Pearl District to drop opposition to apartment building near Fremont Bridge

The Pearl District Neighborhood Association said it’s dropping its opposition to an apartment building proposed near the Fremont Bridge.

The decision clears the way for the 17-story tower proposed by Lincoln Property Co. of Dallas, Texas, to win the Portland City Council’s blessing later this month.

The neighborhood group had sought to block the building’s construction, arguing the building would block views of the Willamette River and the Fremont Bridge, including from the nearby The Fields Park, and it would set a precedent for future development at that scale.

City commissioners initially sided with the neighborhood, with several saying their decision was based not on views but instead on the argument that the development would create a narrow stretch on the Willamette River Greenway, an effort to piece together a continuous trail along the river.

But Mayor Ted Wheeler asked the council to revisit its decision on the project after he had second thoughts about making the projects’ developers start the permitting process over. He said last month it might be simpler to reopen the record, allowing Lincoln to tweak its design.

Housing activists had said the city would be contributing to the escalating cost of housing by denying the project and further limiting the supply of new homes. Developers said the decision added to a cloud of uncertainty in Portland, which they said could discourage future investment in the city.

In a post on its website Monday, the neighborhood association said the redesign had widened the greenway to at least 20 feet. The developer had also agreed to donate $35,000 to the neighborhood association, which the association said would help defray legal costs from the appeal.

"We understand that some PDNA supporters have had expectations of further legal action," the association said. "However, weighing the probable outcome of all the various steps that a further appeal would require, the majority of the PDNA Board felt that this agreement represented the most viable option available to us."

The City Council is expected to make its final decision on May 10.

— Elliot Njus

[email protected]
503-294-5034
@enjus

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