A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.
Showing posts with label architecture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label architecture. Show all posts

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bayside development in perspective

Last week the Planning Board approved the rezoning plan for the Federated Companies' ambitious "Midtown" project.

Some neighbors complained about the size of the project. Its first phase will include 196 units of housing, 97,000 square feet of retail space, and 720 parking spots. Sure, I've said before that there's too much parking. But just for some perspective, here's what it would look like if the city cancelled this project and allowed developers to build all that stuff in the suburbs instead of in a central-city neighborhood.

Here's the Falmouth WalMart: it's 92,000 square feet and surrounded by about 600 parking spaces...

...and here are about 150 units of housing in the Pleasant Hill "neighborhood" of Scarborough (there's at least another 300 paved parking spaces scattered in there, but let's gloss over those for now).

The two aerial views above depict roughly a half square-mile of what used to be lovely Maine farmland. The proposed Midtown project proposes to fit a similar amount of human-habitable space inside one large city block, which ought to look something like this:

But hey, if you think that City Councilors should cancel this project and pave the way (quite literally) for more sprawl in the suburbs, by all means you should let them know before they vote on the rezoning proposal at their next meeting.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Another choice for Congress Square

As many readers of this blog undoubtedly already know, the task of improving the mediocre public space at Congress Square has had the attention of a city-appointed advisory committee for some time now, and the new owners of the Eastland Park Hotel have pitched a proposal to buy most of the park's real estate from the city and turn it into a ballroom for conventions and events.

Unfortunately, the Eastland Hotel's proposal has galvanized the debate. On the one hand are out-of-town hedge fund managers who want to convert public space to private use. On the other hand are suburbanite activists who are treating this half-acre of downtown Portland like it's Yosemite Valley. The goal of creating a higher-quality public space that benefits the entire neighborhood has been mostly lost in the shuffle.

So thanks to Clifford Tremblay, an architect who recently moved to Portland, for trying to change the conversation. Clifford pitched these ideas for Congress Square at a Portland Society of Architects "Drink 'n Crit" earlier this winter (I was on the design jury while he presented this concept and I'll try to paraphrase his pitch here).

Courtesy of Clifford Tremblay

Clifford's proposal consists of two fundamental elements: activating the center of Congress Square by inviting through-traffic, and activating the edges of Congress Square with new uses and friendlier edges.

As for the first challenge — getting more people into the center of Congress Square Park —  Clifford proposes a new diagonal orientation for the park, to encourage cut-through foot traffic from Congress to High Street (see site plan above). The center of the park would become a secondary pedestrian-oriented street, defined by a row of trees and a water feature. Clifford makes the point, echoing a number of other architects and members of the citizens' advisory committee, that the current park's sunken design, with several steps leading down into the park from Congress and High, should be eliminated. Clifford would level the park with Congress Street, and relocate a more modest set of stairs leading up to the park to the western edge of the site.

Courtesy of Clifford Tremblay

The second crucial aspect of Clifford's proposal — and again, it's an idea that's been echoed by several architects, business owners, and neighborhood activists — is that the edges of Congress Square need to be more porous in order to invite more public use and public ownership. The sketch above shows a view of Clifford's proposal from Congress Street, with the Eastland hotel in the background. Note the active sidewalk dining on the eastern side of the park (this building, the former "The Kitchen" restaurant, is supposedly under contract to become a new haute-cuisine restaurant). The northern corner of the park, currently a no-man's land of bleak shrubs, is here transformed into a more inviting — yet still relatively secluded and quiet — spot for tables and a performance stage.

At the rear of the site, Clifford has optimistically suggested new windows and awnings to the Eastland Park Hotel's facade (currently a blank wall painted with a mural). Last of all, note the previously-mentioned lack of stairs between the sidewalk and the park. Sure, it's just a Sketchup drawing, but it looks a lot more inviting, doesn't it?

The primary strength of the ballroom proposal from the Eastland is that it provides an economic development boost to this part of the city. Still, what they're pitching isn't nearly good enough to overcome the opposition's strident concerns over the loss of open space. I don't particularly agree with those concerns, but from a purely pragmatic perspective, the owners of the Eastland need to do a whole lot better in terms of their own designs (a preliminary and pathetic example of which is pictured at left) if they really want to convince the public to surrender the less-than-perfect status quo.

