Working with neighborhood activists and other professionals in the industry, Owen provided extensive feedback in the drafting of neighborhood design guidelines. This work helped facilitate maximum impact on the litany of new development appearing in the Boise Neighborhood. The guidelines are now being utilized as a model for other neighborhoods.
As part of this effort, Owen also presented at the In it Together Community Summit put on by the Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement on a panel titled "Managing neighborhood growth and change: Strategies for influencing neighborhood design.” In addition, he has also participated in small-scale meetings with new development teams who agree to work with the neighborhood to encourage more thoughtful, neighborhood-desired projects.
The BNA Design Guidelines can be found here.
Large-scale office and multifamily projects are not the only new buildings being built. Increased demand for close-in living in Portland has drawn many developers to urban neighborhoods in north, northeast and southeast Portland looking for opportunities to capitalize on the trend. Because available vacant lots are few and far between, older homes at attractive price points have been targeted as potential redevelopment sites. In some cases, the removal of an underutilized home is an appropriate avenue to add density, but in other cases, such as the home formerly located at 3605 N Albina, the existing house can be salvaged.
In an effort led by former Boise Neighborhood Chair Caroline Dao, Owen Gabbert volunteered his experience and knowledge of zoning, development and construction in order to assist in saving 3605 N Albina. After initial attempts to convince the developer that the historic house could be salvaged in place and still yield a financial return fell on deaf ears, the group advocated moving the home to a suitable nearby location. Although it was not the first choice solution, the house was successfully saved and moved several miles away by local preservationists Roy and Kim Fox.
The process and challenges are outlined here.