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Kate Powell

The building is one of the few modern structures that sits (sat — and happily will again) nicely alongside the older buildings. One reason, since contextually it didn’t play into the design of the houses and brick buildings around it, is that it was a graceful “light" building that never felt brutal. Working and living in this neighborhood, walking it, shopping in it, we see the horrid buildings that replace lovely older structures daily. The brutality and downright ugly design all around us compared to the grace of this somewhat unassuming building is evident. It played well with its neighbors. The gesture of the set-back on the first floor, to allow for the those who walk by street not to feel crowded and pushed, is but one thing I see that might be a nice consideration in the new buildings in NW. We just drove back on Couch yesterday and the sheer scale of the heavy bulky brutal buildings on the narrow street is turning Portland into an oppressive ugly city. Architecture DOES impact the humanity of the people; oppression and depression are felt in cities with no light on their streets.

Two other things on which I’d like to comment:

Don’t forget the reason no one was hurt in the blast… a fire crew that moved efficiently and thankfully didn’t die saving others.

And also, let’s look at the elephant in the room, because Portland Architecture is also about building in Portland. For the people in this neighborhood who have any idea what they are seeing, we are all horrified by the sheer volume of construction crews, and by their sloppiness and arrogance. Yes, many of us hate to see the old buildings go, and YES, most of us are disgusted by the terrible replacements, but everyone around here was buzzing with how there is a disconnect about safety, the residents of the neighborhoods, the checks put into place by the city on behalf of the community, and the near-misses that happen daily to us (though of course, usually through street traffic — a gas explosion was not on most of our minds.) In an effort to give the developers and contractors the most dollars in their pockets, the city has put the community at risk in the worst scenario, and inconvenienced in ways that they needn’t be at best.

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