Tag: Metro

Remembering Former Metro Councilor Bob Stacey

Robert E. Stacey, Montavilla’s elected representative on the Metro Council for over eight years, died September 8th at the age of 72. He resigned from his position a year ago due to further complications from a health condition. Metro Council appointed Duncan Hwang, a Director at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), to the vacant 6th District seat in January. Councilor Hwang recently secured 68.7 percent of the vote during the 2022 primaries, allowing him to serve out the reaming years of Councilor Stacey’s term.

Bob Stacey came to Metro Council after a long career serving Oregon. His early work with 1000 Friends of Oregon secured the urban growth boundary, protecting farms and forests by limiting an endless suburban sprawl. He led Portland’s planning bureau from 1989 to 1993, and as an executive at TriMet, he helped plan the MAX Yellow and Red lines. Pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the MAX Orange Line at SE 14th Avenue do so via the Bob Stacey Overcrossing, named in his honor for decades of service to Portland. Stacey’s impact across the State was impressive, and the programs he supported within this neighborhood are ongoing.

Bob Stacey’s work with Metro touched many points within Montavilla. Most residents will associate his local efforts with the affordable housing project underway at 432 NE 74th Ave. However, councilor Duncan Hwang recounted several other impactful projects that his predecessor brought to the community. “Councilor Stacey did so much for livability for the entire region but also worked directly on projects in Montavilla, including advocating for the jurisdictional transfer of 82nd Ave to the City of Portland, improving neighborhood connectivity through the Jade Montavilla Multimodal Improvements Project, and was a particular champion of the Jade District and APANO’s work in developing affordable housing and community spaces.”

Although holding an elected position, Bob Stacey focused more on his work for the community instead of building name recognition. Representative Earl Blumenauer expressed that sentiment after Stacey’s passing. “Oregon just lost the most important person that most people never heard of.” Despite the lack of public recognition for his work, those who continue his efforts recognize that they stand on his shoulders and vow to follow Stacy’s example of civic leadership. “Oregon lost a true leader, and I hope to carry on his vision for our region and legacy of public service as his successor at Metro,” stated Councilor Hwang.


Images in this article are provided by Oregon Metro

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Affordable Housing Site Divides

On August 8th, Oregon Metro filed a Land Use Review application to re-plat the existing lots that currently comprise 432 NE 74th Avenue. This work will reshape the site to create distinct properties for each new low-income building planned for the site. Interested persons have until 5 p.m. on September 12th, 2022, to provide email comments to the Bureau of Development Services planner.

By early 2023, demolition crews will remove the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) building at the NE Glisan site. Once crews clear the old TV studio, the developer will begin constructing 137 units of affordable housing split between two four-story buildings. The development will contain a wide assortment of apartments ranging from studio to four-bedroom units. All housing created by this project will serve families and individuals earning 30% or 60% of Area Median Income (AMI).

Site Map from re-plat application LU 22-128996 RP

The smaller structure at the northwest corner of the site will offer 41 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) reserved for Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), seniors, and people experiencing homelessness. This structure will occupy Parcel 1 of the re-platted property and cover most of the 11,016 square foot lot. Catholic Charities will provide case management and services to PSH tenants.

Parcel 2 will contain the larger “U” shaped building that provides the remaining 96 units of family-focused housing. Additionally, the 45,469 square feet lot will hold all site parking and courtyard amenities for the development. Management will reserve residences in this building for BIPOC, immigrant, refugee, and intergenerational families. Homes will range in floor space from 400 square feet to 1,200 square feet, with rents ranging from $507 to $1,616 per month. Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) will provide resident services at the family housing property.

Glisan and 74th Affordable Housing project’s site plan

Although the site will function harmoniously to meet affordable housing goals, each building has a specific focus and management organization that needs autonomy from each other. Separating the site into multiple parcels allows each facility to operate as an individual organization. Parcel 1 will become 7450 NE Glisan, and Parcel 2 will have the address of 451 NE 75th Avenue. Construction of each building could begin independently once this property division is approved. Expect to see this Land Use Review application approved within the next few months, ahead of the anticipated project ground-breaking in early 2023. The City has a website for those interested in following the project’s progress, and public comments will remain open for another twelve days.

