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Brooklyn Station Areas Working Group Meeting #1 Summary

Brooklyn Station Areas Project
Working Group Meeting #1 Summary
Attendees: ~50
Date: January 9, 2014
Location: Meals on Wheels People at Sacred Heart Villa

View the original meeting packet, with the agenda, handouts and presentation.

1. Welcome
Diane Hale welcomed meeting attendees, then attendees briefly introduced themselves.

2. Project Overview and Existing Conditions
Staff provided an overview of the Brooklyn Station Areas project, including the timeline, anticipated outcomes and process, and the existing conditions, issues and opportunities related to land use, zoning and transportation.

Highlights of questions and comments from meeting attendees:

  • Truck traffic on Holgate interferes with pedestrians
  • What would make a new crossing over the railroad from Center to Gladstone possible? What are the next steps?
  • Is additional width possible on the Holgate bridge to accommodate sidewalks, bike lanes and retain the auto travel lanes?
    • Staff: I don’t know if it could be extended, that would be expensive. Previous work suggests that the bridge width is ok, it’s the width of the approaches that might be a problem.
  • Sellwood-Mooreland has been advocating for a crossing over the railroad between Holgate and Bybee, it’s one of the longest stretches without a crossing. There are ideas for an additional crossing at Reedway.
  • Along 17th, it seems contradictory for it to be both increased commercial/main street and also industrial – what’s the vision?
  • Questions and concerns about the necessity for industrial lands to accommodate growth.
  • How will light rail coming in affect this neighborhood? The whole area seems like a dead zone.
  • Why would we have industrial uses across the street from multi family development?
  • We need clarity on how employment zoning acts as a buffer/transitional use on 17th. Also need to clarify the difference between existing and proposed zoning in this area.
  • Don’t see the logic in investing in a train station, but not allowing developers to develop at a higher density and with a wider range of uses within a half mile of the area to increase the walkability of these station areas. Keeping industrial lands where they already exist doesn’t make as much sense as really focusing on more traditional transit oriented development. The whole reason we are here is that two train stations are coming in, which is a huge investment, and these areas should truly be used as transit hubs.

3. Inner SE Station Areas Concept Diagrams

Staff reviewed the concepts and outcomes of the Inner SE Station Areas process that looked at concepts for the four inner se light rail station areas in summer 2013.

Highlights of questions and comments from meeting attendees:

  • Is the alternative land use concept that allows for redevelopment south of Holgate and expanded use of the parcels along 17th street at odds with the City’s goal of preserving prime industrial land?
    • Staff: Yes. But we are here to discuss the potential trade-offs of these different approaches.
  • Will zoning along 17th be considered together or block by block?
    • Staff: Likely it will be considered together so we don’t get “spot zone” sections that don’t blend well.
  • What is TriMet’s vision for the east and west sides of 17th street? It sounds like this vision is very different from the projects already underway at TriMet along the street.
  • There is a foot bridge being proposed right next to the PGE site. Will people really walk in this area in order to get to the station – it’s pretty dead.
  • Fred Meyer site: Is there any knowledge about their plans right now? Do they intend to redevelop the site? The community mentioned at the charette that there could be something else in place of the parking lot.
  • There is no bus stop along Holgate at 17th right now; is there one planned at that intersection?
    • Staff: Yes, it has just be removed for the construction. There is a process beginning right now to plan for what is happening for the bus lines when the light rail line opens.
  • Is TriMet still running busses up Center St?
  • When talking about transit routes, do planners consider enrollment boundaries at Portland
  • Public Schools? E.g. Holgate: sending children across rails.

4. Discussion Topic: Zoning Along Milwaukie

Staff presented more detailed existing conditions along Milwaukie Avenue, including existing zoning regulations, then asked for questions and comments related to the idea of changing the zoning from residential to commercial, south of Center Street.

