CAG Board Members
Michael Pouncil, Chair
Scott Burr, Tech Advisor
Caleb Shaffer, EPA Superfund Project Manager
Number of Participants: 32
This meeting is recorded.
Portland Harbor CAG YouTube page. “Subscribe here” and at the bottom of the email. Now you have access to our monthly virtual meetings, forums, and presentations.
Sarah Taylor: Land Acknowledgement (summary): The Portland Metro area rests on traditional Native sites. We thank the original caretakers of this land. Tribes will heal only when we understand the harms done and we promise to continue to learn and to honor, respect and take care of this watershed, all that it offers to all living beings.
The PHCAG and the Braided River Campaign offer tours of the Portland Harbor as well as a visit to the exhibit “Lost Voices of the Lower Willamette River.” Please contact me if you or your group is interested in a tour or gallery visit. My contact is email@example.com.
Michael Pouncil: Introductions, invites participants to announce upcoming events.
Doug Larson: Welcomes John Marshall, a new member of the CAG board. We recently received a contribution from the Port of Portland to help with our operating expenses. We now have a Paypal account so we can solicit and receive donations. There has been a lot of attention on Tom McCall, his Pollution in Paradise documentary, is available on YouTube or you can Google Pollution in Paradise to watch.
Tom Armstrong, Supervising Planner,
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), Economic and Housing Policy Manager
Art Dahlin | General Manager, CSR Region
FOSS Maritime Company
USA Mobile: +1.303.725.2253
Art Dahlin joined Foss Maritime Company, and its parent company Saltchuk Resources, in the spring of 2015 and is currently the President of the board of directors for the Maritime Commerce Club, Columbia River. Art is responsible for the safety, operations, and profit and loss of the region and will be discussing salmon friendly docks.
Tom Armstrong Presentation:
A presentation about The City of Portland’s Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA) Update. The purpose of the EOA is to analyze and forecast growth in Portland’s industrial and other business districts, then designate an adequate 20-year supply of developable land for businesses and jobs. Click these links for further info on the EOA here and here.
Portland Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA). Working on a document required by the state as part of the comprehensive plan for the City of Portland to demonstrate that we have the growth capacity to accommodate 20 years of growth.
- Recent trends and market factors
- Employment trends
- Land development capacity (supply). Reconciliation – surplus and shortfalls
- Policy choices to meet 20- year capacity needs
Portland can be thought of as several business districts that have different land-use categories:
Industrial, Harbor, Office, Retail, Institutional. Each sector has a different predominant building type. Each sector also has a different job (wage) opportunity. Where do we expect to add jobs, do we have the capacity for this projected number? We have a lot of capacity in the central city district for commercial. We are short of capacity in institutional sectors and short of land in industrial areas.
What has changed?
- 2035 to 2045 planning horizon
- New metro forecast for 80,000 jobs
- Recent development and job growth trends
- Consider land-use change scenarios
- Increasing wage inequality addressed
The region has been adding a lot of high wage jobs ($65,000/year), a lot of low-wage jobs but not much in the middle-wage category.
Portland added 90,000 households that earn more than $90,000/year.
We are continuing to see racial income disparities.
How to address income disparity? – provide middle-wage jobs (without 4-year college degree).
Key land use change scenarios
- FEMA floodplain regulations
- Columbia slough environmental overlay zone changes
- Tree preservation and planting requirements in the heavy industrial zone
What are the benefits of making this change?
What are the impacts to economic opportunity?
We will offer a community discussion which will be incorporated into a proposal to the Planning & Sustainability Commission, then to the City Council, then hearings, then adopted as part of the comprehensive plan, sometime in 2023.
Q&A for Tom Armstrong
Q: Given that there is pressure for increased industrial land inventory, how much existing zoned industrial land will be targeted first, versus looking at expansion into other areas? Will any of those areas be environmentally sensitive?
