Foster Streetscape Diary #4: The Amazing Migrating Project

It may be getting colder outside, but discussions of the future of Foster Road are heating up. Tomorrow (Thursday), the Citizen Advisory Committee will meet for the fourth time, 6 to 8 pm at SE Works, 7916 SE Foster. Foster United will post audio from the meeting here for those unable to attend.

The Amazing Migrating Project

Among the most discouraging recent developments is the complete abandonment of Foster Road from 50th to 52nd Avenues.

While looking at street profiles last time, PBOT Project Manager Mauricio Leclerc told the committee that the first two blocks “need a lot of capacity” and that “it’s going to be very hard to do much” because of the current 5-lane cross section. He also said that there wouldn’t be a need to extend the bikeway to 50th, since neither 50th nor Powell have bike routes currently.

Foster at Night

Surprisingly, the committeemembers –including those representing Foster-Powell and Creston-Kenilworth, the two affected neighborhoods –had no reaction to this announcement.

With one casual statement, more than a dozen of businesses, including Speedboat Coffee, Busy Bee Cleaners, Diane’s Diner, I’ve Been Framed and the Post Office were all written out of the planned improvements.

Too often this is too often how decisions are made by the City of Portland. A casual statement made at a meeting in fact contains a bombshell. Unprepared citizens, already immersed in project details, don’t realize that a major new issue has been presented to them and that their response is required. When it’s not forthcoming –that minute –the decision is effectively made. Later, if the decision is criticized, the response is to point to this conversation, as if it was a thorough vetting by the public.

Let’s hope this is not one of those times. The issues on Foster Road are no less urgent west of 52nd Avenue. The businesses and residents of this area should not be cavalierly written off and expected to wait however many decades it will take before Foster Road is looked at again.

Urban Renewal Spending Migrating West?

Last week, Foster United’s Nick Falbo wrote an open letter to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, asking them for support for an improved bikeway on Foster. The letter was picked up by the widely-read blog bikeportland.org, and a lively discussion ensued there –most comments were of the “Go get ‘em, Nick” variety.

One comment, however, took a different direction. Lents resident and sometimes Foster Streetscape Citizen Advisory Committee member Cora Potter gave this analysis of what’s at the root of Lents’ economic development challenges:

“The reason Lents is “struggling” right now is because the focus of the urban renewal is being shifted from Lents to areas further west on Foster, even though the primary and ultimate purpose of the Lents URA is to spur development and revitalization in Lents Town Center.”

As a member of the Lents Urban Renewal Advisory Committee myself for three years, it’s news to me that the reason for Lents troubles is that PDC has allocated a small contribution to the Foster Streetscape. The Lents Town Center and its Urban Renewal Area have struggled for a long time –long before the western portion of Foster Road was added in 2008. And of the more than $245 million controlled by Lents and the URA, it seems a stretch to believe that allocating $2 million for the Streetscape is what’s crippling the Lents Town Center.

But there’s an easy way to find out.

As a member of the advisory committee on urban renewal for three years, I requested information on exactly where the URA was spending its money. This information never disclosed to me or the committee. In addition, during each annual budget process, I requested URA funds be set aside for an independent audit of PDC spending. Each year, this request was denied. Not only did PDC make it impossible to get this kind of information, but the Lents representatives on the committee opposed efforts at better disclosure.

Lents residents have long been poorly-served by their leadership, and ridiculous claims like this one are just one example. If representatives of Lents want to assert that the Foster-Powell and Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhoods are being handed resources that rightly belong to Lents, they should prove it. Until they do, the claim that Lents is suffering at the hands of her greedy neighbors to the west is bullshit.

Foster at Night

STIP Funding

Yesterday the City of Portland submitted its final list of requested funding for the 2014-2015 STIP grants from the State. Foster Road is included on the list, to the tune of $2.24 million. The ambitious plan that the Streetscape committee is creating will need far more money to implement than the modest amount of identified so far, so pursuing new funding sources is critical.

