Land Use Meeting: Demolitions, Infill, Zoning and More (Updated)

Next meeting: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m., Woodstock Community Center, 5905 SE 43rd Ave.

Draft Zoning Map Preview from 9/16These are interesting times for the Woodstock neighborhood. Percentage increases in its home prices this summer appear to have been among the steepest in the nation (based on a recently released report and the fact that showed Woodstock outpacing the city as a whole). Such a hot real estate market can mean rapid change in neighborhood character. Are you concerned about intertwined issues such as those listed below? You can be sure they’ll play a part in the neighborhood association’s next Land Use Committee (LUC) meeting, which is open to all.

Home Demolitions

Mayor Charlie Hales popped in at a meeting earlier this month to discuss his plan for a demolition tax. The basic idea is to charge developers $25,000 in cases where a viable house would just be replaced with another (that would likely be bigger and more expensive but wouldn’t make progress toward density goals). Exceptions would apply for derelict houses and other situations.

Infill in Current Zoning

The Woodstock neighborhood is predominantly zoned R5, which means one residence on a 5,000-square-foot lot — right? Not so fast: Illogically, the minimum lot size for R5 is 3,000 square feet, which makes for easier lot division and can favor taller, skinnier houses. A point of contention among those participating in the city’s Residential Infill Project is whether it’s in scope to clarify zoning terms for more predictable changes in neighborhood character.

Potential Changes in Future Zoning [updated Nov. 23]

Neighborhoods across the city are being asked to comment on the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which helps determine how Portland will grow. For Woodstock, two potential changes are in play.

Mixed-use zoning: Residential zoning may change to mixed-use in some areas half a block from Woodstock Blvd. This is currently before City Council for review. You can testify about the change in person or in writing.

Also, full blocks north and south of Woodstock Boulevard are designated for future mixed-use zoning. This implies that the city’s vision for those blocks is for a combination of multifamily (apartment) and/or commercial use. Before that designation can become an actual zoning change, adequate infrastructure must be in place. In Woodstock, that would include a more complete street grid.

R2.5 zoning: Some parts of the neighborhood are zoned R5, but also have R2.5 designation. (See them on a map.) The city is analyzing whether and where these areas should have their zoning changed to R2.5 to match their designation. This would increase the potential for two housing units — such as skinny houses, rowhouses, or a duplex — to occupy lots where one house is allowed. The city’s analysis will lead to a proposal in January. If the proposal is to change zoning to R2.5, the city will notify all property owners — and the Planning and Sustainability Commission will hear testimony.

A closely related question for both issues is how unimproved streets would change to accommodate such use.

[Added Nov. 20] Learn about Zoning Changes in Your Area

If you live on or own property within two blocks of the following areas where zoning changes are being considered, plan to attend a special meeting on December 9 at 7 p.m. in the Woodstock Community Center:

  • Woodstock Blvd. between Chavez Blvd. and 60th
  • Chavez Blvd. between Woodstock and Insley St.
  • The intersection of Chavez and Holgate Blvd.
  • The intersection of Holgate and 52nd

A Hot Ticket

If land-use meetings are ever a hot ticket, it’s probably now. Come learn more about the issues that will shape our neighborhood, and maybe even add your influence to how they unfold.

Land Use Committee Preps for Comp Plan Testimony

Wednesday, October 21 at 7 p.m. in the Woodstock Community Center, 5905 SE 43rd Ave.

One way you know you’re on Woodstock Boulevard is the mix of residences and businesses — sometimes in the same building. Among the questions that have faced the Land Use Committee in recent months, is how the new mixed-use zoning designations may affect the shape of development along Woodstock Boulevard.

On the agenda for the October 21st Woodstock Land Use Committee meeting, is the committee’s preparation of final testimony on Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Committee members will also discuss preliminary comments on the Discussion Draft of the Mixed Use Zones Project, which lays out the zoning regulations for the newly created Mixed Use Zones.

Comment deadlines are looming for citizen input to different aspects of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, and attending neighborhood LUC meetings is one of the best opportunities for familiarizing yourself with the draft, understanding the neighborhood context, and learning how to register your own concerns.

For example, how might the city’s proposed bonus system affect Woodstock? In other cities, bonus systems encourage developers to build affordable housing — typically by allowing additional building height even when zoning might otherwise preclude it.

Other Business

The committee submitted comments last March about the city’s draft comprehensive plan for the Woodstock area. A new round of comments is due before the city’s next hearing on November 19. This is your chance to review the previous comments and help determine what to add, omit, augment, or change.

