Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Behind the times

Alright.  I'm behind on blogging, I know that, you know that, I'd guess both of you who read this blog know that.  It's well known.  Be that as it may, I am putting fingers to keyboard in an attempt to catch the hell up.  I'll have to resort to bullets.

  • The Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building.  This 1970's era high rise is getting a green make-over. Actually, make-over isn't the right word.  This is a full re-do.  They have taken the skin off, taken the walls out, the plumbing out, the electrical out, in fact, they have taken this building down to studs - or steel girders.  It looks odd, that's for sure, when you realize that it used to be a fully functioning building a couple of months ago.  I'll try to keep up with the progress of this one...  Oh, and if you are having trouble placing it, it is right across from the cop shop on SW 3rd and Madison (approaching the Hawthorne Bridge from the west side.)

  • To spin your orientation around, next is a building going up on the long vacant lot in front of the Greyhound bus terminal.  It's right at the foot of the Broadway Bridge ramp, across Broadway from the main post office.  I don't know what it is slated to become, other than a high rise.  I'll check it out and keep you posted.

  • Remember that long defunct Burger King on the corner of Broadway and Burnside downtown?  It's finally been torn down and yep, you guessed it, a high rise is going in there, too.  Most likely ground floor retail and condos above, don't you think?  Because, for god's sake, we don't have enough vacant condos downtown right now.  Jeez!  But, again, I'll check it out and let you know.

  • The parking lot conversion to a plaza-style urban park went very well ~ I'm referring here to the lot on the South Park Blocks between Taylor and Yamhill.  It's called Director's Park and I don't know if that is because it is in front of the Fox Tower movie theater or if someone named Director footed the bill.  Zoe and Rob stayed in the Paramount Hotel on Taylor recently and I had the opportunity to enjoy the view from the 8th floor.  Very nice view, with one of my favorite buildings on the left, The Pythian.  

  • That bloody damn streetcar!  The streetcar has come to the close in east side and roads all over are torn up.  Detours abound, delays are inevitable.  The funny thing about this (to me) is that if you dig down under many streets on the east side, you'll find cobblestones and streetcar tracks.  I observed this on NE 28th, right by Freddy's when they were doing some sewer work a couple of years ago.  There are streetcar tracks all over, from back in the day when hardly anyone had a car.  An ironic thing is that buses are far more practical, cheaper, and more flexible in terms of changing routes and responding to growth, but buses don't have urban sex appeal.  Streetcars and light rail are hip, therefore they get the funding.

  • Interstate Bridge decision.  Naturally, the governors and mayors and federal transportation pooh-bahs have chosen the plainest, most boring, least attractive bridge option available.  We could have had something really beautiful spanning the Columbia between Portland and Vancouver, but instead it will look like a freeway.  I know, I know, it's the economy, stupid!  Still, opportunities to build something spectacular and special don't come along every day and it's a shame when the outcome is so... bland.
Well, that's all I have time for right now.  Plenty to follow up on, and report back on.  I will let you know what is happening on the streets of PDX!  Stay tuned!


  1. You really packd a bunch into this one! I for one am glad that the Burger King space is finally being cleaned up. You're right though...isn't the housing market supposed to be ugly for several years yet?! Maybe someone knows something we don't?

  2. not gonna be a condo for the old burger king. it is a low income health center! it is not in the pearl. that block is considered part of the lowly old skid row area, and therefore qualifies for funding for this type of project. pretty good, huh? ~rr