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West Portland Town Center CAG Meeting #1

All welcome! Opportunity for public comment and materials available online.

Located in the cafeteria.


6:30 - Introductions and ice breaker

6:50 - Context and project overview: with Q&A/discussion

7:20 - Review/discuss early draft Collaboration Principles

7:50 - Themes from 4/27 kick-off meeting, pre-meeting survey results, and goals refinement: discussion

8:20 - Public comments and closing



Committee Members Present

  • Javier Moncada
  • Terri Preeg-Riggsby
  • Beth Omansky
  • Chris Smith
  • Pam Phan
  • Saalim Ahmed Saalim
  • Katherine Christensen
  • Ramsay Weit
  • Marianne Fitzgerald
  • Dacia Grayber
  • Chris Chiacchierini

Staff present

  • Joan Frederiksen
  • Ryan Curren
  • Samuel Garcia

Partner staff

  • Libby Winter (TriMet)
  • Jackie Santa-Lucia (Prosper) 

Icebreaker exercise: What questions do you hope this project will address?

  • Dacia and Chris C.
    • Affordable housing
    • People of color, low-income are being pushed out further, stratifying communities
    • What does the neighborhood need and what keeps us from getting it?
  • Katherine and Ramsay
    • Being intentional in advance of infrastructure investment
    • Why haven’t past plans been implemented?
  • Saalim and Pam
    • Ensuring that neighbors here now get the highest benefits of this project
  • Rachael, Beth, and Chris S. and Marianne
    • Hope that folks here now can benefit from the plan without displacement
    • We want to see jobs for folks that will give them stability
    • Hope that we can bring in a disability perspective
      • Include ADA accessibility. A lot of people who live here are disabled and can work, but are not hired, and end up being jobless
      • Make sure there are car-free options for community
  • Terri and Javier
    • How do we find solutions to implement the plan(s)? Also thinking about the different aspects/silos of the project and how they can all work together

