Clearwire notified the City recently that the company is reprioritizing its plans for additional wireless sites in Portland, and has decided to either withdraw or place some site applications on hold for now. Specifically, Clearwire has formally notified the Office of Cable Communications & Franchise Management (OCC/FM) of the withdrawal of already-filed wireless applications for the following sites:
- NE 37th and NE Fremont
- SE Yamhill and SE 32nd
- SE 65th and SE Reedway
- N Greeley & Holman (Rosa Parks)
- SE 70th and Flavel
According to information from PGE, Clearwire has withdrawn its application for SE 39th and SE Knapp (& SE Ogden). An application for this site was not filed with the City. Other potential sites, for which applications have not been filed with the City, may also be on hold, but the City does not have written confirmation of those sites.
In the meantime, Clearwire has reaffirmed its commitment to continue to maintain and enhance their 4G wireless service in the Portland area through existing, active Clearwire sites but does not yet have a definite timeline for its additional build out at locations not yet applied for or built in the Portland area. At this point, Clearwire has not yet announced any definite timeline for moving forward on existing permitted but unbuilt locations and has elected instead to withdraw its permit requests (which have a limited duration).
The Office of Cable Communications and Franchise Management will be happy to keep interested citizens informed as additional information is developed. Email Jennifer Li to ask to receive news as it becomes available.
In other news:
It was an honor to serve as the Commissioner in Charge of the Office of Cable Communications and Franchise Management for the first two years, two months and two days of my term in City Hall. The nine people in the Office bring in over $71 million in cable and franchise payments for use of the public rights-of-way. This money is the second greatest contributor to the General Fund, after property taxes, and is used to pay for services like police, firefighting, parks, and community involvement. The "Cable Office" also staffs the Mount Hood Cable Regulatory Commission, and works with our treasured partner, Portland Community Media. I learned a lot from staff and citizens engaged in these endeavors, and it was a pleasure leading the bureau.
One of the issues we worked through with staff, industry representatives, and citizens over the two years was defining and refining the administrative process for review of permit applications for wireless facilities. An overview is here. Recently, we heard from one of the most active applicants, Clearwire, that they have withdrawn some of their requests due to changing business plans, as noted above. Clearwire also agreed to work with the City to attend to many issues of concern raised by neighbors, such as noise and visual impacts, and an improved process for community siting discussions. And Senator Merkley's office is moving forward on implementing the Council's request for more study of potential health impacts of wireless facilities. I am happy to report these points of significant progress on contentious issues connected with wireless facilities, as I hand off the Cable office to my friend and colleague, Commissioner Saltzman.