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Thank you for publicizing the impending destruction of this historic building on www.portlandarchitecture.com. I'm appalled that the city of Portland can stand by and allow this loss of its historical patrimony, as well as the loss of affordable housing, which is reaching a critical shortage in the central city.

I recently had the opportunity to visit another urban wonder which is being destroyed, the South Central Farm in Los Angeles. The loss of the Rosefriend and its intended replacement with a monolithic, sterile highrise condo block which will permanently mar the visual aesthetics of the Park Blocks, downtown Portland's premier public space, is yet another tragic testimony to the brutality of the forces that seem to currently control the destiny of our urban and built environments.

If only we had the kind of social organization needed to turn back this tide of ugliness and insanity.


Since the interior of the building has lost most of its original character, I’d always thought that at the very least a portion of the facade should be saved. With the Ladd Tower having a setback at a similar height as the Rosefriends' roof, it might come off quite artistic from Broadway just as long as it was obvious that the building was no longer intact (although, I’m sure costs/the loss of underground parking space would make this basically 'impossible')


As a recent former resident (forced to move because of the impending demolition) and a staff member of the firm who is the designer of the project (but NOT speaking for the firm), I can say that it is indeed very disheartening to be losing this building. The interior is still in excellent condition and the rental prices are actually affordable. Having spent 10 months searching for an apartment downtown I can tell you that the affordable rental stock in this city is in ridiculously poor condition. This building has no problems with pests, heating, electrical, etc., and has an excellent management staff that not only cares about the residents but also the building. When I moved in two years ago they removed the carpet and refinished the oak floors to original condition. Granted the space was not quite 400 square feet, but the rent was only $535. Try finding a third floor unit, with wood floors, free heat, downtown for that price. Many of the residents there when I moved in had made this building their home and turnover was low. There was respect for your neighbors, if there was a problem in the courtyard or on the street all heads popped out and dealt with the issue, and if there was a problem with a unit management took care of it immediately. Of the many places I have lived this was the first that actually felt like home and where neighbors made an effort to get to know each other.
I have spoken to many people about this project, including the team working on it, and no one wants to see it go, but they are attempting to maintain the low, pedestrian scale street edges. If anyone can get the passion behind the project to save it, I'll be right there with you!


Here is a very informal survey of building residents and some concluding thoughts:

mike conroy

I'm willing to lend my voice and energy to preserve the Rosefriend.


Mr. Libby, thanks so much for helping, with this new article, to keep the spotlight directed on the problems associated with the pending demolition of the Rosefriend Apartment building. It’s fortunate that Mr. Falsetto’s brief summation of conclusions on the part of the development team leading to the proposed demolition of the Rosefriend have been provided here for everyone to carefully evaluate.

Suggesting that the destruction of a 100 year architecturally distinguished apartment building, replaced by a 21 story bland glass box is the only way to make underground parking for a single church profitable, seems less than sincere. Plopping this towering box right on the Park Blocks only heightens the insincerity, and adds insult.

One only has to go as far as SW 12 and Morrison to see the manner in which, (I believe it’s the Episcopalian….) church has answered the call for it’s parishioners parking needs and the need of the community for an increase in practical and aesthetic urban resources.

This church, while finding itself obliged to demolish the Danmoore Hotel, had the vision to install underground parking, and not construct any building at all on the site, instead, topping off the parking structure with a public/private park. Apparently, their development team was sufficiently astute so as to allow them to make the underground parking profitability dilemma pencil out.

It might take a lot of ingenuity, imagination, and determination, but there’s at least one option that hasn’t been considered for this block that could retain the Rosefriend, provide the parking, and at least some of the condos the development team seeks.

How much parking does the Church need? They’ll be building some under the site of the Carriage Building and most likely, also under the site of the church annex. If they chose to, they could probably also install parking under the Rosefriend Apartments. A daunting challenge? Likely, but given the location, nature of the architectural resource, and apparent desire for upper income housing, this is a more realistic option than some would have us believe.

Build the condo on the remaining quarter block after the annex is taken down. This option might call for either a reduction in the hoped for number of upper income units so as to allow the Rosefriend to continue to house people of income levels it has until now, however, if deemed absolutely necessary, the Rosefriend could be converted to the upper income condos the development team seems to prefer, thus at least allowing the Rosefriend building to continue as an architectural presence to the city.

If, in the final analysis, a new tower must replace the Rosefriend, at least leave the city with something more architecturally intelligent than what has been so far provided. Its degree of inspiration should at least attempt to be comparable to that of the Rosefriend Apartments, and hopefully have at least a modicum of the same charm. The proposed Ladd Tower does not.

Why does the underground parking have to be profitable? Isn’t breaking even sufficient for the Church’s needs? I’m hoping the church reconsiders it plans. The statement “The church is in the business of saving souls, not architecture” is not one a church should choose to have infamously associated with its name, particularly when the architecture in question is of such importance to the soul of the city and its people, as it is in this case.

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