Slavin Village feasibility_210609.pdf


Andrew Olshin
 

Skip
Cascadia Clusters, BeaconPDX started work on a new, 10 unit village a few weeks ago.  Our architect, Sermin, is leading our efforts to work with BDS and appropriate City bureaus to review plans, etc. This will give us a template for future projects - that will benefit from the recent changes to City codes.  
We are developing a full set of construction plans for Beacon Village, and will apply for whatever permits are required.
What we need now is some discretionary private funding to pay for some architect time. 
Cheers, 

Andy Olshin

On Jun 20, 2021, at 2:08 PM, Skip Trantow <skiptrantow@...> wrote:



I think the feasibility of the Slavin Village project will depend upon two basic determinations: Can it pass city permitting requirements and can it be built at a low enough cost.  We want to make these determinations early on and I think this can be done with a conversation with Portland’s Bureau of Development Services (BDS) using their ‘Early Assistance’ service.  With this service you get a 15-minute (but hopefully more) video conference with a city planner/expert to describe the project and expose potential showstopper problems upfront.  (See: https://www.portland.gov/bds/zoning-land-use/early-assistance  Also:  https://www.portland.gov/construction-and-development ). By doing this, we also stand to build expertise on the overall process of creating a Tiny House Village (THV) that can be applied to future projects.


Here are design aspects (with my informal italicized comments) that
I think need to be considered in a discussion with the BDS:

  • Site Acquisition:   Assuming it’s legally possible for the city to repurpose this dead-end street, the site will likely be either free or very inexpensive. If we have to pay, say, $200K or more, for a lot to site a THV, I think the cost per bed will be too high to make the model work. The advantage of a THV should be in ‘development agility’, i.e., in our ability to build them inexpensively and quickly in places that are infeasible for conventional development – like Slavin Rd.
  • Design work:  Need to draft building plans adequate for BDS review and get the engineering stamp of approval.
  • Electrical and Water Utilities hook-up and distribution:  While it would be nice to go 'off-grid' and build a fully self-sufficient village, I don’t think this is feasible for a THV sited within the city. Yes, we could design in solar panels and a storage battery for electricity needs but when the winter cold temperatures come the units are going to need AC power for heat. The site would also need AC power for a washer and dryer.  So, solar power would be appropriate only to augment AC power and reduce electricity bills.  Regarding freshwater and wastewater utilities, you definitely need to hook into the City’s water and sewer systems (wastewater has to have somewhere to go).  Given its location, the Slavin Rd. site will likely be close to electrical and water access points. It is unlikely that there would be any unusual expense in running those utilities to and throughout the THV.
  •  Construction of walkways, common areas, and pads for housing unit placement:  The Slavin Rd. dead-end area might already be paved providing ready-to-go walkways and house pads.  Pavement and ground stability needs to be assessed.
  •  Housing Unit Fabrication and Installation:   The ideal model is: Off-site fabrication of finished tiny houses and common structures (e.g., kitchen, toilet, shower, and washing units).  Then transport units to site and place them onto ready ground pads.  All units to meet structural and safety standards and are inspected and approved at fabrication site before being transported to the site.  To speed up development time, off-site unit fabrication work is done in parallel with site preparation.   I think it is most cost effective to design living units that are built on skids.  Just trailer them in, slide them onto a pad. It appears that the new S2HC building codes may apply to THVs where the units are on wheels – is that correct?
  •  On-site construction of entry gate and any perimeter fencing needed for security:
  • On-site construction of garbage / recycling collection area: Likely just need a simple rectangular corral with doors.
  • Internet and Phone:  Internet and phone needs can likely be met through a single 5G wireless subscription that is WiFi’ed throughout the THV.
  • Parking:   Parking capacity needs to be investigated.  It looks like some parking space can be had on the public north end of Slavin Rd. before the barricade. 
  •  Life Safety / Fire Safety:  Acquisition and installation of fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, escape route signage

In the process of thinking about Tiny House Village design, I concluded that we really cannot design a THV and determine feasibility without first knowing what it is intended to achieve for its residents.  This led me to think that we probably need to define at least two THV types, each tailored to a particular need:  A short-term THV (STHV) intended for 0  - 2 year residencies, and a long-term/permanent residency THV (PTHV).  