Jade District Dumpster Day Overwhelming Success

Saturday’s Jade District Dumpster Day and Solve Oregon cleanup attracted dozens of volunteers and a stream of vehicles dropping off large trash items. Within the first hour of operation, people filled 30-yard dumpsters at two drop-off sites. Instead of closing three hours early, the events coordinator, Alisa Kajikawa, picked up her phone and arranged for additional dumpsters. Before the day was done, yet another cycle of dumpsters rolled in to accommodate the overwhelming demand for trash disposal.

Kajikawa, the Jade District Manager, organized this one-day event with funds from Oregon Metro and support from the 82nd Avenue Business Association. The four-hour-long program included a community cleanup and open dumpster access for neighborhood disposal of bulky items.

Volunteers with Solve ventured out with 33-gallon carts to collect trash throughout the area and bring back items of all sizes to the primary dumpster site, located in the Unicorn Inn’s parking lot at 3040 SE 82nd Avenue. Nearby campers used shopping carts to roll in trash from their area and help clean up the streets.

Jade District Manager Alisa Kajikawa and Metro Councilor Duncan Hwang stacking mattresses

The dumpster on SE 82nd Avenue, and one on SE 92nd Avenue, were open to residents seeking a free place to dispose of items not collected through curbside trash pickup. Demand for dumpster use far exceeded expectations, and both sites eventually had to turn people away. Even after staff filled the five 30-yard trash containers to capacity, a stack of mattresses remained awaiting pickup by a recycler.

The dumpster demand seen over the weekend signals a great need in Portland for more events like the Jade District Dumpster Day. In 2020, The City canceled a long-running program that worked with Neighborhood Associations to host dumpster days across Portland. These events acted as an annual trash release valve that reduced the number of illegal dumps. Now groups like the Jade District are scrambling to find funding to meet the demand for trash disposal.

The original budget for the event only included funds for two dumpsters. The added cost of the three extra dumpsters will need to come from grant reserves and other funds within the organization. The success of the cleanup is measurable by the tonnage of rubbish collected. However, it barely makes a dent in Portland’s trash problem. Based on the demand seen Saturday and the piles of illegally dumped items across the City, an event like this could run every month for years without slowing down.

Flyer for the now completed event

Disclosure: The author of this article servers on the boards of the 82nd Avenue Business Association and Montavilla Neighborhood Association. He also volunteered at this event.

AYCO Seeks New Home on 82nd

African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO) is in the process of buying the Flex Building located at 2110 SE 82nd Avenue. The youth mentoring organization currently operates out of the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) building on NE Glisan Street. Developers will soon transform the TBN site into affordable housing, prompting AYCO’s move to a new facility. However, the group needs to raise $5.5 million to purchase and renovate the new building.

In January 2021, AYCO relocated to 432 NE 74th Ave from SE 122nd Avenue. Although the group knowingly committed to a short-term lease for the property on NE 74th, they hoped to become a partner organization in the supportive housing planned for the site. Unfortunately, Metro did not select the development group they partnered with, making another move inevitable.

This week the developers submitted a type 2 Land Use Review for the first of two buildings planned for the Glisan and 74th housing project. That four-story wood-framed residential building will contain 41 units of permanent supportive housing above a ground floor commercial kitchen, cafe, and retail incubator space. Additional amenities include resident services, laundry rooms, bike parking, and a community room.

With the permitting process underway, securing a new home for AYCO takes on a new sense of urgency. The Flex building on SE 82nd Avenue is several years old but has never found a tenant. Constructed in 

Flex 2110 SE 82nd Ave

2017, the building’s owner anticipated demand for high-end office and commercial space on 82nd Avenue near SE Division Street. Lower demand and the pandemic kept the building vacant except for a short-term popup COVID testing site. Crews only constructed the basic shape of the space, waiting for tenants to dictate the placement of interior walls. This unfinished condition will add to AYCO’s overall costs for the project. “The building is a shell and needs huge construction [and] tenant improvements,” explained AYCO Executive Director Jamal Dar.

The Flex building will cost $3.6 million to purchase. AYCO staff have allocated the remaining $1.9 Million to cover construction and furnishings. Fortunately, they have already received commitments for $1.5 million from supporters. An additional $2.5 million is expected to come from Federal funds and contributions from the City of Portland. Now, AYCO is seeking donors at any level who can help bridge the $1.5 million gap. They must find those funds within six to ten months or incur debt from loans.