This is valuable real estate in the heart of the Arts District. What if the City built — and collected rent on — a row of small artists's studios built to screen the Eastland Hotel's blank walls? What if the City leased park space to the new restaurant on the Congress Street side? These new uses could generate new rental revenue to support park renovations, while adding to the park's vibrancy as a public space, and improving property values in the surrounding neighborhoods. The Eastland Hotel's current proposal frankly can't compete with these possibilities.
This is still public space, and Portlanders absolutely should demand a higher standard of design. Thanks to Clifford Tremblay for changing the conversation in the right direction.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bayside update

The Federated Companies' proposal for the old scrap yard in Bayside continues to be refined. They're currently seeking a zoning amendment that would allow their project to proceed, and they've been tempting planners with some of these tantalizing sketches (from the most recent Planning Board workshop, held this afternoon):

The image above takes some liberties; the green space depicted to the left is actually a paved parking lot surrounded by a chain-link fence. Below: a view of a proposed new plaza along the Bayside Trail, looking from the rear of Planet Dog store southwards towards downtown. The building on the right is a large parking garage with a large first-floor retail space, on the left is a residential apartment tower with more ground-floor retail.

Here are a few of the hoops they'll still need to jump through. Approval for the project is still months away, at least:
  1. Planning Board approval for zoning amendments (hopefully in a public hearing at the next Planning Board meeting, mid-March)
  2. City Council approval of zoning amendments (end of March/early April)
  3. Agreements with the City of Portland regarding the redesign and reconstruction of Somerset Street and title agreements for the Bayside Trail encroachment (unknown timeline)
  4. Planning board workshops for subdivision and site plan
  5. Planning board public hearing and approval of subdivision and site plan
  6. Execution of Purchase and Sale agreement, transferring land ownership from City of Portland to Federated Companies
  7. Financing and building permits

Reviewing the city's planning memos, I'm encouraged to see that city staff share the concerns that the developers might be building too large of a parking garage.

The proposed Phase 1 would set aside 221 parking spaces for a 196-unit apartment building (plus 191 spaces for retail uses, plus 200 spaces for city-mandated 'public' parking, plus 68 spaces for existing businesses like Trader Joes and Whole Foods). This is far in excess of the other successful market-rate apartment and condo developments currently being built (the Bay House and the proposed West End Place, both of which only have 0.8 spaces per apartment).

The last project to propose parking at a 1-to-1 ratio, the Newbury Street Lofts, proved to be an aesthetic disaster and financially unworkable. Buyers and renters are generally unwilling to pay the rents necessary to finance this level of parking in Portland, a city where substantial market demand is coming from households looking to get rid of their cars in one of the only New England cities where it's possible to do so. I'd hate to see a similar fate befall this project due to unreasonable parking expenses.

That said, my concerns are somewhat allayed by the possibility of reducing the parking planned for Phase II, when two more apartment buildings are planned. It still strikes me as a bad financial decision to build dubious infrastructure up front, but ultimately it's up to Federated to assess those risks and deal with their consequences. 

The other sticking point is that Federated is proposing to encroach on the right of way of the Bayside Trail for a short stretch east of Chestnut Street, while also adding to the public right of way with wider sidewalks on Somerset Street on the other side. While this is of some concern to everyone, it seems like the city is ready to demand strong urban design and architecture along the trail side to compensate, and I think it'll be worth it.

I also hold out hope that the developers might strike a deal with the owner of the abutting Planet Fitness parking lot — converting just a few of the trail-abutting parking spaces to compact or parallel parking could restore the Bayside Trail to comfortable width in the pinch-point. But since the owner of the parking lot is Peter Quesada, the same embittered crank who refuses to remove the fence between the trail and Trader Joe's, we probably shouldn't hope for much.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Donald does right by the East End

As reported in the Forecaster and Press Herald, Donald Sussman, the owner of several lots along Hampshire Street in East Bayside, has shelved his hybrid parking garage/condominium development proposal in order to re-evaluate his development options.

The 2-level parking fortress at the base of this project wasn't merely aesthetically clunky and hostile to the neighborhood's sidewalks — it also turned out to be a ball-and-chain to profit margins for the high-priced condos above. A competing project down the street, the Bay House, also went under construction this fall — but it will include 20% fewer parking spaces per unit, and will thus offer lower costs to buyers for a similar-value home.

