Posts tagged with "Portland":

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Portland and Nike launch branded bike share program

The City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation, Nike, and bike share operator Motivate have partnered to bring an innovative, $10-million, 1,000 cycle bike share system to Portland’s central city. The bike share program, named “Biketown,” originally was to only encompass 600 bicycles and a compact service area. However, Nike’s involvement (a Citi Bike-style branding effort) increased the program's visibility and enabled the expansion of the number of bicycles by 66 percent. This allowed the system to expand into several downtown-adjacent neighborhoods as well. According to a joint press release issued earlier this year, the sports and apparel multi-national, based in nearby Beaverton, Oregon, will provide the initial $10-million in funding for the program and maintain a five-year contract over the system’s branding, including the production of 400 limited edition and yet-to-be-released specialty wrapped bicycles every year. Nike’s contribution, combined with projected ridership revenues, will make the program cost-free for the city. The network’s aluminum frame bicycles were produced by Brooklyn, New York-based Social Bicycles, a transportation technology company that has revolutionized bike share infrastructure by pioneering a “smart-bike” containing integrated communications and locking technologies. These features relieved some the need for the expensive docking systems other bike share systems use. Bicycle docks were not eliminated entirely, and are still utilized as a highly-visible form of urban infrastructure, but the bicycles were designed with integrated slots for U-Lock bicycle locks so they can be locked to and checked out from traditional bicycle rack systems as well as branded bike docks. The bicycles’ on-board digital communications and payment displays are also solar powered, as opposed to being located on the bicycle docks, as is common in other locales, making the type of free-flowing movement described above possible. The 45-pound, chain-less shaft-drive, 8-speed models will be managed by Motivate, the New York City-based bike share management and coordination services provider that also runs programs in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and the Boston metropolitan area. With new bike share systems making their debut in Los Angeles, West Hollywood, California, Cleveland, Ohio, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Vancouver, Canada, Portland’s system is the latest in a rapid increase in bicycle systems in North America.
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Portland approves a twenty year growth plan

Last Wednesday, the Portland City Council adopted a new growth plan that will span the next two decades, according to Oregon Live. The 2035 Comprehensive Plan is an extension of Portland’s 1980 Comprehensive Plan; it also builds upon the 2012 Portland Plan and the 2015 Climate Action Plan. Additionally, it follows the approval of the West Quadrant Plan, a long-term upzoning plan aimed at increasing Portland's downtown density. The Plan notes that Portland is expected to experience a population increase of 42 percent (260,000 residents) in the next twenty years. To address this, the plan will address five major elements: the development of city centers, the creation of jobs, the protection of public health and safety, changes to some residential densities, and updates to open space designations for neighborhood development. Rule changes would densify single-family neighborhoods and require the inclusion of affordable housing units in housing projects. The plan reveals a proposed $80 million extension of the Portland Streetcar to the John’s Landing neighborhood. The city would also make seismic improvements to Willamette River bridges and upgrade infrastructure for pedestrian and bicycle travel across the city, the article notes. The plan will allow increased building heights downtown, allowing for the construction and development of office buildings to accommodate an estimated increase of 140,000 workers in the city. Such large-scale developments have already been proposed: for example, the Goodman family’s Downtown Development Group has suggested an eleven high-rise project for Downtown Portland. Investment in brownfield remediation throughout Portland is another goal of the legislation, according to the article. The 2035 Comprehensive Plan is scheduled to take effect in January 2018.
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Snøhetta showcases its design process at Portland exhibition

Design Week Portland kicked off Sunday, April 17, and the Center for Architecture in Portland, Oregon, was on the frontline with the exhibit Snøhetta: People, Process, Projects. Running until June 30, architecture and design firm Snøhetta compiled the material and designed the exhibition that serves as a retrospective and foretells of things to come. Originally shown in Copenhagen, this is the firm’s first extensive exhibition in the United States.

Previously on display last summer in Copenhagen, the exhibition highlights the firm’s work in Oregon on two large wall panels: The James Beard Public Market in Portland and the Willamette Falls Riverwalk in Oregon City. A fair portion of the exhibition covers the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art with a site model, large-scale facade study, detail drawings, and several renderings—a variety that feeds an architect’s curiosity. The breakthrough Alexandria Library in Egypt and the Norwegian National Opera are included, as well as several net-positive energy buildings and more libraries that are underway in Philadelphia and Far Rockaway, Queens.

