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I think the Idea of an industrial retailer like Home Depot is pretty cool. It fits more with community vernacular as far as light industry goes. Isn't the idea of an incubator also antithetical to a changing community? That area is currently occupied by incubators. (incubator/small business/Light industrial) Some of the old warehouses currently house artists and small business. Some have stayed there for thirty years are still small businesses. (Incubation implies growth)

I also think it more honest to allow "Big Box" to live in the city as apposed to allow sprawl elsewhere. We repeatedly hide big boxes in Gresham and Airport Way and then wonder why those communitys look like %*_)#. A truly diverse community allows all. Portland must accept a diverse network of typologies, large and small.

As far as culture goes, play up skateboarding. The only authentic things in that neighborhood are Burnside Skate Park and Plaid Pantry. Please don’t exploit artwork and recreate another wannabe Pearl, Alberta, Hawthorne, Mississippi, Albina, etc.. It trivializes artistry- The whole point of artists finding new and run down communities to rejuvinate is they use and show creativity, not pencil in a development plan.

Food for thought-


I'd add a major league baseball team to the wish list.

matthew daby

well stated Ian.


I bet Wink's Hardware would disagree with Ian.


I'd agree with Ian if Home Depot or even Wal Mart for that matter bought property somewhere close in and decided to build one of their stores. I think the bridgehead is different in that you have the city basically subsidizing whatever development that goes in. Given that the site is one of the key development sites on the east side there is absolutely no frickin way that that some big box store should go in there.

PDC screwed up when they chose Opus, I understand they've worked all over the country but every Opus product that I've seen so far leaves me underwhelmed, starting with that truly horrendous Ladd Tower. I know they've done urban type work in Seattle and Denver, but they seem more like a mall (sorry lifestyle center) developer. From their first proposal I don't think they got what the area was about and where it could go. Given current market conditions it might sense for all parties to reevaluate what is feasible.

What's amazing though is that with Opus not moving one blade of grass, the surrounding area has really exploded (Bside 6, Rocket, the galaxy project). Given the direction that Lower Burnside has gone off in the last 3 to 4 years does this project still make sense.


I agree with Ian that diversity is important but if it has to be a big box it ought to be one that pays a living wage.

My vote would be some kind of mixed use project. An institutional anchor with offices or rentals apts above. Considering that PNCA is planning a huge expansion that site might be perfect. An art school would have the combination of industrial flavor and funkyness that would fit in with that neighborhood.


The reality is that it is unlikely that anything is going to get built and financed on that site in todays market right now. I don't think you can blame Opus for not getting anything started. Its a complicated project with lost of uncertainly revolving around it. And everything has changed since the fly-high days a year ago. Getting financing is extremely difficult right now. And the little guys will have even more difficulty getting anything started. It's fun the dream about the most ideal scenario for the site, but with costs where they are, almost nothing is viable these days (at least at rents that are remotely affordable). Things will cylce back at some point, but it may be a while. My guess is that the site will sit fallow like so many other PDC projects until the market evolves to support something there.


One more comment about the area exploding while Opus has done nothing. Maybe you haven't noticed but the office space above the newish Subaru dealership is still 100% vacant after what 2 years now? Not a good indicator if you are thinking about investing tens of millions of dollars into new flex-office, etc. in this area. I like the Bside6 building as a piece of architecture but am waiting to see how they fare on leasing it up (with no parking).


Particularly if a significant delay is inevitable, I think the PDC should start the process over. We'd all be lucky, though, if Beam offered their services again, seeing as they've come to believe that losing their bid for the Bridgehead was something of a lucky break.

I'd bet that Bside6 does just fine, thanks to the vision behind the product. The Subaru office space ranks right up there with the condo building at Morrison and 20th in terms of grotesquely uninspired architecture wrapped in brick. You couldn't pay me to locate an office there.


We'll see on Bside6... it all depends on what they need for rents. Yes, the Subaru building is less than a gem, but thier rents are pretty reasonable for new space and they still can't fill it. Being an owner on a building in that neighborhood that caters to upstart incubator office users, the reason it our building is full is because it is cheap rent. I'd be very surprised if Bside6 can compete with rents on other older space in that neigbhorhood. From what I hear they need quite the premium... Will people pay it to be there???


