After an initial attempt to transform the Portland, Ore., property into an industrial space, area residents and city officials are open to a compromise that would turn 90 acres into a mixed-use park.
A second proposal by the owner of Colwood National Golf Club in Portland, Ore., to rezone the property to sell to industrial developers is getting more positive feedback than the first, the Daily Journal of Commerce (DJC) reported.
The first attempt to alter the property came five years ago. Local business owners were in favor of the proposition, on the premise that it could address the lack of land zoned for industrial use in the city. Residents and city officials, however, were opposed to the idea, arguing that the area would become even more park-deficient.
The present proposal would result in two-thirds of the property being sold to the Trust for Public Land, a nationwide nonprofit that buys properties and converts them into parks. One-third of the property would be zoned for industrial use, the DJC reported.
“The hearings officer said that if a more balanced project was presented, then he potentially would have found a different conclusion; [so] I’m basically giving the public what he suggested,” said Don Goldberg, Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land. “This has been a very, very controversial issue; I think I’ve found a good balance for everyone.”
Under the new plan, 48 eight acres of land would be zoned for industrial use and the other 90 acres, including multiple bodies of water, would be restored to become a hybrid, mixed-use park that would rank as one of Portland’s largest park spaces.
“I think everybody realizes [they will be] getting a majority of what they want,” Goldberg said. “[They can’t get] everything they want, which is tough, but the balance I’ve found they seem to be signing off on.”
Neighborhood associations are seeing the proposal as a good compromise, though they are waiting to make formal commentary until after it goes through the Design Commission.
“The community was admittedly opposed to [the previous proposal],” said Alison Stoll, Executive Director of Central Northeast Neighbors. “They felt like they were going to be losing a beautiful resource that could never be regained. [But] from what I’ve heard, this is a good compromise that will allow us to retain the space.”
Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director for the Audubon Society of Portland, was uncertain about the proposal, however.
“The developers are going to look at [the proposal] as a win,” Sallinger said. “We’re intrigued by its possibilities, but also very wary of seeing industrial lands converted from open spaces.”
If the proposal is approved, the club would close almost immediately and the city would take over the park within 20 months, the DJC reported.