The so-called ‘SAN lot’ — located between NE 92nd and I-205 on the north side of Sandy Blvd — has long been the object of Sumner neighborhood interest here in NE Portland. Old newsletters dating back to 1996 show that the Sumner Association of Neighbors (SAN) discussed the possibility of making the lot — the remnant a former drive-in movie theater — into a neighborhood park.

This Tuesday, May 17, a rep of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will attend our SAN general meeting to answer your questions about the SAN lot. Doug Holley is the assistant district manager for maintenance of ODOT District 2B, which includes state roads around our neighborhood.

SAN lot, May 2011

Caption: The grass field in the foreground is the SAN lot. The dome in the background is City Bible Church on Rocky Butte.

(The meeting takes place at the Central Northeast Neighbors (CNN) office, 4415 NE 87th Ave., at 7 PM. Social time at 6:30 PM. We’ll also have our community coordinator Mark Wells, and we’ll be holding our board election.)

Our objective in inviting Mr Holley is to verify local lore about the SAN lot & forge as much of a partnership with ODOT as possible in terms of neighborhood usage of the property.

Here is a sampling of questions SAN sent to Mr Holley in advance of our meeting on Tuesday.

SAN lot questions – Maintenance & current usage

  • History – When was the property purchased and for how much. Please include or cite any supporting historical docs if you have them.
  • Planned usage – What is planned ODOT usage for this property? Local urban legend says that it was once planned for a s/b exit from I-205 but no such plan exists now. Any historical docs (such as engineering drafts) would be great.
  • Possible sale or disposal – Local urban legend says that because federal funds were used to purchase the property, a below-market price paid, there is federal red tape & a requirement to pay back the feds if the proprety were ever sold by ODOT. Please confirm or deny.
  • SAN lot as a park – The recent Eastside MAX Vision project earmarks the SAN lot as park. Gateway Green is in negotiation nearby. What is ODOT’s position with regard to a renewed effort to make the SAN lot into a park?

SAN lot questions – Maintenance & current usage

  • Public usage – What is ODOT’s position or regs on public usage? (If regs, please cite.)
  • Industrial usage – Portland Maps specifies an R2 zoning for the SAN lot. Last year, a subcontractor set up a staging area around the SAN lot sign for about 8 months. Are any future stagings scheduled? Would you kindly notify us if such a camp is slated to be set up in the future?
  • Planting and events – Friends of Trees planted on the SAN lot last year. What process did they follow to obtain permission? Can we use the same kind of request process? Three examples: Flower planting, community garden site, special event (such as a neighborhood barbecue).

SAN lot sign at NE Humboldt and NE 92ndCaption: The SAN lot sign, slated for upkeep on May 22, marks past cooperation between ODOT and SAN.

Property near the Grotto (@ NE 92nd and Skidmore)

  • Status — Please describe the status of this property. For example, it seems to be an informal dog park. It was also part of a BMX bike trail, a walking trail leading to Rocky Butte natural area, and possibly included in Gateway Green discussions.

ODOT roads bordering Sumner neighborhood, such as Sandy Blvd, Killingsworth, and NE 82nd Ave

  • Ownership — Which of these roads are owned and maintained by ODOT and which are shared with PBoT? If shared, to what extent do you own and maintain each?
  • Cleanliness — Trash and litter is heavy on Killingsworth and NE 82nd (especially north of K-worth). Does ODOT perform scheduled cleanup or street sweeping on these roads? Likewise, is there ODOT interest in partnering on cleanup with SAN and other groups?
  • Flower planting — Sections of K-worth near I-205 bordering Sumner neighborhood and at NE 82nd would be prime locations. What is ODOT’s position & process for alllowing flower planting?

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