Possibilities – NW US Postal Site

Here’s What the Post Office Site in Northwest Could Look Like

The eastern edge of the Pearl is due for a major face-lift.

By Ko Ricker 9/23/2016 at 11:02am

Lookbook union park design portland xgvzqv

A development proposal for the USPS Post Office site in Northwest Portland

Back in the day, Portland’s federal post office, conveniently situated near Union Station, was a design pioneer. The facilities boasted the best that the early 20th century had to offer in mail mobilization. But by 1962, an addition was required to house the new fleets of mail trucks that would serve the expanding metro area.

Five decades later, the main post office is an eyesore of a relic, and it’s taking up valuable space in the Pearl, the poster child for Portland’s recent urban renewal projects. The 14-acre plot of land has long been slated for redevelopment, and now the question is—what’s the plan?

Union park proposal t05zpy

The nine students in Portland State’s Master of Real Estate Development program have an idea. Earlier this June, professor Gerard Mildner and his team of students began research on a project that would connect Old Town and the North Park Blocks to the Pearl District.

“It’s a piece of the puzzle that’s been missing for a long time,” says Mildner, who is the academic director of the PSU Center for Real Estate. “It’s ridiculous to have a postal sorting unit in the middle of a high-rent district just because our mail used to come from Chicago on a train.”

The plan was conceived in coordination with the architects at ZGF, the firm responsible for designing Director Park, which received an American Architectural Award in 2012. Union Park, as the concept has been dubbed, would include not only an expansion of the North Park Blocks to promote more walking, biking, rolling, jogging, and public transit trips, but also housing units for 3,300 new residents, 30 percent of which would be affordable. The underbelly of the Broadway viaduct would transform into a unique public hub, complete with food carts and lush wetlands. Extensions of Kearney and Irving would be “woonerfs,” a delightfully Dutch word for streets that put pedestrians first but allow slow-moving car traffic.

“We’re hoping that what is actually built in the next 20 years will end up being very similar to what we’ve come up with,” says Colin Kelley, a student who focused on market research for the Union Park concept.

It sounds almost too good to be true, but Mildner says it’s no pipe dream—the Portland Development Commission will put the project out for bid to the development community next year. “This development project could very well be the biggest in Portland’s history,” says Kelley. “It would be an unprecedented move towards the city’s future.”


Fun Times in The Pearl!

Pearl District businesses, generous volunteers, and a dose of sunshine made the Bunny Hop a huge success this year!

The weather was perfect for the annual Hippity Hop Bunny Hop Through the Pearl held on April 15th. Over 500 children and their parents enjoyed activities like face painting, bracelet making and hunting for eggs at the 35 participating businesses, collecting stamps at each stop along the way. Also hopping about the neighborhood was the Easter bunny who stopped in at local businesses to take photos with the kids and spread the holiday spirit!

This year the Pearl District also hosted the very first scavenger hunt through the Pearl using our new app, PEARL DISTRICT SWAG’R. The app took users to many fun destinations in the neighborhood, including some great bars and restaurants.

After exploring the neighborhood, families gathered in Jamison Square for a party that included live music from Micah & Me, cookies from Lovejoy Bakers, and coffee from Café Umbria.


A special thank you goes to the event sponsors, Hoyt Realty Group, KIN Living and The Brewery Blocks. And also to all of the Pearl District businesses that donated items for the raffle prizes. Raffle winners went home with some great prizes, including gift cards to Brix Tavern, a free treatment at Pearl MedSpa, and a box full of chocolates from World Foods.

Christmas Tree in Jamison Square Park!

by Bettie DeWitt


We have a new tree this year in Jamison Square Park! It is a 30-foot Oregon Cascade fir (albeit faux) which was made by Crystal Valley Decorations in Albany, Oregon.  The lights are new RGB light strands which are controlled at the individual LED level, so the lights are able to operate in an independent fashion. This accounts for the computerized light show and the ability to write messages around the middle of the tree which say Happy Holidays Portland and Good Will and Peace to All.  Pretty neat!!

Carols are also played for a few hours every night – a nice mix of carols for children, traditional vocals and some instrumentals, too. The songs play every 20 minutes from 5:30 to 9:30. For the second year, snowflakes are thrown on the floor of the park and the star at the top shines bright.

The tree will be taken down January 5 2015. Maybe there will be some freak snowstorm and they will have to leave it up a few days past that date. Until then, enjoy!!

Yes, Abigail. There is a Crane!!

by Bettie DeWitt

Thanks to Andersen jpeg

Few things warm our heart like a note from a child. This thank you note was hand-delivered by a young resident of the Pearl to Andersen Construction trailers who, along with a friend/guardian, was thoughtful enough to also bring cookies. You can only imagine how hungry those guys get, working out there in the cold and rain. Abigail enjoys the crane lights every night, she says, and just wanted the construction crew to know. Thank you, Abigail!! We are thankful for YOU!!!

Christmas Tree Lighting in Jamison Square Park 2014!

by Bettie DeWitt

Take a break from shopping local and at our Little Boxes to enjoy the ever-festive tree lighting ceremony at Jamison Square Park, this year at 4 pm on Saturday, November 29th. This year’s tree is a new 30-foot high (albeit faux) Oregon Cascade fir, one that plays Christmas carols (just for a few hours each evening) and dances with a little light show. Like last year, the digital snowflakes will be falling on the park, there will be carolling and the trees will be lit. See you there….it’s a tradition!!

Photo: Elliott Schofield
Photo: Elliott Schofield


Polish the Pearl 2014

by Bettie DeWitt 

Just a reminder….2014’s Polish the Pearl event is this Saturday, October 11th, the autumnal half of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association’s semi-annual effort to gather like-minded friends to do some litter gathering around our Pearl District neighborhood.

PtP 2010 Spring

The day starts at Peet’s Coffee (1114 NW Couch) for a free cuppa and to pick up your cleaning supplies. Then it’s out and about the neighborhood picking up whatever’s out there that shouldn’t be. This is an opportunity to meet your neighbors and make some new friends while helping to keep our neighborhood clean and beautiful. Bags, gloves and trash grabbers will be supplied so just bring your sunny disposition!

At 11:30 after the clean-up, we’ll meet up again at Chipotle Mexican Grill (1201 NW Lovejoy) to celebrate and return the cleaning supplies. And there’s a free burrito in it if you’re one of the first 75 people to register. To register for the event, go to www.solv.org and click the REGISTER NOW button. Let’s get together and polish our neighborhood!

PtP 2011 Spring
PtP 2011 Spring – Kick Cigarette Butts Brigade




Holiday Lights Going Up!

by Bettie DeWitt

Tanner-Springs-Park2 c'mas lights
via Pearl District Neighborhood Association

No place is prettier than the Pearl District in the fall and winter. No place. Maybe Paris – but that’s IT. Flower baskets come down and snowflakes go up. Tanner Springs Park freezes over and the wreaths go up on the fence of rail tracks. A tree goes up in Jamison Park and carols are sung. Chestnuts get roasted on an open…..no. That one’s not true. But you can go over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, as long as the bridges are open.

For many of us, the best part is the twinkly lights get wrapped around the trunks and branches of our trees. They go up early and stay up well into the new year and are on all day. Hoyt Street Yards Community Association supports all of this and every year they deserve our thanks. Work has already begun and the MSI crews will be onsite every afternoon and evening (3 to 10 pm) until they get it all done. Impact will be minimal and when you see those men at work, be sure to thank them. We certainly do!!

As the days get shorter and shorter, the lights add some glitter to those inevitable dark days to come. Enjoy!

Photo: Elliott Schofield
Photo: Elliott Schofield