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
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.
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.
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
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.
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,
Regional Walking and Biking Connections,
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.
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.
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
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.
Late last year, Metro purchased the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) property at 432 NE 74th Ave. Metro now intends to develop the site for affordable housing. Full utilization of this site could create one of the most significant housing developments in Montavilla.
“Metro purchased the property through the Transit-Oriented Development program with the intention to build affordable housing in partnership with Portland Housing Bureau and using Metro Housing Bond funds.” Explained Patrick McLaughlin, Senior Development Project Manager for Housing & Transit-Oriented Development at Metro.
Metro’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) program seeks to build more places where people can live and work near transit. Often they accomplish that through partnerships with the private sector. One of those projects, Orchards at 82nd, brought 47 residential units to SE Division. McLaughlin sees similarities between that project and the TBN site, noting similarities in the developer selection process.
High-level planning for this project will start soon and continue into 2021. During that time, stakeholders will settle on goals for the development. Then Metro will select a developer through a competitive process. Already potential builders have inquired about the property, according to McLaughlin. “Developers have expressed a lot of interest in the site, but we haven’t had any detailed conversations with them about proposals since that will come later in the process.”
Portland has an urgent need for affordable housing, and the pandemic will only make that need greater. McLaughlin offered a best guess at a construction start date for this project. “Right now, I’d suggest construction would start in 2022. However, COVID-19 is making it a little tricky to be certain.” As with other affordable housing coming to NE Glisan, this project is years away from completion. However, if this project can be delivered in three years, it will be arrive when it will be appreciated the most.
Development along NE Glisan has increased over the last year. The transformation of the TBN site could become the most substantial change to the area and set a tone for future growth. This project has the potentail to improve housing and the vitality of NE Glisan as a main street of Montavilla.
We have all seen piles of trash dumped on the street or sidewalk in our neighborhood. Perhaps it has been in front of your house or business. This can be frustrating and a blight on the public areas. Fortunately Portland cares about it as much as we do and they have a way of reporting these trash dumps online.
Metro RID Patrol is the service that wants to hear about the abandoned trash. They can be contacted at 503-234-3000 or online. Some good citizens will clean up small items around the neighborhood, and we all thank you, but know that some items are too big and too dangerous. If there is a stockpile of needles or other sharp items, Metro RID Patrol is your safest option.
Metro RID Patrol’s dashboard is another great data visualization tool that Portlanders have at their disposal. There you can see the average crew response time and the tonnage of waste collected. It can be easy to think that we can not keep up on the trash being spread around our streets, but if we report it, we stand a good chance of keeping clean.
The former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) location, off NE Glisan, has been bought by Metro. 432 NE 74th Ave was owned by TBN for decades and remained closed to the public for most of that time. They operated the location as a broadcasting facility and, outside a few cars in the parking lot, did not have much activity at this site. However the building looks to have sold to Metro according to Portland Maps. This is a massive property, right off NE Glisan between 74th and 75th Ave. It is just over half the block.
At the moment, it is unclear what Metro has planned for this newly acquired property. It is likely they will hold onto the site for a future development opportunity. The wait should not be too long as a recent Metro Request for Proposals, 3727 On Call Property Management Services, lists “Former TBN Site 432 NE 74th Ave Portland Commercial 1.65 (acres) 19,000 (SF) Available for short term lease.” This would indicate that they will want to do something with the property in the next few years, or at least keep that option open.
Updated information about this project can be found here.
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