The Parkrose and Argay neighborhoods came out in droves Thursday night at Parkrose Middle School to find out what ideas the Parkrose-Argay Development Study working group has churned out and share their feedback about concepts for future development of the farms along NE 122nd Ave.
Joe Rossi started the evening by thanking the community for their support and involvement and by expressing gratitude to Metro for the grant to fund this project and the city of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability for their staff work led by Barry Manning. Joe also acknowledged how unique of an opportunity it is to create an all-encompassing plan to develop 30 acres of farmland in a developed city like Portland. He reiterated that the Rossi, Garre, and Giusto families do not plan to sell the land they’ve owned since 1920 but to oversee the development themselves.
Next Barry gave an overview of the mission and timeline of the development study. The entire night’s presentation slides are available on the BPS site, and they provide a thorough report on the various facets under consideration. Jerry Johnson summarized current economic market factors. Two takeaways were 1) that the areas east of I-205 would economically support new multifamily development since the area hasn’t had as much multifamily development in recent years and 2) that a grocery store, the community’s most common wish for a future farm development, may be interested in the location. Jerry explained that the site doesn’t have enough traffic to support a large grocery store but that a specialty grocer may see enough opportunity. To conclude the informational segment of the night, Ken Pirie, planner with Walker Macy, shared three design concepts including examples of streets lined with vegetation, view-oriented corridors, and various residential and commercial architectural choices.
Then it was time for the community to respond. Each table of people received maps showing each concept, and members of the working group committee facilitated table discussions and take notes. The working group, comprised of 20+ community leaders each representing a different organization, has been meeting once a month since the fall.
I am privileged to represent Historic Parkrose and the Argay Terrace Neighborhood Association on the working group. I have enjoyed giving input, and it was useful to hear from the broader community at this event. I noticed that many people who felt weary of any future development or who were focused on unrelated but serious issues present in Parkrose were encouraged to speak and started to get excited about the potential for the site.
The most popular elements from all of the design concepts were:
- a street angled southeast from Shaver St to perfectly frame a view of Mt Hood and streets parallel to the Luuwit View long walkway facing Mt St. Helens
- continued use of the iconic Rossi Farms barn as an event space, whether in its current location or moved to the east side of 122nd
- community gathering spaces both indoors and outdoors
- enough commercial space for the essential services to make a walkable neighborhood
- cottage style homes and a maximum of two-story construction near Luuwit View Park
- a “main street” style commercial hub
The next main step in this project is to sift through all of the spoken and written feedback and implement the best ideas of each design concept into a single concept.