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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 28, 2012 8:45 AM. The previous post in this blog was Sam Rands' West Hayden Island railroad job fails. The next post in this blog is Multnomah County goes deep in hole for Sellwood Bridge. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New plan for Burnside Bridgehead -- take a guess

The "final solution" has emerged for the utterly failed Portland Development Commission project to build something on the so-called Burnside Bridgehead site, at the east side of the bridge. And surprise, surprise -- it's apartment bunkers!

An alert reader from over that way fills us in:

It seems PDC is igniting the Burnside Bridgehead with a new... wait for it... cr-apartment project on steroids. This is going to be a 12-story, 290-unit project with 175 parking spots. One thing to note is the purchase price: $1.65 million -- which in this case equates to less than $50 per square foot of land. PDC claims this is a market price, but it is now well documented that [cr-apartment purveyor Wally] Remmers has paid north of $85 per square foot for his land. So PDC is bringing in these bunkers and subsidizing the developer (of course).

This is not the only cr-apartment project on the Bridgehead. Brad "Developer Welfare" Malsin is developing block 75, which will include 140 units and 78 parking spaces. Malsin is, of course, under construction on the Convention Plaza renovation, which will house 96,000 square feet of "creative office" space and will provide only 30 surface spots.

To summarize: There will soon be 430 bunker units on the Bridgehead site, 177 of which will have no allocated parking. There will soon be 96,000 square feet of "creative office" that by normal standards will have no parking. PDC is creating this high-density, über-packed and under-parked nightmare at taxpayer expense by subsidizing the land purchase to developers. Just one example is Convention Plaza, which PDC paid nearly $9 million for, yet gave it to Malsin for $2.3 million, which he can "earn" the right not to repay (which, of course, he won't).

It is worth noting that while the parking kerfuffle continues to brew on Division, PDC is creating and subsidizing a much worse problem on the already heavily burdened, streetcar-clogged fustercluck where the ill-conceived Couch Couplet, Burnside, and Grand/MLK intersect. Unbelievable.

Really? It's totally believable to us. This is classic Portland -- speeding down the road to municipal bankruptcy, all the while handing out money to greasy developer types. And erecting one bulky, soulless eyesore after another. But it's somehow "green and sustainable" -- oh, so very "green and sustainable," and so all the sheep bleat their loving approval.

Wait 'til Char-Lie takes charge of the cash register. You ain't seen nothin' yet.

Comments (24)

Brad has learned well from his predecessors....
Play in the mud and you get dirty!

Oh, and BTW....any and all objections to this or any other PDC project will be dealt with by either ignoring you completely, or if you have any assets, such as a business, we will simply bury you with economic consequences, such as weekly fire inspections, and OSHA inquiries.
We might even just condemn your building. We will make your life very uncomfortable...guaranteed!

It's amazing what happens when the market place gets replaced by the agenda of the central committee. Reminds me of Cuba.

I was just thinking that there needed to be more developer subsidies for apartments that nobody wants.

I guess we should all be glad that it's not a Convention Center hotel.

Does that mean they will take down that hideous "art" on the corner of Burnside and Grand?

Maybe we should require each City Council member to wear a hat of the developer's ass in which they are currently residing - it is so hard to keep track.

I had the "pleasure" of working with Maslin's Beam Development as well as WPA, the architects working on that project. Even though nothing bad happened to me, I have to say I couldn't wait for the work to end, declined any further work, made sure EVERYTHING was in writing, and kept my hand on my wallet at all times. I'm not surprised this duo has figured out how to siphon off PDC $$ at this scale. They've got the art of self-interest honed to Sam Adams levels, but without the self destructive tendencies.

And you all know that they will gleefully take the Streetcar, even though the #12 and #20 buses will get you downtown just by merely crossing the bridge...they'll take the slow-poke Streetcar all the way up to Broadway, then over, then across, then down (I think there's a change of train/line involved too)...

Or, of course, they could WALK across the bridge...but the Streetcar is eco-friendly and "green"...

