Yesterday we started at Metro and listened to Katherine Harrington talk to us about what she did for Metro and the general idea of Metro. I found it interesting and I learned a lot about Metro that I didn’t know before. She talked to us about parks and green spaces in the Portland Metro area. After we met with Katherine, we took the bus out the project site to get another look at it and start surveying. We broke up into groups of two and began to walk west on Killingsworth. We were all on one side of the street and we knocked on almost every door from Trinity to NE 33rd. We got to talk to some interesting people and we got to get an idea of what the community wanted in a local park. Tapwe and I came across one person that only spoke Spanish and being the one in our group that knew Spanish it allowed me to practice my language skills in a way I don’t normally do. We stopped at New Seasons and Hot Lips Pizza for lunch and a break and then went out for a bit more surveying to wrap up the day. Overall it was great!
Today was very exciting! We got a lot done and now we are ready to move forward. Our group went to the Cully neighborhood and surveyed as many people as we could. We even spoke Spanish to the Spanish-speaking residents; that way they could give us their input too.
We know they will want to use the park so we translated the survey to Spanish. Everyone that we talked to was nice and cooperative. The only problem we had was that a lot of the people in the neighborhood were at work so we had to look for people harder. All in all, we had fun although it was hot.
During the second half of the day, we met with George Crandall – the principal of Crandall Arambula, which is one of the only singularly focused urban planning consulting firms in the country. Crandall discussed several interesting points about the appeal of a city. Specifically, he mention six aspects that contribute to the success of an urban park: safety, circulation, function, character, central in the city, and accessible to all ages. We will keep this information in mind when we create our designs for the park. He also noted that interactive ground floors make a building a success or failure. For example, if a building uses its bottom floor for retail and has many windows, it creates an inviting atmosphere while also making pedestrians feel safe. Buildings with solid walls on the ground floor push pedestrians away from the building and can be less safe because less eyes are on the street. I noticed that both Crandall and the executive from Vestas pointed out that people don’t always know what they want. The executive from Vestas told us that he often tried to push people to work in different work spaces, and even though they might be reluctant at first, they found it beneficial in the end. Crandall gave us an example of this from the urban planning perspective. If he wanted to widen the roads for bike paths in a city that doesn’t usually bike, many people would tell him that the public wouldn’t use the bike paths because they don’t bike. However Crandall suggested that this lack of biking might be because there aren’t safe ways to bike in the city, and adding bike paths could encourage people to bike more often.
This was an interesting day for the PLACE crew. When we arrived at the LADD tower, the crew sat down and discussed the geography of Portland, contemplating the effects of different inner-city features such as the carcinogenic fumes that radiate from the highway into adjacent neighborhoods.
After our discussion concerning such geographical structures and their effects, the crew headed over to the new home base of ŒVestas¹; one of the world¹s leading pioneers in wind power research. We spoke for an hour or so about the installation of wind turbines and the pros and cons of said installation. We also watched a video about how the turbines connect to the power grid and how they are constructed. After the discussion, the crew received a tour of the Vestas building and proceeded to meet Damin Tarlow: Vice President of architecture firm Girding Eidland, who spoke about the planning of the building and how the natural lighting, highvceilings, spacious offices, etc. contribute to the general productivity of the workers despite being more expensive to construct.
One of the most important pieces of advice that the PLACE crew walked away with from Damin was the fact that the general public doesn¹t know what they want! We could survey as many people as we want, but Damin suggested that many of the results we received would be self-contradictory, confusing and ultimately useless. After the conference with Damin, the PLACE crew proceeded to head over to the food carts where we received some delicious meals and sat down to eat in O’Bryant Square.”