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Ray Whitford

I would like the tower to go in the Rose Quarter Area (Paul Allens gravel pit on the river?). I had mentioned an idea for making the MC a Baseball Stadium with a structure above it that included a restaurant and observation deck (OSC site) years ago (think umbrella of hemp tarp that rolls out for no rain outs).

The Rose Quarter location is great because you would have a tower at the riverbend (great sight lines up and down the Willamette River to watch the river traffic). The location is away from the main part of Downtown (better shots for picture hawks and more like the Space Needle and the Eiffel Tower by creating some space for a different point of view). Being close to the OCC I see as an advantage for this location (maybe Metro is pushing for this area also with the public investment in a OCC HQ Hotel coming). Westsiders need a reason to go over the river (airport, restaurants, Blazers, etc.) so making the Tower a connection at the riverbend to help bridge the gap between the two sides of the river makes a lot of sense.

Plus people coming from Washington (closet large population bases of Seattle and Vancouver BC) will help get them to come to PDX easier and more. Seeing a PDX Tower from Vancouver WA would be awesome. Having the tower close to the end of I-84 will also be great for people coming in from the East (name it the "End of the Trail Tower/ETT" or "I'll meet you at ETT"). This is the same logic I used in calling a new Eastside rail transit station called "Trails End Transit Station" at the Portland Transport site to help make a HSR/MAX/Bus/Bike/River Transit/OCC/Rose Quarter/?Tower? synergy.

Hopefully the height of this tower would be high enough to allow the paying public to be able to see some of the TV and the Coast Range.

Also getting this tower to one side of the main view angles of Mt Hood will keep this argument against its construction less likely.

I say the Rose Quarter is the perfect location.

Can't wait for Monday since there is rumor of an announcement.



Why can't the elevator be glass (not in a concrete shaft)?

Mike Thelin

Portland needs to make a bold statement. It's time.


Ray has a very good point. And make the tower 1000 feet at least (It is a toy, it is supposed to be fun, 600 feet in 2008 is not really that high for a building or structure, even in Portland...)


Whenever I read about turbines, I wonder about sound. What's the building downtown at 3rd and Madison / 3rd and Main? It has a constant droning sound that seems to come from the center of the building (height-wise), and I've always wondered what causes it.

I love the idea of the structure you're describing. Let's just be sure it doesn't bring unintended consequences for our Waterfront park.


The Rose Quarter idea is terrific. Ultimately, though, shouldn't this come down to where the wind is? Is it windiest down by the river? Just sayin'...

And I want to reiterate my earlier idea that this tower, as another option, might be well situated in a roundabout at the end of the Eastside couplet where Couch/Burnside/12th/Sandy meet up... What do you think?

Either way, I think the East Side is the proper spot for it...


Although that would probably put it right in the way of the Mt. Hood view, putting it right on Burnside, wouldn't it... huh...

Rose Quarter it is!!


I don't know why anyone would want to do something like this to Portland's dramatically beautiful cityscape. In terms of landscape/cityscape, what does Portland have that other cities that choose to erect a huge tower don't have? A downtown area surrounded by ridges and hills, such as the ridge including Council Crest that goes NW leading into Forest Park. To the east, there's Rocky Butte and Mt Tabor. South of them is...whatever the name of the ridge is...where Happy Valley is. Go to Council Crest and a view to the entrance of the Columbia Gorge can be had.

Again, we've got a beautiful cityscape/landscape that a tower is probably not going to improve upon, in fact, it'll probably detract from it regardless of how impressive the tower's design and construction might be.

A city like St. Louis, for example...it's flat. It can use something stunning, like the dramatic, sculptural arch it has. Portland doesn't need it.

How much power would this tower's turbines generate? What percentage of the Rose Quarter's energy needs would this towers power generating capability supply? The fascination with whizz-bang gimmickry construction that lulls people into stupefied submission to various schemers ideas, just amazes me.

Ray Whitford

The Buttes in the SE part of PDX are Kelly Butte, Powell Butte, Mt. Scott. Out in the far distance are the Gresham Butte complex (Metro and Gresham are buying up land or donations are happening to create a East Side Forest Park). I think you, ws, are speaking about Mt. Scott (it is close and is 1,000 feet). It has houses on the top with some of the best view lots in PDX!

I have lived here all of my life and adding a eco-friendly tower that says "look at me" isn't bad for our goals to make the rest of the US to understand that sprawl and greed are not the only solution.

