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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.


Hemorrhaging historic housing on Hawthorne

I stopped blogging because I couldn’t keep up with the demolitions; I neither had time to visit the sites nor the brain energy to face the depressing downslide of affordability coupled with the skyrocketing rents and property values.   In August, I heard that the foursquare-style house on SE Hawthorne Blvd just east of 34th was going to be demolished.  This is right by where I live.  There was an initial protest, but then nothing happened and nothing kept happening till yesterday.  I will post a few pictures from yesterday and today with descriptions.

The Portland-style remodel*

So thanks to the Portland Chronicle, which I heard about on Stop Demolishing Portland, I found a demolition list for Portland.  You can see the date the permits are issued and assuming they’re in compliance with the law, they have to wait x number of days.  I think x currently equals 35?  The demolition permit on this house was issued before the new law, so they were able to start picking it apart earlier.

In late April, I first walked by intending to document the process.  Sit back and enjoy, because allegedly this is a remodel, not a full demolition.

3772 SE Taylor

3772 SE Taylor

photo 2(8)

The broken front window.

The tree and some spare bits?

The tree and some spare bits?

First week in May:  No major changes.

Week of May 3rd, 2015.

Week of May 3rd, 2015.

I was out of town and missed some developments, including a lot of debris being let down into the living room.  Someone I know got pictures, but sadly, they’re not mine to share.  This is from the next time I saw the house.

The roof is raised.  Razed.

The roof is raised. Razed.

My comment when I posted this picture to Facebook was, “This is…novel.”  It definitely was coming apart slower than other demolitions I had seen.  Were they trying to abate toxic substances?  Were they salvaging anything

photo 3(5) photo 1(9)

And fast forward to May 28, 2015.

Nothing but the foundation.

Nothing but the foundation.

This counts as a remodel, people!  The house is *gone*.

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.

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

This just in: Short film on density –

Very pleased to see this today.

I’m still watching it.  More later.

RIP House:  2808 SE Belmont

I drew this February 10th and I’m not sure why it’s not in archived posts.  The lot has been split in two , apparently.  At least the new units aren’t big cubes, but the echo of old styles, just built quickly and with lesser materials. The old house was “nice”; I wonder if any of it was salvaged.

According to the notes scrawled on the page, this may have initially been the house of one E. W. Ring.  According to , it was built in 1908, making it 104 at the time it was razed.  I have no idea why it was sold.  It was a huge house.  I doubt that splitting the lot and making two smaller houses actually surpasses the number of people who could live there, and my understanding of tree replacement would mean a LOT of trees must be planted to offset the loss of those old trees.

I am bad at trees, so here’s the old Street View:  Click here

Too little too late? City of Portland just now considering how it manages infill development?

Very recent development.  Does the study equal a moratorium?  Judge for yourself.

Stemming the flow of character and solid construction?

This is from February, but relevant nonetheless.

So there’s a pledge to look into things, but the measures will be slow, and demolition is happening now.  Hmm.

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.

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. 🙂