A quick glance at the map in the article ["Science and Industry," WW, June 18, 2014] reveals that the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry's proposed development is on the southern edge of the Central Eastside in an area that is presently home to parking lots, a burned-out former electrical supply building, an auto repair business, a Portland Community College center, warehouses and perhaps a manufacturer or two.
Other than PCC, those are hardly prime uses for land next to an expensive light-rail line. If OMSI doesn't undertake development there, someone will, though I'll leave it to others to debate the wisdom of OMSI taking the lead.
The core of the Central Eastside is to the north and unaffected. The fear of the OMSI development inspiring others is no doubt valid. But, as someone who lives next to the area and has for decades, I can see the changes that are already happening at a fast pace.
Preserving it as an industrial sanctuary is a worthy cause. But what constitutes "industry" is continually in flux, and the area should be developed to reflect changing realities.
Simply maintaining the status quo is a poor use of prime land in the heart of the city.
If you're really interested in "livability" and "walkable cities," the existing inner eastside seems like a great place to work with: a functional light-industrial district near the city core and adjacent to existing residential areas.
Some additional residential development could be great if you're encouraging buildings that are actually affordable for people who work in the area.
But Mayor Charlie Hales' quoted remark seems illustrative of his priorities: a boat in the Bahamas for a store owner. Right. Wealth for the owners of land and businesses.
So probably we can expect more higher-end apartments and condos Division-style, and the rest of us can shove off to east of the 205.
PROPOSED LATE-NIGHT PERMIT
Instead of charging a late-night permit ["When Darkness Falls," WW, June 18, 2014] to all bars, clubs, venues, etc., that stay open past 10 pm (like this town isn't sleepy enough already), here's an idea:
How about Hales, the City Council and the OLCC make public their list of so-called "problem businesses" so that grown folks can make up their own minds about whether or not to patronize such businesses?
In last week's story on the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry's development plans for the Central Eastside, OMSI board member Susan Keil's name was partially omitted and misspelled. The story also incorrectly stated the source of a $4.6 million loan bailout the state of Oregon provided OMSI in 2007. Gov. Ted Kulongoski used public funds and loan reductions, not Portland General Electric ratepayer money, to cover the loan. WW regrets the errors.
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