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Posts Tagged ‘oregon’

Somethin’ for the hometown…

Preservation Magazine has an interesting brief on the Irvington Historic District in Portland.

The article discusses the tensions between Irvington’s status as a “historic” neighborhood and the regional Metro government’s desire for more dense, urban neighborhoods.

Predictably, the article laments the blooming of large, dense, in-fill projects in historic neighborhoods.  I do not fault them.  It is after all, Preservation Magazine.  But, the article’s focus on a specific story of a condo project going in across from a historic Queen-Anne home glances past the deeper issues at play.

Preservation and Density are both worthy causes that are often in direct contradiction to one another.  So… which is more important? The imposition of large condo projects in Irvington will, almost definitely, alter the character of the neighborhood.  Is that OK?

Minimization, that is creating smaller, more discrete and respectful projects seems like an obvious compromise.    Irvington, with is city sized lots, is perfect for this approach. Figuring out exactly what makes a new project “respectful” of its surroundings can, of course, be difficult. It is described in the article as one of the “perennial conundrums of preservation” but I think the solution is clear: ample community involvement and a lengthy design review process.

Really, Irvington is easy. What about Cedar Mill?

493820638_a8ad851899_mAs the ethic of “density at all costs” takes over, will Portland’s suburbs go the way of Lost Oregon? With time, early suburban neighborhoods will offer as much historic (and I would argue aesthetic) value as old, historic Irvington.  The future tension between density and preservation in suburban neighborhoods is apt to be amplified.  How do you create dense housing that is respectful to its  complete antithesis? I really don’t think you can.  Does that mean the burbs and all of the historical and cultural information they carry are doomed?

What do you think?

COMMENT

Preservation Magazine:  Trouble in Green City: Zoning Trumps Design Guidelines in Historic Portland, Oregon

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I found this recruiting video for the University of Oregon from 1934:

 

 

It includes lots of great footage of MacCourt, Fenton Hall (then the library), Deady Hall and a ton of others.  It also details the cost of many of these buildings for some reason… yeah who knows?

I thought this would be of interest to all my fellow Oregon Ducks out there!

Hat tip: to the University of Oregon You Tube Channel.

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Flickr/photos/anselm

Credit: Flickr/photos/anselm

Matt Davis of the Portland Mercury is on the hunt for an architectural white whale.

He’s written twice now hoping for information on and access to the old Portland Gas Company Building on Highway 30. I have to admit I have been pretty fascinated buy the old hell-hole too. In fact, I have talked to dozens of people who are desperate to see the inside.

Most of what I know about the building is from a 2001 Portland Tribune article. It is from the turn of the century (obviously) it was an office building for Portland Gas and Coke company (what a strange combination) and its current owners have no plans to sell it or tear it down. I can also recall hearing that the clockworks that once rested in its tower are somewhere on the Oregon State University campus.

What I don’t know is what it looks like inside and that is what I and Matt Davis and countless others desperately want to know. He teamed up with Portland Architecture’s Brian Libby and was resoundingly shut down in his attempts to view the inside.  There has got to be a way!

So do you, my scant readers, have any helpful information. If you do please! let me know! Also head over BlogTown Pdx and let Mr. Davis know as well.

UPDATE:

I have learned that the location of the original clockworks is in Benton hall on the Oregon State University campus and that the work was facilitated through an alumnus of the school named David Parsons!  It appears that the move came in 1988.  Does anyone remember this? Does anyone know who David Parsons is and if he can be reached?

There is apparently a file in the OSU archives containing Mr. Parson’s notes on the move.  Perhaps it could be helpful!

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Flickr.com/photos/jmchuff

Credit: Flickr.com/photos/jmchuff

Those of you in Portland are likely familiar with the now boarded up old Burger King restaurant on Burnside and Broadway. Well, according to Lost Portland the now decrepit building won a design award from the Portland Chapter of the AIA soon after it was built.

Oh yes, the building pictured above.

I think this illustrates beautifully our rapidly changing aesthetic tastes. I personally find the building quite awful but that may be in-part due to memories of the dodgy people that used to patronize it. I was once spat at while eating on a Whopper in its dining room.

None of that is the building or the architects fault though, and its award winning design indicates that it was important to Portlanders in 1978. Could it be again? If we tear it down will never find out.

Is this building worth preserving? Should we give it the mandated 50 years to find out? or should it make way for another condo project or some low-income housing?

Tell us what you think in a COMMENT.

For more information on the Burger King building head over to Lost Oregon. While you’re there, poke around a bit, It is a great source of the state’s forgotten (often Kitschy) history and one of my favorite local blogs.

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Portland’s historic Heathman Hotel has just completed a remodel of its 155 rooms with a eye toward sustainability.  “Greening” a historic structure can be touchy subject to some preservationists.  The ever-so-complex balancing act between profitability, utility and historical accuracy is made even more difficult when sustainability enters the rubric.   I once took part in a spirited discussion over whether or not incandescent light bulbs should remain in use in future historic structures.  It was my opinion that they should be replaced with LEDs even if it affected the authenticity of a space. There are many beautiful buildings but only one earth after all.

It appears that Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects, the firm that designed the remodel, agrees.  They used LED lights throughout the remodel.  Sustainable woods, low-flow toilets and water saving showers were also used and (perhaps this will satisfy any hardcore preservationists out there) 95% of the materials removed from the bathrooms were donated to ReBuilding Center where the hope is they will be recycled into new buildings.  The designers also opted to use local artists in the redesign plans to reduce shipping and transportation; a move that likely kept costs down and definitely lowered the remodels carbon-footprint.

Perhaps the most green thing about the 1920’s palace is that it is still standing.  Nothing is more wasteful and nasty than a needless tear-down.

I’d love to see the new interior.  I will have to stop by.

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Hat-tip to: http://www.greenlodgingnews.com and http://greenbuildingelements.com

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