Not reported in the newspapers was another possible motive for this decision: the imminent final planning effort for the Franklin Street corridor. City Hall has reportedly selected a preferred planning/engineering team to work with, and a contract could be signed any day now to finally begin the planning effort that will result in a shovel-ready construction plan for a new, reconnected Franklin Street.

That plan is almost certain to reduce Franklin to a smaller 2-lane street between Congress and Commercial. That, in turn, will free up a lot of surplus city-owned real estate on either side of the new street. The new Franklin Street could end up giving Sussman 10% to 20% more developable land to work with on this same site — and that, in turn, will give his developers more room to screen parking inside the lot, provide rentable, active ground-floor retail spaces, and offer more attractive terms to condo buyers.

That's a smart return on investment for waiting a year or two. And it makes it likely that the neighborhood will end up with a better-designed building, with active ground-floor uses that (unlike a parking garage) will engage the street and improve surrounding property values.

I should add a final disclosure: I've begun a day job at the Press Herald, which means, in a very indirect way, that I work for Donald Sussman (who is the paper's majority owner). Obviously that won't prevent me from lamenting his taste in architecture in this blog.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Maritime Landing" update

The "Maritime Landing" proposal for Bayside (first discussed on this blog a full year ago) is moving one step closer towards approval, as the City Council seems finally ready to endorse a purchase and sale agreement with the developers that would transfer them the city-owned land and grant them $9 million in funds to construct a 700-space parking garage. 

You can probably guess how I feel about the city's spending $9 million for a urine-soaked garage. In this case, though, I'll hold my nose (perhaps literally) because the developers are proposing to build a lot of housing to go along with it, plus active retail space on the garage's first floor. Last summer, when negotiations were beginning, they'd been proposing 540 apartments; now, they're talking up to 700 apartments (one previously-proposed office tower in the project has been replaced by another residential building) plus large ground-floor retail spaces that stretch the length of Somerset Street and also face the Bayside Trail. 

Here's a rough sketch that they brought to last night's committee meeting. After the Council approves the land sale agreement, the developers will have up to 3 years to construct the first phase of the project (the two towers on the left, plus the parking garage), the tax revenue from which will supposedly repay the city's loan for the parking garage. Sometime after the sale is finalized, the developers will come back to the city's planning board for a more detailed review of the project, including site design and architectural details.

Hopefully it works out better than the Ocean Gateway Garage project, which was also supposed to come with a lot of housing (five years after that eyesore got built with millions of dollars in city funds, it's still just a massive, half-empty parking garage on the waterfront, blighting the neighborhood with its ugliness). It deserves a note of caution that this project's parking garage plans and subsidies, much like the failed Ocean Gateway project, came from a pre-bubble era. And they specifically came from the minds of old-line, 1960s-urban-renewal bureaucrats like Joe Gray and Jack Lufkin, who embraced the anti-urban mentality that new construction in Portland required as much parking as you'd find at the Maine Mall.*

Another concern of mine relates to the project's general urban design. I have a feeling that the buildings are going to be cheap — both in terms of rent, and in terms of materials. The commercial brokers in charge of leasing the large retail spaces seem to be going after boring chains — I'll be astounded if CVS or Rite Aid don't lay claim to a big chunk of the project's retail space. 

Inexpensive, unimaginative urban development is actually good from the perspective of affordability — the city needs a lot more housing for the middle class, and the new residents will need boring places like CVS to take care of basic household needs. But I also worry about Bayside becoming like Boston, full of soulless chain stores and apartment towers with no sense of community.

But those devils will be worked out in the details. For now, it's good to see someone so bullish on Bayside, and Portland.

