Posted on September 20, 2015 by Staff
Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association President Robert McCullough details the events of the past week in a letter to the editor.
“Thursday started with quite a bang as the Portland police tried (unsuccessfully) to remove the environmental activists from the trees on SE Martins. The police activity attracted an increasingly large group of neighbors.
The well respected law firm, Black Helterline, was asked to go ahead with the temporary restraining order based on the decision by BDS to skip several inconvenient steps in the statute.
At 8:30 A.M. the mayor called and asked me to sit down with the developer and Josh Alpert at his office. The negotiations were as expected. Moderate histrionics, but generally substantive. A handshake solution was sent to the neighbors after about ninety minutes.
It was a day with some excitement. After the preliminary settlement was agreed to, the developer decided that the Martins’ neighbors were rejecting it and called in a group of apparently untrained landscapers with chainsaws. I am still uncertain what this was intended to do (chainsaws are not useful tools in cutting down huge trees). This precipitated a risk of a riot and the mayor’s office asked me to talk to the crowd.
As expected, removing the landscapers with the chainsaws was sufficient to return things to an even keel.
By Thursday night, the neighbors’ lawyer delivered a draft contract to the developer and the city.
The police left, the activist(sic) returned to their peaceful occupation, and I spent until far in the evening clarifying the settlement with the neighbors and the developer.
Friday was stressful. One neighbor had left for New York and went incommunicado towards the end of the day. The developer was frantic. Many phone calls. The final signatures were filed at 4:58 P.M., just meeting the deadline and avoiding another round of conflict.
In sum, bad fences make bad neighbors as any farmer knows. The demolition and delay permits had been waived with a nudge, nudge wink, wink. The tree cutting permit skipped several steps (especially a finding that there was no alternative). Amanda Fritz was apparently absent without leave when her core constituency called, emailed, and visited. The mayor, late to the (scene), did help. Josh Alpert, the mayor’s chief of staff, did a good job.” Robert McCullough – President, Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association