Planners’ recommendations for Parkrose revealed

Businesspeople and neighbors work together, as they plan this community’s future. Now they have gotten a look at the findings of PSU grad student planners. Interested in what they said? Take a look: the complete report is right here‚

Brian Ableidinger introducing the Parkrose Vision Committee

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The people of Parkrose aren’t just wishing and hoping for a bright future, they’re actively planning for it.

Months ago, the City of Portland’s East Portland Planning Liaison, Barry Manning, suggested that Portland State University graduate urban planning students could help the area’s residents and business people develop a comprehensive plan.

After informal meetings and a group workshop called “Planning for Parkrose” on April 24, interested folks gathered at Parkrose High School’s Community room on June 6 student planners’ recommendations.

The text of the formal presentation is at the end of this article‚

Process helps set priorities
Brian Ableidinger, co-owner of Parkrose Hardware, welcomed the group that packed the meeting hall.

“As a business owner, getting input from the neighborhood association about what they want to see in their business district has been an eye-opener for me,” Ableidinger told us during a break in the program. “I learned, for example that most residents really want a Parkrose grocery store.”

When they first started the process, Ableidinger explained, he saw that the both the neighborhood and business associations had their own point of view. “The views are necessarily opposed to one another; they’re just not synchronized. I hope this Vision Committee can bring all of these points of view together to help us develop a plan for a good.”

Neighbor Arnie Osterhaus talks with one of the Portland State University grad student Brian, one of the group who prepared recommendations for the Parkrose Community.

Ableidinger agrees with the recommendation to expand the Parkrose Vision Committee. “I see the committee including other stakeholders in the neighborhood‚ such as the faith community‚ we want to address their needs.”

Having a united front is important to the process Ableidinger says, especially when it comes to Sandy Blvd. redevelopment. “If our businesses and neighbors show city government we are united‚ and have a professional developed plan‚ the leaders will be more amenable. We’ll have more power and influence.”

Retired Parkrose School Superintendent Mike Taylor and Bob Brown, Bob Brown Tires, discuss some of the options the student planners outlined.

Neighborhood leader approve
At the June meeting, Marcy Emerson-Peters, chair of Parkrose Neighborhood Association, told us, “This is a great idea. I’m impressed with the energy people are showing to get this going.”

Emerson-Peters said she thought it was important that businesses in downtown Parkrose are being encouraged to be involved with the plans for developing the city’s business district.

“From the standpoint of neighbors, business district improvements will make Parkrose a more appealing place to shop. It will increase the value of homes. The city will pay more attention to us. And, we’ll attract more investment. This is good for everyone.”

Parkrose people, from all walks of life, come to participate in planning the community’s future.

Parkrose Vision Committee Recommendation Presentation

Findings
1. What would bring you down to Sandy Blvd. more often?

  • Grocery Store: 27% of total points
  • Greater Dining Options: 13%
  • Specific Specialty Stores: 12%
  • Less Prostitution, Crime and Drugs: 9%
  • Improve Neighborhood Appearance: 7%

2. What would you like other people to think of Sandy Blvd. ten years from now?

  • Multi-Cultural Area: 17%
  • Safe and Well-Maintained: 14%
  • Family Friendly Area: 13%
  • Prostitution Free Area: 10%
  • Local Business Oriented: 8%

3. Name three things you think would make Parkrose better?

  • Fewer Adult-Oriented Businesses: 20%
  • Encourage Neighborhood Unity, Communication & Involvement: 14%
  • Improve Neighborhood Appearance: 14%
  • Decrease Prostitution, Crime, Drugs: 8%
  • Prioritize Children: 6%

Goal
Creating a Downtown Parkrose area that would be a vital business district, provide a strong sense of community and thus, make it a “great place to be”.

Recommendations

  • Expand Parkrose Vision Team
  • Invite representatives from other community organizations
  • Formalize monthly meeting schedule
  • Undergo leadership/team building training

Improve Neighborhood Communication

  • Maximize use of existing resources
  • Employ a multi-media approach
  • Develop Parkrose Neighborhood-specific newsletter

Market Parkrose Business District

  • Promote Parkrose as a unified business district providing a range of goods and services
  • Proactively establish district identity and culture
  • Encourage neighborhood residents to shop locally

Enhance Appearance of Sandy Boulevard

  • Improve storefronts and landscaping along Sandy Boulevard
  • An aesthetic and well-maintained commercial district exudes success and attracts consumers

Expand Crime Prevention Programs

  • Further develop current community policing efforts
  • Increasing the sheer number of people on the street is the largest deterrent to crime

Support Sandy as a Neighborhood Center

  • Work with ODOT to have Sandy recognized as a neighborhood center‚ not simply a transportation corridor
  • A Special Transportation Area designation will help ODOT prioritize improvements

Host Neighborhood Event on Sandy

  • Food festivals, street fairs, live music
  • Incorporate existing events onto Sandy
  • Prepare for and celebrate Parkrose’s 100th anniversary in 2011

Develop Community Design Standards

  • Promote development appropriate for Sandy Boulevard
  • Ensures consistency in future development and helps foster identity

Partner with Local Business Support Systems

  • Take advantage of existing business assistance programs to encourage entrepreneurship
  • Fill vacant and underutilized commercial properties

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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