August 5th, 2013 | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: City Hall, Business, Activism, Housing

Neighbors File State Appeal of North Portland Condos

lede_blockbusters_3846ILLUSTRATION: nickstokesdesign.com

For the second time in a year, disgruntled neighbors are asking a state appeals board to squash a Portland building they think is too tall.

In February, the state Land Use Board of Appeals briefly halted construction on an 81-unit apartment complex on Southeast Division Street—the furor led to new city parking requirements for apartment buildings.

This time, the legal challenge comes from 10 residents of North Portland's Boise-Eliot neighborhood, who filed an appeal with the state July 25. They're trying to block re-zoning for developer Ben Kaiser's eight-story condo and retail project called BackBridge Lofts.

Neighbors opposed to the project floated balloons 85 feet in the air at the project site—the corner of North Williams Avenue and Northeast Fremont Street—in June to protest how tall the building would be.

But City Council approved the development anyway, with Commissioner Steve Novick saying June 27 that Portland needs more density to fight global warming: "We're frying our planet like a grilled cheese sandwich," Novick said.

A wave of new apartment building in Portland—especially on the inner east side of the Willamette River—has drawn ire from homeowners, who view the new apartment towers as huge, ugly and cheap.

For much of last year, the backlash focused on stopping new buildings without on-site parking. But this new appeal shows another longstanding objection is simply the size of the buildings.

Among the neighbors filing this latest appeal against the city's decision is a city employee: noise inspector Paul Van Orden.

 
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