portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting portland metro

economic justice | neighborhood news

Historic building downtown to be demolished for condos

The Rosefriend is not only historic, it is also affordable housing. It will be torn down to make way for high-end condos. The only reason this is happening is so the church that owns the property can have underground parking for its congregation.
Action even at this late date is possible.
Maybe an occupation of some sort?
This is a more direct and immediate loss of home for lower-income people than anything happening on Mississippi and Alberta, yet I've heard not so much as a yawn on Indymedia about it.

For more information, go here: www.portlandarchitecture.com

There are two articles there in the last few days on the Rosefriend.
And pictures of the building.

Where are the visionaries? 22.Jun.2006 12:55

WS

Also, check out skyscraperpage.com . There's some choice dialogue in the forums about the prospect represented by the destruction of the Rosefriend to the neighborhood, about the uninspired design of the new tower and the reality that this cold, commercial structure will be directly facing the Park Blocks.

Of Course, the current (tuesday) edition of the Tribune has a story that raises some key points about the issue.

I talked to some residents of the Rosefriend on Sunday. I believe they have to be out of the building by the 1st of July. I seem to remember them saying the building will be coming down in a month.

The developer seems to have received permission to proceed with this project. What can be done at this late date?

The odd thing is about the design, if you'll look at the artists rendition conveniently placed to the south of the block between the church and the carriage house(also posted on skyscraperpage.com) you'll see that the developer chose to set the tower back from broadway, allowing a 3-4 story structure to face that street.

This raises the question of why the developer and architects seem to lack the imagination and vision to incorporate the Rosefriend Apartment building into the new tower, given that it could have occupied the footprint of the proposed 3-4 story structure. It's design aesthetics would seem to be equal or better than the proposed structur. It has a splendid entry courtyard that would work great as the entry to the tower.

The church should be commended for their willingness to allow the Carriage House to be conserved, but it should also be remembered for the words of one of their spokespersons, (I'm paraphrasing here) "The church is in the business of saving souls, not architecture". That's ironic when considering that many, many people consider that architecture of a city has a great deal to do with the integrity of its soul.

And here, we have a church, directly associated with an extraordinary opportunity to make an architecturally related decision that will leave am impression lasting many years to come, a decision whose effect resonates deeply with the soul of the city, its people, and all other living things, yet they make a decision that depletes the citys soul rather than one that works to save and help to revitalize it.

There are some things that all parties concerned could have done to mitigate the negative consequences of the new towers presence. Innovatingly incorporating the Rosefriend Apartment building into it is one of them. Another, would have been to design a more interesting tower.

Many of todays forward thinking architects might have thought of putting a vertical twist in the towers shape, so that the towers east and west faces would have been more favorable to the exposure of the sun into the Park Blocks. Also, it just would have been more interesting to have a building with a little assymetricality to it amongst all the other vertical box buildings around it.

I would be extremely excited if there were a way at this stage of the game, to draw a temporary halt to the construction of this tower, to allow a little more thoughtful redesign of the project to allow it to make a contribution, worthy of the magnificence of the Park Blocks and the integrity of the First Christian Church, to the city and its inhabitants for years to come.

... 22.Jun.2006 19:20

this thing here

>This raises the question of why the developer and architects seem to lack the imagination and vision...<

at the end of the day, the architect is only doing a service for the developer. architecture, as a building, can be a thing of beauty and wonder. but, architecture as a profession can often times be little more than a subordinate service industry to some other industry, in this case the real estate industry.

with historic, famous and remarkable buildings, both the architect's vision and the "person paying the bills" vision was somehow able to work in unison. was it luck? the aligning of the stars? or just plain hard word on the part of everyone involved?

with this project, perhaps, in early stages of designing this proposal, there were some really inventive and interesting ideas. but, the developer rejected them on cost. so the end result is an ugly, compromised object.

or, perhaps in the early stages, there was a complete lack of vision by the untalented architect, but the developer didn't give a shit, or didn't know the difference between and good idea and a pile of metal. so, the end result is an ugly, compromised object.

either way, the point is that it's really easy to make crap architecture and really difficult to make good architecture...

This is the letter I sent to the church: 22.Jun.2006 22:12

.....