The exhibition excels at displaying Snøhetta’s process. A wall graphic shows the diversity of office locations and staff, and several panels comprise the communal table that represents the center of the office—both in practice and in headquarters—in Oslo, Norway. But the study models, material samples, and inspirational pieces give more insight into the firm than could renderings, which are just as flat here as in any publication or on any screen.

Scale models convey context, form, and texture—the last especially in the study for the Vulkan Beehives installed in Norway. They’re really just a second skin wrapping a traditional apiary, but they’re a beautiful way to bring attention to a vital function of our ecosystem. Mock-ups of glass frits provide support for display panels of their respective projects. White boards offer areas for visitors to comment on the James Beard Public Market…and, perhaps unintentionally, other projects. All are aspects that make the physical display more than a just a catalogue made large—the exhibition is an interactive process.

A really cool aspect of the exhibition is the lounge that was created in the reception area. Angular seating lines one wall, and a low table with seating provides a place to flip through a number of Snøhetta’s publications, chat with friends, or take a break from the jam-packed events during Design Week. Hopefully it remains as a future amenity.

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Snøhetta’s first full-scale U.S. exhibition will open in Portland

Starting April 17, the nonprofit Center for Architecture in Portland will host the first full-scale exhibit on Snøhetta (see AN’s interview with founding partner, Craig Dykers) in the United States. The Norwegian and American firm is known for their international institutional projects: public and academic libraries, museums, opera houses, and more. In the U.S. they are working on projects like the Times Square reconstruction to the upcoming James Beard Public Market in Portland, a concept for the Willamette Falls River Walk in Oregon, the SFMOMA expansion opening this May, and an extension to the French Laundry Kitchen in Yountville, CA. The exhibit, Snøhetta: People, Process, Projects, features sketches, renderings, and models that provide a peek into the firm's process. The firm's architects and designers produced and curated the exhibit, too: “Join us at the lunch table or inside the workshop, where 3D prototyping and traditional craftsmanship drive conversations and exploration of new forms,” they said in a release. It’s a traveling exhibit of sorts—the exhibit made its first appearance at the Copenhagen Danish Architecture Centre last summer. The exhibit starts the first day of Design Week Portland, a spring design-oriented festival in The City of Roses that ends April 23. There are events on restorative design, data storytelling, restaurant design, and more, as well as design studio open houses throughout the city. (Seattle, by the way, has an equivalent event in September, hosted by Design in Public. The theme this year is Design Change.) The exhibit runs through June 30.
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Count ’em: After upzoning, developer proposes eleven new buildings for downtown Portland

The City of Roses may get a flurry of major developments downtown. The plan: Portland's Downtown Development Group, headed by the Goodman family, has proposed eleven buildings representing a $1.5 billion investment in the city. The Goodmans' vision, dubbed the Ankeny Blocks, would develop a series of parking lots topped by mixed-use buildings interspersed in a historic downtown neighborhood and near beloved landmarks like the Portland Saturday Market, reported The Oregonian this past Saturday. The five tallest buildings in the Ankeny plan—Blocks 5, 17, 18, and 19—top out at 460 feet. The blocks could play host to a variety of building types: offices, residences, retail, and restaurants. There is no word on tenants yet, but some are hoping tech giants like Google and Amazon could finally open big offices in downtown Portland. While the Ankeny plan is getting generally positive press, there is some controversy. One of the planned apartment buildings may replace the oldest food cart pod in Portland. The Goodmans' plan comes at a time when expected new zoning regulations will change the look and feel of the city. In March 2015, the Portland City Council approved the West Quadrant Plan, a 20-year comprehensive upzoning plan to increase downtown density through development (and help spruce up the city skyline). There are more building details with interactive graphics on the developer's website, with FARs, building heights, zoning, and land square footage for each of the proposed blocks.
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Behnisch and SRG team up on urban-minded business school at Portland State University

