Moving Portlandia?

Although she's nestled perfectly into the pedestal of The Portland Building, I was surprised that our beloved Portlandia didn't make an appearance on The Amazing Race finale a couple weeks ago. After an hour-long cab ride from the Bridge of the Gods, taxi drivers appeared discombobulated with all of the downtown transit mall construction, and when competitors were finally dropped off at the Portland Building, they were instructed to find a 3-foot dinosaur in the lobby of The Standard Building across the street. (Huh? Can someone please explain the significance? It would have been much cooler if they had to find their next clue in the temporary art installation in the lobby.)

Peek-a-boo: Portlandia, you're on national TV but we can't see you...

But throughout this entire downtown Portland adventure -- maybe 60 seconds of content outside of the building -- there was not so much as a hint of our copper goddess. Maybe there were copyright issues in filming the Statue of Liberty's little sister. Or maybe the camera angles were deemed unworkable, and the trees legitimately obstructed her visage. But it all served as a reminder that ever since she was positioned just above the treetops on 5th Avenue, several folks have been working diligently to re-site Portlandia someplace where she'd be much more visible. And now Ron Paul thinks he has the perfect location: the Public Market that's now targeting the West end of the Morrison Bridge.

Here's the entire concept that popped up on yesterday:

Picture two graceful pavilions nestled into the arcs of the cloverleaf ramps, connected by a market hall under the bridge; the design will allow for a large number of permanent vendor stalls as well as seasonal day tables. Our private development partner, Melvin Mark Development Company, proposes constructing an iconic high rise that will create the Market's front door on SW Second Avenue. The ground floor arcade, filled with fresh food and flowers, will beckon guests toward a covered pedestrian bridge crossing the MAX tracks and leading to a grand entrance between the two pavilions. We'll even have a place for Portlandia where she'll be visible from all sides, reaching toward the river.

I was having trouble picturing all of this too, so I was glad they included a preliminary design -- one of several, I'm told. If you look real closely you can indeed see Portlandia perched on the lower pedestal of the building that splits the street in two.

As many of you know, it's been a long process for Ron Paul and the Market supporters, as many coveted sites over the past few years have fallen through. First there was the opportunity at the fire station near Saturday Market, but when the fire department decided to actually stay in that building, organizers turned their sights on the Federal Building at 511 NW Broadway. This was the site of a long-fought battle between the Market and PNCA, with the art school ultimately receiving the prized building from the feds earlier this year.

In honor of Portland's own native son and late culinary master, the market -- if it ever gets built -- will be officially named for James Beard, which is an appropriate tribute for a project that dreams of upstaging Portland's living room and becoming Portland's kitchen. It certainly is a grand vision but I'm going to take a little while to digest it before offering my opinions.

No comments: