Council hears protest of proposed store demolition
Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle says city officials will try to carve out more time for the owner and vendors to relocate from Curiosities Vintage Mall, which is now under a 60-day notice for demolition as parking becomes scarce around The Round and the proposed arts center.
Doyle made the comment to The Times after more than two dozen people, including owner Travis Diskin and his parents, protested at a City Council meeting. The matter was not on the June 25 agenda, but the public protest was triggered by the notice issued five days earlier, and the council heard people under "visitor comments."
Neither Doyle nor councilors responded publicly after hearing comments for an hour. Doyle said only that the council would await a report from city staff.
But Doyle said afterward that given the impending construction of the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts and a seven-story parking garage next door — ground will be broken this fall if the $46 million fundraising target is reached — city officials are scrambling for parking space in a developing neighborhood where it is dwindling.
Curiosities Vintage Mall is housed in a city-owned building at 12705 S.W. Beaverdam Road, south of BG Food Cartel and within a block of The Beaverton Building/City Hall and The Round. It is within the Beaverton Central urban renewal subarea bisected by the MAX light-rail line. It has been there since 2013, and has been on a month-to-month lease since 2016.
Washington County records list the value of the half-acre lot and 10,180-square-foot building at $1.4 million. The city, through the Beaverton Urban Redevelopment Agency, bought the building in January 2018 from a willing seller.
The Curiosities building and annex once housed Ludeman's, a three-decade-old furniture store that closed in 2016.
"We are going to try to find a solution that everyone is happy with," Doyle told The Times.
"The reality is that the building is on a month-to-month lease. The owner has known that — both this owner (Diskin) and the prior owner. We are still going to search for alternatives for parking. Parking is important because we have to get things done. If the owners of other parking lots can cut a deal with us, who knows what we can do? It would give those folks (at Curiosities) more time. But we do want to let them know what could happen."
Parking gets scarce
Prior to the public comments, the council approved an agreement that will give 21 spaces to residents of The Lofts, who will lose their parking when construction begins of the arts center. The ground floor houses a coffee shop, three restaurants and offices, including the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce on the Crescent Street side.
The area around the Beaverton Central MAX station is being transformed rapidly. The 230-unit complex known as The Rise Central has just been completed, and ground was broken in May for a 125-room Hyatt House, ahead of the arts center and parking garage.
During the meeting, Diskin said a 60-day notice is more than the 30-day minimum to terminate his lease, but it was still insufficient to find replacement space for him and about 60 vendors who do business there.
"That is unacceptable and you should all agree with that," he said.
City staff said in a report that although a 60-day notice was given on June 20, Diskin was informed as far back as September 2017 what the city's ultimate intentions were.
Diskin said in a few days, he mustered around 1,700 signatures opposing the demolition.
"We ask you to stop the hurry to demolish the Peaks building and consider its history and future," he said.
"Based on the outcry alone, you should delay this destruction and re-evaluate your decision. With 60 days and no place to move, in effect you are closing us down."
The Curiosities building, with its multipeaked roof, dates back around 50 years — county tax records do not list a construction date — but it has no city or federal historic designation.
Diskin even questioned support for the 2010 Community Vision Plan that calls for a revitalized downtown — including the arts center, which won Planning Commission approval on Feb. 6 — even though 5,000 people took part in its development between 2008 and 2010. That plan has been updated periodically.
"That outreach has not been successful," Diskin said.
Two current councilors, Cate Arnold and Marc San Soucie, were on the council in 2010, and Councilor Mark Fagin was founding chairman of the visioning committee before he was elected in 2012.
But Diskin got support from speakers.
"Over the years, Curiosities has evolved into a community of collectors working together toward a common goal, an oasis of sorts in the heart of Beaverton," Pam Smith said. "There isn't anything else quite like it in Beaverton."
Another advocate for it, Ella Bridges, said: "For me, it's not just about shopping. It's about relationships."
Dissenters from protest
Though most of two dozen speakers supported Diskin, including parents Barry and Carol Diskin, a couple did not.
Lorraine Clarno is president and chief executive of the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce, which sits on Southwest Crescent Street, across from the proposed arts center. Its offices will be affected by construction and the resulting lack of parking.
"Change is tough," Clarno said. "As a business that sits at the front door of what shortly will be the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, the next couple of years are going to be incredibly disruptive to our business. We are going to have to do some amazing hurdle-jumping to keep our business going."
But Clarno said Beaverton residents who took part in the community vision process knew that when they developed a plan in 2010, and when voters approved an urban renewal district in 2011. The Beaverton Urban Redevelopment Agency will build the garage.
"Thousands of residents expressed that establishing a revitalized downtown was a priority," she said. "There have been many meetings since to define what that looks like."
Rhonda Reister oversees Beaverton Round Executive Suites, which are in the same building as City Hall and leased to businesses. Their tenants also have been affected by a shortage of parking, particularly after BG Food Cartel restricted the use of the lot immediately to the west of The Round.
"It has not been a secret or surprise that this area would be redeveloped. Beaverton has not been shy about the vision for this area, and the community has not, either," Reister said.
"Some things will have to change. Some businesses will have to be relocated."
NOTE: Adds link to Beaverton city website to Q&A on Beaverdam Road status.
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