THE "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR" ARE BELOW THE EDITORIAL

From The Editor

Transportation successes in Inner Southeast

The biggest ongoing news stories in Inner Southeast Portland for years, and for at least one more year to come, have been the replacement of the Sellwood Bridge, and the construction of the Inner Southeast MAX light rail line. THE BEE will keep you on top of both, until the new bridge is open and the MAX line starts regular service. 

In the meantime, we are pleased to see that a couple of needed improvements on major streets in Sellwood and Westmoreland which we have advocated in these pages have just come about.

The first remedies a mistake made by ODOT when they installed new traffic lights several years ago at S.E. 17th and McLoughlin. North-south turn signals were added on 17th – and then ODOT came back and removed the northbound left turn light, leaving motorists hoping to turn left to head downtown on McLoughlin to dodge between oncoming cars when the light was green for those on 17th.

When THE BEE tracked down someone who could explain this outrage at ODOT, we were told with a straight face that the installation of the northbound left turn light had been their mistake in the first place – because of a SMILE-advocated traffic plan which had been implemented previously, which put speed bumps on 17th in Westmoreland, concurrent with the reduction of the speed limit on that street from 30 to 25 MPH.

We pointed out that an effort to moderate speed on a neighborhood street did not mean that SMILE had any intention of trying to impede people from safely LEAVING its neighborhood! The point fell on deaf ears.

Until now!

Part of a new upgrade of that intersection, as a component of finishing the MAX light rail line that crosses that intersection on the north side, meant new traffic signals at 17th and McLoughlin. They were activated in October, and lo and behold – they included a northbound left-turn light on 17th.  Hallelujah.

We are still interested in seeing how those traveling north across McLoughlin Boulevard to continue on 17th will be regulated to prevent them from finding themselves stuck in the middle of McLoughlin if a light rail train comes through right about then, since the rails cross the northbound lanes just a few feet north of McLoughlin. Hopefully there is some special signaling plan intended to prevent that.

The other success is that a dangerous situation for eastbound left-turning drivers on Tacoma Street at S.E. 17th in Sellwood has been addressed by PDOT, and has greatly improved the safety of the intersection. The many accidents at that intersection over the years caused PDOT to request neighborhood support for making this change, and SMILE, the neighborhood association for Sellwood and Westmoreland, endorsed doing so.

The only remaining impediment to implementing the change concerned parking and access for businesses on the north side of Tacoma Street in the block west of 17th. SMILE Board Member and Transportation Committee Chair Brian Posewitz deserves much credit for moderating the discussion between these businesses and the city, and helping all parties to reach a compromise plan to allow the restriping of the intersection to go forward. Within the last month it was implemented.

Previously there were two lanes eastbound on Tacoma, with those seeking to turn left on 17th stopping at the intersection on a green light hoping for an opportunity to turn, forcing drivers continuing east on Tacoma to swerve around them and blindside any westbound driver trying to turn from the left turn lane there, and making left turns in both directions very difficult.

The restructuring of the intersection with paint has resulted in three eastbound lanes at 17th, with the leftmost one a dedicated left turn lane, the center lane a through lane, and the right lane a right-turn lane onto southbound 17th. Now, the two Tacoma left turn lanes in both directions are aligned, so drivers in both can see if there is anyone coming in the opposite through lane.

It would be nice to have a left turn LIGHT for those seeking to turn left from Tacoma, but the city says it does not have money in the budget for that now. We hope eventually that needed addition will be made, and the intersection will finally be as safe to use as it should always have been, for those seeking to turn left. 

Two successes. Yet one glaring transportation need remains unaddressed.

We have for well over a decade kept you abreast of the conundrum involving a light rail station at the north end of Westmoreland. In the mid-1990’s, TriMet came to SMILE during the neighborhood-planning process and requested (and got) high density zoning for the northern end of Westmoreland to accommodate those who would use light rail to go to work downtown – because there would be a station there. At the time, the plan was for the station to be on the north side of McLoughlin at about 18th, with a pedestrian bridge across McLoughlin from Westmoreland to access it.