In this round, Streetscape projects like ours are directly competing with large freeway projects around the Portland region. Many suburban communities (for instance, Hillsboro) simply aren’t submitting “active transportation” projects for funding –a serious rollback of our region’s longtime commitment to alternative transportation.

The committee that reviews these grants for ODOT Region 1 is meeting next week, and we should know if Foster makes the next round by this spring.

34 Comments

  1. To be fair, URA funds are spent all across the district on things other than the streetscape.

    -The Mercado site at 72nd was purchased by PDC.
    -The Laurelwood Apartments at 80th & Raymond were renovated with URA funds.
    -Many storefronts all along Foster have taken advantage of storefront improvement loans/grants.

    While these things all align with the broad objectives of the URA plans, they do not directly support the targeted improvement of the core Lents Town Center blocks. I suspect it is investments such as these that Cora is referring to.

    • True, the Streetscape is not the only project to get urban renewal funds. But your examples don’t bolster your case as much as you think.
      – We still don’t know how the Mercado will be organized or funded, so the purchase of the Metro Auto property may or may not be recouped by PDC.
      – Affordable housing is something Lents has opposed, so it hardly seems fair to point to a project like Laurelwood as an example of money that would have been spent in Lents but was sent west instead.
      – Storefont improvement grants = chump change.

      I stand by my point. If Lents wants to assert that minor amounts of urban renewal dollars going to the rest of the URA is the cause of the lack of economic development in the town center, they should prove it.

      • “Lents wants to assert…”

        I haven’t seen any official assertions from Lents N.A, or the URAC claiming this.

        I know you’ve got a history with the URAC and have strong opinions about how is has/is functioning, but be careful in reading too much into Cora’s website comments on bikeportland.

      • $600k plus spent on the renovation of the Marysville School playground
        $1m plus for the acquisition of the Metro Auto site
        $2m plus on Jim and Salle’s Place
        and $2m allocated for the Foster Streetscape, which leveraged and additional $1.25m from Metro and will likely leverage more from the recent ODOT STIP Enhance fund application that was submitted.

        Also – thousands on the Day Theatre renovations, Apex Wellness, Mt Scott Learning Center and around 80% of the active storefront improvement projects (both completed and in process) in the last 4 years have been on Foster, west of 72nd. That program gets hundreds of thousands of dollars out the door annually.

        I got all of this from the regular old budget that PDC publishes and looking at the completed and in progress project reports and maps.

        But, beyond that it’s about allocation of staff time. It’s okay for folks in Lents to point out that staff is spending too much of their time on projects west of 82nd when they’re dropping the ball or not even getting started on projects east of 82nd.

        My whole advocacy point about the Foster Corridor west of 82nd is that it was never meant to be “instead of” it was always meant to be “in addition to” and that the areas east of 82nd should not become donor areas to improve the more affluent and organically viable areas to the west.

        The other misperception that I am hearing consistently from western Foster neighborhoods is that Foster is some sort of cash-infusion that created all of the addition bonding capacity. That was never the case. The addition of the commerical lots along Foster west of 82nd is projected to generate $6 million in bonding capacity over the life of the URA. The additional $190 million in added bonding capacity comes from the growth, primarily in the residential density and value, of the original Lents Town Center Urban Renewal area. This is all in the plan amendment study reports and is easily accessed information.

        I am for collaboration that raises all boats and for continuing storefront improvements and other small business supportive programs on Foster, as long as staff capacity is not diverted from the more challenging projects in Lents Town Center. The developments in the Foster Corridor were always meant to complement and support the revitalization of Lents Town Center, not to replace the efforts there. That was clear in the plan amendment meetings (agreement voiced and supported by Erica).

        And, as far as affordable housing goes – your problem should be with PHB, not Lents. We actively supported and advocated for Ed McNamara’s application to fund affordable housing on the 92/H site in the last NOFA cycle. That project was not funded. What was funded was the acquisition and renovation of apartments at 80th and Raymond – another $2m project in Foster Powell to add to the list above.

