Tag: Metro

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

Affordable Housing Survey

This week Metro published a survey seeking input on the affordable housing planned for NE 74th Ave and NE Glisan Street. The development will create up to 150 new apartments for people with 30-60% area median income. The survey is part of early engagement focused on supporting future tenant’s wellbeing and neighborhood benefit.

This project’s design phase is months away and scheduled for after developer selection occurs. For the purposes of this survey, participants need to imagine the development in its general form. The development is a multilevel apartment complex containing 120 to 150 units and on-site parking. Residences offer a mix of floor-plans supporting one or two adults and some larger households.

The questions in this survey do not relate to any design aspects of the site. Instead, it focuses on four primary areas of early project planning. Each section of the survey looks at draft value statements related to outdoor spaces, ground floor uses, services and programming, and future engagement to be done by the developer. Metro staff will work with the stakeholder group to create a clear vision statement based on this survey’s results. The developer awarded the project will have responded to the final value statement as part of their larger proposal.

Metro is looking to hear from specific groups in the survey process. Primarily they would like responses from people with similar experiences to those who will live in this new building, including people who have been houseless or lived in low-income housing. Black, Indigenous, and other people of color from around Portland are encouraged to participate in the process. Additionally, neighbors who live, work, or own a business near the site can submit responses.

This building will supply a substantial number of homes to low-income residents. However, Metro would like it to become an asset to the neighborhood. If you are the type of participant Metro is seeking for this survey, they ask that you complete the online form by March 1st, 2021. Metro’s affordable housing website will publish results a few weeks after the survey closes.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/M9FS3ZW

Presentations at Next MNA Meeting

Next Monday, three groups will present information on projects that are shaping Montavilla’s future. Representatives from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT)African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO), and Metro will discuss their plans at the February 8th Montavilla Neighborhood Associations (MNA) meeting. Attendees will learn how they can participate in the process and hear details regarding the neighborhood improvements.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Event registration is found at the MNA website or directly through this link

The first presenters are sharing plans for an improved NE Halsey street, from 68th to 92nd Ave. Nicole Peirce, Capital Project Manager for PBOT, will present information regarding safer intersections and better access for non-motorists. Joining Peirce is the project manager for the 70s Bikeway project. Both projects cross through Montavilla and will vastly improve universal mobility in the area.

Jamal Dar, Executive Director for AYCO, will share information about his group’s mission to offer support services and youth mentoring for the African immigrant and refugee community. This organization serves a growing population of people with East Africa origins in their recently opened center on NE 74th Ave.

Metro representatives Choya Renata and Patrick McLaughlin will present information regarding proposed low-income housing at the former TBN Site. Two years from now, Montavilla will gain 120 to 150 new households on NE Glisan Street. In a partnership between Metro and the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB), the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) site will transform into affordable housing. Metro will present their community outreach process at the meeting and further outline the project’s scope.


Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the NMA Board

Metro Seeks Input on TBN Development

Two years from now, Montavilla will gain 120 to 150 new households on NE Glisan Street. In a partnership between Metro and the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB), the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) site will transform into affordable housing. With the project in an early planning phase, opportunities for community input will become available next month.

A development of this scale requires years of negotiation and planning before construction can begin. Senior Communications Specialist with Metro, Constantino Khalaf, estimates it will take at least 24 months before Metro demolishes the current structure at 432 NE 74th Ave. “It will take some time for Metro and PHB to identify the right developer and nail down the details of the project, and the actual demolition and redevelopment won’t take place for another couple of years.”

Although construction is years away, community input occurs at this early phase of development. Khalaf indicated Metro would start their community engagement sometime next month. “There will be a survey going out in February to gather neighbor feedback on the values the community thinks we should embrace as we develop this housing.” Survey results will guild PHB and Metro in selecting a developer for this project that will incorporate the neighborhood’s guidance.

When completed, housing build on this property will prioritize “very” low-income tenants and substantially boost residential capacity in the area. Additional features of the development could add limited commercial space to the project, further strengthening NE Glisan’s growth as a retail and dining destination. Residents near this site are encouraged to participate in the survey and express their insights regarding this transformative development.


Residents wishing to receive the survey can sign up for project notifications at this link. https://forms.gle/63bfsp4WnQNVVny99  

What Measure 26-218 Could Bring to Montavilla

This November, voters will have an opportunity to approve ballot measure 26-218. Among other transportation-related projects, Metro created this ballot measure to seek funding for ten significant initiatives. A winning yes vote on 26-218 would create a new payroll tax on businesses with more than 25 employees.

A pro Measure 26-218 website, Let’s Get Moving, states that “91% of our region’s businesses are exempt from the tax.” By their account, this would only burden larger businesses that can absorb the added expense. The measure will authorize the Metro Council to impose a payroll tax of up to 0.75%. It would exempt businesses with 25 or fewer employees and local governments from the tax.