The Flex building offers many benefits to the AYCO community, and buying the building will provide the permanent home this group has sought for many years. Dar explained that the building is centrally located near the community his organization serves. He feels its proximity to several schools, shopping, and transit options will be an invaluable benefit to the immigrant and refugee community using this resource center.

At 18,682 square feet, the increased building size means AYCO will continue to offer all existing programs with room to expand. “[The building] will allow us to conduct all of our programs, including establishing early childhood education and many other programs we currently don’t have,” said Dar. Buying the Flex building has the potential to take AYCO to a new level and secure its space in the supportive services community.

People or groups interested in investing in AYCO’s future location on SE 82nd Avenue should visit the group’s website www.aycoworld.org and click this Donate Now button at the top of the page. Jamal Dar and his staff are available to talk to groups interested in large sponsorship opportunities.

Federal Funds to Support SE Stark-Washington Improvements

Portland City Council voted Wednesday to accept approximately $17 million in federal grants distributed by Metro through the Regional Flexible Funding Allocation program. One of the four new capital projects funded will impact Montavilla on the SE Stark Washington couplet. Portland will spend $11.4 million on the project, improving road conditions for all modes of travel between SE 92nd and 109th avenues.

The road work spans a busy section of the paired streets that crossover I205 and connects Montavilla to the Gateway Regional Center. Some of the planned improvements include new transit islands and bus lanes, protected bike lanes, improved pedestrian crossings at existing signals, a new pedestrian crossing at SE 105th Avenue, new ADA curb ramps, and street lighting. Work will also resurface or repair pavement. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) believes this work will counter the historic auto-oriented street design at this location and reduce crashes in the area. Montavilla will receive only a tiny portion of the total improvements planned. However, the project will improve conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation users traveling the neighborhood. 

SE Washington Street at I205 south on-ramp

PBOT has not yet created the final plans for this project. However, the proposal contains several illustrations demonstrating a rough outline of possible changes. During the project’s design phase, City engineers will likely need to adjust the placement and scale of these improvements. However, staff based the budget on including these features in the approximate locations indicated in the documents submitted to City Council.

PBOT illustrated view of street improvements

When completed, residents will see SE Stark street gaining protected bike lanes continuing west across the I205 overpass and ending at SE 92nd Avenue. Bike lane crossings and crosswalks will receive fresh high-visibility paint. Curbside parking will move further out into the street, allowing bikes to travel against the road’s edge behind a wide buffer of parked cars. Consequentially, the number 15 TriMet bus stop in front of Motel 6 will move onto a new transit island in line with the parked cars. This stop currently has a temporary bus platform that PBOT installed during the pandemic. Unlike the current design, the new island will allow bicycles to pass behind the bus stop and away from traffic.

Motel 6 number 15 bus stop and temporary platform

On Montavilla’s section of SE Washington Street, most work will focus on pavement repairs and some lane reconfiguration. PBOT intends to add a dedicated right turn lane for people merging onto I205 south. Crews will reconstruct and enlarge the corner adjacent to the turn lane to support pedestrians and bicycles. The new bike lane on SE Washington Street will place riders onto the sidewalk to cross at a more visible location.

Workers will install new bike signals with dedicated signage and upgrade the existing pedestrian signals. Drivers turning onto I205’s south on-ramp will have a new turn-only light with a “NO TURN ON RED” sign. Signalized intersections will receive new Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) equipment to manage traffic flow intelligently throughout the day.

Road improvements like this can take years to materialize after funding. Portland prioritized this project in the Growing Transit Communities Plan, adopted in 2017. Design work and property owner engagements will come in the next year. However, securing $5,332,000 in grant money for this work should move this project forward at an increased pace. Look for updates on the project in the coming year.

SE Stark Street showing current bike lane moving to the curbside

Metro Approved New District Map

Metro Council approved a new district map this week with only minor adjustments. Metro reevaluates its district borders every ten years in response to updated national censuses data. The map must maintain a balanced distribution of residents between the six elected Metro Council districts. Although Metro considered some dramatic changes, the approved map largely resembles the district map of the past decade.

For residents of Montavilla, there is no change to Metro Distract representation. Residents of that neighborhood are still served by the vacant seat for District 6. On October 15th, Metro Councilor Bob Stacey stepped down after serving nine years on the council. The Metro Council is in the process of selecting Stacey’s successor. The applicant chosen to serve on the Metro Council will hold the position through January 2nd, 2023. Next year, voters will elect a new Metro District Councilor for the reaming two years of Bob Stacey’s term.

