Neighbors chime in on SE 122nd Avenue rezoning plan

Discover what neighbors learned, about a study to add more “neighborhood-scale commercial uses” along this outer East Portland thoroughfare. You can comment, if you do so before March 16 …

These visitors, and about 70 other people, came through the open house to learn more about the “SE 122nd Avenue Rezoning Project”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In an effort by the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to increase opportunities for neighborhood-scale commercial uses along the southern portion of the 122nd Avenue corridor and improve multi-dwelling design and compatibility, the Bureau has started an effort called the “SE 122nd Avenue Rezoning Project”.

“Tonight we are hoping to get input from the community about a proposal that we’re developing to change the zoning on some multi-family property at the south end of SE 122nd Avenue,” explained BPS Senior Planner John Cole. This open house was held on February 23, at Gilbert Park Elementary School.

This BPS illustration shows the main “nodes” being considered for commercial rezoning.

“We’re proposing that the City of Portland change from multifamily residential zones to a variety of neighborhood commercial zones,” Cole told East Portland New. “We heard from the community last year that there should be more neighborhood-serving commercial uses here, to serve the multi-family zone properties and existing single-family residences in the area.

“It’s a good opportunity for property owners to get their property rezoned,” Cole added. “Otherwise it’s a pretty expensive exercise for them to do on their own.”

BPS Senior Planner John Cole answers questions about the “SE 122nd Avenue Rezoning Project”.

Instead of advocating a wholesale rezoning effort, Cole explained, the Bureau is considering asking the Portland City Council to look at rezoning four “nodes” , each containing about 20 properties. “This would increase from 10 acres of commercial zoned property to about 14 acres, along and near the south end of SE 122nd Avenue.”

Specifically, they’re looking to rezone properties that Cole says will “add to the commercial property inventory, without conflicting with the residential uses that are going on, on the other side. It’s a bit of a balancing act. Above all, we’re trying to ‘do no harm’.”

Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association President Mark White opined, “I think it’s great that there are a lot of people here at this event tonight, talking about what could possibly happen if these lots are rezoned.”

White added that he was disappointed BES hadn’t taken into account several of the suggestions made by the Community Working Group. “In our last meeting, BPS was emphatically told of our desire to bring in more mixed-use development. I’ve been told that they’re going to go back and do that, however.”

Jean DeMaster of Human Solutions, and Powellhurst-Gilbert neighbor James Chasse, write comments about the proposed zoning change.

After at least one more public open house, BPS is scheduled to take the matter before the Portland City Council in July – with a proposed ordinance that identifies specific properties for rezoning.

Comment before March 16

If you didn’t get to the open house, you still have the opportunity to learn about – then comment on – the zoning changes.

  • First read about it at the BES website: CLICK HERE to open that page.
  • Then, take their survey at this link: CLICK HERE.

For more information, contact PBS Planner Christina Scarzello at: or call her at (503) 823-7716.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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