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Friday, May 23, 2008

Latest SoWhat "green" breakthrough: windows

The boys down in the SoWhat district are going broke fast. Now they're putting a happy-face spin on the grim fact that their condo towers are empty, and they're going to try to turn them into "luxury" apartments. But people are going to be falling all over each other to live in these boxes, they say, because they're so "sustainable":

But Edlen said the Kennedy group’s investment helps prove South Waterfront still has a promising future. He believes it will continue attracting private investments, in large part because of the commitment of its developers to sustainable building practices. The 3720 and other buildings all incorporate the newest environmental and energy conservation technologies, Edlen said, which is what people are beginning to demand in their homes.

"If you just throw up a box, you’re going to have problems. But if you build to the highest standards of sustainability, people are going to respond," he said.

Oh yeah, those high, high standards. I get a kick out of one of the "green" features given prominent mention in the list of ecological wonders in these ugly apartment towers -- "operable windows that take advantage of abundant daylight and provide natural ventilation." In other words, windows that open. Golly. What an innovation.

Comments (33)

"operable windows that take advantage of abundant daylight and provide natural ventilation."

i'd say all windows take advantage of dalight.

and, open a large window on the 20th floor, and watch the fun begin.

the truth is, skyscrapers can never be "sustainable." it's a profound oxymoron which "the latest technology" will not remedy.

It's like the airport expansion -- oh so "green."

Sustainable is the new sex -- it sells everything.

What's next: Dual function doors that serve as an entry and an exit?

Well those apartments will fill up fast with all the folks who are going to fill those thirty thousand biotech jobs... oh, wait a minute...

Yeah, that condo market is hot, hot, hot!

Here's a closet in the Pearl for a mere $175K!


What a deal!

Edlen and Homer claim that their totally glass skinned SoWhat towers are green, but there is no way technology has made glass insulation values even come close to a typical R30 insulated wall. Green, another con job in so many ways.

Don't forget the other "green feature":

"balconies that provide shade in summer."

I'm not surprised that developers would come up with this silliness, but I am disappointed that a reporter would just regurgitate this stuff.

I am disappointed that a reporter would just regurgitate this stuff.

What makes you think that the reporter did even that much due diligence?

By renting them instead of selling them, they avoid having to provide disclosure of issues like foundation settling, which is rumored already.

You can't pay for this kind of entertainment.

"Sustainable is the new sex -- it sells everything."

Ain't that the truth. I for one, am tired of it. Green, sustainable, eco-friendly, small footprint, carbon this, carbon that, recycled...Can't pick up a magazine these days without entire issue being devoted to this latest craze. I am just waiting for "Easy Rider" to come out with their 'GREEN' issue. Gag.
Can't wait for the saturation point. When people are bored with whole subject.

Hey, there are signs it's waning. The vegan strip club closed.

beagle- do you mean the "leaning tower of SoWhat?" That is why the tourists ride light rail and Trams (RS) to see!

"I for one, am tired of it. ..."

No doubt. I find it extremely hypocritical when the media, which exist mainly to promote consumption, lectures everyone on the whole green philosophy. They really don't follow or believe it, they're just regurgitating one of the latest marketing buzzwords.

That's why I cancelled my subscription to Sunset magazine.

When will they admit to the CO2 footprint of making all that concrete?


Come on, Jim. You know darn well that those empty towers are not only saving farmland, but also preserving Portland's traditional neighborhoods. We should all be grateful for the half billion that Vera, Erik, Dan and Sam have given to the condo weasels so far, and the additional half billion that Sam, Dan and Randy will be giving them between now and the Chapter 9 filing.

The ever more brilliant Sam Adams will tell you that whatever the cost or outcome in SoWa, we have to do it to stop sprawl.
His latest whopper is that Urban Renewal TIF is not borrowing and that the Tram didn't take any borrowed money.

For those of you a little behind or slow, TIF is all borrowed spending. In fact all of the TIF property taxes skimmed for Urban Renewal must go towards servicing the debt created by the BIG UR plans.

Sam has taken dishonesty in the CoP to new heights.

He has either lost his marbles entirely or is thoroughly corrupted.

Either way he will eventually pay for his crimes against the city.

For 3 to 4 decades every dime in property taxes paid by these "sustainability towers" in SoWa will go towards the UR debt that grows.

Which means no one in the neighborhood will be paying for any basic services.

The voters are Sam's suckers.

Elden's marketing research is way off: the people who get hoodwinked by the sustainable talk can't afford to rent or buy these condos. Whoops.

"like foundation settling, which is rumored already."

