Lan Su Chinese Garden needs the help of its community to oppose a planned zoning amendment that will grant developers to the west of the garden a variance to build an additional 200 feet in height. This will block our crucial afternoon sunlight, jeopardize rare species of plants, and harm our ability to steward a thriving garden. What can you do to help?
Input from Community Advocates and Council Members
If you can be in Council Chambers on Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., with thirty of your friends from OTCT, there is a possibility your presence might be persuasive. Although no testimony will be taken, seeing the chamber filled with people holding signs opposing the height & FAR increases might make one of the three proponents of the changes think again. It happened a couple of weeks ago when opponents of a zone change in NE showed up in force for the vote, and they won without saying a word.
- Lan Su's Executive Director Lisa James will attend a special meeting at City Hall on Thursday, May 24 beginning at 2:30 p.m. We encourage our members, volunteers, or supporters to attend the meeting as well to show support for Lan Su.
- If you are able to attend tomorrow, bring a sign or help us hold our signs. (We will try to bring a banner and a few smaller signs to hold.)
- Email or write a letter to your council person or the entire city council. (We’ve included a template below, but feel free to also draft your own.)
If you can be in Council Chambers on Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., with thirty of your friends from the neighborhood, there is a possibility your presence might be persuasive. Although no testimony will be taken, seeing the chamber filled with people holding signs opposing the height & FAR increases might make one of the three proponents of the changes think again. It happened a couple of weeks ago when opponents of a zone change in NE showed up in force for the vote, and they won without saying a word. If you feel deeply about this issue you will need to turn out for the meeting at 2:30 p.m. at Portland City Hall on Thursday, May 24. Don’t be afraid to show your feelings. This is the only way that the worst abuses are ever stopped by a vigilant public.
Background Information of Zoning
A few resources are listed below to help everyone understand the complexities of this amendment. We hope the city will be inundated with the letters/emails and that our valued community members will be with us at the meeting tomorrow.
To the Members of City Council:
I am writing as a [member/volunteer/BOD member] of Lan Su Chinese Garden to oppose increasing height restrictions and allowing FAR expansion in the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District west of the garden. Lan Su Chinese Garden will be directly and negatively impacted by these height increases as buildings of this size will overshadow our botanical collection. We have cultivated over 270 rare species and have successfully stewarded this collection for almost twenty years. This amendment presents the greatest and clearest danger to our garden in our 20 years of operation. The damage this could inflict upon our rare plant collection would be swift and irrevocable.
Lan Su Chinese Garden is also committed to the preservation of the cultural character of the neighborhood; a vision painstakingly detailed by citizens and city officials in the design guidelines and the plans for this neighborhood. Increasing the number of blocks awarded additional development rights will negatively impact our botanical collection and the efforts to preserve the neighborhood’s historical integrity. When a developer purchases land in a historic district, they know that there are associated height/density restrictions and that any development must be historically appropriate. For developers to purchase restricted property and then argue that the restrictions make their optimal developments infeasible is disingenuous. For Portland to then approve special amendments that grant developers additional height and FAR that increase the value of their property, to the detriment to the rest of the historic district, is unfair, unequitable, and undermines the City’s land use and design review process.
For more information please contact Anna Truxes, Executive Administrator, by phone at 503.542.2099 or by email.