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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > United States > Pacific West > SSP: Local Portland > Downtown & City of Portland

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  #181  
Old Posted May 16, 2006, 1:35 AM
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Most of the steel for the lower terminal is on site waiting to be erected. I didn't see any of the tower steel--which is huge and being brought by barge--but the other structural steel is ready to go. I'll see if I can't dig around and find some images of the tram landing.
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  #182  
Old Posted May 25, 2006, 9:31 PM
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I havent seen the construction of the tram for awhile and the newest photos online at the Portland Transportation office are from April 26th but by looking at the www.binaryscience.com/swf it looks like, from what i can make out, that most of the lower terminal is erected.

has anyone checked it out recently?
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  #183  
Old Posted May 25, 2006, 10:19 PM
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^the lower terminal has its frame and inner tram pieces assembled.

From the OHSU website regarding the mid-tower:
Fabrication of steel for the 195-foot intermediate tower that will rise near Macadam Avenue is nearly finished. Tower segments will be barged to the site in mid June from Thompson Metal Fabricators in Vancouver, Wash., and erection will begin immediately thereafter.

Has the mid-tower increased in height? I can't recall ever hearing it was 195ft, I was thinking it was 150'

FYI: the Portland Aerial Tram is now in Wikipedia
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  #184  
Old Posted May 26, 2006, 1:19 AM
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the mid tower by macadam is 195 feet... wow
for some reason i was thinking that this tower was going to be quite short like 3-4 stories... i guess then they are going to get the tram way up in the sky and have it rise pretty steeply and quickly out of the lower terminal
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  #185  
Old Posted May 26, 2006, 8:16 AM
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I thought I heard the intermediate tower was going to be around 160 ft.
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  #186  
Old Posted May 29, 2006, 4:38 AM
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here are some pictures from last week of the lower tram station. in one of the shots you can see the lifts of concrete going up to create the upper tower. the intermediate tower at Macadam will be as tall as the OHSU building, so it will be a short distance to the landing. My understanding is that they will slow down the tram at the tower to not give people too much of a roller coaster ride.

tram shell


with ohsu (keep in mind they will be putting a streetcar between these two until Zidell vacates their property to the north!) You can see the upper station to the left of the yellow tower crane.



atrium cube


looking at tram from within atrium
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  #187  
Old Posted May 29, 2006, 5:10 AM
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really cool pictures.

i'm having trouble imagining the streetcar squeezing through there, though.
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  #188  
Old Posted May 30, 2006, 4:06 PM
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Urban pioneer: Buyers move into The Meriwether, first of the River Blocks condos
Sunday, May 28, 2006
By JAN BEHRS
The Oregonian

Their neighbors are Caterpillars, cranes, chain-link fences and the remains of the Zidell Marine Corp.'s metal-recycling and barge-building business. Not to mention a coterie of hard-hatted construction workers.

Nevertheless, the first residents are moving into The Meriwether condominiums, the first buildings to be completed in the South Waterfront District's River Blocks development just south of the Ross Island Bridge.

And just like the explorer for which the Meriwether's double towers are named, they're pumped to be in uncharted territory.

"It all feels great," said Miles Morgan, a United Airlines pilot who moved in at the beginning of May and is one of the first few owners to take up residence at the 245-unit project. "I'm really excited."

The Meriwether is the beginning of what developers and the city see as a 38-acre intersection of urban sophistication and river relaxation. The project includes the Portland Streetcar; retail and cultural opportunities; 5.7 acres of parks and green spaces with bikeways and pedestrian paths; and a planned aerial tram linking Oregon Health & Science University offices and research centers with its hospital and health-care-education facilities in the city's southwest hills.

The third building pushing into the new skyline, to be finished in fall, is OHSU's Center for Health and Healing. This 16-story, stone-and-glass tower will house medical offices, labs, educational space and a wellness center with a gym, lap pool, cardio and weight-training areas, and a day spa.

Morgan, who until recently lived in San Francisco, waited a year and a half to move into his 1,250-square-foot corner unit in The Meriwether's east tower. He bought it when it was just a hole in the ground and a gleam in the developers' eyes.

Although United was undergoing economic stresses, and "it wasn't really the right time to buy," Morgan said, friends of his, brothers John and Quinn Nieland of The Hasson Co., had been keeping an eye out for a good investment for him.

"I wanted to come back to Portland," said Morgan, 36, who is originally from New York and lived in Portland for six years before moving to San Francisco. "I felt that the opportunity this unit afforded, and the potential for growth in the neighborhood, was too good to pass up."

What intrigued him was that the district is being built according to an overall plan, not piecemeal. He also liked that he could look at a full-scale model at the sales office, the South Waterfront Discovery Center.

"The developers have a common idea, and the buildings are all complementary," he said. "I really appreciate that they are taking great pains to follow ecological construction practices. All the homeowners received a gift of environmentally friendly cleaning products, too, and when you use them up, they'll bring you more. They want you to be conscious of the river you're living on, and it's little touches like that, that impressed me."

Sustainable building practices and environmental consciousness have been integrated into the River Blocks project from the start. Green roofs mitigate storm-water runoff and builders have employed materials to reduce heating and cooling needs. Other eco-friendly features include nontoxic finishes, wheatboard cabinetry, low-flow showerheads and dual-flush toilets.

Morgan, who has moved five times in the past five years, says he plans to "settle down, just me and my plants" in The Meriwether, and watch the neighborhood grow.

"In 10 years, this is going to be such a vital community, with shopping, the river walk, the streetcar line, restaurants. I've never been so excited about a place," he said.

The Meriwether is built in a unique point-tower architectural style that features more corner units and fewer residents per floor than in many condos. One tower has 21 stories; the other has 24 stories.

Morgan's new home gives him two walls of floor-to-ceiling views to the south and west.

"I did have a concern that with all that glass, I might be overlooking someone's windows, but the way the towers are offset, it doesn't feel like that at all," he said.

His one-bedroom floor plan in the tower nearest the river features an expansive great room, a den, 1.5 baths and "a nice balcony -- I'll be able to watch the tram," he said. Parking is included, under the building, and the new streetcar line will pass within a block.

He paid $404,000 and his value already has grown to $550,000, he said. That's a 36 percent increase. Of The Meriwether's 245 units, only three penthouses remain for sale. (See related story, Page H2.)

Although nearly 100 upgrades in materials were offered to buyers, Morgan said, he only picked one.

"I wasn't wild about the tile on the backsplash, so I changed it to Caesar stone. That was it. Everything else already was an upgrade, as far as I was concerned. I didn't need to add anything."

Morgan took a month off from flying at the end of April to settle things in San Francisco and move. Then he packed up and headed north.

"We do feel a little like urban pioneers here," he said.

Despite the relative isolation, homeowner get-togethers already have begun. The streetcar and the tram will start operations this fall, and the Discovery Center is serving as a community center, where former Oregon first lady Sharon Kitzhaber's firm, Kitzhaber Communications, has begun arranging special events.

RESOURCES

The Discovery Center sales office, 0680 S.W. Bancroft Ave.; information, Realty Trust Group, 503-222-7788; www.southwaterfront.com.

Quinn and John Nieland, The Hasson Co., 15400 S.W. Boones Ferry Road, Lake Oswego; 503-635-9801

Jan Behrs is a Portland freelance writer and can be reached at janbehrs@hotmail.com.

http://www.oregonlive.com/search/ind...n?hrehs&coll=7
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  #189  
Old Posted May 30, 2006, 4:08 PM
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Family of condos rises on South Waterfront skyline
Sunday, May 28, 2006
The Oregonian

Realty Trust Group is handling residential sales in the River Blocks project, co-developed by Portland-based firms Gerding/Edlen and Williams & Dame.

