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I love the building restoration ,
bravo to all. However I share with Brian deep concern over the entry issues. I literally wenr around the whole block looking for a sign of U of O's entry! A university
like a church should open it's arms to it's community. The entry
should herald 'Welcome'.


I think the most powerful move in the entire project is the alignment of the two skylit first floor spaces with the main entry. If the entry were not on Couch you would lose the best aspect of the design.

Also, if you stand on Naito or at the area adjacent to the Max stop for about 2 minutes, you will realize why these are poor choices for the entries. Naito is too busy and the sidewalk too narrow. The Max stop area is dangerous and smelly.


I was at the White Stag building a couple of weeks ago for a private event and I had the same issue of not easily finding the entrance.

Maybe when it is more active the entrance will be obvious but it does seem like an uninviting welcome.

@robert: smelly? The Max is electric. As for danger, well, as dangerous as walking down any street with max on it. TriMet would have to determine safety issues. Naito, last time I looked, had over 20 feet of sidewalk at Couch and the street traffic was very uncongested.

lynn james

How about a complimentarily review of the newly renovated psu architecture building.


Chris: I was not commenting on the smell of the MAX train itself. Go to the stop adjacent to the U of O building and take a good whiff. It smells worse than a urinal. It is a homeless camping spot when the Market is not going on.


Chris: Again, the safety issues are not related to the train itself.

This kind of makes my point for me; You have been to the building, yet you do not seem aware of the stink and danger of that MAX stop. That is probably because the entrance is not right next to the scariest MAX stop in the city.

Brian Libby

Lynn, I've been planning to visit PSU's renovated Shattuck Hall and write a post, but am glad you reminded me.


the comment that the max stop is dangerous is an ignorant one. any proof that it's more "dangerous" than any other max stops? perception does not equal reality when it comes to our homeless population. smelly, maybe.


I regret that this is dominating the thread, even though I have been posting about it to explain why I think Couch is the better location for the school's entry.

I will say that the MAX stop is very dark, smelly, it's under a bridge, there are a lot of homeless people camped out there, there are no "eyes on the street"; commercial or residential spaces looking over it, not easy to orient yourself from, not many clear paths out. That doesn't seem like an ignorant perception of dangerous, many of those factors lead to dangerous spaces.

I could go on, but it is to say, dangerous or not, it's not the best place for a school entrance, which would serve a lot of people new to the area, studying late, etc.

The location of the entrance is more likely served by the next stop, which is more visible from the surroundings, more open, better lit, etc.


So, any suggestions about what could be done, by the UO or the city, to improve that Max stop area so that side could be used for entry? Does anyone know if the UO's entry plans will change as the building and the area are revitalized?


check out pdc's website for the work that is planned in the area under the bridge. retail, art, lighting. we'll see if it works. too bad it didn't happen in conjunction with the u of o design as true collaboration.


i am an architecture student at the new building. so far i love it. we have beautiful studios, classrooms, and well appointed output rooms and computerized model shop.

indeed, the entry does seems stiff and inconvenient. it is a far cry from the accessibility (openness) of the eugene buildings. students and staff have mag card access to more entries. due to the neighborhood, i believe that the security measures are appropriate. the building currently has a low occupancy and that could be very dangerous for student safety. in addition to all the departments technology, students have computers and other expensive tools, it can be a devastating loss in more than one way... there are bikes there too... all and all, it is a bad idea to have people just wandering about.


@robert: Sorry, I don't think your point was made. I circled the building and didn't have the issues you had.

It is unfortunate that there is a perception, real or otherwise, that the Old Town district is a place where people urinate as they please and danger abounds in the shadows.

I can understand the security measures UofO took to gate actual students into the school. Ironically, as I was looking for the UofO entrance, I wandered into other non-UofO spaces at the White Stag block that were free of any security guards.

Perhaps as UofO gears up the location and Mercy Corps eventually moves into their space, the neighborhood will shed these issues. I know the Naito family is betting on it.


One of the reasons that the university's entrance is on Couch is that the entrance on First leads to the elevator lobby for the block's other tenants--I believe the developers wanted to allow some degree of separation between the university's and the commercial tenants' spaces.

I don't think "student safety" was actually a big issue. Anyone bringing a bicycle in or out of the building is supposed to use the service entrance under the Burnside Bridge. I agree that in terms of crime and the homeless population, perception does not equal reality, but exiting the building under the bridge late at night doesn't feel particularly secure (even if it's actually perfectly safe).

The studio spaces are beautiful, but somewhat impractical. Lack of pin-up space is a major problem. And speaking of perception vs. reality... notice there are Eames lounge chairs in the lobby, but not a single piece of upholstered furniture on the 4th and 5th floor!

Carping aside, this is certainly a huge step up from the university's former home in Portland, and it's great to see these buildings brought back to life.


i disagree that there is a safety issue and agree that more entrances should be open to the public. i went to school in boston and nyc. most schools in both those cities leave their buildings open despite much higher crime rates than portland.


I hope I didn't come across as someone who is afraid of homeless people or Old Town in general. That would be far from the truth.

I cited several factors that COMBINED make the Max stop under the bridge feel unsafe. I wasn't trying to paint a picture of all of Old Town. I enjoy Old Town and have spent a lot of time down there, even right near that Max stop.


The building's problems are obvious: the school has shut itself off from the neighborhood, as can be expected of an institution at odds with it's surrounds.
Similarly, the interior of the building hides in self conscious preservationism. Very tedious inside and out.

Mike Thelin

I had toured the building during construction with Art DeMuro for a story I wrote for Willy Week, but didn't see the finished product until today. It's fantastic, and it's really going to energize the area. I don't see how the building has shut itself off from the neighborhood, as Kitty suggests. Academic uses rarely have a storefront or street-level presence. I'm told there will be a coffee shop directly across the street in the space formerly home to Voodoo Lounge. This type of peripheral retail is what's going to add energy and activity. The school will eventually house 700 students, Mercy Corp will add a few hundred 9-to-5ers, and plans for the adjacent Block 8 by Brad Malsin and the Naito Family will really get things going.

Art DeMuro did a really nice job on this building. I look forward to more rehabbed buildings in the neighborhood, but I also hope to see some modern gems as well. For Old Town to be successful, there really needs to be a mix.

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