This week’s Willamette Week has offered a stark account of the redevelopment efforts in the Lents Town Center, as well as the missteps PDC has made along the way.
Why does this matter to you?
First off, Lents is our neighboring community. They share a neighborhood boundary (SE 82nd), as well as the same major thoroughfare (Foster Road). They also share many of the same impediments to growth and investment as we do—namely, perceived blight and preconceived notions about the area. (Unfortunately, the article does more to highlight the negatives in the Lents Town Center rather than the positive transformations, thus perpetuating some of the misconceptions. Also, in the case of Lents, unfortunately, more impediments to investment exist. Some, perhaps, may even be city-imposed…even if unintended.)
Secondly, growth and investment in the Lents Town Center will have a positive impact on the surrounding neighborhoods—ours included—and vice versa. Progress on one end of Foster will most certainly nudge the other in the same direction.
The western stretch of Foster is also included in the same Urban Renewal Area as Lents. So we are eternally linked. Well, at least for a few more years. Your property taxes—or your landlord’s—pays into the same pot, so we have a joint-vested interest in seeing urban renewal funds being spent wisely.
If the Willy Week’s article (or just a simple drive down Foster and/or up SE 92nd) is any indication, that money could have been managed better. Much better. But the point shouldn’t be to highlight past mistakes, rather correcting them moving forward.
So how can the city make Foster and the Lents Town Center better? More city money, better planning, incentives for developers, tax credits, or let the people determine their own fate (read: get out, give us our tax money back)?