The only units still available at The Meriwether are three penthouses, ranging from a 1,600-square-foot two-bedroom for $815,610 to a 2,540-square-foot two-bedroom with a den for $1,399,000.

However, two sibling condominium projects under construction -- the John Ross and Atwater Place -- are still selling a wide range of floor plans.

The John Ross, a planned 31-story elliptical tower, was designed by architect Bob Thompson. Most of its 303 units (242 in the tower and 61 in the podium) feature curved walls of windows. Located at Southwest Pennoyer Street and Bond Avenue, it is expected to be completed in fall of 2007 and is 75-percent sold.

Units still available range from a 1,061-square-foot loft for $399,000, to a 5,085-square-foot four-bedroom penthouse for $4 million. Floor plans can be found at www.thejohnross.com.

Plans for Atwater Place, designed by architect Thomas Hacker, call for a 23-story rectangular tower featuring 212 units, including five town homes. Prices range from $369,000 for a 930-square-foot one-bedroom, to $3.5 million for a 3,800-square-foot three-bedroom with a den.

Atwater Place is on the river at Southwest River Parkway and Pennoyer Street. Completion is slated for December 2008, and more than 500 people have placed their names on an interest list. Floor plans are at www.atwaterplace.com.

Visitors can view plans and models at the Discovery Center, 0680 S.W. Bancroft Ave.; open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

-- Jan Behrs
http://www.oregonlive.com/search/ind...n?hrehs&coll=7
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  #190  
Old Posted May 31, 2006, 2:03 AM
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I think the completion date for the Atwater is wrong.
Shouldn't it be Dec 2007?
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  #191  
Old Posted May 31, 2006, 3:49 PM
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^good catch! according to atwaterplace.com 'Atwater place is scheduled to be completed in late 2007, with the final move-in scheduled for early 2008.'
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  #192  
Old Posted Jun 4, 2006, 11:37 PM
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NEW Project Status Report - 5/30/06

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lower Station
Structural steel erection nearly complete.
Doppelmayr installing tram equipment.
Metal roof installation in progress.

Tower
Tower steel fabrication nearly complete.
Delivered by barge scheduled June 11, 2006.
First section scheduled for installation the evening of June 12, 2006.
Bottom tower section is 20-feet wide by 27½ -feet tall by 90-feet long and weighs 260,000 pounds.
Middle tower section 18-feet wide by 17-feet tall by 60-feet long and weighs 112,000 pounds.
Top tower section 32-feet wide by 14-feet tall by 45-feet long and weighs 132,000 pounds.

Upper Station
Last full height pour of the elevator/stair core complete.
Topping out of elevator/stair core scheduled for week of June 5, 2006.
Structural steel erection to begin this week.

Doppelmayr
Mobilize on-site in early May.
Fabrication of structural, mechanical and hydraulic components complete.
Fabrication of electrical control systems by Frey complete.
Fabrication of cabins by Gangloff scheduled to be complete by mid-July.
Installation of structural, mechanical and hydraulic components started at lower station.
Preparation work beginning for installation of rope pulling towers.

Doppelmayr and Kiewit Contracts
49% of the revised Kiewit and Doppelmayr contracts have been billed.
$22.0 million billed to date for both contracts.

Also I was just looking at the webcam of SoWa, note the two black poles on Gibbs that went up recently, probably something to hold the tram wires for construction.
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  #193  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2006, 3:56 AM
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great breakdown. i am looking forward to seeing the guide-tower installed. that guide tower is on the east side of I-5 and will be as tall as the OHSU building, which means from that point to the lower tram station will be a steep decline - yahoooo!
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  #194  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2006, 9:39 PM
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OHSU makes a pitch for upscale care
Health - A plush addition is a lesson in hospital economics, where profits lie in procedures covered by insurance
Sunday, June 04, 2006
JOE ROJAS-BURKE and TED SICKINGER
The Oregonian

When Oregon Health & Science University unveils the Peter O. Kohler Pavilion today, it will showcase an 86-bed health care palace that towers over the slopes of Marquam Hill.

