Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Will SWEA be like SEID?

When I heard a commercial real estate broker talk about high-density mixed-use development in the Southwest Employment Area, I wondered how compatible residential uses would be with industrial/manufacturing, or even offices and freeway noise.  At what point would new residents complain about noise, truck traffic, odors and all that comes with an industrial district - even one that is in transition.  Will successful industrial businesses that employ people at good wages be unwelcome in their own district?  There's a reason certain uses are (or were) separated - the uses are not compatible.

And then there's the knucklehead who thinks Portland should be like Manhattan where no one drives cars.  Just make it difficult for people to drive, and they will want to change their behavior to go along with his real estate dreams - to develop every last inch of space possible - like streets and parking lots - and have everyone ride bikes.  In a city where only 6% of commuters ride bikes, he's delusional.  But this kind of thinking is leaking out of the cities and into the suburbs, so watch out for all the "traffic calming" systems to come (for our own good of course).

Daily Journal of Commerce, October 10, 2014  By Shelby King

Learning to share the Central Eastside

Portland’s Central Eastside Industrial District, once a blighted industrial area with dilapidated warehouses and empty buildings, is now one of Portland’s most vibrant areas, host to approximately 1,100 businesses and 17,000 jobs, according to the Portland Development Commission.

The area is adding jobs faster than almost any other district in Portland, said Brad Malsin, principal at Beam Development. However, new tenants are often knowledge-based – software, design, retail – instead of labor-based like construction, manufacturing and warehousing.
Portland Development Commission Senior Project Manager Geraldene Moyle said the construction, manufacturing and warehouse industries make up 37 percent of jobs in the Central Eastside, while social services, design, food, retail and other knowledge-based industries make up 47 percent.
This changing demographic has brought more pedestrians, bicyclists and motor vehicle drivers to compete with freight haulers for limited driving and parking space in the area. 
Debbie Kitchin, president of the Central Eastside Industrial Council, said owners of businesses in the area are concerned about freight movement and worried that residential tenants living in mixed-use buildings abutting the industrial sanctuary – such as those who eventually will reside in the “goat blocks” development on the 1000 block of Southeast Belmont Street – may complain about noise.
“We need to maintain the viability of the industries that are already here,” she said. “We need to work together to make (residents) understand that their way may be blocked by a freight truck or there may be noise at night.”
“I came from Manhattan, where you don’t need a car,” [Maslin] said, “and that’s the model we want to get here. We’re designing buildings to be somewhat telling of the behavior we predict our tenants will have.”
Malsin cited Division Street as an area that’s growing with a conscious intent to discourage driving and encourage alternate transportation.
“We’re approaching 20 to 25 percent of tenants who ride bikes, so we’re providing amenities like showers with locker rooms,” he said. “We don’t have one bike storage area; we have two. If we are going to change people’s behavior, we’re going to have to make it uncomfortable for them to drive and to park.”

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