Then the plans for light rail to Inner Southeast were cancelled. THE BEE played its part in getting that transportation option back on the table – only to learn, once it was there, that there was no longer any plan for a station to serve north Westmoreland – and, in fact, nobody at TriMet seemed to remember they had ever said there would be one. (THE BEE was there at the SMILE meeting when TriMet made their zoning request, and we can provide witnesses if necessary!)

THE BEE helped establish a new potential light rail station on the east side of McLoughlin south of Harold, at about Reedway Street, which would allow access to the trains not only from Westmoreland – but, with a pedestrian bridge over the Union Pacific Brooklyn Railyard tracks, easy access for Reed College and the Reed neighborhood to the north of the college. At local light rail open houses, there was enthusiastic support from residents in Westmoreland and Reed for this new station location, and both SMILE and the Reed Neighborhood Association passed resolutions requesting that TriMet place a MAX station there.

That’s what got the “Harold Street Station” back on the TriMet MAX map – with an asterisk. They may build a station there, but not for a very long time, they say. The impediment seems to be the cost of building the pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks – a bridge which, if continued across McLoughlin to descend at Reedway Street in Westmoreland, would allow SMILE residents to walk to cultural events at Reed College, and would allow bicyclists from Reed College and the Reed neighborhood easy access to the Springwater Trail access point on the west side of S.E. Milwaukie Avenue at Mitchell Street.

When the MAX line opens in Inner Southeast next year, north Westmoreland will lose three of the five buses it has long had (including buses 31, 32, and 33, which all provide direct access downtown) – and yet will not have a Harold Street Station to take up the transit slack. That area will become something of a public transit ghetto, with its big loss of service; and most of the Reed neighborhood will still have no easy access to the MAX line, either.

Consequently, THE BEE will continue advocating for the Harold Street Station and the pedestrian bridge. Count on it.


Letters to the Editor

Thanks to the Union Pacific

Editor,

I would like to pass on a public thank you to Brock Nelson, Local Director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific Railroad. I contacted Brock twice this summer regarding the apparent increase in “backup beeper” [sounds] and truck horn signaling noise emanating from the Brooklyn Train Yard. Brock was very responsive in listening to my concerns, and then working with the yard staff to calibrate the beeper volume and communicate requests to minimize horn noise. These changes were immediately noticeable, and in my opinion led to a much mellower outdoor environment [in Westmoreland]. Thanks Brock!

Sean Murray

S.E. Ellis Street

 

Double whammy from the city to one who played by the rules

Editor,

When my Westmoreland rental was subject to a conditional use review in 2011, I paid all the fees required, conducted a good deal of research (other comparable enterprises in my neighborhood, parking surveys, etc), was required to write and submit a proposal, to participate in hearings, and to present a case. ONCE APPROVED, I faithfully collected taxes from my bed and breakfast guests and submitted them to the city on time.  

Rental owners who followed good business practices and complied with the rules, who paid thousands of dollars to be approved for business, shouldn’t suffer the consequences of those who flew below the radar -- such as with Air BnB. And we who already paid shouldn’t incur any new fees.

KATU-TV-2 highlighted my plight on September 30; they asked the city about this apparent injustice. Sandra P. Wood, Code Development Manager of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, via her email sent to Commissioner Fritz and me: “This is a situation where you are both correct If an applicant received a Conditional Use approval for a 3-5 bedroom Bed and Breakfast, than their approval is not affected by the current regulations. But if an applicant received a Conditional Use approval for a 1-2 bedroom Bed and Breakfast, which I believe is the case with Ms. Yamada, then the new regulations would supersede that approval.”

I urge the city to seriously consider an amendment recognizing previously-approved CU’s (with 1 or 2 bedrooms) who have brought money into the economy and followed the law, to wit:

  1. No new fees for CU-approved B&Bs – In other words – WE’RE EXEMPT.
  2. Or, if the fees are to apply, the city should return the CU fees already paid, and THEN subject us to the new rules. (In my case, that would be a $3,800 refund.)
  3.  Or, if these new fees are to continue for those in this situation, and if there is to be no refund of fees already paid, the city should, over time, take the new fees from the fees already paid, before the assessing of any additional fees.
  4. Or – based on Portland Zoning Code provision 33.700.110, Section B, regarding Prior Conditions of Land Use Approvals – the city may provide a continuance of the conditional use for previously approved B&Bs with 1 or 2 bedrooms, thus making them exempt from the new rental laws and fees – as are the larger B&Bs.