The purpose of an STHV is to give a resident the breathing room to work toward getting into an apartment, whereas a PTHV is where a person can live for however long they want and create a community.  While a precise definition of the design of each THV type is needed, generally speaking, a living unit in an STHV would be small, spartan and the village would offer fewer community amenities (remember, it’s short-term).  You would likely squeeze as many STHV units as possible into a given site to get to the lowest cost-per-bed.  An STHV would probably be funded and managed by a public housing agency and have low or fully subsidized rent cost. 

A PTHV would have larger living units (though still tiny) that are aesthetic and comfortable with more community amenities, like patios, a commons area, workshop spaces, etc.  It would cost more to develop a PTHV, and rent would be higher.  Fewer living units per given site.  A PTHV could be publicly or privately funded and managed, and potentially, units could be privately owned.

As opposed to large apartment complexes and towers that make sense in purely economic terms (i.e., you can house more people per given lot size) with THV’s I believe we have the opportunity to favor humanistic terms and create housing that supports the innate desire to build community and be creative, something that I do not think large apartment complexes are conducive to.  I believe that, in many situations, a well-designed THV will foster the success of its residents to where the need for supporting social services is greatly lessened, representing a huge savings for the city over the long term.

Andy, what do you think about having a discussion with BDS Early Assistance?

Regards,

Skip Trantow

 

 


Skip Trantow
 

I think the feasibility of the Slavin Village project will depend upon two basic determinations: Can it pass city permitting requirements and can it be built at a low enough cost.  We want to make these determinations early on and I think this can be done with a conversation with Portland’s Bureau of Development Services (BDS) using their ‘Early Assistance’ service.  With this service you get a 15-minute (but hopefully more) video conference with a city planner/expert to describe the project and expose potential showstopper problems upfront.  (See: https://www.portland.gov/bds/zoning-land-use/early-assistance  Also:  https://www.portland.gov/construction-and-development ). By doing this, we also stand to build expertise on the overall process of creating a Tiny House Village (THV) that can be applied to future projects.


Here are design aspects (with my informal italicized comments) that
I think need to be considered in a discussion with the BDS:

  • Site Acquisition:   Assuming it’s legally possible for the city to repurpose this dead-end street, the site will likely be either free or very inexpensive. If we have to pay, say, $200K or more, for a lot to site a THV, I think the cost per bed will be too high to make the model work. The advantage of a THV should be in ‘development agility’, i.e., in our ability to build them inexpensively and quickly in places that are infeasible for conventional development – like Slavin Rd.
  • Design work:  Need to draft building plans adequate for BDS review and get the engineering stamp of approval.
  • Electrical and Water Utilities hook-up and distribution:  While it would be nice to go 'off-grid' and build a fully self-sufficient village, I don’t think this is feasible for a THV sited within the city. Yes, we could design in solar panels and a storage battery for electricity needs but when the winter cold temperatures come the units are going to need AC power for heat. The site would also need AC power for a washer and dryer.  So, solar power would be appropriate only to augment AC power and reduce electricity bills.  Regarding freshwater and wastewater utilities, you definitely need to hook into the City’s water and sewer systems (wastewater has to have somewhere to go).  Given its location, the Slavin Rd. site will likely be close to electrical and water access points. It is unlikely that there would be any unusual expense in running those utilities to and throughout the THV.
  •  Construction of walkways, common areas, and pads for housing unit placement:  The Slavin Rd. dead-end area might already be paved providing ready-to-go walkways and house pads.  Pavement and ground stability needs to be assessed.
  •  Housing Unit Fabrication and Installation:   The ideal model is: Off-site fabrication of finished tiny houses and common structures (e.g., kitchen, toilet, shower, and washing units).  Then transport units to site and place them onto ready ground pads.  All units to meet structural and safety standards and are inspected and approved at fabrication site before being transported to the site.  To speed up development time, off-site unit fabrication work is done in parallel with site preparation.   I think it is most cost effective to design living units that are built on skids.  Just trailer them in, slide them onto a pad. It appears that the new S2HC building codes may apply to THVs where the units are on wheels – is that correct?
  •  On-site construction of entry gate and any perimeter fencing needed for security:
  • On-site construction of garbage / recycling collection area: Likely just need a simple rectangular corral with doors.
  • Internet and Phone:  Internet and phone needs can likely be met through a single 5G wireless subscription that is WiFi’ed throughout the THV.
  • Parking:   Parking capacity needs to be investigated.  It looks like some parking space can be had on the public north end of Slavin Rd. before the barricade. 
  •  Life Safety / Fire Safety:  Acquisition and installation of fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, escape route signage

