Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Monday, June 30, 2014

Building Green in NYC


Green City: Eight of the Biggest Eco-Friendly Developments Happening Right Now in NYC

6sqft, MAY 29, 2014   














While going green has more or less become the norm in most modern day construction in New York, some projects have really outdone themselves from the ingenuity of design to the sheer scale of size. This is a city where the new police academy will harness the power of re-usable rainwater, and where the Barclays Center‘s arena roof is being covered with 130,000 square feet of new garden space. New York is placing itself at the forefront of green design and green construction, and here are just eight of the biggest green projects happening right now.






Check out the 6sqft blog about architecture and design in New York.  See blog menu for link.

Europeans paid to bike to work

In Europe, sometimes bike lanes aren't enough.  Whatever the reason, let's not follow this European trend of paying people to do what they can do for themselves.  Note that the average Paris commute is 3.5 km, or about 2.2 miles, while the average Portland area commute is about 20.3 miles.


France experiments with paying 
people to cycle to work  Reuters.   Paris.   June 2, 2014.



PARIS (Reuters) - France has started a six-month experiment with paying people to cycle to work, joining other European governments in trying to boost bicycle use to boost people's health, reduce air pollution and cut fossil fuel consumption.

Several countries including the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Britain have bike-to-work schemes, with different kinds of incentives such as tax breaks, payments per kilometer and financial support for buying bicycles.
In France, some 20 companies and institutions employing a total of 10,000 people have signed up to pay their staff 25 euro cents (34 U.S. cents) per kilometer biked to work, the transport ministry said in a statement on Monday.
French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier, noting that commuting using public transport and cars is already subsidized, said that if results of the test are promising, a second experiment on a larger scale will be done.
The ministry hopes that the bike-to-work incentive scheme will boost bike use for commuting by 50 percent from 2.4 percent of all work-home journeys, or about 800 million km, with an average distance of 3.5 km per journey.
In Belgium, where a tax-free bike incentive scheme has been in place for more than five years, about 8 percent of all commutes are on bicycles. In the flat and bicycle-friendly Netherlands, it is about 25 percent, cycling organizations say.
The Brussels-based European Cyclists' Federation has European Union funding to study best practices among various cycling incentive schemes, the group's Bike2Work project manager Randy Rzewnicki said.
City bike-loan schemes have played a large role in boosting bicycle commuting and cities including Barcelona, London and Stockholm have followed the model of the Velib in Paris.
($1 = 0.7328 euros)
(This story is refiled to correct spelling of fossil in first paragraph.). 
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Entrusting Metro

.What did we ever do without Metro?  (CRAG)  Would cities, counties and the state have created the parks and natural areas if our taxes had not been going to the other government in our lives?  (Yes, No and Maybe.)

Take the survey, but realize that online polls are in no way scientific or representative of the general population.  When we voted to give Metro money to purchase land and create parks and natural areas, didn't anyone at Metro think then about how these lands would be taken care of?   I'm sure they did.  The need for the 2013 levy was step 2.  
Optin Logo
Over the past 20 years, the public has entrusted Metro to create a great place with the protection of more than 16,000 acres across the region to protect clean air and water, restore habitat, and create opportunities to enjoy and be in nature. These investments have allowed Metro and partners to create places like Graham Oaks Nature Park near Wilsonville, Canemah Bluff Natural Area in Oregon City, and the Gresham-Fairview Trail. In 2013 the public approved a local option levy to help care for this growing collection of parks and natural areas and enhance experiences for visitors.

http://survey.optinpanel.org/survey/selfserve/be2/opt14008?list=1&source=TmzETIMJ9PI,1524128

To do this Metro is asking how natural areas, parks and trails can best serve the needs of communities across the region. What do you value most about these places? What are your priorities for access to nature, conservation education, restoration, and trail connections across the region?

To help us answer this question please take 5-10 minutes to answer the seven questions in this survey. Your input will kick off the first phase of planning and help establish a community-driven baseline of values and wishes for Metro's parks, natural areas and regional trails. What helps make this a great place for you?

Thank you for your participation! 

Cars win in drive time

MIT map shows Portland's fastest commutes
    The Oregonian  |  6/24/2014  |  By Joseph Rose


    A new interactive map from MIT Labs shows commuters the fastest ways to get around the city. (Here You Are)
     * * * * *

    Public transportation policy should be based on fact, not fantasy.