Although the process to open our bed & breakfast was arduous, stressful, and expensive, we felt the results were worth the process. Guests from Australia to the Netherlands and from Maine to Hawaii have stayed here and been thrilled to have a clean homey place to stay in a lovely neighborhood where they can visit family and friends and see the local sites.

Now we’re expected to go through more process, and pay additional fees. We feel manipulated, and we don’t think this situation is small-business-friendly – except to the Air BnB organization, which just moved its headquarters to Portland, by coincidence.

Judith Yamada
Westmoreland

  

Be alert at and on 19th Street

Editor,

I was wondering if THE BEE could bring some attention to the speed limits on Tacoma Street and 19th Avenue in Sellwood [and Westmoreland]. The speed limit has changed to 25mph on Tacoma Street. The speed limit on 19th Avenue is 20mph.

Yet, it does not seem that this has been registered by most if not all drivers. Since 19th Avenue is also part of the Springwater Corridor bike boulevard, there are many people crossing the road there, including many children. With the new apartment building on Tacoma and 17th Avenue, cars are usually parked on both sides on 19th Avenue, leaving a one way street for two way driving, and with limited visibility. Thank you for bringing this to the attention of your readers!

Maria Armstrong
via e-mail

EDITOR’S NOTE: Before long, there will be flashing pedestrian crossing signals at 19th both on Tacoma Street in Sellwood and on Bybee Boulevard in Westmoreland, to assist those using 19th as a new bicycle boulevard. Be alert for those, too – and, pedestrians and bicyclists, always push the button and wait for the signal before crossing, once they are installed!

 

Citations needed for drivers not stopping at crosswalks

Editor, 

I live in Sellwood south of Tacoma Street. I often run with my dog, my spouse, or with my son in a stroller. Most of the time when we cross the crosswalks on Tacoma Street between the Sellwood Bridge and 13th Avenue we have to wait for an inordinate amount of time to cross as no one stops, even with us in clear view. This is a recurring issue and traffic laws dictate that vehicles stop for pedestrians at the entrance of crosswalks. Today [October 16] when I indicated with my arm that my intent was to cross – someone even honked at me as they drove by. [Professionally,] I see pedestrians who have been struck by vehicles in this context all too often, and feel that a statement needs to be made about these violations. 

Jason Oost, MD
Emergency Medicine Physician, OHSU

 

More helped in dog rescue

Editor,

Thank you for including the photo of Barney’s Rescue in last month’s edition of THE BEE.  A number of neighbors were bothered, however, that there was no mention of the real heroes of the day who spent hours in the hot sun cutting through the blackberries. Jana made phone calls and located the family while Tomoko brought her hedge clippers, pruning shears, and helped clear away the thorny blackberry vines. Norwood, a super hero in a cowboy hat, managed to cut a 2 x 10 foot wide tunnel into the hedge and crawled inside to soothe the frantic, whining dog. Norwood stayed with Barney in that dark, narrow cavern for more than an hour, until the family arrived. My apologies to neighbors Jana, Norwood, and Tomoko who worked much of the day to free the entangled dog.

Jeanne May
via e-mail

 

Running fundraiser planned for Llewellyn Elementary School

Editor,

I would like to invite the members of our community to join Llewellyn Elementary School's Shamrock Run Team. The race is held on March 15, 2015, in downtown Portland, with multiple running and walking event opportunities. We are attempting to create a Super Team of 75+ adult registrants under the team number of 6070. Participants will receive a $4 discount on their registration fee and, upon reaching our goal, the Shamrock Run will donate $5 per adult participant to the Llewellyn Elementary School

Foundation. The “team” aspect is really only in the registration process, our school spirit, and camaraderie. Participants may enter any race of their choosing and can go at their own pace.

This is an excellent way to get fit, have fun, and support your neighborhood school! Pending we meet the “Super Team” status, your T-shirts, bib numbers and timing chips will be available for pick-up several days prior to the race outside at Llewellyn School before and/or after school. We hope that you will enter our team number 6070 when registering and thank you for the support that it lends to our students!

