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.

Crowdfunding a neighborhood hang-out: Ye Olde Towne Crier

Crowdfunding for retrofitting local buildings is one intriguing idea. I like it for a couple of reasons: One, the return is making your own neighborhood better or more livable and two the return is pretty immediate. You invest in a building around the corner, you can see the work being done daily. I also like it because you don’t have to invest handfuls of cash—for a crowdfunding site like NextSeed, the minimum is $100. Throw in an adaptive reuse component and it sounds even more appealing.

Rendering of the new version.  Source.

Rendering of the new version. Source.

This brings us to a local project in Portland (in Woodstock): the Ye Olde Towne Crier (you might know it better as Grandma’s, copious smoking, and karaoke). Here’s the scoop: Tacee Webb, who has a 19 year career in retail, real estate and retail development, is retrofitting the space and naming it (actually going back to its original name) Ye Olde Towne Crier. The goal is to retrofit it “as a multi-level ode to Portland’s past and its current residents, a place to chat and dine among one another and enjoy the city’s brightest talent.” 

So, why NextSeed? According to their website, “investing isn’t just for Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Everyone can now access exclusive investment opportunities and build a financial portfolio with local businesses.” The company focuses on helping consumer-facing, brick-and-mortar businesses in the food and beverage, health and wellness, fitness, hospitality and co-working industries.

Towne Crier, 1953.  Source. 

Towne Crier, 1953. Source. 

And, according to Webb, by using NextSeed, “the risk is being absorbed so you don’t have to lose your house. It’s a higher risk for start-ups; this lets them get investors in a less riskier way.” 

The project currently has raised $13,900 by 30 investors.

Webb hopes the Towne Crier will become a community gathering and destination spot as well as a local hangout for students of the Reed College neighborhood and locals from the Creston-Kenilworth community. The attached Treasury Cafe and Lounge will provide morning-evening service. Nighttime entertainment will include live music and whisky tastings featuring local musicians and artisans. Preeminent spirits expert Stuart Ramsay will oversee curation of the bar program.

“There are so many stories and it feels like a patchwork quilt that’s perfect for a community project," says Webb. "There are many former customers in their 60s and 70s that have some great stories and we think it will help provide a sense of a place for them." 

The new space will also be a sort of repository for lost Portland restaurant artifacts: The stained glass windows are from Embers, the vintage neon Lounge sign (and its HVAC system) comes from The Overlook, while chandeliers from Der Rheinlander will grace the ceiling. 

If you’re interested in helping fund the project (or any project), NextSeed provides some pretty decent details, from key terms, location analysis, and revenue sharing summary.

If you’re interested in retrofitting an old building in your own neighborhood, NextSeed is a good start. It doesn't actually finance real estate purchases (Webb owns the building; she purchased it in 2017) but it can help you get on the path, and you’re going to need to be nailed down with your financials and have some semblance of a business plan (this is real estate, not a widget you’re working on). 

Parting advice from Webb: “Have a strong team and partners. I’m not a restaurateur but my partner is. That’s been so helpful.”

Podcast interview with Kevin Cavenaugh (and insight on his Fair-Haired Dumbbell)

I first learned about developer Kevin Cavenaugh’s work years ago when I was managing editor of a building trade magazine that focused on development, building techniques, and exciting topics like new siding and decking materials. (Kidding aside, I loved every minute of it.)

His Box + One project was – at the time – revolutionary here in Portland. With its garage door windows and boxy exteriors– now commonplace – and small footprint of space, the project helped elevate an entire neighborhood. Other projects soon followed, some smaller, some larger all under his company name, Guerrilla Development.

Since I’m keenly interested in small-scale, incremental projects that change neighborhoods for the better, whether that’s restoring an existing building – something Kevin says should be and could be done on any building, I was wrong in thinking that he intentionally built smaller projects. He talks about why he builds small – and not huge projects.

This podcast (Built Blocks) was originally produced by me last year —look for a revamped Small-Scale City podcast soon. 

Milwaukie Bay Park is back

OK, it really never went away but to the casual observer nothing much has been going on since the initial grand opening three years ago. Since then, the grass has yellowed and the geese have pretty much been chased away. Now, it's ready for the next steps: the final design phase.

