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Some high- and lowlights from the 3425 SE Hawthorne demolition, Oct 15th and 16th, 2015

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Top left:  Day 1 of demolition.  At this point,  a protester was on the roof, having climbed the Monkey Puzzle Tree, and the crew went around back and pulled the back porch off just to make a point (and possibly so the crew would actually get paid for something).

Top right:  Day 1 of demolition, across the street.  The woman in white and blue stripes with blonde hair was extremely entertained, asking others near her if Oregon often has protests over home demolitions.  She said she was from out of state and then expressed happiness that she could have “lunch and a show”.  I told her that was a terrible thing to say.  She did not enjoy hearing that.

Bottom right:  Day 2 of demolition, taking the front of the house.  By this point the back wall house is gone, they’ve been smashing windows. I saw no evidence of salvage.  As far as I know, all this debris went to a landfill.  They filled the red truck with debris by 2:45 PM.

Tanzamook: It’s like pink ribbons, but for high density* infill development.

It’s like pink ribbons, but for high density infill development.

Granted, that is also a wobbly comparison, but it has NPR practically oozing from its seams or pores, however you want to picture the beast that is infill.  This is how I’m parsing it.  So.

Irvington, despite being called a historic neighborhood (I know Irvington is not terribly uniform as such; bear with me), is not protected against incremental deposits of new construction in keeping with the Portland Plan.  This is much to the surprise and chagrin of some.  As such, newer developments have already happened in Irvington, including the development of housing at NE 11th and NE Tillamook.  Said development is lauded in a couple of articles I’ve read as being quite virtuous:  Efficient, wired for the future, and socially sustainable.

What’s that?

Apparently, within the context of the 11th and Tillamook development, aka “Tanzamook”, a portion of the proceeds of sales of said units will go to help schoolchildren in Tanzania, ostensibly by funding the construction of dormitories for schoolchildren, possibly girls.

So if you buy a unit at 11th and Tillamook, think less of it as living in a totally un-period and aesthetically dubious pocket of Irvington and more of it as doing a…do-good thing.

The obvious problem is, to me, that this is at least a little bit obfuscate-y, considering that the real issue is exploiting loopholes to develop against the character of the neighborhood, no matter how much you say you worked with your (immediate) neighbors.  Add to this the idea that a socially-responsible project to help people against significant obstacles halfway around the world seems slightly misplaced when the impacts and reverberations of decades of systematic redlining, discriminatory lending, and outright displacement happened almost next door to such a development.  I can’t tell the developer and the architect to stop having an emotional connection to Tanzania, but maybe…look closer to home if you really want to do socially-conscious development.  Repeatedly, I’ve read about a wish to re-settle Albina with some displaced black residents. How about that?

The Tanzamook story is already six or seven years old, so why bring it up now?  Because as we’ve seen in the interim, these developments are becoming more numerous.  As we also saw with the trouncing of the proposed Trader Joe’s in NE PDX, there was a pushback from the black community then and also with the subsequent development of Natural Grocers, which would provide fresh groceries at affordable prices (food desert problem solution?), but would possibly not use the land to re-settle displaced individuals.

There are plenty of vacant lots in NE PDX where the damage to the look of the neighborhood is done.  There are plenty of people needing good housing minus exclusionary prices.  Sounds like a good opportunity for developers and locals to me, but what does one blogging complainer know?

NOTE:  This was written when I knew a lot less about the infill situation in Portland.

Displacement study from 2013

The City of Portland issued this study on the effects of gentrification and displacement.  By now, this data will be out of date.

Displacement study

Seattle-Ballard reporting in: The Density Debate

I was searching for actual data on the real impact of high density and infill development, because while income inequality and demolition angers me to no end, this is really still a blog about density…right?

So it is with much enthusiasm that I read this.  I didn’t know Seattle had a displacement *coalition*.  I must see if Portland does.  We sure need one.

The Density Debate

Airbnb: Yet another threat to affordable rents in the city of roses, bridges and stumps

I never considered this before, but it has come to my attention that it’s already practice to (illegally) rent out apartments to Airbnb clients.

Well great.  And Portland is apparently welcoming such business with open arms.

http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-22785-city_for_rent.html

Inclusionary development as a terrible millstone? According to this Oregonian op ed, anyway.

This is fresh.  As of *today*.  This runs counter to most things I assume to be true about inclusionary zoning, and it’s so new I’m still reading it, but it seems to like to play devil’s advocate.

Having said that, I have read that even the definition of “affordable” can be arbitrary when the topic of affordable housing comes up, and I have also seen in some documentaries and read in recent articles that the reaction to mixing social strata in close proximity is discomfort and resentment.  Make of that what you will.

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/05/builders_are_right_to_fear_inc.html#incart_river

Slowing the cubification of Portlandia: Some good news on the demolition rules

I felt pretty vindicated when I read that it wasn’t just me who thought the demolitions were a bit too frequent in these parts.  Turns out so many people thought this for various reasons (neighbors, preservationists, etc.) that it was put to a vote recently.

http://restoreoregon.org/democode/

That is a great move.  I remember a time when I thought, “Yeah!  High density is the only way to solve sprawl!”  Unfortunately, it has done nothing created but a speculation frenzy that leaves the unmonied behind and with no choice but to move.  This is my usual rant, so I’ll cut it short.  The news speaks for itself. 🙂

Imbalance of power, retro edition: Urban renewal in SW Washington, D.C.

Trying to get a better idea of what mid-century people were thinking, pushing forward with urban renewal projects that demolished thousands houses and displaced hundreds of thousands of low-income people, I’ve been watching documentaries online.  Today’s documentary goes a little bit into what happens when an area is declared a slum and cleared, when promises to the displaced are broken.  Whether it’s clearing a neighborhood for a freeway, a mall, an arena, or bulldozing individual houses so you can pack as many people in as possible, the power is never with the individuals, and for some reason governments are too inefficient to help.  This pains me to say; I would love to see helpful and effective government agencies, but they are often conspicuously absent from these stories.

Oregonian article on renters getting pushed out…again.

This article pretty well encapsulates the dread I feel living relatively close-in east side.  I’ve been saying for a few years now that we’d be priced out if we had to move, and that day seems to be coming sooner than later.  I just hope I’m wrong.

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/03/affordable_housing_no_recourse.html

The old-blog preface to this said, “People know about this.  People are writing articles about this.  No actual slowing of the development in close-in Portland is visible to the naked eye.  Why???”

Link: Hoyt Street Properties fails to deliver enough affordable housing under Portland’s Pearl District development deal

I must say that I was surprised to hear there was any affordable housing in the Pearl District; I’d like to know where any of it would be.  It’s just block after block of sticker shock as far as the eye can see whenever I’m there.  Granted, this is seldom because the shops and expensive restaurants do not draw me to that area, but if I go there, the people who clearly live there do not appear to be utilizing any affordable units that may actually exist.

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/08/hoyt_street_properties_fails_t.html

This is a link from my old blog, at which time I commented this as a preface to the post.  “Instant scoff 18 years later.  We all know how *that* one turned out, right?  Right?”