Overview presentation – Ryan and Joan

  • Context
    • Discussion/Questions
      • Has PCC connection been determined? Not yet. We will get more information from TriMet. In any case that is one of the pieces we are tracking as a consideration for the WPTC work.
      • Is it possible to have a timeline where we can know when it would be strategic to have input? Yes. We are working with partners to finalize that
  • Previous Plans, Equity framework
    • Discussion/Questions
      • Can you define health/well-being? Ryan: It includes many forces - physical (nature, infrastructure), Economic security, Safety/Resilience (earthquake, stability), housing stability, Community – that impact a person’s wellbeing.
  • West Portland Town Plan
    • Discussion/Questions
      • Will air toxics and noise be addressed in plans? Joan: Air quality will be considered and will be part of health assessment. Existing noise is more difficult to mitigate and there is less of a chance that we will be able to address that. In terms of noise, “jake brakes” from trucks on the Interstate highway have been a big noise issue for years. Also, you don’t want to be putting vulnerable populations next to pollution hot spots. And it wouldn’t be realistic to look at putting a park beneath the light rail overcrossing due to air pollution concerns.
      • Given the market effect and the time it takes to make plans, how do we focus on opportunities before they slip away? Can we do an opportunity sites charette that are more strategic, more urgent about looking at opportunity sites for purchase?
      • There is a strategic need to move quickly. We need to have land banking/acquisition of sites yesterday.
      • Could we have a conversation with Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) at the table? What other work is happening? Ryan: PHB is actively engaged in this. We are also doing a market study which will also provide needed information to understand the possibilities in this area. A key opportunity site is the Barbur Transit Center (owned by ODOT) and CAG members are invited to participate in creating a development concept for the site. Also, at the June CAG someone from PHB will be providing an update on the Metro housing bond and how it could apply to SW Corridor.
      • Was there anything in the Mayor’s budget about supporting purchasing land/acquisition for affordable housing?
        • Ryan/Jackie: No. Also, the Mayor’s office did not include a proposed inter-bureau collaboration proposal to coordinate implementation for SW, N/NE, and East Portland that would have in part supported work on this project.
        • We need to identify priorities even without money in the budget for additional support at this time. Also should be noted that any acquisitions related to the light rail project would need to wait until after a 2020 regional vote for the light rail funding.
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Timeline
    • Discussion/Questions
      • Can you send walking tour survey before the day of actual walk? Yes
      • HAKI offered their space for August CAG or other needed meetings
      • Are we coordinating with Metro, TriMet, ODOT, etc., and other plans?
        • Yes, we are working with partners to coordinate work and smaller, incremental decision-making points of the project
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Influence/Opportunities for community input
    • Discussion/Questions
      • Unite/CAT worked on 2017-18 SW Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy and will continue to contribute community development priorities in this planning process 
  • Map Activity. A large map showing the area and the Draft West Portland Town Center Plan Study Area was posted on the wall. The Draft Study Area reflects a broader area than will likely be proposed for changes but give us the opportunity to understand the center in the context of the broader area and existing amenities/community resources or deficiencies. The CAG was asked to review and comment on boundaries/area shown. Discussion/Questions
    • Map should include informal trails (whether SW Trails or other)
    • NW part has no walkability to transit
    • ODOT will be making it difficult with more vehicles making right turns around Barbur World Foods
    • We wanted to avoid topographical barriers in the N end of study area (landslide hazard)
    • Is there discussion with TriMet about elevating and building beneath Southwest Corridor light rail alignment overpass?
      • TBD
    • Maybe consider developing/incorporating Spring Garden Parks into the northern part of the study area
    • Jackson is highly used by community for recreational purposes
    • Barbur Transit Center is a beautiful spot to see views of Mt. Hood, stargazing, etc.
    • We might need to decide what changes to make about boundaries according to the amenities we think we need/don’t need
    • Maybe look at pathways, way people move around, and place it on the map as a factor to think about. Is SW Trails engaged?
    • Park-and-ride (P&R) at Barbur Transit Center
      • Libby: TriMet will be talking about P&Rs at their next few CAC meetings. Steering committee finalizing size of P&R in June/July
    • ​​​​​​​Questionable about whether P&R will relieve regional congestion.
    • Currently buses #43 and 44 don’t directly connect to Barbur Transit Center
    • There’s no stormwater infrastructure in the east or west part of the study area
    • Add the full ODOT maintenance facility into the study area.

April 27th Event Recap – A brief event summary was handed out and reviewed. It included major themes heard during group discussions and written on feedback forms/boards, as well as a selection of quotes from participants.

  • Discussion/Questions
    • Access to homeownership was one topic discussed that CAG had questions on. In particular there was interest and questions on what sharia law was and how it related to housing?
      • Explanation provided by Saalim: Religion discourages from paying interest for loans, so can’t quality for traditional forms of mortgage. There are alternatives such as commission-based loans. Saalim also offered to bring a banking 4 specialist familiar with these practices to provide more information if there was interest from the group.
    • In one group we talked a lot about resilience in terms of being able to stay in place, not just earthquake safety

Beginning Discussion of Project Goals – The intention of this portion of the meeting was to review the draft project goals and get input from group on changes or additions to them. Due to a logistical issue materials were not available. The group nonetheless discussed policies and goals in general.

  • Discussion/Questions
    • Will there be a displacement risk analysis done for this area? Ryan: Yes, analysis of vulnerable populations, housing cost burdened households, and availability of affordable housing is part of the existing conditions, health assessment and market analysis.
    • It was noted that this analysis should also be coupled with information on recent sale transactions of apartment buildings in the area.
    • How do we operationalize the Comprehensive Plan’s anti-displacement policies?
    • How to identify and prioritize properties for acquisition? What are the first 10 projects needed? Ryan noted that willing sellers are critical to acquiring existing multidwelling/apartments.
    • There should be incentives to help unwilling sellers.

Closing – Staff thanked the CAG for their participation, commitment and good conversation this evening. Next meeting is set for June 3, 6:30 pm at Markham cafeteria. The August 5 meeting location still needs to be determined but could be at the Girls Scouts building on Barbur or HAKI’s offices.

Materials from this meeting will be posted online and agenda for the June 3 meeting will also be on project website a week before the meeting.