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Fred Leeson
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The building should remain while Northwest Natural cleans up the rest of the site. Other viable ideas for preservation might arise in the meantime. If nothing else, a ruin is an interesting idea! I'm puzzled by Brian's description of this building as Romanesque. Anyone have a better historical description of its style? "Industrial Victorian" is my shot at it....
It's amazing to think of the care and design that went into a largely industrial building. We don't do it that way anymore, do we? I, too, am saddened by its prospective loss. I am also greatly saddened by corporate powers ducking responsibility to clean up the messes they've made. I know the web of responsibility is tangled, but notice how big business always gets somebody ELSE to pay for the clean-up.
Hales understands development and opportunity better than most mayors. I think the big new project near Lloyd Center will provide additional stimulus for growth along the East Side Streetcar line. More problematic is deep East Portland. I'd LOVE to see builders and developers come up with creative ideas there rather than continuing to plunder our historic streetcar neighborhoods with inappropriate yet profitable projects. Builders seem more determined to take advantage of good "location" in old neighborhoods instead of building "good location" east of I-205. But don't get me started....
I enjoyed reading this. I watched the Design commission for several years when Tim Eddy was on it...he was a voice of calm intelligence, offering specific ideas, always trying to make a better product. He provided excellent public service.
I was interested in his comments about the Pearl. I think we all owe some thanks to the Portland Design Commission which demanded good work, both in the Pearl and the South Waterfront.
I have no affiliation with GBD or Peter Meijer architects. It is unfair to suggest that it is THEIR decision not to do seismic work. That was the order from the client building owner. (I suppose the architects could refuse and let someone else do the work...) Ownership has its prerogatives, for better or worse.
Portland has plenty of buildable space without destroying our historic streetcar-era neighborhoods. Take a look east of I-205, for example. If there is greatness to be built, go do it.
I seriously doubt there are "thousands" of old Victorian homes left in Portland. When they are gone, they are gone. We can't build new ones. On the other hand, we can build countless examples of modern schlock, because that's wehere the money is.
I remember the consternation her article inspired. Of course, she was right on every point. Often, it takes a outsider to show the way. Her insight was truly spectacular.
It's difficult to imagine this ever happening. A couple reasons: This is Union Pacific's main west coast line. How does it get rerouted during construction? Second, UPRR is willing to pay NOTHING, even to speed up its own trains. (We got a taste of this years ago when there was talk of smoothing out a curve near the Dreyfuss grain elevators near the Rose Garden...ostensibly the worst curve on the Seattle-Los Angeles run.) So locals would have to pick up the entire tab. Granted, I lack imagination, but there are some really difficult real-world issues.
I agree, Brian, that the Coliseum has a bright future and that the plan should be approved. It concerns me, however, that Paul Allen -- who has scarcely proved he can manage ANYTHING -- has managerial authority for 10 years or whatever. There are so many great opportunities for that building, but I don't think he's the guy to envision them and carry them out. So I fear the MC will continue to be an under-utilized building for years to come.
I hope your kind feelings for Portland continue. Maybe being a stranger helps. Many years ago I had to spend two weeks in LA on a journalistic assignment. I was surprised at how friendly and helpful everyone seemed to be. It certainly wasn't the LA I had heard about....
This is another fine example of adaptive re-use of old buildings allowing successful new opportunities. When the bigwigs talk about "small business incubators," our street-car era neighborhood commercial districts and their old buildings offer low rents and platforms for creativity. This article helps spread the message.
Maybe I'm not the right person to answer, but I'd say roof forms, massing, siding materials, double-hung windows and window framing.
Interesting response by Jeff. I always assumed the windows were intended to lure people in by giving them a glimpse of the beauty. Still, I think the garden is further proof of how difficult it is to stimulate nearby development...same result at the Convention Center, which was assumed to prompt user-friendly projects nearby. Still hasn't happened....
They're off to a good start, in my book, by undertaking a successful adaptation of a historic building. That is an under-appreciated aspect of architecture that needs to be more widely recognized for its historical, social and energy conservation benefits.
It's a thought-provoking discussion, indeed. One thing to think about is that the younger generation is much less car dependent than the boomers. I have two adult sons, 25 and 28, and NEITHER is a car owner. I once lived in Northwest Portland, where literally dozens of apartments were built in the teens and 1920s without parking. Yes, parking was difficult (I owned a car at the time) but the Northwest neighborhood was then -- and still is today -- perhaps the most vibrant in the city. Yes, I think the city needs to monitor the impact of these new developments, but let's not jump to premature conclusions.
It's creative and fun, but extremely resource-intensive, no? Would a better exercise be to build a shelter of similar function with the fewest materials?
The Gibbs Street bridge was intended to help remedy some of the MANY devastations the neighborhood suffered at the hands of Interstate-5, the Ross Island bridge-ramp tangle and Barbur Boulevard. (Not to mention as a sop to the over-wrought protestations against the tram.) I agree with Linder on the need for sidewalks. As a parent and walker, I wouldn't live in one without them. Sidewalks are a sign of civilization.
While talk of political accountability is nice, the sad fact is that if TriMet had been subject to direct political control, MAX never would have been built or expanded. We have the rail system today because dedicated transit experts struggled to make it happen. MAX would NEVER win at the polls. We'd have the Mt. Hood Freeway instead. I lived through that era and reported about it at the time. Transit never would have had a chance. And I don't think it would now, either. You can see the resistance today in Clackamas County. Nothing has changed.
It will be interesting to see what this team comes up with for future uses. There is considerable brainpower among them....
Really informative post. I learned a lot. I like the "reed" approach to the facade screen. One concern I have is the tilting platform that holds the rooftop electricity-generating panels. Seems to me a strong east wind is going to put a lot of pressure on the underside. I trust it has been "engineered" for that kind of force...but I hope they got it right! If not, we're talking life-threatening disaster....
Both the first and second versions of the Oregon Convention Center were intended to be generators of renewal in the neighborhood. It simply never happened, as one can tell by glancing at the under-utilized commercial sites on adjacent streets. The hotel is just another indication of failure. In an earlier run at the hotel long before the crash, one developer proposed starting at 300 rooms with room for expansion later if needed. That seems like a reasonable approach to me, although I know nothing about development or the hotel/convention business. I think TriMet's elimination of the free rail zone will be another dagger for the neighborhood, unless conventioneers are given free transit passes.
This is a magnificent piece of historic architecture. I know the structural issues will be a huge challenge. It appears that the prospective new owners have signed up a good local team of professionals. That's good news, as well.
Apple's architecture is all about corporate ego. The company is so rich, nothing else matters...sustainability, context, blah blah. Money does what money wants. This is corporate greed and insensitivity at its "best."