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I believe both buildings are renovations. There used to be a quaint garden space in front of the modern building - nothing to get excited about, but a nice green area. It seems unfortunate that it was replaced by a parking lot. One would think that working within such a creative community that the site work could have been handled in a more inventive way.


yep.. both buildings are renovations. but the "for-sale" building's fourth floor is brand new - no ghosts there.

the "green" space is still there, but covered in bark mulch to allow for a community garden.


The parking area is an abomination. My guess is the architects didn't make THAT decision. It looks like PE item...Profit Engineering.


are you sure WPa wants the prostitutes gone?



oops... that link to the Works Partnership website has to be wrong.

try this one: www.worksarchitecture.net

Jesse Beason

I'm pretty sure that the parking area treatment is temporary, re-landscaping of the entire campus is slated to happen later in the project.


i am sorry this project is not worth mentioning - it looks like it is boarded up, and the 35mph 82nd avenue test makes it look tenement housing. maybe that is a completment in some distorted way.


I actually believe the 40mph (i like to speed) test along 82nd ave makes this building look great. I am not surprised, WPA is a very talented team of architects...and good people.

go works.

regarding the courtyard, let's hold judgement for it's completion or at least better pictures.


Native and all, it's too early to comment on the old building, because it's hardly been touched yet. And apparently the landscaping is not yet in on the other buiding. I think the pictures look fine, though.


pictures showing the buildings in context with each other would help. they seem totally unrelated - at the very least there is no apparent dialogue between the new and the old.


Baptist Manor: Hey Condos. You're looking goOOOod.
Condos: Yeah, thanks. I feel good.
BM: Um, wanna dance?
C: Not really.
BM: You don't dance?
C: Well, yes...I do dance. I'm not gonna dance with you, though.
BM: Pfft! What...you're too good for me now...with your spandrel glass and new hat? Ewww, swanky.
C: Uh, well, yes. I look pretty hot, and you're icky, and old.
BM: Hey, they're gonna renovate me too...and then I'll show you.
C: Oh yeah?
BM: Yes, I'm gonna get me some new spandrel glass...and a hat too. And maybe they'll white-wash my brick. You'll see.
C: Um, you're confused. Talk to the hand.


I'm surprised to read that kind of hostility, Eileen. Obviously the two projects are cumulatively a work in progress. It sounds like you're attempting to say there's some stylistic incongruency between the two buildings, those being the mostly but not fully completed one, and the one not even begun yet.

I confess that I didn't take any pictures showing the two buildings in context together. I can tell you there is some nice public space between the two that, when landscaped, has the potential for a nice space.

Also, Works Partnership has often worked on rehab projects that beautifully synthesized new and old components. Even if the two structures in their current state don't fit together, I'm completely willing to give these people the benefit of the doubt.

For example, Thomas Hacker Architects is at work on a Mercy Corps project that will combine old and new structures. I have every reason to believe they'll pull it off. And there's no reason to diss the project while it's in progress, either.

What I'd hoped in writing the post now was to spread the word about an interesting, innovative project that seeks to create a community for artists in Portland, with the help of one of the top firms in town.

Maybe the pictures I posted along with it were a misleading distraction. I'd thought they would give a glimpse of what's happening and prompt people to imagine what it'll be like when completed.


What kind of hostility have you read? I suppose I forgot to include my :). And for that matter... :) ...on this post too.

Well, yes, perhaps I did weave a touch of sarcasm through the dialogue. My intention in that regard was to underscore the way these public conversations often spiral into misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and other misanthropisms...especially around the work of Works (for some reason that I don't fully appreciate).

Now, I merely intended the post to underscore the fact that one project is nearly complete and the other is not yet started. Any proposed dialogue regarding what is extant at this point can only be about "before and after".

What I certainly did not do, however, is disrespect any project, especially one by Works or by Thomas Hacker Architects.

That said, the Mercy Corps project and the one discussed here are propositions with very different circumstances and very different clients. For example: MP5 is a renovation of two discrete buildings from two divergent eras. Mercy Corps, I believe, is an addition to one building. The extent to which either project can (or should) be stylistically, formally or in some other way made whole is a fascinating question. Or more appropriately, these are fascinating but separate questions.

