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Thursday, July 6, 2006

Apple Computer to Portland planners: Forget it

Looks like there won't be a new Apple Computer retail store in Portland after all.

And here I thought it was going to be some sort of linchpin...

Comments (1)

What in the heck? "...called the design “leaden” and the materials “unfriendly” to pedestrians."

Leaden and unfriendly to pedestrians? Apple stores are getting praise nationwide for their customer-friendly design and service. But because they wanted to do something a little different they get shot down while Pottery Barn continues to suck the soul out of the area. Have you seen that new thing they're building?

Posted by: Chris Snethen at July 6, 2006 01:15 PM

Apple certainly doesn't need the location -- they already have three stores in the Portland area. But the store and its design would have been a significant benefit to the street and the neighborhood. And Chris is right -- the Pottery Barn/Williams Sonoma Home/Parking Garage Dick Singer threw up across the street is an abomination.

Posted by: Allan L. at July 6, 2006 02:02 PM

Well, leave it to Portland to chase away good businesses. They let monstrosities like the Lloyd District/Broadway Zupans condos go in, totally surrounding that poor flower store, and tell Apple "no way" multiple times in response to their cool store designs.

At least we have two other Apple stores at Bridgeport and Pioneer Place.

Posted by: Apple Lover at July 6, 2006 02:07 PM

"Apple certainly doesn't need the location..."

These kind of statements just slay me. How do you know Apple doesn't need the location?

And Apple Lover, don't forget about all the locally-owned Apple stores around town; The Mac Store, PowerMac Pac, Mac Force...

Posted by: Chris McMullen at July 6, 2006 02:23 PM

while Pottery Barn continues to suck the soul out of the area. Have you seen that new thing they're building?

Yes, that thing is truly hideous. (Not to mention the fact that Williams Sonoma Home is perhaps the most hilariously overpriced store I have ever seen. I'm sure Restoration Hardware is cheering their new competition, as suddenly Restoration's prices will seem reasonable by comparison.)

Posted by: Dave J. at July 6, 2006 02:24 PM

There are pro-development incentives for properties that are designated historic resources. Yes, pro-development... Paradoxically, developers seek that designation to build more condos, allow a broader range of non-residential uses, transfer density to avoid expensive seismic upgrades, etc. Portland City Code 33.445.610.

Sounds like Apple wanted the benefit of the historic resource designation without the burden of architectural oversight.

Posted by: butterball at July 6, 2006 02:26 PM

Chris: don't forget that this same Design Commission gave us the "jailhouse like" Marriot Courtyard Motel/Hotel next to the west end Marquam Bridge freeway ramps. A cabel of "design experts" can give you anything you want with all kinds architectural/planning/urban planning sensitive jargon to justify their acceptance or rejection. Welcome to Portland's socialist planning for all.

Posted by: Lee at July 6, 2006 02:55 PM

More world-class publicity for the clueless Stennies. Go by Flexcar!

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 6, 2006 03:25 PM

"How do you know Apple doesn't need the location?"

It's a gift I have.

Posted by: Allan L. at July 6, 2006 04:57 PM

"Flexcar" is starting to crop up here, apparently as an icon of bad government. Since it's a for-profit enterprise, rather lightly (and temporarily) subsidized by the city, perhaps that's an issue that could be debated, instead of a conclusion to be taken for granted.

Posted by: Allan L. at July 6, 2006 05:26 PM

As someone who lives in NW here is my 2 cents:

I remember seeing some drawings of the proposed Apple Store and thinking it was kind of tacky but not any worse than Williams Sonoma. Didn't really care either way, though hard to see how a second Apple store a mile away from the down town one would do that much business.

Where they need to get busy is to stop that hideous parking garage that is going to go behind Papa Hydon's that has eye sore/white elephant written all over it.

It'd also be nice to get a new restuartant in the old Basillico location, that has been empty for quite a while now.

Posted by: eric at July 6, 2006 05:33 PM

We've already had a thread on Flexcar, here.

It's a private company, owned by a very, very, very rich dude and run locally by one of the Usual Suspects. The city tranportation folks are pushing it hard, while the public benefit it provides is not at all clear.

Suddenly it's the *private ownership* of cars that the Stennies are after -- not so much their use, which Flexcar of course doesn't eliminate. It's all part of the dense condo jungle that Portland is fast becoming. A place where you *can't* have a car. A place where city dollars are being spent to promote your renting a car rather than owning it. How awful.

Debate away.

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 6, 2006 05:37 PM

Y'know...it's either a "historic district" or it isn't. Apple wants some kind of standless steel exterior...what's next, McDonald's arches?

I think you can get new and old successfully, but it ain't easy. Consider how folks hated the Eifle Tower, or, more recently, Centre George Pompidou in what had been the historic Les Halles. The World Trade Center in lower Manhattan was equally bashed as proposed (and built). They're still fighting about its replacement.

Can't we all just get along? These are buildings, that's all, not ideological iconic flags planted in "enemy" territory.

I'd like to hear the reasons the building was rejected (as was the one proposed for NY's Flatiron district by that review board). I think the PDC shenanigans and finding favored developers continually at the public trough make for far more interesting --and significant--discussions.

Posted by: Frank Dufay at July 6, 2006 07:29 PM

"More human based metaphors are needed; additional pedestrian scale elements and details are needed."

