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PORTLAND-City officials here are considering a loosening of the building height restrictions in the River District. The current proposal would allow developers to double the area’s existing 75-foot height cap in exchange for public amenities such as day-care centers, rooftop gardens or water features. The only catch: any stories built above the 75-foot limit, regardless of added amenities, must be residential.

The proposal covers roughly 100 acres – or about 60 blocks – stretching from Northwest Ninth Avenue to Interstate 405, north of Burnside Street. The City Council will evaluate the proposal on Dec. 13, following the Planning Commission’s review next week, on Nov. 28. Benefiting most from the proposal would likely be Homer Williams, who owns several blocks in the area being examined. Williams’ Hoyt Street Properties is planning some 3,000 units in the district.

Sources at City Hall say some of the impetus for the changes came when a developer planning a residential conversion of the Bits & Pieces Warehouse at Northwest 14th Avenue and Lovejoy Street discovered that he wouldn’t even be able to locate his mechanical equipment on the roof of the building because, at 107 feet tall, it already exceeded the height limit.

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