Don't kill the Rosefriend!!!!!
Move the location of the church to another spot that has the landscape that you want!!!
If you don't want to move, well, there are people who LIVE at the Rosefriend who don't want to move--think of how they feel! There are people who pass by there every day who don't want to see that building touched--think of how they feel. There is a whole City of Roses who has hosted you and wants to retain it's integrity, which no single party has the right to destroy.
There are things in life that are far more important than material concerns. The easy path is usually not the best path, and good things will come to those who wait.
Cars are on their way out anyway. But the Rosefriend, and a place to live, will never go out of style. The Rosefriend is a reminder of a time when a truly beautiful and monumental building could be built for the public--and it is VERY important to me to be able to use it as a teaching tool for my child. I want to show her that a better world is possible. I want to show her that a better world was possible then, therefore it is possible now. I don't want her to see GIANT VENDING MACHINE buildings, like the proposed condos. Such buildings are installed in the city like a coke machine is installed in a building. Their purpose is to extract money from whoever is hungry, thirsty, or needing a place to live, offering junk and poverty in exchange......
And it doesn't matter if you "own" the building. Can honor, pride, integrity, HISTORY, Love, and spirit be owned?!?!?!? Is the building just a collection of atoms, or does it represent all of these above named higher values? Was the building not a group effort, was it not a great effort, beginning with the people who worked the land to grow food for everyone involved, to the mothers, fathers, teachers, and medical people--all giving so that the architects and construction works will "give" something beautiful and worthwhile. Did the architects and construction workers not choose their jobs so that they could contribute to society? Who will speak for all those people and their wishes? Do we have the right to destroy their gifts of love?!?!?!
What about the electricity from the atoms in my body, which is in contact with you and the entire universe? Can you own your own electricity, and if so, how can you keep track of what electricity came from me and what came from you? If you create a bubble (made of dollar bills) around yourself, does that allow you to separate you from me? No, it doesn't. You are not above the rest of the people of the Rosefriend, the City of Portland, or the Universe, for that matter. God did create all of us, and you are not above that. Also, you would be dead without the farmers, mothers, fathers, teachers, and medical people...
Wasn't Jesus a carpenter too, considered a noble trade, and didn't he provide for the masses, using such goodwill as is expressed through the above people??!!?!?!?! Isn't it his, and God's, and the Holy Spirit's will to make the first come last and the last come first? Will you walk on other people in the name of God? Will you consider your ideas "first," and those of others "last?" Will such a sentiment be the monument, the condos that you leave for your children? Will your children's children ever get as excited about a GIANT VENDING MACHINE as we feel about a sanctuary of a resting place, the Rosefriend? Do you want such a message attached to your names, for all of eternity?
Killing the Rosefriend would be a supreme act of selfishness and contempt toward humanity, goodwill, and God. Even if you don't care about such things, the rest of us do, and together, our electricity :) is greater than yours. We are the voice of the people, which is the voice of God.
Besides that, you all can move to within walking distance of the church, and then you won't need cars. You can also take the bus and carpool.
.....Dedicated to my child, who needs to see the possibility of a better world, and whose middle name is...Rose.

I, too 23.Jun.2006 06:24

want to save the Rosefriend

Or at least, see that something suitable- with charm- for the Park Blocks gets built. It is one of our most pretty parks.

The ugliness of some of the new projects is distrubing. Look at what got built next to the Old Church- how do those two structures harmonize, they don't!!. They clash and it is jarring to see it.

The person who wrote about the city's soul is RIGHT ON!
All of us are affected daily by the choices other people make for us about our built environment. Rarely do we have the means, time, or energy to follow these projects from first propsal (providing we even hear about it)through all of the stages of development- and have a chance to put in our own two cents.

I don't know who's on the committees making these decisions (golf buddies of the architects?), but for all the bragging about Portland's beauty- it seems recent developers ARE agressively trying to wreck that, or they're (like the other person said) untalented, or don'e t give a shit.
Whatever, the result is that we have to face stupidity on a daily basis.
Ugly buildings and poor traffic patterns, congestion (where are all these people going to park?) what will happen when 200 more cars hit the road at 8am each morning?

Whenever I hear the term "market rate" tossed around I get angry, too, how many of us long-time, regular Portlanders can afford to purchase "market rate" housing, or condos?
Probably only those who have just sold houses in California could afford it, or people making more than the average yearly salary.

"Affordable" housing is defined as 80% or below of median income, but if median income is around $70,000 (not sure?)- then anyone making less than that is considered "low income".

How does that equation make any sense?

Who do you know making that kind of money?

Not teachers, not young people starting out, not lots of us. That calculation leaves a lot of us in the dust. Now factor in the unemployed, the underemeployed and you get a good idea of why there is such a problem with homelessness in Portland.

How is continuing the frenzy to build market rate condos going to fix that problem?

Condos are built with one main reason in mind, fat profit for the people who developed them.