Just to note...I read that and don't know what it means. Maybe we need more writing that is metaphorically less jarring to my pedestrian sensibilities. Then again, developer Randy Rappaport told the self-same Holst architects who are designing one of those mammoth monoliths providing urban --and very urbane i.e. expensive-- density in my 'hood: "Design a space ship!" 'cause there's no "context."

When our existing neighborhoods provide no "context" for clever architects...how do we deal with this?

Posted by: Frank Dufay at July 6, 2006 07:43 PM

Thanks for the cross-reference to the Flexcar debate. I missed that thread. Now I understand why it's been relegated to a kind of punctuation.

Posted by: Allan L. at July 6, 2006 08:07 PM

We can only hope this clears the way for a new methadone clinic or a Chiers recovery center...in keeping with the character of the neighborhood.

Posted by: Mister T at July 6, 2006 08:36 PM

Jobs should have learned from Gates - we love to take their money (Gates foundation money going to really bad schools) but we sure don't want those BIG, BAD corporate coming in - so just send money Steve!

In regards to Mister T's suggestion - actually since the city is going to fund flop apartments for alcoholics and drug addicts I think we could build a fine "bunks for bums" house there - just make sure we spend LOTS of taxpayer money to get the look of the building JUST RIGHT.

Posted by: mmmarvel at July 6, 2006 10:28 PM

Actually, I think the next methadone clinic is scheduled to open in Dunthorpe.

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 6, 2006 10:39 PM

More on the cozy city-Flexcar relationship: http://publicbroadcasting.net/opb/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=937925§ionID=1.

Flexcar doesn't hurt the environment, but it doesn't help much, if at all. The city acts like it's getting people out of their cars. Jeez, Grampy, you're giving them a car to drive!

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 7, 2006 01:24 AM

1)Flexcar has been owned by a "very, very, very rich dude" for about 6-8 months.

2)The City of P-town had an agreement with flexcar with regards to the parking places and now they're reneging. Too bad the C. of P. doesn't have the guts to go after the REAL criminals- such as the PDC for example. Although, kudos to Randy Leonard for having the guts to continue to tilt at the PDC windmill.

3) Is it really necessary to flex-bash?? I mean, there are just SOOOOO many other places to put this anger.

As someone who (for the past 4 years) has been carless and can not afford to replace my car- Thank God for flexcar!!!!!!!

No one on this thread/web/whatever wants to admit to being poor, but you know what?? I AM poor, and due to chronic health probelms I am living on a tiny income and flexcar makes a HUGE difference in my life. Vive le flexcar!!!!

Posted by: Lily at July 7, 2006 02:53 AM

I'm not against Flexcar! But I wonder why the city is so heavily promoting it. Car rental is not exactly something new, and neither is car sharing. But all of a sudden it's Flexcar this, Flexcar that, in all sorts of official city publications.

I smell the old boys.

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 7, 2006 03:14 AM

Jack wrote: "Flexcar doesn't hurt the environment, but it doesn't help much, if at all."

This is quite untrue. "[C]ar-sharing members make fewer trips by auto after becoming active
in car-sharing, and their total mileage driven decreases substantially. These changes have positive environmental impacts, are associated with increased transit use, and lead (to some extent) to an increased reliance on walking, which in turn should have long-term health benefits."

I can understand your frustration with all things in which the city has got involved, but you can't just assume a position and then pretend it's supported by the evidence. You're making an assertion, not a supported statement, and in this case it's clearly wrong.

For more: http://www4.trb.org/trb/crp.nsf/All+Projects/TCRP+B-26
at the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies

Posted by: Jud at July 7, 2006 07:31 AM

At least we have two other Apple stores at Bridgeport and Pioneer Place.

Not to mention two more in Beaverton.
Washington Square, and Cedar Hills Crossing.

Posted by: Jon at July 7, 2006 07:43 AM

I agree with Lily. The city subsidy is modest. (Indeed, it's not clear whether the city is being criticized here for the subsidy or for its withdrawal.) The contribution hourly car rentals (at low rates) make to the effectiveness of using public transportation is not hard to understand. The concept of guilt by association -- even if the city is paying Bill Scott's salary, or some of it, with foregone meter revenues -- is a weak reed. There are better examples of government incompetence and corruption at hand.

Of course, everybody is influenced by self interest in viewing these things. I'm in an experiment in which, last October, I sold my car and didn't replace it. That's one less car on the street, parked in NW Portland. And, like Lily, I find I'm driving much less (and saving lots of money) just because the rental cost brings focus to the decision to drive. This works for me because I live in NW, close in, where Flexcars are readily available -- and because they are conveniently located on the street. (The bike racks could make it work at greater distance, too, but it would be less comfortable, especially in the rain.) Others won't want or need service like this, but they get an indirect benefit from me (and others in my situation) being off the road and not parked at the curb. One little issue with the subsidy: before I would know how to feel about the parking revenue issue, I would want to know more about how loading zones are allocated, maintained and financed in the city.

Posted by: Allan L. at July 7, 2006 08:33 AM

Cedar Hills Crossing.

IIRC FWIW IMHO this is a "MAC" store -- an independent reseller, not a corporate Apple outlet.

Posted by: Allan L. at July 7, 2006 08:34 AM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]

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