*This idea, that we needed lots of parking to compete with the suburbs, is typical of these older 1960s-era bureaucrats with low esteem for their city. In the years since these guys have left their posts in City Hall, the Maine Mall's owners, General Growth Properties, have gone into default. In a 2010 article about his parking garage's failures, Lufkin (who had by then been ousted from his city post) still asserted that "the lack of parking is among the biggest obstacles to development in Portland." And yet, in the five years since that garage was built, the number of cars registered in Portland has actually declined by over 6,000, and counting. That's enough cars to fill the Ocean Gateway garage eight times over. Lufkin now works for Gorham Savings Bank, so if you're a depositor there, he's your problem now.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Projects in Planning

Next Tuesday's planning board hearing will discuss some interesting upcoming building projects:

  • Portland Yacht Services is proposing to build and relocate to a new boatyard on the western waterfront, under the Casco Bay Bridge. This could potentially represent one of the biggest private-sector investments in the working waterfront in many years. As Carol McCracken reported on Munjoy Hill News, the new yard might include a dry dock and berthing facilities plus large warehouses for indoor boat maintenance. The move would also open up the current Portland Yacht Services space (on the waterfront near the Eastern Prom) for redevelopment. 
  • In the Old Port, East Brown Cow Management is workshopping a 7-story, 124-room hotel to replace a surface parking lot on the corner of Fore and Union Streets,  catty-corner from the Portland Harbor Hotel. They're only providing massing sketches so far, but even these early plans make it clear that the developers care about providing an active street-level facade along Fore Street, and a dynamic, high-visibility corner that resembles folded glass.

    It's nice to see a progressive developer proposing high-value economic development without sandbagging it with low-value parking to ruin our streets for a change. A well-designed, attractive streetscape is in these developers' strong financial best interests, as they also own the adjoining retail spaces in the Canal Plaza garage, where tenants will benefit tremendously from more foot traffic along Fore Street.

    This development would fill in a big gap in the Old Port's streetscape and help draw more foot traffic westward, across Union Street, and perhaps help spark more redevelopment on the massive surface parking lots that surround Gorham's Corner.
  • Unfortunately, the "Newbury Street Lofts," that ugly parking garage with condos on top, seems headed towards final approval on Tuesday as well. I happened to meet that project's architect in the neighborhood a couple weeks ago; he was pretty upset with my critique, but tellingly couldn't find any faults with my arguments (it was my tone that upset him). Maybe the final design will hold some improvements — it would be a very pleasant surprise, but the architect and developer seem unwilling to budge on their assumption that new buildings need on-site parking (contrary to the evidence immediately above this bullet point), so I have low expectations.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Newbury Street Lofts: The Architectural Expression of a Midlife Crisis

Some say it looks like a marooned cruise ship. Others point out that its blank first-floor parking garage facade will be an impediment to redeveloping Franklin Street.

The proposed new condos on Franklin Street would feature two floors of parking garage facing Franklin, Newbury, and Federal Streets. The developer, the hedge fund billionaire Donald Sussman, owns a little-used parking lot next door, but he seems to believe that every condo buyer in the city needs to have their cars parked directly beneath them.

But the project's car-first mentality might be the least of its problems. The main entrance is located down a narrow alley, as though it's a gated community.

And the project's architect, David Lloyd of Archetype, tries too hard to distract from the ground-floor ugliness by adding lots of wacky flair to the floors above (hence the cruise ship comparison).

As I wrote in a Portland Daily Sun column today, the proposed "Newbury Street Lofts" are the architectural expression of a midlife crisis — a fuddy-duddy at heart, trying too hard to be "edgy."

Sure, I'm concerned about bums urinating (or worse) in the vacant corners of the parking garage. And I'm concerned about the antisocial attitude the building takes with respect to the public spaces of the surrounding streets.

But what might be the worst thing about this building is how its cheap materials, lousy design, and prominent location downtown are bound to give contemporary architecture a bad name for years to come.

If there's one bright side, it's that such a cheap structure is bound to have low resale values — within a decade it'll likely qualify as low-income housing.

Now that I mention it, it does bear a striking resemblance to some of Portland's 1970s-vintage public housing projects...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

That Was Quick: The Renovated Civic Center Loses Its Lustre, Weeks Before Construction Begins

Last fall, when County bureaucrats were trying to razzle-dazzle voters into lending them $33 million to renovate their hockey arena (subsidized minor-league hockey being apparently the last, tenuous raison d'ĂȘtre for the existence of county government), they publicized these architectural renderings of a newly-renovated Civic Center:

This week, the County went to the planning board to get final approval. The architects' drawings have changed a bit:
This second image represents what's actually being built. It's like a $33 million trip for second helpings at Old Country Buffet: the same bland, ugly architecture that made you sick the first time around — only now, there's even more of it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Veterans' Memorial Bridge Opening Tomorrow

The new Veterans Bridge (first speculated about here back in 2008, then discussed again back in 2010, when a design and construction team was first selected) is finally opening tomorrow, on June 28th, 2012, with a fantastic new bicycle and pedestrian pathway that extends all the way from the West End to South Portland's Ligonia neighborhood.