        • Anecdotally – I will add that when a group that’s working to create some collaborative flex office space in Lents Town Center (because they’re organizations that want to work to improve Lents) went to PDC to ask about help from the business programs, they were directed to the Wikman building project or the Phoenix Pharmacy.

          That’s the sort of stuff that is not okay – not in any way is it okay. This is the sort of shift of focus that I was referring to in my comment.

        • “another $2m project in Foster Powell to add to the list”

          Foster-Powell is not keeping track, as far as I know. Most of these funds are allocated without their specific interests or intent of the western neighborhood associations.

          I would argue that many of the “non Lents” projects are very valuable to the Lents neighborhood and even the LTC:

          80th & Raymond apartments are essentially a Lents property. Their commercial district is 82& Foster as well as the LTC.

          Marysville elementary’s service area covers into Lents and supports the familys of ‘west Lents’.

          The Mercado on 72 can fix the broken string of commercial nodes. . There is much sharing and blending between these commercial nodes on Foster, and having a continuous string of walking-distance nodes is a super important piece of the puzzle. The walk from 65th to 82nd and 92nd is long, boring, ugly and dangerous.

          That said, I agree it would be better for the LTC if the Mercado was sited there instead of 72nd, and new apartments were added there instead of 80th. I’m a huge fan of dense targeted development, and out spread-out nature betrays many of the wonderful investments that have happened around the area.

          • Nick, I’m not really counting chits here – it’s just discouraging when I hear comments that from residents in FoPo and MSA that the investment in their area has been neligible or non-existent. They need to be aware of the amount of investment in a really compress (less than 4 years) time frame. That’s miraculously fast and really can’t continue at the same pace because of exactly what you mention about making sure we’re being targeted with our investments and ensuring that they move us closer to meeting the URA goals that are currently unfulfilled.

  2. Lents has opposed affordable housing???? Weird! Maybe your neighborhood groups are monolithic, homogenous and single minded, I dunno, but Lentils are all over the map on affordable housing, bike lanes and a myriad of issues. While some folks in Lents on the LNA or the LTCURAC have opposed it, some have been for it depending on the project, the developer, etc.

    Can y’all just change the name of this to Foster Powell because as has been said before, Foster-United seems to be a misnomer.

    • Sia, I know you’re new to the area, so I’ll give you some background:
      For many years the City required 30% of all redevelopment money to go toward affordable housing. Despite the rule, Lents would not support any of the projects that would have brought them into compliance with the policy. Eventually they got their way and the policy went away.

      Now I don’t doubt that there exist residents of Lents who support affordable housing, but unfortunately they have been absent from the NA leadership.

      As a result, until the Kah San Chako Haws on Holgate opened this year, the Lents neighborhood had built zero units of affordable housing since the creation of the URA.

      Other area neighborhoods have built these projects, and in fact welcomed them.

      I don’t doubt that there are Lents residents who do support these projects and I hope they will voice their pov to the neighborhood association.

      Thanks for reading!

      • John, that is not true. Rose has two projects in the town center that have been built with URA support and those projects total at least 38 units – maybe more, just in the town center. There’s also the Proud Ground projects on 122nd, all of the home ownership programs and the rental rehab programs. Bellrose Station is a huge amount of housing that has been preserved as affordable, and that’s in Lents.

        Sia is one of our strong affordable housing advocates and has lived in Lents longer that I’ve known you. I’m also an advocate of affordable housing and have spent a lot of time and effort talking folks down from a ledge about the 92/H site.

        I think maybe you need to take a step back and actually get to know some of the folks you’re turning into caricatures that suit your own agenda. You know – actually listen to what folks say.

  3. Nothing says “Foster United” like incindiary malarkey like this.

    And I’m pretty sure Sia has lived in Lents for the better half a decade. Comparatively. John, I thought you left.

    • Thanks for your input Nick. I’d love to hear a thoughtful response to anything I’ve written here.

  4. Also, to characterize neighborhood association leadership as opposed to affordable housing is also malarkey. I’ve been in favor of affordable housing for the three years I’ve led the LNA. Thanks again John

    As I’ve said before, feel free to let me speak for my own opinions and not represent them on my behalf

  5. Above comments aside (as I’m not qualified to weigh in on any of that discussion!)… I did want to take a minute to say *thank you* to FU (as well as other neighborhood folks, like Mt. Scott-Arleta, Our Happy Block, etc.) for regularly updating the rest of us (far from active neighborhoodies) on what is (or is not!) happening in our neck of the woods. Seriously. THANK YOU!

    Personally, I’d love to see Foster far safer for cyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles – all the way up and down it. And I appreciate the effort taken a couple of days ago to get us less-than-active neighbors active in voicing our priorities in the BTA survey (YES, to FOSTER BIKEWAY!)…. which my husband and I promptly filled out AND encouraged our friends in the ‘hood to do the same.

    While we love it out here and our neighborhood in general (Mt. Scott-Arleta represent!), Foster can be pretty sketchy for peds, bikers and even cars along the whole darn thing! From 205 all the way up to where Foster crosses Powell (with some particularly sketchy places in between: 205, 82nd, 72nd, Holgate). It is exciting to see the progress with the crosswalks and plans for more lights (like the crosswalk at Freddies), but we need a holistic solution. For *all* of us living along Foster.

    Thanks again for all you do. And for taking time to keep the rest of us posted on what is happening in our ‘hood.

    • Kate – I just want you to know that contextually, my comment was a rebuttal to another comment on the bikeportland blog that said Lents is struggling because we’re “defying” the city’s efforts to improve our neighborhood. What I wanted to convey is that we’ve put in thousands of volunteer hours and the progress that has been made is in spite of the city dragging their feet and/or not following through on the intent of the Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Area Plan.

      I too am in favor of a Foster Bikeway and a holistic solution. I think our challenge is coming up with an implementation plan that helps everyone, and doesn’t shift burdens, especially onto more vulnerable geographic areas and populations.

  6. I worked on getting the 30% set aside with what was then the Community Development Network, and it’s outreach/advocacy arm: Affordable Housing Now. I received an award for my volunteer work around affordable housing from the Oregon Opportunity Network three years ago. In January, I will have lived here five years. I have served on the ROSE Board, amongst other things. Were there folks opposed to affordable housing on the LNA Board? Certainly. And they were gone long before PDC decided to abandon our original intent around implementation of the 30% set aside? Yep. And by “our” I refer to the activists that put it together. Maybe I missed you at some of those meetings. January 2013 will commemorate five years in Lents for me. So you may wanna read the old “Foster People” profile of me before making assumptions.

  7. John, I seem to remember being in the same transportation task force meetings with you. You know, the meetings where I sat at the table and supported the $2m allocation for the Foster Streetscape.

    So, please retract your editorial comment that attempts to assert that I oppose the $2m allocation for the streetscape or blame that single budget item for the redirection of resources from Lents Town Center. It’s factually inaccurate.

  8. It’s unfortunate that 82nd continues to create such a division, and not just geographically. As a casual reader here, once-contributor, and big advocate of most things Foster, I’d like to share a few thoughts.

    – Lents has been shat upon over and over by the city. With PDC-owned land sitting vacant, razed, under-used, yada yada, the blame should be on mismanagement and questionable priorities that has left developable land undeveloped, storefronts vacant, and a community waiting for more…much more.

    – This is not the fault of Foster-Powell, Mt. Scott-Arleta, or the people in those neighborhoods who are advocating for safety improvements, economic development, and some degree of beautification.

    – It is unfair for the above goals to be challenged and attempted to be blocked based on the belief that it stands in the way of progress elsewhere (the problems in the LTC were existent before the PDC focused any resources on the western stretch of Foster, which is only fairly recently).

