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Carfree Development in Portland?

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  • michelle%giansante.net
    The following articles explain about a new proposal to link Portland, Oregon s North and South Park Blocks with a _pedestrian promenade_ (carfree area!)
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 6, 2001
      The following articles explain about a new proposal to link Portland, Oregon's North and South Park Blocks with a _pedestrian promenade_ (carfree area!) abutted by multi-use buildings, including retail at street level and residential above. The city's light-rail and new streetcar will also serve this area! Not to mention it's in the downtown core, walking distance to grocery stores, cinemas, and lots of great shopping!

      The city is looking for feedback, and holding public meetings, but if you cannot attend, I'm sure they would also welcome e-mail! Perhaps e-mail our Mayor, Vera Katz, via her website forum: http://www.ci.portland.or.us/mayor/forum.htm.

      Pretty exciting possibilities!
      Michelle Giansante

      Park Blocks plans drawing debaters

      Public comments to visiting experts run strongly against wholesale redevelopment in the central core area

      Tuesday, February 6, 2001
      By Gordon Oliver of The Oregonian staff

      Seven specialists in urban design and development began their weeklong search for Portland's best interests by walking downtown sidewalks Monday afternoon with a media throng and then listening Monday evening to residents who crowded into the Portland Building to offer suggestions for downtown's future.

      The first of two public meetings to discuss the future of the central Park Blocks area drew about 250 into the community debate launched recently by former Portland Mayor Neil Goldschmidt.

      A second public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday in the Portland Building. The city's advisory council of experts, a group of prestigious urban specialists, is scheduled to present its ideas to the city on Friday.

      The trigger for the current discussion was Goldschmidt's suggestion, announced late last year, that the city create a new promenade on a string of five to six blocks along Park Avenue, between Southwest Taylor and Oak streets. The idea has evolved from the original notion of a wide promenade to a new proposal for a central street through the blocks, with wide walkways on each side and retail space that extends into the public right of way.

      The prevailing sentiment among dozens of speakers at the public meeting appeared to be against a full-scale redevelopment of the central Park Blocks area into a promenade. But residents' suggestions on what, if anything, should be done to improve the area covered a wide range of human imagination.

      Many urged the city to preserve the charm of the area's narrow streets and unique older buildings, rather than demolish the buildings for redevelopment.

      "These buildings are important," said Christian Gunther, who said he works in the creative marketing field. "They are not junk."

      Others tried to strike a middle ground with ideas for partial redevelopment. Edgar Waehrer, a Portland architect, suggested creating open space on three interspersed blocks to establish what he called a "necklace" of park land.

      Speakers strongly favored plans that would help existing small, locally owned businesses survive in the central Park Blocks area.

      Some small-business owners worried that park development would create a magnet for people who Doug Peterson, a newsstand owner, said "live a lifestyle that is kind of detrimental to downtown retailing." Peterson said he did not oppose some city improvements.

      Earlier in the day, news reporters and photographers followed the experts on their noon-hour walking tour on Southwest Park Avenue. Panel members said they were impressed by the city and the civic debate.

      "Portland is a city that believes in itself," said Dean L. Macris, one of the panel members and a former planning director for San Francisco. "There is a great confidence here."

      The city had talked about a study of the central Park Blocks area, but the City Council sped up the process late last year in reaction to Goldschmidt's fast-moving initiative of raising money and securing purchase options for property in the area.

      The advisory council of experts includes landscape architects Laurie D. Olin of Philadelphia and Robert J. Gibbs of Detroit; and architects Frances Halsband of New York, Norman J. Johnston of Seattle and Allison G. Williams of San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Other members are Donald Milliken, a mixed-use developer from Vancouver, British Columbia; and Macris.

      The Office of Vera Katz
      Mayor Portland Oregon The City That Works

      February 2, 2000 (503) 823-3442

      Council of Experts Chosen to Study Potential of Midtown Blocks

      Planning Study to Evaluate Critical Area in Portland¹s Core

      Parks, plazas, pedestrian-oriented retail? Those are some of the options for future development of the Midtown Blocks up for discussion when a group of nationally recognized experts gathers for a week in Portland February 5 through 9 for an intensive exploration of issues around the area. The Midtown Blocks are the commercially developed blocks located on SW Park and 9th Avenues between SW Burnside and SW Salmon Streets, between the North and South Park Blocks.

      Called the Advisory Council of Experts (ACE), members represent the fields of land use and economic planning, design, retail, commercial office, housing, urban open space, historic preservation, mixed-use development, and sustainable building practices.

      Specifically, the ACE will examine the role of the Midtown Blocks as an integral, but unique, sector of the downtown Portland. They will recommend criteria for uses that complement the retail core, the South Park Blocks, the West End, and the Pearl District. They will define the design features and strategies that could be used to link the Midtown Blocks to the North and South Park Blocks. The ACE will also evaluate current proposals for the Midtown Blocks.

