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NJD

All in all it really depends on the design of the park. Another O'Bryant Square is exactly what everyone should fear about adding too much greenspace. However, I feel that the stretch of half blocks, being mostly park already, make it less of a 'scattered' park space and more of a continuation of the other existing parks. Also, it is good to look at the amount of urban greenspace Vancouver BC has, and how they have designed their parks.
That being said, this park can be either boom or bust for our retail core area. A plaza design may relieve some of the burdens of its popular neighbor, but realistically will become the homeless population's pioneer square in time. A grassy park will have a similar fate, specially with the amount of other grassy parkland in the city center. A specified park may be the answer for this property, specified to one purpose such as a partially enclosed ice rink, a skatepark or an amphitheater. Another idea, for all those history buffs, is to design the park and redesign O'Bryant to match the existing north and south park blocks.
There is no easy answer, of course, but the parcel's destiny lies in the hands of the architect now.

Justin

I really don't think it is a wise idea to use fear of the homeless population as a justification not to build more open space in the city.

Unlike many other cities in the United States, we have simply allowed them to exist, instead of robbing them of their right to use the available public space in the city. I really don't want to lead this to a debate on whether or not we should have the right to use public spaces, but it needed touching upon.

However, with the amount of underveloped land on the 'west end' of downtown, it seems to me like there is a huge amount of housing that could and probably will be built there. The big question is always the economy.

After all, that's what created the homeless in the first place (and the subsequent failure of society and social programs) and whether it will allow the rest of downtown to build up like Vancouver.

I happen to think it will, but I don't know if we are at the beginning of a housing boom, or near the bust.

Justin

As far as architecture is concerned... I am worried that the garage entrance/exit for cars will attract a grittiness and make it unpleasant for normal people to want to be around. I don't know how many stories deep it will be, but it might get that creepy feeling that even a surface parking lot doesn't have, if the architects/engineers aren't careful. It will need to be well lit, bright and inviting - for essentially what will be a big hole in the ground.

I am also thankful that the PDC decided not to pursue demolition of all the buildings between Park & Park for the greenspace. I think the area is much more interesting - and will get more so - with the future development of the area. A few blocks away, even the Washington/Stark & 10th area is starting to get new life as little eateries and shops (Pita pit, etc) move into what was an abandoned area where DJango's used to be.

The buildings in the area and empty lots would be a great opportunity for some groundbreaking, small-scale extremely modern/high-tech architectural projects to take advantage of - as it is so close to Pioneer. I would love to see something like a little pedestrian-oriented shopping street in Japan or Europe with that builds on the energy of Pioneer.

Maybe another Brewery Blocks? Or our own little Shinjuku/Times Square area?

MarkDaMan

I'm not worried about a scary garage. The Brewery Blocks garage entrance doesn't overwhelm the street or the sidewalk that crosses in front. The parking lot is light and monitored by camera. Considering this will basically be a Fox Tower garage extension, and the Fox Tower is one of the most prominent buildings, I'm sure it will be okay.

I think you are off base on this one Brian. I think the park is going to really bring much more to the area. If it is done plaza style and connects with the surrounding hotel, theater, and buildings that should be redeveloped with strong ground floor retail, it will be another great Portland square that we are becoming famous for.

I'd like to see the layout accomidate the ice-skating rink that was supposed to go in Pioneer Square. With the tree in the square, a rink in the new park, a redesigned Nordstrom and re-energized surrounding buildings we could finally have a true retail core.

Justin

Yea, but there's a building on top of the Brewery Blocks garage. There won't be anything on top of the new Block 5 garage. I would imagine it will take up a lot of room in the park and create a 'dead zone' like the current underground parking lot on Park near Burnside.

NJD

First, the only entrance to this underground parking structure already exists under the Fox Tower, leaving the park free of any driveways like O'Bryant Square has.
Second, I was not making a judgement on the homeless population as a reason to not build. Portland has a long relationship with its homeless, but that is another debate entirely. My point was that we SHOULD build this park, but that a poor design might leave it unused like so many of Portland's pocket parks.
Third, save new housing for all of the surface parking lots in the area.

Philippe

Parks are good. This one could be good especially if it takes its cue from the Fox Tower. That west side is so muscular. . . it could use an extension of some kind 'out and over' into a new park space.

Also, Pioneer Courthouse Square often feels 'overused' and often keeps me away. I would welcome a new space at especially at noon time.

Justin

Really, the new garage will simply be an extension of the one underneath the Fox Tower? That's interesting - where did you find this info out? I wonder if there's anymore I could read up on.

As far as design is concerned... this would be an excellent opportunity for Portland to hold another design competition and get the community 'excited' about it.

MarkDaMan

^^you're a little behind the time there Justin :-)

A design competition was held and a design has been selected, although I haven't seen it. There is also a redesign for O'Bryant Square too.

The parking gargage will be 6 stories underground, built under the street and will be an extension of the current garage. I think there was a story in the big O yesterday...

MarkDaMan

yes, found it but wasn't able to copy the link, but if you click on my name the story should pop up...

hunter

no competition was held just an rfp and zgf and olin partnership was selected to do the design for the park. Public process will begin soon. O bryant square will also be part of the design/public process.

Mike Conroy

It should be a green park with lots of trees. pioneer square is a plaza and we don't need another one so close. I do like the possibility of a skating rink but what about the rest of the year when it's warm or raining? Whatever goes there should try to incorporate the better qualities of the south park blocks with a possible twist. also, I'm curious about what would happen to the vendors who currently operate there. I adore the Chinese lady who owns the crepe stand. She's hillarious and part of the urban landscape.

djk

I do like the possibility of a skating rink but what about the rest of the year when it's warm or raining?

Outdoor dining? I'm thinking of Rockefeller Center. The skating rink there is flanked by restaurants -- outdoor dining in the summer, indoor dining with views of skaters during the winner.

So design the skating rink for outdoor dining most of the year: build one or two permanent restaurants into the park itself, and leave plenty of space for food carts and trailers along the edge of the park.

Dennis L

I like the idea of it being a bit Rockefeller Center like. A space to set up an ice skating rink in the winter that can have multipule uses during the other seasons would be great.

However I would love to see more living spaces in the heart of the city, I do think this park could act on everything Pioneer does not.

Isaac Laquedem

One of the requirements for the garage is that it will use the existing Fox Tower garage entrance and exit. The Park Block 5 garage won't require any new driveways; cars will get there by entering the Fox Tower and passing underneath Park Avenue.

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