In the process of thinking about Tiny House Village design, I concluded that we really cannot design a THV and determine feasibility without first knowing what it is intended to achieve for its residents.  This led me to think that we probably need to define at least two THV types, each tailored to a particular need:  A short-term THV (STHV) intended for 0  - 2 year residencies, and a long-term/permanent residency THV (PTHV).  

The purpose of an STHV is to give a resident the breathing room to work toward getting into an apartment, whereas a PTHV is where a person can live for however long they want and create a community.  While a precise definition of the design of each THV type is needed, generally speaking, a living unit in an STHV would be small, spartan and the village would offer fewer community amenities (remember, it’s short-term).  You would likely squeeze as many STHV units as possible into a given site to get to the lowest cost-per-bed.  An STHV would probably be funded and managed by a public housing agency and have low or fully subsidized rent cost. 

A PTHV would have larger living units (though still tiny) that are aesthetic and comfortable with more community amenities, like patios, a commons area, workshop spaces, etc.  It would cost more to develop a PTHV, and rent would be higher.  Fewer living units per given site.  A PTHV could be publicly or privately funded and managed, and potentially, units could be privately owned.

As opposed to large apartment complexes and towers that make sense in purely economic terms (i.e., you can house more people per given lot size) with THV’s I believe we have the opportunity to favor humanistic terms and create housing that supports the innate desire to build community and be creative, something that I do not think large apartment complexes are conducive to.  I believe that, in many situations, a well-designed THV will foster the success of its residents to where the need for supporting social services is greatly lessened, representing a huge savings for the city over the long term.

Andy, what do you think about having a discussion with BDS Early Assistance?

Regards,

Skip Trantow

 

 


Elise Aymer
 

Thanks for explaining,  Peter.


On Wed, Jun 16, 2021, 7:28 PM Peter Finley Fry, <peter@...> wrote:

Land is owned by deed.  Portland (and other public agencies) can and do own land by deed.  A right of way (street) is a super easement across deeded land granted by the original subdivider to provide access to lots.

 

The easiest way to see this is on Portland Maps that clearly shows the deeded land (which are also tax lots) and the interconnected right of ways.  Portlandmaps will reveal the answer.  It is possible that the right of way extends but is not improved.  It is not uncommon for people to develop unimproved right of ways and extend a yard or garden into the right of way.  I know of a street in Corbett Terwilliger where every property along the street was built into the right of way. 

 

On deeded land, the owner can prohibit trespass of the land.  On right of way, public access can not be blocked or prohibited – i.e. public right of way can not be privatized by anyone – the city of private party without a public street vacation process.  Ironically, the city in the last few years made it almost impossible to vacate right of ways.  

 

These areas have a lot of conflict inherent in them.  In my world the laws are the bones and when the bones are broken or ignored then they cause the organism to fail.  I am trying to reduce the breakage so we can discuss the moral principles and not get sidetracked by litigation or illegal action even when innocent.  Keep in mind that there is no final judgement except death.   Litigation only stops when people fade away.  The Boise case provides a road sign, but it is not a definitive conclusion.

 

My observation, is that no one is really paying attention to reality.  It is no different then attempting to cross a desert without water.

 

The Salvin idea looks very interesting and conceptually  could work.

 

I would like to help to make it happen.

 

 

 

Peter Finley Fry    AICP PhD MUP

Land Use Planning

Cultural Anthropologist

303 NW Uptown Terrace; Unit 1B

Portland, Oregon 97210

503 703-8033

 

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Elise Aymer via groups.io
Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 2:52 PM
To: pdxshelterforum@groups.io
Subject: Re: [pdxshelterforum] Slavin Village feasibility_210609.pdf

 

Hi Andy, Peter and Skip,

 

I very much appreciate Andy's plan and sharing it with the community here on the listserv.

 

Could you explain what your exchange a bit more. I'm not as versed in planning terms and land use and suspect there are others like me on the listserv.

 

Right now Slavin Street is a dead end. Is the land at the end of the dead end owned by the City? 

 

Or is the idea that it's being held by the City because although the road stops where the proposed village site would be it still counts as a right of way that in theory could be extended?

 

Is it that the land at the end of the dead end cannot be legally designated for another use as any other use than extending the road would be trumped by the rights of the property holders along the road?

 

I understood, I think, the part about how camps in right of way designated areas are seen to block right of passage and so to be an attempt to privatize public use.

 

Last question, does this mean that it would be necessary (with legalities in mind) to find a piece of City owned land for which they hold the title vs. a parcel such as on Slavin St. where they seem to hold usage in which to site villages?

 

Thanks a bunch, in advance for the clarification.

 

Elise

 

 

 


Peter Finley Fry
 

Land is owned by deed.  Portland (and other public agencies) can and do own land by deed.  A right of way (street) is a super easement across deeded land granted by the original subdivider to provide access to lots.

 

The easiest way to see this is on Portland Maps that clearly shows the deeded land (which are also tax lots) and the interconnected right of ways.  Portlandmaps will reveal the answer.  It is possible that the right of way extends but is not improved.  It is not uncommon for people to develop unimproved right of ways and extend a yard or garden into the right of way.  I know of a street in Corbett Terwilliger where every property along the street was built into the right of way. 

 

On deeded land, the owner can prohibit trespass of the land.  On right of way, public access can not be blocked or prohibited – i.e. public right of way can not be privatized by anyone – the city of private party without a public street vacation process.  Ironically, the city in the last few years made it almost impossible to vacate right of ways.  

 

These areas have a lot of conflict inherent in them.  In my world the laws are the bones and when the bones are broken or ignored then they cause the organism to fail.  I am trying to reduce the breakage so we can discuss the moral principles and not get sidetracked by litigation or illegal action even when innocent.  Keep in mind that there is no final judgement except death.   Litigation only stops when people fade away.  The Boise case provides a road sign, but it is not a definitive conclusion.

 

My observation, is that no one is really paying attention to reality.  It is no different then attempting to cross a desert without water.

 

The Salvin idea looks very interesting and conceptually  could work.

 

I would like to help to make it happen.

 

 

 

Peter Finley Fry    AICP PhD MUP

Land Use Planning

Cultural Anthropologist

303 NW Uptown Terrace; Unit 1B

Portland, Oregon 97210

503 703-8033

 

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Elise Aymer via groups.io
Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 2:52 PM
To: pdxshelterforum@groups.io
Subject: Re: [pdxshelterforum] Slavin Village feasibility_210609.pdf

 

Hi Andy, Peter and Skip,

 

I very much appreciate Andy's plan and sharing it with the community here on the listserv.

