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Critics bash city planners for reviving west Hayden Island industrialization

Plans for marine terminals on west Hayden Island are back on the table — but not if neighbors and environmentalists have their way.

A parade of critics bashed the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Tuesday night, charging it with a “back door” effort to revive industrial development on the island.

City planners, in a draft of Portland’s new comprehensive land use plan, included 300 acres on west Hayden Island among the city’s industrial lands available for future development, in order to meet a state mandate to provide such lands for future jobs.

That incensed neighbors and environmentalists, as it came just months after the Port of Portland withdrew its request to have the city annex west Hayden Island and rezone it to allow marine industrial terminals. The port backed off in the face of stringent environmental and other conditions imposed by the Planning and Sustainability Commission.

Tuesday was the first public hearing before the Planning and Sustainability Commission on the city's proposed new comprehensive land use plan.

Many residents — and some planning commissioners — were miffed that the west Hayden Island issue was back before the commission, but this time without the environmental and other conditions approved late last year by commissioners.

“Others have disregarded the careful work you did over a year ago,” said Hayden Island resident Timme Helzer. Now city planners are wanting to go in the “opposite direction” from where planning commissioners landed last year, he said.

"The Port of Portland is the bully in the sandbox here; it found another way to get what it wants,” said Pam Ferguson, who represents 440 families living in a manufactured home park blocks from the potential marine terminals.

Greg Theisen, a planner for the Port of Portland, told commissioners it’s important for the city to preserve its options for marine terminals on west Hayden Island, to secure its future as a marine trading center. “Portland’s future hinges on the success of linking to the international marketplace,” Theisen said. “West Hayden Island is an important element of that future.”

Planning and Sustainability Commission Chairman Andre Baugh said the panel will debate the west Hayden Island proposal and other policies in the comprehensive land use plan starting in January.

The "comp plan" is filled with hundreds of policies and land use maps, and the west Hayden Island controversy is but one of many starting to percolate in Portland neighborhoods.

Others testifying Tuesday complained the city wasn’t allowing enough time, or was giving short shrift to citizen participation and neighborhood associations in the new comp. plan.

Others asked for their properties to be zoned differently in the new land use plan.

The next public hearing on the comp. plan will be Oct. 14, at 5 p.m., at Parkrose High School, 12003 N.E. Shaver St.

To learn more about what’s in the comp. plan: www.portlandmaps.com/bps/cpmapp2/

Steve Law can reached at 503-546-5139 or stevelaw@portlandtribune.com.

Twitter: @SteveLawTrib

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