You have a few more hours to enjoy the new bridge without any traffic. It will be open to pedestrians and bicyclists only until the end of a grand opening ceremony, which runs until 11:30 am tomorrow. After that, cars will roam free on the main lanes, but bikes and pedestrians will still be able to enjoy a nice wide path on the southern edge of the bridge all to themselves.

Corey of Portland Maine Daily Photo took some nice shots of the new, empty bridge late last week; you can take a look here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

All Is Not Lost: the Baxter Memorial Block

I've been meaning for a while to start an occasional series here of small-scale, tactical improvements to specific places that could have big ripple effects on their surrounding neighborhoods and the city as a whole.

I recently had occasion to browse the old photos of Portland that are available on the Maine Memory Network for a post I was writing for the Live/Work Portland blog. While doing so, a certain building on old postcard views of Congress Street kept on catching my eye: the Baxter Memorial Block, which appeared to be located somewhere on the south side of Congress in the vicinity of Oak Street (image at right courtesy of the Maine Historical Society's Maine Memory Network database).

The Baxter Memorial Block was an extremely handsome and striking Queen Anne office building. This view (at right) shows it up close, but its distinctive turret on the northern corner, and its prominent location on a convex bend of the street, helped it stand out in most any photo of Portland's main street, including shots of Monument and Congress Squares.

My morning's research had forced me to come to terms with a lot of Portland's lost buildings and neighborhoods, but this one was particularly striking. How could our city have lost a structure as beautiful — and as huge — as this one, in the middle of our downtown?

I later found out, while doing some subsequent browsing at the Greater Portland Landmarks site. The Baxter Memorial Block technically didn't ever get torn down: a husk of it is still standing on the corner of Congress and Oak. But a renovation in the 1950s demolished the turret and covered up in stucco all of the building's architectural details: demolished the soul of the building, in other words, and rendered it anonymous and forgotten. A before and after view from the GPL site (this is looking west towards Congress Square):

The Baxter Memorial Block, as was in the late nineteenth century (left) and today (right).

I'm reminded of the Kurt Vonnegut short story "Harrison Bergeron," about a dystopian society in which all citizens are forced to conform to a lowest-common-denominator standard by a "Handicapper General" who burdens the intelligent with screeching implants that interrupt their thoughts, the strong with sandbags, and the beautiful with masks. In the mid-1950s, the owners of one of our city's proudest buildings defaced it so that it would conform to the bland ugliness of the new shopping plazas and gas stations. What a miserable legacy to leave!

A detail of the ground-floor facade and the J.R. Libby Department Store, at the corner of Oak and Congress. Today, it's a Dunkin Donuts. Source.

Still — beneath the stucco, the Baxter Memorial Block is still there. I wonder how much of the brickwork and wrought-iron casings are still there, hiding after half a century in the dark.

Today, it's a low-rent building that few people want to work in — not much different from the half-abandoned shopping plazas and service stations they wanted it to look like. But imagine what it might become if someone invested the effort to restore even a hint of what its true nature.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Peloton Labs" are under construction

The "coworking space" on Bramhall Square, which I'd blogged about a few months ago, is now under construction and seeking tenants. They're calling the place Peloton Labs.

Their new website is also soliciting ideas and suggestions from potential tenants - so sign on now to have a say in how the building gets built.

Also interesting: Neil Takemoto, author of the CoolTown Studios blog, seems to be involved as well - at least, he's posting things on the website. Neil was in town early this spring to participate in the East Bayside neighborhood design intensive. His blog is quite influential among creative economy wonks, so it's a good thing for Portland to have him involved in more projects here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Boom: The Best New Buildings of the Decade

The 'aughts are almost over. This was the decade of the real estate bubble, but it would be easy to assume that the bubble passed us by. After all, the city's skyline, as viewed from Falmouth or across the harbor in South Portland, hasn't changed much in the past 10 years.

But take a closer look, by walking along the city's main streets and through its neighborhoods, and it's clear that Portland is substantially newer and more vibrant than it was in 1999, when I graduated from Bonny Eagle High School and left for college in that other Portland. Many of the buildings are the same, but they've been refurbished and re-inhabited with households and businesses that care more about them. And elsewhere, abandoned lots and under-utilized parking spaces have given way to new housing and businesses.

