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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 9, 2006 3:46 PM. The previous post in this blog was Dear Mayor Potter. The next post in this blog is Dudley. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Monday, October 9, 2006

What's next for Buckman

Let's not rest until every last trace of Portland's funky side has been San Diego-ized. Graggalicious.

Comments (30)

And the people immediately next to and behind that building will watch as the value of their houses drops like a rock.

As an example, there is a house for sale on SE 35th just off of Belmont, right behind the new condo-box that was put on Belmont. The poor owners sunk some money into that house, and renovated it beautifully, but from what I can see they can't sell it because the bedroom now overlooks a lovely cement condo parking lot, lit by 24 hour halogen bulbs, and the three story building has cut off almost all the natural light to the house.

Unfortunately, this city cares nothing about the opinions of people in single-family homes--too 20th century.

How about a new version of Measure 37--homeowners can sue a developer if said developer's project negatively impacts the value of their house? Many of my friends and neighbors (in the same area as this condo box) live in fear that houses near them will be bought, torn down, and turned into a condo-box, sending their equity through the floor.

One woman's "neighborhood character," is another woman's "dump."

The building's design is admittedly uninspired. But jeez, it's next to a cemetery, and it's replacing a truly ugly old building and a parking lot out front. The neighbors have a point, but they have blown it way out of proportion, IMHO.

The only property whose value might be lowered rather than raised by a building such as this is the one directly next to it on the east side of 20th Street. Scaling down the building to two stories on that side is appropriate.

Some design changes are needed, but once the architect makes them - this building will be a new star in the neighborhood, not a killer.

Yeah...the affliction is upon us, easterlies.

The next time you do SE Division Street, take a look at the SE corner of 26th and Division. Where once there was a lovely old three story Edwardian manse, complete with huge trees, including a truly massive old horsechestnut tree, is being replaced by some modern abomination of a monstrosity.

So far, they tore down the beautiful old home and chopped down the tree. Then they dug pits over the entire lot and filled them with concrete. That concrete has now risen to 12' to 15' with only one discernable door and one window in about 130' of running blank concrete wall. It looks like the beginning of a bunker.

Of course, it doesn't really matter, being as there is an out-of-business auto repair shop just across 26th Avenue, a dumpy two-story "post-divorce" apartment building (a Weston special) across Division, and catacorner is a typical litter-trap Plaid Pantry. The objective here could only to have been to remove one of the most aesthetically pleasing buildings along Division Street and put in something that would fit in with its o'erwhelming budugliness.

I think it's time for flaming torches and pitchforks.

Godfry: They didn't tear down the old house at 26th and Division. It was moved maybe a mile or two away (I don't recall the specific destination), but it's still in the neighborhood.

I'm all for progress and modern, dense urban living......just not in my neighborhood. Keep those hulks out of the Rose City / Hollywood area.....except for the proposed mixed use project at the Hollywood WaMu site.....that building is already a monstrosity so I can live with a monstrosity that has a Whole Foods on the ground.

Sorry, I think it's gorgeous and I'd live there in a heartbeat.

Even if I don't like the looks of this proposal (I don't), if it is permitted by the code, does not require any variances or adjustments, it should be permitted. If it is in a design district--then there is room for negotiation. If the design firm/developers are asking for adjustments or variances from the code--then the neighborhood has a case.

I hate to be a smart aleck--but this is the reason to know what the zoning around your property permits. And yes, I know it takes a lot of time and effort to keep up with changes to the code that allow uses the neighbohood doesn't want--this has to happen on the front end of the process, before the code is changed.



Can you find out where? Because I was under the impression that there was a desire to move it, but nobody come up with the $$$ necessary, and it was "dismantled", saving things like trim pieces and other building materials not readily available these days.

I never saw any evidence of "moving" (no jacks, no sitting on stacked rail ties, no clearly marked route for moving such a mammoth building. All I saw was dismantling.

Still... The new building looks like it is going to be budugly, too.

The new location wasn't disclosed, other than to say "between two houses," and that it would be a private residence.

I live a few blocks away, and saw it get ready to roll in December, shortly after they removed some of the architectural details.

And this guy's blog chronicles the day it moved:

He saw it later that same day near 26th and Powell, so it's apparently in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood now.

I love this. Even in the Metro loving, high density worshipping inner east side of Portland, folks are saying Not In My Backyard to this high density garbage.

High density, I guess, is great for OTHER PEOPLE. The high density chickens are coming home to roost at last.