People came to Oregon to find paradise and not to find gold.



Ray, thanks for the geographical information. I've lived here a long while myself. It's too bad that until now, I haven't learned the names of those buttes, or even that they are buttes. They're beautiful, and I've enjoyed them immensely while I have lived here.

I'm totally in favor of eco-friendly efforts as long as they're more substance than symbol. Somehow, I'm just not convinced that a 600'-900' tower jutting up amidst all of Portland's buttes will enhance the paradise people coming to Portland, or those already living here hope to find. Oregon and Portland's natural beauty is way better than gold. It's integrity must always be protected.


First of all, people, GRAMMAR! My stars... :)

But seriously, Ray: I hear you. Nature is beautiful. The scenery is amazing. Etc. But we must also consider, for example, 'What a piece of work is man!' The celebration of man's technical prowess and the celebration of nature do not have to be--nay, should not be!--mutually exclusive. Think of the old highway that cuts through the Gorge. In its day, it was a technological masterpiece, and it remains so (even if rail would have proven better for the environmental ages...). And it has brought people closer to nature. This proposed tower, mixing form and function, nature's potential and man's ability to work with it, could be a powerful symbol of these two worlds converging.

And while I sincerely appreciate Portland's 'Nature First' ethos, sometimes you need to feel a certain elevation of the human spirit directly, which a view of a beautiful and beneficent tower can provide (the cooling tower at Trojan, however, conjured an entirely different feeling, though, don't ya think?). Furthermore, sometimes you need to get up out of the valley, gain some perspective, and have a really good look around...


Build it, but with a park underneath...not a parking lot. You can't park your car under the Eiffel Tower...legally. Besides, you can place such a tower without obstructing views from popular spots.


Architecture has to have Purpose.
Schools are for learning, Hospitals are for healing. This is what gives them meaning. If one goes around building some pointless erection , while kids can't get a hot meal , then you
are immoral. Maybe give the dough to the schools , hosptals or homeless.


Bravo, billb. Couldn't be simpler.


Billb, while I agree with your comments wholeheartedly, I think this is getting at an underlying social issue that goes beyond the realm of architecture. I walk by the homeless in Pioneer Square every day, refusing to spare my pocketful of change because I'm saving for a new pair of skis... I sponsor a child in Colombia at the bare minimum of $22 a month, and I feel better about myself... Point being, on some level most of us are unnecessarily self loving and indulging.

If we're going to question this design as being pointless, shouldn't we also question the $1 million+ condo spaces that are popping up not only in the Pearl, CEID, and SOWA, but all around Portland? Shouldn't we as a culture question pouring money in to luxury retail spaces while our public classrooms have long exceeded their capacity? I think if we're talking about social responsibility, Hanna's proposal of a iconic Portland building that not only supports sustainability, but showcases it, is a step in the right direction. While Hanna is a reasonably new face, he has strong Portland roots, and an ambitious approach to sustainable development.

Maybe a project which is so heavily geared towards tourism, could not only generate revenue for the city, but could also somehow promote awareness to some of the social concerns of the area? One of the key elements in this design is the energy collection, which could ultimately help to support some other key areas of Portland, reducing strain and opening up opportunities for other points of focus.

Ultimately, there needs to be a shift in the way we think about ourselves vs. others, but that isn't something that will be solved by building or not building this tower. The SM-art project is very progressive, especially for Portland, and could have some very beneficial effects on the city as a whole...


Bill B. There is purpose - or, sorry, Purpose - in investing in alternative sources of energy. A lot of Purpose. And there is Purpose in increasing tourism and generating revenue that can help pay for things like Schools and Hospitals. But moving away from the tangible, there is also Purpose in inspiration. A lovely Tower can help the Schools and Hospitals, and Daily Life in general, move away from the Thin Gruel side of the balance sheet and toward the Soul-Fulfilling side. It is not an abuse of power, and certainly not immoral, for a community to see to that side of the ledger. Quite the opposite I should think. After all these years, a view of/from the Eiffel Tower and Space Needle et al. make people feel good! That matters!


here are some of the mulvanny g2 images:



Why not build the tower up at the zoo, A easy ride on the max and a great view of the metro area, Also make the tower look like a rose at night so everyone can see it for miles.
Just my idea!


Oh and maybe put a pool on the roof deck for the summer too!

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