    Sunday, June 29, 2014

    Dear Mr. Len Bergstein

    June 29, 2014

    Dear Mr. Bergstein,

    I hope you remember me.  We met a week ago at the Farmers' Market when you were working at the tent set up for the Block 137 development in the Wizer parking lot.  You said you liked my blog.  Maybe you were just being nice, but I took it as a compliment nonetheless.  I talked with you and Patrick Kessi and shook Elaine Franklin's hand.

    Mr. Bergstein, do you remember we had a discussion about the flyers you were handing out?  We debated the square footage of the revised Block 137 design, compared to the square footage of Lake View Village, and we hit a stumbling block.  I said that your figure of 236,852 sq. ft. for Lake View Village was mathematically impossible.  You said the number was an official figure from Lake View Village's land use application.   This was exciting news to me, because with your facts I could put this matter to rest.  

    You said that you would send me the documents and I gave you my card.  I assumed you were going to send a digital copy, so I have been looking for it.  If you were going to send something by snail mail and don't have my address, drop me a line at upsuckercreek@gmail.com and I will get it to you.  

    Actually, I wonder if you know that Lake View Village changed its size and mass tremendously from its first iteration.  After major complaints from the neighbors, Barry Cain worked with them to come up with the much smaller design you SE today that everyone loves.  Maybe you were looking at the first land use app. that was about as big as Block 137.   That would explain the confusion, but maybe you can check this out so we can compare our numbers again.

    I tried doing my own research online to find the Lake View Village land use app, but that would have been in about 2001, and it may be too old for the city website because I could not find it.  Perhaps you can tell me where you got yours?  Maybe Brant Williams could help me.  

    Well, I should go and get some gardening done while the sun is out.  Hope you are enjoying this lovely day!  And if you get some time on Monday, maybe you can send me that land use app?  I would really appreciate it.           

    Regards,

    Up Sucker Creek

    Friday, June 27, 2014

    A human-scale city

    American Society of Landscape Architects
    www.asla.org 

    INTERVIEW WITH JAN GEHL   

    You talk about how important it is to design for the human dimension or scale (not the building scale) and how critical our senses are in experiencing cities. What is the human scale? How can landscape architects make sure they're incorporating this approach into their work?

    Ah, that's easy because I use about 30 or 40 pages in my book to painstakingly detail what human scale is and how you can find out about it. It is of course based on Homo sapiens, the speed with which we move, the way we move, how our limbs are organized, how our movement system, how our senses are geared to our being a walking animal, and are geared to see everything horizontally. We see everything horizontally but we see very little up and a little bit more down. We can see when we communicate with people, we have a very, very precise system. If it's intimate, we are at a close distance. If I was to tell you about a big sad story I just had with one of my grandchildren, I would lean over and it would be very personal. If it's sort of more common, we have the public, the social distance where we yak, yak, yak, and do interviews on landscape architecture. Then we have the public distance which is the distance between the priest and his congregation, teacher, pupil, whatever. We have a number of distances which are part of our instincts and upbringing.


    A city's edge, particularly the lower floors of a building, has a decisive influence on life in the city space. What's the difference between hard and soft edges? Why are soft edges so important?The hard edges are easy to define. If you have a blank wall or just glass, maybe black glass or whatever, you can, as a human being, do nothing and there's no interest. The words "soft edge" mean a fa├žade where a lot of things happen. It could be many doors, niches, or the vegetable seller putting out his tomatoes on the street. Soft edges could be the front yard where the kids are playing and grandma is sitting knitting just behind the hedge. We have found, of course, the ground floor is where the communication between building inside and outside occurs. That's what you see. So if the ground floor is rich, the city is rich and it doesn't matter what you do further up. Ralph Erskine said always make the ground floor very rich, use all the money on the ground floor, it doesn't matter what's further up because nobody sees that. 

    Note from USC:  I would agree with everything Mr. Ghel says, with the caveat that it does not apply to suburbs as well as to large cities.  I would never advocate removing automobiles from Town Centers or Main Streets that are the lifeblood of a small town.  Without adequate parking and ease of travel into and through shopping districts, people will go elsewhere to shop, and that would kill the concept of the lively town that the writer describes.  Small towns and shopping areas must be able to accommodate all customers.  Unless and until we have busses going deep into the neighborhoods on a frequent basis, cars are and will be a fact of life in Lake Oswego.  I only hope that the Central Planners don't mess things up for the town before it's too late.  

