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Good question. Very good question. The freeway-like Macadam really kills any kind of peaceful ambiance that might otherwise be possible right near that road. Only 4-5 blocks up, at Corbett, it gets really nice. In fact, if you drive, or have the muscle to walk up the hill to where Corbett ends, there's some very nice views. Too bad Macadam couldn't be a little more like that.

Frank Dufay

OPB’s ugly and banal corporate headquarters

Far, far nicer looking, however, then the rubber manufacturing plant previously on that site. Many years ago I worked a Desma injection molding machine there...a nasty, brutish place reminiscent of the early industrial revolution.


Why do Portlanders freak out whenever they see a four lane road/highway? Many American and European cities have four lane roads that are brimming with people, commerce, and all kinds of interesting activities. It's this kind of thinking that has created the Burnside couplet debacle. Every street has a scale and it is up to city planners and architects to create buildings that respect and enhance that scale.


I'd love Macaddam's 4 lane road if there just weren't so many fast moving cars traveling on it. Aneeda, so what do you think might be a good way to deal with that situation? Maybe some traffic calming hillocks along the whole thing would do the trick.


I, too, am conflicted about that area but not because of SW Macadam. Instead, it's what's been created on the river side of the four-lane corridor: we have a nice walkway along the river's edge, but we also have a bunch of low-density '70s housing/condo developments surrounded by gates, berms and parking lots; the housing along the river (from River Place to OBP) is about as community- and pedestrian-friendly as Suburbia USA.


certainly pulling the grid to the water to break up those gated like garden condos would help tie the city to the river. parking the entire length of macadam on both sides along with street medians would help. Medians not just for trees, but wide enough for people to wait and cross in moves - frogger style. one of my favorite roads in my travels is Passig d' Gracia in Barcelona. This one may be as many as 10 lanes wide, but broken up three or four times, and it is buzzing with activity at the edges and within - not b/c it is a european thing, but b/c of the scale of the frontage - they engage the street, and there are layers to the street - furniture, kiosks, subway entrances, trees, cars, busses, and people, and some bitchin' buildings to help. typical roads here are done with traffic engineering sensitivity - they lack the small scale fabric that makes streets habitable that which in turn slow cars down by creating visual interest and activity. i don't think Macadam is hopeless - quite the opposite, with all the empty frontage and parking lots, there is a lot to take and give back to making a nice thoroughfare. once north/central/south waterfront bridges downtown to John's Landing, i think you will see that area better connected and as such more desirable - hopefully then we can improve on what is there.

Vern Rifer

The observations about today's Johns Landing are correct but there is a ground swell of interest in changing that. Metro created LOPAC a citizen committee to study extending the Portland Streetcar through JL to Lake Oswego.
LOPAC and the neighborhood ,condominium and business associations are united in seeing the streetcar extension as an opportunity to change JL from a highway right of way to a more pedestrian friendly neighborhood. PDOT and Planning are working together with the JL interests to move the streetcar into Macadam, widen the sidewalks, slow traffic and activate the buildings along the street. And there will be significant new development all along that right of way. Also importantly it would connect JL and the South Waterfront as one neighborhood.

Interested parties should contact PDOT to get involved.

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