 

Could you explain what your exchange a bit more. I'm not as versed in planning terms and land use and suspect there are others like me on the listserv.

 

Right now Slavin Street is a dead end. Is the land at the end of the dead end owned by the City? 

 

Or is the idea that it's being held by the City because although the road stops where the proposed village site would be it still counts as a right of way that in theory could be extended?

 

Is it that the land at the end of the dead end cannot be legally designated for another use as any other use than extending the road would be trumped by the rights of the property holders along the road?

 

I understood, I think, the part about how camps in right of way designated areas are seen to block right of passage and so to be an attempt to privatize public use.

 

Last question, does this mean that it would be necessary (with legalities in mind) to find a piece of City owned land for which they hold the title vs. a parcel such as on Slavin St. where they seem to hold usage in which to site villages?

 

Thanks a bunch, in advance for the clarification.

 

Elise

 

 

 


Elise Aymer
 

Hi Andy, Peter and Skip,

I very much appreciate Andy's plan and sharing it with the community here on the listserv.

Could you explain what your exchange a bit more. I'm not as versed in planning terms and land use and suspect there are others like me on the listserv.

Right now Slavin Street is a dead end. Is the land at the end of the dead end owned by the City? 

Or is the idea that it's being held by the City because although the road stops where the proposed village site would be it still counts as a right of way that in theory could be extended?

Is it that the land at the end of the dead end cannot be legally designated for another use as any other use than extending the road would be trumped by the rights of the property holders along the road?

I understood, I think, the part about how camps in right of way designated areas are seen to block right of passage and so to be an attempt to privatize public use.

Last question, does this mean that it would be necessary (with legalities in mind) to find a piece of City owned land for which they hold the title vs. a parcel such as on Slavin St. where they seem to hold usage in which to site villages?

Thanks a bunch, in advance for the clarification.

Elise



Peter Finley Fry
 

Again;  It looks great.

 

FYI; if you vacate the street; the property reverts back to the underlying property owners which is typically fifty fifty to the abutting owners.  A right of way is essentially a super easement across private property which is why the existing camps on right of way are technically illegal as they block people’s right of passage and attempt to privatize property rights that are owned by all of us.

 

I understand in times of crisis we tend to ignore things though we attempt to do no harm.

 

 

Peter Finley Fry    AICP PhD MUP

Land Use Planning

Cultural Anthropologist

303 NW Uptown Terrace; Unit 1B

Portland, Oregon 97210

503 703-8033

 

 

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

From: Skip Trantow via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 10:18 PM
To: pdxshelterforum@groups.io
Subject: Re: [pdxshelterforum] Slavin Village feasibility_210609.pdf

 

Andy,

This looks reasonable to me.  I doubt if Slavin St. can be extended and thus will always be a dead-end street.  As such, the city may be amenable to vacating/abandoning the far end portion for another purpose, such as, a tiny house village.  To make the adjacent apartment complex more accepting of this use, you would probably need to specify a fence along the east side to give a sense of separation/security.  

Overall, this is the kind of strategy the city should adopt, i.e., find 'un-purposed' city property, near transportation and shopping, that can be purposed into a tiny home village.  I think you’re on a promising track here.

Skip Trantow

 


Skip Trantow
 

Andy,

This looks reasonable to me.  I doubt if Slavin St. can be extended and thus will always be a dead-end street.  As such, the city may be amenable to vacating/abandoning the far end portion for another purpose, such as, a tiny house village.  To make the adjacent apartment complex more accepting of this use, you would probably need to specify a fence along the east side to give a sense of separation/security.  

Overall, this is the kind of strategy the city should adopt, i.e., find 'un-purposed' city property, near transportation and shopping, that can be purposed into a tiny home village.  I think you’re on a promising track here.

Skip Trantow


Andrew Olshin
 

Happy weekend. Please take a look at this when u get a chance and let me know what u think.





Thanks,
Andy Olshin