Thursday, March 10, 2016

Post-meeting summary: local traffic meeting

This is a post-meeting summary with useful links, materials, and information shared at the neighborhood traffic meeting MTNA hosted on Monday, February 29, 2016.

Purpose of the meeting (and this post)
MTNA volunteers hosted this traffic meeting, and are now passing along materials to those that could not make the meeting, in an effort to help you organize with each other to successfully advocate for traffic improvements in our area.

Now it is time to reach out to each other -- there are many in this neighborhood that agree something needs to be done about traffic in and through this area of the city.   Read through the information below, reach out to each other via facebook or other community organizing tools, and begin to divide out the advocacy work.  Remember, change can and has come to our neighborhood’s traffic woes when neighbors have given their time, pooled their efforts, and divided out the tasks.  I know none of this is the life-affirming volunteer work you hope to find someday, but it is work that needs doing, work that will be appreciated by many, and really, it is only a few months commitment on any issue you adopt.  So don’t be afraid to jump in!

Information shared by MTNA at the meeting

Traffic hotspots
In December of 2015, I launched a simple online poll asking you about your traffic complaints.  That poll garnered 104 responses, which had buried in them about 135 different issues.  When I studied your responses, I saw local traffic issues clustering around several hotspots.  For instance, I saw 42 of the issues as being a result of the failing intersection at SE 50th and SE Division.  Because this intersection does not drain cars appropriately, we see cut-through speeders on Lincoln and Hawthorne as well as 51st – 58th, pedestrian safety issues around Atkinson Elementary and backups that block other intersections like 50th/Lincoln, 52nd/Division, etc.

I found that the majority of the issues reported fell into one of eight clusters, and a few hotspots became very obvious.  You can see the clusters I identified on this handout:    I recommend you organize your advocacy around these problem locations, as the effort you put into any one of these locations will knock out multiple traffic problems.

Advocacy tips
We offered a handout with basic tips for successful advocacy:
You can also view the “Effective Advocacy 101” powerpoint  from the Office of Neighborhood Involvement:               

In short, you can scream or you can be polite, but you will more easily navigate the bureaucracy downtown if you have help along the way, and if they duck when they see you coming your work might take longer.  It is best to start polite (but be persistent) and escalate towards screaming only if reason fails.

Information shared by PBOT

Two representatives from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) attended our meeting.  Here are some resources they shared with us.

Report and track a traffic issue online!
You can report any PBOT-related issue with this online tool here:  A reminder, there is currently a 16-week delay in investigations.

Unsure of where to take your issue?  If there is an item or issue you would like to report or discuss, please feel free to email: or call 503.823.5080.  He may not be the point of contact but can refer you accordingly.

Other useful links from PBOT
PBOT Homepage
Please take a moment to review the PBOT webpage, which provides information relating to all manner of transportation-related topics; paving projects, bike projects, budget issues.  Please go to:

Other reporting tools
Residents can report a number of livability concerns to PBOT, including Safe Routes issues, traffic calming, pothole repair, PBOT budget questions, and parking issues.  Please consider the following:

Requesting a Public Record
Folks often want to receive files, data or documents from PBOT.  In response, the City of Portland created a formal online process to help the public request and receive this information.  To begin the public records request process, please go to  You will be required to create a login and then be allowed to submit your request.

Contacting the Folks in Charge (for your advocacy efforts)
Commissioner Steve Novick oversees PBOT.  To reach his office via email:

Leah Treat is the Director of PBOT: To reach her office via email:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Mt. Tabor's public meeting on local traffic

Traffic and transportation issues of all kinds are at the top of many Mt. Tabor neighbors’ lists of "things the City needs to work on."  But, who in the City works on which issue, and when?  The Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA) has invited staff from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to a special public meeting about transportation and traffic issues specific to our neighborhood. 

