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m conroy

it's really unfortunate that we are having to discuss losing a historic structure in this day and age when old buildings are finding new uses. newer buildings on the most part lack the whimsey and grandeur that architecture had at the turn of the last century. I'm not against modern architecture but we don't even have a fraction of the treasures that europe has. why are we set on some 50's idea of progress? there must be a way to build a garage and a new building that incorporates the rosefriend. if they can turn the armory into a theater why not the rosefriend? I'm also still miffed at the loss of affordable housing in the central city. a church should make provisions for people who have less not tear down history in favor of a parking lot and profit. there is a street car and max line just a couple blocks away. several parking lots too. portland is a nice walkable city. whats wrong with walking to church?


I hope more people are reading this thread than are commenting in regards to its subject. Once again, I recommend those interested, to check out the story on indymedia:


In addition to a good account of some of the minutes of the meeting, there's a comment by somebody who wrote Potter and others, plus the response received from Potter.

The crux of this situation is that that First Christian Church owns this block plus everything on it, and to a great degree, they can legally do relatively whatever they want to with it.

If it weren't for the consequences to a fine old building and a great park, the reaction of the church and the developer to the design of this block would be funny. Given such a spectacular location, it borders on incredulity that both parties would consider plopping such a plug ugly building there.

The only thing I can think of is that the church is so desperate for their own parking structure and spiffy new activity quarters that they have been blinded to all other concerns.

And in some mysterious state of aparrent delusion, John Carroll and Ankrom Moison are prepard to associate theirselves with this monstrosity out of some redemptive impulse for prior architectural misdeeds or some misguided compassion for the church's parking structure-less related inferiority complex.

Well. Read Potter's response. As he says, they have met all legal requirements, and having cleverly avoided any government money involved in the project, the city, in Potter's viewpoint, pretty much must allow them to proceed.

Please write all of them. Help them to see the light.

I've gone on about this issue to the point people are probably sick and tired of hearing from me about it....sorry about that.

Cliff Heaberlin

I don't believe it's "really too bad" that people are finding problems with the proposed tower. I can only hope this extended discussion can lead to a building worthy of replacing the Rosefriend Apartments. Though I'm new to the area, this post seems to reinforce Portland's reputation for being overly amenable to 'good enough' architectural solutions. While I'm not sure why no part of the Rosefriend Apartments is being preserved- through reconstruction, reuse, etc.- I think the proposed Ladd Tower lacks the incisiveness needed bring the community's opinion beyond bereaving the loss of a historic building. Labeling the owner of such property "persecuted" for this "unofficial burden" makes me cringe. It's a responsibility to accompanies ownership of such important real estate. The community needs to make sure such development, coming at the cost of one of our cultural artifacts, lives up to such responsibility.

Brian Libby

Cliff, I've posted several times in the past taking the people behind the Ladd Tower project to task for the Rosefriend demolition, the scale of the Ladd Tower, and banal design. You're probably right that I may have taken an overly accomodating attitude towards the developers in this particular post, but itcomes only after a lot of heated exchange has gone on about this in months past in previous posts and especially the commments section. I personally hope this project doesn't happen, but I also feel a responsibility to try and be as fair-minded as possible towards the Ladd Tower team members personally, who are respectable people and veterans in the building community.


Mr. Libby, The impression I've received from your reporting style is that it's for the most part, respectful inquiry, that leaves open your personal right to register opinion about the stories reported.

That's not straight, objective reporting, but then that isn't what this site has promised to offer if I have it right.

I haven't been able to help but notice what seems to have been a sort of freeze on the part of those formerly commenting here, after you stated your position on this site about the Rosefriend issue. Maybe it's just my imagination.

I hope nobody caves into pressure from a larger group in the face of an issue over what's right. It's always disappointing when someone sucks up to the powerful to avoid the heat. That is what I think we've seen in absence here, and I trust we'll see this state continue, because it is the right way to address important issues.


ws, i don't think any of us are caving nor "suck[ing] up to the powerful to avoid the heat." There's a whole lot of jibber jabber about what should be done, how we should save the Rosefriend or do something different but no one has actually gone beyond the talk to action. You too are a citizen and rather than repeatedly posting on this site criticism for how the project is being handled perhaps you could help be part of a solution.

I lived in that building for almost 2 years and loved it, my apartment was in good shape, the neighbors prior to the no-lease residents were great, management was friendly, helpful and in no way neglectful, i could afford the place and the location was perfect. Because of the impending demolition I now live in a place that costs twice as much, has less character, and the neighbors never acknowledge each others presence, and it took me 10 months to find. That being said, I'm entirely too involved w/ other community volunteer activities and do not have the time to help save this beautiful building. Do you? If you do, then PLEASE TRY.

