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Cities

Built Links: Occasional curated news from the web (April 2020)

Mass
Pandemic, yep. Still in disbelief, yet saw it coming in slow-motion (“there’s no way they will suspend the NBA, right?!). But, here we are. The shutdown. The social distancing. Job losses. You know the drill.

However, projects are (for the moment) still getting built, buildings still need to be saved or re-used, and communities are still trying to figure out how to stay alive or readjust.

Do I have answers? Nope. But I do have an idea: collect and curate news from across North Americ each week that explores, reports on, looks at or follows news that’s related to new or used building projects, how communities and neighborhoods are coping and responding, and small-scale city ideas that are emerging and being enacted. I’ve been impressed at the great reporting and the thoughtful discussions on LinkedIn and elsewhere about real ideas that might get us in a better place, but probably not the place we all remember.

“Community building” has taken on a whole new meaning.

I hope the occasional updates are a helpful resource for you. And if you have news to share, send it my way.

People to follow on social media 

Revitalize or Die
Jeff Siegler’s Facebook page offers insight, daily content, interviews, and more. He’s also got a website. As it says, “he believes revitalizing communities is the most important work we can do.” Great stuff. 

Recast City
Ilana Preuss’ Recast City has always been favorite, focusing on neighborhood revitalization with an emphasis on small-scale manufacturing and local business. Follow her on LinkedIn, where she shares tons of info. 

Civic Brand
They’re an agency with a team of strategists, creatives and story-tellers with a passion for helping communities tell their story. Also, they had me at this post on breweries and economic development.

 

Articles or posts you already might have read, but if not, check them out

Opinion: In A Pandemic, We Need Green Spaces More Than Ever
What does redling, trees and more (or less) nature have to do with other? Plenty. 

The “Why” of Preservation Matters Now More than Ever
Why spend time and money on saving historic sites when people are getting sick, losing their jobs, and struggling to stop every aspect of their lives from unravelling? Start with regarding our historic places as luxuries to recognizing them as necessities. 

National Park Service Announces $14 Million in Grants to Preserve African American Civil Rights
The National Park Service (NPS) has announced $14 million in African American Civil Rights Historic Preservation Fund grants to fund 51 projects across 20 states and the District of Columbia that will preserve sites and history related to the African American struggle for equality in the 20th century.

Unease at Kentucky Project Mirrors Construction Industry’s Fears
A $35 million plan to redevelop one of Louisville’s oldest and poorest neighborhoods is threatened by the coronavirus outbreak.

Categories
Portland Real Estate

Power + Light Building sold to Gerding Edlen

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Beacon Capital has sold the Power + Light Building to Gerding Edlen for $131.5 million, according to Yardi Matrix data. The seller had owned the 16-story property, also known as the Public Service Building, for more than 25 years, paying $3 million for the structure in mid-1992.

The seller had extensively renovated the property in 1999, per Yardi Matrix data, with additional updates completed in 2018. Following the improvements, the building now has an upgraded lobby and a modern amenity mix including a conference center, rooftop deck and fitness center.

For architecture and building fans, the Power + Light Building was designed by A.E. Doyle and originally named the Public Service Building, the third of three similarly Italianate buildings built in Portland by his firm. 

PSB .jpg

Read more about the sale here. 

Categories
Portland Real Estate

Event amplification: My Existential Crisis and Other Random Acts | Martha Schwartz

You might have already seen this event being promoted but just in case. 

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Portland Design Events is presenting Martha Schwartz of Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP)—a leading international design practice whose work focuses on activating and regenerating urban sites and city centers—with a two-part presentation on 9/13. 

The first part will be about the work of Martha Schwartz Partners that spans from the very early installation works to the most recent work being done by the practice. The work will show an evolution of scale and approach to design.