I believe THA has responded to the above proposition with great skill and thoughtfulness. I expect WPa will do the same.


its not exactly your fault brian. the wpa website itself doesn't really show pictures of the two buildings together.

seriously i think its great that both buildings are being renovated for any purpose and this seems like a good one. and its nice to see investment on the east side - i just hope young creative types will once again be able to afford living closer in without shacking up with five of their friends. here they get indiviual spaces and community. i think my favorite aspect of the project is the community service requirement. any chance gavin will be pouring beers and dropping glasses? i'd go there just for that.


It's great to see this kind of care-full project going in the neighborhood. Hopefully it takes root and starts some more discerning work along 82nd. Most recent projects have been painful to watch...at best.

Brian, while you're about town with your camera you should take some neighborhood pics for comparison. Maybe a shot of the new housing NW of this site. Oh, and include the CMU structure that went up across from Lewis Rents on the SW Corner of Stark and 80th.

Na(t)ive, this project does not look like tenement housing. And, I guess if you squint, maybe the yellow glass looks like plywood...if you want it to. Did you ever notice this building before all the work?

As a neighbor, I'm glad this project is under way and so far it looks to be a huge improvement. This area of town offers plenty of development opportunities. I hope this project sets the course.


Thanks everyone. Appreciate the insightful and helpful comments.

SE Resident

I'm wondering why you've excluded Brad Malsin and Beam Development from your story? Weren't they just as much a part of this deal as Gilbert and Works?

Brian Libby

SE Resident, you're right. I've added Beam to the original post in the first paragraph. A mere oversight on my part. It was Gilbert who contacted me, so that's who I put down - I'm used to having one developer.


Can someone clarify the roles on this project? Are there really two developers?

Sean Casey

I agree with Goose. Seeding overlooked or neglected areas with artists seems to be the no-fail business model of late.

I've lived in Lents for the last 7 years. A few miles south of Milepost 5, but still with that 82nd connection. The outer E/SE area can be a great area for an artist to live and work. Everything you need or want is available, probably from several sources. As a result, things are (generally) cheaper. And your muse will be ever sated by scenery that goes from Bechtle to Basquiat, Arbus to Gursky.

And what better neighbors to have for Milepost 5 than Hawkers Locker, the pawn shop right next door, for when the mortgage is due. And Taco Bell across the street, for what's left after payment. Maybe Elmers down the street can be the new Cedar Bar?

Seriously, I think it portends good things for this area of Portland, and welcome (and congratulate) these equity-owning artists.

Thank you for allowing me to comment.


sorry - still don't see the merit. there are plenty of other things going on or wrong in the city to discuss for architectural merit. to speak of the social cause, or the need to make place for displaced artists is worthy, but borders on gentrification. artists typically don't gravitate to such a place - time will tell for sure. think of the pearl, or close in North Portland, and Mississippi. These grew organically. This is too structured to be the same nexus as those places were. They were discovered, alone, without investment and developer or fashion. the excellence in the building modifications themselves - don't see it. i know of this building, and it does not look any better now than it once did. sorry 'A'

as well - don't see the merit in going around photographing a bunch of bad cheap buildings in the same place to give this one context to make this somehow an improvement. the obsession with the splash is short-sighted and unfortunately is driven by formula and supported by small circles of friends.


Sure, re-gentrification is no answer and displacement of low income families is a serious concern. But, um this site is (or was) abandoned. So, "gentrification" doesn't really apply.

"think of the pearl, or close in North Portland, and Mississippi. These grew organically....They were discovered, alone, without investment and developer or fashion."
um, really?
I mean... "without investment and developer or fashion"...seriously?

Brian has an obvious affinity for documentation and public conversation. I'd be very interested in a snap-shot in time so we can talk about future development and how this project may or may not kick-start such development.

There is not doubt that any Portland development, 'organic' or not, faces contentious public scrutiny. The list of future-evils from our recent past is long. Are those future-evils, now built, still universally loathed. It's time this community take its own xenophobia to task...native.


eileen you miss the point. the artist came first and were pushed out. much of the pearl (in that example) was abandoned, and was in decay. the pearl was much different than it is today - today it has been gentrified by the rich that use to slum there in the past and check out the artist's lofts during the art festival that happened once a year. do you remember that? the cool spaces these people were invited in to see were then sought after, but the developer that tried to first replicate those did those by using an old building - Irving and then Chown. Then 20 buildings later with "lofts" - that is the gentrification i am talking about. not the improvement. those artists were displaced by increase property value and demand - they moved to north interstate, industrial NW, and mississippi where low rent raw space was still available and not "structured" or prescribed. Is Mississippi better or worse now? And the Pearl? My bent here is that I think this formula is being used to profit and at the same time legitimized by glorifying the fashion that will save the world - sorry.