Highlights of questions and comments from meeting attendees:

  • What will parking requirements along the street in commercial zones look like? Maybe residents could compromise on density as long as parking needs will be covered.
    • Staff: There are concerns about this citywide (think apartments on Division). PBOT is starting a project to look at parking along commercial corridors citywide, as part of the Comp Plan Update implementation.
  • Could there be a Brooklyn Plan District that would have its own sets of requirements?
    • Staff: A Plan District wouldn’t be the first option at this time – the City is starting a project looking at mixed use zoning citywide, and will likely come up with a new set of zoning tools to use that could include plan districts and overlays. If appropriate, they would likely be applied at a later time through individual area plans.
  • We have been hearing about the plan to have creation of more/different zoning tools – if we are working towards a zoning designation that isn’t available now but could be available through the new project, what do we do?
    • Staff: Those could likely be applied after the mixed use zoning project is finished up. That’s why we want to get detailed input now, but we don’t necessarily need to stick with the current set of zones in place now.
  • Why propose Storefront Commercial (CS) now instead of another commercial zone that is more conducive to a residential neighborhood?
    • Staff: That is exactly why we are having this discussion, to ask early on what kind of flavor of commercial or mixed use development we want to see. We threw out CS as a discussion point because it is generally considered to be the pedestrian friendly mixed use zone, but we can consider all zones.
  • Related to the earlier parking question: There is a meeting on Monday night to discuss a proposal for limitations on parking on the few blocks west of 17th, to mitigate TriMet employee parking.
  • On Milwaukie and Holgate, there is commercial now, seems could be commercial/multifamily use: Wouldn’t a CS zone be appropriate right near where the transit stop will be? So doesn’t seem to make sense to see just a commercial zone etched out.

  • The medium-density residential (R1) zoning was put in place along Milwaukie in 1980 – it hasn’t worked. And I’m not a fan of R1 either.

  • With the general employment (EG) zoning near the transit station – wouldn’t this preclude more density/housing with retail etc?

  • Staff: Yes. We need to balance having more people near light rail with keeping industrial and employment lands preserved. Also we need to use a public health and equity lens - there are trade-offs.

  • Is there a shortage of commercially zoned land in this part of the city?

  • Staff: No, there isn’t. But we have heard from the community for a long time that people want more commercial uses along Milwaukie, specifically commercial serving uses for the neighborhood.

  • Does the employment proposal along 17th preclude business space?

  • Staff: No. It could be mixed office and light industrial employment, along with small format retail and services.

  • What’s being done to increase efficiency and productive use/ building up on current industrial lands?

  • Staff: Industrial land demand is generally lower density. There are exceptions in the Central Eastside where we are seeing mid-rise industry and office combined.

  • I leave the neighborhood for almost every amenity, so I like the discussion around commercial and other development that serves the neighborhood. I would like to have these services in my neighborhood.

  • What is the environmental perspective on emissions/other environmental impacts from increases in truck traffic, amenities?

  • Staff: We don’t have exact information, we can try to get that. But this potential conflict and the public health implications are part of the balance between residential and industrial/employment uses in the area.

  • What are some of the specific planning options available, rather than talking about abstract zoning?

  • Staff: We can look at the other zoning options, other than Storefront Commercial. But we will likely have other zones available next year, so you should think of commercial/retail stretches in the neighborhood/city that you like, think about the scale and the kind of uses that exist in those stretches.  hat would you like the area to look like? We can bring some photos to look at to see what different zones look like on the ground.

5. Written Feedback Forms 
Written feedback forms were distributed to meeting attendees with the following questions:

  • What do you think about the idea of changing the R1 zone in this area to the Storefront Commercial (CS) zone?
  • Are there specific uses that you would not like to see along Milwaukie, south of Center Street?
  • What level of density or building height do you think is appropriate for this section of Milwaukie?
  • Do you need more information, and if so, what kind of information?

Respondents were asked to indicate a level of support (support change, oppose change, unsure/need more info) and write in detailed comments. Written responses received at the meeting and indicated level of support are listed in the table below.

Level of Support

Written Response


Keep neighborhood livable. No more industrial. Multi housing must have on site parking. Keep existing zoning rules as is.


I think there needs to be a focus on choosing a zone that is more comfortable with residential but at the same time allows for commercial main street. Reasonable height limits (lower than 45) etc.. If we need to create new zones then there should be a plan in place leave the door open to adopting the newly created zone that matches what the community actually wants. It should be only onMilwaukie(any zone change) and not extend into the neighborhood. We want to preserve the neighborhood/residence off ofMilwaukie. Think about creating new zones that are more sensitive to bordering residential - limiting height more parking etc.


I have three concerns as a homeowner: 1. The types of businesses allowed in the area (eg big box stores)  2. The gentrification of the neighborhood and high property taxes.  3. The additional traffic onMilwaukieand Holgate.