It's been a piecemeal process.  The Klein Point Overlook was constructed (it offers a nice vantage point where Johnson Creek meets the Willamette), then a new boat dock and boat trailer parking were constructed, then restroom facilities built, and finally a connection to the Trolley Trail. Next up: A bank restoration project will begin this year, and even more park improvements will soon be planned for construction in 2020.

The  survey asks : "Pick 2 photos that show how you would like artistic elements, history, and local character to be incorporated into the park." Answer: More techno!

The survey asks: "Pick 2 photos that show how you would like artistic elements, history, and local character to be incorporated into the park." Answer: More techno!

Construction on final park improvements is expected to begin by summer 2020, but first, the city of Milwaukie is looking for community feedback.

JLL Completes Sale of Indigo @ Twelve | West

Hot of the press (release):

JLL’s Capital Markets experts today announced the sale of Indigo @ Twelve | West, a mixed-use property in the vibrant West End district of Portland, on behalf of an ownership group represented by Gerding Edlen and Downtown Development Group.

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 1.47.37 PM.png

Developed in 2009 by Gerding Edlen and designed by ZGF Architects, this dynamic mixed-use building offers 273 modern apartments, 85,000 square feet of creative office, 321 underground parking stalls, and curated, street level retail under one green roof. The anchor of the West End neighborhood, with its prominent, skyline-defining wind turbines, and incomparable multifamily amenities, Indigo is an iconic property that has consistently performed at the top of the Portland market.

The transaction was conducted through the combined efforts of the JLL Northwest Capital Markets team. The commercial side was lead by JLL Managing Directors Buzz Ellis and Paige Morgan, and Vice President Adam Taylor, while Senior Vice President Mark Washington and Managing Directors David Young and Corey Marx led the multifamily team.

Opening the Locks at the Willamette Falls? Maybe.

The Willamette Falls project is one of the biggest undertakings the Portland metro area has seen. It's had some bumps and stops along the way (that's an understatement) since the paper mill closed in 2011 but for the most part, it's back on track.

First up will be a new riverwalk, with plans designed by Snøhetta. Then it's anyone's guess what will happen next, from mixed use something-something, condos, shopping. It's going to change the McLoughlin corridor, from Milwaukie to Oregon City. If you've ever driven on McLoughlin and seen the car lots, strip joints, this is a good thing. 

And, just last week it was announced there's yet another new plan: Possibly reopening the decommissioned Willamette Falls Locks. The Willamette Falls Locks Commission (appointed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown) is working to advise state, local and regional stakeholders on the "development and implementation of policies relating to the repair, reopening, operation and maintenance of the Willamette Falls navigation canal and Locks."

The Locks are currently owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who shuttered the Locks in 2011. But, according to a Local Economic Potential Study conducted by ECONorthwest, Oregon could see tremendous economic benefits from recommissioning the Locks. The study found that over the next 30 years: 

  • Transportation benefits of $12-$49 million
  • Recreation benefits of $12-$50 million
  • 80,000-220,000 truck trips removed from Portland area roads
Source.   Stern-wheel steamboat Grahamona in the Willamette Falls locks, sometime between 1912 and 1918.

Source.  Stern-wheel steamboat Grahamona in the Willamette Falls locks, sometime between 1912 and 1918.

Reopening the Locks and returning navigational access around Willamette Falls holds tremendous historical and cultural value to Oregonians, and to the state’s Native American tribes.

Plus? It'd be cool to travel past the Falls and beyond in the Willamette in a boat or on a kayak, right? Crossing our fingers on this one and we'll be writing much more on this amazing project.

 

Milwaukie mystery structure

Celebrate Milwaukie's Facebook page posted an interesting pic of a half-built commercial structure. Looking like a cross between a building kit, a Q-Hut and a 1950s sci-fi movie spaceship, the modular structure is located on King Road just east of the Milwaukie line.

37582223_1888104451229041_116541699898998784_n.jpg

What makes it even more intriguing is that, at one point, the location (or at least close to it) was going to be the new home of Clay's Smokehouse when they closed on Division. (They're back on Division and killing it.) The property on King was dormant for years, until the structure just kind of appeared a couple months back.

We checked records and found nothing.