« From the Last 50 in 150 | Main | Looking at Sellwood Bridge Prototypes »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Anytime the Portland Public Market topic comes up I get flashbacks of the Galleria of the 90's. Something I hope that can be avoided. PNCA should have first pick, as I believe they have proven themselves. PPM has not.

Re: Post Office moving. Is this real? I keep hearing about it but can't find any official word on it being a potential redevopment site.

Matt Davis

Another great site for the public market would be the old stables next to Union Station, currently used as parking for the condos over there.

Double J

First off PDC never held the reigns on the 511 building. #2 PNCA needs the ground floor space for classes and expanded exhibition space, why give up their interraction with the street and neighborhood? It just would never work.

PNCA needs a home and all the space it can get and it's great that it keeps them in the Pearl. PNCA leaving the Pearl would pretty much be a cultural disaster. Fact remains PNCA never changed course theyve been working with the feds for at least 9 months.

The generalist press has been trying to make this into a story by pitting sides against eachother but all PNCA did was stay their course. To me it looks like the biggest cultural opportunity Portland has seen in decades.

more here: http://www.portlandart.net/archives/2007/10/pnca_and_portla.html

Double J

Here's an active
link to an earlier opine I did on the 511


Two worthy candidates? Yes, both are good ideas, but please explain to us all how Ron Paul's mystery market is suddenly a worthy candidate?

PNCA is the fastest growing private art educator in the whole country. Did you happen to see the letters of support prior to the PDC decision (which wasn't a decision btw...it ws an admission that PDC had no authority over the 511 whatsoever)? People with names like Katz and Schnitzer signed on in favor of the college for good reason.

People forget that Ron Paul's restaurant empire collapsed several years ago, and he's been making backroom deals ever since in trying to bring the public market to Portland. He collects more in consulting fees each year than the Portland Farmers Market director (an entity that exists) makes in an annual salary, and has taken numerous expense-free trips around the world representing a market that doesn't exist.

Public Market? Yes, but can we please get some new leadership?


As for the Post Office, yes it's real. So real that the Postmaster General was supposedly in town this summer. Rumour has it, however, that Mayor Potter couldn't find time to meet with him.


My understanding is that the post office is moving out to the airport which will open up a huge parcel of land for development. This is a major opportunity to do something substantial in that area.


"On Broadway" was a Drifters song way before Benson watered it down.

I think there's some dispute over which entity first cast eyes upon the 511 bldg, but the feds' "free to educators" program seems to give PNCA the inside track, and it would go nicely with the new crafts museum and galleries, plus make a fine connection to the Pearl's art walk venues.
Has PNCA said what they'd do with their current leased space if they get this one? Is anyone looking at the customs house?


Here's something Brian and yesterday's Oregonian article omits from the dialog: PNCA has been negotiating with the Federal Government since summer of 2006. Ron teamed up with Melvin Mark at the 11th hour and made his announcement as if they already had the building. At the City Club debate (which was hardly a debate; it was basically Ron spewing one-liners and some farmers market guy sitting tongue-tied), there was no mention of PNCA until Nick Fish brought it up in a question, and Ron Paul brushed it aside.

You really have to ask yourself: What the hell was Ron Paul thinking? First...to try to go against a well-funded and well supported entity clearly that's better choice for Portland and act as if he already had the building. Second, to treat PNCA as if it didn't exist. And third, to act surprised and decry PNCA's alleged disrespect for the open public process that Ron Paul tried to openly thwart by not recognizing PNCA in the first place.

It comes down to what many of us who've been around the public market folks for years already know: its camp is clueless, nepotistic, makes all its deals behind closed doors, acts like it knows whats best for Portland without seeking any public input. There's a reason why PDC isn't shelling out money to these folks, and it has nothing to do with the idea.


I'm still hoping for a MLB stadium at the post office site that integrates with fabric of the city.

It would be great to have a public market next door!


Yes to a Major League BBall Stadium , but in a multi-use structure w/built-in Public Market / Homeless Housing / Hotel / Skatepark etc. A living 24/7 building , instead of the 'GO HOME @ 8' Pearl we have.


What are the cost estimates in rehabbing this building? I thought I remembered hearing that UO and/or PSU looked at this previously (some in the architecture community would know), and it seems like there were some pretty significant seismic upgrades needed. This might be more of a white elephant than a gift horse.


baseball. baseball. baseball.

Brian Libby

I disagree. I think a baseball stadium would overwhelm that area. I'd much rather see the old post office there sort of half renovated, half transformed into something else that better integrates with the surrounding urban fabric. We already have the Rose Garden, Memorial Coliseum and PGE Park in the central city. If Portland got major-league baseball and built a new stadium, I'd rather see it a little further out somewhere in North, Northeast or Southeast.


I have the same skepticism about the Public Market that has been voiced by other commenters, but I think the ground floor of the 511 building looks like a potentially excellent market space, which can spill out into what would become a new park block. But here would be the blockbuster: if instead of housing above, the Culinary Inst would take the upper floors. THERE would be some synergy. And when the PO site redevelops at high density, you have a great market for the Market.

Meanwhile, maybe PDC can help PNCA buy its buildings, and the 24-Hr Fitness bldg across the street, and it can grow into a sorta gritty campus right there where it's already established...
This would be a good use of urban renewal dollars, right?


A baseball stadium is a terrible use of the post office site. Stadiums are not dynamic when in use and hardly add jobs to the city. The rose garden is already a wasteland-put the baseball stadium where Memorial Coliseum is and create a stadium district such as denver, seattle et cetera. Don't mess up both sides of the river with places that aren't active all year. Instead the post office needs to be a vibrant book end of the city. It is large enough for a university or to poach more than one major corporation from other states to Portland and add significant numbers of jobs. It is a immense economic opportunity for the State and City.

As for PNCA/Public Market, Brian's original thought regarding why can't both uses fit into the building is on target. Though PNCA is a fantastic organization will the ground level of the 511 work like PNCA today-one door open and blank walls on the other 3 block faces? This building needs to help knit the Pearl to Old Town/Chinatown. If three faces are dead, it will work no better than the existing use of the 511. Broadway will be no more enlivened than it is today.


Dear Anon,
A BB stadium is anything but a living 24/7 use, but combining it with homeless housing, public market, hotel, skate park? Why not whore house, soup kitchen and highend shopping center.

San Francisco tried that concept to create a new football stadium and it went no where. Too many diverse uses does not make a 24/7 living building. And go home @ 8 Pearl?! You must never have visited here after 8PM. Most weekends I have people going home drunk at 2 AM past my window. Plenty of life down here late. Maybe not nightlife like you prefer but its far from dead. We even got crack at Pearl Court Apartments, everyone can get what they want.


And I forgot to add my 2 cents. PNCA is a terrific use given that the has turned into an arts center. What I hope is the school provides as much public access to the ground floor as it does in its current buildings. they offer lots of public uses for their space, neighborhood association meetings, art shows, TBA events, publick lectures. PNCA is a terrific and involved neighbor in the Pearl.

As for the Post Office moving. I have yet to hear anything definitive. The rumor is always "it'll happen in about 5 years". But I have heard one plan is to continue the North Park Blocks through that property, which is a great idea. The parking lot at 511 has been given to the city for that purpose. But I'd like to see more mixed use in that property. More office space, reasonably priced retail shops and food. We have plenty of housing in the Pearl now and in the works. A more diversified use would be very beneficial to the district and hopefully liven up the Broadway corridor.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Lead Sponsors


Portland Architecture on Facebook

More writing from Brian Libby


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad

Paperblogs Network

Google Analytics

  • Google Analytics

Awards & Honors