Save Downtown Land Use Appeal


June 7, 2020 Update:

On May 19th the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) formally dismissed the Arbor Lodge Neighborhood Association's challenge of the proposed 66 unit building at 6545 N Denver. LUBA's dismissal left us with two remaining options, the first to pursue our case with the circuit court of appeals, the second to suspend our legal challenge and wait to see how this project materializes. On Thursday, May 21 2020 the ALNA board voted to suspend the legal challenge, allowing LUBA's motion to dismiss to stand. We did this because our chances of success with the court of appeals were very small, and we did not know if our remaining funds donated for the legal campaign (~$1,000) would be sufficient. These funds can be used at a future juncture with 6545 N Denver, or can be repurposed to support other community building efforts.

As of June 7th the developers still do not have a permit to build, despite the city's affirmation that the project has met all the requirements to be issued a permit. To obtain a permit the developer must pay permitting and development fees, including their system development charges (SDCs). Based on the developer's prior statements, and the continued inactivity it is our assumption that the project remains delayed due to lack of funding.

As a community we have stood up for affordable housing opportunity and for public spaces that welcome us to gather and get to know each other. Moving forward, the neighborhood association will continue to monitor this project, and if there is an opportunity for us to re-engage to advocate for these two objectives we will do so.

 Regardless of what happens with 6545 N Denver, the intersection remains a gathering point in our neighborhood. Pictured below is Downtown Arbor Lodge, this past week.

Thank you for contributing this campaign and much gratitude to our neighbors who are claiming this space to stand up for racial justice.

Campaign Update, March 10 2020

The developers at 6545 N Denver have requested that LUBA dismiss our challenge. LUBA have communicated they will first decide on the request to dismiss our challenge, and then (as applicable) set a date for our appeal to be heard. The good news is that if LUBA confirm they have jurisdiction in our case, it all but affirms our challenge and ups the pressure on the developer to return to a dialog with our community and to acknowledge the 2035 Comprehensive Planning goals they are trying to exempt themselves from.  We can expect the developers to pursue delay and postponing tactics as their pockets are deep, and we're relying on community donations to keep our case moving forward. If you support housing opportunity AND you support vibrant, walkable neighborhoods, join us as we stand up for Arbor Lodge!

  • Developers are seeking to build a 66 unit, market-rate residential building, with no public space
  • 6545 N Denver is zoned “CE” for commercial employment
  • Healthy, walkable communities need local businesses

We are contesting 6545 N Denver with the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), and your support is urgently needed. The Arbor Lodge Neighborhood Association has allocated funding to support the legal fees, however our budget is limited and most of our funds are granted to us for specific activities. We are seeking contributions to fund our legal campaign. Our city is growing, and we need more housing. If you support housing opportunity AND you support vibrant, walkable neighborhoods, join us as we stand up for Arbor Lodge!

Spread The Word! 

Tell Us Your Story! 

We need to know how this projects impacts you personally, or your sense of how it impacts your community. E mail to add your voice.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions. A summary of our engagement at 6545 N Denver is available here

Q:Portland needs more housing, why are you objecting to this development?

A: Our goal is to modify the design of this project to include some ground floor active use. We are not seeking to prevent the redevelopment of 6545 N Denver. There are roughly 500 units of new housing coming online throughout Arbor Lodge with no onsite parking, with more on the way. We need to build a walkable neighborhood, complete and connected to local services!

Q: If the parcel is zoned CE, why isn't there already commercial space included?

A: While the intent of the code is to “support healthy complete neighborhoods—places where people of all ages and abilities have safe and convenient access to the goods and services they need in their daily life, ” it does not prohibit the conversion of commercial spaces to exclusively residential uses.

Q: If code allows 100% residential, what is the basis of the appeal?

A: We are focused on the process for granting the developers multiple permit extensions. The developer first applied for a permit in late May of 2018 to avoid a June 1 2018 code change. Developers are required to show "good faith" intent to pursue a project in order to receive an extension. The entities behind 6545 N Denver have left the property to neglect and hazard from squatters, and have never had the financing secured to build their project. Lack of funds is explicitly prohibited as grounds for an extension. 

The second basis of our appeal is procedural. Discretionary land use decisions obligate the city of Portland to seek public input, and to notify neighborhood associations along with all property owners within 100 feet of 6545 N Denver. Our position is that the decision to grant multiple extensions is a discretionary act on behalf of the Bureau of Development Services.

We believe the city has violated procedural and substantive provisions in favor of the developer. 

Q: What happens if ALNA wins its appeal?

A: Our expectation is the developer will not be able to secure a construction permit without public input and property notification regarding their extension requests. If the permit extensions are nullified, the project must be resubmitted under the current code. This creates a renewed opportunity to include active uses at the ground floor with either the current, or a future development team. 

Q: What happens if ALNA does not appeal?

A: If we don't raise the funds, then the developer will continue to receive improper assistance from the city of Portland. We believe the neighborhood association is the only entity attempting to defend the city's own urban planning goals against developer self-interest.

Q: What happens ALNA loses its appeal?

A: Even if we lose, we are demonstrating a willingness to stand up for a more equitable and sustainable vision of development.

Q: The old building was demolished, is it too late to contest?

A: Demolition permits are separate from construction permits. The developer does not have a permit to build. 

Q: What will you do with the donations you receive?

A: We need $400 to submit a LUBA appeal, the remainder is for our attorney's work to support our appeal. Funds donated to help save downtown Arbor Lodge will solely be utilized for this purpose.

The Mighty Cause funding campaign has been closed.  
Thank you all for all your contributions!

No comments:

Post a Comment