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This is all about PDC, not the City. It was PDC who talked Fire into going for a new station rather than the planned remodel. It was PDC who assured everyone that by using the remodel money from the GO bond, there'd be no trick to scrounging up the rest.

IMO the problems started with the design competition. Strong aesthetics are important in public buildings--and several recently built stations are indeed bold and innovative while still being functional. But too much of the discussion and hype around this project concerned how the neighborhood could be transformed--rather than how the most important fire station in the city should be built. Two of the three designs seemed not to even realize what they were building, so concerned were they with the look and feel of the area.

Hacker's design, by contrast, concentrated on the nuts and bolts of getting several large emergency vehicles (they have six major pieces of equipment and several other SUV-type vehicles) in and out of the building as efficiently as possible. It also was a pleasant looking building.

Unfortunately, as I understand it, somewhere along the line a calculation formula got a wrong basis number plugged in, and realization costs got underestimated. Throw in the delay caused by dueling Naitos while steel prices rocketed upward, and now somebody needs to come up with another 10 million.

And so PDC came back to the City and essentially said "we need more money." The Fire Bureau had no more to give, and stuck to their guns. It was PDC's idea, and it's already in a renewal zone--let them figure out the shortfall.

Whether they couldn't find the money or simply got bored of the idea, I don't know. But this was PDC's baby all the way, and if it's not going ahead they have no one to blame but themselves.

More shocking to me than the headline--I kinda knew it was coming--was the idea that the neighborhood would be SO disappointed. BS. If it meant losing Saturday Market (which it probably did), I think on balance Old Town prefers things the way they are--especially if Mercy Corps takes the Global Antiques site instead.


torridjoe has always sounds like he knows so much - inside scoop? kinda makes you think he has a "spin" to serve. i know some people in the neighborhood and they are mad. looks like the mayor and sten got cold feet and don't want the heat. call it "tramitis." politics at the expense of buckling down and having some leadership & vision?


All Saturday market and their customers are pretty happy with the decision ... function over form.... but who says a remodel cant be beautiful ?


"The City of Portland went two decades before holding a design competition after the bad feelings of Michael Graves’s Portland Building".
Brian, Let's not forget the ill- fated Mt Tabor Reservoir competition that attracted national talent. After the City went through an RFQ, a stipend for design ideas, sharing the ideas with the public, and then the award to a firm, the process went sideways and was eventually halted. Whether you agree on the idea of capping the reservoirs or not, it shows yet another example of the City starting a process that they cannot finish.

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