Registration extends through January 31, 2015. More information and to register for the Shamrock Run can be found at: http://www.shamrockrunportland.com. Questions regarding being a team member can be sent to me: jennifer.price@gmail.com.

Jennifer Price
Llewellyn Elementary School parent

 

Finds flaws in BEE headlines

Editor,

Two problems [from the October BEE]: Drivers FLAUNT rules (about the no left turn near bridge). Wrong word. The drivers FLOUT the rules. Look up both please....easily confused.

CYCLIST hit at intersection. I believe it is common usage that the word cyclist refers to a BIcyclist, not a guy on a motorcycle. How about "biker" hit?

But I do continue to REALLY like THE BEE. Thanx for all you do.

Mike Bolduan
via e-mail

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for the education on “flout”. We got our BA in English, and this is one we didn't know. Our dictionary agrees with you, though it confirms “flaunt” as an alternate in this usage, “stemming from its confusion with flout”. As for the other – it is paradoxical that a motorcyclist might be best referred to as a biker, and a bicyclist as a cyclist. We will brood on that one.

 

Demolitions and new houses harming Woodstock

Editor,

We live on a 210’x300’ block of modest neat homes, most built in the 1940’s, just northwest of Woodstock Park. From the ’40’s until this spring, our block contained nine residences. By early 2015, there will be twelve homes on this block, as a result of city-mandated infill. On the west side, there is a new one on the backyard of a corner property that overwhelms the existing homes with its 48-foot height at the peak – and a sliver house on the side garden lot of another. The demolition of the highest-value home on the east side of the block will accommodate two new houses, each on a 37.5-foot-wide plot.

All, except possibly the sliver house, are expected to have an asking price well above $500,000 in this neighborhood of mostly $250,000 to $350,000 homes. This means that families with ordinary incomes will not be able to live here.

We have enjoyed living in our neighborhood for many years, and we know that change is inevitable, and that attrition makes some of that change possible. We are resigned to having less space for the people who will now inhabit this neighborhood, but we would certainly have appreciated being notified of the coming changes early in the process, and having more attention paid to the design of the new homes, including neighborhood input. New construction should always fit into, not detract from, the character of any area.

We realize that this infill will bring jobs and more funds to the City, but to the detriment of the neighborhood, which has been attracting both young families and older people with its modest charm, desirable location, and greater affordability.

We hope that hearing about our block’s experiences will alert many more neighborhoods to what could happen to them. And, be aware that blocks platted in 25-foot increments are particularly vulnerable for sliver houses. With the changes already set for our block, we will no longer be happy with the appearance of our neighborhood.

Dianne Burton
S.E. 47th Avenue
 

“Repair Café” to return to Southeast

Editor,

I wanted to thank David Ashton [October BEE] for taking the time to report on the "free fixes” at the “Repair Cafe” so graciously hosted by the folks at Homestead Supply on September 14th. It was a gorgeous day, and the people attending were having a great time as were those doing the fixing. With five sewing machines set up, two bike repair stations, and an assortment of folks doing small appliance and tool repair most people got helped. I was totally impressed with one repairman that came with his son from Newberg to do repair work, and spent over two hours working on an antique fan. I am not sure he got it totally fixed, but I think the owner of the fan was impressed with the attempted fix, and certainly he knows his fan on a whole new personal level now.

But the big news is that if you missed the “Repair Cafe” on September 14th, there is another one coming soon to Inner Southeast – at St. David of Wales Church, 2800 S.E. Harrison Street. It is being co-sponsored by the Southeast Portland Tool Library, St. David of Wales Church, and of course the RepairPDX folks. You can sign up for this event at the RepairPDX website: http://www.repairpdx.org, or by e-mail to: repairpdx@gmail.com. We hope to see you there!

Steve Couche, Founder
Southeast Portland Tool Library 


Thanks for food drive success

Editor,

Moreland Presbyterian Church would like to thank the neighborhood for their support of our September Food Drive. On September 21, families from the church canvassed our immediate neighbors, while other neighbors dropped off food donations to the church during the week. We were able to deliver 750 lbs. of food to FISH Emergency Services, a local organization that provides emergency food boxes to people in need from North, Northeast and Southeast Portland.  Thanks neighbors for making the food drive a success!