What we are seeing is captialism and naked greed and it's time to figure out how to stop THAT!!

dumb buildings 23.Jun.2006 11:32

WS

Here's a link to one of the Ladd Tower forum pages on: skyscraperpage.com

New towers, particularly on S.W. Broadway, are inevitable, given this is the most prime real estate in Portland. People want to live here. The population will increase downtown, and towers are a logical way to accomodate them.

However, developers are not obliged by any laws of the heavens to realize every single new tower in the form of student architecture crackerbox models. Particularly today, with ever advanced engineering techniques, towers do not have to conform to the standard configuration using only 90 degree angles. Something more exciting, more ergonomic can be realized. If Frank Gehry hasn't sufficiently demonstrated that to the world, I don't know what else to say.

The tower could have been beveled to allow more sun to enter the park from the southeast in the morning. This is what they did to an extent with the Fox Tower relative to Pioneer Square.

As regards community and urban architecture, progressive thinking recognizes the value of retaining housing in all urban areas that are accessible to persons of low income as well as high income levels. Progressive thinking recognizes the contextual importance of quality vintage architecture to the soul and legacy of the city, and embraces imaginative, ingenious and exciting ways to incorporate them into new architecture, as could have been done in the Ladd Tower.

Decorating the inside of the new Ladd Tower lobby with artifacts from the Rosefriend Apartment builiding is not an impressive example of this thinking.

If a developer has the determination and ability to dream, architects and engineers can build virtually anything. The Ladd Tower team could have accomplished objectives that would have made a resounding wave of approval.

They could have used the Rosefriend Apartments, or at leas its facade in an imaginative way in the design of the new tower. They could have given the tower a unique configuration to benefit the Park blocks in terms of physical, aesthetic, and solar exposure, yet in one of the most high profile pieces of real estate in Portland, they chose to do nothing approaching these ideas.

The city and the state has some warped ideas about economic competition and related need for growth. This is partly responsible for the relentless, superfluous population growth, driving the rationale for new buildings that don't particularly enhance livability of this city. Who is talking about ways to rethink this idea of the need for population growth? Mostly, people just accept it unquestioningly.

If there were a way to file some kind of suit that would hold up demolition of the Rosefriend, at least temporarily, this could be the best thing for everyone. Maybe somebody out there has an idea.

inevitability 23.Jun.2006 11:52

ne1

What is "inevitable," except for the law of gravity, is determined by society.

In India, it is "inevitable" that people will bathe in the holy waters of the Ganges, and given unresolved population pressures, and poverty, and inadequate social spending, this will lead to various public health emergencies.

In the US, it is "inevitable" that desirable, scarce private real estate unregulated by any countervailing social policies will be developed in accordance with the dictates of whatever returns the most profits to its private owners.

If our society adopted Georgist type fiscal policies -- differential land use taxes, real estate transaction taxes, transfer of development rights, etc -- then we could make it "inevitable" that property in prime spots near the cities preeminent public spaces had a mix of uses and income levels. We could also make it "inevitable" that such properties were only redeveloped in ways that enhanced the aesthetics and livability of the city and served and not damaged other compelling public interests.

The key to achieving the right kind of "inevitability" here lies in the ability of the majority of people, like those who will lose their homes at Rosefriend -- people who don't have capital and don't currently have any say in these decisions that regularly turn their lives upside down -- to organize themselves and help us all to reorganize our society's priorities.

about indymedia and opinions 23.Jun.2006 12:35

bht

"This is a more direct and immediate loss of home for lower-income people than anything happening on Mississippi and Alberta, yet I've heard not so much as a yawn on Indymedia about it."

Hey anon, thanks for posting this. I was going to go downtown and take pictures of the building and post a story about this. I am glad to see something here about it already, but you know what? I am still going to go downtown and take some pictures and post a story about this!

Indymedia is independent media. The byline is "read it, write it, your site, your news...for southern cascadia"

The reason you didnt hear anything about this before you wrote something about it is because you didnt write anything about it! I didnt hear anything about developemtn on Mississippi on this site until I wrote about it. Now it is something that is on the tips of peoples tongues. You wrote this story and now people are responding and going to write more stoires.

Indymedia isnt a typical news site, because there are no reporters there is no organization, indymedia is you. Indymedia is the folks that post stories and make news, thats all. THe center column stories are the same stories that are posted by you and by me.

The reason I am responding to this is becuase there is an underthought that i sense, that people are annoyed when they have to do it themselves. This culture breeds people to rely on so many outside things that it is just annoying when someone doesnt cover the news thats important to you. Well, i think the time for annoyance is over with and the time for community media is at hand. WHen more folks are writing letters to the editors of the daily and weekly papers and forcing the issues that are important to them on the editors and news teams, you will see your stories in print. This site is followed by every news team in portland. Becuase this is a place where news starts by you or I posting a story about what is happening.

