Prescott Project

This is purely selfish on my part, but I want to share with you, our readers, the plans that are being drawn up for the intersection of North Skidmore and Interstate. Anyone who has come to my house this fall has... well, first of all they have been disappointed to notice that the liquor store is now closed, so their plans to bring me a bottle of Kettle One have been foiled. But secondly, they have noticed that the houses on this same block have been boarded up and surrounded with a construction fence, as if a bulldozer was about to come along any day and tear it all down. For what?!, we wondered. What will go here in this prime piece of real estate with a MAX station adjacent? And what will replace the homes where all the crack whores used to live? (Can I say that on a cultural blog?)

Blogtown PDX revealed some of the drawings today -- as well as some of the neighborhood opposition that reliably ensued.

Now me, I have mixed thoughts about the design, but I'm also so eager to replace the eyesore that's there now, heck, I'd greenlight a K-Mart. OK not really. I do, however, find it a generally pleasant design that also yields legitimate concerns about whether it all could look dated in a few years. Looking at some of the other developments going up on Interstate and Mississippi, much of it will depend on the quality of materials being used -- are those painted stucco stripes on the overhands, or richly stained timbers, or some really cool rusted copper trims?

I am further fascinated with several larger (but related) conversations about transit corridor development; affordable housing; and the gentrification of North/NE Portland. None of which I have time to go into right now, naturally.


Anonymous said...

I think it looks kinda cool, but the real question is will the liquor store move back in???

MightyToyCannon said...

I was amused to read that the design includes a rooftop “pickleball” court. I’m imagining groups of young “creatives,” hanging out, drinking PBR and playing pickleball with whimsy and irony.

At, I learned the following:

“You will feel like a winner and a champion playing this exciting paddle game called Pickleball. Now you and your friends can join thousands of other people playing this net court game. This mini-tennis game is played by 2 or 4 people on a badminton-sized court using wood paddle racquets and a plastic, poly baseball with holes. Pickleball can be played on any hard surface and is ideal for small spaces. This exciting sport can be played on driveways, cul-de-sacs, tennis courts, and multi-purpose game courts like a Sport Court. Pickleball is a combination of Ping-Pong, tennis, and badminton and has been enjoyed for over 20 years by people of all ages.”

MightyToyCannon said...
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MightyToyCannon said...

No doubt, just about anything in that spot is going to be an improvement on what’s there. I’m having a hard time coming up with an aesthetic opinion about the Prescott project with only the illustration to guide me. Neon would be cool, but not if it has a faux-retro vibe; plus, on the home front, we’re facing the prospect of a giant illuminated Zupan’s sign being hung right outside our own window soon, so I’m not feeling too keen about signs. More than how a building will LOOK, I’d be interested in how it will WORK. What will it contribute to defining and giving character to the neighborhood? What will the mix of tenants be? How will residents and other people in the neighborhood “use” the building? How will traffic patterns change? Where will residents shop? Where will they work? How will the project age over time?

I live in a SE Portland neighborhood in which truly ugly apartment buildings from the 1960s and 70s are mixed in with old Portland bungalows. Owned by developer Joe Weston (and managed by American Management), they provide affordable rental housing for many college and just-out-of-college folks when they land in Portland—not housing you’d want to stay in year-after-year, but transitional places to start out. They are aesthetic disasters, but have contributed to giving inner-Southeast its “bohemian” quality. I’ve come to appreciate their presence because they are working hard as the kind of affordable housing we seem to want and need. If the hideous building across the street from me is torn down and turned into a “market rate” condo project (assuming the economy ever recovers), how will my neighborhood be changed? Will it lose some of its character (and characters)?