Buddhist temple planned for NE Portland lot

by Katherine Cook, KGWNews, March 8, 2013

PORTLAND, OR (USA) -- The former landfill across from Madison High School near Northeast 82nd Avenue has been one of Portland’s biggest eyesores and a magnet for transients.

The area has served as a driving range and there has even been a proposal for a Wal-Mart there, but now neighbors are talking about some other big plans for the space.

By next year, it could become a Buddhist religious center with community gardens and paths connecting it to Rocky Butte.

The Dharma Rain Zen Center bought 14 acres of the land in November.

It’s been in the Buckman neighborhood for the last 25 years, but now the center wants to expand.

Besides a temple and green space, the building plans include a preschool and a 30-unit co-housing community.

Crews have already started clearing the overgrown land and reaching out to neighbors.

Kurt Muntzel still has his yard sign protesting plans to build a Wal-Mart there a few years ago. He's more open to the idea of a Buddhist center.

"I think it's going to be a great addition to the neighborhood. It's going to have nature trails and multi-use buildings and classes, so I think it's great. Better than some big retail center,” he said.

Before plans can move forward, the city has to approve the land use. There will be a public hearing March 20.