And, while I may agree with you that a twenty story condo replacing lowincome housing downtown is more important than a 4 or 6 story developemnt on undeveloped land, that is still an opinion. ANd there is no reason you should force people to beleive in your opinion or focus on your opinion of what is important. You should focus on what is important to you and get it known. I should focus on what is important to me and we should work together. I cannot focus on all the developemnt in portland, I would lose touch with my community and not do justice to any development if I have to cover them all.

This is about our city and our liviability. We have every option to fight developements that we dont feel will add to our city. And not add in terms of housing or high priced condos, add like to our vision of what we want. Get involved with your neighborhood association and your local government. There is leadership that will listen to and be persuaded by enough community voice saying similar things. We just need to be diligent and see our desires through.

a-a-a-rgh!!! forgot to include the link to skypage 23.Jun.2006 14:17

WS


what is affordable housing in Portland 23.Jun.2006 18:13

math genious

>> but if median income is around $70,000 (not sure?)

Portlanders wish the median income was that high. The median income, for the city of Portland, is $40,000 for a household, $50,000 for a family, $35,000 for men, and $29,000 for women. Affordable housing is housing that does not take more than 1/3 of the income so for a Portland household that's about $1100 per month to be affordable to a household making the median income. However, that 80% comes from the desire for housing to be affordable for people earning less than the median income. Often times you'll see affordable being housing that people making 60% of the median income (though you may see other percentages in city planning) can afford. So, in the case of Portland, that's like $650 per month.

The Lord giveth and the church taketh away 23.Jun.2006 23:59

park visitor

That's the thought I had later this evening after stopping earlier in the park blocks on the north side of Jefferson to turn around and look in the direction of the highly debated fate of the city block occupied by the Rosefriend Apartments.

The sun shone beautifly on the pushout windows of the Rosefriend, while above it's 4-5 story roof, and south of a huge tower further down the street, the sky was divinely illuminated in glorious, clear robins egg blue.

Even with the setback that the ladd tower incorporates in it's new design, some of that will be lost. Heavy trees in the Park Blocks obscure much of the sky from the sidewalks adjoining the street, but some peeks through. Of course, when the new tower juts its slick reflective face upon the Park Blocks, there will be the consolation of the sky reflected in the shiny mirror glass planned for the exterior of the building.

Why isn't the city taking a closer look at its geographic layout, and doing a bettter job of keeping problems like this from occurring? The land here in Portland slopes dramatically downward from the Park Blocks to the river. If they must approve the construction of tall towers, sighting them further down
the hill, away from the Park Blocks would help to counter their deleterious effect on the this very important verdant refuge in the heart of the city.

It pains me to find myself with thoughts so harsh in regards to the church, because I know there are good people in their midst, but unfortunately, on the occasion of the pending fate of the Rosefriend and the ominous debut of the tower, they should know them from myself and all others bothered the its plans.

It shouldn't be overlooked, that not that far away, on 12th and Morrison, in another instance where a church had need of a parking lot, they too had occasion to demolish a nice old low income hotel, The Danmoore. The rationale and the outcome in this case was a world away from what the First Christian is doing.

The church on 12th and Morrison, in years past, participated in the construction of housing for low income residents in apartments around it, ultimately replacing that lost by the destruction of The Danmoore. Additionally, and most importantly, when they did develop the former site of The Danmoore, it was in the form of an underground parking facility, and an above ground park, a gated park, but still a park, with no building on it at all. That's right...no building on the former site, whatsoever. This church has returned light to the city where for years it was obscured.

I love them for doing that, and for thinking of something other than the bottom line.

um... 24.Jun.2006 03:08

anon

Thanks for the condescending lecture, bht, but i'm familiar with how Indymedia works.

my impression of ladd tower 24.Jun.2006 07:24

bht

i went downtown yesterday to check out this site. i am not very familiar with downtown that far up. so, when i got to the 1300 block of park, i stopped and set my bike down and started looking around trying to figure out where the rosefriend was so i could orient myself.

i didnt find it right away. I started taking pictures of the west streetscape and walked south two blocks and then on block west and then a block north. All the while I was taking pictures, formulating my impression of the area and how a tower would impact it. I saw a starbucks, some new development another block east, PSU to the south, more apartments for lease, and other things. Then I saw the sign for the ladd tower (first picture). Using that sign I identified the carriage house and that it still existed in the photo. I went back north a block (I am using the north south east west designations becuase i dont remember the street names) saw that it was all church buildings and thought that to be odd, then I went a block west. I took a picture of Higgins restaurant, which is right across the street from new proposed tower. And that story kept formulating.

