On October 19, 2011 the Portland City Council approved a conditional use review that was the last land use hurdle to the offices of the Department of Homeland Security Administration (HSA) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division’s (ICE) move to the South Waterfront. The decision was not appealed.
We represented the owner/developer of the property, which had submitted the successful proposal to provide new HSA/ICE office space in the South Waterfront. The proposal was to renovate and expand an existing underutilized building at the corner of Macadam and Bancroft in the South Waterfront district. The new facility will be 114,279 s.f. and house over 130 HSA and ICE employees.
The land use process began before the City’s Design Commission, with design review for the renovated/expanded building, which was considered a “major remodel.” As part of that process the issue of whether the facility was permitted in the South Waterfront was raised. There were neighborhood concerns that the ICE facility was not compatible with existing and planned South Waterfront improvements. Staff advised that the facility was an allowed use in the CXd zone, and that the Design Commission lacked authority to address whether the use was allowed. On appeal to the City Council of the Design Commission’s approval of the proposal, the issue of whether the use was allowed was raised with the focus on a small portion of the new facility where the detainees would be housed during the day as they were being processed. This area of the facility was approximately 5,198 s.f. and consisted of four holding rooms and support space used in holding and processing detainees. No detainee would be housed in the facility overnight, but, rather, detainees brought in during the day would be held in this area before being transported to the ICE detention facility in Tacoma every afternoon.