I'm still opposed to the less than 1:1 ratio of apt units to parking spots, but at least at this location (as opposed to on Division) there is proximity to downtown as well as multiple transit options. You've got multiple bus lines, MAX is fairly close, streetcar, etc. You can walk to downtown in 5 minutes or less. So at least at this spot the "people don't need a car" logic is *somewhat* more convincing.

Ah come on Erik H....the hipsters aren't gonna WALK across the Burnside Bridge....and they might have to go past the "Right to Dream Too" camp...which is the next step down for many of them.
Too close to the truth.
I am SO embarrassed by Portlandia. I try to tell people I live don't really live in the city, but near it.

"people don't need a car"

At that location, a gun might be helpful, however.

And erecting one bulky, soulless eyesore after another

You can thank Gropius and the Bauhaus School, "Starting from Zero" for that. Start from zero, get zero.

Soulless eyesores?
Some have been sitting on royal perches every Wednesday at 1221 SW 4th Avenue.
Actually heartless eyesores might be more appropriate.

The county should sell the courthouse site and use the proceeds to build a new courthouse at that site.

I'm not sure it is stupid if you look at the big picture and the city's plans.  Once CoP implements its own 'final solution' by banning private motor vehicles from its streets, many commuters from the suburbs will be cut off from their places of employment in the Lloyd District and downtown. When faced with the choice having to find another job in a down economy, some will willingly move back to the city into these 'worker's quarters' where they can walk/bike to work.  In other cases, employers in those areas that lose commuting employees will be forced to hire replacements from nearby.
It's all in the plan.

3 years ago Saltzman was quoted as saying that the city would be taking advantage of the down economy to change Portland forever.  This was apparently before city council members were told to keep their mouths shut, since none of them say anything anymore and seem to leave that to the mayor.

As an afterthought, this also gives the planners a tool to wage a sort of economic war on the suburbs by denying their residents employment within CoP limits, except in cases where the job can be performed online or is conveniently reached by our high-speed and affordable transit system that's currently being built.

Hypertext embedded in my last sentence did not come through and was meant to imply sarcasm, as I'm sure, was obvious.

Workforce housing may be a term we could be hearing more of in coming years. Perhaps the term should be "workforced housing."

. . . .to change Portland forever. This was apparently before city council members were told to keep their mouths shut, since none of them say anything anymore and seem to leave that to the mayor.

Who better as Mayor to do that than Charlie Hales? It is so clear that those running matters here wanted Hales in that position. He did plenty to change Portland when he was Commissioner and he knows how to step right in on day one and do more.

"The county should sell the courthouse site and use the proceeds to build a new courthouse at that site."

That makes too much sense. It doesn't fill the need to enrich enough of Char-Lie's patrons.

In my opinion, projects aren't thought about in the way of too much sense around here. We have what I term as a very clever land-use chess game, at which Charlie and others are very adept! The developers and elected officials like PDC, it is a way that elected officials can bear gifts, does the public really need PDC anymore or more like can we afford them?

Hopefully in 50 years these apartment blocks will be torn down and something resembling businesses will return.
This will mean that people working for a decent wage, raising a family and paying taxes may once again be present again in Portlandia.

I have to wonder what sort of businesses will ever occupy the proposed commercial spaces with no parking in sight. Or do they think only hipsters riding bikes will be their clients?

Or do they think only hipsters riding bikes will be their clients?


When faced with the choice having to find another job in a down economy, some will willingly move back to the city into these 'worker's quarters' where they can walk/bike to work. In other cases, employers in those areas that lose commuting employees will be forced to hire replacements from nearby.

You're forgetting option #3, which is the most likely to happen:

The businesses leave the city, in favor of more hospitable climates, like Beaverton / Hillsboro, or the Florida Panhandle.

"I have to wonder what sort of businesses will ever occupy the proposed commercial spaces with no parking in sight. Or do they think only hipsters riding bikes will be their clients?"

Well, have you ever been a block down the street to any of the businesses on East Burnside?

Wow- as the mom of a boy and a girl, I am appalled at how child-unfriendly this whole plan is. Only the childless can live near their jobs, I guess. And thanks a lot, PDC
for diverting the taxes my family pays away from infrastructure and schools and other basic services.

Can I hear more about fighting development
that violates ADA/Fair Housing laws?

Great blog, people.


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