Up here, in Boise, we are told that the businesses arent being supported by the people that currently live here and if we want to see those businesses survive that the existing community will have to start supporting them or a new community will have to be brought in. Looks as if they are opting for number 2 up here. Now, I dont think that a 190 unit condo building is being built to support Higgins restaurant, but I do know that a goal of the city is to revitalize downtown and make space for people in downtown that can afford to shop downtown. Thats actually something that was touched on in the Tribune article, how if the city wants to keep Nordstroms then they will need high value condos for high value people.

Then I rounded the street and saw The Oregonian Building, the Rosefriend, and a U-Haul.
ladd tower sign
ladd tower sign
higgins restaurnat
higgins restaurnat
u-haul
u-haul

continuing 24.Jun.2006 07:28

bht

The Rosefriend is a very majestic building. The feature story photo shows just one side of this building. But this is two of those building and an alcove between them. I walked into the alcove to look out and around the front and side of it, across the street, just trying to take in this beautiful old building that some church warrants to be demolished.
Rosefriend Building - 1907
Rosefriend Building - 1907

continuing 24.Jun.2006 07:30

bht

more pictures
the uhal in front of the rosefriend
the uhal in front of the rosefriend
inside the alcove
inside the alcove
looking out of the alcove
looking out of the alcove

final 24.Jun.2006 07:41

bht

In at least 8 spots around the block there are Public Notice posters (see photo) announcing the plans for this property. I didnt read it to clearly say "we are going to tear down the rosefriend and move the carriage house so we can build a big tower." Looking at the Ladd tower photo you will see that the carriage house and the church are still very much in the picture.

i walked in front of the carriage house and then back around the other side of the block where the ladd tower photo was. I took a picture of the next churching that was going to happen (see photo). I found it dryly humorous that this church that was going to help crowd out nature was doing a lecture on how to reconnect with it. But I bet it'll be a good one since it is really necessary, even with the Urban Growth Boundary Portland is susceptible to sprawl and the government and Bureau of Land Management is selling away our national forests to be clearcut. Better reconnect with nature now, before its too late.

Finally there is a picture of the entrance to the church which is very grand. I wonder how the grand new inhabitants of this tower will interact with this church. IT seems that many new communities immediately distance themselves as much as possible from the community it is replacing. They say the lord works in mysterious ways and maybe the lord will surprisingly unmerciful for the destruction of the rosefriend and the displacement of its inhabitants.

hear ye hear ye
hear ye hear ye
reconnecting with nature
reconnecting with nature
the church
the church

Look up North 24.Jun.2006 10:50

plain clothes anarchist

If you want a vision of what Portland architecture may look like in twenty years, take a ride up to Seattle. For the last 20 years the developers in city government (Norm Rice-Paul Schell-Greg Nickels) tore down virtually all of the historic buildings, and replaced them with towers, condos, and other bullshite. While I support the concept of density, in so far as it reduces sprawl, this city has no sense of its history, nor does it care. Out with the old, in with the new. The one truely historic neighborhood left is being wrought with sex offender housing, a garbage transfer station, and is a dumping ground for all the undesireable urban blights (while all the other high priced real estate places get a free ride).

Don't let it happen to Portland. You guys actually have a fighting chance.

TOWERS DON'T CONSERVE LAND 24.Jun.2006 11:10

someone

The logical and physical improbability that office towers (or condo towers, or any towers of any kind) will "conserve land" cannot be emphasized enough. When we speak of "densification," it cannot mean towers. Why?

Aside from the electricity and other resources required to operate them, which as already mentioned is bound to be vastly disproportionate to the number of residents they accommodate -- and the land mass required for producing those energy resources and hosting the carbon sinks they will make necessary just gets displaced from sight, but is still very real, consider some other practical realities:

It's not as if the kind of high-income residents that can afford penthouses in downtown are forced to choose between them and McMansions in the suburbs. They OPT to live in a penthouse as a matter of choice. Since that is their preference, and they have the resources to enjoy whatever housing they prefer, it's not as if their decision to live in downtown wlll somehow reduce the economic pressures driving suburban sprawl development.

As a matter of fact, the loss of affordable housing in the central city DRIVES suburban sprawl, as less affluent residents are forced to move further and further out to find housing they deem adequate for themselves and their families.

Excellent photos 24.Jun.2006 11:24

anon

And it's always good to get out of your own neighborhood and familiarize yourself with other parts of the city...