    – But there is progress elsewhere…currently. Woodstock/Foster streetscape, Ramona St, new public art, storefront improvements, new businesses…all in the LTC. There should be more, yes, but safety improvements and beautification west of 82nd does not break the URA bank, nor should it get in the way of more development in Lents (at least not in theory…but then, you’d have to ask PDC why they pass on such projects like at 92/H).

    – This site has attempted to bridge the various neighborhoods along Foster. And they’ve done so brilliantly by sharing news that covers the entire area like never seen before, as well as shining a light on the various neighborhood groups and people that have done the following: created a community tool library, started new businesses, engaged populations that cross multiple demographics, help incubate small businesses, provide affordable and family housing, and promote events that foster the arts and general revelry on and around Foster. I’d say Foster United is a pretty fitting name…and I’d give a nickel to anybody who can try and do better.

    – The areas west of 82nd are no Irvington, Hawthorne, or Alberta. The great divide of 82nd isn’t as great as people think. Many of the issues that frustrate the Lentils frustrate the FoPoians and Arletans, too.

    – Speaking of those issues, maybe we can focus on seeing where the common ground is and make a difference (Can’t we all get along?). Foster Road would be a start, whether at 82nd, 92nd, or implementing a streetscape plan that’s sat mostly unfunded for almost 10 years. And if an updated streetscape brings real multi-modal facilities, safe streets, and some economic development in a neglected part of the city, shouldn’t we all rejoice…even if it adds a couple minutes to the morning commute?

    – Oh, and for the record, I see the LTC’s potential as vast. I can’t wait until —and sincerely hope— that potential is fulfilled someday. Seriously, a strong and vital LTC is a boon to the surrounding region. I can only hope that the same well wishes would be mutual for the areas west of 82nd.

    – Maybe a group hug is in order? John, we’ll start with you…

    • Thanks for that Jeff,

      I’m completely with you on the idea that the Foster corridor has shared frustrations, interests and concerns.

      Neighbors to the west of 82nd and neighbors to the east of 82nd are still that: neighbors. We all drive, bus, bike walk, shop, eat and live off of this main street, and the imaginary boundaries of neighborhood associations seem to create more division than unity.

  9. Setting aside the comments directed at individuals, I think the main point is that Lents has struggled for a long time as an urban renewal area. This includes before west Foster was added to the URA. If you look at the total budget over the years, the funding for projects in Foster-Powell is negligible compared to Lents and yet the economic development in Lents continues to languish. I do not believe that Lents struggles because of the money spent west of Foster. It is not true.
    I also know that the $2m transportation allocation was not a “friendly gesture” from Lents to the other neighborhoods, but it is because people are dying trying to cross the street.

    • The issue isn’t whether Lents struggles because of money spent west of Foster. The concern that’s been expressed is that Foster-Powell is doing great. It’s burgeoning. It does not need to be pushed over the line by the PDC, because it’s already galloping with tremendous form. (The cynic in me might argue that any help from the PDC could hurt FoPo more than it helps).

      With FoPo doing great, the community members who I’ve discussed this with generally say they want to make sure the PDC preserves its options and resources to meet the needs of the Lents Town Center, so that we, too, can have a spectacularly lively business district. A few points to that:

      – I’m not saying that all of the URA money should go to Lents. In my perfect world, Lents wouldn’t need a ton of URA assistance and we could focus on the really, truly heavy lifts – connecting the neighborhoods at 82nd Avenue and improving the 122nd corridor. But I don’t want our options to be limited.

      – One of the inherent inequities of the way our urban renewal funds are distributed is the need for matching funds for private-sector projects. That means that more city cash will go toward areas that are easier to get financing, because they have demographics that banks like. In essence, the rich get richer, which is not what TIF is supposed to do.

      – People are also dying trying to cross 82nd Avenue, but there has been no concerted effort to address that. I find that disparity to be moderately classist – it comes across to me that advocates are saying “our people” cross Foster, but “those people” cross 82nd.

