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It's hard to have faith in the public sector when the City Council has pretty much buried well-reasoned zoning and design guidelines for more than 2 years running. All because a few property owners insist on grossly out of scale heights in a National Historic Landmark District. This isn't just some rundown part of the city - this is where our city began. We should celebrate that and reinvigorate the area with that in mind.
Nice post, Brian, about this completely out of scale, faux -urban grocery store. Your comment that you will probably still end up shopping there, is probably exactly what the folks at Safeway recognize. In that respect they're just thumbing their noses at the neighborhood and the city.
What a great re-use of a historic building! The June 5, 1910 Oregonian notes that the building was originally constructed for the Pacific Hardware & Steel Co. It also says that this was to be one of the largest warehouses in the city at that time. The firm of Bennes & Hendricks were the architects. John V. Bennes is known for numerous Portland buildings, along with several buildings on the OSU campus in Corvallis.
Came across this building several times as it was going up. It may be "eco" as in energy efficient, but its drab exterior and wire mesh screening make it look like a 1950s housing project.
Interesting work, Have you seen these? equally interesting I think. http://brinlevinson.com/paintings/?gallery=72157624031442257&title=Painting+Gallery+1
Not meaning to offend anyone, but the first step toward a feasible rehab is having a property owner/developer/architect with an interest in considering such a rehab. When you look at these projects from the perspective of the general public, all people are told is that the buildings will be demolished and new ones constructed. This makes it seem that the intent was always to demolish and build new. If indeed the buildings in question are too far deteriorated to be rehabbed perhaps the developers should publicize something showing that to be the case. Instead, the only public mention of building conditions related to the Galaxy came in a news article where demolition was justified because of bad plumbing. There are some ways to help offset the costs of building rehabilitations. In the case of the Couch apartments, there's the possibility of listing one or both buildings in the National Register of Historic Places, which would make the properties eligible for federal tax credits. Both the apartments and the Galaxy restaurant buildings are within the borders of the Central Eastside Urban Renewal District too, so there may also be PDC storefront improvement or other assistance out there too. Mudd, based on each of your prior comments, you clearly have an issue with preservationists in general and that's unfortunate. I'd welcome a discussion on this topic further. In fact, I'd propose a public forum to discuss people's feelings about preservation and preservationists - if you'd come and be an active participant. I can be reached at the Architectural Heritage Center.
I hope that people aren't mis-interpreting the interest in preserving the Galaxy and the two apartment buildings on Couch. While it is interesting and correct that the Galaxy was Portland's first Denny's, that is less important than the process by which such developments move forward in this city. In addition to Henry's suggestion for an updated historic resources inventory, which we certainly need, It is the design review process that needs revamping as well. I have yet to hear anyone besides the restaurant owner and the architect for the new Trio, claim that the new building will be a great addition to the neighborhood. This would seem to be a signal that (if nothing else) the Trio design is either poor or incompatible with the neighborhood. Yet the design has gained approval at the cost of a far more distinctive building that really ties together the nearby Jupiter Hotel/Doug Fir. A similar argument could be made for the apartments on Couch. Yes, they need work, but it is completely feasible to rehab them and then integrate a new apartment building on the north side of the lot. This would add housing and preserve some of the remaining bits of historic character in the area. The language in the design guidelines for the Central Eastside calls for "integrating urban design and preservation of our heritage into the development process.” They also state “Areas of the Central City are enhanced, embellished, and/or identified through the integration of distinct landmarks.” They also call out "the reuse, rehabilitation, or restoration of buildings" and seek new development that “Complement[s] the context of existing buildings." It seems that with both the Couch and Galaxy projects these guidelines are not met and certainly aren't exceeded. Yet designs were approved.
Interesting post Brian and great insight Ian. There's definitely something to be said about how older buildings reduce consumption simply because they still exist. Studies have shown that pre-1920 construction is often as energy efficient as what gets built today. It gets even better when those older buildings are rehabilitated - as in the recent upgrades to the Morgan Building in Downtown. Imagine that, a system that tells you when to open or close the windows rather than complete reliance upon HVAC systems. On the refrigeration note, The size of our fridges here in the states are crazy compared to most of those in Europe. Part of that has to do with what we insist on refrigerating needlessly. As someone who lives in an older house, I had a heck of a time finding a modern fridge that would actually fit in our kitchen. Most of those on the US market are made more efficient because they include massive amounts of insulation - making their physical size ridiculous.
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Dec 21, 2010