Construction is underway on the renovation and expansion of Portland State University School of Business Administration. Behnisch Architekten is collaborating with local SRG Partnership on the downtown Portland design, which strives to better connect the school to the urban fabric and uphold the school’s sustainable values. As such, they are targeting a LEED Platinum rating. “PSU is the largest university in Oregon, it's urban but the current business school is housed in an unremarkable building and doesn’t have an identity,” noted architect Matt Noblett, a partner in Behnisch Architekten’s Boston office. “The school has an ethos of responsible capitalism, which is a progressive approach to business and making money that is not at the expense of humanity and sustainability.” Slated to open in 2017, the new design is a 35,000-square-foot addition to the existing 100,000-square-foot business school. A daylight-filled, five-story atrium will provide circulation between the new and renovated areas while offering space for informal meetings and study areas. Both the new structure and the 1970s building will house classrooms, faculty administrative offices, and business incubators. Noblett added that the new structure would be clad in a unifying Alaskan Cedar. Critical to the new design is the connection to the urban fabric. The site is a typical 200-foot-by-200-foot Portland city block. The architects’ scheme harnesses pedestrian activity on Montgomery Street and cuts a path through the school to link to 6th Avenue, Broadway and Harrison Street. The hope is that by providing exterior plazas and a cross-block connection the design will foster a vibrant public space. Organized vertically from more public to more private, the new building has what Noblett calls a “natural stratification.” The ground floor will house retail spaces, while classroom and event spaces cantilever over the outdoor areas. “The existing building was deaf to public interaction and the school had a craving to link back to the public and show people what they do—they wanted to open up the school and make it part of the urban environment,” Noblett explained.
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Tactical Urbanism takes time: Architecture students build downtown Portland’s first parklet despite regulatory permitting hurdles

Word is out that downtown Portland, Oregon, has its first parklet. Designed by a team of Portland State University architecture students and led by assistant architecture professor B. D. Wortham-Galvin, the 41-foot-long public park covers two parking spaces and opened in June on Southwest 4th Avenue. https://youtu.be/y3s16HcyhjA Made out of juniper, reclaimed materials, and powder-coated steel, the small space provides ample seating and jaunty bent-metal tables for patrons of nearby eateries and food trucks—or any other member of the public who needs a place to sit a spell. The project is a collaboration between SoMa EcoDistrict, PSU School of Architecture, Sustainability Neighborhoods Initiative, and the Institute for Sustainable Solutions. While it is the neighborhood's first public parklet, it’s not, however, the city’s first parklet. In 2012, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, following the models of San Francisco and New York, embarked on the pilot Street Seats program that allows businesses or non-profit organizations to convert on-street parking into a public micro-park. The parklet offers important transparency into the time and labor that is required for tactical urbanism projects to go from design to permitting to realization. The PSU students began design development as part of a Fall 2013 studio, the city permitted the structure in late 2014, and the ribbon cutting was on June 1. Portland Monthly reported that the design-build project required 1,650 hours of work over the course of 18 months. The team raised more that $15,000 in crowd-funding and in-kind donations to offset the cost of construction and lost city revenue from paid parking. Covering that revenue is pivotal to the parklet’s lifespan and ultimate impact on the urban fabric. “When people ask if it is permanent, we have fundraised to build it and to pay the lost revenue for the next year,” Wortham-Galvin told the PSU Vanguard. “Whether it stays or not has nothing to do with permanence, but obviously at some point someone will have to take the initiative to keep paying the lost revenue for the city.” She told AN that the next phase of the project is just beginning: a post-occupancy study conducted by the students. They're interested in how the materials hold up and how the parklet is used during the whole day, not just the lunchtime rush. Wortham-Galvin suggested that an important metric is increased public will, or how one public amenity creates demand for more.
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Portland foodies rejoice: Snøhetta is designing the planned James Beard Public Market

