This lady has an incredible view of the John Ross. If anyone can scan the pic from the back pages of today's inPortland, it's an awesome site!
Room with a 'whew!' -- riverfront plan is lofty
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Norys Glenna lives in a strange neighborhood.
Big trucks jounce on uneven streets. Power tools whine. Clanging emanates from unfinished buildings. Dust fills the air. Temporary street closures make driving difficult. The new city park is a veritable swamp.
Glenna loves it all. "I have this incredible view," she says of her 19th-floor condominium in the Meriwether. "I have everything. It's a fabulous dream come true."
The two-tower Meriwether project is the first of several towers to open for residents in the South Waterfront Central District, where condos are springing up from former industrial land south of the Ross Island Bridge. Three other towers are under construction, and the Portland Design Commission this month approved plans for a fourth.
The planned 3,000-unit neighborhood will take several years to finish, but changes are unfolding quickly. The Portland Streetcar will expand to Southwest Gibbs Street next month, soon to be followed by the aerial tram.
A temporary riverfront esplanade has been installed along the Willamette River, and a rental storage building has been replaced by two blocks of a green -- if muddy -- public park.
A 40-year veteran of Minnesota winters, Glenna wanted milder weather as she looked for a place to retire. "I also wanted a community where urban development was well prepared," she says.
After looking over plans for the South Waterfront, she was convinced. "The urban planning seems to have taken a lot into consideration," she says. Since taking possession in July, Glenna has been impressed by Portland's friendliness -- in her neighborhood and elsewhere. "Nobody has been too busy to help," she says. "The people are alive and friendly."
The Portland Design Commission, which reviews all new buildings in the area, recently approved a three-building complex that will add 330 units on a block bounded by Southwest Moody and Bond avenues between Abernethy and Lowell streets. The tallest building will stand 20 stories; the others will have five and seven.
Plans call for a T-shaped public walkway through the new complex, including one 60-foot-wide plaza. "The more dense we get, the more important these voids are," says Mike McCulloch, the commission chairman. "Even though it's a big open field at the moment, someday we're going to cherish these public spaces."
Designed by Ankrom Moisan architects, the as-yet unnamed project "goes well beyond some other projects in the neighborhood," McCulloch adds, including a heavy concentration of ground-level retail and restaurant space.
But whether everything gets built on schedule could be affected by a downturn in the condo market. Likewise, budget issues could delay further development of the park and an ambitious riverfront greenway plan.
Glenna, for one, took note of plans for a small marina near her building and the connection of the hiking/bicycle trail to the larger Willamette Greenway. "That will make it frosting on the cake," she says.
Fred Leeson: 503-294-5946; firstname.lastname@example.org