Beginning to Implement the Park Avenue Vision

An article in the Daily Journal of Commerce last week suggests that the build out of Park Block 5 (next to the Fox Tower) may bring with it rebuilding the adjoining streets (Park and 9th) to begin to implement the vision of a different kind of street linking the North and South Park Blocks:

“If Pioneer Courthouse Square is Portland’s living room,” said ZGF’s Paddy Tillett, “this park could be characterized as a library or salon.”

A library or salon with wall-to-wall “carpet.” The herringbone paving pattern that will turn the block into a piazza, said Laurie Olin of Philadelphia’s Olin Partnership, will stretch from the base of Fox Tower to the east to the base of the historic buildings to the west, threading together the spaces for walking, driving, and living.

“Americans know how to use a space like this,” Olin said, “and I know people in Portland know how to use a space like this, if it existed.”

It’s a space that can also be used, members of the Park Avenue vision team say, to create momentum for the larger plan. When designers began looking at the park-adjacent streets, Janet Bebb from Portland Parks and Recreation said, they saw the possibilities for creating a special moment in the streets’ progression.

“We would like to seize the day here,” she told the design commission.

2 responses to “Beginning to Implement the Park Avenue Vision”

  1. I suppose the next Park Block redevelopment will be the block with Zell Bros/Mercantile companies. I don’t disagree, even with a tower that’s proposed on that block. But, the block that’s most interesting to me is the block just north of O’Bryant Square.

    That block has two buildings, the 4-story Modish Bldg on the block’s east side, and the 1-story Youth Services building on the NW corner. There’s also two, small parking lots bordering the Modish on its north and south sides.

    I say demolish the architecturally worthless Modish Bldg and preserve the Youth Services building. The slightly angled lot created could become the next Park Block that’s an actual landscaped park/plaza. The lot’s angle makes a natural connection to Ankeny Park at Burnside.

    I suggest building an underground parking lot there, and if possible, connected to a rebuilt underground parking garage beneath O’bryant Square. I’m just sayin… better to think about it now.

  2. The important development here is the extension of the plaza of the new park block #5 to the building faces on the east and west side. Removing curbs and extending the plaza pavement through the street is a first for Portland, though the new Festival streets in Chinatown are a similar idea. This can be extended the entire length of the “missing” blocks from South Park Blocks to the North Park Blocks, even across Burnside.
    Then let’s take this concept up Burnside to the Firemen’s Memorial at 19th, to N Mississippi Street, to NW 23rd, NE Fremont, etc. Let’s turn key portions of these streets into “public spaces” available for everyone, not just motor vehicles. It will calm things down, make things safer and be a lot of fun.

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