Monday, February 29
7:00 – 8:45 pm
basement dining hall of the Presbyterian Church at the corner of 
SE 55th and Belmont 
(use the main entrance off Belmont)

At this meeting…
  • Learn how to report traffic complaints and issues via a PBOT online tool.
  • Look at the issues of our neighborhood.
  • Hear about projects with solutions, already underway.
  • Learn about funded, long-range improvement plans that will provide local solutions, and learn how to advocate for other long-range improvement plans not yet funded.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Post-meeting summary: Zoning

This is the promised follow-up from the zoning meeting the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA) hosted on November 19.  The powerpoint used by City staff at this meeting is available here:

Summary of Deadlines
  • If you are concerned with the veracity of the zoning projections made in the Comprehensive Plan Map (which was made 35 years ago, by a different population), then you need to "comment" now, during the comment period for the Comprehensive Plan Map.  Hearings on the Comp Plan Map are underway NOW, and there are two hearings left: December 10 (6-9 pm, info here ) and January 7th (6-9pm, info here:  You must arrive 45 minutes before the hearing start time to sign up for a testimony slot; not everyone will be able to testify as there are only 3 hours worth of slots. 
  • If you are concerned about the new Commercial zoning definition proposals, or where they will be applied in our neighborhood, then you need to "comment" on the Mixed Use Zoning Project.  The public comment period to the planning staff has closed, but another public comment period will open again once the draft proposal is published on February 1st.  Hearings are expected to be in March.  You can get sign up for email notifications about the draft when it is published, and updates on the hearing dates on the Mixed Used Zoning Project's webpage:
  • If you are concerned about the criteria being used by the City when responding to the mismatch between existing zoning, and zoning projections made in the Comprehensive Plan Map, you need to "comment" on the Residential and Open Space Zoning Map Update Project, and you need to do so BEFORE December 21 at noon.  If you have suggestions for the criteria to be used, send those to: , or you can comment via the Map App (linked below).  For your reference, the webpage for this project is here:

Map App

Reportedly, all of the significant planning projects that are happening to make this generation's update to the Comprehensive Plan, can be seen and commented on from the Map App dashboard which is here:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Zoning changes coming to a lot near you!

Zoning changes are coming to properties in the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood.  
These changes are happening as part of the Comprehensive Plan process, and the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association is hosting a presentation for Mt. Tabor neighbors, by a staffer with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

Thursday, November 19
7:00 – 8:30 pm
basement dining hall of the Presbyterian Church at the corner of SE 55th and Belmont 
(use the main entrance off Belmont)

At this meeting…
Staffers will lay out how each of the following two Comp Plan projects will change zoning in our area:

·      We’ll see a map of the properties where the Comp Plan "Designation" doesn't match the site's zoning, and we’ll learn how the zoning will be changed so that the two parts match up.  Click here for a sneak peak at this map.
·      We’ll learn the metrics by which the City will make zoning-up and zoning-down decisions, as they make the "Designations" and zoning match.  The staffers will take feedback on these metrics, and suggestions for new metrics.
·      There will be time for Q & A, and you will leave with instructions on how to provide feedback to the City about these changes.

·      These changes are especially relevant to SE 50th Avenue, as they are relevant to any lot currently zoned anything that starts with a “C” (or, Commercial).  (That would include CS, CN, CO, and CG in the neighborhood.)
·      We’ll learn the new names for “Commercial” zones, and how trimming down the number of Commercial zones will impact what is allowed in each of the remaining Commercial zones.
·      We should hear specific examples of how these changes will effect SE 50th Ave.
·      There will be time for Q & A, and you will leave with instructions on how to provide feedback to the City about these changes.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tabor Disconnect Newsflash: Settlement

Today MTNA representatives finalized a settlement with the Portland Water Bureau in the Tabor Reservoir land use appeal (LU 14-218444 HREN).  

These are the terms:  
  • We agree to eliminate Condition E from the land use Decision's Conditions of Approval (this Condition mandated spending on the preservation work called out in the Historic Structures Report).  
  • We agree to modify Condition B in the land use Decision's Conditions of Approval (this Condition deals with water).  
  • We co-wrote a Council Resolution, which carries the binding force of law, which covers several community concerns and mandates $4 million in spending for the preservation work called out in the Historic Structures Report.  
  • At the hearing on July 15, Council will be asked to adopt this Resolution, and in turn MTNA will pledge not to appeal the land use Decision to LUBA. Then Council will approve the modified Decision for this land use case.  If any of these steps go awry, the deal will also.  
The documents
Click here for the modified Condition B.
Click here for the new Council Resolution.
Concerned about the binding nature of the Resolution?  We are too.  Read this.

It's taken 18 months, what have we achieved?
commentary coming soon...