PORTLAND 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.
KGW reporter Katherine Cook contributed to this report.