The second part of the presentation will be sharing Schwartz’s concerns about climate change and the conflicts this knowledge has brought which has resulted in the re-evaluation of her own priorities as a professional. Here’s her take: 

I’m in a transition now as I am beginning to learn more about climate change and how we, as a practice, might fundamentally change our approach to design. As a teacher, my goals have shifted to teaching students how we, as landscape architects, can respond meaningfully to climate change.

I’m not a designer or an architect but this sounds interesting for everyone that cares about how our cities and spaces are going to be designed. Go here to sign up!

Categories
Portland Real Estate

A stroll through Portland’s West End

James Cook, director of retail research in the Americas for JLL, has an interesting podcast called Where We Buy, “a show about the things we buy and the places we buy them.”

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In his most recent episode he explores Portland’s West End with Jonathan Ledesma, a partner with developer Project^. They talk about the challenges, opportunities and the transformation of the West End through adaptive reuse.

 Union Way: The shops may have changed since its opening,  but the design still shines. 
Union Way: The shops may have changed, but the design still shines. 

The two projects highlighted include Blackbox, a retail and creative space in a historic brick building, and Union Way, the shopping alley that connects two streets through two former night clubs. I’m probably not the target shopping audience for Union Way but I still love its aesthetics, the vibe, the design (those flush-mounted floor lights…), and the fact that it magically empties out to Powell’s (how convenient). It’s the perfect example of a building being reborn as a fun and useful space.

Grab a beverage and give the episodes a listen.

Categories
Portland Real Estate

Opening the Locks at the Willamette Falls? Maybe.

The Willamette Falls project is one of the biggest undertakings the Portland metro area has seen. It’s had some bumps and stops along the way (that’s an understatement) since the paper mill closed in 2011 but for the most part, it’s back on track.

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First up will be a new riverwalk, with plans designed by Snøhetta. Then it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next, from mixed use something-something, condos, shopping. It’s going to change the McLoughlin corridor, from Milwaukie to Oregon City. If you’ve ever driven on McLoughlin and seen the car lots, strip joints, this is a good thing.

And, just last week it was announced there’s yet another new plan: Possibly reopening the decommissioned Willamette Falls Locks. The Willamette Falls Locks Commission (appointed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown) is working to advise state, local and regional stakeholders on the “development and implementation of policies relating to the repair, reopening, operation and maintenance of the Willamette Falls navigation canal and Locks.”

The Locks are currently owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who shuttered the Locks in 2011. But, according to a Local Economic Potential Study conducted by ECONorthwest, Oregon could see tremendous economic benefits from recommissioning the Locks. The study found that over the next 30 years:

  • Transportation benefits of $12-$49 million
  • Recreation benefits of $12-$50 million
  • 80,000-220,000 truck trips removed from Portland area roads
  Source.   Stern-wheel steamboat Grahamona in the Willamette Falls locks, sometime between 1912 and 1918.
Stern-wheel steamboat Grahamona in the Willamette Falls locks, mid-1900s.

Reopening the Locks and returning navigational access around Willamette Falls holds tremendous historical and cultural value to Oregonians, and to the state’s Native American tribes.

Plus? It’d be cool to travel past the Falls and beyond in the Willamette in a boat or on a kayak, right? Crossing our fingers on this one and we’ll be writing much more on this amazing project.

Categories
Portland Real Estate

Orange Line Ale Trail; Westmoreland church for sale; new Central Eastside shuttle

The Orange Line Ale Trail
Ok, it’s not really a thing but it could be, drinking beers without driving, from downtown Milwaukie to Tilikum Crossing. Here’s a quick take on your beery adventure.

 Orange Line Ale Trail.  Source

First (or last) stop: Beer Store Milwaukie. Revolving taps, OK food, bottles and cans.

Next stop: Ruse Brewing, located in the Iron Fireman Collective building (after 7/14!).

Hop back on Max,t hen get off at the Clinton stop and head to Apex, BeerMongers then Los Gorditos. Depending on your state, you can get back on Max or walk to Tilikum Crossing Bridge to enjoy more beers at the recently opened Mt. Hood Brewery at Tilikum Station. If you’re feeling adventurous, hoof it down Water Avenue for 20 minutes where you can hit up Hair of the Dog, Produce Row Cafe, and Wayfinder. (But that’s a different post for a different kind of blog.)

