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Council agenda: Reserviors, R2DToo, Uber and Lyft

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TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT   - A developer is asking the city to remove the camp so he can convert a former hotel into a youth hostel and restaurant.The City Council is scheduled to consider three highly-publicized and controversial issues on Wednesday — the future of the open reservoirs in Mt. Tabor, the purchase of vacant state land in Southeast Portland for a potential homeless camp, and the results of a pilot program for ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft in Portland.

The council is scheduled to consider two items related to the Mt. Tabor reservoirs beginning at 9:30 a.m. on July 15.

One is the appeal of a land use change requested by the Water Bureau to disconnect the three open Mt. Tabor reservoirs from the water distribution system. The change was requested by the bureau and approved by the city's Historic Landmarks Commission with the condition the reservoirs be restored and preserved in their historic appearance. Both the bureau and the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA) appealed the approval to the council.

The second is a proposed resolution between the city and the MTNA governing the future of the reservoirs if they are disconnected. It was negotiated between the bureau and the MTNA and requires the reservoirs to be restored and preserved in their historic condition, with $5.5 million to be spent resorting them over the next four years. It also requires the bureau and the MTNA to consult on the restoration schedule, and it requires the reservoirs be filled with water at historic levels as many days as possible, among other things.

The MTNA has agreed that if the council approves the resolution, it will not appeal the disconnection to the state land Use Board of Appeals, as allowed by law.

Only two members of the council responded to requests for comment from the Portland Tribune to date, commissioners Amanda Fritz and Dan Saltzman. Both said they will not decide how to vote until after hearing the testimony on Wednesday. But Saltzman added, "If this represents an agreement that is supported by both the Water Bureau and the neighbors, I am excited about that."

The resolution can be read at www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=50265&a=537253.

For previous Portland Tribune coverage of the issue, visit portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/266364-140202-council-asked-to-spend-55-million-to-preserve-mount-tabor-reservoirs.

Later on the agenda, the council will consider spending $254,044 to buy surplus property from the Oregon Department of Transportation fat Southeast Third Avenue and Harrison Street. Fritz and Mayor Charlie Hales have proposed it as the new location of the Right 2 Dream Too homeless camp in Old Town. It is distinguished by the colorful painted doors that surround it. Developers have given the city $846,000 to relocate the camp, commonly called R2DToo.

The location has been questioned by neighborhood and business organizations in the area. It is far away from social service agencies, is near a busy streets and rail line, and has no electricity, water or sewer service. Southeast Uplight, the coalition office representing 20 eastside neighborhood association, wrote the council requesting more discussion of the relocation on July 6.

On Friday, Hales and Fritz issued statements implying the city could buy the property but not use it for the camp. An environmental and air-quality assessment of the site is currently under way.

“The Third and Harrison site could be a good home for Right 2 Dream, which has proven to be a part of the solution for Portland’s homeless population,” Hales said. “But even if the site doesn’t work for that purpose, it may still be a good site for the city to own.”

“We need to move forward with the logistics of the purchase now, to allow time for Right 2 Dream Too and other community members to discuss how to prepare for a move before the cold, rainy season comes back,” Fritz said.

For previous Portland Tribune coverage of the issue, visit portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/266420-140309-council-to-consider-homeless-camp-relocation-despite-plea-from-neighbors-.

Then at 2:30 p.m., Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick will present an interim report on the results of a 120-day pilot program authorized by the council for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft. TNCs allow riders to be picked up by drivers in their own cars through smartphone apps. The report was released Friday and includes the following findings:

• Uber and Lyft captured 43 percent of the taxi market in May, but more than half the market by the end of the month.

• One out of 13 taxi customers had to wait more than 20 minutes to be picked up, versus less than 1 in a 100 for passengers of Uber and Lyft.

• The average wait time for taxi companies was about 10 minutes, versus six minutes for Uber and Lyft.

• The average wait time for a taxi customer in a wheelchair was 23 minutes.

• The wait times were lower for Uber and Lyft customers but they provided very few rides to people in wheelchairs.

To read the full report, visit www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=50265&a=537272.

For previous Portland Tribune coverage of the issue, visit portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/266418-140306-uber-lyft-winning-over-portland-taxi-market-disrupting-cab-companies-.