PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland City Council plans to give developers the option of building taller buildings in the city’s New Chinatown-Japantown historic district.
The plan includes new height and design guidelines intended to preserve the character of the historic district, which is the state’s largest Chinatown community, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported .
The council previously had indicated it would set heights at 160 feet (48.8 meters) for much of the neighborhood.
But the council voted last week to alow buildings up to 200 feet (61 meters) in two different places.
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The vote divided the council, with Mayor Ted Wheeler and others arguing that development would give the neighborhood a much-needed boost, while others argued it would effectively destroy it.
“We need to infuse old town Japantown with activity,” Commissioner Dan Saltzman said. “And there is none there now. We need people to live there.”
Commissioner Amanda Fritz appeared visibly shaken as she cast her vote and called it a sad day.
“I think this is a serious mistake that is going to repeat the mistakes that previous councils made in Albina, destroying a historic district and a cultural district,” she said.
The council set a final vote for the plan June 6.