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Summary Meeting Notes: December 20, 2012, Neighborhood Centers PEG Meeting

Summary Meeting Notes: December 20, 2012 Neighborhood Centers PEG

Meeting Date: December 20, 2012
Time: 8:00 to 10:30 a.m.
PEG Attendees: Kate Allen, Jason Barnstead-Long, Andre Baugh, Kristin Cooper, Alan DeLaTorre, Betty Dominguez, Ivy Dunlap, Allen Field, Bob Granger, Denver Igarta, Carol Mayer-Reed, Rick Michaelson, Jennifer Moore, Dora Perry, Nick Sauvie, Alison Stoll 
Other Attendees: Linda Nettekoven, Chris Smith, Terry Parker, Steph Routh, Heather Hoell, Kim Brown, Elisabeth Varga, Renate Powell, Ellen Burr, Tamara DeRidder, Tony Jordon, Steve Gutmann, Kim Brown, John Urbanowski.

Key Points and Outcomes

  • PEG members support bringing the policy framework from the Portland Plan’s “Portland is a place for all generations” concept into the Comprehensive Plan, including its policy provisions for expanding physically-accessible housing options, prioritizing age-friendly and accessible housing in centers, cultivating centers as accessible places, and improving major transit streets as safer and more accessible places.
  • PEG members were of a consensus that current policy and implementation approaches regarding off-street parking for multidwelling development need to be modified. PEG members encouraged consideration of a range approaches, including linking exemptions to transportation and parking management strategies or to the provision of affordable or accessible housing units, or that some parking should be required beyond a certain project size threshold.

Welcome, Introductions and Overview (8:00 a.m.)

Presenter:Steve Faust, Facilitator; Bill Cunningham, BPS

Summary: Following introductions, Steve reviewed the agenda noting the time allocated for public comment. He also reminded the PEG and other attendees that the purpose of the PEG is to comment on draft policy language developed by City staff with guidance from the Portland Plan. Bill informed the PEG that a working draft of the Comprehensive Plan will be available in January. Public workshops will take place in February and March.

Age-Friendly City Policy Framework (8:15 a.m.)

Presenters: Alan DeLaTorre, PSU Institute on Aging, and Bill Cunningham, BPS

Summary: Alan provided an overview of demographic changes andPortland’s Age-FriendlyCity efforts, coordinated by the Institute of Aging at Portland State University. Bill followed this with a review of the Portland Plan’s age-friendly city policy direction and its incorporation into Comprehensive Plan policies for centers.  PEG discussion:

  • PEG members support moving the policy framework from the Portland Plan’s “Portland is a place for all generations” concept into the Comprehensive Plan. Among the policy directions are expansion of physically-accessible housing options, prioritizing age-friendly and accessible housing in centers, cultivating centers as accessible places, and improving civic corridors (major transit streets) as safer and more accessible places.
  • Public plazas and open spaces play an important role in centers and should be within ¼-mile of older residents and people with disabilities.  Current two-acre minimum requirements for parks make it difficult to find locations for parks in centers. Allow for smaller  types of parks in centers. Every neighborhood center should have a public plaza or other gathering place.
  • Foster partnerships with medical institutions to bring facilities into centers.
  • Consider ways to attract older adults to Portland to support economic development in neighborhood centers.
  • New housing in centers should be designed for older adults, instead of just younger people. Need to include more affordable senior housing.
  • Inventory the age-friendly features of various centers, such as water fountains, restrooms and benches. 
  • Inventory the supply of existing accessible housing relative to demand. Assess where demographic and housing turnover is happening and identify areas susceptible to gentrification and opportunities for senior housing.
  • To provide for culturally-diverse communities, need to accommodate multi-generational housing.
  • Provide best practices guidance on physically-accessible housing design. Incorporate best practices into incentives for creating accessible housing.
  • Should establish a “safe routes to centers” program, highlighting safe ways to access centers and neighborhood business      districts.  Consider a shuttle service to and between centers.
  • Improve physically-accessible van service to expand mobility options in large parts of the city that are not in centers and not on transit corridors.
  • Much of our transit planning is based on travel to work. Need to rethink this to better accommodate access to local services and destinations, which are the majority of travel.

Meeting Handouts and Presentations

Apartments and Parking (9:10 a.m.)