The new district boundaries take effect immediately. Metro is currently accepting applications for the District 6 vacancy. To submit their applications, people interested in the position have until the close of business on January 3rd, 2022.

Metro Redistricting

Every ten years, in response to new national censuses data, Metro Council reevaluates its district borders. Although all portions of the greater Portland region gained new residents over the last decade, that growth did not occur evenly among the current districts. Each of the six Metro Council districts must contain roughly the same number of residents. As part of the 2021 redistricting process, Metro is asking for feedback on five redistricting scenarios.

All but one of the five scenarios offers little change to Montavilla’s representation on the Metro Council. However, Scenario B2 would move the neighborhood from District 6 into District 5. This proposed realignment groups most of SE Portland with NE Portland and moves East Portland beyond I205 into district 1.

Mary Nolan currently represents District 5. She started a four-year term on January 5th, 2021. Councilor Bob Stacey represented Montavilla’s District 6 for many years, until recently stepping down to address health concerns. Voters will elect a replacement for Stacey’s vacated seat next year in the November general election. However, if redistricting efforts change Montavilla’s district affiliation, residents will not vote on a new Metro representative for several years.

The Metro Council works with community leaders and constituents across city and county boundaries to shape greater Portland. In addition to operating many parks and venues like the Oregon Zoo, Metro fosters low-income housing projects throughout the region. Metro is behind one recent affordable housing development on NE Glisan Street between 74th and 75th Avenues. That project is in the planning phase, having just recently secured a development team.

The Metro Council has less than two months to draw new boundaries for the six districts. The Metro redistricting scenario survey is the public’s opportunity to provide input on redistricting. Survey comments will remain open until 5 PM on November 14th. Residents may also provide testimony at the November 9th or November 10th public hearings.

Developer Selected for NE Glisan Affordable Housing Project

This week, Portland Housing Bureau staff selected the development team for a low-income housing project at NE 74th Ave and Glisan Street. The winning proposal will transform the 1.65-acre property at 432 NE 74th Ave into a pair of multistory apartment buildings. Despite the current tenant’s efforts to secure a place in the new development, City staff did not select a proposal that included that group.

On October 12th, Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) released a progress update for nine Housing Bond funded projects. In 2018 voters approved a 652.8 million affordable housing bond to address the housing crises in the Portland Metro area. The Glisan Street project will receive $19.9 million of that funding, representing one-third of the overall project cost. The housing complex will consist of two buildings, one with 41 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and the other providing 96 units of family housing.

Three experienced low-income housing groups are joining forces to sponsor this development. Related Northwest is the primary sponsor for the project, while the two other groups will provide assistance for residents when construction completes. Catholic Charities will provide case management and services to PSH tenants. Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) will provide resident services at the family housing property.

The PHB project website provides new details regarding attributes planned for the development. Amenities at NE 74th and Glisan include a community room with kitchen, laundry room, playground, picnic area, community garden, bike parking, onsite parking, and a multicultural preschool. The project team is also partnering with Mercy Corps NW to promote small business classes and offer two retail incubator spaces and a café in the ground-floor commercial space. Now that this proposal is secured, project designers will craft the final plans for the site ahead of the building permit submittal.

African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO) currently leases space in the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) studio now owned by Metro. The nonprofit serves East African immigrant and refugee youth. Within a few years, crews will demolish the facility to make way for the 137 new affordable homes coming to this site. AYCO Executive Director Jamal Dar lead an effort to stay at this location, working with REACH Community Development, Sera Architects, Colas Construction, Community Vision, and El Programa Hispano on an alternate plan for the site. In a statement from AYCO, the organizations expressed disappointment in the decision and say they are facing displacement from the community it serves.

AYCO site plan not selected by PHB

In a prepared statement regarding AYCO, Metro representatives expressed appreciation for the early partnership between the two organizations. “They have been a wonderful partner in our early phase community engagement for the new affordable housing to be built on this site, helping us to reach and engage with immigrants, people of color, people with low incomes, and people with limited English proficiency.” However, that early cooperative work and preexisting lease did not guarantee that the AYCO would secure a space in the new project. “Metro has been clear with AYCO, throughout the process of temporary leasing and community engagement, that the project/developer selection process would be a competitive one. We understand they have hoped and worked hard toward being able to build their Dream Center as part of the development of this site. Unfortunately, the proposal they were a part of was not selected.”