Just so you don't think you've successfully characterized a group of people and demonstrated their hypocrisy on the basis of a few comments and anecdotes, I'll disprove your hasty generalization with my own comment.

I live in the inner eastside in a house built in 1910. I love my house, and much other architecture of that era. However, I also like good modern architecture and think that increased density in Portland, done right, is a good thing. The proposed development in question looks good to me. I could think of many places on Hawthorne, the commercial street nearest me, where I'd be happy to see it sited. I could point to many buildings along that street, most of them built between 1940 and 1980, that I'd love to see torn down and replaced with good, modern-design mixed-use buildings. I'd even be happy if the new buildings were four stories high.

Many commenters on this blog seem to think of Portland between 1970 and 1990 as the glory days. I'm not sure why that is--maybe they liked the music better, maybe it's because of the 1977 Trailblazers. I doubt it was because of Goldschmidt. Anyway, those were not, by any stretch of nostalgic imagination, good years for architecture in Portland's close-in neighborhoods. Personally, I'm happy to see some good design happening outside of downtown after decades of absolutely wretched schlock getting built along neighborhood boulevards and on in-fill lots on residential streets. (No, in-fill isn't a new thing.) Also, I'm not fearful of the idea of new people moving into my neighborhood—even if they live in condos, even if they make more money than I do. Even, god forbid, if they come from California.

Just thought a "minority" report might help balance things out here.

Richard, remember you cannot "judge" architecture. It is an art form. Each person has their own judgement of what is "good design". You can judge what a development creates for a neghborhood based on its scale to others, traffic consequences, it's social impact (which is even somewhat subjective), etc.

I think the "density issue" is coming home to roost. Many of us have been expressing this for over a decade, especially us who live in the South Portland neighborhood where we are inundated with "density".

Lee: I think the "density issue" is coming home to roost. Many of us have been expressing this for over a decade, especially us who live in the South Portland neighborhood where we are inundated with "density".
JK: You ain’t seen nothin yet. Take a look at what Metro has planned for you all.
I just reactivated a web site that I put together 4 years ago at (May be Tuesday afternoon before these links works for everyone.)

Start with “METRO's recommended density increase for your neighborhood.”:
I should note that New York central city has a population density of 23,700 people per sq. mile. Converted to people per acre that is 37 people per acre. Metro wants greater than this density in the following regains: Regional Centers, Station Communities, Town Centers and Main Streets.

Be sure to see Metro & Burkholder’s lie explained under “Metro's Deception Explained”:

Don’t miss this little gem:
public policy have not made land scarce enough, have not made central locations superior enough in terms of transportation or amenity,and have not seen demand great enough to cause land values to rise fast enough in Urban Centers that rents can be demanded that make high density profitable without public assistance (e.g.,land assembly,fee waivers,tax abatement).


Less subjective are impacts on schools, sewers, air and water, and in the case of subsidized development, taxes that could go for maintaining existing infrastructure. Imho, Portland HAS had a problem with xenophobia, and so, it has lent some credibility to the allegations of NIMBYism the press has picked up on. But I believe there is much, much more to the concerns about density for density's sake. That's been sold to us without the analysis that goes with real land use planning.

I'll qualify it a bit closer for you, Richard; I'd say pre-1978.

I believe that 1978 was the year which Portland was selected as "the most liveable city in the U.S." That was the death-knell for Portland remaining a liveable city. After that came the immigrants who wanted to live in the most liveable city, but thought that some things they'd left behind in the locales they'd come from would be an improvement. The size of this in-migration, and the misguided intents of those coming, has assured that, even if we wanted desparately to be so, Portland would never again be as "liveable" as it was then.

'Course, that's just my unenlightened opinion.

That same unenlightened opinion thinks that all too many 'architectual projects' reflect their designers' desire for immortality, rather than fulfill the function for which it was designed in the first place. They tend to be triumphs of form over function and only reveal their shortcomings after they've been built, commissioned and occupied. I work in one. It's an abomination of design, with the design interferring with the function for which the building is supposed to be serving. Yet, it is a winner of an architectual award.


Godfry, isn't the Portland Building wonderful? Just a subjective question.

It's not so readily apparent to me, Godfry, that old Portlanders are better than new Portlanders. Are you absolutely sure of your conclusion? Is there any chance that it might be based in maybe too much nostalgia or self-regard? (I moved here with my parents in 1962, so I'm not arguing from a newcomer's perspective.) I just find the "good ol' days" thing with regard to Portland pretty tiresome, and lacking in substance. It usually sounds like old people yearning for their youth, and trying to convince the young that "you'll never have the great times in the great place like I did."