What about the Portland Art Museum's Center for Modern & Contemporary Art? Don't we already have a pretty fine contemporary art center that seems to be only getting more responsive to the community as well as more engaged with the greater world of art?


Big Box. Does not fit Portland. Period.

I went to the original PDC public open houses and meetings and had baited breath, now I don't know what to think. Opus is a multi-billion dollar real estate co, they should just be sent on their way since they're redeveloping other properties in Portland besides this site.

Maybe we can save it for like the year 2100 to redevelop.


I'd bet Ian and others who agree with him have never even set foot in the neighborhood.

Wink's hardware
Rejuvenation Lighting

are 2 well known locally grown businesses located in the 'hood, but there are about 10 paint companies, around 4+ tile manufacturers (which do custom, recycled, and decorative tile design and mfgr), among other businesses down there.

Some of you deride the Pearl District, but that was developed from a very conscious plan put together by the city and citizens of Portland. It has been overwhelmingly successful.

The Central Eastside has AS MUCH authenticity as a working industrial area as the Pearl once had - except it is still being used as such - and should not be bulldozed to the ground and 'wiped clean' because some people who have no clue as to its history want a convenient Costco near downtown. That would be tragic.

Allowing a big box, with their relatively low-wage employees, would essentially be a giveaway for a large corp to operate in the center of the city. There is no public benefit to such a building and business near downtown - they operate out of cheaply made buildings, induce huge amounts of traffic, require massive parking, and require such a large amount of sq footage devoted to the one building that it would deaden many, many blocks around it of street activity.

The normal big-box nowadays is around 240,000 sq foot. This is the equivalent of SIX Portland city blocks. Which would only have one entrance for retail, and hundreds and hundreds of linear feet of only a blank, concrete perimeter wall.

I would argue that there is just no way that you can integrate such a large building (on par with the Convention Ctr's footprint) into a Portland neighborhood and make it 'fit in' and 'play nice' with its neighbors. It would completely dominate the area, acting like a bomb going off and sterilizing the surrounding blocks.

Home Depot (as an example) does NOT act like a pedestrian generator.



there is probably a whole hell of a lot more hardware, paint, lighting, and other companies down there - with a much larger inventory of products - than what you would ever get from a Home Depot.

They also pay their employees better, and are already there and do not require massive subsidies to have them locate in the neighborhood.

Ok, there are no lumber stores, but you should try out the Mr. Plywood (a local lumber company) over on Stark St, since it is cheaper than Home Depot - and carries a larger inventory and higher quality of wood anyway - than Home Depot.

But I guess some people would rather spend dozens of millions of dollars on top of a real estate giveaway (of some very valuable real estate) to put these existing businesses under..? Is that your guys' plan? Sounds brilliant!

If you want Portland to be Texas or California, you should just say so. But then you could just move to those places and you wouldn't have to complain as to how crappy it is in Portland. Since... those places already have what you want.

Dennis L

Brian L you made a comment in this that sparked something with me, when you asked if it was right to put economics before design. I think the biggest problem with this is the fact that it is not putting people first. The intent of this project was to be a "people incubator" which seems to make no sense, except for the fact that there is no people at the current bridgehead site.

What would make much more sense would be to take in the idea of the people that live near this site and those that would travel to and through it, who are those people? What type of people should they be? The problem with big box stores in Portland is that they don't ask those questions, they merely create a big blanket for everyone at a low low price. If Portland wants to put itself ahead of the game it needs to begin working with developers and architects who bring the ideas of people to the table.

When someone asks you a question about what makes Portland Portland? The first thing that comes to mind is the people of this city. I think this development should take a page from all the neighborhoods in Portland and start to create through a collection of ideas and conversations a web of architecture that inspires this new generation of Portlanders into making this city better than what it currently is. This site, with its proximity to the the industrial district and neighborhoods and retail and office space, should be a true mix that represents all aspects of that area. It should be where a small light industrial company could make its start up or a clothing designer or any other number of young creative companies. This site doesn't need a big box store to be a success, it needs people there to make it a success and in turn make their own ventures a success.

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