Opponents of this measure contend that the increase in payroll taxes will deter job growth and favors public transportation projects when ridership is at a historic low. Other arguments against Measure 26-218 focus on project flexibility within the measure. Although initially focused on specific initiatives in 17 regional corridors located in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties, project funds will be used at Metro’s discretion. The measure allows the council to remove or add corridors and amend the list of programs as they see fit.

The opposition’s perspective is understandable. Increasing taxes in a rough economic period is rarely a popular choice. However, that difficult economic time is going to cause a budget shortfall to some degree. The region already has road and transit deficiencies that would need to be addressed in the coming years, regardless of the economy. Money from this tax could help alleviate the impact on infrastructure from budget cuts.

The focus on improved public transit will ultimately help employers. COVID-19 has forced people off the roads in the short term. Those workers that can work from home indefinitely were not heavy users of public transportation. Public transportation often serves those who have jobs requiring physical attendance. Increasing the speed and availability of transportation means employers have a more comprehensive selection of people that can commute to their location.

The funding flexibility within the projects could be concerning. If the public were voting on a bond for a specific project, there should be an expectation of fixed budgets and measured results. However, Measure 26-218 is a new tax without a particular end date attached to it or a definition of complete. Spending focus will change as projects complete, and new initiatives will replace them. A requirement of this measure will create an oversight board to review and report on project progress. Additionally, an external auditor will give annual reviews of fund collection and use.

The Let’s Get Moving site has high-level information on what could be addressed by funding from this new tax. Although the ten launch programs below offer a perspective on what Measure 26-218 hopes to fix, the implemented programs will change based on funds collected and need over time.

  • Safe Routes to Schools,
  • Safety Hot Spots,
  • Thriving Main Streets,
  • Anti-displacement Strategies,
  • Housing Opportunity,
  • Regional Walking and Biking Connections,
  • Bus Electrification,
  • Youth Transit Access,
  • Better Bus, and
  • Future Corridor Planning.

Specifically looking at the impact on Montavilla, two of the regional corridors run through the center of the neighborhood. Work on Burnside Street will improve safety through added lighting and enhanced crosswalks.

Infographic courtesy of Let’s Get Moving

Perhaps the most significant neighborhood improvements will happen along 82nd Ave. The county-owned roadway will receive a much-needed rebuild. Our MAX station at 82nd and I84 will receive attention regarding pedestrian access. Taxes from Measure 26-218 would pay for safety improvements through better lighting, crosswalks, protected bike lanes, and Greenways. Traffic signal upgrades would also be part of work on this project corridor.

Infographic courtesy of Let’s Get Moving

Measure 26-218 proposed updates across the TriMet footprint will benefit Montavilla residents. Bus electrification is one of the marquee projects featured in ballot text. Replacing older vehicles with electric models will cut dangerous diesel emissions in our neighborhood and lower our streets’ noise levels. 

Voting yes on a new tax is not an easy choice for voters. As a payroll tax, it will not directly impact the individual voter’s income. However, many residents work for companies with 26 or more employees. This tax will affect their employer, and it could change how those companies choose to grow staff. The harmful impact of the tax is unknowable at this point. However, we acknowledge our roads and transportation systems are underfunded for the number of people living and working in the region. Ultimately, having poor infrastructure could hurt our ability to recover quickly from the wounded economy. People desperate for employment will travel further for work opportunities; they will need dependable roads and transit to make those long commutes. Measure 26-218 could be a tool to help with the recovery and hopefully not hinder it.


Montavilla News does not endorse individual candidates or ballot measures

Metro Leasing TBN Site

Portland Metro has placed the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) location up for short term lease. While Metro develops a plan to convert the site into affordable housing, they hope to generate some revenue out of the property. This listing also confirms the timeline for Metro’s proposed transformation of the property.

Listed by Colliers International, the Glisan Street property is available for one or two-year terms. The flyer for the site states that it’s “ideal uses would include schools, theater, camp, short term office requirements, nonprofit uses.”

At a lease rate of $1.00/mo/foot, this is an affordable location for a short term project. Montavilla has a good number of available storefronts, but few with this much parking. It will be a challenging listing, requiring a specific type of renter with short term goals. With some luck, they will find someone to make this space lively until it’s redevelopment.

For decades this property at 432 NE 74th Ave was closed to the public, its large parking lot sitting empty and gated off. The listing flyer offers a rare glimpse inside the building. If nothing else happens to this building before its demolition, at least the listing ends the mystery surrounding its inner workings.


Leasing Contact and additional information

Scott MacLean
503 223-3123 or scott.maclean@colliers.com