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Volume 4, Issue 1

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January 2006
     

The future of NW 113th

Two issues have recently surfaced concerning NW 113th Street. One is a derelict, partially destroyed building on a lot near the top of the road. The other is the future buildout of the road itself.

A 1.8 acre property at the southwest corner of Damascus and 113th was purchased in April 2004 by Celino Properties LLC. They applied for a permit to demolish the existing property – that 1950 turquoise house that had “graced” the property previously – on June 10, 2005. They submitted a development application for a 10-lot subdivision on August 11, and it was deemed incomplete by the county on September 23. The developer hasn’t submitted revised plans, but has until February 7, 2006 to do so before the original permit expires.

The problem, however, is that the demolition was only partial and the ugly hulk of the partially demolished building is a public hazard, likely to attract kids who could be injured or vagrants who might cause other problems.

The county declared the property abandoned on December 7, and Marshall Decker of Washington County Building Services sent a registered letter to the owners on December 13, 2005 asking them to abate the nuisance. “They have until February 1 to move into compliance with the code,” says Decker. “If they don’t abate the violation by the date that I gave them, the next potential step would be a citation for maintaining a public nuisance. The maximum fine, if convicted, is $1000 per day.” Decker indicates that the county would much rather see the matter settled before it comes to a court case or a fine. They can abate the nuisance, says Decker, “by repair, rehabilitation, demolition or removal.” Let’s hope it happens as soon as possible.

Future buildout

The longer-term issue is the future of 113th as a piece of the transportation puzzle that is our road system. At Cornell, Cedar Hills Blvd. becomes 113th as the route continues north up the hill. Many new homes have been and will continue to be added, both along 113th and in the areas to the north. 113th is already being extended north to serve Haydon Highlands, the 32-lot subdivision at the intersection of 113th and Rainmont (where the road doglegs east). Plans call for the road eventually to be extended straight through to McDaniel with further development. It is a natural route for anyone wanting to access the northeast areas of Cedar Mill, Bonny Slope, and Forest Heights from the rest of the south.

On the County’s 2020 Transportation Plan, 113th north of Cornell is shown designated as a two lane collector. According to County Engineer Greg Miller, “right of way width may vary at intersections due to the need for additional left or right turn lanes. Those decisions are project-level design decisions and are not addressed by the 2020 plan. Those decisions are made based upon the traffic analysis done for the project or development proposal.”

However, according to Bruce Bartlett, chairman of CPO#1, “an issue that may have long-term ramifications is the successful appeal of the Conditions of Approval (COA)of a 3-lot development at NW 113th and NW Damascus.” The county had said that a COA for this lot would be setting aside a 7-foot strip of land for a left hand turn off of 113th. This appeal challenged the COA. The Dolan v. City of Tigard ‘takings’ case was cited. The appeal was won on the basis of Dolan and the condition removed. The Hearings Officer concluded that Washington County staff had not demonstrated ‘proportionality,’ the requirement dictated by Dolan. The cost of the turn lane exceeded the benefit to users of the turn lane based on the number of users. If more residents were forecast to use the turn lane, then the cost would more likely be proportional,” Bartlett continued.

Of course this doesn’t take into account the impact on northbound drivers blocked by people turning left from a two-lane road. And once you get stopped on this steep road, getting started again uses a lot of gas and adds considerable exhaust to the air.

Bartlett points out, “since 113th is currently a two-lane collector, that designation is the source of the problem. If it were designated a three-lane collector, the dedication would be a moot point. I fear the buildout of this development along 113th will make the re-designation of the road as a three-lane collector difficult if not impossible.”

Washington County Senior Planner Blair Crumpacker says the procedure to accomplish a re-classification “would be to request a plan amendment, which requires an ordinance. An ordinance would need to be incorporated into our work program, which I’m guessing would be a challenge at this point… unless there are changed circumstances we would be inclined to rely on the evaluation done as part of transportation plan development to determine appropriate classification.”

However, continues Crumpacker, “we are proposing to do a review of the two-lane collector classification as part of this year’s work program. The thinking here is to consider making roadways currently designated as two-lane collectors in the plan as either three-lane collectors or neighborhood routes.” Thus 113th could either be upgraded to a three-lane collector or downgraded to a neighborhood route. He also says that planning work for the north Bethany expansion “will clearly have an impact on the transportation system north of the Sunset Highway. The nature of these impacts is anybody’s guess at this point, but as that planning work proceeds and the travel patterns and demand in that area becomes more defined, the nature of needed adjustments to the planned system as it’s defined at the moment will become clearer.”

Says Bartlett, “Add to this the impact of the future development of the Bonny Slope Area 93 addition to the Urban Growth Boundary and the need to address road classifications is critical to the long term livability of the Cedar Mill area. One of the best means to address this is to become involved in your CPO.”

 

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The Cedar Mill News
Published monthly by the Cedar Mill Business Association, Inc.,
P.O. Box 91177
Portland, OR 97291-0177

Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
503-629-5799
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229