Sarah Gibson
Director of Children's Ministries,
Moreland Presbyterian Church

And just a couple more… 

Editor,

In my letter printed in the last BEE, I inadvertently left out volunteers who helped with this summer's Sundae in the Park, and Iwould like to remedy that and recognize them. 

The children's Bubble-making activity area has been supervised by Jeffrey and Sebastian Kolwitz for many years, and Kate Loggan has patiently instructed family members in the fine art of Croquet, summer after summer! 

This year the Oregon Psychological Association's Public Education Committee hosted an informational table for the first time. They tell me they will be back!  If I have forgotten anyone else, please accept my apologies.

Nancy Walsh
Chair, SMILE Sundae in the Park Committee 

 

Friends of Trees celebrates…with more trees

Editor,

To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Friends of Trees is offering a special deal this year: Street trees for just $25, and that includes inspection, permits, delivery of a healthy young tree, and help planting the tree in the strip between the sidewalk and the street. These trees are normally $35-75, so this is a great opportunity for Oregonians.  You can sign up for a tree online at: http://www.friendsoftrees.org – or call 503/282-8846. On December 13. crews will be planting in six Southeast neighborhoods: Brooklyn, Brentwood-Darlington, Eastmoreland, Mt. Scott-Arleta, Sellwood-Westmoreland, and Woodstock.  If you live in one of these neighborhoods, this is a chance to meet your neighbors while making the neighborhood a better place to live. The deadline for ordering trees is November 13, and then the trees will be planted by volunteer crews a month later, on December 13.  Volunteers are needed for many different roles and different places.  We hope to see you there. 

Tim Moore
Catherine Mushel
Karen Williams
Past and Present Neighborhood Coordinators for Eastmoreland



Michael makes one stop in BEE Country this year

Editor, 

St. Philip Neri Church will again be kicking off the Christmas season on December 1 at 7:00 pm with the annual Michael Allen Harrison benefit concert, featuring special guest Julianne Johnson. This year, this will be the only Michael Allen Harrison concert in the area served by THE BEE.

It may come as a surprise, but St. Philip Neri Catholic Church turns out to be one of Portland’s best venues for lively acoustics. We were given background information on our acoustics recently, by acoustics consultant, Russ Altermatt. In a published article in the Oregonian, there was a photo of the church interior, with the headline, “The pews may be unpadded, but the acoustics in St. Philip Neri Church are divine”. 

We want everyone to join us for this heartwarming Holiday concert.  A reception follows with traditional homemade cookies. The address is 2408 S.E. 16th Avenue at Division Street, and there’s plenty of free parking. Tickets are $15 regular admission, $25 preferred seating.  For tickets, call the church office 503/231-4955.  

Anita Donahue
via e-mail



Thanks from Moreland Farmers Market…and, Manager needed!

Editor,

I want to thank all the neighbors who helped make the Moreland Farmers Market’s 9th season a great success!  We are lucky to have a supportive group of sponsors and partners, a dedicated crew of volunteers and Board members, and of course loyal customers who came out week after week in support of our hard-working vendors.  Thanks to all of you who help make the market a vibrant community gathering spot! 

I have been at the helm of the market for three years, and it has been great getting to know many of you.  Wednesdays have become for me a special day of the week where the community truly comes together, and I feel honored to have been part of this.  I will be stepping down from my position this winter, and the market will be searching for a new Manager for the 2015 season.  If you love local food, are passionate about community, and want to be involved in a really great operation that makes a difference, I would encourage you to apply for the position (or pass this along to someone who might be a good candidate).  Additional information can be found online, at our website: http://www.morelandfarmersmarket.org – or you can e-mail your resume/cover letter to: morelandmarket@gmail.com.

Lastly, our market will be starting up again in May 2015.  Have a great winter, and you can always check for updates on our website. See you around the neighborhood!

Adam Seidman
Market Manager,

Moreland Farmers Market




Letters to the Editor may be submitted via e-mail by clicking HERE.

All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.


 


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