Sunday, June 18, 2017

Failed Smart Growth promises in Portland's Suburbs.(Lesson for Marin)

The lost vision for east Portland's Gateway 

Broken Promises: A failed vision for GatewayOver the past two decades, planners and economic developers have crafted multiple visions for remaking Gateway into a true regional center. All of them called of the district to become denser, more walkable and generally more urban in feel. That hasn't happened.Editor's Note: Be certain to watch the three minute video above. I imagine many of us in Marin will be frustrated like the residents of East Portland, ten years from now, with a county ruined from overdevelopment and failed promises.  Like Portland, Marin is not considering basic services, like water, sewer, school capacity, road widening and other problems of rapid urbanization. We can do better in Marin. In the sixties we led the nation in conservation when we saved West Marin.  We will lead the nation again and push back against these latest hyperdevelopment schemes .  We will Save Marin (again).
Anna Griffin | agriffin@oregonian.comBy Anna Griffin | 
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on July 12, 2013 at 11:14 AM, updated August 23, 2013 at 3:21 PM


Gateway was going to be something special.
Two decades ago, when planners, elected officials and economic developers looked at this collection of working-class neighborhoods and worn-down commercial strips, they predicted big, bold things.
Gateway would be a "regional center," a bustling hub of high-tech jobs and educational institutions on Portland's eastern edge. Gateway would be a "second downtown," with all the parks, bike lanes, coffee shops and density to go with it.
gatewayoverhead.JPGDespite years of planning, Gateway remains largely suburban in feel.
Instead, Gateway is underdeveloped, underutilized and under-served. Rather than the best of urban life in a more suburban setting, residents and business owners have usually received the worst of both.Taxpayers have spent millions to remake this literal doorway to east Portland. Yet Gateway remains a place where public services cost more, cars trump mass transit, property values lag - and residents expect people in power to let them down.
Built by Fred Meyer
A half century ago, Gateway wasn't even a place. That was its appeal.
Grocery store owner Fred Meyer, looking to expand, was tired of Portland regulations. He picked a spot amid the orchards of unincorporated midcounty, the no man's land between Portland and Gresham, and in 1954 built one of the region's first car-centric, suburban-style shopping centers.
gatewayfred.JPGFred Meyer, here celebrating the second anniversary of Gateway Shopping Center with his wife, chose to build in midcounty to avoid city regulations.
He named the place Gateway, and erected a tall concrete arch signifying the entry to a new kind of community."People looked to Gateway as the answer to urban decay: You don't want to live in the city but you don't want to be that far out," said Fred Sanchez, a real-estate broker and a leadingbooster of Gateway since the late 1960s. "This was the new frontier: 'Go east, young man!'"
Orchards gave way to subdivisions. A 1953 Oregonian advertisement for homes in Lorene Park boasted of "modern ranch homes" built with sidewalks, "ornamental streetlights" and paved streets.
"Yes, for living at its best, for real luxury living, Lorene Park is your answer," the ad said.
The boom didn't last long. Portland successfully revitalized closer-in streetcar neighborhoods, slowing outward migration. Those who did ditch the city for suburbia instead chose newer subdivisions in Clark, Clackamas and Washington counties, lands of lower taxes and more services.
Portland annexed most of the neighborhoods around Gateway in the 1980s, to the chagrin of many residents who chose their homes specifically because they weren't inside city limits. Parallel to annexation, Portland built the Mid County Sewer Project. The city charged property owners to upgrade from septic tanks and cesspools to new sewer lines.
"They promised us all these services, then the first thing they did was send us a bill," said Linda Robinson, who grew up in Gresham and bought a home in Gateway in 1986. "That sort of set a mood."

