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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Burnside Bridgehead: Opus deal is dead

So reports our correspondent in this dispatch:

Burnside Bridgehead is now on semi-permanent hold as the PDC [Portland Development Commission] commissioners unanimously decided NOT to renew the Memorandum of Understanding with Opus NW to construct the project.

I confess it came as a bit of a shock to all of us who showed up today for the proceedings. No one from Opus bothered to attend. It was all a done deal last night, apparently. The PDC staff story is that "after careful consideration of the market trends and the economic downturns the project is just not viable at this time and the PDC staff recommend not renewing the MOU," etc., etc. We can all draw our own conclusions as to the real reason why.

The demolition of the Cascade Plaza and the other buildings will proceed and the site will be prepared to be "shovel ready" for a prospective tenant sometime in the future, but at least two years away. In the meantime, the PDC wants to plant some grass and wants to use the site as a temporary park; it was suggested a dog walk area, which may help to keep the undesirables away and prevent tent camping. (Yes, that was actually suggested!)

You can catch it all on some cable channel or other if you dare.

Several folks I spoke with saw the blog and liked the name suggestions, as did I. Thanks for spreading the word.

This project was cursed from the moment the old PDC administration decided it was going to force down the public's throat a concept, and then a contractor, that it didn't want. Now that we're back at Square 1, let's hope something more responsive to the real needs and desires of the neighboring residents and businesses will emerge.

And if someone could please put the kibosh on the folly of the "couplet"...

Comments (22)

it was suggested a dog walk area,

How appropriate.




I guess the only way that side of Burnside gets developed will be with the addition of a trolly or tram or something...

With Central City Concern largely or completely bailing on its building across the street, the whole area is ripe for something new. If the traffic "couplet" goes in, though, one would think that it's going to be every bit as pedestrian-unfriendly a place as it is now -- maybe even worse.

Trams and trolleys are passe.

Human power is the only energy we'll have left after Global Darkness kicks in, and PediCabs, the thinking man's Rickshaw, is READY TO ROLL!

I think the Bridgehead should be renamed PediCab Station, to serve as an incubator for human powered transit alternatives. given the proximity to the river, it could also serve as a launch zone for the world's first bicycle ferry service, assuming that MultCo will (eventually) let all the bridges fall into disrepair.

b!x You sum it up perfectly; you always get it right!

Bruce Warner is such a sap. It's amazing that he can actually say the things he does.

ANY causal look at the PDC operations like SoWa, by anyone who's familiar with their budgets and Urban Renewal, shows clearly the mammoth recklessness of his agency. It's almost as if he and the PDC are meth heads pilfering the family resources to feed their habit.

Warner has absolutely no regard for either the public's dime or city services depending on it's prudent use.

And without a single elected official in sight showing even the slightest sign of concern or scrutiny Warner can say and do anything he wants.
I have no doubt Sam Adams is a regular
entry in Warner's schedule.

With the real estate market in the tank, and private development in a shock all over the city, I am SHOCKED about this development. And I blame it entirely on PDC -- PDC is to blame for the downturn in the real estate market, and I believe that all of its commissioners need to be appropriately skewered!

Regardless of who had been chosen to develop this, it would still be a problem right now.

If you're thinking Burnside Bridgehead, simultaneously think of 12th and Morrison. It's just sitting vacant. Because (IMHO), sometimes letting property sit is the best market decision.

without a single elected official in sight showing even the slightest sign of concern or scrutiny

Actually, Sten has been calling a lot of the shots the last year or two, and he will continue to do so up to the very moment he mysteriously leaves office.

A park, albeit temporary, will be a vast improvement over the broken asphalt and barbed wire fence that sits there currently. Disregarding all of the recriminations for why this went wrong, I hope that the land will be given over to some use that is at least nominally beneficial to the public for the TWO PLUS YEARS that it's likely to sit vacant now.

As the City official who started this whole thing (sort of) by tearing down the half finished office building that was on the site in the early 1990's, I have been following this mess for years.

In PDC's defense Vera stuck them with this site when they didn't want it and it has been a mess ever since. Someone ought to come to their senses and just put it up for sale. Of course then a private developer and not the neighbors get to decide what goes in there. But that is probably for the best. My personal prediction is that it will be a Wal-Mart.

Greg C

How wasteful to demolish buildings just to create an empty space that won't be used for anything at all for at least 2 years. Watch that 2 become five or more. Those buildings should be used, not destroyed.

PG, if a property's highest and best use is new construction/development, and there's a building on it that needs to be demolished, I think it improves the value to do the demolition, so that a prospective purchaser is not having to deal with that. One admittedly recent example to the contrary, though, is the Grand Central Bowl building -- they could have torn it down, but didn't (thank god).

With the real estate market in the tank, and private development in a shock all over the city, I am SHOCKED about this development.

This project was approved nearly three years ago, when the market was fine. But it was the wrong project, with the wrong developer, even then. Vera Katz's PDC people (all good Goldschmidt puppets) blew it big time. At least the current PDC board had the good sense to pull the plug.

12th and Morrison

This location is a Plaid Pantry, the Morrison Street Grill, the Cigarette Shop & Save, and some sort of kickboxing etc. gym. So, I don't think this is what you meant to mention.

Er, aren't there two 12th-&-Morrison's?

I beleive the writer is refering to the old Monte Carlo block on SE 11 at Morrison.

FYI...just a bit more.
The folks in the CES are delighted that the OPUS period is behind us and we can move on. Already community leaders and activits are working together to use this space to the benefit of everyone for the short term, and try and get another project gong that will work for the community and for the city as a whole for the long term.
The emails are hot and heavy tonight with ideas and goals for the future.

PG, if a property's highest and best use is new construction/development, and there's a building on it that needs to be demolished, I think it improves the value to do the demolition...

Man, I wouldn't lash myself quite so securely to the mast of a sinking ship.

Unless I was gettin' paid for it.

...not to imply anything of that nature, of course...

Where's Mr. Bean? Where ready for Portland's first bike centric development. More bikes = clean air. Clean air = healthy and happy people.

Sell it to the highest bidder (no subsidies required), send the proceeds to Multnomah County, Attn: Ted Wheeler with a short note:


Here's our first contribution for a new Sellwood Bridge. In light of the desperate condition of the existing Sellwood Bridge (and the fact my friends and family drive over it daily), the PDC has agreed to give you $50 million in unencumbered funds (they're selling off surplus property!!!), with four provisos:

1. MultCo. puts up a $50 million surety bond in advance.
2. The new bridge must include 4 traffic lanes minimum, with no vehicle restrictions.
3. The new bridge must open no later than June 30, 2011.
4. If the new bridge is not open by June 30, 2011, you must agree to forfeit $200,000 for each day of delay, up to a maximum of $50 million dollars.

Standard form of contract.

Problem solved.

Stop all new rail transit.

Audit the PDC, TriMet and Metro

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