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j

Where is the middle? We create these large superblocks with no-density wind-swept squares. There are no blocks of brick 4-5 story buildings, or row houses creating fine grained density. All of these developers either want to build a single family home or a blow out that includes NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING. You are creating more of an issue in a district that is already a drive-through place.

There needs to be more fine-grained planning. The Lloyd Center could be knocked down, returned to it's original block structure, and fine-grained density could go in, along with high rise and mid rise. However, this idea of adhering to a square or superblock design is the suburbanization of the inner city. Please stop it.

maccoinnich

Which suburbs in particular does this remind of you of, j? Tigard? Forest Grove? Aloha?

j

The south waterfront, for one, which continues to remain disjointed. That is tongue-in-cheek, mind you. I am all for the tall towers! We need middle density mixed in too. None of this talk of shadows!

Brian Libby

J,

I think some of your concerns are valid, but some things are done to address the design needs you mention. Obviously the city wouldn't choose to build super-blocks today, but the fact that the new land owners inherited them means that they can create some true public space in places like Oregon Square. What's more, these developments are coming at a variety of scales. Some of the buildings will only be a few stories tall, and some of them will create brownstones and other fine-grained details and architectural variety that engages the street. In other words, we have both high rise and mid rise here. What's more, adding density here in the Lloyd District, especially the higher-density architecture, takes pressure off the neighborhoods, where big buildings are more incongruent with single-family homes. I share some of your concerns about this really becoming a true neighborhood with a variety of scales and income levels, but your dismissing this as mere suburban-style development seems unfounded to me.

j

It's hyperbole to cajole discussion. I think we are swallowing these monolithic designs too readily. There's a real possibility to transform this district, not pay "homage" to its superblock past. I like the idea of creating public space, but I still have major concerns about the sheer scale of the square in this phase. I suppose it may go through, but the rest of the district needs more focus on smaller plots, and I'm not talking about sacrificing height if it's wanted! High, mid, and rowhouse should all mix together. I have dreams of the Lloyd district becoming this, and working with the city to provide inclusionary communities for low and middle income people as well. These, so far, seem to be too much market rate.

Brian Libby

I agree it's troubling when one sees a seven-building development and it doesn't include any affordable or workforce housing, but that's all the more reason we should compel the city to make that happen. It's not necessarily the responsibility of this developer per se.

j

Look into linkage fees. I think developers can and will carry this burden with little complaint if it's done in an efficient manner. Linkage fees have been shown to not slow down development. Unfortunately, it looks like the inclusionary zoning bill in Salem either may not pass or will not include renters. So, I think this behooves developers even more to show good faith action to work with the community to include workforce and low income housing. It seemed to work in the Pearl, but Lloyd seems bereft of new affordable options.

john

In an ideal sense J is making a good point. But, the developer and architect probably arrived at the best solution given the circumstances. The negative spaces are excellent and should carry the spirit of the design through many years.
A slight crit: The architecture around them is somewhat disappointing. I completely disagree with the statement that they should not look like they are from the same hand. One should carry a coherent theme throughout the project. "Pretending" to not be the same hand is disingenuous. Architecture and architects should be honesty with there work.

David Dysert

The term "place making" while perhaps well intended is unfortunately indicative of a two dimensional approach to urban design. The idea that the physical elements of building and landscape can "make" a place reflects a hubris common in the design world. Sure good design can create a beautiful space and enhance the life that happens there, but it cannot create a "place". It is the who, how and why of the interactions of the inhabitants and visitors of these "places" that define them. The who, how and why is how "places" are made. But we are always obsessed with the what. Unfortunately the what we have here is intended for a narrow demographic. The life here will reflect this narrowness. This is the problem with mass scale development and more specifically, new development with its prohibitive costs which limit who and what happens there.
The proposed plaza is a fitting example of this 2-D mindset. We think that with the proper materials and openings and programming that "life" will happen in this space. But we are forgetting the most important element to great public spaces: Intersection. Successful public spaces should be an the intersection of many pathways. This plaza is a "dead end" due to I-84. There are virtually no significant pathways to lead one to this place from other parts of the city but its scale suggests otherwise. I am reminded of how the Rose Quarter fountain plaza was sold as the East Side's "living room" similar to the West's Pioneer Courthouse Square. The absurdity in this logic is only too obvious now after the fog of flashy novelty has lifted. I applaud the attempt to create quality public space. But it's not clear if all parties involved understand where there there is.

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