Broken Promises

Follow The Oregonian's series on the future of east Portland, looking closely at promises not kept.
But we need your help. Do you live, work, study or own property east of 82nd Avenue? Tell us your story.
In 1992 mayoral candidate Vera Katz and her young campaign manager, Sam Adams, seized on east Portland's anger. Her opponent, then-City Commissioner Earl Blumenauer, ran the city sewer department. So Katz kicked off her campaign at an east Portland diner and made improvements in the neighborhoods beyond 82nd Avenue a key election promise:
"People in that community feel that the door has shut on them," she said at one business association meeting. "They're absolutely right."
Among political types, the sense was that a critical mass of voters was coming to the city's newest neighborhoods, particularly to those adjacent to Gateway. Metro planners looked at2040 growth projections and declared the area one of eight "regional centers."
City leaders, including future Mayor Charlie Hales, pushed for its inclusion: "We want it to be urban, but quieter and greener than downtown Portland," said Hales, who ran the city's planning department at the time.
In reports and studies, planners promised huge changes, including construction of a network of connector streets, an education center, a government center, parks galore, wider sidewalks, a performing arts space and bike lanes. The district's main drag, 102nd Avenue, would become a "boulevard with landscaped walkways, storefront windows, benches and fountains." Residents would eat outside at cafes and coffee shops and gather at a new "Gateway Station Plaza."
A 2000 study summed up the promise of Gateway: "More than anything else, it is expected to become a place to be proud of - an embodiment of the values and aspirations of the east Portland community."
Big plans never became realityFew of those envisioned improvements happened.
Gateway remains decidedly suburban, with wide streets carrying traffic at speeds that preclude walking and biking. 102nd Avenue has new trees and banners yet remains a fast-moving four-lane mishmash of aging strip malls, car lots and fast-food outlets, with the occasional 1950s house nodding to the district's curious and inconsistent zoning history.
There is no public square or plaza. The city owns land for a park at Northeast Halsey and 106th Avenue but lacks the money to build or operate it, and neighbors say drug dealers and homeless people plague the property.
Though his concrete arch was razed in 1991, Fred Meyer would have no trouble recognizing the place.
"There's been a lot of talk, but very little has actually happened," said Jerry Koike, a longtime neighborhood activist. "Everybody talks about wanting to do things out here, but the execution is always about helping downtown."
The recessions of 2001 and 2008 slowed development. Residents also blame government for years of benign neglect and poor prioritizing.
City leaders created a Gateway urban-renewal district in 2001, meaning that the city can borrow money to make public improvements, then use the ensuing property tax rise to repay debt. Elsewhere in Portland, urban renewal has paid for game-changing projects, transforming South Waterfront, the Pearl District and theNortheast Portland commercial strips of Alberta Street and Mississippi Avenue, for example.
Gateway's list of completed projects is very different and less impressive.
Planners who took part in the creation of the Gateway district recommended that the first projects built with urban renewal money generate new tax revenue. Instead, the district began with a compromise. In exchange for City Council support to create the area, members of a citizens advisory committee agreed to spend their initial $682,000 on the "children's receiving center," a temporary home at 102nd and Burnside for children declared wards of the court.
"We were told that we needed to do this or we would face a much harder time getting the district approved. We were told, 'You guys aren't against children, are you?'" said Arlene Kimura, president of the Hazelwood Neighborhood Association. "In hindsight, it set a bad precedent."
Gateway's urban renewal money contributed $3 million toward extending light rail to Clackamas County, built a $9 million parking garage at the transit center and covered half the cost of buying the future park site at 106th and Halsey.
gatewayglisan.JPGGlisan Commons, an affordable housing project built with urban-renewal money, is an example of the taller, denser development envisioned for Gateway.
The district's latest high-dollar urban renewal project is another that doesn't put new property tax dollars back into Gateway: The Glisan Commons affordable housing development will feature 127 apartments on top of a new home for Ride Connection, a nonprofit that helps senior citizens and people with disabilities find transit options.Even the district's one clear economic success raises eyebrows.
The three-story, $3 million Oregon Clinic complex, paid for with New Market tax credits earned with city help, is the first thing riders see when they arrive at the transit center. It brought more than 300 new jobs to Gateway and was the first Class A office building erected in the district in 20 years. Yet it's also a nondescript box with none of the street-level charm or retail needed to key transit-friendly development - or called for repeatedly in all those plans for turning Gateway into a second downtown.
"I don't think anyone in charge was thinking long-term about why urban renewal was created here," said Colleen Gifford, who runs the Growing Gateway EcoDistrict, a nonprofit that promotes environmentally friendly development. "They've consistently taken money to do what people downtown wanted."
Hamstrung by infrastructure and financial realities
City leaders say it's unfair to compare urban renewal in east Portland with more central locations.
"I don't think what's happened in Gateway is in any way a result of the projects we've chosen to invest in," said Patrick Quinton, the Portland Development Commission's executive director. "By no means do I consider Gateway a success, but I think the broader market has a bigger impact than we do."

