Parkrose-Argay land-use ‘study’ advances

Here’s what’s happening with the unique public process about developing the Rossi, Giusto, and Garre farm properties …

What might be the future of these Parkrose and Argay Terrace farmlands is the focus of this unique outer East Portland study.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

With large-scale “corporate farming” making it difficult for traditional local farms to compete, the Rossi, Giusto and Garre families – who’ve farmed in Parkrose and Argay Terrace neighborhoods for longer than a century – decided last year to look for other uses for a 30-acre site along NE 122nd Avenue and Shaver Street.

Together, about a year ago, the property owners informally reached out to the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BES) to help develop a study of options of best uses, based on community input. With this, BES created what’s been named the “Parkrose-Argay Development Study”.

After a great deal of background work, and three public workshops, the “Parkrose-Argay Development Study” is nearing a conclusion.

>> To see our coverage about their initial community meeting, the Vision and Aspirations Workshop in December of 2018, CLICK HERE.

On April 18, some 125 community members attended a workshop at Parkrose Middle School in which participants heard presentations from the project team – describing three different concepts, and discussing elements of each concept.

On June 19, neighbors and anyone else interested were invited to another open house, again held at Parkrose Middle School, this time to preview the “Preferred Concept Plan” – the next step in the study.

Before the formal presentation participants gather, examining the exhibits showing the “Preferred Concept” arrived at.

“People have seemed generally interested in this project,” remarked BPS Senior Planner Barry Manning, who is shepherding the project.  “In fact, the April workshop drew neighbors from all walks of life, including some from the Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese communities.

“Tonight, we’re looking at the ‘preferred plan’ which, from our perspective, is built on what we learned at previous public workshops – blending the perspectives of all participants – including owners’ and stakeholders’ input – and looking back at city codes and policies, to meet multiple objectives, while satisfying communities desires in development.”

The proposal for the 34-acre area, which is equal to about 25 city blocks, combines both commercial and residential areas, Manning explained. “Again, this is a proposal for how the area might be developed, not a ‘development plan’ per se,” he said.

Presenting the information gathered, and the prospective plans that have been drawn up, is BES Senior Planner Barry Manning

What he and the project consults revealed was a proposal that showed commercial spaces, as well as a substantial amount of residential housing – about half of it zoned for multi-dwelling housing, the other half zoned for mixed-use development.

“The housing will be a combination of apartments, condominiums, smaller apartment buildings, row-houses, townhouses, and cottages – but not much single-family development,” Manning told East Portland News.

Showing the “Preferred Concept” design is Jerry Johnson of Johnson Economists, and Urban Designer Ken Pirie with consulting firm Walker Macy.

Process reaches 80% mark
“This is the last large public meeting that we’ll have to take input on the project,” Manning informed.

The next steps include:

  • Making minor refinements tot the project;
  • Packaging the findings for presentation;
  • Conducting financial analysis regarding markets; and,
  • Sharing the results with landowners.

Participants listen to the June “Preferred Concept Plan” presentation.

“We also are sharing it with the City of Portland Planning Commission and Portland City Council. Because a Metro grant has funded the project, we will be meeting with those two bodies and share the information,” Manning explained.

The “Concept Report” should be out in early August, and the findings whill be shared with the Portland City Council in September or October.

Representatives of two of the owner families, Dominic Giusto and Joe Rossi, discuss the project at the June meeting.

“I’m really happy with the process – in fact, unexpectedly happy,” said Joe Rossi, one of the prosperity owners who made it clear he was speaking only for himself.

“While I didn’t expect it, this received good input from the owners, the city, and the Parkrose School District,” Rossi said. “And, I believe we’ve captured the high points; no group or participant has had to ‘give up’ on any big ideas during the process, trading them for other things.”

To learn more about the “Parkrose-Argay Development Study” go to its official webpage: CLICK HERE.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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