The Portland peninsula has sprouted dozens of new buildings in the past decade. Here are five of my picks for the best, in no particular order (I'll post five more in a follow-up post next week):

  • Bayside East. Corner of Smith and Oxford Streets, East Bayside. Designed by Scott Teas, TFH Architects. Completed 2008.

    While prosperity arrived in most of Portland's neighborhoods during the 2000s, East Bayside was largely left out. The neighborhood is centrally-located geographically, but it remains isolated thanks to the lousy ideas of 1960s urban renewal: a monopoly of government-owned housing and dead-end streets cut off by the wretched Franklin Arterial. It's Portland's most Detroit-like neighborhood.

    Bayside East is a another affordable housing project, but unlike its older neighbors, it doesn't look like one. The south-facing patio works well as a pleasant public space for the building's residents, and the solar hot water heaters take a prominent place as a sort of awning on the top floor.

    It's not at all flashy, but of all of Portland's new buildings, this one might be the most successful at integrating itself into the scale and context of Portland's central-city neighborhoods. It goes a long way towards healing East Bayside's tattered urban fabric.

  • 280 Fore Street, by SMRT Architects. Completed 2004.

    There was a time when banks invested in good, quality buildings to establish a public trust in the solidity of their institutions.

    During the 2000s, though, most banks were content to put up cheap offices ringed with drive-thrus. Banks literally sought to emulate fast-food joints, both in the facile idiocy of their products and in the shittiness of their architecture. And then they collapsed.

    Bangor Savings Bank wasn't immune from this impulse - they built Burger Bank franchises out on Brighton Ave. and over the bridge in South Portland's Mill Creek Strip Mall - but at least they put some effort into their downtown Portland branch and corporate offices. It's a quality building, and the curved acute angle of its northern corner adds a dynamic presence to the corner of Franklin and Fore Streets. I don't mind admitting that my admiration for the building led me to choose this bank over its competition.

  • 490 Congress St., by Jim Sterling. Completed 2007.

    Like the W.L. Blake Building addition below, this is an attractive modernist structure that fits in well with its historic surroundings on Congress Street. It's even more striking in the context of what it replaced, a pair of half-abandoned 2-story hovels that stuck out like a missing incisor in Congress Street's smile.

    The wide glass windows and striking metal siding probably make this building the city's most stereotypical example of 'aughts architecture. It's clearly making a hard sales pitch for "loft living" - you can even buy Eames chairs and contemporary art from the ground-floor retail tenants. Still, it's a damned attractive sales pitch, and even if it's a bit cliched I much prefer this to the urban abandonment that prevailed in the latter half of the last century.

  • W.L. Blake Building Addition, 79 Commercial St. By David Lloyd of Archetype Architects. Completed 2001.

    This was one of the first new buildings of the 'aughts, and it set a good precedent. The new building respects its historic neighbors on either side by adopting the same scale and massing. But it stops short of imitating their brick cladding and granite sills and lintels (unlike most other new buildings in the city, regrettably) with fine-looking building materials of our own era.

    The view from inside the offices must be incredible. But the view from the street ain't bad, either.

  • Unity Village, Stone, Oxford, and Cumberland Streets. By Winton Scott Architects. Completed 2001.

    At the beginning of this decade, the city was in the midst of a severe housing shortage, thanks to decades of pointlessly-restrictive zoning and a resulting lack of investment.

    Unity Village was one of the city's first proactive efforts to turn things around. City Hall offered up three city-owned parking lots behind city hall to developer Richard Berman (disclosure: I helped build his company's website) for a new, mixed-income housing complex. Today, it's a place where the newly-homeless can live comfortably and unassumingly next to white-collar downtown office workers and immigrant families. The homes have abundant porches that mesh the private life of the households with the vibrant public life of the narrow street and a nearby playground.

    If Unity Village hadn't been as successful as it is, the City could easily have slid back into the old habit of Not-In-My-Backyard zoning, which would have effectively stymied most of the other projects listed here. Instead, it helped spark the broader revitalization of Bayside. Unity Village demonstrated to Portlanders that new development - even if it brought poor people into the neighborhood - could be an improving asset for the community.