    Buildings that work at the intimate, human scale that have soft edges, spaces that are broken up and are inviting to people, and relating to the environment at the personal scale... Sounds like what is wanted for the Wizer Block.  

    After all, it's out town.  

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

    TSP final lap around the shark tank

    City Council Meeting
    Public Hearing on the 
    Transportation System Plan
    Tuesday, July 1
     6:30 pm.
    Agenda items (From the City Council Schedule)   Look for actual City Council Meeting Agenda  with reports and background information on the Friday prior to the meeting.
    1. Action 
    • Approve consultant contract for the SW Employment Area Plan project (Selden)
               Study Sessions
    • Annual Development (Chapter 50) Code Maintenance Amendments (LU 14-0014/Ord. 2643)(Hamilton)
            Public Hearings
    • Transportation Systems Plan-Periodic Review (Ord. 2645 / LU 14-0015)
    Review of June 17 Study Session

    The City Council held a Study Session about the TSP on June 17.  The meeting video can be seen HERE.
    I encourage everyone to watch the interchange between the Staff and the Council during the study session portion of the meeting.  Here are some problems I have with the staff presentation and responses to Council questioning:  

    STA vs MMA.  Staff inferred that there was no substantive difference between these two roadway designations for Hwy. 43.  Read about what the MMA means for a city in a post from January.  The Council removed the MMA from the Comp Plan for the entire city, so codes and policies that relate to density and congestion should be viewed through that filter and purged from the TSP.

    Up-classification of streets.  Staff declared that all streets on the initial list of streets proposed to be classified to a higher level of functioning (E.g.: from Neighborhood Collector to Minor Arterial) were already operating at the higher level according to current traffic volumes.  This is NOT true.  This fact has been established in TAB meetings and at other community events.  Lakeview Blvd. is well below the top numbers for its current class and was on the list to be up-classified - are there others? Traffic reports were not supplied to the Council at the study session.  

    The claim was that by up-classifying roads, the City would be able to tap into grants that are only offered to higher functioning roadways.  This can be disputed, but another reason might be that increased density can be placed on roads with higher classifications (more traffic allowed without failing state standards).  Staff may have had future development in mind rather than funding for sidewalks.  The TSP states that it's goal is to plan for future growth, so this explanation fits.  Why did staff say all roads currently meet higher standards?

    Bike paths decrease car use.  Staff claimed that bike paths or lanes would decrease congestion, especially on Hwy. 43.  In the Neighborhood Chairs meeting the engineers were asked if there was any scientific proof that this was true.  They answered, "Not that I know of."  Research by USC shows that while this is a favorite claim by Smart Growth advocates, it is not true. This is one of those urban myths that sounds like it should work 
    so it must be true, right?  Wrong.  Bike paths may well increase safety and bicycle ridership, but they do nothing to decrease auto use.  Why does staff continue to use disproven theories?

    Changing codes.  Mayor Studebaker asked if certain codes could be changed to fit what the Council wanted.  He was told no, then yes, but with great difficulty since the codes and policies were written to align with the Comp Plan and that would have to be changed too.  And after all, this is was what the Council already said it wanted when "you approved the Comp Plan back in March."  It was a clever way to avoid saying, "Yes Mr. Mayor.  The Council can change the codes and the Comp Plan if necessary, if this is not what you intended in the first place.  What is it you prefer? How would you like us to proceed?"  How hard is that to say?  Aren't Staff getting paid to do the work laid out for them by our elected officials, or do they operate on their own and tell the Council what they can and cannot do?   How open and cooperative is Staff in Lake Oswego?  It is up to the City Manager to reign in his staff, and make sure that he and they are on the same page as the Council.  Even if their  own beliefs are different, the Council's wishes should prevail.  Otherwise, why have elections?  

    Transportation in Lake Oswego is about cars.  Anyone who doesn't understand and respect this is living in an alternate universe.  