The view from east Portland

"We get ripped off by paying a disproportionate share of taxes for services that we don't even get."
— Carrie A., Montavilla"The best thing about east Portland is the diversity. There is so much variety in lifestyle and experiences with diversity."
—Lauren Ashley J., Powellhurst-Gilbert

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Gateway has a number of factors working against dramatic, quick change. It contains few large parcels of land owned by one or two developers, and thus has few properties ripe for projects that can change the course of a street or commercial strip seemingly overnight. Gateway is also a much smaller urban-renewal district - 658 acres compared with 2,800 in Lents and 3,990 in Interstate - meaning it has a much smaller tax base to generate redevelopment money.
City planners and economic developers are hamstrung by the realities of underlying infrastructure established when Multnomah County, with its far more hands-off approach to development, ran the area. Gateway has those wide, pedestrian-deterring streets, few east-west connectors and a hodgepodge of large and small plots that make orderly, grid-style development difficult. Removing even one parking spot from Gateway Shopping Center, let alone the hundreds required to create a plaza or movie theater, would require every tenant's approval.
Another, less tangible obstacle: City leaders and the people who live and work in Gateway haven't shared the same vision for what this neck of Portland should become.
GS.11GATE114.jpgView full size
Early on in the process of creating the new urban-renewal district, neighbors balked at giving the city powers to condemn property in the name of blight removal. Early rezoning efforts allowed 14-story buildings in Gateway, until residents objected. Early plans for urban renewal would have spread tax-increment financing over twice as many acres, but the district shrank to avoid residential neighborhoods.Planners say their vision for Gateway may have been, in hindsight, unsophisticated and overly ambitious.
Growth is still coming
Metro still predicts enormous growth for Gateway over the next three decades. Computer models project the area from I-205 to the Gresham line will grow by up to 60 percent by 2035, with many of those newcomers landing here.
For one thing, the district remains uniquely situated: It is the single most accessible spot in the entire area, within easy reach of two highways, a dozen bus lines and light rail in four directions. For another, neighborhoods closer to the central city can only take so many more residents. "Go east, young man" still applies.
The question is whether that growth will improve quality of life and city budgets or add to east Portland's existing woes.
"Sixty-five million people go through Gateway by car or MAX each year. If we can get something that makes people stop and look at what we have, everything changes," said Ted Gilbert, a developer who owns the equivalent of eight city blocks near the transit center.
He says that's Gateway Green, a grass-roots effort to turn 35 acres along I-205 into a public park for hiking and biking. Other advocates suggest building an international market, appropriate in a community with 70 languages spoken or an educational center to serve David Douglas and Parkrose school districts and local colleges.
All the ideas center on the same theme: giving people a reason to stop in Gateway.
"We have no signature place," Kimura said.
Small tweaks could help. The Transit Center is a small hub of activity surrounded by an ocean of concrete. There's a small concession stand, but no place away from the din of arriving buses and trains to talk with friends or enjoy the view of Rocky Butte over coffee.Consultants who looked at the station last year pointed out "a notable prevalence of negative signage such as no parking and no smoking ... which generally creates an atmosphere of mistrust and hostility." No signs direct new arrivals to any local landmarks. When the shopping center was rebuilt in the late

 1980s, architects oriented the main entrances toward Northeast 102nd Avenue.
"If you get off the MAX, you're looking at the back of Fred Meyer, at loading docks," Gifford said. "It doesn't exactly say, 'Welcome to Gateway, a great place to do business.'"
Broader fixes will be expensive.
Gateway is not a blank slate like South Waterfront or the pre-revitalization Pearl District. Retrofitting smart growth and higher density costs more than creating it from scratch, even when neighbors approve.
A 2012 market study by private consultants recommended taller, transit-friendly buildings to give the district a fresher, more urban feel and new crosswalks, street connectors and curb extensions to slow cars and encourage pedestrians. The estimated price: $110 million.
Nobody has that kind of money for Gateway. At the moment, nobody is looking for it.
  • Battleground, WA
  • Camas, WA

This comment was posted on another article. This story is also being discussed in the comments here: Pedestrian deaths should be wake-up call for Portland leaders: Guest opinion
Yes their was Viking2014 - we VOTED to be annexed to Portland.

