfront, I was curious about this segment of the trail system.

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    meh May 5, 2016 at 7:34 am

    So Tesla has made an “application” , which means they haven’t got approval, and yet Tesla is getting excoriated for

    1. Something they don’t have to do
    2. On something they aren’t approved to do

    Could we just wait and see if Tesla even gets approval and goes forward with the project before making them the bad guys?

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      Mike 2 May 5, 2016 at 9:41 am

      NEVER! They are a car company so therefore they are evil and need to be burned at the stake! And then rolled into the river?

      They are not forward thinking, despite all the advancements in they have brought to the safety, transportation and manufacturing world.

      They will always be the bad guys unless they begin to build 1. inexpensive, US made bicycles or 2. buses made of and powered by locally sourced mud.

      Elon Musk is the devil! A brilliant philanthropist devil incarnate!

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    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) May 5, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      In case this isn’t obvious, our post isn’t intended to excoriate Tesla at all. I think a couple of commenters have.

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        meh May 6, 2016 at 7:40 am

        In case it isn’t obvious I was commenting on the comments.

        Although the article does appear to want to stir up controversy in advance. Would it have been better to wait to see if Tesla even gets approval before calling into question the issue of the MUP at all??

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    Rob Nob May 5, 2016 at 8:52 am

    The permit is pretty limited to paint and signage. Not sure with how little they are changing it they should be required to complete the path, though it’d be a nice gesture from the company obviously.

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    Rob Nob May 5, 2016 at 8:57 am

    “No additional floor area is proposed. Exterior improvements are limited to signage, paint, new
    storefront, landscaping and accessibility accommodations.”

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    Paul May 5, 2016 at 10:56 am

    This sounds like great news. Tesla is exactly the kind of company who is likely to be receptive to expanding the trail. Just need to make the right people aware of it.

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    feralcow May 5, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    PDC could do an amendment to the South Waterfront URA to include this area and use some funds to add the trail, or at least give an incentive to Tesla or the property owner to do it.

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      maccoinnich May 5, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      The site is already in the URA, so it wouldn’t even need an amendment. Alternatively Parks could use a tiny portion of the $15 million in unallocated SDCs that they have.

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    Dave May 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Any I the only one who thinks that putting a car dealership and repair shop on the waterfront is just simply wrong? Bike trail or not, stick this think in a more appropriate location. Electric cars or not, let’s demand something better on waterfront property.

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    q May 5, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I partially agree. It’s not the ultimate best use of waterfront property. On the other hand, it’s a remodel of an existing one-story building. A fortune isn’t being spent on changes, so transitioning from its current use to this one doesn’t preclude it from later on transitioning to something better yet.

    In fact, if Tesla moved out in a few years, taking with it its auto-repair equipment and furnishings, the building might be close to move-in ready for some of those types of uses. If total redevelopment made sense then, it could also happen.

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    Skid May 5, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    How is the greenway not on an easement?

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    Justin May 6, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Very interesting. I ride this almost every day and I think that the bicycling infrastructure here is wonderful. Even where the bike path ends you find yourself on a nice quiet street with a bike lane and then in a few blocks you’re onto that nice new protected bike lane that goes up to the tillikum.

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    Adron @ Transit Sleuth May 6, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I get the take away, that Tesla SHOULD get clearance to renovate and locate there. Also I believe they’d be great partners, but they aren’t even at the point in which they can even do anything about it yet. So if someone is jumping the gun, probably rethinking and approaching with a “Hey Tesla/Elon Musk” come visit Portland and check out this one cool thing you could do to get MASSIVE brownie points with the whole entire city! The city would really love you for it and we’d all be your friends.

    We could launch a rocket from the Willamette or something too. A positive approach to this will go a long way further than ranting at Tesla about it in a negative light. 🙂

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    Tom May 6, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Lets see this as an opportunity to advise city leadership and alert Tesla to the opportunity perhaps Tesla and the city will be heroes rather than goats.

