Portland’s dance with home demolitions plays out in neighborhoods and in The Portland Chronicle

Portland’s dance with home demolitions plays out in neighborhoods and in The Portland Chronicle

photo.JPGView full sizeA sign posted recently in southwest Portland’s Multnomah Village area.

Anybody who’s wandered Portland’s streets has seen the signs of change.

Massive construction dumpsters, deposited on a lawn. Stripped shingles, strewn over former gardens. Signs reading “Stop the home demolitions.”

With home prices rising and sprawl checked by the Urban Growth Boundary, pressures are rising on Portland’s traditional neighborhoods. With a rising tide of home demolitions in favor of larger, more expensive houses or multifamily developments, neighbors and activists are concerned about the erosion of the urban fabric. Objections have risen in each of the city’s five “quadrants,” prompting the City Council to consider imposing a 120-day delay in demolitions in some situations.

As part of the growing conversation about the trend, a website calling itself The Portland Chronicle has become a reliable catalog of demolition applications. Its writers aren’t named and the person answering queries to the editor said the members of the small staff prefer to remain anonymous. A whois search of the website registration offers no clues.

But the site is a must-read for people seeking to stay abreast of demolitions. On the day of this writing, for example, front-page headlines include: “Ankeny demolition, multifamily construction approved,” “Demolition permits under review received January 17-23,” “Demolition on Glisan: 37 units will replace 1923 homes,” among others.

While the writers clearly care deeply about this subject, they generally employ neutral language, citing the names of the applicants, the ages of the houses to be demolished, sale price history, portfolios of designers and the stage of the city review process.

“Our approach in covering these cases, I think, highlights the fact that
development speaks for itself,” wrote editor@portlandchronicle.com. “We don’t have to tell people what to think, only to provide information and photos see what people take away from it.”

The editor declined to answer a question about whether staffers are city employees whose offices deal with demolition applications. But he/she favors a reasonable delay period before developers can tear down a vintage house.

“The 30-day delay, or even the possible 120-day extension, isn’t necessarily an outrageous period of time when we’re talking about removing a 100-year-old house,” the editor wrote. “My overall view is, what’s the rush? A building that has stood for generations is coming down, and one that will presumably stand for quite
some time is going up. Buildings are what make up cities — let’s think about what we’re doing instead of rushing permits through before neighbors find out what’s going on.”

-Mike Francis


About PortlandHouseListings.com - Tom Ramsey, local Realtor

Local Portland Realtor with 10 years experience specializing in residential sales and investment property. Tom Ramsey Oregon Real Estate Principal Broker John L Scott Real Estate Phone: 503-481-0501 tomramsey1@gmail.com www.PortlandHouseListings.com
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