This morning we walked from the Concordia neighborhood over to Cully neighborhood for our first client meeting. These two neighborhoods are very different. The Cully neighborhood’s sidewalks were in worse shape than Concordia’s, for example, and We also noticed a lot more multi-family housing. Trinity Lutheran School, our project site, is located in the Cully neighborhood. We met with Mary Schuldheisz, the principal of the school and she shared some of her ideas about the park they would like to see in the front of their property. She would like us to design a playground for young children with some educational components, but also include elements for older kids like small bike path. AFter taking some notes, we took bus 72 and then bus 8 back to our site, which took a while. After lunch, we made some initial designs of our ideal park in small groups park based on what we heard from Mary. The four groups sketched very different parks, but they all had some things in common (like a water feature!).
– Perla and Alex
Today we walked from home-base to City Hall to have a meeting with Nick Fish, a commissioner for Portland and also the head of the Parks Bureau and the Housing Bureau. He began with his journey to become commissioner, then answered our questions on what he does and the Parks Bureau. After meeting with Nick Fish, we walked across the Hawthorne bridge to a company called Alta. Alta designs safe ways for bikes, pedestrians, and cars to share the road. Alta has worked all over the world to help cities integrate safer routes for non-motorized vehicles into already existing streets. We were introduced to Google Sketch during the presentation, a program that we will use to design a park. The program allows the user to create a 3D model of buildings and open space. The presentation at Alta was followed by a long walk back to the Ladd Tower, by the river.
When we walked back, we took a route called the east bank esplanade. This esplanade was designed by Alta and completed a circuit which went across the river and bridges. The walk was quite long and hot, but peaceful at the same time with pleasant breezes and views of the river. Countless people passed by on bike and foot. Nearing the Steel Bridge, the group paused as Christian gave his beautiful, amazing, memorable, well-prepared, flawless, deep, passionate, meaningful, life-changing speech about why the bridge was the greatest bridge of all time. The bridge supports light rail, heavy rail, foot traffic, bike traffic, and the usual cars and buses. It is also the only bridge in the world that can telescope into itself, allowing small watercraft to pass without disturbing traffic. To be honest, the rest of the students did not show this much affection, for the bridge was rusting and breaking down.
We continued to walk back to the Ladd Tower where we reflected a bit on the program so far and gave our “appreciations.”
We started off the day with a visit to Portland City Hall and Mayor Sam Adams. Mayor Adams answered our questions very thoughtfully and thoroughly, and demonstrated a good command over the issues the City of Portland is facing. Mayor Adams also described his political career and some of his thoughts regarding safety and gang violence. After our meeting with Mayor Adams, we attended a Portland City Council Meeting. We got to hear individual citizens petition some of their supposed grievances, many of them seemed slightly ridiculous, such as better enforcing jay walking laws. We also heard more legitimate topics of discussion, such as a proposed ordinance from the Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association banning longboarding racing in their streets. The problem seemed to be very serious, and neighborhood association member Erik Nagel presented their argument very convincingly. We left before the issue was resolved, although City Commissioner Randy Leonard proposed delaying continued hearings until September.
After that, we hopped on the MAX to SERA, a green building architectural firm. Lisa Petterson lead us around parts of their facility, which is LED gold and LED platinum certified. Then, her and architect Dennis Wilde showed us a very interesting presentation about the planned Oregon Sustainability Center. We were interested in how much less energy and water will be required by the building, and the Living Building Challenge’s strict standard that the architects were closely adhering to. Today we learned about two very different aspects of how the city works, the governmental system and process, and new sustainable building concepts.
Welcome to PLACE 2012! This blog is where we’ll summarize our activities, present our findings, post photos, discuss readings, and more! Check in frequently as we explore and learn about the Portland urban landscape…