Letters To The Editor
Wildlife in the neighborhood
This eight-point buck greeted me in front of my house the other day, in the 8800 block of S.E. 10th.
Renters' view disappearing
As I've watched the building of the new CVS Pharmacy on S.E. Tacoma & 17th, I cannot imagine their right to have [their wall] a little more than 5 feet from the apartments' balcony.
Did the apartment [building] owners know that this would happen? And, if so, would they have told renters?. . .
"Business is business" but [we] don't have to like it. Where is the consideration for:
1. The apartment owner who wants renters;
2. For renters who want light into their apartments.
Could you find out how the large, high wall was allowed on the west side of the CVS building?
SellwoodEDITOR'S NOTE: We asked David Schoellhamer, the very expert Chair of the SMILE Land Use Committee, your question. Here is his response: "I have been asked this several times lately. Both lots are zoned the same: commercial CM2. Here is my reading of the zoning code for commercial (C) lots, 33.130.215.B.2.c – online at
"The CVS wall could be as tall as the apartment building (45 feet as measured by the city), the windows and balconies next door place no restriction on CVS. For the apartment building next door, windows facing CVS had to be 5 feet back from the property line, unless the unit has other windows facing the street or a dedicated open space, in which case the side windows don't need any setback. Balconies can be built to the property line. The CVS property was zoned commercial when the apartment building started construction in 2015, so the builders of the apartment building must have known a building as tall as theirs could be built next door at the property line.
"33.130.215.B.2.c: Windows in the walls of dwelling units must be setback a minimum of 5 feet from a lot line that abuts a C, E, I, or CI zoned lot. Windows of dwelling units that also have other windows facing a street lot line or facing a dedicated open space that is at least 10 feet in depth, such as a required setback or required outdoor area, are exempt from this standard. The setback area must be a minimum width of 12 feet or the width of the residential window, whichever is greater." Our thanks to Mr. Schoellhamer!
Thanks for the transcript from the city's Code Change meeting [headline story, November BEE]. What the Dickens? I can't make sense of what was said at that meeting with Suk Rhee and staff. There is so much remediation in verbal communication needed among the city staffers, one hardly knows where to begin.
It…is easy to understand why some [of those] present couldn't make sense of what was stated.
Despite the language hurdles, one can barely see the outlines of a city agenda that is completely at odds with community residents' and neighborhood associations' needs and expectations.
Portland is not only staying weird, but growing more so.
I'm sure we all, on occasion, have experienced callous employers. I thought I had seen it all until I witnessed the recent "speed audit" of US Postal Service letter carriers in our neighborhood. Taking place every day over the course of a few weeks, our carrier was shadowed and surveilled by an individual with an electronic clipboard who recorded how quickly he unloaded and delivered and moved on to the next house. Any missteps were detailed. It was appallingly dehumanizing to witness.
It turns out that carriers are pitted against each other with regard to completing their routes. It stands to reason that the veterans who have been out pounding the pavement from dawn to dusk, climbing stairs with heavy loads for many years, are perhaps not as spry as the youngsters just starting out; yet management wants to know why they can't complete their routes in the same amount of time. When I complained to a mail carrier supervisor at the Sellwood Post Office distribution center on S.E. 17th Street, I was told that it was a program "for the benefit of the carriers", and if they are taking a little too long, a portion of their route may be given to another carrier to ease their burden. Oh, right. What a great plan. Encourage the young guys to work faster. When they do, keep adding to their routes until they burn out. Then rinse and repeat. Meanwhile the older ones who are there for the long haul can't keep up and get hassled for not performing.
Oh, and if that isn't enough, I understand that mail carriers are required to carry a GPS so that management can track them. How conveniently Orwellian.
Are we so caught up in the lure of near-instant delivery that we are willing to forsake the invaluable intangible role the mailman has always played in our neighborhood? Who else knows more neighbors than you do? Who else will stop and chat for a few minutes, ask you how you are, or know of someone in the neighborhood who might benefit from your help. Who else knows how disparate personal stories intertwine to build a community? Where on the overseer's electronic clipboard is the performance entry for that?
Let them know you are not pleased. I did. Ask them to back off.
