Weekly Roundup: RiverPlace Redevelopment, Byline, Lloyd Center, and more

The latest proposal for the RiverPlace Redevelopments includes more publicly accessible open space at street level.

Plans for the RiverPlace Redevelopment continue to evolve, writes the Daily Journal of Commerce. The eight acre site could include up to six high buildings, with offices, a hotel, senior living units, apartments and condominiums.

Three years after it was approved by the Design Commission, the lender pulled the plug on the Byline development at the Lloyd Cinemas parking lot—and demanded $36 million back, reports the Oregonian.

Willamette Week wondered whether the Lloyd Center will last another Christmas. Plans for the Lloyd West Anchor Redevelopment and East Anchor Redevelopment, which would replace the former Nordstrom and Sears spaces respectively, have yet to start construction.

The December issue of the Northwest Examiner wrote about the Unicorn Bed Apartments, an apartment development designed for single mothers, and new plans for the Northwest Children’s Theater on the site where the Modera Nicolai had previously been proposed.

Willamette Week reports that City Council will this week consider an ordinance that amends the definition of “retailer” so that it no longer includes businesses such as general contractors, who would otherwise be subject to the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Initiative.

The Planning and Sustainability Commission is proposing that Portland’s new Citywide Design Guidelines include language that encourages buildings to provide space to “rest and be welcome”—which could be interpreted to mean sleeping and pitching tents.

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11 thoughts on “Weekly Roundup: RiverPlace Redevelopment, Byline, Lloyd Center, and more

  1. Trevor, you aren’t the first person in this town that to find that poor people make a perfect foil when things go south. What’s your solution, if I may ask?

  2. Thanks Trevor, that could be the tipping point that wakes people up to the crazy insane ideals coming from our community leaders . . . more tents, garbage, crime and drugs in font of New Developments . . .

  3. While I don’t agree with Trevor’s tone, I don’t think he’s targeting the poor, but rather the idea of tent camping.

    Ultimately, I think there are a few problems with Ms. Magnera’s position:

    1) It’s an incredible example of government overreach on private property. I would be very surprised if it wasn’t challenged immediately. I’m not a lawyer, nor have any experience with public use litigation, but wouldn’t the 5th amendment apply (takings cause) in this case?

    2) The idea of this ordinance was to streamline the design process. The language of “rest and be welcome” is incredibly vague, and does the opposite of that and discourage development of more units (where we have the affordable housing requirement enacted by the city council).

    3) I think the long term goal here is to provide affordable housing and supportive housing for our neediest citizens and discourage tent camping as there are so many risks/dangers with long term outdoor camping.

    In general, I think in order to manage a growing city we need to be consistent in our plans and policies in terms of what we want to encourage. I’d prefer more to build more mixed income development, as it creates more vibrant communities and allows us to learn from each other. Whatever we do in terms of development, for the love of god, let’s make it beautiful!

  4. Shimran: If you read the article, you’ll find that the only language proposed was “rest and be welcome”. Tents were mentioned in the discussion, but not proposed in the adopted language. These are Design Guidelines, and only apply where Design Review is used. There is certainly a point that could be made about Design Guidelines being overreach on private property. But what about zoning codes? Building codes? Since the only thing proposed was the Guideline (not requirement) that spaces on a private site that are open to the public, allow for people to “rest and be welcome”.

    The current Community Design Guidelines, which these new Guidelines will replace, have similar language, which has been in place for 20 years: “New large scale projects should provide comfortable places along pedestrian circulation routes where people may STOP, VISIT, MEET, AND REST.” (capitals added). So the new language is hardly groundbreaking, although the attendant discussion may be.

    I think you’ll find that all of the Design Guidelines are fairly vague, which is why I support the option of “Clear and Objective” standards, that a builder can choose instead. This option is required to be available outside of Central City and Gateway by state ordinance.

    • @Doug. I did read the article. Here is the paragraphs in the article I was referring to:

      “Magnera, who works as the director of climate and energy policy at Verde, a Northeast Portland environmental justice nonprofit, stopped the conversation and pushed to add the words “rest and be welcome” to that guideline. She explained that public spaces around buildings often include “benches but not a lot of place to pitch a tent.”

      “Sitting is brief,” she said, “but the reality of the housing shortage is, folks need to rest on a longer-term scale.””

      The article goes on to mention that suggest that there is a debate about the language “requiring developers to include design features that would promote camping”. Perhaps the article’s presentation isn’t the best, and unnecessary correlating the Magnera’s words of allowing tents in with the adopted language. If they are not related, then I am happy to withdraw my earlier comment. I don’t find the proposed words in the guideline inherently unreasonable at all, but the subsequent quote and reasoning from Magnera is problematic and I hope you see how it could lead to a legal challenge regarding government overreach in terms of long-term resting.

      As far as zoning codes/building codes, I am not a lawyer, but the ideas of what constitutes “takings” has evolved and been specified over the years. My understanding is that takings does not preclude the idea of zoning or general government regulation but do require a demonstration of public benefit and/or just compensation…which are also vague. You can make arguments for environmental, planning, even architectural (as in the Grand Central case). As you can imagine, this has been litigated over and over and is ultimately a fine balance.

      Once again, speak to someone who specializes in this (Jerold Kayden seems to be the premier authority on this, especially in the realm of Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) as this guideline is referring to), but I think you intuitively understand what I am getting at. I find POPS to be extremely problematic for so many reasons, and I am sure there will be fights in the future between cities and these spaces based on what city mandates require and what a private owner will want to allow in these public spaces.

      Regardless, I appreciate your deep knowledge information and context (am I speaking to Doug Klotz, by the way?–this level of detail is pretty typical of him.)!

  5. Shimran:
    I was at that PSC session, and the articles are fairly accurate. (And your other guess is accurate as well) Magnera is well-intentioned, and pushing the boundaries of what the Commission is comfortable with, as she has every right to do. And she got some push back from some of the other Commissioners. There are checks in the system before further language gets adopted, and the staff will be, I’m sure, advising the Commission at their next meeting, to the extent that it goes into explanations beyond the three-word change in that guideline, which is innocuous enough. Agreed that the POPS are always problematic in execution.

  6. Please remove the now defunct reference to redeveloping 1710 NE Multnomah for three hotels. A hearing is scheduled on December 19 to renovate the 168 Residence Inn extended stay suites as apartments. The proposal to replace those units with three boutique hotels is no longer in play.

    • I don’t remove old content from the site, even when a project is no longer going ahead. There are many many proposals that have been written about that have not moved forward. The proposal for the 3 hotels is shown on the development map as “Inactive”. http://www.nextportland.com/map/

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