I'm apalled that the church believes the carriage house was more financially feasible to save (even though it was in worse condition and used less) than the Rosefriend. I am HORRIFIED that we're losing this building b/c of PARKING. But this is a city and things will change, and if you look at the site, I don't think any firm here in town would be willing to try a building that would straddle the site were the Ladd carriage house be the building chosen to go and the Rosefriend stay.

On a different tangent, at the design review a month or so ago, I couldn't help but laugh when one person who is a pro-LT person sat there talking about how hard it is to park in the area and the church's existing lot b/c there are so many activities that close the streets in the area. How exactly does she think placing more parking on the same lot will help? The same access issues will still exist.


With regard to the last two comments, I'd guess that we haven't heard much more commentary on the Rosefriend in this forum because most readers who are concerned have already had their say (perhaps more than once, as in my and WS's case). And I'd suggest that we haven't seen much action because it's hard to know what to actually do--beyond protest verbally to anyone who might have some power over the situation. There doesn't seem to be a legal angle to pursue, and civil disobediance is likely to be ineffective, if not counter-productive and personally very costly.

One very slightly encouraging bit of information: I recently received a follow-up response from Erik Sten's office to a "save the Rosefriend" letter that I'd sent to all the city commissioners early in the summer. It was the second note I'd received from that office and seemed to be more than just politely dismissive. The letter revealed an appreciation of the land use, historic preservation and affordable-housing issues involved, and it implied that the city council may be weighing public opinion in anticipation of the Ladd Tower plan eventually coming before the council.

My point is, maybe it would help if more friends of the Rosefriend wrote more letters of concern to more people in a position to affect the outcome of the development proposal. Showing up and speaking up at the next design review and possible council hearing might help too.


I appreciate your comments 181. I'd like to think that my comments in entirety haven't seemed completely critical. My hope was that ideas I've ventured might encourage constructive alternatives to the dynamic in motion in regards to the Ladd Block.

People can get tired of repeated references regarding controversial subjects, but what's the alternative? Say your piece and thereafter be quiet? Ladd Tower design proponents would certainly apprectiate that in regards to those having differences with the current development plan for that block.

It's important that people, in increasing numbers, keep up the appeal to carefully examine the intended plans for blocks such as the Ladd Block. There are people out there who are very skilled at engaging the public and public officials, and constructively arguing for better ways to do things. Those people must be encouraged not to let silence fall on the uncertain wisdom of by the book procedures that can and have had very unfavorable consequences for the public.

That's why it concerns me that there's been such an absence of Rosefriend supportive opinions on this site and others of late. If issues such as are to be addressed as needed, a consistent, ongoing effort has to be sustained to keep it on the radar of people having the ability to help out.

The comment is not lost on me, that I should have a more hands on involvement in addressing issues like the Ladd Block development. I'd like that to happen, but for the present, I'm doing what I can do. I'll take the criticism if that's what was intended, rather than wither away and say nothing.

It's particularly great to hear someone weigh in on the issue, who has actually lived in the building and is experiencing the consequences of the property owners intentions. Words like that, in the right ears, carry a lot of weight.

By the way, I'm not implying that anybody here is sucking up, but rather, noting that keeping open lines of communication with those you have a difference of opinion with, can be a difficult course to negotiate. Many of us likely can think of examples where people have failed to do that. This is what is sad.

Randy Leonard

For what its worth, I read this sight and the accompanying comments regularly.

While -given my role in this process- I need to remain neutral on the issues raised, I do appreciate and note well thought out and objective comments.


I greatly appreciate the fact that Randy Leonard reads this blog.

Portland should not be presented with the propostion of losing either the Rosefriend or the Ladd Carrige house (which is slated to be preserved). Nor should it have to endure another banal tower.

This city deserves better.

While the First Christian Church has a right to demolish the existing buildings and maximize the development on the block, it should recognize it also has an obligation to consider the consequences of such action. The impact of this project extends far beyond the shadow the tower will cast. The Park and the urban fabric which surrounds it are part of Portland's unique legacy and represent conditions rare in American cities...these spaces and buildings are part of the history and identity of Portland.
While I think the tower's design can be improved, and the height mitigated with setbacks, the real issue comes back to the most basic and oft stated. Do we discard the city of the present, formed of the creativity and craftsmanship of the past, and replace it with a new city of our own making? Do we have any regard, respect, or sense of stewardship for the work of the past that goes beyond nostalgia? Do we see our work as disposable as we see the work of the past? Is this disposable city sustainable? Will we learn the value of preservation after all the great buildings are gone and be confronted with only the bland work of our age to save? Everyday I go by the site of the Knapp House, now a parking lot, and look at the sad little plaque that memorializes this greatest of Victorian houses. I see beautiful modest modern buildings from the 50's and 60's remuddled into oblivion. I see boring and ungainly towers rise everywhere, often dressed in cheap historicist trappings. And I wonder, who is allowing this-who is designing this. Unfortunately, the answer is we are.

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