    The World Cup from Berlin

                    

    Solutions for the rest of us

    Guiltless transport for "healthy government" refuseniks 

    The Lake Oswego 100 Mile Challenge is a guilt-inducer for the unhealthy, the bad-kneed, bad- hipped, sports-injured, comfortably lazy, harried worker, the elderly and frail, the ultra busy parent and latch-key child.  We could all be doing more and we know it.  Oh, the guilt!  I'm weak and I know it!

    But there's a silver lining - a ray of hope.  On the City website, there is an image of 3 people on Segways that advertises the 100 Mile Challenge.  I was discouraged that the Challenge was only for human-powered, "active" transportation, so when I saw other possibilities on the City home page, I was intrigued.  I think that we are just supposed to transport ourselves by means other than carbon-spewing cars, so here are a few of the options I found that I would enjoy.

    Up Sucker Creek (Reduntantly) Active and Semi-Active Transportation Criteria:  
    • No gasoline or other carbon-based fuel allowed
    • Human power preferred, but renewable energy permitted
    • Human-scale; individual mode, or tandem methods max.
    • Can operate on pre-existing transportation infrastructure (roads, bike paths, sidewalks, paths, etc.)
    • Is fun to use!
      
    Some think Segways are just for family fun.  No more!  
    Military bomb squad. 



    Police patrols.                        SWAT teams.

                                                     
    Darth Vader going to battle.
    Commuting to work. (No sweat and no showers needed!)
    Segway polo.  (Also Segway golf and other sports.)

      




    Pizza delivery.
        Kid making himself sick.
        Off-trail Segways to replace obnoxious off-trail bikes.

      
    On-trail Segway users running off little old ladies - looks like fun!     




    Tuesday, June 24, 2014

    This guy's bike is bigger than yours

    Lake Oswego 100 Mile Challenge

    Can you walk, bike, or take public transit for a 100 miles in 2014?

    Take the Challenge and enjoy the many rewards of leaving your car at home!


    Here's my contribution to the human-powered, active transportation movement.  We used to call it bicycling, but then, this isn't a bike, it's a death-trap.



    If sitting precariously over two storeys high on nothing more than a bit of steel tubing wasn’t dangerous enough. Stoopid Tall doesn’t have any brakes. Presumably because if it were to stop, then the next thing that would happen is Mr. Trimble would hit the ground like a sack of sh… well, you know what I mean. Thankfully a small army of helpers aided Trimble in his journey, acting as ground crew and pathfinders during his little jaunt.
    The video below gives you a unique perspective on the urban environment 
    as seen by Trimble last weekend.

    Source: Richard Trimble via Autoblog

    ELF may be the bees' knees...

    ...but it's bad on old knees.

    The ELF (Electric Light and Fun) is a human-powered, solar bicycle-type vehicle.  Difficult to describe, but fun to watch on the accompanying video.

    Below is a blog post from bikeportland.org about a unique vehicle that is in the news.  Maybe you'll see one, and maybe you'll buy one, but as fun as they look, I doubt my sports injury from decades ago will allow me much more than a spin around the block.


    Velomobile maker Organic Transit to set roots in Portland 
    bikeportland.org. |  November, 19 2013  |  By Johnathan Maus

    Durham, North Carolina-based Organic Transit is currently shopping for office and warehouse space in Portland.

    The company is known for their “ELF” solar and pedal-powered vehicle (which stands for Electric, Light and Fun) which they bill as the “most efficient vehicle on the planet.” The company is the brainchild of Rob Cotter, a former engineer who worked on racing projects for Porsche, Mercedes Benz and BMW. Cotter then moved into the human-powered vehicle scene in the late 1980s as a race promoter and vice president of the International Human Powered Vehicle Association. As CEO and founder of Organic Transit, Cotter steered his latest invention into a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign last year that raised over $225,000 from 547 backers.

    With proof of market validated the company is now at the front end of a major growth curve.


    The appeal of the ELF, according to the company’s marketing materials, is that it offers the perfect blend of benefits between a bicycle and a car. “The spacious interior keeps you out of the elements and in view of other drivers,” reads their website. “It’s the perfect vehicle for people who want to reduce their car usage but want more than a pedal bike can offer… Our vehicles are designed to make bike commuting accessible and affordable for everybody.”

    The ELF ($4,995 base price) fits on bike paths and sidewalks and it’s also at-home in standard vehicle lanes. Its 750 watt motor has a 14 mile range and can power up via solar panels or from an electrical outlet. You can also pedal it with 100% human-power. The ELF weighs 150 pounds, can carry 350 pounds of cargo, can go up to 20 mph.

