Report: Portland City Council to vote on parking minimums

According to Elliot Njus of The Oregonian, the Portland City Council is expected to vote next week to impose minimum parking requirements on new apartment construction, but will not move to block a controversial 80-unit project already under construction at SE 37th and Division.

According to the report, the following minimums will be voted on:

  • No parking minimums for complexes with fewer than 30 units.
  • One space for every five units, for buildings with 31-40 units
  • One space for every four units for buildings with 41-50 units
  • One space for every three units for buildings with 51 or more units
  • Developers may “buy down” the minimum somewhat in exchange for bike parking or carshare parking.

Additional changes to city code, including parking districts, may come at a later date.

22 Comments

22 Responses to Report: Portland City Council to vote on parking minimums

  1. Douglas K
    April 5, 2013 at 8:58 am Link

    So instead of building a 60-unit complex with 20 parking spaces, you can divide your parcel and build two adjacent 30-unit complexes with no off-street parking?

  2. Ian Turner
    April 5, 2013 at 9:11 am Link

    Doug, yes, that’s how we do it in NYC also.

  3. Lenny Anderson
    April 5, 2013 at 11:34 am Link

    Division Street this side of 39th is still plagued by plenty of vacant lots and marginal businesses. Lots of new apartments with people living, working, shopping is just what’s needed to make real city street. Parking can be managed; we have a ton of it and its given away for free.

  4. billb
    April 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm Link

    This is quite workable, and has the distinct side benefit of creating smaller projects with more diverse architecture. If we look at the mega-project going up on the north end of nw 23rd, where multiple buildings on 2 sides of the street all have the same faux-historicky style, we can see the value of breaking up projects into smaller designs. Given that the nearby Conway projects could all end up as giant faux-historicky mega-plexes, I think this revision is good.
    I vote yes.

  5. Anonymous
    April 5, 2013 at 12:40 pm Link

    This is quite workable, and has the distinct side benefit of creating smaller projects with more diverse architecture. If we look at the mega-project going up on the north end of nw 23rd, where multiple buildings on 2 sides of the street all have the same faux-historicky style, we can see the value of breaking up projects into smaller designs. Given that the nearby Conway projects could all end up as giant faux-historicky mega-plexes, I think this revision is good.
    I vote yes.

  6. Douglas K.
    April 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm Link

    yes, that’s how we do it in NYC also.

    Doing it that way in NYC makes sense, at least in Manhattan. You don’t need a car there unless your job actually depends on one. Quite the reverse, in fact: keeping a car in Manhattan is an expensive headache.

    While car-free in Portland is possible (I’ve been doing it for a couple of decades now), it’s simply not a viable option for a majority of Portlanders yet.

  7. Bjorn Warloe
    April 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm Link

    Clarification question is a 3 bedroom apartment 3 units or 1 unit? It seems odd that a 90 bedroom complex with all 3 bedrooms would need no parking, but a building with 31 studio apartments would need 6 spaces…

  8. Chris Smith
    April 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm Link

    An apartment is one unit regardless of the number of bedrooms.

  9. Anandakos
    April 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm Link

    billb,

    Insofar as the Conway project goes, faux historicky is way better than acres-of-asphalty.

  10. Steven
    April 6, 2013 at 7:30 am Link

    “has the distinct side benefit of creating smaller projects with more diverse architecture”

    It looks more like the primary purpose than a “side benefit.” If two side-by-side 30-unit buildings require zero parking, while one 60-unit building requires 20 spaces, the intent must be to strongly encourage smaller apartment buildings (and larger units within those buildings). Otherwise, the standards don’t make a whole lot of sense.

  11. Doug Klotz
    April 6, 2013 at 10:12 am Link

    Bjorn has hit on an interesting point. Check the ads in SF and NY and you’ll see a lot of offered bedrooms for rent in an apartment unit with others. “Roommates”, I guess you’d say. The market will figure out the loopholes in the code.

    (I’ll use my full name, since there’s a “Douglas K” commenting here as well!)

  12. Nick theoldurbanist
    April 6, 2013 at 11:27 am Link

    “While car-free in Portland is possible (I’ve been doing it for a couple of decades now), it’s simply not a viable option for a majority of Portlanders yet.”

    >>>> You can say that again! A big reason for this I have found (even more than transit) is the siting of affordable supermarkets.

    BTW, Safeway closed its store at 82nd & Burnside, after Food4Less had closed its at 82nd & Powell. We’re going in the right direction for carfree living, NOT.