      – A rising tide does not lift all boats. Some boats have short anchors. Well-meaning individuals have put anchors on Lents for decades, I would say even going back to its incorporation into the city a century ago.

      – In the end, Lents does not decide how URA money is spent. City Hall and the PDC does. You can’t attribute the distribution of funds to groups from any community.

      • I’m not sure how the Foster Road project has been attached to the “FoPo” neighborhood. The road is the border of more than one neighborhood. The project scope goes all the way to the couplet, in the Lents neighborhood. Would road improvements on 82nd be “Lents” projects? No. We all share this place, including Foster Road, which happens to be the subject of a streetscape refresh at this time. When there is a project to improve 82nd, you can bet there will be strong support from surrounding neighborhoods.
        It may be a surprise to all who live in the surrounding neighborhoods that (west) Foster Road or even FoPo are “burgeoning” or “galloping with tremendous form”. There are some positive things happening, yes. But I don’t think that the area is considered by many as some sort of economic tinderbox ready to explode.

        • 38 blocks of the project are west of 82nd. Four blocks of the project are east of 82nd, in Lents.

          When referring to FoPo above, I’m referring to the business district, not one individual neighborhood.

      • Nick C,

        I think your comment about 82nd is completely off base, at least when it comes to neighborhood interests. Tackling 82nd is so much more challenging than tackling Foster, there is only so much energy, time and influence that regular people have. (and when up against ODOT, that amounts to almost nothing).

        People are talking about Foster right now because it’s the time to talk about it. The official planning is happening, and this is time to get your thoughts, concerns and interests on the table. Don’t fault people for putting the two cents in when the timing is ripe.

        If 82nd ever gets a similar process going, you’ll see just as much if not more discussion from the surrounding communities. I’m personally working on getting a similar effort going for 82nd, but this is a long-hard fight.

        • 82nd is part of the Foster Streetscape process though – the intersection is included. In addition, we should be talking about the current issues on 82nd in the Foster process so that there is a clear understanding of the choices being made if traffic and potential safety concerns are shifted to 82nd as a result of the changes implemented on Foster.

          It is really important to acknowledge this, especially since 82nd forms an even longer “moat” along the edges of FoPo and MSA than Foster forms a moat between them, and our more fragile populations are living closer to the eastern edges of FoPo and MSA. And, the significant barrier that 82nd creates is the primary reason that our commercial nodes on either side do not relate, and that the general trend is for anyone west of 82nd to travel west to have their needs met rather than cross 82nd and move east.

          So, if the changes we make on Foster re-inforce the barrier of 82nd and thus the separation and lack of economic integration of our neighborhoods (with the economic benefits accruing to inner SE commercial areas like Division, Hawthorne and Woodstock/East Moreland), regardless of any intentions of future change on 82nd, we’re not doing it right.

          You’re right, fixing 82nd will be a long hard fight. But, in the interim we shouldn’t be doing things that will make the fight longer and harder while reducing the economic and cultural strength of the neighborhoods on the East side of 82nd that we need to bolster so our alliance can be effective.

  10. The Foster Area Business Association extends all the way to 122nd. Technically, the LTC is in the FABA.

    • As much as I love Nancy et al…we don’t see much of them if they don’t see some way to work 65th and west into the project. That and, our businesses extend more than the 1 block off Foster that FABA covers. So, technically we have 2 business associations – 82nd Ave and FABA – and other than Gary Sargent, they’re not much interested in us.

  11. I’m glad this discussion is happening, though I readily apologize if I personalized it or used needlessly inflammatory language. There is obviously a lot of frustration all around, so having the conversation is a good thing.

    First, let me say to Cora: I never said that you opposed the PDC money for the streetscape, and I appreciate your support for the overall package of improvements that committee put together, including the Streetscape money. It was one of the few moments of functionality in a largely disfunctional process.

