Surprising Airport FuturesJune 22, 2010
We spent about 3 hours tonight hearing testimony about Airport Futures. This is the new zoning and planning framework for Portland International Airport and the district around it.
The session was a study in contrasts. We heard about the unanimous recommendation and consensus in the Planning Advisory Group (PAG) and glowing reviews of the sensible planning and environmental goals for PDX.
Then we heard from a variety of neighbors, from residents to golf courses to industrial land owners, the vast majority of whom were very worried that the expanded environmental zoning was going to destroy either their property values or their way of life (“will they make me take out my vegetable garden?”).
Definitely a contrast.
Everyone is complimentary of the airport portion of the plan, but it would appear that despite a wide range of involvement and outreach, a lot of nearby stakeholders did not grasp the additional environmental zoning (which seems to have a firm foundation in the science) on the properties around the airport and adjoining Columbia Slough until VERY recently.
Staff will be doing a lot of outreach in the next couple of weeks (resolving issues like the gentleman’s vegetable garden, which is probably not threatened). Once the surprise is past and people accurately understand the impacts, I hope our continuation of the hearing on July 13th will narrow down the set of policy issues we need to sort out.