PDX home demolition plan angers neighbors

Developers assured the homeowner they will deconstruct the home by hand

Complaints about a rash of home demolitions in Portland got louder Monday, after plans to tear down a home on NE Alameda Street were revealed, June 16, 2015. (KOIN)
Complaints about a rash of home demolitions in Portland got louder Monday, after plans to tear down a home on NE Alameda Street were revealed, June 16, 2015. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Complaints about a rash of home demolitions in Portland got louder Monday, after plans to tear down a home on NE Alameda Street were revealed.

Developers are working on plans to demolish a home on the 3400 block of NE Alameda Street and replace it with 2 new residences.

“This is not what I want to bring my son home to,” Randy Schiess, who lives nextdoor, said. “We moved here to start a family and that was the main thing we wanted, this setting, a very nice old neighborhood.”

Fresh out of the hospital and home with their new baby boy, the Schiess family said they’re worried.

“We’re just concerned about the exposure he could have to things as the home is demolished,” Allison Schiess said.

But the Schiess family isn’t alone. Many in the area said they don’t want the neighboring home torn down by a developer who plans to put 2 residences up in its place.

“It’s very upsetting,” neighbor Raelene Eckert said. “This neighborhood wouldn’t be so desirable if it wasn’t the way it is, and having this kind of stuff go on really changes what is here and I think the city needs to be thinking about that.”

The lot is zoned R5, meaning at 9,000 square feet it’s only big enough to build one home on. Many are confused as to how the developer is getting away with plans to build an additional home on the property.

KOIN 6 News learned, because at one point in history there was more than one lot, the developer can be grandfathered in and put up more than one home — even though current zoning doesn’t allow it.

But according to the developer, it’s a common practice. With an urban growth boundary, they need somewhere to add housing. The City of Portland said it’s legal, and almost all of these lot confirmation requests are done by developers so they can build more than one home on the lot.

This sort of loophole to zoning is something neighbors in the area want the city council to put a stop to.

“This is our immediate concern, but really for the longevity of Portland and its future, we don’t want to see all of this infill,” neighbor Randy Eckert said.

The homeowner said the only offers she has gotten on the property are from developers who want to tear it down. She said she understands her neighbors’ concerns, but ultimately picked Everett Custom Homes partly because they are committed to saving as much of the landscaping as possible.

Developers working with the homeowner assured her they would deconstruct the house by hand, as opposed to demolishing it with heavy equipment. They will also donate all salvaged materials.

The 2 new homes are expected to have an English Tudor look.

KOIN 6 News reached out to Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who oversees development services, but has not received a response.

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