    But you can hardly argue that you and the other Lents neighborhood appointees weren’t lukewarm (to say the least) to that funding. That was something that was hard fought, and if anything, the dollar amount we finally accepted for the Streetscape was probably too low for the scope of the project.

    The URA expansion in 2008 that brought 50th to 82nd into the area was expressly sold to the Western neighborhoods as a mechanism to fund the Streetscape. The pitch was all about infrastructure dollars, not housing and not economic development. Yet it’s been years of delay and a too-long list of pedestrian fatalities since the PDC put its footprint into the Western area of Foster Road.

    Regarding too much PDC staff time west of 82nd, that’s something for LNA to take up with Kevin Cronin, but for what it’s worth, I agree with you. If they’re directing interested businesspeople away from the LTC that’s a huge problem. I don’t have the slightest disagreement with you that the PDC should be putting its time into developing the Town Center.

    But your comment on bikeportland.org was that the reason for Lents’ continuing problems is resources being devoted to the west. I reject that, and I don’t apologize for calling bullshit on it.

    So let’s find out.

    I have always wanted to see a serious, independent audit. And not just a financial audit, but a real performance audit to assess what’s been spent, including staff time, and what the public have gotten for it. Such an analysis would be a huge benefit not just here but citywide.

    That was something I requested every year I was on the committee. You know how far it got. If you want to see where the money has really gone, then let’s press the incoming Mayor and Council to look at the question. I’d be your biggest ally in that effort.

    In any event, as Brett points out, these transportation routes are shared by all of us. Improving walkability and bikeability in all these areas is a crucial shared issue among the neighborhoods. We all patronize businesses both West and East of 82nd –at least I hope so, I know I do. So the solutions need to be reached on the basis of what’s best in each case. The provincialism of “hey, that money should be spent here and not over there” makes accomplishing anything a lot harder.

    • John, I was in no way lukewarm to the Foster Streetscape being funded. And, during the plan amendment process I was the one that got folks on board with being inclusive of Foster, even though there was no concrete fiduciary benefit to adding it.

      During our discussions providing housing west of 82nd was heavily discussed, and Foster Powell /MSA agreed that they should be taking on some of the burden of meeting the 30% set aside target goals in the west corridor area, to help avoid concentrating low-income housing, and to give people more housing choice. It was not just about infrastructure.

      They also expressed that they understood that they were being included not because we needed their increment or participation, but because it was an effort toward being inclusive, and that they did understand that they shouldn’t expect large projects (like redeveloping Mt Scott Fuel or Metro Auto Wholesale) because that would start drawing monetary resources away from the long line of projects needed in the original URA area. They understood that the only projects that the URA would likely be able to contribute to was some match for the Foster Streetscape and inclusion in the opportunity for Storefront Improvements and business line loans.

      My comment on Bike Portland was about a shift of focus, not about resources being devoted to the west. But, I’m also experienced enough to know that you only get investment where people spend their time creating projects. And, right now a heck of a lot of the project creation focus is shifting to west of 82nd – including the Foster Road Investment Strategy, which was intended to focus on developing and infrastructure investment plan for the Johnson Creek Industrial area (for BES, parks, and PBOT, Freeway Land, the town center between 205 and 104th etc.) with some attention given to how and when Streetcar should come in on the entire length of the Foster Corridor. Lately, it’s suddenly become about Economic Development of all of the nodes on West Foster with Lents Town Center not even included and Johnson Creek IA as a tangential – oh yeah we’ll do that too.

      So – yes, there is a focus shift and it is not in the best interests of equity.

  12. As an interested neighbor who has never made it out to a meeting, but who answers every survey and gives input as I am able, I have to say that this whole discussion has discouraged me from having any real involvement in neighborhood politics.

  13. Nobody is helped when people walk away from the table, Rachel. As messy as the food fights can be, the only way to have your voice heard is to voice it.

    And the food fights like these do suck. I’d rather ignore them, but I don’t like it when people claim to represent my opinions.

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