Closely Related

Michael Molinaro, the SE Uplift representative on The Stakeholders Advisory Committee for the city’s Residential Infill Project, will present at the November 4 meeting of the Woodstock Neighborhood Association (7 p.m. at the Woodstock Community Center). If you’re concerned about neighborhood houses being replaced with ones of larger footprint and/or greater height, or by more than one “skinny” house, this might be a good one to attend.


How will the Mixed Use Zones Project and new Zoning Map affect Woodstock?

What does Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan mean for Woodstock?

The city’s timeline for the Mixed Use Zones Project and Zoning Map process, which was shared here on September 9th, has changed significantly since then. Click here to download the latest version of the timeline, with new dates. This new flyer also includes an announcement for WNA’s October 21st Land Use Committee meeting.

Draft Zoning Map Preview from 9/16How will the Mixed Use Zones Project and new Zoning Map affect Woodstock?

At WNA’s Wednesday, September 16, 2015 Land Use Committee meeting, Marty Stockton, Liaison to Southeast Neighborhoods for the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, attempted to answer this question, taking time to explain proposed Comp Plan and Zoning Map changes and how they apply to our neighborhood.

Click here to download the minutes from the September 16, 2015 Land Use Committee meeting.

Members of Woodstock’s Land Use Committee will review some of this information at their next meeting, which is almost always held on the third Wednesday of the month. LUC meetings are open to the public. Also on the agenda: Portland’s Residential Infill Project and a report back from a meeting of the Residential Infill Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

NEXT MEETING: WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21st at 7:00pm at the Woodstock Community Center – 5905 SE 43rd Ave (at Knight)

For the latest updates on Portland’s Comprehensive Planning Process, visit

Portland Fish Market – 1 Year Anniversary!


The wonderful folks at the Portland Fish Market are celebrating their 1st anniversary here at Woodstock on August 15th.

To show their appreciate to the neighborhood they will be donating a percentage of ALL tuna sales on Saturday August 15th to the Woodstock Neighborhood Association!

So stop by for some of the best fish in Portland and support a local business and your local neighborhood association.

Learn How to do Preparedness Outreach

Contributed by Liz Bryant

On March 21, published this article about our spring series of Disaster Preparedness workshops planned for SE Portland.

Now I want to highlight the second workshop in the series, Help Friends & Neighbors Get Prepared, coming up this Tuesday, May 13 and next Tuesday, May 20. This will be presented by Alice Busch and myself and will be an interactive discussion about how to confront one’s own fears about bringing up disaster with the unaware, and dealing with their objections (it won’t happen here/in my lifetime/to me, won’t be that bad, the gov’t will save us, etc.).

It will also cover the practicalities of sharing preparedness info and how to do Map Your Neighborhood (MYN). If you’re not familiar with the MYN program, it’s about organizing with neighbors to help each other effectively after a disaster — since, as I’m sure you know, our neighbors will be our best source of help in a major disaster. (From the NPR story, The Key to Disaster Survival? Friends and Neighbors: “while official help is useful…it is the personal ties among members of a community that determine survival during a disaster, and recovery in its aftermath.”)

The workshop is free and no preregistration is required. There will also be door prize drawings. Here are the details:

Workshop #2, “Help Friends & Neighbors Get Prepared”
Tuesday, May 13, 6:30-9 pm, SMILE Station, 8210 SE 13th Ave.
Tuesday, May 20, 6:30-9 pm, Reedwood Friends Church, 2901 SE Steele St.

The last workshop in the series may also be of interest. It includes information useful to renters — fire safety and nonstructural measures to protect against earthquakes — as well as seismic upgrades for homeowners.

Workshop #3, “Secure Your Home Against Disaster”
Saturday, May 31, Trinity United Methodist Church, 3915 SE Steele St.

Liz Bryant
Woodstock Hub NET Team

Be Prepared for Anything!

Members of the Woodstock Neighborhood Emergency Team, or NET, are collaborating with other SE Portland neighborhood volunteers to put on a series emergency preparedness workshops to help Southeast Portlanders prepare for “the big one“—or any other future catastrophe that may come our way.

There are three topics being offered: (1) Make a Plan and Build a Kit; (2) Help Friends & Neighbors Get Prepared; and (3) Secure Your Home Against Disaster.

SouthPdx Preparedness Facebook Page

See you Wednesday night!

We have another jam-packed agenda for our March 5th meeting at the Woodstock Community Center (doors open at 6:30, meeting goes from 7:00 to 8:30+).

Besides the usual neighborhood reports and committee briefs, we’ll hear a brief presentation from Metro Councilor Bob Stacey, followed by Q&A.

LRS Architect Greg Mitchell discusses the design of the
Woodstock store’s underground parking garage, as
New Seasons Development Director Don Forrest looks on.

