August 7, 2015
We recently took a trip down to Portland to talk with the folks from Community Vision about designing a project that maximizes a diversity of age, ability, ethnicity and income in North Portland. It’s a great idea and a great area: there are riverfront parks, a university, industrial uses and medium density housing all put together in a unique mix.
After a tour of the neighborhood, we wandered the streets of the Pearl and visited Tanner Springs (a premier urban storm water bio-filtration park), Jameison Square, and my favorite water fountain/play park in the city.
We visited the Saturday Broadway Bridge market, and had a bite at the exquisite Maurice – within view of a glass high-rise topped with windmills.
We were wowed by great architecture where maximum profit does not trump durability and the values of long lifespan buildings. Wonderful experiments in character greet you at almost every turn.
We saw the homeless and disenfranchised treated with effective kindness without impact on tourists and mid-stream residents. We ventured north on Williams and saw great mixed use projects in development. There is a scale, complexity and inventiveness that is exciting and worth the added expense.
That evening we visited a wonderful restaurant on the Park Blocks called the Park Kitchen, and everywhere we turned we saw public art; A wonderful punctuation of the 200′ long blocks of Portland, which is 30% shorter than a Seattle block. Truly Portland is a great geographic sister-city to Seattle.