Find out why ROSE Community Development is getting ready to pitch a plan to the PDC for developing the Lents Little League baseball field – and what neighbors say they really want built there …
Joseph Readdy, of SERA architects, listens, while ROSE Community Development Corp. executive director Nick Sauvie sets the stage for the workshop at Wattles Boys & Girls Club.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
City officials have talked about the redevelopment of the Lents Neighborhood area for years. Yet, the large parcel of land at the corner of SE 92nd Avenue at SE Harold Street – currently home to the Lents Little League – remains undeveloped.
This Spring, ROSE Community Development Corporation (ROSE) held two workshops regarding the potential development of this property.
Using drawings like these, neighbors shared their ideas regarding how best the Lents Little League field can be developed. The red block is the area to be developed.
Not PDC meetings
First and foremost, stressed ROSE’s executive director Nick Sauvie, when we talked with him at their “Field of Dreams” workshops held at the Wattles Boys & Girls Club, was that:
- The “Field of Dreams” Workshops were not Portland Development Commission (PDC)-sponsored events; and,
- ROSE has not been selected as the development team.
Preparing to present
After the workshops, we asked Sauvie to explain what ROSE was doing, regarding this site.
“The PDC intends to begin a process to select a developer for the site later this year,” Sauvie began. “The first workshop was used to get general input from community members about the site, neighborhood context, and urban design issues. The second workshop took that input and started to incorporate it into design ideas.”
Their organization, Sauvie explained, was created out of the efforts of Southeast Portland people who take the needs and desires for improving the community seriously. “That’s why were went the extra mile and held these workshops early in our process.”
Curt Schultz, principal, SERA architects, leads a group discussion about ideas already gathered regarding the site’s potential development.
New to commercial development
Because ROSE has a solid track record with Lents-area residential development projects, we asked Sauvie if he sees potential challenges.
“One thing that will be new for us,” Sauvie responded, “if we do this project, is that it will have significant commercial component to it. Our mission is building the neighborhood and strengthening its economy. The commercial development is part of the project, and will be our first large venture in economic development.”
Ideas and comments
We asked Sauvie to “boil down” all of the comments and suggestions they heard during the workshops and share ideas he thought were significant. He shared six of them with us.
- There is support for a mixed-use development that will make the Lents Town Center a livelier place, and provide more destinations, such as restaurants and cafes.
- The residential component should include both homeownership and rental, for a mix of incomes and household types.
- Provide a permanent home for the Lents International Farmers Market.
- Many people would like to see a grocery store somewhere in the Town Center.
- He would like to see local businesses and services emphasized, not chain stores.
He added that public spaces should be well conceived and maintained.
At another table, Joseph Readdy, SERA architects, makes sure he understands a neighbor’s idea for the site.
“It’s very early really in the process,” stated Sauvie. “The PDC has not yet issued their Request for Proposal. Hopefully that’ll happen sometime this summer. As a best guess, the PDC might receive proposals and make decisions sometime before the end of the year.”
We later learned that the PDC officials say they will issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to solicit proposals from development teams no earlier than summer 2008. The RFQ process is intended to generate interest from many development teams, all of whom will be rated competitively. Any questions about the RFQ process should be directed to Justin Douglas, (503) 823-4579, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News