It seems that almost every major West Coast city has a public market. Seattle has Pike Place Market (construction is underway on an upcoming expansion now set to open in 2016), San Francisco has the Ferry Building Marketplace, Los Angeles has Grand Central Market, and Vancouver has Granville Island. And San Diego may get a public market in Point Loma this summer. But the city of Portland—the small but mighty West coast food hub chock full of inventive restaurants, abundant farmers’ markets, and food trucks—has gone without a public market since the Portland Public Market closed in 1942. Until now. Portland's new food hall is set to be called the James Beard Public Market after the famous Portland-born chef and writer, whose name is also lent to the eponymous annual awards that are like the AIA awards or Oscars for food. Snøhetta is leading the design and working with SERA Architects, Mayer/Reed, Studio Jeffreys, and Interface Engineering. The conceptual designs publicly released last week depict a pair of two-story market halls totaling 80,000 square feet. The two wings would fill two almost oval-shaped downtown parking lots currently hugging the western end of the Morrison Bridge. Pedestrian safety will be critical at a site that abuts a major Portland artery carrying about 50,000 vehicles a day. “Currently, the Morrison Street Bridge and automobile ramps slice the site into two symmetrical halves, barring pedestrian access from three sides,” said Snøhetta in a statement. "Two broad moves are proposed—realigning the Morrison Bridge ramps and introducing a pedestrian through-road along the western edge of the market in order to increase the overall build able site area, and make the new Market accessible and safe for pedestrians from all four sides.” The designers filled the renderings with lots of natural wood, exposed steel, ample seating, and glazing. There are outdoor and indoor spaces with areas for over 100 market stalls, special events, restaurants, and even a teaching kitchen. There are also plans for a green rooftop terrace overlooking the Willamette River so market visitors can get glimpses of Mount Hood on a clear day. While Portland rarely has to contend with snow, a covered public market will allow venders and other merchants to sell their produce and wares out of the rain year-round. The project is currently in the community outreach phase. Construction is slated to start in the fall of 2016 and the market is expected to open in the spring of 2018. While the local nonprofit organization that will operate the market, the Historic Portland Public Market Foundation, has not yet revealed the cost, the project is expected to draw on a mix of public and private funding.
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Tapping into power: Portland looks to its water pipes to generate electricity

What would it look like if cities could harvest power from water pressure moving through municipal water pipelines? Since 2012, Riverside, California has been putting that question into practice, and now Portland, Oregon is adopting the approach as well. A Portland-based company, Lucid Energy, has designed a system that generates electricity from simply flushing a toilet or turning on the tap. The system requires gravity-fed pipes to do it’s work: pipes come with up to four mini-turbines and four external generators to remove excess water pressure. A 42” diameter one mile pipeline can generate over 3 megawatts of electricity. Estimates say the Portland system will be able to power about 150 homes, generating 1,100 megawatt hours of energy each year. The Portland system is financed by Harbourton Alternative Energy (a subsidiary of Harbourton Enterprises). “Over the next 20 years, it should also generate about $2 million in energy sales to Portland General Electric, which Harbourton plans to share with the City of Portland and the Portland Water Bureau to offset operational costs. At the end of that period, the Portland Water Bureau will have the right to purchase the system outright, along with all the energy it produces,” writes gizmag. While installation on a main Portland pipeline was finished this past December, the system won’t be fully running until March.
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Portland Building, once eyed for demolition, will be saved, Graves says