Incidentally, I don't like the Portland Building very much either.

High density, I guess, is great for OTHER PEOPLE. The high density chickens are coming home to roost at last.

The Clinton, under construction at 26th & Division, was resisted by our neighborhood association --Hosford-Abernethy (HAND)-- for two reasons. One, it destroyed a neighborhood icon, the Clay Rabbit/Thomas House site. Two, the developer, Randy Rappaport told his design team "build me a spaceship"...and they did. Randy said there was no neighborhood context to design to, and they didn't. What's been designed is an expensive gated community plopped down without any relationship to the neighborhood.

We're not anti-density. We're anti thoughtless density. In an area with a shortage of parking already, there's no visitor parking for retail or the 27 condos. In an area with a shortage of loading zones, Randy Rappaport asked for --and got-- a variance to not provide any loading dock, as required by code.

Randy asked for --and was granted-- every square inch of "entitlements" that the code allows, and more. Randy wouldn't even provide bicycle parking for visitors, but bought his way out of that code requirement. And the fact that this lot was spot-zoned to "save" the Thomas House long ago was ignored by the City.

You can do infill density well. There are many, many ugly buildings that could be replaced, with well-designed buildings. This didn't do that. It is infill density done without regard for context, or the impact on the neighborhood, and its existing infrastructure.

Carl Sandstrom took an ugly old dry cleaning shop and moved his It's A Beautiful Pizza pizza shop in it from across the street. Fixed up the building, made it a great community gathering place. He added no parking, but then provided less traffic impact than the existing dry-cleaner. The City nailed him with a huge Transportation System Development Charge (SDC).

The Clinton, with it's gated parking lot for tenants only, with a considerable traffic impact on the neighborhood, gets a discount on its SDC because its Transit-Oriented-Development (on the #4 bus line). This doesn't seem quite logical to me.

Then there's the issue of how these SDC funds get spent. Since SDC funds are limited to specific projects, the revenues from infill development on Division and Belmont streets aren't necessarily dealing with infrastructure needs in those neighborhoods, but rather are diverted to projects like South Waterfront.

Existing neighborhoods are subsidizing the building of new ones. This policy could stand some re-thinking.

Well, Richard, I don't think it's anything about "old" Portlanders and "new" Portlanders. For me it's just how many Portlanders and what the result has been on the prevailing attitude amongst the residents. I came here with my parents in '58 (still a SNOB recruit, though), and I remember a city where people smiled and said "hello" to complete strangers and where the pace of everyday living was sane and comfortable. It was an overgrown "town", rather than a real city. Now it's grown into a real city, with city pretensions and a Graggesque self-consciousness about somehow being in "the limelight".

And I think the Portland building is a cruel joke perpetrated upon gullible public servants. I was far more active in city politics when those dumbass concrete faux bows were added to the building. What a waste. >>face in hands, shaking head

My earlier posting got delayed by Jack’s spam filter. Go up a few messages (to 10:45 pm) to read how Metro lied to us about protecting neighborhoods.

Or see it all at


I have no argument with Frank's point about the Clinton and the displacement of a fine old house. That seems like a real example of a greedy developer not caring about the neighborhood and the city going along with him.

But I also think his more general point is a good one: "You can do infill density well. There are many, many ugly buildings that could be replaced, with well-designed buildings." It seems to me--based on what I've read about neighborhood development disputes and on some personal experience with my neighborhood association--that this is often not the attitude that prevails when established neighborhoods are dealing with the prospect of something new being built in their midst. My observation is that the neighborhood folks often exaggerate the "historical character" of the their neighborhood, failing to notice the "many, many ugly buildings that could be replaced," and concoct weak reasons for opposing what's new out of a somewhat thoughtless and unrealistic desire to maintain the status quo. The dispute that's the subject of this post, for example, seems to involve some pretty dubious reasons for opposing the proposed new building and an overly rosy characterization of the neighborhood exactly as it is.

I think what may be missing in the general development and density situation is a mechanism for siting new development where it would be most beneficial and least damaging to what's already good about a neighborhood. As Godfry seemed to imply, the Clinton would have had a positive rather than negative impact on the neighborhood if it had been built on any of the other three corners of the intersection where it's located (and if it had been required to adhere to certain code guidelines actually in place).

