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We're waiting to hear the compelling argument that would justify the zone change.

It's too early for a definitive "no," but until we hear a strong argument in favor, The Outlook is not inclined to support a rezone in Troutdale that would allow construction of a 168-unit apartment complex.

FILE PHOTO - Editor/Publisher Steve BrownCarey Sheldon, president of Sheldon Development, wants to build "middle to upper class" apartments on a site at the corner of Southwest Cherry Park Road and Northeast 242nd Drive.

The 7-acre field is zoned for single-family residential. In order for Sheldon to construct his apartments, he'll need the Troutdale city government to rezone the site to allow multi-family housing.

Our problem is not with apartments. We fully understand the need to rebalance the supply-and-demand equation for housing, which right now is tipped in favor of landlords. We've all heard the dreadful stories of runaway rents that consume half the incomes of people who have no choice but to pay these sinister prices. That's what happens when demand outpaces supply. So in general, we're not opposed to the construction of apartments.

But we are opposed to giving up space for single-family homes in exchange for the erosion of livability in the neighborhood, which will happen with a high-density apartment complex at this location. The intersection of Northeast 242nd and Southwest Cherry Park Road is already busy — just try driving through the area at the busiest time of day.

There also are concerns for the impact on local schools. The proposed development would result in a surge of students enrolling in the Reynolds School District, which already bursts at the seams, and which has just gone through a workforce reduction caused by a budgetary shortfall.

Keep in mind, also, that a fair amount of apartment construction is in the works in Fairview — a 180-unit development on the southside of Halsey Street, and another smaller 49-unit complex on 205th Avenue south of Sandy Boulevard.

That said, with other apartments on the horizon, we wonder if this is the best time to surrender high-value real estate that could be used to site single-family homes.

Like we said, we're waiting to hear the compelling argument that would justify the zone change. Until that happens, our recommendation is a solid "no."

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