Planning Commission finds ‘missing middle,’ votes for more housing citywide

A 1905 duplex on SE 33rd Avenue in Portland. Like many other cities, Portland made these illegal on most lots in the mid 20th century. Photo by Portland for Everyone.

“What do the neighbors have to be afraid of? It’s buildings, people or cars.”
— Chris Smith, Planning Commissioner

An earlier version of this post was published by the Sightline Institute. It’s by BikePortland’s former news editor, Michael Andersen, who started covering the need for “missing middle” housing — especially in Portland’s most bikeable neighborhoods — for us in 2015. We last covered this issue in May, just before the crucial public hearings described here.

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The most provocative housing policy event of this week in the Pacific Northwest started happening four months ago.

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‘Portlanders for Central City Bikeways’ Facebook group will help advocates network online

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
centralcitygroup

Screen grab from the Facebook group.

Facebook is the most important organizing tool in the world right now — look at its success for everyone from Portland Tenants United to the president of Turkey — so it’s nice to see pro-biking volunteers putting it to strategic use.

As Portland gets ready to roll out a long-awaited network of protected bike lanes in its central city, there’s a new Facebook group for people in favor of biking improvements there.

Portlanders for Central City Bikeways was created Monday by Kiel Johnson, owner of the Go By Bike shop and valet in the South Waterfront. Here’s how he described his vision for the group in his first post:

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Would-be fuel exporters offer annual payment that might fund transportation projects

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Going bike boulevard at MLK Jr. Blvd-7

Brought to you by… Pembina?
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Though it’s not likely to appease many Portlanders fighting to block the deal, there’s a chance that the construction of a propane export terminal in Portland could result in money for local biking improvements.

The opportunity arises as part of an offer from Pembina, the Calgary-based extraction company that needs city approval to run its pipeline through an environmental preservation zone on the way to the Port. Pembina has agreed that if its facility is built, it will among other things pay $6.2 million annually into a new “Portland Carbon Fund.”

According to the city, “the fund will be used for projects that reduce energy consumption, generate renewable energy and sequester carbon.”

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City planning commission seeks young member for two-year term

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The City of Portland is looking for a person under age 25 to be a voting member of its prestigious Planning and Sustainability Commission.

Here’s an email from city staffer Susan Anderson:

The City of Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) currently has a vacancy, and we are looking to fill it with a younger member of the community. While PSC terms are usually four years, this youth position (18-25 year old applicants) is designated as a 2-year term, but will have all the same responsibilities and opportunities as other PSC members.

Applications, as for all City commissions, will go through the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. Applications will be reviewed by BPS and Mayor’s office staff. A final selection and appointment will be made by the Mayor.

You can read more about the appointment process in this PDF circulated by the city.

Willamette Greenway Trail heads to Planning Commission

npGreenway Trail community meeting

Metro trail planner Mel Huie and
npGreenway core member Pam
Arden at a 2007 meeting.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Tonight, the Portland Planning Commission — a nine-member body appointed by the Mayor that advises the city on all planning issues — will hold a public hearing for the “North Reach” phase of Portland’s River Plan.

The River Plan is a massive planning project for all land along the Willamette River in Portland.

Buried among the many volumes and reams of pages in the North Reach section of the plan is language that would help establish easements and official policy for the northern section of the Willamette River Greenway Trail (which currently ends at the Steel Bridge).

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Former BTA Director will take seat on Planning Commission

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Catherine Ciarlo.
(Photo courtesy Catherine Ciarlo)

This Wednesday, City Council will appoint two new members to the Portland Planning Commission. One of those seats will go to former Executive Director of the Bicycle Transporation Alliance, Catherine Ciarlo.

Ciarlo — who is also on the board of the Coalition for a Livable Future Cycle Oregon — led the BTA from 1998-2005 and is now the Executive Director of Oregon Women Lawyers (she has a law degree from Lewis and Clark College).

In an email this morning, Ciarlo said she’s “honored” for the opportunity,

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