The hospital wing marks an escalation in Oregon's health care arms race. Every major metro-area health system is building bigger, more technology-laden and increasingly spalike facilities and hiring highly trained specialists to compete for the same, limited pool of fully insured patients seeking expensive procedures.

Some economists and health care experts maintain that the Portland area already has more than enough hospital beds, and they wonder why a public institution such as OHSU is adding more specialty beds while areas such as primary care and mental health go underserved. Others worry that the hundreds of millions of dollars being sunk into construction will saddle consumers with ever-higher medical costs.

OHSU is being driven by the same financial incentives as its competitors, but its economic needs may be keener.

An analysis of hospital discharge records filed with Oregon's health-policy agency shows OHSU badly trails competitors' market share in many of the most lucrative procedures, such as heart-bypass operations and orthopedic surgery.

Moreover, unlike competitors, the academic medical center has to earn enough to support its role as a medical school, research center and provider of care to underserved rural and poor communities. OHSU officials also are juggling an ambitious expansion -- on Marquam Hill as well as the South Waterfront -- that depends on strong, consistent cash flow from its hospital.

"They, among all the players out there, have the most to win from a strategic investment or the most to lose if it's not done properly," said Randall Pozdena, an economist with consulting firm EcoNorthwest who has studied the metro-area hospital market. "Providence (Health System) is not going to sit on its haunches and watch this market share disappear. There will be a rivalrous response."

OHSU's Kohler Pavilion, open today for a public preview, will contrast starkly with the older, linoleum-tiled wards of its existing hospital.

Inside the 11-story glass aerie, visitors will pad down carpeted hallways of oiled hardwood or recline on one of the plum-colored leather banquettes to take in the building's museum-quality art collection. From the outsized VIP suites to the landscaped terrace of the Center for Women's Health, they will enjoy spectacular views.

Packed with the latest technology to improve patient care and hospital efficiency, the building also makes a loud architectural statement: We mean business.

Capacity question

Hospital executives at OHSU and other expanding health systems say they are responding to growing demand for hospital care, driven by a growing and aging population. They assert that Portland has lost three hospitals since 1997 and went for decades without significant hospital construction until Legacy Health System built a Clark County hospital in 2005.

Hospitals can all point to examples of crowding and overdue remodeling. OHSU, for instance, says its expansion will help relieve the metro area's long-standing shortage of critical-care beds for trauma patients. Brad King, OHSU vice president and chief financial officer, said lack of space has forced the hospital to divert ambulances to competitors on as many as 10 days a month.

But critics assert that when all Portland-area hospitals are counted together, the region has a bed surplus that is likely to worsen.

Pozdena, the economist, estimates the area has about 1,500 surplus beds. Considering projects planned or under way, Pozdena projected that unused capacity will expand to 2,208 beds by 2025. That's assuming the addition of 2.2 million residents and a doubling of residents older than 65.

Excess capacity drives up the cost of health care because hospitals have to pay for construction by generating revenue from their best-paying customers -- individuals with private insurance. Hospitals already mark up prices to privately insured patients by 15 percent to 20 percent to make up for underpayment by government programs for the poor and elderly, according to health insurers.

"It's a hidden tax," said Bart McMullan, president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon. If patients realized how directly they were on the hook for hospital executives' spending decisions, McMullan said, "we might be satisfied with something a little less opulent that might deliver care just as good or better."

Paradoxically, the building boom is bypassing some of the region's most pressing health needs. For instance, the number of rooms for mental health patients in the Portland area has dropped by half in the past four years. But only one local hospital company, Kaiser Permanente, has announced plans to add rooms for mental health care.

