This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 12, 2012 3:49 PM. The previous post in this blog was New finance czar could transform Europe. The next post in this blog is Gridlock with a backbeat. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The "now" is not so hot

These two photos of the corner of SW Third and Morrison in downtown Portland sure are telling. Once upon a time (top), there were lots of thriving businesses there, and all sorts of people on the busy streets. Nowadays (bottom), you get a sterile Nordstrom Rack, an empty storefront where a Borders used to be, and precious few pedestrians in sight. Maybe Portland's precious "planners" aren't doing such a great job after all.

Comments (20)

Can't you just Photoshop in some shoppers? Remember, its all about image.

You actually think they want to common man to come into their little Utopia ?

Fat chance they'd ever admit it. Arrogance knows no humility. They'd just blame any failure on something or someone else and move on to the next victim community seeking fame, fortune, and "progress".

One person on the street...one! and the Max train. Talk about sterile...
I was just discussing the lack of visible, viable and the lack of variety of commerce in downtown compared to even 15 years ago.
20+ years ago there were at least 6 major department stores in a 4 block area. There was also Charles F Berg, I Magnin, Ungars, and at east 4 major locally owned jewelry stores.
Now there are 2 locally owned jewelry stores left, a Nordstrom and a Macy's where M&F used to be. It used to be fun and interesting to go downtown. Now it is a pain in the rear to find parking, and the ladies I know don't want to be accosted by the panhandlers, and for what...to shop at a national big box...? And no one I know can afford to shop at Marios.

Boy, that's some blight for you. Looks like we found the next candidate for a urban renewal area!

Aside from having to deal with the Real Housewives of Lake Oswego, there is nothing about the layout/shopping structure/street atmosphere (i.e. aggressive bums)downtown better than Bridgeport Village. That's right planners, I'd rather hop in my car, shop, not get accosted, and not have a $90 parking ticket in the burbs

In the 1905 photo, all of the toastrack cars there have some sort of banner on them. Opening day at Oaks Park, Canemah Park, or a special train for the Lewis and Clark centennial?

And this is compared to a regular service day with a modern streetcar.

Curse Portland for not spending enough money on bread and circuses!

It will be just wonderful when we can hop on the MAX in Milwaukie to get to this exciting downtown destination. Or maybe we'll have to go to the Tacoma street station if Clackistan stops the train at the county line.

I believe there are two pedestrians in that light rail photo....

I think the goal of the planners is to turn the city back into what it was during the turn of the century.

And the picture has it all; smart growth condo bunkers with ground level retail, bicycles, a general lack of cars, people congregating in the middle of the street, and of course light rail. The only thing thats missing is bubble curb bio swales and street trees.

People just interfere with the clean and sparse lines of today't recti-linear building style. It's way too hard to control them and make them sustainable and predictable like in the artist renderings. Besides people never follow policy set forth by the planners - Life is just that way.

It's much better if we don't have people downtown anyways. After all, what would've happened if Louis XIV would've let the people who paid for Versailles actually visit it (lets overlook the French Revolution for now.)

I used to live in that area while attending PSU. It seemed much safer and more alive in the late 90's. When I worked down there in 2009, only a decade later, it just seemed dead and sinister.

Probably just my imagination.

"There is no there there." Gertrude Stein.

Actually if you look at a lot of older pictures of downtown Portland what you usually see is a very busy and bustling downtown full of people either shopping, working or just plain people watching. Now, not so much.

Granted, people have just moved on to other locales (23rd Ave, Hawthorne, the burbs, etc.) but still after all of the $ spent on "revitalizing" downtown, they couldn't have done a worse job. I will no longer go downtown unless they bring back free parking on weekends.

Give me a break, Jack. No basis for comparison exists not knowing the circumstances of the individual photos. How many people in 1905 had cars to transport them about? vs now. How many relied instead on pubic transit? (Oh, God, not that!) What was the event being celebrated in 1905 by the banners and the coordinated outfits the gals are wearing (Wait wait dont tell me)? How about a shot where light rail loads and unloads passengers. Cheap shot libertarian evangelizing. Shouldn't I expect more?

Swenson, I think you are jumping to conclusions.

Have you spent many hours looking at the numerous historical photos we have around our city? I've spent many hours at the Oregon Historical Society and other archives. Jim Davis at Running Outfitters for many years has published calendars of Portland's historical photos. And there are several more. What becomes obvious, without any perceived agenda, is what is demonstrated just in these two posted photos.

It's good to consider the questions you bring up. But the point Jack and other posts make is validated by examining all of Portland's collections.

What's missing in this most recent photo is the other two corners of the intersection. One is a parking garage, and the other is the newly closed, ground floor J. Jill store in Pioneer Place. Went there yesterday for a pair of shorts and the store is long gone. So, off I went to the downtown J. Crew store. They don't carry any petites or party dresses downtown. Gotta go to Bridgeport or Washington Square to see the full line of offerings. Hmm, no LRT to either location. Does that mean I must stay in my quadrant?

I think Portlands Planners need to retire. Their work is done. Their city is finished.

The difference is obviously the streetcar: the old-time photo shows 11 streetcars; the new photo shows only 1 (or 2 if you count both cars separately). We could revitalize 3rd and Morrison if only we add 10 more streetcar lines.

Portland Native: Dont forget that there were furriers in Portland as well.

Jim Swenson: There is only public transit in the new photo. Not the old. It was Private.

Clicky Web Analytics