  13. Joseph E
    April 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm Link

    “Safeway closed its store at 82nd & Burnside, after Food4Less had closed its at 82nd & Powell. We’re going in the right direction for carfree living, NOT.”

    I ride my bike past that Safeway almost every day, yet have only gone there once. We ordered a birthday cake – they got the order wrong. However, I do go to the huge Fubon asian grocery store further south on 82nd. The prices and selection are much better, and more in keeping with what of the newer residents of the neighborhood would want. Similarly, I’m happy that the store across the street in Hollywood is now a Grocery Outlet (I’m sure it was a “mainline” supermarket in years past); the prices are better.

    A search near 82nd and Burnside for groceries finds within 1.5 miles:
    China Foods Inc.
    Amir Halal Food Grocery Market
    Taylor Court Grocery
    WinCo Foods
    Fred Meyer
    Fubonn
    International Food Supply (IFS)
    Pacific Supermarkets
    And others (some of which may be small corner stores)

    I think the neighborhood is getting the type of markets that will work there. Safeway is withdrawing to higher-income areas.

  14. EngineerScotty
    April 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm Link

    I was surprised that the Food 4 Less at 82nd and Powell closed–the place always seemed busy whenever I was in that neighborhood. And it catered well to many of the ethnic communities (various Asian cultures as well as Russians) that have a significant presence in SE.

    According to the comments on this news report, the SE Food 4 Less was independently owned (most Food 4 Less stores are operated by Kroger or other grocery chains) and the owner decided to retire. In addition, the Eastport WalMart had recently expanded into a supercenter, giving more competition on the grocery front.

    It’s unfortunate to see it close, but as Joseph E. points out, that part of SE Portland is not a food desert; there are plenty of other grocery stores serving various ethnic and socio-economic clientele, in the neighborhood. And given the prime location at the corner of the 9 and 72 :), I imagine the space won’t remain vacant for too long. (That said, that mall seems to have a lot of lower-margin businesses in it, and relatively high turnover…)

  15. Nick theoldurbanist
    April 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm Link

    “I think the neighborhood is getting the type of markets that will work there. Safeway is withdrawing to higher-income areas.”

    >>>> Most of the supermarkets that you mentioned are ‘ethnic’ markets; nothing wrong with that, except that they are not general full service grocers like Freddy’s, Safeway, etc. AS for the latter, 1.5 miles is too damn far to walk to and from trudging a folding cart full of groceries.

    Basically, Montavilla lost its large general purpose supermarket, and I could not consider living there in the future.

  16. EngineerScotty
    April 6, 2013 at 5:39 pm Link

    Nick,

    You may prefer not to shop there–but the WalMart just down the street now has a full-service grocery, if I’m not mistaken.

  17. bjcefola
    April 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm Link

    Correct me if I’m wrong but no one is building no-park apartments at 82nd. 39th and Division, the most notorious concentration, has the Freddy’s at Hawthorne and Safeway at Powell. Likewise the buildings in Hollywood have a Whole Foods and a Trader Joes.

    Maybe developers take proximity to grocery outlets into account when thinking about parking.

  18. Nick theoldurbanist
    April 6, 2013 at 8:01 pm Link

    Scotty, the Walmart ‘down the street’ is actually 2.2 miles away, hardly walkable for Montavilla.

    My point is, while the ethnic Asian markets may be suitable for an immigrant family from an Asian country, I don’t think they could serve the general population as a Freddy’s could. And I think that said family would want to shop at a Freddy’s, too.

  19. EngineerScotty
    April 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm Link

    I think I got confused, Nick, and was thinking of the Food 4 Less–re-reading your post, it appears you are talking about the Montavilla Safeway, for which the Holgate WalMart may be too far for the carless to serve as an adequate replacement–particularly for those not close to the 72.

  20. was carless
    April 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm Link

    What about dorms? Does PSU and Reed College need to build underground parking for their students?

    Note that PSU recently finished a 900+ bed dormitory with no parking. Since there is no street parking allowed downtown anyway, you would think that they would make this exception.

    I’m sure students would love to add another $300 a month on top of their $1,200 a month dorm rent since almost no students have cars!

  21. Doug Klotz
    April 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm Link

    These amendments only apply where there are not “district” regulations on parking. In downtown, there are maximum numbers of spaces you can put in, and no minimums, so this wouldn’t apply (assuming that includes the PSU campus)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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