Update: Looks like The Portland Mercury thinks the same thing. 

 Mt. Hood Brewery's new spot offers beers, pizza, a refurbished caboose as a dining room, and a front-row seat of the Orange Line and train museum across the street. 
Mt. Hood Brewery’s new spot offers beers, pizza, a refurbished caboose as a dining room, and a front-row seat of the Orange Line and train museum across the street.

New shuttle in Central Eastside
Not to keep talking about beer, but… if you want to keep your beerventure going (or need to get to work) you can always keep walking down Water Avenue to a handful of breweries and taprooms. Or? Take the just-launched Water Avenue Courtesy Shuttle, for free. It runs from 6:30am to 9:30am and 4pm-7pm. with stops including the Dairy Building parking lot, Oregon Rail Heritage Center parking lot, North OMSI parking lot, ODOT Block parking lot, Eastside Exchange parking lot and Oregon Convention Center. Prowling around Central Eastside yesterday, we saw it cruise by pretty frequently.

Mid-century church in Westmoreland a goner?
We always liked this mid-century church building but it might not be around for very much longer. Though the land is currently zoned R-1 and R-5, there’s a pending zone change of the entire site to R-1, a medium-density residential zone. Allowed uses include condominiums, apartments, duplexes, townhouses, and row homes. We’ll be watching what happens next.

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Nature in the city
A quick note for NextDoor posters that post (which seems like every week) that they SPOTTED A COYOTE ON OUR STREET HOW DID IT GET HERE THIS IS A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD: those coyotes aren’t going anywhere (and were probably there first). In fact, they might be trotting around your backyard even more while you sleep.

According to new research, human activity is forcing mammals to become more active during the night—because humans are disrupting them. Night noises just got more interesting.

Categories
Portland Real Estate

Guild Theatre gets new life; mid-century in Milwaukie; new pedestrian bridge in Forest Park

We’ve got to admit it was touch and go with the Guild. It was in disrepair for years, then vacant. (Buildings that are vacant for long periods of time always us nervous.) It was originally built in 1927 as the Taylor Street Theatre until 1948 when it was renamed, renovated in 1956, then closed in 2006. But wait! It was renovated in 2016. Original plans called for it to be used as a theater, but that came to pass. Until this year, it sat vacant. And now, Willamette Week reports that it will get a new resident—Japan’s Kinokuniya Books. Chalk that up as a win. 

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Milwaukie Cleaners closing

Dry cleaners closing their doors isn’t exactly breaking news. However, this one piques our interest. One, it’s a cool structure. Two, it’s a hidden mid-century gem. Three, it would make a great spot for something other than a dry cleaner? Restaurant? Beer-something? Coffee shop? Market? The Architecture Heritage Center did a walking tour of downtown Milwaukie last year that (we think) that featured it. (They’re doing another one in the fall.)

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Beers Made by Walking and a new pedestrian bridge in Forest Park
If you’ve never done the Beers Made by Walking hike, do it. Last weekend, we had the chance to wander around with Forest Park folks and brewers from Hopworks and Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider. The two-hour walk provided a chance to see a new Metro trail under construction, a 500-year-old cedar, and a forest —mere miles from downtown Portland.

Closer to town on Burnside in Forest Park it was recently announced the Burnside Wildwood Trail crossing has enough funds to be built. After support from myriad of sources, including Portland Parks & Recreation, Metro, major family and public foundations, private donations, and crowdsourcing, construction is predicted to start in late summer.

 Based on a stunning design inspired by the concept of a “bridge floating in the woods” by Ed Carpenter, an artist from Portland.  Source. 
Based on a stunning design inspired by the concept of a “bridge floating in the woods” by Ed Carpenter, an artist from Portland. Source.