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  #341  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2006, 9:22 AM
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^ I do too, if the Rosefriend advocates want to force the church to preserve the building (which they are not obligated to do BTW), then allow them the opportunity to go 350'-400' on the Broadway side of the half block. Aside from that, a 200' high building next to a 200' wide open space (100' for the park plus 50' each for Park and Ninth Aves.) is not overwhelming or imposing. If anything, it helps to more clearly define the park space. And don't the massive century-old trees already shade 90% of the park? Exactly what shadows are they concerned about?
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  #342  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2006, 2:13 PM
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Unions, Sten mull reform of PDC
Council control of agency's budget may become ballot proposal
By Jim Redden

The Portland Tribune, 10.5 hours ago

Commissioner Erik Sten is drafting a proposed ballot measure that would give the City Council authority over the budget of the Portland Development Commission, the city’s quasi-independent urban renewal agency.

Sten said he has not yet decided whether to submit the measure to the council for placement on the November general-election ballot. The PDC spends more than $200 million a year on development projects in 11 urban renewal districts around town.

“I think the council should have control over the PDC’s budget, but I want to get feedback from the rest of the council and other people involved with the PDC before I make a final decision,” he said.

Sten said he also wants to hear from the Oregon AFL-CIO, which this week began polling Portland residents about their feelings on the PDC. According to Bob Shiprack, president of the Oregon Building Trades Council, the $20,000 poll includes questions on the public perception of the agency and its spending priorities.

Among other things, the unions want the council to compel the PDC to require that developers pay state-set construction wages on agency-supported projects. A majority of the council – Sten, Sam Adams and Randy Leonard – agree but do not have the authority to make the PDC comply.

“At this point, we think the City Council should do something to make sure the PDC does what they want it to do, but we want to see what the poll shows before we talk to the council about specifics,” Shiprack said, adding that the poll should be completed in two or three weeks.

Sten said he might consider waiting until next year to place the measure on the ballot. Mayor Tom Potter has appointed a citizen Charter Review Commission that also may propose changes to the PDC. The commission is not scheduled to finish its work until early next year, however.

“I want to coordinate my effort with the mayor and might be willing to include it as part of a larger charter-reform package next year, depending on what it looks like the commission might be recommending,” Sten said.

John Doussard, Potter’s press aide, said waiting until the commission completes its work is the best idea.

“The mayor doesn’t think there should be competing measures. The commission’s proposals deserve a fair hearing,” he said.

If Sten decides to submit a proposal for this November, he is likely to have the support of Adams and Leonard, giving him the majority he would need to place it on the ballot.

Adams has repeatedly expressed support for the council exerting more control over the PDC, especially to guarantee that more affordable housing units are included in agency-supported projects.

Leonard has gone even further, proposing a charter amendment last year to give the council control over all aspects of the PDC, not just its budget. It died for lack of other council support at that time.

The PDC board has not taken a stand on any possible charter-reform proposals, including the one being drafted by Sten. New PDC board chairman Mark Rosenbaum declined to comment on the concept of the council having control over the agency’s budget until after he has seen Sten’s specific measure.

“Whatever happens, I think it is important that the PDC’s agenda be forward-looking,” said Rosenbaum, managing partner of Rosenbaum Financial, a local financial management firm.

Whatever is proposed must comply with state urban renewal laws. The council has until

Aug. 16 to place a charter measure on the November ballot.

Board full of new faces
Ironically, Sten is drafting the measure as Potter is on the verge of appointing his first complete PDC board of directors. When Potter took office in January 2005, the five commissioners had been appointed by his predecessor, Vera Katz. Their terms have all expired over the past 18 months, allowing Potter to appoint their replacements, including Rosenbaum, who was elected PDC board chairman Monday.

Potter appointed his fourth commissioner Wednesday: Charles Wilhoite, managing director at Willamette Management Associates, a firm specializing in financial consulting, economic analysis, and business valuation services. Until recently, Wilhoite also served as chairman of Potter’s Charter Review Commission.

If confirmed by the council next week, Wilhoite will join Rosenbaum and two other Potter appointees on the board – Bertha Ferrán, a senior mortgage consultant at Windermere Mortgage Services, and Sal Kadri, owner of ValueCAD, a high-tech company.

“I think the new board is well-positioned to move the PDC forward, and to do so in close cooperation with the council,” Rosenbaum said.

Potter has not decided yet on the fifth and final commissioner, Doussard said. According to Shiprack, organized labor believes one of its own should fill that post. He is pushing John Mohlis, a bricklayer who serves as executive secretary-treasurer of the Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council.

Mohlis said he has told Nancy Hamilton, Potter’s chief of staff, that he wants to serve on the PDC board.

“I’d be honored to serve on it. I have a lot of experience with construction projects. The PDC is involved in a lot of construction projects, and I think they would benefit from my perspective,” he said.

Mohlis thinks the PDC should require developers to pay state prevailing wages on agency-supported development projects. Prevailing wages are set by the state labor commissioner, based on an annual survey of construction wages conducted by the Oregon Employment Department. They tend to be the same as union wages, especially in metropolitan areas, such as Portland.