A: Not a lot of options in Portland for new industrial land area. We’re looking more in terms of what can we do to support the reuse and intensification of our existing industrial land base. And clean up the harbor, resolve the reliability question. If there’s a demand for new industrial or manufacturing space it will have to locate out of Portland.
Q: Because of the urban growth boundary, possible residential population is limited. As the other sectors grow do you anticipate new industry being pushed outside the residential boundary?
A: No. we have a lot of capacity to grow higher density buildings in Portland.
Q: Coming out of Covid we learned that the service industry has been undervalued. Minimum wage was rejected by congress. As those service jobs become a more livable wage does that affect the possibility of more middle-wage jobs? People are dropping out of health care, teaching.
A: Low and middle wage jobs have a higher ceiling. They tend to top out in the retail sector, with a much higher-end career ladder in construction, etc. Can people in our city without college degrees make enough to live in our city? Industry provides those jobs.
Q: Climate disaster is upon us, changing everything. Why is this not factored into planning? Industry will have to change in as short as 10 years from now. Job growth will also rely on climate jobs. A four-year degree isn’t worth much in terms of wages. A lot of service people have college degrees. I’m not feeling confident with this plan.
A: I think we are factoring in climate change as we can foresee those chages now. Ultimately, we are judged by the state on the evidence of our assumptions. If we’re too far ahead, the plan will not be approved. So yes, we’re a bit conservative in that respect. We are not assuming the redevelopment of all of the tank farms. We need to explore…what is a climate job? That’s a construction job. Storage in warehouses and distribution jobs.
Q: How will the superfund impact this work and a brownfield and clean-up.
A: Two main ways: 1. BPS is tracking critical sites that have docks, harbor areas that we feel need to be cleaned up. That cleanup has to be dredging and removal, not capped. 2. We need to get the cleanup going, make a plan, assign cleanup costs. The lack of reliability assignment holds this back. BPS wants to see a resolution of reliability sooner, rather than later.
Q: To the earlier question about industrial zoning being placed on environmentally sensitive land—that is happening currently in the Baltimore Woods corridor. The northernmost property is labeled a Special Habitat Area (North Reach River Plan) and is at the same time an “industrial sanctuary.” Why can’t brownfield sites be cleaned and repurposed for industry instead of contaminating new sites.
A: There is a series of adjustments, expansion, to protect those resources. Early next year the City Council will look at making changes to overlay zones. Cleanup coasts outweigh the profit a developer can make. We have a new tool, a forgivable loan program, to cover some of those costs. The original polluter cannot benefit from this.
Q: Does zoning impact the level of superfund clean-up? How are you putting together the pieces of the superfund in your planning?
A: Yes, there will be mitigation sites – Linnton, PGE, for example – there will be more. Not sure how to factor those into this calculation but there is no zoning barrier to the land needed for mitigation and restoration.
Q: What is the city doing to ensure that capping is minimized? When the ROD was being finalized the city threw its weight behind industries efforts to minimize costs rather than to ensuring environmental protection. Cleanup standards are different for different land-use areas. Will make it difficult to change use? Are we locked in to industrial use in those sites?
A: This is beyond my expertise. Dawn Sanders: we looked at that and came to conclusion that the cleanup is not based on industrial use – it’s based on people recreating, any land use. It doesn’t matter what the zoning is. If converted, it won’t have an impact. New industry has to comply with standards that include recreation, no matter what their use will be.
Q: There is a debate in the forested part of the state. It’s easy to assign a value to saw timber. We can predict what that’s worth. Recreational use of forest – it might be more valuable to leave the trees standing. Recreational use on the economy is more difficult to quantify. Portland is divided in half by a river, very little public access to the river. How do you factor this into your analysis? We’d like to make decision makers to incorporate this into their thinking. Your EOA precludes this being part of the discussion.
A: EOA asks, for example, what is it that you want? How big a park? What kind of access to the river? We won’t do a lot of analysis to figure out what the value of an intangible is. We don’t have people living on the river in the industrial area. We made decisions to keep people from living in those river areas.