I don't think eileen missed native's point. I think native had yet to make a point.

And I do remember the pearl before it became the pearl district. And, yes, it had an authenticity that it lacks today. And yes, the money people came in when the SoHo marketing gestalt went national and the artists were uprooted...either for lack of income or because a bunch of dorks showed up.

I want to remind native that the single best way to avoid gentrification and dislocation of the less financially sure is to reduce or eliminate unsurety. The best way to do that? Provide for home ownership and allow individuals to participate in the increasing value of property.

That is what MP5 ought to be able to do for the artist community. And if Beam et al can make a profit along the way then good for them. If the work looks shiny and slick (perhaps catering to the artist community it serves) then so be it.

And, if it angers a few folks along the way for aesthetics reasons...hey...artists never want to rock the boat, right?


speaking of "plenty of other things going on or wrong in the city to discuss for architectural merit", what about the general lack of investment on the east side of portland? while the center of the city has boomed and been flooded with money, the east, particularly 82nd street has been drowning in meth and used car lots. this project deserves attention for the mere fact that it is outside of our general view - its in a place we usually and intentionally ignore. and even though it isn't located in a pdc urban renewal area, somebody chose not to ignore it and therefore it is organic, even though it consists of more than one building and involves a development team.

these aren't $500,000 condos - this is not gentrification as nobody is being displaced, not with these two buildings anyhow. the fact that buyers are required to perform 50 hours of community service a year shows that the developers have more in mind other than making a profit. this is more of a socialist experiment rather than a capitalistic enterprise. whether or not it will actually work is something to be seen, but people are already signing up to live here. the brave people who take a chance and invest in this place are the ones who will ultimately determine whether or not this place will be "fashion" or substance.


dear 'a', the point is clear - the places i mention were not made by formula, proforma, or some undeserved press. is it about formula driven to profit - or about making a place, to better a community by ownership? you don't seem to understand how places are made. there is not a recipe drawn by proforma, and supported by transplanted superficial demographic. if you want to make an artist community, put it near the place they need - the resources...taco bell and a pawn shop. that is a romantic notion, and ludicrous. how about near a steel mill, or fabrication facilities, but cheap property on 82nd overlayed with a romantic vision of artists saving the city is fantasyland. what is your point????


Resources? OK, true, there are artists who need to be near fabrication facilities...no doubt. A steel mill...well, yes, if the medium is steel, especially wide-flanges and angles. Those artists won't be buying into this premise. But, painters of various kinds, sculptors in wire mesh, or clay? How about found objects...hey, 82nd avenue is practically a factory for those. Fabrics, textiles, paper...should they only be near manufacturing in kind?

So, um I don't remember any steel mills in the pearl district. Gotta love that genius locii of the rust belt.

Places are made by people, which I hope is what you're trying to say, ultimately...in your arrogant way.

The pawn shops will not be there forever. And Taco Bell will only survive if people spend their money there. I have a sneaking suspicion that artists too deign to eat at Taco Bell now and again.

I do find it ironic that you mix concerns about "regentrification" with an obvious disdain for establishments like Taco Bell and pawn shops. How do you resolve those contradictions...or do you even recognize them?


goose make some points. go goose.


goose does make some very good points. offers more perspective than rhetoric. i guess time will tell on this. 'a' you seem so passionate, or obtuse, but thank you for reminding me about all the other artists in town wandering mindlessly picking up tin cans and mufflers looking for the perfect locale to hang a shingle. 82nd will be perfect. i think the prescriptive approach, though it may have convinced some lending institutions, is flawed. definitely the eastside needs some attention, and some development with vision, but this is not it.


Native, all approaches are flawed. No approach is perfect.

Time WILL tell...and you won't remember which side of the fence you were on. You also won't remember insisting that this project is not worth talking about....and then arguing about its merits for the better part of a week.


you have no idea what i will or won't remember or think about something in the future, so try to stay on topic next time and speak intelligently rather than spitting insults. the cause and effect of a project for social reasons is worth discussing, but the architectural merit - not there. i am beginning to understand better what your tag stands for. thanks for that.


Play nice people.

'a', your tone is flip and irreverent. That seems unnecessary and unproductive.

'native', you seem to be the one spitting insults: "obtuse" and presumably "ass".


the opening art party is tonight. maybe everyone should go and see it

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