The PDC has so far resisted requiring developers to pay prevailing wages and has successfully fought the state in court over the issue. But Rosenbaum said the question of whether and when to require prevailing wages be paid is open to discussion.

“There is a lot of confusion over this issue that needs to be resolved. Whether or not a member of the labor community serves on the commission, we need to discuss the issue and resolve it,” Rosenbaum said.

Mohlis said he is interested in more than the prevailing wage rate issue, noting that he serves as a trustee on the fund of the $75 million Northwest Bricklayers Pension Trust, which has much of its money invested in real estate.

“I understand the business end of real estate deals,” he said.

Doussard said the mayor knows of Mohlis’ interest and will interview him along with other potential nominees.

Mayor allows closer eye
Rosenbaum believes there are two primary reasons why the council is taking such a close look at the PDC – Portland’s new mayor and the city’s financial situation.

“Mayor Potter’s approach to government is different than any of his predecessors. He is committed to making decisions in an open and transparent manner. Previous mayors have insulated the PDC from a lot of scrutiny. This is the first time the council has been able to ask questions about the PDC’s policies and decisions, and they expect answers,” he said.

At the same time, Rosenbaum believes the council has less discretionary money to spend on public projects, especially since the federal government has cut back on the housing and transportation funds available to cities.

“The city’s access to resources is just really stretched. In these circumstances, access to the piggy bank at the PDC is very tempting. There’s just not a lot of money to pay for streets, parks or housing anywhere else,” he said.

Sten agrees the PDC controls a lot of redevelopment dollars, which is why he thinks the council should have a greater say over how it is spent.

“The council should be driving the PDC’s agenda. At this point, the PDC is driving the city’s development agenda,” Sten said.
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  #343  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2006, 3:11 PM
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See, my problem is that there was ample time to save the Rosefriend. Over a year ago we on this site started discussing the possible demolision of the Carriage House. People picketed in front of church property to save the Carriage House, standing directly in front of the Rosefriend at times, yet never mentioned the building. The developer saved the Carriage House, revamped the project, and continued on. Now, weeks before construction is to begin there is a new push to save the Rosefriend, and whether it is the building, or the 'shadows' cast onto the park, they are pulling low punches and blaming the church and developer. Portland is a city with many public processes and people didn't participate. Time is over unless they are bringing cash to the table. Otherwise I don't think they have ground to stand on...However, if they offer a buyout, I think the developer and church should consider.
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  #344  
Old Posted Jul 16, 2006, 11:17 PM
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Website has been updated with floorplans and info. Check it out! Same old renderings though.

http://www.laddtower.com/
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  #345  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2006, 2:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougall5505
i am pretty sure that the elliot is LEED
Keep in mind there are levels to LEED. The first couple are fairly easy to hit, it is the highest level that becomes hard to get.
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  #346  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2006, 11:06 PM
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the showroom opens tomorrow in the same location as the eliot's showroom, there is a model inside which is visable from the window.
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  #347  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2006, 6:22 AM
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sweet, I will walk by there on my way home tonight
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  #348  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2006, 3:26 PM
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the showroom is opening? But the tower isn't approved yet is it?
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  #349  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2006, 4:35 PM
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dont know if its approved, but the website says construction will start this fall
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  #350  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2006, 5:13 PM
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^yea, I'm surprised they would build the model without it being approved. Those detailed models are a lot of money. they're probably pretty confident that it will be approved.
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  #351  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2006, 5:25 PM
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briefly looking at the model it does look to be quite a massive building... its pretty much a full half block at 200 x 100... speaking of models where do they usually go once the project is built? are they destroyed? sold? recycled? stored in some office or warehouse?

didnt see anything in the paper today about what happened at the design review
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  #352  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2006, 5:57 PM
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prices

I have the price list for the Ladd. It looks like about half of the units are sold, and the cheapest remaining 2 bedroom unit, on the 10th floor, SW corner, is 726K, with over 1400 square feet. The cheapest remaining one bedroom is 330K with over 900 square feet, on the second floor. The penthouse is listed for over 2.2 million.
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  #353  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2006, 6:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxstreetcar
speaking of models where do they usually go once the project is built? are they destroyed? sold? recycled? stored in some office or warehouse?
They usually end up in the lobby of the architect that designed it or the development company that built it, unless other arrangments are made. It's kind of like a trophy.
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  #354  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2006, 6:34 PM
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Half of the units are sold already?? That's crazy.

My roommate went to the design review last night but had to leave early. She said there were A LOT of people testifying against the design.
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  #355  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2006, 7:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 65MAX
They usually end up in the lobby of the architect that designed it or the development company that built it, unless other arrangments are made. It's kind of like a trophy.
I figured that was the case but some of these huge development companies or national architecture firms must run out of space for all their models
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  #356  
Old Posted Jul 22, 2006, 12:11 AM
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Had this fwd'ed to me, from a friend of a friend who was at the design hearing.
Looks like there's no stopping this one...