In addition, a couple of neighbors who attended last Monday’s public forum with New Seasons reps are interested in continuing the discussion about traffic and safety concerns and how we might work with the city to mitigate the impacts of all the new development on the boulevard. So we’re going to attempt to begin that discussion at this meeting, but due to time constraints, we’ll hope to form a Land Use subcommittee to continue the dialogue and explore mitigations with the city.

To download the notes from February 2014 and other previous WNA meetings, go to our Meetings & Minutes page.

New Berkeley Tennis Courts will be a Great Resource for Woodstock Neighborhood Families

Woodstock neighbors warmly welcomed Geri and Jim Rovello to our January 8th meeting to talk about the impressive tennis court renovation project they are spearheading at Berkeley Park, funded by the memorial fund named for their son. Click here to download a one-page PDF information sheet about the Alex Rovello Fund and how you can contribute to this great neighborhood project.

The tennis courts at Berkeley Park, located at SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd. and Bybee Blvd., are badly in need of an upgrade (see photos below at left). This project has been adopted by Geri and Jim Rovello as a fitting memorial to their son, a Cleveland High School graduate who was a four-time state tennis singles champion and a member of the University of Oregon tennis team at the time of his tragic death last spring. Alex began playing the game on the Berkeley courts at the age of 2, as the family lived just a couple blocks from the park.

The Rovello family has made great strides toward raising the funds needed for the creation of a fantastic community resource, with the full cooperation and support of Portland Parks and Recreation. Their stated mission:  

“Providing a safe and professional environment for children and adults, from all walks of life, to learn and play tennis.”

Beyond resurfacing the two existing courts, the current plan includes replacing the benches, poles and nets, upgrading the lighting, replacing the fencing and trimming the trees around the court. There will be a mural at one end, as well as a backboard on one side to facilitate solo play. When finished, the courts will be the only ones in the city that are fully handicapped accessible, and will have a unique flexibility, with special striping and specially sized nets, to be set up for children to play on smaller courts, using larger balls and smaller rackets.

There are several ways to help the Rovellos achieve their goal. Memorial donations are being accepted via mail, direct transfer, or online; find more information at Look for “Alex Rovello Memorial” on Facebook, like the page and share it with your friends. If you have ideas for grants or want to host a special fundraising event, the Rovellos would love to hear from you! They can be reached at

Upcoming Emergency Preparedness Opportunities

Every so often, you’ll see an article like the one in the January 2014 issue of The Bee, about the importance of being prepared for catastrophic events. In Portland, talk of “resilience” is not just tied to people’s concerns about long-term recovery after a big earthquake, but also worries about a “long emergency” resulting from economic crises, energy shortages, or climate change. Throughout the northwest, there is definitely a rumbling…not a temblor (not yet anyway!), but lots of talk about preparing for The Big One.

Here is a listing of local courses and educational programs happening in the very near future, designed to get more and more Portlanders trained and ready for emergencies at the household level and beyond. Although emergency preparedness can be a serious and even scary topic, these efforts often have a great side effect of helping to build community by giving us a chance to connect with neighbors.

Register for CERT Trainings Now!

Coming up real soon (Jan–Mar 2014), Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trainings are being offered by three different entities: Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM), Portland Community College (PCC), and University of Portland (UP). The classes meet on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays, respectively, but there is some flexibility in that PBEM, PCC and UP have all agreed to allow students who miss a portion of their CERT class to make it up by attending one of the other program’s classes.

For more information, including registration links, click here to download a CERT Coordinated Trainings document.

Southeast Emergency Preparedness Events in the Works

A coordinated effort to plan and present three different workshops in various locations in Southeast Portland is now underway, thanks to a group of volunteers from Woodstock, Sellwood, and Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhoods. These programs will be marketed to a large swath of Southeast, including Sellwood-Moreland, Westmoreland, Brooklyn, Ardenwald-Johnson Creek, Woodstock, Reed, Creston-Kenilworth, Eastmoreland, Brentwood-Darlington, Mt. Scott-Arleta, Foster-Powell and Lents.

Three different educational program topics are in the works for events projected to take place in March through May 2014:

  1. Making a family emergency plan and building an emergency kit
  2. Neighborhood networking (sharing preparedness information with others)
  3. Securing your living environment (seismic strengthening for homeowners and non-structural security measures applicable to renters as well as owners)

Keep an eye on this blog as well as neighborhood bulletin boards and social media sites for more details including locations, dates and times, as they become available.

Additional volunteers are needed and welcome to help plan and execute these events!  If you are interested, please send an email to Virginia Petersen and Liz Bryant, members of the Woodstock Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET), via, or call Virginia at 503-775-0953.