Killing the golden goose 24.Jun.2006 13:46

my2c

Thanks, bht, for the beautiful essay. And thanks to the person who pointed out that we can see where this is all heading if we go up north. The fact is, short-sighted "development" projects like these always lead to the same end, if we do not stop them first. They flock into a gentrifying area like seagulls, looking for their piece of the profit. And they build and plan and erect and sop up what there is. And when they're done, they have killed what was special about the place in the first place.

I used to live in NW portland, before the gentrification began there. I loved it. It was a vibrant, living place where art and culture grew like weeds in vacant and abandoned places. It became "hip" and "cool" for the same reason most places get that way. It is a historical unfolding. The people with fewer resources tend to land in places like NW used to be -- old, abandoned buildings, cheap housing, close-knit communities. And they build a world with a sense of place. Those same people, the ones with fewer resources, also tend to be people who have other priorities than chasing a buck or making a quick profit. That's how they got there. Usually, they tend to be interesting, creative, diverse people who care more about relationships, real beauty, art, and meaning than about building resumes and exhibiting wealth. They build a community that reflects those things. They tend not to erect the bland, wal mart world that one sees in other places. Instead, they occupy a place of gentle beauty, a place where old, historic buildings survive because no one had the ambition to tear them down before, and little mom and pop markets survive because no giant super store saw any profit in colonizing the neighborhood before, and people walk and hang out on balconies and talk to each other because they are not part of the outside culture that devalues all those things in favor of a faster pace and more glamorous pastimes.

And, as is the way of things, the community thrives. Other people see what they have built and want to be a part of it, because that is, after all, what all of us crave down deep. We all want more than our paychecks will ever provide, more than we will ever see for sale at Fred Meyers or Wal Mart or Norm Thompson. So people flock to the neighborhood. And speculators and developers sense the next big thing, and start buying up the old, abandoned warehouses where squatters live, and the old, affordable apartment buildings where artists and philosophers live, and the old, vacant lots where dreamers go. And yuppies move in and price the original inhabitants right out of the neighborhood. And the vacant lots make way for condos, and the warehouses make way for pseudo "artist lofts" that no real artist could ever afford to live in, and the new inhabitants make it "their neighborhood now," and "clean up the streets" and put a stake through the heart of the very thing they came for.

Alas. That plague, the plague of "progress," of "development," that plague has taken Portland street by street, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood. Most of us are scurrying away to set up anew somewhere else. We will rise again, and we will have what cannot be bought or sold, or even stolen away. May the yuppies leave themselves at least this one old building to look back to, to remind themselves why they came. To remind themselves what the world looked like before accountants ran it all. To remind themselves what buildings looked like when people made them from real materials and real workmanship, and did not cut every corner to make a bigger buck.

...So that's my 2 cents. And by the way, bht. There was nothing "condescending" about what you wrote, in spite of the way anon responded. I thought the same thing you did, but did not have the strength to reply like you did. Thanks for saying that. It had to be said.

yawning on indy 24.Jun.2006 13:59

me

I think that both the thoughtless development projects taking place in NE, and the downtown projects, are a shame. Both rob this city of something important, something worth saving. But anon, you kind of rub my fur the wrong way with your snide jabs at bht. I, too, thought your barbed comments about how much more important your thing is than the thing on Mississippi, and how there was "barely a yawn on indy," were off base. I have read and enjoyed bht's stories very much, because he writes about where he lives, and is passionate about it, and is right. He does an excellent job. You, on the other hand, apparently live in downtown. Why, then, not just write about where you live, without the barbs at someone else for not doing it for you? And why respond to bht by calling him "condescending" when all he did was state it like it is? Many others were probably thinking the same thing. I know I was. And why, after he did, in fact, go to the effort of riding over to your neighborhood and doing a better job of explaining why we should care about this, why throw in your own condescending sentence about how it's "good to get out of your own neighborhood"? You could take your own advice.

Anyway, though, back to the topic at hand. It's really a shame that anyone thinks the city will be better, and not worse, when they tear down what was beautiful and put up more cheap, molded crap from a cheap, plastic world. The only people who will benefit from this are the developers and builders who will make a fast buck. And even they won't really benefit, they will only get some money. And that's not as important as they think it is.

passionate for Portland vs passionate for Profiteering 24.Jun.2006 14:14

.

I'm glad to see that others are raising the issues about what these developments mean. I've been up in Seattle a few times recently and I wouldn't want to live there. If Portland goes in that direction, many who helped make Portland a good place to live will also seek to live and do business elsewhere. And that's not to say it's all bad in Seattle and Portland. Both places have people looking to create the places they want to see and build the city in which they want to live. It's just difficult when competing with those with far more money, whose goals are merely to make even more money.

I'd also like to see more reporting by those that care about these issues and less snide comments toward those who are doing the work.