    Learn more via the video used in their Kickstarter campaign (pasted below) or read thisdetailed profile of Organic Transit and Rob Cotter in Indy Week newspaper..



    If you’d like to connect with Michael Nover of Organic Transit drop him an email at michael [at] organictransit [dot] com.


    Sunday, June 22, 2014

    Happy Tusk


     If you were at Farmers' Market on Saturday, you may have been lucky enough to meet two impressive young men.  They are the founders of a company devoted to saving elephants and owner wild animals in Africa that are being slaughtered for body parts.  The boys are articulate and engaging and have some very cool postcard art to sell as well as a website one can go to for purchase of other goods.  Below is an example of their items - visit their website, happytusk.com for more information about their work.   

    They could be extinct in 10 years!
    It is really hard for me to image that African elephants could be gone from the wild before I even graduate High School.  But the demand for ivory is growing every year so the number of elephants killed each year just goes up.  And if it keeps up at this pace, then there simply wont be any left.  Argh!

    Friday, June 20, 2014

    Trains or BRT in SWC?

    What will Tigard voters say?
    It's as if there was never an election last March. 

    There's more to the Plan than transportation.  It's about density for the suburbs and whose "vision" will prevail. 

    Questions remain on SW
    Corridor, leaders hold off 
    launching environmental study 

    Oregon Metro  |  June 9, 2014  |  By Nick Christensen

    Regional leaders tapped the brakes on the Southwest Corridor study Monday, saying they wanted answers to the project's core questions before they start a more thorough, and more expensive, environmental review.


    But a late flurry of technical questions, plus testimony Monday from Southwest Portland residents hoping for more transit service to Hillsdale and Multnomah Village, prompted the committee to slow the process down.

    The committee is now scheduled to decide in November whether to proceed to the Environmental Impact Statement process. That study will look at the costs, and societal and environmental impacts of several transit project options.

    The Southwest Corridor is presently envisioned as a mass transit line linking downtown Portland to Tualatin and Tigard. Leaders have yet to decide whether they'd like to see the line use trains or rapid buses.

    ODOT Region 1 manager Jason Tell wanted to know more about what's reasonable to submit to the federal transit grant program before going forward to the federal environmental review.

    "There's a lot of interest on transit, a lot of focus on transit, and a lot of other people interested in a lot of other things that don't have anything to do with high-capacity transit – a lot has to do with community vision."

    Read more at:  Oregon Metro - SW Corridor 

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    Save Our Village has a new website!

    Save Our Village has a new website!  



    About


    We are a grassroots organization. We welcome redevelopment in Lake Oswego that preserves our quality of life and the character of our picturesque downtown in scale and design. We do not welcome the over-development of the Wizer block into a high-density five-story apartment complex.
    • Fact: At Save Our Village we support redevelopment. We are not “worriers” who fear change and oppose growth. We welcome growth that complements Lake Oswego — not over-development that will change the character of Lake Oswego forever. We are opposed to the mass, height, scale and design of the modernistic and unauthentic designs of the Wizer proposal, which do not complement our redeveloping downtown. The proposed buildings are four- and five stories (not to code). The Wizer proposal would bring 228 stark, repetitious apartments to the heart of downtown. Despite previous assurances, a Dec. 3 memorandum from the developer states that no condominiums are planned: “At this point, the residences will be 100 percent for rent” with ability to change in the future.

    The fur's a' flying' now!!!

    Here we go again, again…



    The email blast below is from Kessi's Krew - the Big Guns of the MegaWizer Block.

    Dag nab it, it's just like a cat screechin' on the back fence on a hot summer night when you just want to get some shut eye.  No rest right now, we got some cowpokin' to do.   Now where were we - oh yeah.  Blast me.

    OOOOOOOOO
    Dear Neighbors,

    Thankfully we live in a democracy where discourse, debate and diversity of opinion is not only tolerated but welcomed. In Lake Oswego the debate around the Wizer Block redevelopment is certainly lively.

    What's Democracy got to do with this development?  If we had to vote on it, the thing would be dead within seconds!

    Democracy.  Discourse.  Diversity.  Tolerance.  These are loaded words meant to cast an ethical shadow on opponents.  Cute trick, but an old one.  I think we can all see what they are trying to do here, 

    But in order to have an honest debate and reach an informed opinion, one must have the true facts.

    Honesty and integrity has to do with telling the truth and not being all coy about the words you choose.  I'll show you my facts if you can show me how you reached yours.  

    Opponents are saying that the new re-design is three times the size of the surrounding structures and Lake View Village.

    That is simply not true
    The Lake View Village structure, separated by alleyways is 236,852 sq.ft. Wizer Block separated into three separate buildings each with distinct facades and with generous pedestrian walkways is 291,963 sq.ft.

    Sorry - I already proved this can't be true.  You have to include the parking in the LVV figures to get to a number that high, while the Wizer number is all building and no parking.  Twisting or spinning the numbers does not change them.  But please, prove me wrong!  Send me a diagram with shading on the areas of each floor that you are counting to get to 236,852 sf. and I will apologize and go back to math class.  

    Opponents are saying that the new re-design is too massive to fit in with Lake View Village.

    That is simply not true
    Wizer Block has three very separate buildings. The largest building is 122,527 sq.ft. The largest building in Lake View Village is 219,000 sq.ft.

    Didn't I deal with this already too?   OK - here we go again:  The largest building in LVV CANNOT be 219,000 sf since 1) there are 6 buildings, 2) the buildings do not cover the entire block, 3) the buildings are only 2 stories, 4) and the entire block is only 104,000 sf by itself.  To get to the 219k figure, ONE of the six buildings would have to cover the entire block and then some leaving no room for the other 5 and no alleys, walkways, etc.  Can't be done.  Or if so, please show me how!  

    Opponents are saying that the new re-design is too tall.

    That is simply not true
    No building in Wizer Block is taller than the code limit of 60'. Lake View Village needed an exemption to allow some peaks to exceed the code limit.

    By 2 feet?  Still doesn't touch the issue of mass and density.  4 stories vs 2 just for starters.   

    Opponents are saying that the newly re-designed Wizer Block is not in keeping with code. Opponent Leslie Pirotta is quoted as saying "The city code has worked successfully as a guide for development in Lake Oswego ...this kind of development will change the direction Lake Oswego is going." Opponent Lita Grigg says "...this kind of development proposed, would be good in the Pearl District not in Lake Oswego."

    That is simply not true
    The newly re-designed Wizer Block 137 meets the strict terms of the Lake Oswego planning and development code. In fact both Lake View Village and Block 136 developments requested close to triple and double the number of exceptions to the LO code. The new design of Block 137 relies heavily on the work of noted LO architect, Rich Farrington. The new re-design utilizes accepted LO style architecture and is very compatible with the village character.

    I won't get into another person's argument, but the message here is the same as it always has been - the thing is just too darned big.  And too monolithic.  And too densely populated.  And I could go on.  No, this would not be a good plan for the Pearl District - it's too small.  It fits in well with other large scale developments where institutional investors like to play - near freeways and with lots of room for parking  -- like Orenco Station or the Lloyd District.  And as for the codes, they need an overhaul because our planners got ahead of their customers - us.  But the current codes DO limit the size of downtown developments to a small village scale, and that is not a code this megamonster can meet.  

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but facts must not be ignored, changed or distorted just because they are not useful in pushing agendas. The newly re-designed Wizer Block is the result of cooperation between community and landowner. It is the result of people coming together with a vision for an energetic core with living and retail options that will attract young professionals and "empty nesters." It is the result of commitment to getting it right, working with city code and presenting true facts.

    I get it - we are all pushing agendas here.  We want a livable, small town environment, and you want to put a huge rock in our shoe.  You will make money off of that rock, and we will be left with a sore foot.  Not a very good trade for us.  Not good at all.  Since none of you live here, it is obvious what your agenda is, and since this is our home, you can pretty well figure out ours.  BTW - where do you all live, and how can we make some dough in your back yard?  

    Looking up A Ave.




    A peek at A Ave. and 1st Street?

    The original East End Redevelopment Plan designated Block 137 as commercial.  Including Block 138 (Lake View Village) and their corresponding blocks across A Ave., this 4-block area was to be the city's shopping core - the lead up to the park - public spaces -- NOT residential.  

