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It would help if somebody could produce numbers supporting various options available to the church through the development of their block that would allow the church sanctuary, The Rosefriend, and the Carriage House to continue on. I know there’s a lot of people out there who can take a shot at this.

The fact, as Brian Libby points out, that there is so much parking already available, or in all likelihood, possible to arrange, in close proximity to the church, hints at some other reason besides parking demands, for thinking of tearing down the Rosefriend. I’d rather not speculate what they might be at this point.

As far as building new on the block is concerned, the First Christian Church should definitely proceed. The 3-story annex facing the Park Blocks, is and always has been ugly. When that eyesore is gone, heads should come together to devise a plan that effectively, imaginatively uses every available remaining square foot of that block in the conception of a great, innovative new building design that will take inspiration from and tie together the First Christian Church sanctuary, The Rosefriend, and the Carriage House.

It should defer and be sensitive to the Park Blocks, and not tower over them at 250-300 feet high. It should not take the form of a monotonous, equilateral glass box as if this was the only way to make the project turn a profit. We need some radically good architecture on this very conspicuous SW Broadway block; something that uses arches, and radiuses like the other three, something that has graceful line and form with exquisitely applied tension, like a perfectly poised ballet dancer gazing down upon her supporters in sublime contemplation.

It’s not right that the city, and thereby the public should be allowed to be so oblivious to the possible destruction of The Rosefriend without at least an effort having been made to present them with various options that could make this one of the best blocks in town.

Efforts should be made by the city and other concerns, to help the developer recruit premium tenants to a more modestly proportioned building than the one currently planned.


Absolutely, the fate of the Rosefriend should be a wakeup call to the City that we need to perform a new historic resources inventory (HRI). The last one was performed about 30 years ago and is grossly outdated and missing details. Doing the inventory however is not enough; there must be "concrete" regulations put in place that would at the least delay demolition of a significant building. As is stands currently the HRI is really just an inventory list with really no force for protection behind it. Buildings must be listed on the National Register and/or obtain Portland Landmark status before they have any chance of local government involvement in their preservation.

In my mind, since a new HRI would be a huge project, it would be an excellent opportunity for the City to re-empower neighborhood associations citywide by seeking their assistance. Who knows better what buildings are important in a given neighborhood than the neighbors themselves?

I think that replacing the hideous church annex with a new building would be great along with a complete rennovation of the Rosefriend, I would suggest the property owners could apply for the National Register and then they could be eligible for some terrific tax breaks if they performed a historic rennovation according to certain guidelines. I'm not sure though if the church, as owners, can reap these benefits. Either way, it would be better to rennovate - even into condos - than to lose the building altogether.

This whole issue about parking is frustrating. Are the members of the church really all driving in from around the city? How many spaces do they really need? Street parking on Sunday is free, so the cost of parking for Sunday services should only be part of the equation. If the church is really looking to make money as a parking garage operator then that becomes another issue altogether. I don't think we need to be encouraging more automobile use in downtown.

I say regardless of whether its a fruitless effort or not, let City officials know that there is a real problem with the loss of historic architecture and/or affordable housing in Portland and the Rosefriend is a prime example. If we just assume they'll figure it out we're bound to lose many more buildings before that happens.

By the way, I read recently of the closing of the Guild Theater and I believe someone was quoted as saying that something may happen to "the whole block". Yikes! there are a couple of other wonderful buildings there that would be a shame to lose.

With the amount of development ongoing in Portland, there needs to be a REAL conversation about preservation and design or else these battles are going to increase in number and likely become uglier.

Frank Dufay

Not to throw cold water on this effort, but a demolition permit was applied for yesterday.


I agree that in order to get preservation in Portland back on track we need to update the inventory and improve regulations, as Val said. However, Oregon's owner-consent law would likely dilute the impact of these two much-needed changes. As it stands, a property owner can refuse to consent to any form of historic property designation. I think as long as this law is on the books we're going to have a hard time making any progressive changes to preservation policy in this city.