    There is also discussion of extending SW Moody to SW Harrison and making this area more congested and putting cars and bikes is a tight space. Opening the greenway would make it safer if this change happens

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    Bob Cronk May 7, 2016 at 7:33 am

    I wrote Fritz and the parks department. I got this response:

    Thank you for your email and bringing this issue to our attention. I have asked Parks Bureau staff to look into this and we will get back to you next week. Thank you.

    Warmly,

    Pooja Bhatt
    503-823-3229
    Policy Advisor
    Office of Commissioner Amanda Fritz

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    RobW May 9, 2016 at 11:22 am

    This is one of the easiest problems in the world to solve. Please put away the pitchforks.

    1. Tesla in this story is search engine journalism and Fox news-Buzzfeed material. Electric vehicle service and showroom would have been sufficient.

    2. The land is owned by a Portland real estate investor – they are the main player in the negotiations. Where do they fit into the social networks of influencers? What other properties do they own? What things do they want for their portfolio from BDS?

    3. What is the cost of connecting that trail? With and without city fees?

    4. The property pays >$40,000 a year in property tax to a mix of the City, Metro, County. Those taxes can go a long way in building the trail. Same with the PDC URD monies.

    5. What should be the property owner’s contribution, the tenant’s contribution, the City’s contribution proportions? It’s an amenity to each.

    6. The City, (County, Metro) purchase and/or lease electric vehicles. The Model 3 is similar in cost to EV’s already in the City fleet. An offer to buy some 3’s is a negotiating position.

    7. Musk’s other business, SolarCity, surely has business it can do with the City, County and Metro which could be used in negotiations.

    8. The City needs to move more aggressively to complete the West trail to the Sellwood bridge. Where is the complete plan with a timetable?

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      Dave May 9, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      6. The City, (County, Metro) purchase and/or lease electric vehicles. The Model 3 is similar in cost to EV’s already in the City fleet. An offer to buy some 3’s is a negotiating position.

      I guess now that 400,000 deposits for the Model 3 have been received, I’m pretty sure they need the city’s business.

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    Dale Crawford May 12, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Tesla is a player in this, but the land owner holds the keys/remote. What is minimally needed from the developer is an easement to allow the trail to be built on their property. This is an opportunity to get the land owners to the table via Tesla to discuss future plans and needs for the greenway. Minimally, the land owner would need to dedicate an easement to the city, Metro or 3rd party land trust (may be tax advantages for the land owner) for the trail to be built in the future. That should be a minimum outcome. However, positive pressure should be applied by the key city staff/officials, groups and citizens to get more out of this opportunity, such as also getting the set-aside funding for the trail’s construction or building it built. However, as was pointed out, this would just move the dead-end to the next property. I’ve been in the trail design/building business for nearly 30 years and dead ends, unless completion is inevitable and in the short-term, are a recipe for problems. It makes sense to me to go for the easement now, then build the trail when the next property develops so the ‘gap’ can be eliminated. Then throw a big party.

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    eddie May 13, 2016 at 3:10 am

    If all there is separating the two bike paths is a couple of hedges and a lawn, we bicyclists might be able to create our own path by repeatedly biking where the path ought to be. I don’t know if there’s going to be anything more than a hedge and a lawn…

    New Teslas cost about $80,000 to $120,000. These are fancy luxury cars for rich people. It’s nice they’re electric but they’re also out of the price range of perhaps 80% of the population.

    As has been pointed out, they can easily afford to throw the rest of us a bone and do their part to continue the bike path.

    If not, I say, cut through their lawn.

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    Bob Cronk June 3, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    UPDATE: Good news. Tesla has agreed to pave the pathway! Here is the email I received tonight:

    Hi Mr. Cronk,

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I am pleased to share that I’ve been informed that Tesla has agreed to pave the Greenway trail connection on the property. This will be documented in their land use application. Thank you for your advocacy.

    Pooja Bhatt
    503-823-3229
    Senior Policy Advisor
    Office of Commissioner Amanda Fritz

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    bonnie norman June 4, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Give Tesla some credit – when made aware of this issue, they responded in an ethical way. It wasn’t because of some big social media push or petitions or anything other than letting them know.

    I note many commenters assumed they wouldn’t do so without pressure. My experience has been that they always do the right thing. And did so, once again.

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