« Artist Hub on 82nd: Visiting Milepost 5 | Main | A Super-Green House With...Dirt Floors? (Updated) »


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


i can't help but think about how my favorite mayors in this little city have been entrepreneur rather than career politicians. I like Sam, he seems like a nice guy, but Sam is too much a politician. Besides who can get behind a guy that really believes in the Couch street couplet - more politics than common sense. I think of Vera and her predecessor Bud. Vera did oversee PDC, with more interest. You also knew Vera understood the success of vision - she was familiar with the ways of an artist - and maybe a muse to her own. When PDC gave money for the Westside, she reviewed the projects. We certainly need people with vision, but more importantly we need people who are creative, who love the city, and understand the success that we enjoy - does that take someone that has been in the inner circle - not sure that matters. maybe better an outsider. we certainly saw a downslide in our creative soul with latest mayor.


hmmm. you almost got me believing until that Clinton comment. as for more important matters, sometimes i go to sleep at night and i have these nightmares that when sam adams is mayor he'll become some maniacally-laughing couplet creator that will destroy the last bits of grit remianing on burnside.

i was just thinking the other day how much i love the fact that that portland doesn't have any grand "city beautiful" boulevards. the closest are the park blocks which do not lead to any climactic civic or cultural monuments, but rather have them placed along the sides. so modest. so humble. i love it. the couplet idea though it creates more opportunity for beauty would not solve the traffic problem. re-timing the lights would have more of an impact on pedestrian and automobile flow and would cost a hell of a lot less money.

as for who should be the next mayor. i think sam adams should go to boston where they already have a beer named after him and we should bring boston's mayor tom menino to portland. just kidding.

carl abbott pointed out that bud clark used to carry around a quote by lewis mumford in his pocket about the geography of this area and whether we were worthy enough to live here and whether we had the intelligence and the imagination to make the best use of it. i would like the next mayor to approach the job in a manner which is sincerely aimed at serving not just the citizens of the city, but also the city itself, i.e. its fabric and soul. this above all else, especially grandiose notions of couplets.


I love that brian got lost in his stump speech. That may have been the most genuine moment in recent Portland politics.

Go Brian!


Just reading this post at 12:24 tonight. Do either of those two guys have any sensibility that would equip them to creatively guide aesthetic plans for this city's future? I'm pretty much thoroughly disgusted with the city's largely 'hands-off' performance in terms of construction permitted on the Park Blocks of late, and specifically on Ladd Carriage House block on S.W. 10th and Jefferson.

After reading many others comments, and thinking a lot about the Burnside couplet, I remain to be convinced of that scheme having any less of an unfavorable effect on the city than the Everett-Glisan couplet. Somehow though, that scheme aside, I have a feeling that Adams has some kind of buried aesthetic sensibility that could be awakened to help build for the kind of beauty, grace and grandeur Portland should be striving to revive. (I think Burnside shoud be cut and covered where it bisects the Park Blocks.) Dozono? In that respect, he's a complete mystery to me. I'd like to hear what he spoke about at Mak's.

I think people confuse Adam's exuberance for political ambition. Really, I think he's sincere in his thoughts about what's best for Portland, but in his enthusiasm to see things get done, is aloof about the political cross-currents that lie waiting to trip him. That could make it hard for him to mobilize the support of conservative factions of Portland's designers and developers into a whole that could actually achieve a greater architecturally aesthetic vision for the town.

Traditionally, isn't Dozono the kind of person Portland is much more comfortable with as mayor? And besides pinching pennies, or as he likes to say, 'being fiscally responsible', what is there in his career that suggests how he would help guide Portland's design and aesthetics? I don't know much about Portland's political leaders, so I'll be listening to what you all have to say about that.

Brian Libby

a, no offense, but what do you mean I 'got lost'?


i cannot vote for someone who supports the Burnside Couplet. it makes me question sam's judgement, wholesale. if that makes any sense.

that said, i know nothing about dozono.

... hoping for a detailed jimmy mak report.


I'll second 'anon' in requesting a detailed report.

The couplet is quite a hot button. Did anyone address it with the candidates?

Brian Libby

Sadly, I'm home sick with the flu and wasn't able to make the event. Did anyone out there attend, and can you give us a report?