The Portland Housing Bureau received five proposals, each comprised of different developers and community support organizations. Jamal Dar and his team have over a year to secure a new home for the nonprofit. Ideally, they will find space in the area, near the community they have served for years. Metro looks forward to possible collaborations with AYCO in the future and will celebrate with them once their Dream Center comes to fruition.

Image courtesy PHB

The subsequent phases of development at the site will center around creating construction plans and securing building permits. Until demolition begins, AYCO will continue to operate out of the old broadcast facility. Changes at the site are over a year away, but the affordable housing these new apartments will provide could not arrive soon enough. Keep an eye on the PHB website for updates on the project and expect the site to house residents by the Summer of 2024.

Metro Councilor Bob Stacey Resigns

Last Thursday, one of Portland’s representatives on the Metro Council announced his resignation. Effective October 15th, Metro Councilor Bob Stacey will step down from the position he has held since 2012. Not long after first being elected to the Council, Stacey was diagnosed with meningioma, which causes tumors to grow in and around the skull. Although his prognosis continues to be favorable, treatments for the tumors have begun to impact his ability to work full-time.

Bob Stacey represents Oregon Metro District 6, mainly covering Southeast and southwest Portland. Metro serves more than 1.5 million people in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties. The agency’s boundary encompasses Portland and 23 other cities. They provide region-wide planning and coordination to manage growth, infrastructure, and development issues across jurisdictional boundaries.

Bob Stacey’s work with Metro touched many points within Montavilla. However, most residents will associate his local efforts with the TBN redevelopment project at 432 NE 74th Ave. Metro’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) program acquired this site for residential development in 2019. The 1.65-acre property will become low-income housing within a few years featuring commercial use on the ground floor. It will be a transformative project for that section of NE Glisan, bringing an active residential density to the street and removing a block-wide parking lot. As seen in other areas of Portland, constructing socially active street-side projects increases safety and prosperity along those roads.

Councilor Stacey won reelection in 2020 for a four-year term. The Metro Council has until January 13th to appoint Stacey’s successor. According to the Metro Charter, that appointed person will serve until an election for the remainder of the term is held at the next primary or general election. This next election cycle, candidates will run for the remaining two years of the Metro District 6 Council seat.

Bob Stacey’s contributions to Oregon predate his work with Metro and will likely continue for many years after he vacates his elected position. Colleagues of Stacey were quick to celebrate his career up to this point and thank him for his decades of service. “Bob is a titan of Oregon’s land conservation movement,” said Metro Council President Lynn Peterson. “His service and vision are obvious in all corners of our state, and his wisdom and nearly 50 years of experience is going to be missed on the council.”


Images in this article are provided by Oregon Metro

Metro RID Patrol Expands

Thanks to an increased budget in the upcoming fiscal year, Oregon Metro will expand the RID Patrol program to three times its current size. The RID Patrol program serves Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties with dumpsite cleaning services. The program was overwhelmed during the pandemic and has failed to catch up with the current demand. The program expansion is a substantial boost to their capacity with the potential to make a difference in the region-wide trash problem.

The existing two cleanup crews will expand to six teams sometime after the new budget goes into effect on July 1st. Increased funding will cover additional vehicles, staff, and administrative support for the expanded teams. RID Patrol serves the community in multiple ways. Beyond cleaning dumped items across the region, positions in the program often go to people who have seen challenges finding employment. “These additional crews will be staffed by those who traditionally have barriers to employment. Through this program, we are supporting justice outcomes and uplifting our community for those who traditionally have difficulty finding stable and good jobs,” explained Kimberlee Ables, Public Information Officer with Metro.

Adding the new crews will not have immediate results. The RID Patrol program is facing a substantial backlog of illegal dumpsites. A complete listing of reported sites is available online and shows the Herculean task Metro staff need to address. Ables estimates it will be over a year before crews handle the current demand for cleanups. “In prior years, we have maintained a three-day response time and anticipate it will take 12 to 18 months to get back to that level of service.”

Within this round of funding, Metro allocated money to continue a Metro bag program for campsites and providing garbage service to the houseless community. With these efforts, Metro is perusing programs that will provide relief to everyone living in the region. Other programs will have to address the root cause of dumping and litter, but this expansion should improve livability throughout the Metro region.


Images courtesy Oregon Metro’s Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) Patrol