Another option for Rosefriend Apartments 24.Jun.2006 14:49

WS

The Ladd Block development team also has another option to consider, that would allow the Rosefriend Apartments to survive, thrive, and enrich the experience of the Park Blocks. After the Carriage House was temporarily moved, and the church annex demolished, the Rosefriend Apartments could be jacked up, rotated 180 degrees, and moved to occupy the northwest corner of the block where it would face the park blocks and be a companion to the church sanctuary. Two historically, architectually complementary structures side by side.

This would also allow the development team to put whatever kind of lobby, foyer it chose facing Broadway.

In case such a prospect seems ridiculous, think again. In the early days of Chicago, the jacked up many hotels much bigger than the Rosefriend, as activities inside them went on as usual, and raised them 10 feet or so above the flood zone.

Lifting, rotating,and moving the Rosefriend probably would be expensive, but I'll bet the people who specialize in that work would relish the challenge. In fact, I think the job is probably a slam-dunk, just takes time. Flat terrain, not a problem.

I know there must be some engineers out there who could comment on this.

disappointed 25.Jun.2006 19:29

anon

"I, too, thought your barbed comments about how much more important your thing is than the thing on Mississippi, and how there was "barely a yawn on indy," were off base."

more important? never said it. my words were "more direct and immediate loss of home". i re-iterate that. i just find it ironic when the pioneer gentrifiers turn into nimby's as the process they participated in (as long as it suited their own economic interests) shows up on their doorstep looking about as exciting to them as a bunch of weird-looking punks moving into the neighborhood probably looked to longtime inhabitants 10 years ago. hence the "annoyed" tone of my original post.

"You, on the other hand, apparently live in downtown."

no, i don't, actually.

"And why respond to bht by calling him "condescending" when all he did was state it like it is?"

i apologize. i had a visceral reaction to feeling like i was being lectured about something that i am intimately familiar with.
if you don't read a lecture vibe in there... well, it seems pretty glaring to me.

"...that is still an opinion. ANd there is no reason you should force people to beleive in your opinion or focus on your opinion of what is important."

who in the world ever mentioned force, bht? i don't get it. of course it's an opinion.

anyways, moving past the bickering, here is a comment from pdxarchitecture from a former rosefriend resident:

As a recent former resident (forced to move because of the impending demolition) and a staff member of the firm who is the designer of the project (but NOT speaking for the firm), I can say that it is indeed very disheartening to be losing this building. The interior is still in excellent condition and the rental prices are actually affordable. Having spent 10 months searching for an apartment downtown I can tell you that the affordable rental stock in this city is in ridiculously poor condition. This building has no problems with pests, heating, electrical, etc., and has an excellent management staff that not only cares about the residents but also the building. When I moved in two years ago they removed the carpet and refinished the oak floors to original condition. Granted the space was not quite 400 square feet, but the rent was only $535. Try finding a third floor unit, with wood floors, free heat, downtown for that price. Many of the residents there when I moved in had made this building their home and turnover was low. There was respect for your neighbors, if there was a problem in the courtyard or on the street all heads popped out and dealt with the issue, and if there was a problem with a unit management took care of it immediately. Of the many places I have lived this was the first that actually felt like home and where neighbors made an effort to get to know each other.
I have spoken to many people about this project, including the team working on it, and no one wants to see it go, but they are attempting to maintain the low, pedestrian scale street edges. If anyone can get the passion behind the project to save it, I'll be right there with you!

and the voices of concern trickle in 26.Jun.2006 01:08

ws

It's just great hearing a viewpoint from a displaced member of the Rosefriend, who also happens to be connected with the project design team. I feel like this is a prime example of some of the very important voices to whom not nearly enough consideration was given during the conception and design phase of the Ladd Tower project.

This person comments in regards to words exchanged with many people about the project including the team working on it, taking from those conversation that the general sentiment is opposed to the demolition of the Rosefriend, expressed in the design teams efforts to counter the devastating effect of the tower through low pedestrian scale street edges.

With all due respect to genuinely expressed sentiments of all concerned, these are pathetic, feeble measures more likely designed to diffuse opposition to the effect of the tower rather than to sincerely retain the curbside character contributed by the presence of the Rosefriend Apartments.

While I concede that I have not made inquiries or researched into efforts on the part of the design team or other parties to do so, I submit that that it is highly unlikely that any sincere effort of any kind was ever made to incorporate the Rosefriend Apartments into the design of the proposed tower. This project has all the markings of a strong contingent concerned with getting their building up. I defy and welcome anybody to submit illustrations, project proposals, or discussion meeting minutes in response.