Meanwhile, the companies appear to be expanding where affluence is greatest, not where health care needs are most severe, according to Pozdena. His study mapped expansions and closures during the past decade, showing growth clustering in higher-income areas of Portland and well-heeled suburbs populated by relatively few uninsured residents.

Competitors including Legacy, Providence and Kaiser are all pouring tens of millions of dollars into the most profitable services, such as surgical suites, women's health centers, diagnostic imaging clinics and cancer treatment centers.

Construction projects to house profitable, technology-driven services outnumbered projects for less profitable treatments by nearly 3-to-1 during the past three years, according to an analysis by the Service Employees International Union Local 49.

"It's clear that a lot of the competition is at the high end of the market," said Metro Councilor Karl Hosticka. "We hope in that process the average person's needs don't get lost."

In April, Metro councilors voted unanimously to scrutinize the impact of the hospital boom on health care costs and access. The council acted in response to a request by the Service Employees International Union, which, like other unions, is battling to keep health care affordable for members.

John Santa, a primary care doctor at the Portland VA Medical Center and medical director of the Center for Evidence-Based Policy, which independently studies the effectiveness of treatments, said hospital administrators are only doing what the U.S. health care finance system dictates. Insurers and government programs pay large rewards for high-tech interventions but much less to support for primary care, public health and disease prevention.

"We've got exactly the mess we've designed," Santa said.

Lagging market share

OHSU faces fierce competition in Portland, and it controls only a small fraction of the most profitable lines of hospital business.

Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, for instance, performs about 10 times more heart-bypass operations a year than OHSU and about eight times more balloon angioplasties, according to data collected by the Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research.

As the state's only academic medical center, OHSU has focused on providing cutting-edge technologies and exceptionally complex treatments such as organ transplants, newborn intensive care and heart surgery. But competitors also have managed to win growing chunks of those lines of business.

Legacy Emanuel Children's Hospital provides more pediatric heart surgeries annually than OHSU's Doernbecher Children's Hospital, and both Emanuel and St. Vincent treat more extremely premature newborns in their neonatal intensive care units than Doernbecher. Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital's kidney transplant program has nearly caught up with OHSU's in patient volume.

"The university has tended to focus on the most cutting-edge, high-technology stuff," Santa said. "What it struggles with is keeping it there. They wake up the next morning, and Providence has opened a program or Legacy has opened a program."

Nevertheless, OHSU's King said OHSU remains the sole provider of many important services. He also said the university is recruiting cardiologists and other diagnostic experts to work from clinics outside the hospital but refer patients to OHSU facilities.

Where the money is

OHSU's hospital is its golden goose, not only paying its own bills, but also throwing off cash to pay for teaching, research, campus maintenance and expansions, including those on the South Waterfront. But OHSU faces financial pressures that will make the hospital's success even more critical.

The National Institutes of Health is entering a period of stagnant research funding, meaning fiercer competition for smaller, shorter grants -- while OHSU is on a hiring binge for high-end researchers and is pushing doctors to fund more of their salaries with grants.

Even if researchers were to rake in more grants, King expects additional staffing costs to strain OHSU's finances as multiyear recruiting packages paid for in part by a $200 million state grant peter out.

The future of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements also is a troublesome question, given OHSU's lopsided patient mix and the increasingly toxic brew of a growing federal budget deficit, aging population and growing numbers of the uninsured.

Since a recent drive to cut costs and improve efficiency, OHSU's hospital has made impressive profits. But the institution still lags other academic medical centers.

And, at least in the short term, OHSU's new wing is likely to add pressure as OHSU absorbs $25 million in fixed costs related to expansion while staffing up and operating at less than full capacity.

As a result, OHSU expects its consolidated net income from operations to drop from a projected $15.6 million this year to a loss of $11 million next year.

King said OHSU has plenty of cash to ride out the squeeze. Profitability, he said, should bounce back in 2008 as the new wing passes its break-even point, 72 percent of beds filled.

OHSU is advertising heavily in support of the OHSU brand -- with ads featuring well-known researchers such as cancer specialist Brian Druker -- as well as specific departments within the new wing, such as the women's health center.

Although OHSU has a strong reputation, King acknowledged that it needs to work harder to shed its image as an overburdened hospital for the homeless and start appealing more to the carriage trade. Focus groups say as much, he said.

King said the upscale expansion is in no way an effort to shirk its long-standing mission of serving un- or under-insured patients.

But, he said, "we'll have a better front door for those who can afford to go elsewhere."

Ted Sickinger: tedsickinger@news.oregonian.com; 503-221-8505 Joe Rojas-Burke: joerojas@news.oregonian.com; 503-412-7073
http://www.oregonlive.com/business/o...480.xml&coll=7

OHSU expansion at a glance

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Peter O. Kohler Pavilion

Cost: $216 million

Phase 1: 86 new beds (net gain of 60 beds after OHSU closes some rooms in existing hospital), eight operating rooms, women's health center, 450-space parking garage

Open to patients: June 26

Phase 2: 60 beds, four operating rooms

Open to patients: timing not yet announced

Employees: 510-700, including those who transfer from OHSU hospital Other expansion highlights:

Biomedical Research Building (Marquam Hill): opened in December, still being built out

Center for Health and Healing (South Waterfront): medical practices, some research, scheduled for completion in November

Schnitzer Campus (S. Waterfront): timing yet to be announced

Parking garage, two new buildings housing commercial bioscience companies (S. Waterfront): when financially feasible

Aerial tram (between Marquam and S. Waterfront): scheduled for completion in December

On the Web: www.ohsu.edu/transformation/
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  #195  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2006, 11:59 PM
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All I have to say is, this is yet another example of why we need a single payer national healthcare system. Basically in order to subsidize the care of the poor the hospital has to create a expensive unneeded luxury facility for the wealthy.
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  #196  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2006, 6:57 PM
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This is great news for a variety of reasons. However, this is also great news for Portland's bioscience hopes.

Five-year study confirms Gleevec's long-term benefits
ATLANTA, Ga. -- People with advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) who take Gleevec (imatinib) for prolonged periods continue to benefit from the drug, according to a five-year study by Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute researchers.

The study was led by Charles Blanke, M.D., leader of the OHSU Cancer Institute Solid Tumors Program, with colleagues at OHSU, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Fox Chase Cancer Center, and the University of Helsinki. The study was presented at the 2006 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology on Sunday, June 4, in Atlanta, Ga.

It represents the long-term analysis of a randomized clinical trial begun in 2000. More than half of study participants saw their GIST go into remission on Gleevec. Those promising early results prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve Gleevec as a treatment for GIST on Feb. 1, 2002.

The long-term analysis, completed in 2005, continues to demonstrate promising results. Eighty-four percent of the 147 GIST study participants on Gleevec showed clinical improvement during the study period, meaning that their disease stabilized or went into remission. Two of those experienced complete remission. However, some subjects developed resistance to the drug and some experienced a relapse of their cancer.

It typically took 13 weeks before a study participant responded to the drug, and the typical positive response lasted 118 weeks (2.3 years).

"This study shows that the response to Gleevec among GIST patients is durable," Blanke said. "Molecularly targeted therapy helps extend their lives."

The long-term study of GIST is especially significant because GIST is a cancer that has been considered untreatable and incurable, with life expectancy of about a year. People in the Gleevec study survived a median of 4.8 years.

Gleevec is a signal transduction inhibitor that interferes with the enzymes that trigger the spread of tumor cells. It acts on GIST by blocking the growth signal of genetic mutations called c-kit and PDGFRA. Subjects with either of these mutations were more likely to respond to Gleevec than those without the mutations.

Most of the persons in the study for whom Gleevec did not work developed resistance to the drug. Among those who developed resistance, the median time to do so was 84 weeks (1.6 years).

Gleevec was initially developed at the OHSU Cancer Institute by Brian Druker, M.D., in collaboration with scientists at Novartis, as a treatment for patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia. In addition to GIST, it is also being studied as a potential therapy for certain types of blood and skin cancers.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas...-fsc053106.php
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  #197  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2006, 6:07 PM
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This article is all over the place, but it appears Prom. is finalizing SoWa plans

New builder in town prompts wage push
Union leaders press council for guarantee on PDC projects
By JIM REDDEN Issue date: Fri, Jun 9, 2006
The Tribune A Canadian construction company is prompting Oregon labor leaders to press the City Council over a long-simmering dispute — whether to compel the Portland Development Commission to require that state prevailing-wage rates be paid on all its projects.
ITC of Vancouver, British Columbia, has opened a Portland office and is planning to work on many future construction projects in the metropolitan area. Its first project is the Benson Tower, a privately financed 26-story condominium being built at Southwest 11th Avenue and Clay Street. ITC also is consulting on the next phase of construction in the South Waterfront urban renewal district, a nine-acre parcel owned by Prometheus Real Estate Group Inc.
“We didn’t come to Portland to do just one project,” said ITC’s senior vice president and chief operating officer, Lloyd Tosoff. “We expect to become a major player in the Pacific Northwest.”
Most of the large construction companies that work on PDC projects, including both the Hoffman and Walsh construction companies, employ only union subcontractors. But ITC is an open shop, meaning it employs both union and nonunion subcontractors.
“We respect unions and nonunions alike,” Tosoff said.
That worries union leaders like Bob Shiprack, executive secretary of the Oregon State Building Trades Council. He believes that ITC’s presence in the market will drive down the wages on all major construction projects, including those that employ union workers.
“We’re very concerned about ITC coming into Portland,” Shiprack said. “We think it would be bad for working people.”
Although unions could not stop ITC from working on the Benson Tower, they are trying to prevent the company from employing nonunion subcontractors in the South Waterfront urban renewal district, which is managed by the PDC. The unions’ main tactic at this point is to persuade the PDC to require that all developers on its largest projects pay state prevailing wages. The rates — which are set by the state labor commissioner — mirror union wages in the Portland area.
PDC Executive Director Bruce Warner said the agency is committed to paying fair wages on its projects. He noted that prevailing wages are now paid about 60 percent of the time, including on all street and sewer improvement projects. But Warner said the state’s prevailing-wage law does not cover many of the developers that work with the agency on the public-private partnerships that have built much of the Pearl District and are at work in the South Waterfront urban renewal district.
“The law does not say we have to require developers that do not receive any direct funding from us to pay prevailing wages,” Warner said.
The unions made their case before the council Wednesday at a hearing arranged by Commissioner Sam Adams. Although the announced subject was employment practices that should be avoided in Portland, several speakers took the opportunity to disparage ITC, including Cliff Puckett, organizer for the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, who said, “We don’t need irresponsible, out-of-country contractors driving down our wage.”
Tosoff said the unions are merely trying to protect their turf.
“We’re the new kid in town, and we expect to be treated different. It’s called self-interest,” he said.
The council, however, seems ready to back the unions. After Wednesday’s testimony, Mayor Tom Potter and all four commissioners expressed concern about the need for more family-wage jobs in Portland. And a majority of the council — Adams, Randy Leonard and Erik Sten — appeared to be ready to direct the PDC to require that prevailing wages be paid on more of its projects.
Leonard said: “It’s what I care about. It’s what I am.”