Gateway was going to be something special. Two decades ago, when planners, elected officials and economic developers looked at this collection of working-class neighborhoods and worn-down commercial strips, they predicted big, bold things. Gateway wo...
This comment was posted on another article. This story is also being discussed in the comments here: Portland Development Commission may loan $20 million for Pacific Northwest College of Art headquarters
So the Urban Renewal charges home owners around $560 on the property tax bill for home assessed approx. $200,000 and instead using the money where really needed they lend to private enterprises!
That is so wrong!
Homeowners are gouged out of their hard earned money on their property tax bill and they just spend it at their leisure on their pet projects and/or loans

This PDC needs to be disbanded and money refunded to homeowners!

That's like when Sam Adams tried to use sewer bills money to build bikeways!

In the meantime East Portland starting to looks like "Detroit in training"

Gateway was going to be something special. Two decades ago, when planners, elected officials and economic developers looked at this collection of working-class neighborhoods and worn-down commercial strips, they predicted big, bold things. Gateway wo...
This comment was posted on another article. This story is also being discussed in the comments here: Bend and Medford as economic growth engines: Editorial
I live in East Portland, regardless of how we vote - we are condemned to poverty, and the unfulfilled promises of the Portland City Council and the bureaucracy they control. It has been illustrated in the Oregonian.

Gateway was going to be something special. Two decades ago, when planners, elected officials and economic developers looked at this collection of working-class neighborhoods and worn-down commercial strips, they predicted big, bold things. Gateway wo...
This comment was posted on another article. This story is also being discussed in the comments here: Downtown's future could include more housing and more activity along Willamette River: Portland City Hall Roundup
I think planners find downtown much easier to handle, Tombdragon, because it hews to stuff they actually are used to encountering. Very few cities have any experience taking areas built rural/suburban and then transforming them into something modern, environmentally friendly and yet not out of keeping with the community's existing infrastructure and feel. That's an explanation, not an excuse. As you know, I have some interest in both downtown AND Gateway...

Gateway was going to be something special. Two decades ago, when planners, elected officials and economic developers looked at this collection of working-class neighborhoods and worn-down commercial strips, they predicted big, bold things. Gateway wo...
Enjoyed your article Anna. I think it does a good job explaining many of the challenges we face in this part of town. I would add that even if we were successful in renovating the infrastructure of the Gateway District, we would just be pushing the problem of poverty further east or somewhere else. Without attracting or developing enough economic prosperity in the area it will be hard to transform our sprawling ghetto into a thriving middle class area. It saddens me as I have fond memories of riding my bike up to the Gateway Arches in the sixties & seventies. As I can afford it, I just moved closer into town, leaving the crumbling suburbs behind. Tough situation with no easy solutions.
This comment was posted on another article. This story is also being discussed in the comments here: Driving drops, but Portland gridlock among the tops: What gives? It's called 'driving light'
I would love to have a comment from Anna Griffin regarding the parallels between the limiting the market reach of the middle class, by not building roads, and the failure of government to develop Gateway. Gateway and its surrounding neighborhoods have not had their market reach limited because the can access I84 East, and I205 - Gateway hasn't Developed as planned because residents refuse to be limited to a specific area, market or "Business Center". Their "avenues of opportunity extend east on Sandy Blvd., Halsey, Glisan, Burnside, Stark, I84 and Division, they can also travel on off hours up and down I205. That is why Gateway never gained traction because the "false" market imagined by government bureaucrats and planners doesn't exist, and "can't" until Traffic congestion gets even worse.

Gateway was going to be something special. Two decades ago, when planners, elected officials and economic developers looked at this collection of working-class neighborhoods and worn-down commercial strips, they predicted big, bold things. Gateway wo...
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The biggest problem with Gateway is people who comment on it based on a flawed Oregonian article instead of riding the max there and taking advantage of the increasing shopping opportunities.
Gateway has always had good shopping, long before the Max was built
porsadgai please feel free to point out the flaws in the article on Gateway
What increased shopping opportunities? I live near there, and MAX offers NO additional opportunities for us - except to waste our time. It is faster to drive to Clackamas, Cascade Station, Lloyd Center and Gresham than take light rail - its more convenient too.
That's ridiculous.
Before the Max came to Gateway, my dad use to live in the area and the express bus use to pick him up 2 blocks from his house and make 2 stops and hopped on the freeway and got him down town to his job in about 15-20 minutes or so. After the Max was built, if he was still using transit, he would have to take a bus to the rail then wait for the Max and the 15 to 20 min commute turned to 45 minute to a hour to go downtown. But by now he was driving to work and like a lot of people, his job was no longer downtown.

