Home Back Issues February 2014 Apartment boom

Apartment boom

| Print |  Email
Articles - February 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Article Index
Apartment boom
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5

 

For parts of the city that have languished over the years, this new wave of construction is truly revitalizing. It’s converting vacant eyesore properties into modern buildings packed with people and the kinds of retail — niche restaurants and bars, for example — that draw not only residents but also folks from across the city and even out of town. Over time, these more desirable areas also help drive up property values.

But not everyone is enthusiastic about the dramatic changes. As new building brings energy into these communities, it also ruffles feathers and triggers side effects that influence the areas’ transformations in ways that not everyone is excited about. Traditional gentrification issues have cropped up in North Portland, as longtime residents, many of them African Americans in traditionally black neighborhoods, find themselves squeezed out by higher housing costs — and other people who can afford to pay them. 

While infill projects like those along Division meet the city’s goals for density, their size, lack of parking — something the city didn’t require for such buildings until last year — and overall impact on an area almost always upsets neighbors from the start.

0214 APT3
The Freedom Center, a 150-unit complex in
Northwest Portland // by Adam Bacher

Jeff Myhre, president of Myhre Group Architects in Portland, says such issues exemplify the city’s “identity crisis.” “We all want to be this green city based on new urbanist ideals,” he says. “We all want to live in the core and preserve the mountains and the coast so we can go recreate. But the problem is, it requires more density.”

Kathy Lambert has owned Division Hardware and Paint at Southeast 37th and Division since 1987. The neighborhood hardware store is just a block away from UDP’s project at 38th, and it’s across the street from a controversial 81-unit apartment building currently under construction by developer Dennis Sackhoff. Under the city’s prior codes, the building wasn’t required to have any parking for residents.

Lambert is one of many neighborhood residents who has not been happy with all the new development and what it’s bringing to the area. “Just the number of people who are going to be in that building, the garbage, the traffic,” she says. “It’s going to be nearly impossible to get across the street.”

Lambert and other neighbors formed Richmond Neighbors for Responsible Growth to try and limit the size of the building and require parking. While their efforts delayed construction and raised awareness of community concerns, they ultimately were not able to stop the project.

“A lot of people are upset and moving out, but apparently the city doesn’t care,” Lambert says. “It’s like the people in government want it to become like New York City or a large metropolitan area. There are major, major problems with that, and I don’t think it’s right.”

Ben Kaiser has been through his own version of the neighborhood tussle. A former carpenter’s assistant who is now an architect and developer, Kaiser worked with neighbors in North Portland’s Eliot neighborhood to find common ground for a project now called the Aleta. The project will differ from other apartments in that it will be 180 small units of “co-housing” designed for active adults with an eye toward the current trend of aging in place. Area residents felt the 85-foot-tall project was too big and too much for the neighborhood — so much so, in fact, that they took their case to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, which decided in Kaiser’s favor in November. The project will likely break ground this spring and add to the ongoing transformation of North Portland. 

“I understand why it’s a point of friction,” says Kaiser, who’s also planning a 68-unit live-work building near Mississippi Avenue this year called Project X. “It was contentious there for a while, but now that we’ve arrived at a solution, I’m hoping we can all put our heads together and come out with a great project.”



 

More Articles

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


Read more...

Portland rises

News
Monday, August 18, 2014

IMG 2551Portland is in the middle of another construction boom, with residential and office projects springing up downtown, in the Pearl and Old Town. OB Web Editor Jessica Ridgway documents the new wave.


Read more...

Private liberal arts education: superior outcomes, competitive price

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
0826 thumb collegemoneyBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Why has six years become an acceptable investment in public undergraduate education that over-promises and underperforms?


Read more...

The Scott Kveton affair

News
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
ScottKvetonBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.


Read more...

Who said we should sell in May?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, July 18, 2014
BullMarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”


Read more...

Register for 100 Best Companies survey

News
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
OBM-100-best-logo-2015 150pxwBy Kim Moore | OB Editor

The 2015 survey launched this week. It is open to for-profit private and public companies that have at least 15 full- or part-time employees in Oregon.


Read more...

Is this employee right?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
081314 thumb employeefeelingsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS