House of the week: Old Canby Schoolhouse

Is it practical? Not really? More than one bedroom? Nope. More than one bath? Negative. Lots of space? It’s 960 square feet.

But, whoa, it’s pretty cool.

Built in 1875, everything has been replaced - new roof, siding, windows, mini split, additional garage, insulation and “a period appropriate interior remodel.”

canby1.jpg

Portland Real Estate News: Week of June 28, 2019

Renovation of The Portland Building last fall.

Renovation of The Portland Building last fall.

Remember that home I posted about earlier in the week? Abandoned for years but with tons of potential? Already an offer. Guess that’s not surprising. 

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The popular and bustling Curiosities Vintage Mall in Beaverton (housed in a super-boss mid-century building) was threatened with demolition for a parking lot last week. 

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Also last week, Lime scooters came to downtown Milwaukie. Pilot program. I’d say 50% of people want them and others don’t. Just like anything else. 

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Have you been following the Portland Building’s “renovation”? It’s starting to become a bit um complicated. Brian Libby from Portland Architecture writes for CityLab that the work being done on it is “so extensive, it may be de-listed from the National Register of Historic Places.” 

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Metro and TriMet are exploring the feasibility of a MAX tunnel under downtown Portland. An initial study (undertaken last year by TriMet) indicated that a “tunnel underneath the central city could save MAX Blue and Red line riders close to 15 minutes. “ 

New spaces, old places: Blake McFall Building

A weekly look at adaptive reuse projects around Portland and beyond…

Also known as the Emmett Building in Portland’s Central Eastside, the five-story building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed by McNaughton & Raymond of Portland and built in 1915, it was added to the register in 1990.

Under construction in 1915.

Under construction in 1915.

Here’s what the Oregonian had to say about it in its July 1915 issue:

The second floor, reached by a fireproof viaduct from Burnside street will contain the offices, salesmen’s quarters, rest rooms and space for sample display and the balance of the building will be given up to general paper storage. 

Total cost: $90,000.

If you’ve been in Portland for any amount of time, you’ll know this building better as the Towne Storage building. Up until a few years back, it was low-rent space for local artists. In 2016, it was retrofitted to include:

seismic strengthening, window sash replacement and refurbishment, brick and stone restoration, a new enhanced exterior entry and main lobby, restoration of the iconic steel water tower, and the addition of a new 8,750 SF Penthouse set-back on the roof with two exterior landscaped decks.

Pre-retrofit.  Source.

Pre-retrofit. Source.

Post retrofit. The water tower was kept intact.  Source.

Post retrofit. The water tower was kept intact. Source.

House of the week: Rare mid-century modern Milwaukie waterfront home for sale

I’m not a Realtor by any stretch of the imagination but if I was, here’s what my ad would say:

Bring your vision (and huge bags of cash)! This 1969 mid-century modern home has sat empty for years and is ready for some love. Think of the possibilities.

Anyhow, I’ve been fascinated with the home for years now. Is it empty? Why doesn’t someone live here? Why is this amazing spot not sold? Is that graffiti on the walls inside?

It’s a real mess.

Doesn’t look very mid-century modern from this angle, but it is…

Doesn’t look very mid-century modern from this angle, but it is…

But? If you’ve got the cash and the constitution, I applaud you. It’s got a lot going for it (like a view of the Willamette). Sadly, an investor probably won’t think so.

Here’s the Redfin ad.

Ruin and redemption in architecture: The lost and found

Phaidon (a favorite publisher of ours) is releasing a new book, Ruin and Redemption in Architecture, that:

captures the awe-inspiring drama of abandoned, forgotten, and ruined spaces, as well as the extraordinary designs that can bring them back to life – demonstrating that reimagined, repurposed, and abandoned architecture has the beauty and power to change lives, communities, and cities the world over.

It’s written by Dan Barasch, Co-Founder of the Lowline, who really articulates how and why this blog exists with these thoughts:

There are plenty of projects that use “adaptive reuse” in really cynical ways, basically to sell condos. Yet there are dozens of examples of adaptive reuse as a tool for developing resilient public spaces or advancing social missions.

Sure, that old church or industrial space gets preserved but now they’re a high-end condo that you’ll never step foot in.

DesignWeek Portland, 'ghost' streams, bike to D.C.?

Design Week Portland is upon us
OK, not quite yet but it’s coming. And we couldn’t be more excited. If you’re into design, whether that’s architecture, film, digital, graphic design, whatever, there’s something here for you. We’re especially excited (because “adaptive reuse”) about Leveraging the past: Transformation of the former Freeman Factory:

Join the team behind Redfox Commons for a design presentation, discussion, and building tour of this soon to be complete adaptive reuse project in Northwest Portland. The site has a notable past as a gateway to the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition and was later part of a significant industrial sanctuary. The project transforms the former Freeman Factory buildings into an open and flexible development geared towards creative tenants.

Sign up here.

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Ghost streams in our cities
Fantastic piece on streams that once thrived now buried in pavement in cities across the U.S. And Portland apparently has many. from the city’s Environmental Services page (from 2014):

Many cities, including Portland, are built on top of what used to be surface streams that flowed freely to the rivers.  The streams were filled in or piped underground to allow development. Daylighting is when streams that have been piped underground in the past are restored to a more natural condition.  This helps improve water quality, habitat, and can keep water out of sewage treatment plants.

Oh, and there’s a local blog, Hidden Hydrology, that explores “lost rivers, buried creeks & disappeared streams. Connecting historic ecology + the modern metropolis.” And, let’s not forget Tanner Creek (from the MLS site no less).

Bike to DC?
There are bike trails and then there are bike trails. A new multiuse trail is being constructed that will connect Washington state to Washington, D.C. It’s called the Great American Rail-Trail,  and will make use of old railway corridors “that have fallen into disuse and abandonment, converting them to pathways—separate from roads and cars—for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.” Amazing.

A look at Portland's oldest neighborhood; Widmer closes; Saving the Mayo house

Portland’s North End
If you’re not reading Street Roots, buy a copy from any of its vendors around town. Not only do they report on homeless (and other) issues they do a great job doing it. Proof: this piece on the history of Old Town and how it’s transformed through the years. It’s written by Doug Kenck-Crispin, co-producer of the podcast Kick Ass Oregon History so you know it’s solid.

Widmer pub closes
Some of us were surprised, others not so much: Widmer has shut its N. Russell pub. In 2017, they stopped serving food at the same location. The venerable brewer will still produce beers, you just can’t go to its pub to drink them.

Mayo house saved
What a great story: Local artist saves historic home, will move it to where the family’s long-lost apartment once stood and will renovate it —and open it to the public  “where historians, artists and members of the black community can preserve and create culture.”

 
widmer.jpg

Widmer before it was Widmer.

 

Portland's oldest building (finally) getting restored

After decades of false starts and horrible remodeling work, Portland's oldest commercial building is finally getting restored to its former glory.

Emerick Architects announced on its Facebook page that the contractor,  Bremik Construction, has begun demolition on the facade (currently a boxed horror show) of the Hallock & McMillen building.

So long, ugly facade.  Source.

So long, ugly facade. Source.

Built in 1857, the building has miraculously survived in the neighborhood while most of its cast-iron neighbors met the wrecking ball years ago to be replaced and scarred by parking lots and faceless 80s and 90s office-building schlock.

The building will be “artfully crafted to match the original details, these cast iron pieces will soon find their home on SW Naito Parkway.”

Milwaukie’s Portland Open-Air Sanatorium (1905)

I’ve seen the name mentioned, seen it on maps and have always wondered what this sanatorium was, when it was built and what happened to it. By chance while searching for beer history,  I stumbled on the lengthy-titled book (take a deep breath): “The Campaign Against Tuberculosis In The United States (Including A Directory Of Institutions Dealing With Tuberculosis In The United States And Canada Compiled Under The Direction Of The National Association For The Study And Prevention Of Tuberculosis).”