So did anyone else go to the talk and have reactions? Here are a couple of my limited observations from the chat for those who didn't make it:
I found the overall discussion a bit informative and a bit frustrating. The format was challenging in that Randy asked questions for over 1 1/2 hours with not much time for questions or interaction with the audience? I really enjoy Randy in print, but not so much as a moderator/discussion leader. Questions seemed to bounce all around and there didn't seem to be a flow to the conversation. From a design perspective, the conversation seemed to lack a coherent scope or narrative flow. That said, alot of ground did get covered.
When Randy asked how they each felt about design and scale of South Waterfront both seemed to feel the overall development and scale was fine. Sho wondered how the city was going to deal with promises to residents (investors?) that are not being fulfilled with slow down in development. Sam had concerns about hardly any spin off development that OHSU promised would follow OHSU development in the area.
Sho seemed quite an advocate for the outer east side and the Eastside Esplanade. He seemed less clear about how he would specifically support the outer east side but felt like there needed to be much more attention and resources in this area. Sam came across as more of a risk taker, you may not like some of his visions - Burnside couplet or Sauvie Island bridge reuse - but he is willing to stand by his ideas. The couplet discussion was almost predictable, Sam defending it and Sho (and Randy) feeling bit mistake. Sam stood behind all the independent consultants that suggest with a streetcar the couplet makes the area safer, less green house gases and more economic development. Sho felt that 80 plus million dollars could be far better invested elsewhere and the couplet is a mistake and would be bad for Couch as well.
Sam seemed more on top of the details of issues while Sho seemed more comfortable talking about bringing more business person skills to the job. One exception was when I asked about the ecology and design possibilities of the Willamette and the River Renaissance (is this even real?) Sho was more specific about building on the success of the Esplanade and other restoration sites while Sam was less clear about specific opportunities.
Both candidates felt like one of the key opportunities for Portland and our job growth and overall identity is around being the green and sustainable city. Sam mentioned Chicago and it's green initiatives and said he did not want to have Portland lose it's 'green' leadership to that city.
When asked what would be key accomplishment or legacy that each of them would like to leave as mayor, Sam talked about improving education and wanting to cut in half drop out rates in high school. Sho felt like 60 plus acre site of the old post office could be great redevelopment and key part of his legacy.
One of the things that would have been nice to hear more discussion on is how each of them feels about the quality of design in Portland and what they may do to improve it.
I came away feeling stronger support for Sam and yet glad Sho is in the race as it hopefully will make both candidates and their visions stronger for the competition.


back to the first portion of brian's post...

sustainability and meeting budget and deadlines should be expected. if projects don't meet these three basic requirements, then points should be taken off when the final judgement comes dowm/awards given out what have you. overall design, connection to its surroundings, functionality, flow, material and sculptural quality should determine the best or most successful projects.

also, as for the city's responsibilities, i think one thing they could do is require that any city-funded architecture projects be subject to design review whether or not they lie within the overlay districts.

Brian Libby

I think that's a great idea, Goose, about requiring city-funded projects to require design review.


i'm full of them brian. help get me a job with the city and i'll turn the place around. ;-)


Thanks for the overview Charles. I'm curious about Sho's greatest legacy, in his mind, the Post Office site. Did he discuss his vision of what it could become? That is one of the most important large scale central city pieces of land left and I'm surprised to see him already talking about the importance of the project and the lasting legacy it will be, because I agree.


As I remember Sho's take on Post Office site, he imagined more Pearl multi use development. This was an example of interesting idea where I would have loved to hear more details about how Sho imagined this site could enrich the fabric of city and design.

Brian Libby

Even though I said I was voting for Adams, I agree that it'd be worth hearing more about Dozono's ideas for the post office. I think it could be a fabulous place. I really hope some of the original midcentury modern architecture gets preserved, but I'd also love to see that mixed with some interesting new work. Allied Works will have done the 511 Broadway building for PNCA nearby. What and who might provide a counterpoint?

Jeff Joslin


Brian can't help you get a job with the City, but I can. Feel free to contact me.

During the discussions within the Mayors Design Initiative under Vera, I proposed a stringent review process for all projects, possibly a special panel with particularly aspirational criteria. I believe the City can, and should, lead by example, and that substantial commitment to exceptional quality would catalyze other projects reaching higher. As Vera left, along with the Initiative, so did the energy and prospects resulting form those vibrant discussions. Maybe next Mayor (?).

Jeff Joslin
Land Use Manager: Urban Design, Design Review, Landmarks Review

City of Portland
Bureau of Development Services
Land Use Services division

[name removed - spam]

i love it. the couplet idea though it creates more opportunity for beauty would not solve the traffic problem. retiming the lights would have more of an impact on pedestrian and automobile flow and would cost a hell of a lot less money.

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