Candidates for Council Position 2 / Terry Parker

1. East Portland is home to 25% of the city’s population, yet has historically been allocated a smaller share of city resources than other areas of town. How will you support equity for East Portland in city investments in transportation, parks, housing and economic development?

In accordance with Oregon House Bill 2001 and the Portland Comprehensive Plan, higher densities are now allowed in town centers and along corridors. Also allowed are duplexes on the majority of properties in single family home zoned neighborhoods. ADUs are allowed on all single family home properties.

Before higher densities proposed in the Residential Infill Project (RIP) are allowed city wide, pilot projects need to take place to identify affordability and impacts. With larger blocks and many homes having flag lots and/or yards that are much larger than close-in residential neighborhoods, increasing density in East Portland, if and where wanted, can be accomplished without some of the negative impacts such as demolishing the most affordable housing stock.

In speculation, if lucrative pilot project opportunity zones for new housing could be created in East Portland as opposed to an opportunity zone in downtown Portland, East Portland could be the host for far more development than now exists. As part of an opportunity zone overlay, system development charges and impact fees could be required to be retained within East Portland to help pay for sidewalks and parks. Opportunity zone requirements could also include stronger inclusionary zoning requirements for affordability, and design standards whereby large multifamily complexes would be required to have center space outdoor court yards that include amenities for families of all ages.

As per the 2016 Auditor's Report, Portland's world renowned framework of geographic neighborhood associations needs to be strengthened and expanded. This includes giving formal recognition to other community and identity groups that abide by the same standards of non-discriminatory practices, accessible open meetings and maintaining transparent minutes. With the Civic Life budget increased to cover the expansion, instead of fighting each other, geographic neighborhood associations and coalitions working together with local community and identity groups could make a good case and be a combined force of advocates to promote investing in East Portland.

 

2. East Portland lags behind the rest of the city in personal incomes and job opportunities. What will you do to increase the number of family-wage jobs in East Portland?

With new and increased housing opportunities created by housing opportunity zones, there will be pressure to add more commercial development. History shows commercial development follows residential development. Similarly in speculation, commercial opportunity overlay zones could be created in East Portland.

Per Portland's Comprehensive Plan; Gateway - which includes the City’s second largest transit hub outside of downtown and good freeway access to regional destinations including PDX - has been identified as a regional center. The landmass is second in size only to Downtown. With this designation as East Portland's hub, the Gateway area has been targeted to provide commercial, transportation and community services.

Five to twelve story buildings are allowed in some areas of Gateway.

Midway and Lents are identified as town centers which are typically anchored by employment centers or institutions, and feature a wide range of commercial and community services, and have a wide range of housing options.

122nd/Hazelwood, Rosewood/Glenfair, 162nd/Division and Parkrose are all identified as neighborhood centers where medium to high density commercial and residential buildings are characteristically focused on corridor streets. 

The objective of the East Portland town and neighborhood center designations is to attract investments that will reduce infrastructure disparities, enhance and improve the livability of neighborhoods, increase affordability and accommodate growth. Investments could include improving streets, adding or improving sidewalks and pedestrian amenities, and creating new parks. Economic development programs could support existing and new businesses, and improve neighborhood prosperity and vitality.

I support these policies as long as they don't shatter the American Dream of investing in and owning even a starter home. There must be a line in the sand that prevents demolishing and destroying the ambiance of single family home residential neighborhoods that have green yards and big trees.

 

3. Portland is experiencing a severe housing crisis, and East Portland residents are particularly vulnerable to displacement. What tools will you implement to prevent involuntary displacement of low-income people from East Portland?

Stringent eviction rules for rental housing are already in place. Renter relocation assistance is mandated within the City of Portland - paid by the landlord - for no-cause evictions, a qualified landlord reason for termination of a lease, a rent increase of 10 percent or higher over a 12-month period, a substantial change in terms of a lease, and/or if a renter receives no option to renew their lease. Tenants must receive a written notice for any of these events at least 90 days prior to the effective date, including a description of their rights and obligations, and the amount of relocation assistance they are eligible to receive. This applies to rental units within Portland city limits, whether they are are managed by an owner, a sublessor, or property management company, and have either month-to-month rental agreements or fixed-term tenancies, such as 6-month or 1-year leases. There are some exceptions to the mandate such as but not limited to rental agreements for week-to-week tenancies, tenants that occupy the same dwelling unit as the landlord and tenants that occupy one dwelling unit in a duplex where the landlord's principal residence is the second dwelling unit in the same duplex.

