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Mike Campbell

The demolition of the postal building on Broadway would allow the reconstruction of the street grid, the expansion of the North Park Blocks, improved pedestrian and bike access between Union Station (one of the true gems of Portland's architecture) and the Pearl District. We should look at this demolition as an opportunity to unify the Union Station area with the Pearl and Chinatown, and improve them all. Extend 8th and Park avenues to Lovejoy, and Kearney, Johnson, and Irving to Broadway. Imagine the possibilities. Strolling from the Station to the PNCA, Park Blocks, and Jamison Square in less than 5 minutes on ped/bike only streets, through new residential/shopping areas? What a gateway for visitors to the city via improved Amtrak service.


I assume that renovating the building (full disclosure: I work there) will involve gutting it down to the skeleton, as was done with the federal building, and putting it back together in such a way that it looks nearly identical to the original (unlike the federal building, obviously). Presumably, parts of the facade that are water damaged will need to be replaced with newly fabricated replicas, and all the very drafty windows will be replaced with modern equivalents. I also hope they install ventilation in the restrooms, which is not an amenity that current building tenants enjoy. My question: at what point does it cease to be the building that has historic protection? At some point aren't we just doing the very thing that historic design guidelines try to prevent, namely, the "Disney-fication" of historic architecture? If someone wanted to build an exact replica of the White Stag block we would never allow that, but that's essentially what we are doing with the Portland Building.


If you want to save the Coliseum, you have to convince Novick. He just proposed selling it and turning it in to affordable housing.


Brian Libby

Thanks Dave. I just saw that article. We are ready to fight for the Coliseum. We'll see what happens.


... And when discussing historic Portland buildings vanishing, let's remember Gas Co on its last weekend.


I think that Portland missed and opportunity be more.. daring with the Portland building and fix a fundamentally flawed building

Maintain the podium, full west facing facade (with Portlandia), and full south facing facade. Demo everything else and build a modern (glass) tower inside that extends 10 or so stories higher.

This both preserves the historic aspects of the design and fixes its inherent flaws. It becomes didactic. A learning from mistakes while not forgetting what that mistake was.

I just wish that Graves would still be alive to see the building gutted. I left his lecture feeling like he refused to take credit for what a horrible building and work environment he/they created. The excuse that "we tried" and "did not have the budget" does not make awful work acceptable.

Kate Powell

"a building that, despite its architectural pedigree, was built on the cheap"
Thanks Brian for reminding everyone of this.
I remember the whole thing because I was a student listening to his lectures. Graves biggest flaw was not being seasoned enough in huge government buildings and committees to tell them how bad their decision to go on the cheap was. There is no way that any architect could not know this, but how to fight, sorry, City Hall? Perhaps the city needs to take more credit for their low levels of lighting, cheap glass, and lack of ventilation. He did not "forget" these things.

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