What can be done at this point? It's the church's private property. It and the developer appear committed to make a decision regarding the Rosefriend, that some of us consider very unfortuate and misguided. Dictating what people do with their private property is a very sore spot here in Oregon. Driving home the principle of greater public interest requires massive groundswell support, and support from many other elected and business areas as well.

For this Ladd block problem, and future prolems in Downtown and on the Park Blocks like it, the groundswell support has to be united by a collective vision, literally, of what they would like Downtown to look like and become. Is there really anything like that right now? Without such a thing, it's hard to even get anybody to listen to what you're saying.

The tower does a lot of bad things. Who can we help to see this through the money the tower represents? Who, in city government, would have the gonzo to stall this project at this point? Randy Leonard maybe.

I'm so disgusted with this thrifty soul church and their pencil-out only developer. Possessed with a priceless opportunity to return something to the city, and this is what they do.


Hi Brian,

If someone is willing to donate over $10 million to save Rosefriend, and to provide new spaces for the church, it would be a wonderful thing. I don't have that kind of money. The fact is no one is helping the church financially to maintain this historical building for a long term. The church has to find a way to survive.

If the tenants of Rosefriend appreciate low monthly rents for many years, it is time to show their supports to the church's decision.

From my understanding, the church is not only getting additional parking spaces, but importantly, they also will have a brand new space for services and functions.

I also suggest that you attend Sunday services of every Portland downtown church. You will see how most of the churches struggle financially and how church members work very hard to attract more believers.

I am very tired of people who blame on the Church, on the developers and on the city. The church owns that block, and the developers are actually contributing new spaces to the church. I support the First Christian Church’s decision because the church members are doing what it would benefit more people for another century.

Brian, I wish that you would at least try to see this issue from the Church’s perspective.

One filled parking space and one filled seat in a sanctuary, it’s one more human trying to improve one’s inner spirit. This is priceless.

Brian Libby


I appreciate your point that we need to try and see things from the church's perspective. No argument on that.

But I disagree with the general tenor of your argument(s).

I've maintained all along that any solution has to be one that is a 'win' for the church. As I understand it, they need (1) parking, (2) a long-term revenue source, and (3) new facilities. I believe these can be achieved without tearing down the Rosefriend.

The $10 million you mentioned about renovating the Rosefriend, and it being money they don't have, isn't a fair argument in my opinion. Nobody who embarks on a construction project, whether it's a single-family home or an office building, has the money upfront. One of the developers the church is working with could assist them in securing loans for the Rosefriend restoration, which could then easily be paid back, and a profit made, on turning the building into condos. You know, they're going for half a million these days, and that's the ones in mediocre new buildings, not a wonderful historic one on Broadway.

The new sanctuary or other uses needed by the church could be achieved with a quarter-block tower on the site of the current church annex building.

Parking could be secured on a nearby site using the profits from the Rosefriend condos and new quarter-block tower of condos. Or the money could be used on a more compact underground parking system that doesn't involve a traditional long ramp and, by extension, wouldn't require the Rosefriend's destruction.


All is fine and well except people failed to realize that a well known day care, teachers and parents with children were kicked out of that "ugly" annex that had been home for the day care for over 45 years, we pride ourselves on the quality care we gave the families and their children, alot of the staff was their for over 20 years and a couple more close to 30, the day care never ever got any recognition what so ever when all this was going down!!!!!! We were not even given any tips on where we can move the existing center to. I know it was a group effort but a very small one and one sided. (us) there was very little support and not one mention to the media about a child care center even being there when plans to displace us were happening, this may not seem important to some of you but the care of the children and the family we all became was the best thing ever, I guess only we will understand as care givers. Yes I do agree that Rosefriend should stay but I also believe more could have been done to save the childrens center as a whole. How many Condos do we really need when half in the area are still empty!!!!!!!!! Ugly annex or not an entire family was displaced!!!!! Ellen

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