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.
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.