    Along with residential development comes all the facts of life of daily living of the occupants.  This was NOT supposed to be the view of Lake Oswego's downtown.  It is like having to walk through someone's bedroom to get to their living room - full of personal stuff you just don't want to deal with while you are having a good time.  

    Euclidian Zoning works - and when you try to get away from discrete zones for multifamily, the mix of housing and commercial has to be handled so the housing does not dominate the commercial on the street.  This isn't the Pearl - it isn't even SE Division or the Alphabet District.    

    Perhaps a preview of what A Ave. and 1st St. will  like if the Wizer Block is built.  A full block of 4-story buildings is quite impressive or imposing - you pick.  The photos here are of the still-in-progress Bridgeport Village Apartments.  About 1/3 of the complex is finished and rented.  

    The rents are from $1.82 to $2.00 per square foot (not including the liv/work space).  


    In the photo at left, in the corner of the building you might be able to see a dish antenna.  Before anyone can say they wouldn't be allowed in LO, think again.  The law says tenants have a right to select their own TV, phone and cable services. 

    Apartments do have rules about what tenants can put on their decks or patios, but some rights still prevail - tenants must have the ability to enjoy their rented space, and enforcement will always be hit and miss - worse as the number of units goes up.  

    In the photos below you can see some of the stuff people put on their decks to make the places their homes.  My guess is that most Lake Oswego homes have these items already, and renters want them too.  

    There is a photo of the secure ground-level parking garage as seen from the back side.  On the Wizer Block, there is no "back" side, and some of the parking will be above ground because of the slope.  What will that wall look like?    
    Things typically found on decks and patios:  Folding camp chairs, BBQs, hanging things like wind chimes, Tibetan prayer flags,  pots of plants, sculpture things, children's toys, things covered in tarps (especially in winter), plants of all kinds, rugs, wall plaques, bikes, wreathes, candles and table decor, towels on the chairs, etc.  Whatever you have at your house will be on display here too.  



     


    Question:  I see individual HVAC units in the exterior walls here.  Will the Wizer Block have a similar arrangement with mechanicals for each unit showing?
                         

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    Women a minority on bikes


    Why Women Don't Cycle
    fivethirtyeight.comJUN 16 

    For every three men hopping on a bike, just one woman does the same, according to an analysis by BuzzFeed’s Jeremy Singer-Vine, who collected data from the three largest bike-share programs in the United States — New York, Chicago and Boston — and mapped the gender balance in each. Although slightly more women check out a bike on weekends, overall, they still make up only 24.7 percent of riders.  

    Read more online - link above at fivethirtyeight.com 

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014

    Facts over fiction for "MegaWizer"

    This just in from Save Our Village.  Some of the information duplicates what has been posted here before, but much of it is new.  Please read the responses to the Wizer team's claims of a new and improved design.  Facts always trump fiction.  
     * * *    - - -    * * * - 
    From Save Our Village:
    He’s back! And to add insult to injury, Pearl developer, Pat Kessi has recently hired three high-powered and highly paid political strategists.  He is still trying to squeeze over 200 apartments in the middle of our village core.  His proposal is THREE times as big as the beautiful and appropriate developments on either side; Lake View Village and Oswego Village town homes.

    Please read the attachment to better understand the FACTS about the development and to try and understand the out-of-town political strategists spin game.
    Attachment:

    Though the retail space of the Wizer Block project has been increased by approximately 9,000 square feet, the development, which is defined by code as part of the 4-block downtown retail core,  remains overwhelmingly residential.  Only 13% of the development is retail/commercial, compared to 100% of Lakeview Village.  Over 71,000 square feet of current retail space in the Wizer Block is being replaced with only 36,500 square 

    Some said the previous Wizer Block was too tall. So we addressed it.

    *The new Wizer Block project eliminates all fifth stories and no building is taller than the code limit of 60 feet. By comparison, at some peaks, Lake View Village buildings are over 62 feet tall.

    The proposed buildings along A Avenue and First Streets are still the same height as they were in the earlier design.  The only reduced height is on part of the 'B' Building, particularly near the corner of Second and Evergreen.  Not only do all proposed buildings remain four stories high, but the corners of each building are considerably higher than the adjacent corners on blocks 136 and 138.  The St. Honore building in Lakeview Village, for example, peaks at only 41.5 feet while the new Wizer corner building opposite would have a peak of nearly 58 feet. ( It should be noted, too, that the 62 foot peak exceptions referred to in the ad are obscured because of their site at the southeast corner of Lakeview Village on State Street.)