Without the Friends of The Carriage House, and granted, some concession on the part of the developer and church to allow the relocation of the Carriage House in its present location, there would be nothing of historic context left on this block except for the church sanctuary.

This example of period apartment architecture is extremely important to the historical context of the Park Blocks. Take a walk up the South Park Blocks, and you'll see others of perhaps similar provenance: The Arlington on Taylor immediately comes to mind.

Not being skilled in these affairs, I lack for ideas of how to proceed in terms of an appeal to the scheduled demolition. I would have thought, given its proximity to the Oregon Historical Society, that people there would have been seeking to conserve the Rosefriend. It came to my attention through an aticle in, I believe, the Portland Tribune, that certain members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association have serious concerns about the impact of the new tower on the Park Blocks, but nothing was reported regarding thoughts they may or may not have had about appealing design decisions that have been made.

I think urgent inquiries to the Downtown Neighborhood Association could be an important first step in getting a deeper perspective on this situation. A gentleman named Irwin Mandell, quoted in the article, is I believe, a member of that organization, and one, no doubt, concerned about the Park Blocks. He would be one to contact with your concerns.

I'm thoroughly disgusted with stupid, ugly buildings, particularly when they replace distinguished, time tested architecture expressing great aesthetic tradition. At least, if new towers must be erected in such key locations, they could be subjects of great inspiration, even radically so. For example: Thomas Wills Wright's Burj Al Arab in Dubai(I saw this today in the styles section of the NYTimes.)The proposed Ladd tower is just insultingly mediocre. An embarrasment to the city.

 http://www.portlandonline.com/

I think this may take you to a search results page with contact info for members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association:

 http://www.portlandonline.com/oni/search/index.cfm?action=BasicSearchAct

In the even that doesn't work, here's email addresses for some of those people:

mailto: renee@reneefellman.com (Renee Fellman, chair/co-chair)

Irwin Mandell's number:Irwin Mandel, 503-220-0360 (note: this person is on the Chief's Forum. That's where on Portland Online, that I got his number, in case this fact raises flags for any of you. He's not listed on the neighborhood association site. I'll say that I've talked with this person, and believe he's a reasoned, thoughtful person. Decide for yourselves.

I'm not sure how to proceed from this point, but I really do believe the time has come to take a geater stake in routine processes of urban change that the public is methodically led to believe they have no reasonable right to expect a voice in.

This is one of the most beautiful buildings in Portland 26.Jun.2006 01:31

So why are they allowed to tear it down?

Where is the Historic Preservation League? Asleep at the wheel as usual. What's the point of them even existing? They never make a peep about these gems that keep getting pulled down to make way for this crap. Here's their email:  info@hplo.org . Write to them and give them some hell.

And by the way, what would Jesus do? Would he tear this building down and displace low-income residents in order to make a buck?

correction 26.Jun.2006 02:48

ws

I believe the building architectually related to the Rosefriend I intended to name, was The Admiral Apartments (taco del mar is at it's nw corner), not the Arlington, as in arlington club at the northenmost end of the South Park Blocks.

save the rosefriend 23.Aug.2006 10:34

mike c.

I'm deeply saddened and shocked that the rosefriend is slated for demolishin. there should be action taken to save it!

Daycare taken away as well 15.Jan.2007 12:04

SA1

I just want to let people know that not only a beautiful apartment building is in ruins but a great daycare was forced to close at the end of June 2006 which was located in the annex of First Christian Church, which mad parents have to scramble and Staff have to relocate. Yes we had a warning but the daycare had been located in the church for over 45+ years and got no kind of recognition!!! As a matter of fact there was staff there ranging from 7 years to 30 years most over 20 years and all they got was a kick in the pants and dont let the door hit you on your way out!!! Rush, rush rush and not a thing has been done as of now. Shame on the church!!!! They did not even offer to help find another location for the daycare!!! They had separated relations pretty much from the daycare knowing for a couple of years this was going to happen so they would not be responsible for unemployment etc... They also said the reason for the separation was cost of the center and that the parisioners could not afford the day care if they chose the center, I found this to be an excuse because I got to know a few members of the church and they said they had their child in a mont. or other day cares which cost even more that we were charging. The day care started off to be a mission of the church, now look what happened!!!!! Christians huh???? They also ended up with most of our equipment and other things. Shame on them!!!!!! I hope they will be able to live with themselves and stay happy when this whole thing gets blown out of the water. Christians I say NOT!!!!!!!! They should relocate themselves to see how the tenants of Rosefriend feels and the child care providers. I hope this whole thing falls apart then they will know how hard it was for the rest of us. It all boils down to the almighty dollar~!!!!!!!!!!!!