It has been confirmed: Midtown’s 440 apartments — the largest single infusion of new Portland housing in decades — will be built in the Bayside neighborhood within the next two years as a result of the work of Keep Portland Livable and new leadership in City Hall.
If it had not been for Keep Portland Livable, a single tower with fewer than 180 apartments would have been built beside a parking garage on the same city-owned property, and then a wait-and-see game would have begun.
If it had not been for the arrival of Jon Jennings as the new city manager this July, the distrust that had built up between the developer and the city might have stopped the project completely, with the developer suing the city for lost profits.
Now, the developer, The Federated Companies of Miami, will start site work by year’s end and complete three apartment buildings, a parking garage for 800 cars and 90,000 square feet of retail along Somerset Street by the end of 2017.
The project is expected to spark redevelopment of other parcels in Bayside, a former industrial and residential area gutted by the “urban renewal” movement of the 1960s and 1970s and the decline of railroads and heavy industries in the city.
We applaud the new city leadership’s directness, tenacity, and goals in negotiating this revised settlement based on the urban planning compromise reached by Keep Portland Livable a year ago.