      "This will be an opportunity for Portland to think Œoutside the box¹ and build a collective dream for these blocks," said Mayor Vera Katz. "I¹m excited about the new thinking these experts will bring to expand on ideas from people in the community."

      The council of experts will evaluate the situation, review development concepts for the area, and recommend criteria for local developers, designers, and citizens to consider. "The ACE¹s contributions to the discussions on the Midtown Blocks will serve this city well," stated Bureau of Planning Director Gil Kelley. "With experts from out of town, we gain fresh, unencumbered views of what is possible in this area."

      Kelley explained that the ACE will draft criteria and recommendations to help guide future design and development activity, based, in part, on input from a public forum on Monday, February 5, as well as interviews with a variety of stakeholders throughout the week. The ACE will propose an approach for future discussions between the public, property and business owners, and a variety of stakeholders.

      The ACE will discuss their preliminary recommendations at a public meeting on Thursday, February 8. At an open meeting on Friday, February 9, they will present their initial concepts and strategies for the future of the Midtown Blocks to the Planning Director and Mayor Katz. These recommendations will be further evaluated and refined by the Bureau of Planning, and other city bureaus, particularly the Bureau of Parks and Recreation and the Portland Development Commission.

      On November 22, 2000 Portland City Council adopted an ordinance to support the Midtown Blocks Planning Study, a focused evaluation of alternatives for development and revitalization of the Midtown Blocks. Located in the heart of downtown near Nordstrom, the Galleria, and the Fox Tower, the Midtown Blocks have been the focus of tremendous energy and change in the last few years. New private developments, the City's opportunity to redevelop South Park Block 5, specific Midtown Blocks proposals, and pedestrian and transit improvements have reinforced community interest in the area.

      Together with redevelopment in downtown¹s West End (including the Brewery Blocks), the addition of the streetcar, and many individual revitalization efforts, this study supports many efforts to keep Portland¹s downtown vital and among the best in the country.

      Events of Interest to News Media

      * Media Tour

      Monday, February 5

      12:30 PM

      The Guild Theater, 829 SW Ninth (between Yamhill and Taylor)

      Walk the midtown blocks with Mayor Katz, the Planning Director, and the Advisory Council of Experts. Walk will conclude at the Central Library.

      * Two Public Forums - 6:00 PM (doors open at 5:30 PM) on both nights

      Monday, February 5 Gather ideas and public input

      Thursday, February 8 Discuss preliminary plans and recommendations

      The Portland Building, 1120 SW Fifth Ave., 2nd floor

      * Open Presentation to Public, the Mayor, and the Planning Director

      Friday, February 9, 2:00 PM Presentation on initial findings and recommendations

      City Council Chambers, 1221 SW Fourth Ave.

      Profiles of Advisory Council of Experts

      (More detailed portfolio information will be provided at media tour and the public forums.)

      Donald J. Stastny FAIA FAICP € ACE Facilitator/Process Coordinator

      Portland, OR € Architect

      € Planner / Urban Designer

      Laurie D. Olin FASLA Philadelphia, PA € Civic Open Space Specialty

      € Landscape Architect

      € Planner

      Frances Halsband FAIA New York, NY € Historic Preservation/Adaptive Reuse Specialty

      € Architect

      € AIA Firm Medal, 1997

      € Member of Architectural Advisory Board of FBO

      Dr. Norman J. Johnston FAIA Seattle, WA € History of Architecture and Cities Specialty

      € Architect

      € Professor Emeritus, University of Washington

      € Capitol Campus Design Advisory Board, Olympia

      Allison G. Williams FAIA San Francisco, CA € Urban Mixed Use Design Specialty

      Washington, DC € Architect

      € Urban Designer

      Robert J. Gibbs ASLA Detroit, MI € Retail Development Specialty

      € New Town Planning

      € Landscape Architect

      € "New Urbanism" Proponent

      Dean L. Macris AICP San Francisco, CA € Planner/Implementation Specialty

      € Former Director of Planning, City of San Francisco

      € Responsible for numerous initiatives in restructuring downtown San Francisco

      Donald Milliken Vancouver, BC € Mixed-Use Developer

      € Retail Integration


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    • J.H. Crawford
      Hi all, I ve decided that it would be a waste of my time to learn Microsoft Access just to solve two small database problems. Is there anybody out there who
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 8, 2001
        Hi all,

        I've decided that it would be a waste of my time to learn
        Microsoft Access just to solve two small database problems.
        Is there anybody out there who could offer an hour or two
        of Access Visual Basic programming assistance? If somebody
        can get me through the syntax problems, I can handle the
        rest (I've done a lot of database work, but just don't
        know the Access incantations).



        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        postmaster@... Carfree.com
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