Wednesday, December 16, 2009

3 houses saved from demolition by PGE

About a year ago Sunnyside was going up against PGE to save 3 old homes in the neighborhood. PGE has plans to expand the Alder Substation which is on Belmont at 32nd. PGE owns the 3 houses adjacent to the substation and went to the City with plans to tear down the houses to add another transformer when they updated the exisiting equipment. They rent out the properties, and I can't say that they seem to do a great job with keeping the homes in good repair. We had a lot of support with in the neighborhood and our own engineers and professionals worked to come up with alternatives to the PGE proposal of demolition. Notably one of the neighbors learned of the Anaheim's Park Substation in which GIS (gas insulated switchgear) technology was used because it allows the equipment to be placed in greater proximity and it was built under ground and a park was constructed above it. This was Sunnyside's 1st choice of solutions. In order to offset the additional cost for the GIS's we suggested that PGE sell of the homes, thus ensuring that the houses would be saved for the neighborhood. It was many months and many meetings with amazing neighborhood turn out and eventually Sunnyside was able to convince PGE to take an option to the City which kept the 3 houses in tact and used GISs to keep the two new transformers with in the current footprint. Yay for community activism! Here are the houses we saved:
This first house is on 32nd an is the one which needs the most love. It has a great little back porch too.
The other two houses are on Yamhill. The second house is a great old Portland style foursquare.
One can tell that the tenants here really love this house. I assume that this is the house where the tenant who made such an eloquent, heartfelt plea to save the house at one of the PGE meetings lives.
And the smallest of the houses has long been one of my favorites in Sunnyside. I just think it is the sweetest little cottage and I adore the roof over the front door. The idea of losing this great house was one of the reasons I got so fired up about the project.
So, why do I bring these houses up now? They are saved, let's move on! Well, PGE assured us that they would work with a team of neighbors to help develop an lanscape plan for the substation to help mitigate the negative curb appeal of transformers. That was supposed to happen in August and we've heard nary a peep from them. We did just learn though that they have already gone to the City with new plans. Sigh! PGE, when will you learn that you need neighborhood involvement first before you come to us needing our support to get your plans through the City? So next month's meeting will include a speaker from PGE to build the landscaping team.

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