A little bird has told Portland Architecture that the City of Portland and Portland Public Schools are considering sweeping changes for the Blanchard Education Service Center just north of the Rose Quarter and the Broadway Bridge.
There apparently is some chance that this massive land parcel could be vacated by PPS in favor of a new location that would allow the institution to raise money (through sale of this centrally located, highly developable tract), re-organize administrative support, and build a better kitchen to provide organically/sustainable foods to students.
While everybody is talking about the future of Burnside Bridgehead, it's worth a moment to pause and consider the incredible potential of this site, which is ideally situated (a) just across the river from downtown and Northwest; (b) within walking distance of the Rose Quarter, Lloyd Center, the Convention Center and the MAX line; and (c) and right off such major arterials as MLK Boulevard and Broadway.
And along with the Blanchard facility, the city is also considering inclusion of additional maintenance yards and further property owned by the water and transportation departments. It could be a huge urban neighborhood in and of itself!
Not long ago the Blanchard site was considered for a baseball stadium back when Portland was in contention for the Montreal Expos. But after that opportunity fizzled, many of us forgot the dilapidated-looking campus. But picture how with the right touch, all the high-density housing and pedestrian-friendly environment that could be introduced to this auto-dominated environment, with residents crossing Broadway to exercise at the Memorial Colisseum's new amateur athletics complex. Imagine the lessons learned from the Pearl and South Waterfront that could be applied here, arguably an even better location. Imagine how the Blanchard area could perhaps re-ignite the drive to add housing to the Lloyd district and erase its surface parking lots.
With all this potential change, I just hope Portland Public Schools doesn't alter my favorite looking delivery trucks in the city, those yellow ones with the delightfully simple circular PPS logo.