Q: I would add the externality list to include flood abatement, water quality, wildlife and fish habitat, recreation passive, etc. There may be opportunities for mixed use given the ‘type’ of industrial uses that are being accommodated
A: We think of those as ecosystem functions. We’re considering them. there are some things we have to do. There are other things that we can choose to do. The ecosystem functions are part of that policy choice. That’s where there is a value attached, particularly with flood abatement or water quality.
Q: Does EOA address allowing affordable space for light industry for artists who have their own small businesses? They’ve been pushed out of most affordable spaces.
A: EOA doesn’t get down to that level of detail. That’s part of manufacturing and production. There aren’t zoning barriers to that kind of use. We’re permissive in terms of re-use of buildings to accommodate space. But construction costs might preclude.
Q: I don’t envy you looking into a crystal ball. But there are some processes for looking at viable, least environmentally damaging practical alternatives. Looking less at paper mills than warehouses, how climate change gets incorporated into this process. Tank farms need to be removed and relocated.
A: I agree with your goals. I take a technical view – not enough information, not enough trends to say that they (tank farms) won’t be here 20 years from now. We need less fuel consumption before we can assume that land will be available for a different use.
Q: How do you structure our feedback and bring them back? Can this feedback be considered?
How will you consider risk management?
A: We’re still in early stages. I take your feedback back to our team. What data or analysis can we provide to enlighten that information? We need to learn how to address those issues. At a certain point the City Council has to make a decision.
Comment: Plans are living documents.
Art Dahlin Presentation:
Better docks for salmon. Young salmon are instinctively ingrained to avoid docks. By doing so, they venture out into deeper water and often end up in the bellies of the denizens of the deep Willamette River. Representative of FOSS Maritime Company will provide us with information about their salmon friendly dock design.
Columbia Snake River Region, located in Linnton. FOSS is a tug service provider. Safety to our people, the environment and to our equipment. Part of the SALTCHUK marine family of companies. FOSS started in 1889 as a ferry service in Tacoma. Mostly west coast. Corporate headquarters are in Seattle. Provide transportation services all the way to Lewiston. Offices in Portland and Astoria. Towing up and down the river system. Want to become involved in offshore wind projects. Involved in emergency and rescue towing. Dispatch service, weather monitoring.
New docks in Linnton. Our focus is to upgrade the facility to better service our vessels, replace older wooden docks with environmentally-friendly steel docks. As these docks continue to deteriorate there’s a safety issue for mariners getting on and off. Protect fish and wildlife.
New steel floats an be removed for dredging, and replace creosote treated timber with steel.
Protections for salmon, remove derelict piles 2 miles up-river.
Q&A for Art Dahlin
Q: I don’t understand your last slide, ‘No remediation necessary”.
A: We’ve removed derelict piles, providing additional mitigation will not be necessary.
Q: Endangered species operating procedures – what regulatory process did you go through?
A: I’ll have to get back to you, a number of processes we followed, we hired folks to research this.
Q: No additional shading? Pilings in deeper water? What does this look like?
A: All of our existing docks are wood. All new docks will be in deeper water on the other side of the existing docks and the steel docks will float, are not solid, grating will allow light to pass through to limit shading.
Q: Is this something that could be used in other applications – like Frog Ferry? Or for other docks in the city?
A: The design we used is used elsewhere as well. Frog Ferry can use this process. I can talk to any of those folks. The design is proven to reduce shading.
Comment: Willamette River Salmon are endangered. It’s important that they can thrive. We hope that your information will support other dock construction in Portland.
Comment: I’m excited about this. You have lots of room next to your facility. Can we have a mixed use, maybe a restaurant? A lot of people love tug boats. A great property for river-gazing. Thank you for coming tonight.
Q: Are pilings difficult to move?
A: Not my specialty but everything we’re doing is focused on not causing harm.
***News on the River***
Contact: Michael Pouncil at 503.705.7224, firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes taken by Jane Terzis