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Jim Williams

Good review of Bend and the Old Mill. I live in Central Oregon but am a former Portlander. The Old Mill is a swing and a miss at this point. What could have been a smaller version of Portland's Pearl was missed. The fake urbanism of the area makes it plastic and lifeless when I go shopping down there. Unless there is something going on at the ampitheater the place pretty much closes up at night. There is a fair amount of housing near the Old Mill, but much in the Old Mill itself. The lack of condos above the retail level was something that should have been incorporated into the Old Mills planning, much to it's detriment.


Yeah, right on the spot with the old mill. The industrial architecture is cool, but they should have taken the opportunity to make it a little community village with shopping, entertainment and living integrated. A corner convenience store, a hole in the wall pizza joint, a small pub, all mixed in with the shops and living spaces. Instead it's just another place to drive to during the day and abandon at night. I was fortunate to live right in the middle of Gamla Stan (Old Town), Stockholm. I loved the feeling of a dense and lively medieval village on the tiny island in the middle of town and wonder why we can't replicate those same ideas here. Large open pedestrian-friendly squares, small streets good for walking and biking, and sometimes cars. 1 minute walk to the subway. The Irish pub with a cave-like underground section. Separated bike paths without the worry of being pegged by an inattentive driver. So nice. Couldn't we just take one street through the middle of portland and block it off to auto traffic? Just one street. How much could a few bollards at each intersection cost to put in? Not much when you consider what the city would gain. My 2 cents.


"..large open pedestrian friendly squares" There are a ton of these spaces in downtown Portland but Portlanders prefer surface parking lots..

"..1 minute walk to the subway" Nah, too expensive. We prefer gimmicky slow streetcars here, that "spur development". Any idea that does not make money is doomed here, the veneer of urbanism is barely enough to sustain this blog...

Lovely day for a walk today though, going out to dispell all this bitterness.


The whole "lifestyle center" concept is bogus unless and until they start integrating housing above the retail spaces. I was amazed at the hype over Bridgeport Village when it opened and I have been lost in the maze of streets and construction around The Old Mill. In both cases they're not much different than when Lloyd Center opened in the early 1960s as an open-aired shopping mall. Only the store names are different. Yippee!

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It's growing so fast the city could probably do a lot more to be progressive about planning and architecture.

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