Many changes since 1959

The 1959 Oregon Legislature passed the state prevailing-wage-rate laws to require that minimum wages paid on public works projects do not undercut the standard wages paid in the areas where the work is occurring.
The law authorizes the labor commissioner to set and enforce the wages paid on such projects. The commissioner oversees the Bureau of Labor and Industries, which contracts with the Oregon Employment Department for annual surveys to determine the prevailing wages paid in 14 regions in the state.
Much has changed since the law was passed in 1959. Urban renewal agencies such as the PDC now partner with private companies on urban renewal projects. The PDC pays for infrastructure improvements like roads and sewers, while private developers construct the office, retail, apartment and condominium buildings. These are called public-private partnerships.
State Labor Commissioner Dan Gardner thinks the law should apply to at least some of these projects — the ones with the greatest amount of PDC involvement. The PDC so far has disagreed, saying the Legislature has not included public-private partnerships in the law. Only one case has ever gone to trial; the PDC won it last month, to the chagrin of Gardner and union officials.

A case in point

The history of the building that now houses the Henry V event-planning firm shows how deeply the PDC can be involved in a project without its being considered public under the law.
The PDC purchased a 1.8-acre parcel in the renewal area for $1,725,600 in May 2000. The land, at 6360 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., had been unused for many years. At the direction of the PDC’s board of commissioners, the agency marketed the land through a real estate firm. A local marketing and communications firm, National Meeting Corp. Inc., began looking at the property in summer 2002. In January 2004, firm owner Douglas Daggett and Vice President Patrick Eckford formed a company, Tin Roof LLC, to develop the property.
To make the deal work, the PDC entered into an agreement with Tin Roof in June 2004. As part of the agreement, the PDC said it would loan $1.16 million to Tin Roof for the purchase of the property and to credit Tin Roof another $15,000 toward the purchase price because of a latent defect in the existing building.
The agreement also gave the PDC the power to review and approve the design of the building to make sure it “enhances N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, serves as an anchor development to the northern end of the (urban renewal area), and complements a burgeoning neighborhood node where a mix of uses is being encouraged.”
The PDC did not provide any of the approximately $1.74 million construction contract funds. Work began in January 2005 and was completed about six months later. The project came to the attention of the Bureau of Labor and Industries when a union — Operating Engineers Local 701 — complained that prevailing wages were not paid on it. The labor agency investigated, concluded that prevailing wages should have been paid, and entered a judgment against the PDC and several contractors on the project.
The PDC appealed the judgment to the Multnomah County Circuit Court, claiming the project was not covered by state prevailing wage-rate laws.
Judge Henry Kantor sided with the PDC and dismissed the labor judgment in May. But he did not issue a written ruling explaining his decision. Gardner has appealed the ruling to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Prometheus may be exempt

Even if the PDC requires major developers to pay prevailing wages, the upcoming Prometheus projects may be exempt. Unlike other South Waterfront developers, Prometheus has not entered into a binding development agreement with the PDC.
“We’re not asking anything from the city,” said Prometheus project manager Ellen Brown.
The PDC’s Warner agreed.
“Prometheus is not a development partner at this point,” he said.
Puckett of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters believes all major developers working in city-approved urban renewal districts should comply with the law, even if they are receiving no PDC loans or grants.
“If they’re working in an area where the city is building the infrastructure, they should be a responsible company,” Puckett said.
Email Jim Redden
http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=35650
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  #198  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2006, 5:43 AM
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pdxstreetcar pdxstreetcar is offline
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theres a ton of tram pieces in that big construction staging block across moody from the new park... big yellow wheels and the tower piece that guides and holds the wires.

the upper tower has topped off but only for the concrete shaft, there is no steel frame visable yet from below the hilltop

gibbs street in lair hill has the utilities underground and brand new urban-style streetlights

i'll try to post some pictures of the tram construction (and maybe some sowa shots) in the next couple of days
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  #199  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2006, 4:02 PM
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MarkDaMan MarkDaMan is offline
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The Oregonian had a picture Saturday of Sam Adams standing inside the mid-tower on its side. That thing is friggin huge! I can't wait to see it set up this week. Are they doing to entire tower this week or just the lower portion?
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Old Posted Jun 12, 2006, 9:05 PM
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What are these?


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