Presenters:  Matt Wickstrom and Bill Cunningham, BPS

Summary: Matt presented the results of a study on parking requirements for multifamily development and public comment from a Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) forum held November 13th. Bill reminded the PEG that this discussion would focus on parking. Related issues, such as building design and scale, will be discussed at future meetings. PEG discussion:

  • Develop a nuanced policy approach to parking that is more responsive to how parking, infrastructure, and transportation options vary across the city.
  • Some new apartment developments provide an opportunity to engage developers in considering older adults and people with disabilities as potential renters. Some new developments are including elevators and adaptable/accessible units.
  • On-street parking utilization surveys do not indicate whether or not on-street parking for seniors and families with children is conveniently located.
  • There should be housing variety in every center. Affordability of housing units needs to be a consideration. New developments need to include some family units.
  • Many businesses do not provide off-street parking, adding to the competition for on-street parking and negatively impacting nearby residents.
  • Costs of providing parking, especially on small  sites, can reduce the feasibility of development. Consider the perspective of developers in future discussions.
  • Be more inclusive and bring a greater diversity of people into this discussion.
  • Apartments without parking may be more of an issue in East Portland, which lacks sidewalks, services, and less convenient transit.
  • Consider parking impacts on businesses, which will not thrive if customers can’t find parking. Consider the perspective of retailers in future discussions.
  • Consider approaches for designing ground-level parking to be adaptable to conversion to active uses.
  • There was consensus among PEG members that current policy and implementation approaches regarding off-street parking need to be modified. However, there was no consensus about any singular approach. The range of ideas included:
  • Consider inclusionary zoning for larger projects, perhaps tying affordable housing requirements to building floor-to-area-ratios or to off-street parking exemptions.
  • Allow waivers to parking, but only if transportation demand management (TDM) strategies are part of the project.
  • Minimum parking requirements are needed, between .3 and .6 spaces per unit.
  • Reduce parking requirements in exchange for providing affordable or accessible housing.
  • Encourage shared parking arrangements to make more efficient use of existing parking. Consider allowing homeowners to rent their garages or driveways for parking.
  • In the 1980s,Portlandconsidered fees “in-lieu-of” providing off-street parking. Should revisit this approach.
  • Consider linking exemptions to parking to local availability of on-street parking, presence of sidewalks, transit and other area-specific conditions.

Meeting Handouts and Presentations

Public Comment (10:10 a.m.)

  • Broaden this conversation to include management of parking (shared parking, employee parking strategies, etc.)
  • Among the recommendations of the community-based Apartment Parking Task Force are that thresholds should be established for parking requirements, demolition delay is needed to allow old houses to be saved, and four-story buildings should step down in scale to adjacent housing.
  • It is wrong for developers to profit at expense of neighbors.  Require parking to accommodate the fact that most trips are by car and families with children drive more.
  • Need incentives for affordable housing. Focus on TDM strategies instead of  parking requirements. Need context-sensitive strategies.
  • Car ownership is declining. Requiring parking has long term impacts and forces car-oriented development. Focus on TDM strategies and permit parking, instead of parking requirements.
  • New development is an affirmation that people want to live in a vibrant neighborhood business district. Strategies need to acknowledge that businesses need to accommodate customers who arrive by car, link parking exemptions to pedestrian improvements, consider impacts to businesses, and improve notification to business associations when new developments are proposed.
  • Parking minimums are not the best solution and are  too blunt a tool.  Focus on TDM to manage the existing parking supply instead of creating more parking.  Get rid of free on-street parking to foster more efficient use of parking resources. Price parking allow for market solutions.
  • Want to accommodate growth and more people, but am concerned about impacts on neighborhoods and the amount of residential development taking place in areas intended to be commercial areas. A holistic approach is needed. Parking permit fees are not a good idea, as would add to neighbors’ burdens.
  • Consider pricing parking, permit programs, acknowledging that parking is never really free and that those using parking should pay for it. Parking for retail is necessary – should be both priced and available.  Allow more shared parking and consider allowing “driveway rentals”.
  • Old houses in his neighborhood don’t have off-street parking, new development without parking will add to the problem, which will make it hard to rent existing apartments.

Next Steps (10:25 a.m.)

Presenter: Steve Faust

Summary: The next Neighborhood Centers PEG meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 17th at 8 am.  PEG members indicated that the current meeting date and time works well so no changes are needed.

Adjourn (10:30 a.m.)

For more information, please contact Bill Cunningham, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at 503-823-4203 or or Steve Faust, Facilitator at 503-278-3456 or