The sanatorium provided "individual cottages with steam heated dressing rooms, hot and cold running water and shower and tub baths."  Source.

The sanatorium provided "individual cottages with steam heated dressing rooms, hot and cold running water and shower and tub baths." Source.

Scanning it I discovered that, yes, the Portland Open-air Sanatorium was real and existed and took "incipient and advanced cases" with a capacity of 40, and rates from $10 to $30 a week.

The Sanatorium was located at “Milwaukee” (the book's spelling) Heights, on the Oregon Water Power and Railroad Company's line, six miles south of Portland, on a bluff three hundred feet high overlooking the Willamette. It was the first sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis to be established in Oregon.

The book continues:

The sanatorium is situated in a fir grove, sheltered from the winds, the climate being so mild and equable that the patients live comfortably in tents during the entire year.  Its equipment consists largely of tents, which can be used the entire year. (People were much tougher in 1905.) 

It offered "the exclusive treatment of tuberculosis by the careful application of the most modern physical, dietetic, hygienic and specific procedures. Patients were provided with X-ray and laboratory facilities, but also "individual cottages (I guess the tents were replaced) with steam heated dressing rooms, hot and cold running water and shower and tub baths." 

Located where Park Blvd. hits River Road, the location is likely where the  Willamette View  retirement community now sits right on the border of Milwaukie and Oak Grove.

Located where Park Blvd. hits River Road, the location is likely where the Willamette View retirement community now sits right on the border of Milwaukie and Oak Grove.

It didn’t last long when the state realized it needed a much larger facility, mandating public medical care to tuberculosis patients in 1910, after which patients from the Milwaukie Heights hospital were relocated to the new Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital in Salem (in the former Oregon State Deaf-Mute School building, constructed in 1894).

Note: This post also appeared on Lost Oregon.

Rethinking adaptive reuse; former hosiery now apartments; what will Portland look like?

Obsolete properties: Call it a comeback
If you haven’t heard, CCIM Institute predicts adaptive-reuse projects will make up a “greater percentage of investment activity than self-storage and other established noncore property types by 2023.”

Old buildings, new lives
Did we mention adaptive reuse? Forbes looks at projects that “breathe new life into dated or vacant buildings, bringing fresh product to market at a quicker pace and giving developers a competitive advantage.”

Industry City, Brooklyn, built 1895.  Source.

Industry City, Brooklyn, built 1895. Source.

In Philadelphia: From a hosiery factory to school to apartments
The $17 million adaptive reuse project will provide “38 units of affordable housing and 5,000 square feet of commercial space.” Nice.

14 Portland architects look at how the city will be designed
We’re huge fans of Design Week Portland (coming this April 2019). Last year they invited 14 local architect firms to provide a glimpse of the buildings destined to most dramatically change Portland’s cityscape. Below is Kevin Cavenaugh’s take. Watch the rest here.



Oregon endangered places; Towne Crier campaign reset; Portland's most transformative buildings of 2018

Towne Crier campaign reset
We wrote about the Town Crier a couple month’s back and now it looks like they’ve reset their campaign into multiple phases. So, they’re re-launching the campaign under The Treasury, a community-based coffee shop within the Towne Crier building. From their NextSeed page:

Highlighting and focusing on The Treasury in our NextSeed campaign allows our team to strategically begin to bring our target market to our space while the other phases are being permitted and built out. We are confident that this pivot will enhance our business model and structure us for success in the future!

One of the many endangered places, The Waldron Brothers’ Drugstore is the oldest intact commercial building in The Dalles and constructed during the Civil War of local stone.

One of the many endangered places, The Waldron Brothers’ Drugstore is the oldest intact commercial building in The Dalles and constructed during the Civil War of local stone.

Restore Oregon most endangered spaces for 2019
Since 2011, Restore Oregon has delivered one of the most successful preservation programs in the state: Oregon’s Most Endangered Places. Oregon’s Most Endangered Places program works to raise public awareness of the cultural value of these places, provides direct consultation, distributes seed grants, advocates for pro-preservation public policy, and helps owners leverage additional grants and private investment to support their restoration. Here’s the list for 2019.

What building transformed Portland in 2018?
The Portland Business Journal is looking for the most-transformative commercial real estate project of 2018. Go forth and vote!

October 2, 2018: Weekly design and building news

Voodoo Doughnut coming to Milwaukie/Oak Grove?
That’s the rumor on the street. The Starbucks on McLoughlin (14620 SE McLoughlin Blvd. to be exact) is moving across the street making room for a huge space that includes the long-ago vacated Pizza Schmizza. And that’s where the new Voodoo would (apparently) go. We’re not convinced.

Doughnuts, booze and dry cleaning.  Source.

Doughnuts, booze and dry cleaning. Source.

The story behind Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge
One of our fave places in Portland has a great story on its creation (involving some guerrilla action). Read the whole story here.

"...armed with a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon (we) proceeded to nail up the signs around the wetland perimeter, thereby establishing, by fiat, that we unilaterally declared the city’s first urban wildlife refuge..."

Speaking of nature in the city…
Portland metro is blessed with the green, right? Rivers, trees, birds. And, though not in Portland, a new study says that being near nature and trees lessens depression and crime. And to prove it, researchers added greenery to city vacant lots and saw people using them more and crime declining. Nature for the win.

An unappreciated mid-century spot in Milwaukie

Downtown Milwaukie is experiencing major changes to its downtown core. From the south Downtown area (there’s an actual crane up in Milwaukie) with two huge mixed-use projects up within a couple of years, to a new library, to more mixed-use dotted along McLoughlin, downtown will look different in 2-3 years. It hasn’t seen this much growth and construction probably since after WW2.

That said, Milwaukie has an impressive stock of mid-century ranch homes sprinkled throughout the neighborhoods that have remained unscathed in their original condition.

Many commercial mid-century buildings also dot the landscape from super-mod churches to office buildings to bowling alleys.

One mid-century building still standing is the (now former) Milwaukie Cleaners building. Almost invisible, since it sits on a desolate part of Main street (most people usually drive by it to hop on 99) it was built in 1959 and designed by Joseph H. Rudd & Associates, a Portland architecture firm. The streamlined design and folded plate roof were commonly found on dry cleaners of the time. The space is a bit striking and unusual, most notably that roof.

According to Leesa Gratreak, MS, Architectural Historian, at HDR, Joseph H. Rudd & Associates was started by Joseph H. Rudd in 1950 after completing his degree in architecture at the University of Oregon. Rudd, originally born in Idaho in 1922, was active in local philanthropy and housing boards in Portland, as well as an active member of the city planning committee in Vancouver, Wash. Rudd continued to design with the firm until his retirement in 1990 and he passed away in 2003.

Examples of additional work include Yaw’s Top Notch Restaurant in Portland; quarters for the Sisters of St. Dominic on the Marycrest High School campus in Portland; a U.S. National Bank Building on Division Street in Portland; as well as numerous residential buildings throughout the Portland metro area.

“The building is an excellent example of mid-century plate glass design and exhibits a folded plate roof and decorative concrete block patterning,” says Gratreak. “The roof is considered a common feature associated with dry cleaners as it allowed a wide overhang for items to be safely transferred into the vehicle.”

Once Milwaukie Cleaners closed shop, the future of the building remained unknown. Just recently, tell-tale signs of a new business showed up—brown paper on the windows—with word on the street that new tenants will be involved in the budding CBD industry.

Want to see downtown Milwaukie’s building history up close? Gratreak will be leading a tour of downtown Milwaukie this Saturday. Go here to sign up.

An 1800s church, beer, and building a community

It started with breakfast in Turner, Oregon.

Chad Casady recalls having breakfast with his wife, Melissa, and neighbors, throwing ideas back and forth, and the abandoned church around the corner came up in conversation. One of the ideas: turn the church into a taphouse.

After the paint job.  Source.

After the paint job. Source.

So, after breakfast that day, the Casadys and neighbors walked over to the church and found the front door wide opened. “We helped ourselves, took a tour of the place, and it was a disaster,” says Casady. “The inside was not well kept, the whole thing needed to be gutted, the foundation looked pretty bad. Posts and beams were rotten. It looked like it needed some TLC.”

Built in 1891, the 127-year-old church, near Salem, was obviously neglected and that’s when most people would’ve walked away. In fact, it’s seen numerous tenants during the previous decades, with the last tenant living in the basement.

Deconstruction on interior.  Source.

Deconstruction on interior. Source.

Casady, though, started the reconstruction process. At the beginning of 2015, he started research on the building, then researched construction costs associated with renovating it. He brought in an inspector, a foundation expert to take a look at the foundation and structure, and then a general contractor to map out what it was going to take. Then it was off to the City of Turner.

Pre-paint job.  Source.

Pre-paint job. Source.

The City was exceptionally helpful, says Casady, but a maybe bit cynical at first.  “When I came in, the city administrator said, “You know how many people have come in, just like you with some grand dream for this building?’ and I said, ‘I'm not in the business of dreaming, I'm business execution here, so if you want to help out, I'm interested in figuring out what it takes to get from step A to step B,’” says Casady.

From there, he continues to work with the city and county numerous times before putting in an offer. And then, even more research.

Demographics, speaking with local business owners about the market, the future of the city, and where they think the city is going. In fact, Turner is starting to see some changes, like a new community-based café that’s been successful. “It’s proving that the community is ready for something cooler than a mill,” says Casady.

So, how does someone like Casady, who has a background in tech (he’s VP of IT at Performance Health Technology in Salem) and no construction experience retrofit a hundred-plus-year-old building?

“I really didn't understand how a lot of the systems worked, you know as far as like putting contracts together, getting approvals and stuff. I've never done a construction project. I was involved in building my own house, but not like this,” he says.

The key to success he believes is having a strong partner (Casady credits his wife Melissa as his true partner), hiring the right contractor, and if you can swing it, someone you know and trust. An old acquaintance, Ryan Records, of Records Construction has been his partner throughout the retrofit, as well as a team of solid subs to help guide the project.

More deconstruction.  Source.

More deconstruction. Source.

The end game, of course, is to have a community gathering place, serve some local beers (they’re installing a 32-tap system with local beers from Salem including Gilgamesh, Salem Ale Works, Vagabond, and Santiam) as well as other Oregon and west coast beers.

But it’s also a bit more. Casady wanted a taproom, called Angel's Share Barrel House (“Angel’s share” is the portion of alcohol that’s lost to evaporation with aged spirits—”if you want tasty booze, you’ve got to pay the Angels their share,” Casady says), and a place to hang out, but also help build a stronger community. With his own money funding the retrofit he believes the taproom will be more than a beer place.

“To bring something back that has been sitting there for decades, and people have just complained about this building and no one was doing anything about it. This is such an important piece of history for the community and we need to do something with it,” he adds.

August 30, 2018: Weekly design and building news

Here's a roundup of building, design and development news around Portland. 

The Redd ready to open
The Redd by Ecotrust will take up two city blocks and function as an "urban ecosystem for the regional food economy."  In its final phase of construction, it's expected to open for full operation by the end of the year.  Here's a feature from Lost Oregon a couple years back on its history and vision. 

The red Redd.  Source.  

The red Redd. Source. 

The Portland Plaza gets a facelift
The Portland Plaza just finished its 10-year, $10 million renovation and Brian Libby from Portland Architecture has an in-depth look. 

When it was completed in 1973, just three years after the Keller Fountain (known then as the Forecourt Fountain), the idea of contemporary or luxury living in Portland, especially in a tower, was new.
Portland Plaza and Lawrence Halprin's Keller Fountain put on a show via a postcard.

Portland Plaza and Lawrence Halprin's Keller Fountain put on a show via a postcard.

O'Bryant Square closed until ...2023?
The DJC is reporting that the redevelopment of downtown Portland's O'Bryant Square may take until 2023. The public space has been shuttered since March due to structural issues. The fence is so welcoming, too. 

O'Bryant Square in better times, circa 1976.

O'Bryant Square in better times, circa 1976.

Urban walking isn’t just good for the soul. It could save humanity
That's not my headline —it's from the Guardian, and it's a good one. The nugget: walking around cities is good for your health and it's good for the businesses that inhabit downtowns. You just don't see the details when you're driving. Case in point: Hopping off the Orange Line at PSU yesterday to watch the Timbers (win, whew), we strolled up Jefferson to the Goose Hollow Inn for a pre-match beer. The furthest I'd been up Jefferson was OHS, but as we walked I was surprised that I'd never been on this stretch before. Just when you think you've seen every block in downtown.

Event amplification: My Existential Crisis and Other Random Acts | Martha Schwartz

You might have already seen this event being promoted but just in case. 

Portland Design Events is presenting Martha Schwartz of Martha Schwartz Partners (MSP)—a leading international design practice whose work focuses on activating and regenerating urban sites and city centers—with a two-part presentation on 9/13. 

The first part will be about the work of Martha Schwartz Partners that spans from the very early installation works to the most recent work being done by the practice. The work will show an evolution of scale and approach to design.

The second part of the presentation will be sharing Schwartz's concerns about climate change and the conflicts this knowledge has brought which has resulted in the re-evaluation of her own priorities as a professional. Here's her take: 

I'm in a transition now as I am beginning to learn more about climate change and how we, as a practice, might fundamentally change our approach to design. As a teacher, my goals have shifted to teaching students how we, as landscape architects, can respond meaningfully to climate change.

I'm not a designer or an architect but this sounds interesting for everyone that cares about how our cities and spaces are going to be designed. Go here to sign up!

On display: Vintage 1970s Douglas Fir model of downtown Portland

This totally escaped my radar but there’s a vintage 1970s Douglas Fir model of downtown Portland on display as part of Converge 45’s installation of Ann Hamilton's, Habitus, at Centennial Mill through September 16.

In the early days of Portland’s downtown renaissance, Portland planners created a civic ritual for thinking about new development: including this crafted Douglas fir model of the city. For years, as a requirement of design review, developers and architects were required to bring any proposed downtown building, scaled in white cardboard, and place in the city model.

Randy Gragg is currently working on an exhibit idea to combine it with new “models” of other districts of the city—current or aspired to—for Design Week Portland 2019.

If you’re not busy 8/28 or 8/30, Gragg will also be presenting some ideas to “inspire community groups, developers, designers and leaders to think about the larger context of their districts and their city.”

Here’s a quick schedule

August 28: 5:30-7 pm, Tuesday, August 28—Short talk at 6

August 30: Noon-1:30 pm—Short talk at 12:30

Where: Centennial Mills, NW Naito Parkway & NW 9th Avenue (Look for the signs leading to Converge 45 and Habitus)

Please RSVP: randygraggprojects@gmail.com

A stroll through Portland's West End

James Cook, director of retail research in the Americas for JLL, has an interesting podcast called Where We Buy, “a show about the things we buy and the places we buy them.”

Source. 

Source. 

In his most recent episode he explores Portland’s West End with Jonathan Ledesma, a partner with developer Project^. They talk about the challenges, opportunities and the transformation of the West End through adaptive reuse.

Union Way: The shops may have changed since its opening,  but the design still shines. 

Union Way: The shops may have changed since its opening,  but the design still shines. 

The two projects highlighted include Blackbox, a retail and creative space in a historic brick building, and Union Way, the shopping alley that connects two streets through two former night clubs. I'm probably not the target shopping audience for Union Way but I still love its aesthetics, the vibe, the design (those flush-mounted floor lights...), and the fact that it magically empties out to Powell's (how convenient). It's the perfect example of a building being reborn as a fun and useful space. 

Grab a beverage and give the episodes a listen.