All buses go to the Max, increasing the time it takes to get downtown or anywhere.
Before MAX I could catch the Fremont EXPRESS along NE 102nd at about 7:15 and be at Holiday Park - Benson High in about 10 minutes. Now its 40 minutes to an hour I can catch a bus to Gateway TC, or Walk down to the Parkrose TC - it now takes 4-5 times longer to get to Holiday Park.
I can't count the times I've sat on the 205 and watched the Max fly by while I wish that my job didn't require nearly 1 ton of gear.
I can't count the times that Max passed me, going to where I was not going or later I passed it when it was stopped at a station.
This comment was posted on another article. This story is also being discussed in the comments here: East Portland's frustrating quest for more, better grocery stores
Tombdragon, I think I've made some version of that point -- perhaps without quite your specific take on the motives behind said planning -- a number of times. The people who pushed urban renewal in the central city in the late 60s and early 70s made no secret about the fact that they were trying to force out a certain segment of the population. (In the series I wrote on downtown last fall, I think I noted that planning documents actually referred to "down and outer" and a desire to get rid of them. That project is here:

And I tried to make the disconnect between planners, politicians and actual residents clear in the first installment in this series, about the vision for Gateway:

And then, just in case you need more bedtime reading to lull you off to dreamland, there's the story I did this spring on the city's efforts to learn from gentrification in inner northeast by tracking places likely to tip next:
City leaders, including future Mayor Charlie Hales, pushed for its inclusion: "We want it to be urban, but quieter and greener than downtown Portland," said Hales, who ran the city's planning department at the time.

When Charlie Hales and other city leaders decided to add Gateway to be a urban center they did not ask anyone in the Gateway area. 
The problem with the vision for Gateway is, most of it did not include the property owners and their vision of their property.

Portland and Metro decided what they wanted and how they wanted Gateway to look and did not include all the property owners in their vision.

When the voting on the vision, rezoning and future of the area was done, it was voted on by mostly bureaucrats and staff and neighborhood activists, that out numbered the the residences and property owners, that did not have a vote.

We have lost local control of of zoning and how our neighborhoods should grow.
Fun story and great pictures: thanks, Anna!
I'd suggest "Gateway" is but one small example of what follows, and in what has become routine in this country. The setting is a partial review of what occurred in the hands of the powerful or those in high places who looked the other way, perhaps in self-interest, during the recent financial bust:

"[N]obody in this vast rogues' gallery of characters was really engaged in building anything . . . . [I]n a sense this whole mess was a kind of giant welfare program the financial services industry simply willed into being for itself. It invented a mountain of money in the form of a few trillion dollars' worth of bogus mortgages and rolled it forward for a few years until reality intervened -- and suddenly it was announced that We the Taxpayer had to buy it.

"[And] everyone who touched that mountain turned out to be a crook of some kind . . . . [A]t the tail end of all this . . . no good jobs were created . . . the final results is that we all ended up picking up the tab, subsidizing all this crime and dishonesty and pessimism as a matter of national policy.

"We paid for this instead of a generation of health insurance, or an alternative energy grid, or a brand-new system of roads and highways. With the $13-plus trillion we are estimated to ultimately spend on the bailouts, we could not only have bought and paid off ever single sub-prime mortgage in the country (that would have cost $1.4 trillion), we could have paid off every remaining mortgage of any kind in this country -
I lived in the Gateway area (Halsey and 110th) for about seven years and liked it very much. Two markets within walking distance plus ethnic specialty markets; three great thrift shops for hunting down vintage treasures and, of course, my trusty veterinarian. The Fred Meyer is one of the very few places in the city where one can grocery shop adjacent to a MAX stop.

On the down side, no parks and my guess is that the schools are in trouble, both from underfunding and from the huge influx of newcomers who need special help educating their children.

The people doing the planning are curiously shortsighted about how they spend money. They're willing to tear down low-income apartment complexes and put up weird, expensive art but not maintain a swing set in a park.

Great article, Anna -- keep it up!
Of course this is a "planning" FAIL and is NOT an exception in the Portland region.
Every indication suggests Gateway would be better today had there not been any PDC, MAX or Gateway planning at all.

It's been wholesale chaos, neglect and/or ruination with the identical planning continuing today in every "corridor" and "center".

All of the cost, concerns and lousy outcomes don't seem to matter one bit.

