Reader Theodore Tava waited for the rainbow to appear then clicked and entered this shot in the NW Examiner’s Fremont Bridge photo contest.

Reader Theodore Tava waited for the rainbow to appear then clicked and entered this shot in the NW Examiner’s Fremont Bridge photo contest.

Allan Classen
Editor & Publisher

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A pivotal case in Portland’s effort to balance significant views and development rights will be heard by City Council on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m.

The Pearl District Neighborhood Association is appealing design approval of the 17-story Fremont Place Apartments, which would block views of the Fremont Bridge and intrude into required setbacks along the Willamette River Greenway.

So far, the arguments raised by the association have won over only one public official. The Design Commission approved the project Dec. 21 by a 3-1 vote, the lone dissent coming from commission chair Julie Livingston, who found that the “overly-complicated” structure would create “too many impacts to the greenway” and did not adequately protect “the view of the Fremont Bridge from the Fields Park.”

The neighborhood association, which has reviewed the proposal since last June, had assumed view protection was not a criterion of approval, but Livingston’s opinion and a brief filed by PDNA’s attorney say otherwise.

By exceeding the normal height limitation of 100 feet by a total of 85 additional feet, the proposed structure actually obliterates a key view of the bridge itself from the Fields Park and elsewhere, which would not be impaired if the applicant complied with the 100-foot limit,” stated the appeal filed by Jeffrey J. Kleinman, who was hired by PDNA.

The appeal also brings up new issues: that the developer, Texas-based Lincoln Property Co., has exceeded the maximum square footage of the building by 44 percent because it improperly included public right of way along the greenway and beside the building as buildable land.

On another point, Kleinman accused the developer of trying to “hoodwink the commission” by claiming the river qualifies as the water amenity it is required to provide.

PDNA has budgeted $15,000 for legal fees. Donations toward the appeal can made online at pearldistrict.org. Go to Get Involved and Donate to Appeal.

The association is hosting a town hall meeting Monday, Feb. 12, 6-7 p.m., at Portland Center Stage at the Armory, 128 NW 11th Ave. to discuss the issue.