"although they said they liked the design they've requested them to go back and work
on a master plan and then re-submit for Design review (they said they would approve
it now, but since they'd want to see a master plan then they'd wait to approve them
together....the reason, mostly, is due to the fact that the building, with its
density, will have an impact on the infrastructure of the area. So they thought it
was necessary for them to take a look at the surroundings and do some master
planning (i think it was also a condition for getting the FAR they wanted). the
irony is that typically you do a master plan of an area which then informs some
facets of your design. in this case there is a bit of our very favorite
post-rationalization...."
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  #357  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2006, 9:27 AM
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I attended the July 20th Design Commission meeting, listened to the presentation and all speakers opposed to the design, and 2-3 people speaking in support. Exactly understanding the status of the Commission’s position in regards to the design at this point is confusing. It seems they are waiting for the applicants to submit a key document before the commission makes its decision. You can read a better explanation that still might leave you confused, in this article on portlandarchitecture.com: Design Commission Delays Ladd Tower Ruling.

I’m not sure what this means to the overall project, approval of demolition, and so forth. Maybe they’re just waiting on the other documents as a formality, to avoid potential legal hassles inherent in an approval without them. So, the Design Commission delays their ruling until Sept. 7th. Wonder whether they’ll be discussing it in the meetings between now and then.

In my opinion, the design commission raised good points at the top of the meeting about the lack of setbacks on Park Ave, and the buildings overall potential impact on the Park Blocks. Despite this, the key factor opening the way for the design in this respect, is that apparently, setbacks are not required for buildings on the park. I don’t know that the commission’s concerns were such that they would rule against the design, even though this was the case.

That’s some great archival research material bvpcvm and pdxstreetcar. I could only have wished for some dates and attribution.

Probably any of those earlier designs do a better job of deferring to the park, serving the church’s daily activities, an in general, being more interesting buildings. The “earliest” and the second design have a setback favoring the Park Blocks. The “earliest” also has the courtyard entry open to the park side, unlike the present, that opens on Broadway. The idea of a point tower, quarter block is good too.

It just seems like really extraordinary architecture, either including the Rosefriend or not, should be encouraged for this block. Sorry, but the design the development team presented July 20th does not seem to be that. This could be due to lack of oversight, lack of inspiration, or maybe something else.

I suppose it’s highly debatable as to whether the Rosefriend should live on. There are good many reasons why it should, and many logical reasons the development team wouldn’t want it to. An obvious argument against the building is that, even completely upgraded and refurbished, it would still be an old building many would consider to be less marketable in terms of profit, then a modern building with larger glass area that would be more suitable for commercial tenants on the Broadway side.

Arguments in favor? Beautiful, cozy vintage architecture, that is increasingly rare downtown. Given the choice between modern and something like the Rosefriend, some people will always choose the latter. In addition to bearing testimony to Portland’s architectural heritage, the authentic break from modernity it offers is very important to the downtown experience. I think that architecture providing this commodity is far more important than some would have us believe.

What is most disappointing about the situation, if for example, you consider the development team’s Design Commission presentation, is that nothing was presented to indicate that it explored or considered ideas that would have used the Rosefriend Apartment building as part of a working design for the block. I don’t know for certain whether the Rosefriend should go or stay, partly because a selection of seriously drawn up optional designs has not been presented. It’s very frustrating that they did not do this.

Maybe ideas for keeping the Rosefriend building would have been ultimately impractical for any number of reasons, but at the least, with such a building as the Rosefriend, they could have offered something to demonstrate that such ideas were explored; artist renderings, or even napkin sketches, cost analysis, etc.. I don’t believe the reason they apparently didn’t explore such ideas has to do with the building’ presently non-vintage interior condition, or its undoubted need for seismic stabilization. It’s more complicated than that.

We’ve seen how a vintage building can be completely gutted and seismically upgraded. Two examples: Central Library and Pioneer Courthouse. I’m trying to think of an example where a vintage building has been incorporated into the body of a new tower, but don’t have one. I think it’s been done though, and could be an exciting concept here. For some reason, the Ecotrust building with its perimeter parking lot wall, using an old building façade sticks in my mind as a local example of this. It’s more of an example of a break from modernity.
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  #358  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2006, 8:43 PM
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there were protesters outside the benson tower showroom today. is this normal i haven't seen them there before. they had a big banner that i didn't get to read because the bus driver had a lead foot today.

I forget what are all these protesters all worked up about?
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  #359  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2006, 9:34 PM
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In the past, the protests have been about hiring non-local, non-union workers for the project.
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  #360  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2006, 8:21 AM
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I love the fact that every time I leave my place to go anywhere I can see this tower.

Granted I don't like the exterior material used for it because as a friend of mine pointed out, it makes it look like a bad college dorms building with balconies. I love the east exterior of the Eliot and would of loved a bit more creativity with the exterior of the Benson.


Also, what's up with that big circle on the first floor. It makes no sense to any scheme of the design. What does the architect have a fetish for circles or something and needed to put one in?
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