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.
Image: Portland State University
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?
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.”
by Bettie DeWitt
With their completed remodel, Powell’s Books is sporting a seismic upgrade, new roof, lighting and a new entrance at the edge of the Pearl District on the corner of NW 10th and Burnside. However, in doing so, they lost this literary bike rack out front, an homage to books about bicycles, cycling and cyclists: Curious George Rides a Bike, It’s Not About the Bike, Three Men on Wheels, The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World, “Round Ireland” in Low Gear, I am the Cheese, Spokesongs, Metal Cowboy, Miles from Nowhere. Sure, the new entrance is cleaner looking and more in keeping with the look of the Brewery Blocks, but we sure miss that bike rack. Shop local – go buy a book!
by Bettie DeWitt
From her recent location in the Streetcar Lofts, Amy Caplan has moved Caplan Art Designs to retail space over at Pearl Self Storage, just on the other side of the 405 on NW 16th and Pettygrove (1323 NW 16th #1001, entrance on Pettygrove).
Join her for a Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 14th from 1:00 to 4:00. There will be holiday merriment and refreshments to celebrate the season!
Amy will continue to be open First Thursdays at the new space (but not in January and February). The gallery is open 11-4 on Saturdays and Sundays (or by appointment) to satisfy her long list of clients who want to see which new artists she is showcasing. Give her a call at 503.319.6437 to ask for any specifics. We’ll extend the Pearl District boundaries just this once for Amy, so she’s not out of our neighborhood!
Hoyt Realty Group’s showroom showcasing the Cosmopolitan’s finishes, features and floor plans has opened! You just have to see it to believe it….beautiful Italian Pedini cabinets with all Miele appliances.
The finishes are exquisite and have been well-received; wood flooring, natural stone in the baths, carpeted bedrooms, the option of mixed color on upper cabinets to base cabinets, quartz countertops.
Every unit has a patio area and those in the tower are recessed to be protected from the wind and rain so in theory they can be in use all year round.
Better hurry in….34 have been sold already! Showroom is open daily M-F 10-5 and Saturday and Sunday 11-5 or by appointment. Call 503-227-2000 to talk to an agent and Marilyn Andersen, Michele Bell or Tiffany Shleifer will be happy to put you in your new home with the best views in town!
by Bettie DeWitt
Now THAT’s a dress!! Or maybe just a top, I’m not quite sure which! This is in the window at Silkwood (NW corner of NW 11th and Johnson), one of the many boutique women’s wear shops in our neighborhood, along with Mabel and Zora right across NW 11th on the east side of the street. Silkwood is offering a wide range of holiday wear from the very fancy to the awesomely casual, including accessories galore and great gifts.
Physical Element has moved a few blocks away and it, along with Garnish and Leanna NYC, are all on the east side of the block of NW 12th Avenue between Glisan and Flanders. These stores have beautiful choices of holiday wear for any occasion. Stop by and see and remember these are all independent stores, not a Macy’s or Nordstrom in sight!