I think what may be missing in the general development and density situation is a mechanism for siting new development where it would be most beneficial and least damaging to what's already good about a neighborhood. As Godfry seemed to imply, the Clinton would have had a positive rather than negative impact on the neighborhood if it had been built on any of the other three corners of the intersection where it's located (and if it had been required to adhere to certain code guidelines actually in place).

Exactamundo, Richard!

If the new building had replaced the Joe Weston special on the NE corner, I would have provided a standing ovation. I think the other two lots are too small. Instead, they removed one of the few aesthetically pleasing structures along that stretch of Division and are proceeding, by all measures I can see, in buduglifying the remaining corner.

Gee...thanks. NOT!

I think what may be missing in the general development and density situation is a mechanism for siting new development where it would be most beneficial and least damaging to what's already good about a neighborhood.

You nailed it Richard. We, as a Neighborhood Association, offered to help developer Randy Rappaport find a better location in our neighborhood. But that's not how these things play out; Randy bought the property kinda on the cheap, from a guy who was essentially cheating on his property taxes by never completing the requirements for his zone change. (It was taxed as residential, not mixed-use, which it was zoned for by the City...though the guy never completed the requirements to accomplish the zone change.) Think anybody at tyhe City cared he didn't meet the zone change requirements? Nah. Think anybody at the County cared he was underpaying his property taxes? Nah!

And so it goes. But it's in our interests, as residents, to work with developers to work issues out. Fighting is a drag, and we're well aware it isn't a level playing field to begin with.

"But it's in our interests, as residents, to work with developers to work issues out. Fighting is a drag, and we're well aware it isn't a level playing field to begin with.'

The problem I find is that most developers don't want to work with the neighborhood. The prevailing attitude seems to be "this is my land and I should be able to do with it as I will", meaning the neighborhood should shut their traps, sit back down and stay the hell outta the way. This is even more pitched after a developer has done his tango with the city development types.

We tried dealing with Joe Angel regarding the Burger King he had planned for 39th Avenue, just south of Hawthorne. Mr. "I Already Cut My Deal with My Pals at City Hall" didn't even want to listen. He thought that because he was a good buddy of Earl's that he could just bulldoze through the neighbors, despite any opposition.


Sometimes it's absolutely necessary to fight. And, remember, they fight dirty.

Sometimes it's absolutely necessary to fight. And, remember, they fight dirty.

I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. I absolutely agree with you. But mostly we're getting the crap kicked out of us --its an unequal fight and, yeah, they DO fight dirty-- and so we find a weariness among neighborhood folks who want to at least win something, sometime.

You don't lose them all...

The fact that there is no Fred Meyer on the southeast corner of 22nd & Powell is a win.

In Richmond, we stopped Burger King, Albertson's and managed to bring the Division Corridor traffic calming to fruition. It can be done. Occasionally.

The fact that there is no Fred Meyer on the southeast corner of 22nd & Powell is a win.

You think? We were just before the Hearings Officer fighting the massive upzoning Fred Meyer (aka Kroger) requested, and won, for their corporate headquarters on that site. The industrial zoning is gone, anything goes (really) and we soon may be seeing who-knows-what going in there.

I know.

Were you not around for their attempt to convince the CoP Parks Bureau to "trade" the western half of Powell Park for the same amount of land to the south of what would remain of the east portion of the park (basically reorienting the park from east-west along Powell, to north-south along 26th)? They were willing to throw in a new set of playground equipment as an incentive to get PPB to allow them to build a new FM outlet on one of the largest outbound motor vehicle arterials leaving downtown other words, a potential multi-million dollar, per annum, revenue(and profit), for a set of playground equipment.

They took their little dog and pony show to all of the nearby neighborhoods. I attended one. They had their slick VP/Lobbyist, Cheryl Perron, and their planners there, but when I started lobbing my questions, they turned to their lawyer....hee hee. I was neither impressed nor amused.

A little bad press and a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth on the part of a lot of active neighborhood types got FM to drop the whole proposal.

Were you not around for their attempt to convince the CoP Parks Bureau to "trade" the western half of Powell Park for the same amount of land to the south...

I was in the 'hood, but not involved with HAND then.

Yeah, we have our victories, and I was just a couple of weeks ago at our annual Good Neighbor Agreement meeting with Fred Meyer. But, ultimately...I don't know that we win in the end.


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Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
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Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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