"To-date, however, there have been few concrete historic preservation activities and projects. Nonetheless, with the help of the preservation community, government agencies and community-based leadership, East
Portland’s residents, businesses and property owners are well positioned to leverage one of their key community assets—a clear sense of pride and ownership of their history and landscape. New East Portland preservation initiatives, perhaps advanced through the ongoing East Portland Action Plan and Portland Plan implementation processes, could expand the
frontiers of Portland's collective historic preservation endeavor beyond 82nd Avenue and the era of the "streetcar suburb." This would not only provide East Portlanders with proactive and positive approaches to the livability concerns accompanying growth and change, but also
broaden our understanding of the City as a whole."

Anna do you realize the funny side of this?
Every plan in sight for every community calls for the same thing.

The market studies by private
Consider a parallel development story I witnessed in Europe: Leppavaara Station outside Helsinki. In 1971 it had the equivalent of a Fred Meyer, some single home neighborhoods, a local rail line and an intersection between the main "freeway" (I-5) and a local divided highway (217). In 2002 construction started on a central rail/bus station that serves a new shopping center about the size of Washington Square. During the peak transit times there are trains leaving/arriving constantly... buses do the same. High density apartment blocks were added to bring the population up from 24,000 to over 65,000. Local (as in walk to work) jobs total over 10,000. The center has hotels, libraries, schools, daycares, clinicals, etc... a total solution all done... DONE... in about a 10 year period. Oh, and BTW... there is a waiting list of folks to get into an apartment in Leppavaara... banks are now bidding against each other to build more apartments... because sales are so profitable.

But... as Common_Tator points out below, this would never work in the US... even in the psudo-socialist fashions of Portlandia... because it means a comitment to developing an area in the interest of the common good for local folks, the city, the community. How un-American.
Kudos to the photographer. Those are some nice pics.
Nice article but one pet-peeve, "Taxpayers have spent millions to remake this literal doorway to east Portland." The Gateway area is not literally a doorway. Figuratively, yes; a constructed arch on which a door hangs and you open it and walk through, no.
Actually, it literally is for many people who access their east Portland neighborhoods from I-205 or I-84.
No, it's not literally a doorway. It is figuratively a doorway. Trust me.

It really is a very good article.
It's easy to comment on Gateway from the outside, but I used to live there. I did a lot of research into the ongoing projects in the Gateway area and bought a condo there in 2007, just before the recession. Nothing they promised was ever done. There were some rough areas when I moved in, but by the time I left it was downright dangerous. On our block there was constant drug dealing, domestic violence, gang activity, and kids out all night without any supervision. I tried to take the Max to work and the airport, but it became really dangerous. I understand that things get worse in a recession and funding was lost for a lot of projects, but this was beyond that. It became evident that things were not going to get better for many years to come and I made the decision to foreclose on my condo (I was going to short sale, but the banks created problems with this). Never in my life did I think I would foreclose on a home, but this was actually the better financial move. Portland government went back on all their promises for this neighborhood and don't seem to give it a second's thought. Shame on them. I'm now very happy outside Portland city limits and feel like my local taxes are used in much better ways.
The Oregon Clinic is one of the best places I've received care for in a long time. And, that Fred Meyer is very convenient. That's pretty much it for Gateway though. If you go further into the interior, it feels like a dilapidated retail development.

But, that said, Gateway has a lot going for it. I used to live there and think it was a hidden gem. It takes 15 to 20 minutes on the MAX to downtown. Another 15 or so to Clackamas mall. A mere 10 minutes from the airport. And, a quick jaunt in my car and you are quickly into the Gorge for a weekend hiking getaway.