"Rumored" on this blog and nowhere else. Kind of like a few weeks ago when our esteemed host claimed the "the cranes are stopped, to be sure..." I tell ya, it's amazing how they have managed to continue adding floors to the buildings without use of the cranes.

All I can say is starting at $1200/month for a 700 sqft 1 bed - Good luck!

My only question is how he's going to get CoP to subsidize this.

You folks have yet to consider the bike racks made of woven hemp.

Amazing that Homer and Gerding got away with their shirts...this time. Too bad for the pension fund that paid $450,000 per unit for these apartments.

What part of building a tower on a flood plain is sustainable? It's just a matter of time until the Willamette is pouring into their parking garage (which is probably where the backup generators are located). How sustainable is that penthouse going to look when the electricity is out and the generators are floating past your Benz?

How will all those energy efficient windows look after an earthquake?

How will all those new residents transit in/out of SoWhat if the city can't afford to address the multiple bottle necks and choke points (with a river on one side and I-5 on the other, it's hard to be very creative). Imagine how it would look during an evacuation.

What about a plain vanilla power outage that lasts a few days? The trolley won't be much help, the nearest grocery stores aren't exactly walking distance (carrying your groceries), especially if you're elderly or infirm. And then you have to schlep them up the stairwells.

I'll be cooking on my gas grill and sleeping in a tent in my backyard after a big earthquake. Maybe I'll rent out space to SoWhat refugees?

The engineers planned for big floods by building valves in the parking garages to allow pressure equalization so that the towers don't float off their foundations. It will still be a mess, and the HVAC equipment will be ruined, and every resident will be hit with a $250,000 special assessment, but the buildings shouldn't even tilt during a big flood.

Now, a big earthquake is another story. Those towers could tilt and be unusable or collapse if the river bank liquifies. At least the windows open.

Portland will set the bar at a record low with the newest trend in taxpayer bilking - SoWa section 8 housing for legally challenged immigrants. This time the Ceasar Chavez renaming will be unoppossed. Lisa Johnson will preside.

A friend and I cycled through SoWhat last Sunday for the first time. It's a bright 'n shinny glass n' concrete ghostown that reminds me of downtown Houston on a weekend.

What I can't stand is the perpetual pretense by Adams/CoP-Metro etc that they know what they are doing and their "master plans" are well thought out.
In reality it's friggin chaos without anyone facing any consequences for any of it not working out.

Instead, all they do is declared vital and working by way of tax funded public relations and our helpful press.

I tell ya, it's amazing how they have managed to continue adding floors to the buildings without use of the cranes.

The towers currently under construction in SoWhat are in the midst of the most obvious construction slowdown in Portland history. They're adding floors again lately, but at a snail's pace. With the injection of some Seattle fool's money, now they can finish.

At the time I wrote the post you quoted, the cranes had indeed stopped, for quite some time.

Is it fun working for condo weasels?

Here's a closet in the Pearl for a mere $175K!

Hey, thats a steal! I saw one last year at 600sqft that was $350k!

Here's a closet in the Pearl for a mere $175K!

Hey, thats a steal! I saw one last year at 600sqft that was $350k!

There's a reason why it's a steal: it's already in foreclosure.

"the most obvious construction slowdown in Portland history."

You can back that up I'm sure, citing specific examples?

I point out your mistake and that must mean I am a "condo weasel?" How mature of you.

You got picked on a lot in high school, didn't you?

Well, if it isn't a "construction slowdown" it certainly is a "slowdown" in economic activity in SoWhat. The few businesses are slow, the street life is a slow walk, and our city politicians are slow to recognize some of it planning mistakes.

For example why are the sidewalk bubbles at every block corner more than the necessary width of a sidewalk, but are sometimes 40' to 60' long reducing available parking by eight to twelve spaces per block? Is it car hatred?

Since Sam stole the future parking revenues from on street parking for the trolley cost overruns (against city policy), this design flaw just reduces the parking revenue. And also residents and business owners are crying about the lack of parking.

The 40% transit ridership Sam's PDOT predicted isn't working out. There was much public testimony that questioned the accuracy of that prediction. Even ODOT questioned it. But we were only naysayers. So much for Portland planning. There needs to be a new mind-set in PDOT.

"the most obvious construction slowdown in Portland history."

You can back that up I'm sure, citing specific examples?

if you've lived here longer than 20 years, you should already know the answer. not since the early 80s have things looked this way.

and right now, things might be even worse, because problems of creatively leveraged financing, serious overbuilding and middle-class squeeze out have created a scenario that's unprecedented. nearly every major newspaper in the US thinks so, too.

"GLV", got any predictions about the future?

The towers are perfectly straight. It's the city they're built in that leans to the left.

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