    Some said the previous Wizer Block was too massive for the core of our village. So we addressed it.

    *The new Wizer Block project has 3 distinct buildings, for a total of 291,963 square feet. Two generous pedestrian walk ways separate the buildings to enhance and activate the street level experience. By comparison, the Lake View Village Complex covers a total of 236,852 square feet... with alley ways allowing pedestrians to access the garage complex

    The Wizer Block is still too massive.  The total square footage of the three buildings is 280,933, nearly three times the total square footage of the buildings on adjacent blocks.  The total square footage of the six buildings of Lakeview Village is 99,961 square feet.  The 236,852 cited in the developer's ad includes the parking facility.   If parking were included in the Wizer Block computations, their new development would be 433,846 square feet! 

    Some said the previous Wizer Block was too large. So we addressed it.

    *The largest building in the new Wizer Block is 122,527 square feet. By comparison the largest building in the existing Lake View Village Block is 219,000 square feet.

    Once again, the developer is skewing the numbers by including parking square footage with the building sizes.   Lakeview Village is broken up into 6 distinctive buildings, some of which are connected (only internally) to the public parking area.  Added together, all 6 Lakeview Village buildings have less square footage than one Wizer Block building.

    Some said the previous Wizer Block didn’t fit Lake Oswego’s village character. So we addressed it.

    *The designs for the new Wizer Block project have been heavily influenced by highly respected Lake Oswego architect, Rich Farrington. Three distinct buildings now have identifiable LO architectural style, separated by inviting pedestrian walkways.

    Buildings B and C now have a greater number of distinct facades breaking up the frontage. By comparison, Lake View Village has that same treatment: Distinct architectural facades which break up the face of the building.

    City code defines village character as 'a community of small-scale structures'.  Lakeview Village has accomplished this with its mix of two and three story buildings, with significant breaks between buildings, and with a public courtyard.  The Wizer project, on the other hand, fills the block with only three buildings, each of them four stories, and a central courtyard that is private.   The facades of the proposed Wizer block buildings are also not 'small-scale'.  The longest building facades of adjacent blocks 136 and 138 are 160 linear feet, while each of the Wizer Block buildings have facades of up to 260 feet.

    Some said the previous Wizer Block project had too many residential units and not enough commercial/retail space. So we addressed it.

    *The new design reduces residential units by 21 (down to 207) and increases commercial/retail space by 30%.

    The redeveloped Wizer Block 137 project will create significant community benefits:

    *Potentially generating $630,000 in new property taxes for priority community services and projects in surrounding neighborhoods. For example: First Addition, Evergreen, Foothills, Old Town and Lakewood.

    The fact is that the increased property taxes will not go the general fund until after the City has paid off the LORA debt, estimated to be no earlier than 2029.  In the meantime, the City is incurring more than 5 million dollars of debt to help pay for this development, with plans to incur another debt of nearly $500,000 to change Second Street.

    *It creates 1200 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs and permitting fees will add to public school budgets.

    Permit payments are being paid by the City, not by the developer.  Again, this is debt, not income, for Lake Oswego. 

    *The new Wizer Block provides more public parking spaces and develops new housing options for young professionals who want to live here. *It provides LO "empty nesters," who are committed members of our community, the option to downsize and remain part of the LO family. 

    *It creates more public art, new public spaces and great urban amenities.

    *It will help capture millions of retail spending that is currently “leaking” away from local merchants.

    The Wizer project will not help the downtown parking situation - it will exacerbate it.  In its newest application, the development team has reduced by 60 spaces the total number of underground parking spaces it will provide.  The new plan proposes that 29 spaces of the required residential visitor parking be on the street; residential parking will now provide only 1.04 underground parking spaces for each residential unit.  For combined retail and 'public' parking, the development will provide only 155 spaces.  The retail parking requirements for this development are minimal because the city has allowed a reduction of nearly 40% due to the "ready availability of on-street parking and transit, pedestrian and bicycle access, and the size of the development site."  Lakeview Village, on the other hand, provides a total of 367 parking stalls. 

    And it remains to be seen how many 'young professionals' will be able to afford the 'upscale, luxury' apartments at the prices the developers have indicated.