Don't give up on the place. It's time will come.
I agree that the area has a lot going for it as far as location, but it was never developed. And, you have to admit that Fred Meyer is one of the worst managed ones in all of Portland. So much potential, so little delivered for Gateway.
The Lily Market, best Thai grocery store in town, 110th & NE Halsey
Everytime I drive through the gateway area, I have no desire to stop anywhere. To me it is just an old, run down part of town & the young people I see in that area are rather unsavory looking characters, especially along the crime train route. Back in the day it was a nice area but now not so much. If I lived there I would be upset as alot of the people posting on here are because they pay taxes but get nothing in return. City hall has their priorities all wrong. Bike boxes and other ridiculous waste benefit a very small percentage of taxpayers yet everyone has to contribute to this waste.
I moved from Arbor Lodge (New Seasons, restaurants, small business and coffee shops) to Lorene Park because of the great ranch houses and large yards. This was six years ago. The crazy thing is, taxes are double of what I paid there! Crime, while everywhere is a lot more violent here. They closed down the neighborhood 3 times for gun violence and robbery and a 13 year old boy was murdered and left for other little kids to find just four blocks from where I live. There have been little improvements for new business except for a new Goodwill and Panda Express. I have to leave my neighborhood and drive to get to a playground for my son. Where are our tax dollars going? Dreaming big would be what's happening to Montevilla. Do we Gateway folks feel neglected? Absolutely. If it weren't for my awesome neighbors (most of whom are retired) and the Eastside Community Center - we would move elsewhere.
Gateway is what it its. Portland does not have the wealth (likely because of too much city planning and regulations) to have every neighborhood picture perfect. Does every neighborhood have to be some kind of planners wet dream? I like Gateway for a few stores there.....I can get in and get out fairly easily because of the 205 and the other large surface streets. I kind of like the unpretentiousness of the place.
What a lame answer. We pay more in taxes living in Gateway than we ever did in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood (double!) and there is little to nothing to show for this. Having a park with a swingset so my child can play is not a wet dream or a pretentious ask.
"Planners say their vision for Gateway may have been, in hindsight, unsophisticated and overly ambitious."

Portland planners unsophisticated? Who said this? Blasphemy. Just kidding. They really are, for the most part, dreamy school children at this point. The last one with any real vision left years ago. Think Central City Plan. Anyhow, the Gateway situation simply demonstrates the power of the market. And, this story also clearly highlights how cursed we are with the same ineffective people running the show - re: the references to how long Mr. Hales and Mr. Adams have been around. Just plain sad. And, to think that big project would or will change the complexion of this area is just plain wrong.
The FAILURE of Portland & Metro's Central Planning is what should be show cased by the Oregonian. Their "vision" is rarely, if ever, realized, and it cost everyone of us dearly in lost economic opportunity. Most of the planning projects fail, like the Beaverton Round, and Rockwood, so the municipalities cover them up by installing themselves in there place - Multnomah County built a courthouse facility on the sight of the failed Fred Meyer, and Beaverton is moving their City Hall into "The Round".
And if Gateway is developed, then where will the crime go? Oh, you say there are plans to send light rail to Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood? Great, a new 'hood for gangsters and another market for drug dealers. No that they aren't there already...
Meanwhile, in reality, the corridor near N Interstate has just gotten better. The Westside Blue Line has done well also. Neighborhoods in East Portland suffered for a lot of reasons, but trying to blame MAX is just lazy.
That's a lie knottriel - Employment has declined in the area the old Interstate Ave - Bypass 99 - used to serve. They were replaced by lower paying jobs along Interstate Avenue. Interstate Avenue used to be full of trucks moving goods and services all over the US, but now we just a have a measly little light rail train moving people and serving no real useful purpose. The stupid train re-purposed the road, and drove more traffic to I5, and employment is again reduced in the industrial areas North Portland.
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Espada One - Its not the pidly business along Interstate Avenue that I'm talking about its all of the Commercial Traffic and businesses that relied upon Interstate Avenue that are gone.

Yes knottrial I do dispise MAX, because it offers no additional value when compared with a plain old TriMet Bus. It has NEVER met the ridership projections promised befor Construction. The Origional MAX Line from from Downtown to Gresham was origionally supose to carry 42,000 a day - it never has. We voted North - South Light Rail doen, between the Expo Center and Milwaukie, and they built it anyway, what's to like? You are the one lacking any facts, or historical knowlege of the region or area - heck you don't even live near the Gateway area, ot get to experience the additional Crime that MAX Light Rail brought.
Another double-zero for Tommy B Drag-on ~

The last time Interstate saw heavy truck traffic on a regular basis was 1965 before the Minnesota Freeway opened. Likewise, the businessman's trade in all those motels dried up while prostitution took over and flourished for many years.

Much has improved since, including the MAX Yellow Line.

If you don't believe it, why would New Seasons (not known for being an inexpensive place to shop) open its Arbor Lodge store that is very busy all the time?
tmittelstaed - FEDEX moved to Troutdale because of the construction of Interstate MAX, and the reduction of road capacity on Interstate Avenue, and the increase the congestion on I5.
I worked on 102nd a couple of years back and I can remember getting off the MAX at the Gateway transit stop and walking through the wasteland of parking lot's behind Fred Meyer/Kohl's to my place of employment. I became accustomed to traffic jammed 102nd and the strip malls, but the crime in the area was the thing that bothered me most.

