Thursday, October 27, 2016

Urbanization and Creative Thinking About Our Environment

Some things do change and this do-over of a freeway, one not unlike our I405, encourages freeing up the mind to think more creatively.  Not so much tear down as dig up.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District
Design Guidelines Project

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and the Portland Development Commission are developing design guidelines for the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District. 

This 10-block historic district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 because of the area’s significant history and heritage of Asian ethnic culture, industry, commerce and architecture. Once adopted by City Council, the Design Guidelines will be used as approval criteria to be met as part of historic resource reviews of both new construction and exterior alterations/additions to existing buildings.

More information can be found here on this Website. The contact is Adrienne DeDona, 503.234.5881 and her email address is

There is a SAC - Stakeholder Advisory Committee -  and I have asked Adrienne to provide some information as to the participation on the SAC of people who actually live in this district -  residents i.e.  neighbors.   I did find a list on the Website, but don't see any residents.
The SAC members are as follows: 
  • Jackie Peterson—Old Town Chinatown Community Association  
  • Joren Bass—Urban Development + Partners
  • Katherine Schultz—Guardian Real Estate Services  
  • Will Naito—Naito Development LLC
  • Brian Kimura—Nikkei Legacy Center
  • Neil Lee—Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
  • Hermann Colas—Colas Construction
  • Hillary Adam—Bureau of Development Services
  • Peggy Moretti—Restore Oregon 
  • Matthew Roman—Portland Historic Landmarks Commission
Here are the general values expressed by SAC and to be reflected in guiding principles that will serve as a touchstone for the development of the Guidelines.

  • Sense of Place
  • Historic character and context
  • Cultural respect and authenticity
  • Connectivity
  • Enduraing, quality improvements
  • Vibrant, active streetscapes and built environment

Another SAC came under fire not too long ago for possible conflict of interests which, as you can well imagine, just might be a problem in a district characterized by parking lots and neglected, unsafe buildings with the landlords of these properties playing a long range game of "The Price is Right." Meanwhile our citizens get to experience the ongoing  decline of block after block of buildings.

It has been my experience that culture is defined not by buildings, but by the community that lives in a place and the most important "land use" issue is in fact what is the retail strategy and, if a tourist destination, are there neighborhood serving businesses for residents and employees?  

Ruth Ann Barrett, May 4, 2016, CJNA, Portland, Oregon.

P.S. Presentation at March 2nd Meeting is here.

Willamette Week of May 2nd. What we heard when opposing the location of a strip club in the middle of three major apartment complexes was that the use of under age girls just doesn't happen.

Well it does.