[Editor's Note: This post was written by Edward Gunts and James Russiello.] The Portland Building, once considered for demolition, will be spared from the wrecking ball and renovated, according to its architect. Michael Graves, the building’s architect, said in late November that city officials have decided to renovate it for continued use as municipal offices and have asked him to serve on a committee that will coordinate the redesign effort. AN spoke to Graves at a symposium organized by the Architectural League of New York. “It’s going to be saved,” Graves said. “They told me… They said they are saving the building and not only that but we want you to sit on a committee for the redesign.” Graves added that a time frame for the work has not been set but “I would imagine in the next year we’ll do something.” Dana Haynes, communications director for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, confirmed that the Portland Building is not under threat of demolition and will continue to house city employees. He said Portland's annual capital budget process will begin in January and city officials likely will begin to look at what resources the city might have to address flaws with the building at that time. Haynes said he was not aware that Graves had been asked to serve on a commission to help oversee work on the building, but he said he thought that made sense. Graves’ comments about the building’s status came two months after he made an impassioned plea during a public forum in Portland that the building be spared from the wrecking ball. He said that he believes the public debate over the building’s fate and his proactive preservation stance had a role in the outcome. “I think that was a big part of it,” he said. “They didn’t want to be known as the society that tore down the Portland Building.” City officials in Portland, Oregon have been exploring options for ways to address a series of flaws with the 32-year-old building, from leaks to unpleasant working conditions to questions about its ability to withstand an earthquake. More than one city commissioner has suggested demolition. The city’s internal business services division has recommended that the building be overhauled rather than scrapped. The mayor’s office has not officially disclosed what the city plans to do to address the building’s shortcomings. The 15-story building houses about 1,300 employees. Adjacent to City Hall, it is considered one of the first major America examples of Postmodernism. Constructed for about $25 million and opened in 1982, the Portland Building drew widespread attention for its classically-inflected exterior. Colored in blue, green, salmon and cream, it features a range of decorative flourishes as well as a statue called Portlandia, and it stands out in a city where the architecture is mostly sedate and often unadorned. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011, the building also has been criticized for providing a dark, claustrophobic and generally unpleasant place to work and transact business with the city. There have been complaints about its small tinted windows that don’t let in much natural light, leaks, low ceilings, and an unimpressive lobby.  To address the complaints, city officials have been pondering a series of options, ranging from renovating the building to moving the employees elsewhere and razing it. Cost estimates for repairing the building have ranged from $38 million to  $95 million. According to The Oregonian newspaper, the high figure was based on analysis by  the city’s Office of Management and Finance.  The $95 million figure included the cost of relocating employees while work was underway and providing alternative space. Much of the cost would go to address structural issues such a making the building more capable of withstanding a major earthquake. The numbers have prompted some city commissioners to discuss the possibility that the building be sold or razed and replaced rather than have the city and its taxpayers spend more money to correct its shortcomings. The estimated cost of tearing the building down and building a new structure is $110 million to $400 million, according to finance office figures obtained by The Oregonian. Graves said that he doesn’t agree with the $95 million estimate for the renovation work and believes the problems can be addressed for much less. “It‘s not $90 million,” he said. “Somebody threw that out to see …if it would stick. It wasn’t true at all. It’s $38 million.” In the past, Graves has also said that although the window dimensions are fixed, it would be possible to replace the tinted glass with clear panes. Another way to keep costs down, he said, is renovating the building floor by floor, rather than emptying it out all at once and finding temporary space for the employees.
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Pittsburgh, Washington, Buffalo lead nation in growth of bicycle commuters

Portland still dominates the American Community Survey ranking the 70 largest cities with the highest share of bike commuters, but the list shakes up some preconceptions when you count which cities had the largest growth in the share of bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2013. The League of American Bicyclists runs the numbers every year, pulling data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. This year's bike culture report card, as it were, has Portland, Washington, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and New Orleans topping its list of bicycle commuters as a percentage of total population. In total 13 cities report more than 2 percent of their population biking to and from work. Growth in that number is more startling. They're small overall numbers, perhaps inflating the percent change figure, but the growth since 1990 for eight cities is over 100 percent. The following cities had the largest growth in the share of bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2013:
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Remembering Doug Wright, the man who helped tear down highways in San Francisco and Portland

San Francisco's deputy mayor for transportation—who played an integral role in getting the city to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake—passed away on July 30th. He was 68. After the earthquake struck the city, Wright convinced former San Francisco mayor, Art Agnos, to help lead the effort to remove the highway and replace it—not with another highway, but instead with a boulevard at street level. In the 1970s, Wright worked as the planning director in Portland, Oregon. He set a major urban planning milestone in the United States: he got the city to take down a large portion of Harbor Drive, a highway along the Willamette River and build a park—the Tom McCall Waterfront Park (named after former Oregon governor, Tom McCall)—in its place. In many ways his actions were visionary, setting a precedent for large scale urban freeway removal projects. In later decades, other cities let go of portions of their elevated highways, such as Boston, Milwaukee, and Seattle. Seattle is currently in the midst of boring the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel and planning a major redevelopment of the waterfront, designed by James Corner Field Operations. "I hate the word 'vision,' but he had a vision as to how transportation should be part of larger efforts to sustain the urban environment," Rudy Nothenberg told the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a colleague of Wright and San Francisco's former chief administration officer. "More than anyone I worked with, he was the kind of person you would want as a fermenter of ideas and possibility."