If you had a pile of cash to spend on improving Foster, where would you spend it? Would it be on the streetscape, to make it more comfortable to walk around? Would it be for energy efficiency upgrades for local businesses? Would it be for preparing “catalytic” sites along Foster for new, mixed-use development?
Here’s your chance to let the city know. PDC is giving out $500 in imaginary money, and asking you to spend it . Jump onto their “PDC Town Hall” site, create an account, and spend away! Protip: you can add ‘sub priorities’ to provide more clarity about where you want to see each dollar go.
PDC has taken all of the ideas and suggestions generated at their two FLIP open houses to come up with one list to rule them all:
- Improve pedestrian environment.
- Plant additional street trees.
- Improve sidewalks and curb extensions.
- Enhance east/west bicycle and pedestrian connections.
- Re-design Foster Road.
- Implement an Energy Conservation Program.
- Redevelop “catalytic” sites along Foster Road that could spur additional private investment.
- Support existing businesses and the tenanting of vacant buildings.
- Increase linkages between significant natural habitat areas.
- Implement a Water Conservation Program.
Questioning the List
We’re happy to have PDC putting energy into our slice of Portland, but we do have some questions about their selection of the list. As someone who participated in all of the FLIP events and tries to stay on top of these things, my response was “That’s it?” After two open houses, long lists of potential projects, and this is the best they come up with to direct the coordinated development efforts on Foster?
The very first presentation about the Investment Strategy, one slide shows the four cornerstones of the project.
Unfortunately, their final list doesn’t live up to the spirit of their framework:
- Four of the items are redundant, covering the same topics as the Foster Streetscape Plan. This overabundance of transportation related concerns will result in a bias of results toward that one project.
- There is no mention of Watershed Management (aka Stop the Flooding!) As we shared last week, great strides have been made with the East Lents Floodplains, but it is unclear if that project has solved the problem, or if more needs to be done.
- East Foster appears to be be almost totally abandoned. At the last open house, East Foster had a whole poster dedicated to the area, and only one of the potential projects survived onto this final list: “Increase linkages between significant natural habitat areas.”
- Lents Town Center was lost in the abandonment of East Foster. Certainly many of the list items apply to their location in general, but the large role LTC is designed to play in this region isn’t even acknowledged (Note that the LTC has many separate Urban Renewal, transportation and business development plans, it is possible the FLIP process recognizes and prioritizes those efforts in parallel with this one, but that is not clear.)
- There is no mention of 82nd Ave at all. This is one of the biggest barriers in our neighborhoods.
Any other glaring errors and holes in your eyes? Please leave a comment below. Even better, sign up for their online forum and post comments and critiques yourself.