Additionally, the City Council is currently considering the implementation of a sufficiently funded and adequately staffed anti-displacement program.

 

4. What is your strategy to bring East Portland’s street infrastructure up to the standard of the rest of the city?

The city needs to stop removing and narrowing full service travel lanes on major streets thereby creating more congestion and increasing both fuel consumption and emissions. Enhanced street lighting and better crosswalks with rapid flash beacons must be a safety priority. PBOT advisory committees must become inclusive of taxpaying motorist representation. Adequate off-street parking with connectivity for charging electric cars overnight needs to be required with all new residential developments so streets don't become full-time car storage lots.

To make transit work better, entire streets need to flow better. This includes requiring bus zones in the parking lane or bus turnouts, and removing curb extensions that allow  buses stop in travel lanes and obstruct other traffic when boarding passengers. The latter only compounds congestion along an entire street which in turn negatively impacts transit travel times. Increased congestion on corridor streets also creates more cut through traffic in residential neighborhoods.

Instead of spending huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to fund transit mega-projects; providing express buses from East of I-205 to and from downtown and other employment centers can be just as effective, cost less and have less negative impacts to other road users. One example of this type of service could utilize Powel Boulevard. No changes to the street infrastructure West of I-205 would be needed. Express buses would have three pickup and drop off location stops between downtown and I-205; somewhere on the inner eastside such as SE Water Avenue if the express buses utilized the Tilikum Crossing, SE Cesar Chavez (39th) and SE 82nd Avenue. This would allow transfer connections so riders from East of I-205 could access locations on the central and inner eastside where frequent North-South transit service exists. Stops East of I-205 would be every few blocks as they currently exist. 60-foot articulated busses that carry more passengers could possibly make the concept even more efficient. In Northeast Portland, MAX already supplies an express type service from downtown and the Lloyd District to Gateway where passengers can transfer to and from buses serving East county.

Another example of improving the efficiency of transit without spending mega amounts of taxpayer dollars would be to have express bus service between employment and town centers such as Lents with local and regular bus service feeding into those centers for connections. Eastside/westside service would bypass downtown and not duplicate MAX lines.

 

5. If you are elected, what is your vision of East Portland a decade from now? What is your strategy to get us there?

My vision is for an entire city that is inclusive of East Portland - not just a vision for East Portland separately. This vision is a vibrant city where everybody respects our differences including respect for law enforcement, and where freedom of choice reigns supreme including our individual choice of transportation mode. It's a city where everybody contributes their equitable share for the good of the people and where the politics of the day doesn't attempt to socialistically dictate individual lifestyles. Leaders don't use their bully pulpit to drive a wedge between geographical organizations and identity groups.

My vision is also a city of aesthetics where the ambiance and character of 100 year old  and mid-century single family home neighborhoods are retained and maintained. Viable and affordable homes are not being demolished to add density. Historical structures and landmarks are well preserved. Housing is available without the need for subsidies for people with all levels of income. Parks and open spaces inclusive of the City's public golf courses are easily accessed from every neighborhood. Big mature trees, green yards and open spaces thrive throughout the city. Absent and rightly so from my vision is an image of Portland that has an abundance of tents and trash.

My strategy to get there starts with the schools by allowing students to think for themselves and not just teach a one-sided indoctrination of issues. Life skills such as preparing a household budget and credit/debt management also needs to be taught. That must be followed up with city government inclusive of both geographical representation and equal representation from all sides of issues and differing opinions seeking to find compromise where needed. City council geographical representation with quadrants based on the distance from the downtown and the central city need to be carefully looked at as another way to possibly provide better representation for all residents city-wide. Equity for all is important.

As a strategy to address homelessness, my philosophy is to provide a hand up towards self-sufficiency instead of everlasting handouts, and utilize existing infrastructure such as Wapato for helping hand programs that can demonstrate results. Additionally compassionate and maybe tough love enforcement is needed. The status quo of allowing Portland's notoriety to become a city of tents and trash will only stymie development, including investments in East Portland. Negative impacts will also be felt on jobs and throughout the local tourist industry.

 

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