1. Milwaukie Ave. as a main st likeSE 13th Ave.In Sellwood is great. As a resident of this neighborhood, I would love. 17th is the back yard.  2. A stronger connection for bike at Holgate would also be good. (or all the options mentioned like Reedway or Center St. Holgate over the rail is the shortest and most cost-effective bridge span height and the City may already have the right of way if the build abutment walls instead of slopes). Also: Thanks for coming toBrooklyn!


Increase density; Provide for a mix of housing/commercial uses; Height cap at 65'; No setbacks; A "main street" feel; Include intersection at Milwaukie & Holgate - think of it as a node.


I support changing this area to commercial but am concerned about the scale of buildings being built and the potential parking implications. I live in the neighborhood.  Also hoping that scale of buildings available fit the neighborhood better than the new ones on Division. No higher than three stories!! Similar zoning toMilwaukieinW. Morelandor even 13th in Sellwood would be great.


Fully support any commercial redevelopment ofMilwaukie Ave.


Retail, restaurants, food market brewery, if it looks like something else in the cityMississippi Stwould be a good example. I am not opposed to more dense use alongMilwaukieave than is there now, but I think that parking needs to be a consideration. Also, delivery access needs to be considered. It is not ok for all delivery vehicles to be parking mid-street in front of homes.


RezoneMilwaukiebut control the way it's done. Parking issues must be dealt with. CSI does not seem best, but storefront/mixed use seems ok. 35 foot height restriction.


Yes!!Brooklynseems to be very under-retailed, especially at the South end. This area is about halfway between retail hubs in Westmoreland and Clinton/Division, and those places are too far away to walk to. The R1 zone is not working.


Strong support for CS designation along all ofMilwaukie.


Do Not need light industrial or industrial onMilwaukieas it does not fit the vision for the neighborhood.  More retail, commercial, and office space are all needed onMilwaukie, ie Sellwood and no through streets.  Zoning needs to support the self-sufficiency of amenities for theBrooklynneighborhood.


To more mixed use commercial development


1. Café, Restaurants, "shops", shopping, barber, bookstore, garden supply, grocery (Green Zebra), workspaces like Active Space, boutiques.  2. Traffic calming, connections from 17th toMilwaukie, Pedestrian lighting.  3. Mixed use – 3 stories- on-street  4. If another zoning option was more in-line with neighborhood level/serving commercial it might be worth exploring.


Along Milwaukie: Mixed Commercial/Residential zoning (office, residential, retail ok) 65 foot height - 20 foot 1st floor, 15 foot floors 2-4; 2-1,000 of parking on Commercial Uses; 1-1,000 of parking on Residential Uses;  Along 17th: West of 17th Mixed commercial/residential like above.  East of 17th, Industrial/Commercial zone (employment). No residential, high density.

Unsure/Need More Info

Would be opposed to general CG change; Would consider it only with specific design review requirements; Would like mixed use but don't want a "canyon" effect with all max height buildings; Want to know about other zones that allow mixed use

Unsure/Need More Info

1. Would like more information on parking  2. Would like more information on the tension between industrial land needs identified by City/Metro and the interests of the community which appear to lean towards more of a Hawthorne/Belmont/Division model.  3. It would be helpful to ask community members to identify their affiliation in these comments in a similar fashion to how you introduced yourselves at the beginning of the meeting. For example, I am a property owner on 11th. I think context to these comments would be helpful as business owners, TriMet employees, and property owners share their views. Could you include a box or line where people self-identify. It doesn’t need to be a name or address.

Unsure/Need More Info

I am probably ok with it, but I do not like how far offMilwaukiethis extends. FacingMilwaukieok, but three lots into the homes is too far!

Unsure/Need More Info

There is a demand for more "local commercial" amenities. Yet there seems to be a lot of under-utilized commercial space/ land North of Center St. How will adding commercial land increase the availability of goods and services?Milwaukieis a busy through street for vehicles headed North/South. How will a zone change affect the traffic?

Unsure/Need More Info

This neighborhood is like a twilight zone in terms of retail/commercial businesses. I agree with people who indicate desire for "amenities" in the neighborhood. BUT is there evidence or findings that those amenities and businesses would flourish or even come to the area?Brooklynis isolated and bound on all sides and that isn't going to change. What new business or commercial uses Specifically are projected to fill the commercial zone?