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URA Class 2 April 6th, 2010

Chet Orloff
Vera says-- The best person to talk about the history of Portland.
Museum of the City, current project. Teaches in Urban Planning dept.

Bruce Forster, photographer.

Thomas Jefferson, vision of American places out West. Actually settled by the British, Fort Vancouver.
By the 1830s many fur trappers are retiring. Around here, and up valley. Oregon Trail type expansion,
etc. some settled away from vancouver, and by 1845 they had settled on a name, after Portland, Maine.

We had smaller blocks than most cities, more corner lots which encourages diversity. 200 by 200. Chet
thinks the real estate developers were financially motivated for the smaller blocks.

Farming possibilities around here, wheat for noodles in china, gold in the 40s, and willametter and
tualitan valleys for agriculture.

Pallack, anderson. Wanted to create cities with cast iron. Relatively new for architecture, as an idea.
Growth along Front ave. , naito pkway with cast iron buildings. Notion that portland was built by
gravity, with the rivers converging here, or rail from spokane. Built on economy of trade, export of
Wheat. And we still are a leader in this export category. International trade. Infrastructure, 200 foot
blocks., and we're still with this idea as well.

By late 19th century, city is adding to the basic grid structure. Street car systems follow on electricity.
These push out beyond central city. You have people people who want street cars, and also real estate
people who wanted to develop outlying land, but needed, or maybe just wanted, a street car to do it

1905 worlds faire. Guiles lake. NW industrial area, the lake filled in now. Ecko steel sits around this
site now.

Olmsted Plan 1904, for worlds fair, but you needed to also submit plan for parks. John charles olmsted,
was a step son. Create parks around city, connected with parkways. Landscapped, or have curves, or
all sorts of stuff, Terwilliger Blvd. Example that still exists. But he might have preferred shorter trees
lining it so you had more viewing vistas. This serves as the first plan of the city in many regards. 1910-
1915 era, portland planning commission was established. The general notion of the boom in growth
was generally follow New York City. Lots of trade,

Bennet- this broad avenues, first real plan, people liked it, but didn't really fit, too costly and set aside.
But did give us the idea that we, as a city, should think about planning the place out. So, we kept
bringing in the outside experts to help make a plan.

By the 20s, the docks were in dire straits, and rotting out. Tore out the docks, and installed a sea wall,
which is still there. During the depression, in the 30s not much was built. Oregon and pdx burst out of
the depression in 1940. allies need ships, kaiser ship building company. 50 others. Line the river, 40 –
45, city grows by a third. Over 300,000 people by end of war. Dramatic change.

Robert Moses, upon FDRs directive to develop post war plans, portland asks Moses to come plan us.
He does so, and says everyone who arrived for war time boom, isn't going to return to oklahoma. His
plan involves infrastructure and car centric development. Lays out a ring around the city of highways,
sort of realized 30 years later with Fremont bridge.

Urban Renewal is coming on the scene. By the 50s. The first demolition of PDC, 1959 SW 2nd and
caruthers house demolition. Late 60s, Urban Renewal for downtown is slowing down, but loss of
population is still high. City, decides to do something, downtown plan of 1972. Harbor Drive, built in
the 30s, but in the 70s the thinking was that freeways would take this traffic, and Tom McCall's vision,
we took the land back, and removed the road.

The legacy of this did leave some open space in our city. Halperin fountain, and he planned other parks
in the 60s. As part of urban renewal process. When developing districts, we need to reserve space for

Fred Meyer. Not exactly a planner, but his ideas (one stop shopping) plays out big.

Kim Bart McCalls book on the history of pdx. If you'd like to do some reading.

Steve Dotterer
principle planner for bureau of planning. Manages policy division.

Downtown plan of 1972 was first successful integration of planning and UR activities.

Federal dollars were important, coordinate with urban renewal funds to build stuff along transit mall,
for instance. Trimet was first public company for transit in portland. Street cars had been private.

Corporate leadership, political alignment between jurisdictions and regions, and market conditions.
Like trimet, the city, the feds, highway dept. etc to do transit mall. This plan, was 17 projects.

The city has to advocate for the State to approve certain types of laws to allow the city to incentivize
certain taxation structures. Lessons from DT plan- bricks and mortar worked well, but needs to be one
arrow in the quiver.

Gateway, difficult for urban renewal, due to lack of market. So not much revenue. Tells us about the
limits of UR.

Interstate corridor, 52 people task force UR money went to light rail, but they had plans for other
things. Here, emphasis on local wealth creation for people, and again, lack of spending on resiliancy to
gentrification and displacemen.t

OCC MLK blvd. - again hard to get going, but seems to have momentum now. Lack of investment

River District, rapid. - the pearl district. Hoyt st properties, holma williams. It's been a very detailed,
the city does one thing, the developer does another. Establish goals, and private/public obligations to
proceed. Lovejoy ramp. The city had 15 units per acre, ups this depending on what the city funds.

South park blocks. The mosaic, no parking. The city is expanding their requirements. Safeway project
highlights PDC's role as a deal maker and negotiator, not a source of cash so much. Though they did
provide some for this. Eliot towers, switched sites with safeway.

The emphasis is on public investment to change market conditions. URA pays for something like 25
percent of the light rail for some of these spots, and that is enough to make it go, and

how long does it take that the market respond to transportation? It depends. Powell, on east side 52 out
a ways, nothing came of the development there. At least yet. But Vera points out along 10th, the trolley
took a while, and needed some additional financing for buildings, then market changed.

Portland Plan info. Need to update our comprehensive plan.

Urban growth boundary, forced the end of greenfield development and made people look at king blvd.

Sidewalks, lack of these in some parts of town. East pdx, poorer people are moving there, and it lacks
infrastructure that they rely on.

Future challenge,
continue existing successes.
Place making.
Adjust to new objectives, citywide issues / deficiencies. Address social and equity issues. “Deal with
the people” so to speak, as bricks and mortar can't do that.

Housing bureau, 60 million dollar budget, not limited to URA. One benefit of having that split apart.

He says he's not sure if we can do much better than the Pearl. Question: but some don't think the pearl
is so great, as it's homogenous. Answer, it's a new neighborhood, it'll change.

Workforce housing. Mid-income levels seem to be getting left out. The market can bear the high
income, and the low gets the assistance, but mid-level is hurting on the longer range economic trends,
and not receiving housing funds.

PDC in 80s and 90s, lots of loans to single family homes in neighborhoods all over the city. Places like
Hawthorne and Mississippi benefited from this in ways we don't see clearly now. Much easier to show
projects, but a lot of this money is out there. Abandoned housing to be rehab, via the county to get tax
forclosure to take houses and get them to CDC's, PDC helped fund with the CDC's.

Next week: Joe Cortright on demographics of city, compared to other cities.

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