Question for local governments
Editor,Is there any reasonable explanation as to why the City of Portland and Multnomah County refuse to remodel Wapato into a housing facility? The building was built as a facility with services, not a "jail". Ted Wheeler and crew are looking pretty stupid at this point. The Portland area is now a HAZMAT site and that will cost the taxpayers lots of money directly and indirectly.
Another alternative would be to move the prisoners out of the Inverness facility to Wapato then turn Inverness into a shelter, since it is closer to stores and the like. There are lots of homeless (houseless) camps close to Inverness. It appears that Portland's political leaders lack vision.
NOTE: The State of Oregon's House and Senate is not without fault in this situation. Institutions that provided care for mentally ill were eliminated, resulting on patients ending up on the streets of our cities.
We can do better – as I think that the city, county and state have the monies to remodel Wapato. I also think that facilities can also be established in other cities in Oregon to lessen the migration to the Portland area.
TriMet discouraged by BEE editorial
TriMet was discouraged to see the recent [October] editorial in THE BEE and wants to set the record straight on changes made with the installation of the MAX Orange Line, which have improved safety for people walking and biking, while facilitating more efficient travel for thousands of people.
The MAX Orange Line came, not from a vote, but from decades of planning and persistent advocacy, as regional leaders worked to assemble the local funding that made light rail projects competitive for federal funding. First, the MAX Yellow Line, which opened in 2004, leveraged urban renewal dollars to serve North and Northeast Portland. Next, the MAX Green Line, opened in 2009, utilized existing right of way to serve Clackamas County and expand transit capacity in downtown Portland. Then the MAX Orange Line, which opened in 2015, was able to proceed with significant state and local investments.
In advance of opening the MAX Orange Line, TriMet worked with riders to define changes in the bus network to complement light rail. This included eliminating some lines that duplicated light rail service, and reinvesting those service hours into other bus lines in the Orange Line corridor. For example, the Line 99-McLoughlin Express was revived and eventually able to serve Tacoma Street and the Sellwood Bridge. Two low-ridership bus stops on McLoughlin that served North Westmoreland were closed, since lines that served them largely duplicated MAX service and alternative service existed nearby-Line 70 on SE 17th Avenue and Line 19 on SE Milwaukie Avenue.
A few years before the MAX Orange Line opened, Line 70, which formerly connected Downtown Milwaukie to Rose Quarter Transit Center, was extended to North Portland by connecting it with the former Line 73. This new, longer line was created in response to ridership demand for north-south service on the inner eastside. Line 70 continues to connect to multiple Frequent Service bus lines and MAX lines for access to downtown Portland. A more recent service improvement is the route change for Line 19 in Downtown Portland. In September 2019, it began serving SW Lincoln Street adjacent to the MAX Orange Line station, in order to avoid traffic congestion on SW Sheridan Street.
During planning for the MAX Orange Line, a potential future station at McLoughlin and Harold was considered, but was determined not to be an appropriate investment due to low ridership potential. Throughout many years of planning, zoning in this area has adjusted to reflect potential growth; however, even with more planned density, projected ridership for a Harold station remained low.
TriMet strongly supports the City of Portland's Vision Zero work, including the reduction in speed limits in residential areas to eliminate traffic deaths. We also support the City of Portland's efforts to manage growth and encourage appropriate development through zoning. In areas with robust transit service, sidewalks and bicycle infrastructure, land use policies encourage compact development that allow for shorter and fewer trips by car.
TriMet looks forward to continuing to serve Inner Southeast Portland with safe, affordable, reliable transit options that benefit our community.
Media Relations & Communications ManagerEDITOR'S NOTE: We are sorry to have discouraged TriMet, and have previously heard and do understand TriMet's positions on these matters. We nonetheless do stand by our editorial – the main thrust of which was not directed to TriMet this time, but to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, which has lowered the speed limit from the correct 25 to 20 MPH on the Westmoreland segment of an important connector street, S.E. 17th – a street, once with a 30 MPH speed limit – which is the primary exit to McLoughlin northbound from Westmoreland for commuters. This change caused ODOT to slow the timing of the traffic light for 17th northbound drivers, resulting in long backups in the morning commute – inadvertently encouraging unsafe cut-around driving. It appears that editorial may have been responded to by ODOT, because the 17th-McLoughlin traffic lights seems to have been re-timed once again, and reportedly a more reasonable interval for 17th Avenue drivers has been restored. We'll see...
All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)