My co-workers were constantly dealing with their vehicles being broken into and even customers would ask if we had security footage that may have captured whoever had broken into their vehicle on video. Then there was the drug dealing and occasional street fights that would randomly occur right outside my place of employment. Toward the end of my time working in that area my employer had hired private security because the crime issue was getting out of hand and some of the ladies I worked with didn't even want to walk to their cars alone after dark.
The whole area really deserves some attention and something needs to be done to make it a safer more inviting atmosphere for the people who live/work there.  
While not exactly comparable, there are similarities between Gateway and the Pleasant Valley/Damascus areas. Both show that planners' dreams and zoning codes don't drive development. The idea that Gateway was going to have high-rise development (with CXd zoning and high FAR limits) was misguided from the start.
Money makes the world go round. Money out. No money in goes in....does not come out. Why would anyone want to keep putting money in?
Because good people who pay taxes actually live here?
Resident are angry at being excluded, and trust the City of Portland no more. The City Council and planners are lairs and want nothing to do with us and are doing their best to undermine us economically an build subsidized housing to attract resident to the area that will support their low income residential vision of the area. The City of Portland doesn't give a damn about what residents think, the City of Council, and the planners can't be trusted. The Oregonian lies for them too, and doesn't give a damn about what's going on either.
The less affluent residents in subsidized housing are a voting block? You can't be serious. LOL!
They get paid to live there, just like in Rockwood!
And they're a voting block out there now?
Not yest but they will be, that the plan isn't it? Divide into income groups and conquer - isn't that the planning model? In Rockwood the PDC paid to have low income people moved into the low income housing they had built by developers they controlled. The land owners in Gateway, just aren't that gulible - the City of Portland has done nothing by=ut lying to them for 30+ years.
The current condition of the place should come as no surprise given the way that the city and state have treated it. A worn out prostitute at the hands of a bad pimp is the way this relationship has gone. It has almost been a coordinated effort to suck the money out, sweep aside the unwashed from the rest of the city to Gateway and allow criminals to take over, all while making sweet promises of a glorious future. The amount of residual anger at the handling of the area by the city is amazing. At every turn, this story has gotten sadder.

The area was a very nice place to retire once upon a time. Then the 205 cut it off from the rest of the area. The sewer upgrade came out to $5-10k per house, in the mid 80's, which is closer to $21k today. The middle class started to leave. In the last 5 - 10 years, the stuffing of nearly all the section 8 cases there has destroyed what little remains.
Well, you just had to share the love. Inner city Portland has the New Columbia in North Portland and a project off NE 27th and Dekum. The unwashed moving east was just a natural progression. Just like affluent whites moving back to the inner city.
Sorry ,but you don't have any idea of the forces at work here, or the history of the area, do you? "New Columbia" replace the old "Columbia Villa" built in the 60's as a demonstration of the concept of "affordable housing" and it failed, just like "New Columbia" is failing. The "affluent whites" never left you dolt, they just died off and were replace by a new generation of "affluent whites". You have no clue, you must be a City Planner.
Thanks for the Wikipedia version of events. New Columbia has it's problems but nothing close to the old "Villa" from the late 80's and the 90's.

Some of the old generation stayed in Portland. A lot more moved to the burbs or at the very least the outer rim such as Gateway. Whites moving back in to Portland typically aren't from this city. And more people of color have been moving out of the inner city, displaced by those affluent whites, to seek affordable housing. Just like their white predecessors in the 50's and 60's.

The difference is that the government assisted whites in the 50's and 60's to buy new cheap housing. The people of color get assistance to rent.
If you want a glimpse of what Gateway is about just go to Winco on 102nd. The people who are nice and friendly but definitely lower on the economic scale do most of their shopping there, including myself. This is typical PDX push the people further out, and then complain about the conditions. Gateway is not perfect, but IMHO instead fretting about big money changes the city should concentrate on the crime there. A clearing out of the drug dealers, and such would go a long way in making things better. Business owners that I have spoken too are reluctant to invest because it will just get vandalized, or worse. Gateway will never be the pearl, or Interstate BLVD area. That said it could be a nice blue collar neighborhood that already has good people living there.
We once were told that the area's police allotment amounts to 1-2 officers at a time to cover basically everything from 82nd to Gresham and Sandy to Powell. How's that supposed to work?

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