Multnomah County

New zoning proposal concerns NE Portland residents

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- Rich Rodgers has big plans for the Alberta Abbey in Northeast Portland.

Rodgers' California company wants to fix the performance and event center and use its parking lot to build around 45 affordable housing apartments. The project is a part of a larger development plan for four affordable housing locations that could host up to 161 families.  

"We are in an affordable housing crisis," Rodgers said, "and we're trying to do everything we can to help as many families as possible have an affordable place to live."

In order to accomplish his plans, Rodgers and his company wants the city to change its zoning in the area from residential to commercial use. Some residents are not in favor of that idea.

Libby Deal is a part of Alberta Abbey Neighbors, a local group raising concerns about the possible change in zoning. They've passed out fliers with information and contacts from the city who they hope to convince that R1 residential zoning is better than CM2 commercial zoning for the area. Neighbors have until April 24 to contact the City Council about the project. They plan to vote on the proposed zoning amendment the next day. 

Deal agrees with Rodgers regarding the need for affordable housing, but not with the request for commercial zoning. 

"We are worried that the commercial zoning will allow other implications that are not in line with this residential community," she said. 

The building's height and size are two things that could have implications. Rodgers thinks they can be beneficial toward everyone's more affordable housing goal. 

"It makes it harder to help as many families," Rodgers said. "And what's great about having a bigger building is we can help more families and it makes it easier for us financially to fix up the church." 

Rodgers said tax payers would pay more. Deal fears the zoning would put the Abbey at risk of being torn down -- something that she's happy Rodgers isn't considering. 

"But CM2 doesn't protect this land in the future should something not pencil out with this project."


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