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GBD Architects and Mithun draw up three new buildings for Goose Hollow

Directly east of Providence Park sits two former Oregonian newspaper buildings, currently squat, concrete, windowless slabs that now look to be replaced with what could be one of the tallest buildings in the city, pending approval.

URBAN RENAISSANCE GROUP/SECURITY PROPERTIES - The aerial image shows how the site relates to Providence Park to the west and Lincoln High School to the south.

Representatives from the Goose Hollow Foothills League Neighborhood Association strongly oppose the height and came to the city’s Design Commission advice meeting in late August to testify, as designs are in the early stages and have options at this point.

The plans currently point to demolishing the two Oregonian buildings on the 1.5 block site, replacing them with three new buildings of different scales and massings.

Plans for a full-block development at 1621 S.W. Taylor St. are currently fluid, and could optionally become a 20-story and a six-story mixed-use apartment buildings, or become 30-floors and four-floors of mixed-use apartments — and would be among the tallest in the city.

Tracy Prince, the president of the Board of Directors of the Goose Hollow neighborhood association, said the allowable zoning height is taller than it should be for the neighborhood’s aesthetic.

“We unanimously support the 150-foot version. We don’t support higher massing,” Prince said. “We have no interest in South Waterfront-style heights ... we’re glad (the designers) didn’t come with their highest height (today), I think we would’ve had a riot.”

Mark Velky, a board member, said the neighborhood association represents 6,500 citizens.

“I’m personally aware of two who want a skyscraper, out of 6,500,” Velky said. “Please send these ideas back to the drawing board and ask them to listen to the neighborhood.”

Another testifier, Scott Langley, was in favor of the development. He’s a stakeholder as the owner of 1500 S.W. Taylor St., which has plans for a 10-story mixed-use building (also in Goose Hollow).

The Plans

Both buildings already have basements, and the developers plan to keep the Taylor Street one for underground parking. There’s also an existing underground tunnel connecting both parcels’ basements, which will be maintained as a shared pedestrian connection.

Parking will be shared, development will be owned by one entity, and the two parcels will be designed by different architects intended to design diversity into the neighborhood.

URBAN RENAISSANCE GROUP/SECURITY PROPERTIES - The map highlights how the development fits into the Goose Hollow neighborhood.

The first design advice request focused on urban design, building massing and site-specific features. Designs are still tentative, especially surrounding building height, massing and ground floor use.

Both parcels have a base height of 250 feet with additional bonus height of up to 325 feet. Between the two shared basements, there could be more than 500 parking spaces as well.

The planned heights were the center of the conversation, and the city staff also addressed tower orientation, plaza plans, ground floor activities and exterior material.

The full-block at Taylor Street

The full block development along Taylor Street, which used to be the Oregonian printing plant, is planned to be two new buildings of mixed-use and residential. The ground floor, without concrete plans, could be combinations of live/work space, townhomes, general access or retail and commercial space.

This is the work of Seattle-based Mithun designers, represented by associate architect Dorothy Faris.

“Just as newspapers historically were the source for information for the neighborhoods, we like to think of this project as being the source for great design and planning for future development in Goose Hollow,” Faris said at the design meeting.

The tentative 20-story plans include an active ground floor, an elevated exterior courtyard between the high-rise and the six-story low-rise and a full-block, two-story podium base with potential parking. Alternate options don’t include a podium and have fully underground parking.

The tallest option is an approximately 325-foot high-rise with a 50-foot low-rise, and the shorter option could be a 240-foot high-rise with a 65-foot low-rise.

GBD ARCHITECTS/MITHUN - Preliminary sketches show the architects intentions to raise three buildings on 1.5 blocks, with height options.

“Preparing for the project we’ve studied the texture of the neighborhood, observed a real mix of materials in the exterior as well as the block sizes — we see a lot of half- and quarter-block developments, which is factored into our design thinking,” Faris said. “In response to the neighborhood texture we’re proposing three different scaled buildings across two blocks with a ground floor of retail and a mix of office and residential above.”

Taking into account the Lincoln High school superblock masterplan one block to the south, Mithun team members have met with Portland Public Schools over their proposed traffic circulation.

They want to highlight and create street features, which currently are nonexistent there, and plant trees and install furnishings.

“We see this as an opportunity to highlight Yamhill as a transit street, Taylor as more of a people-connector with its plan in the 2030 master bicycle plan to have an improved bicycle facility,” Faris said. “We are really striving to emphasize the pedestrian and tie the development back into the neighborhood with expanded and improved street level experiences including street trees, bike facilities and site furnishings.”

The half-block at 17th Avenue

The half-block mixed-use office building has plans for leasing ground-floor retail and commercial spaces, design by Portland-based GBD Architects.

The upper seven floors are intended to be spec office for single or multi-tenant configurations.

In total, the height could reach 115 feet.

Since the northern edge of the site is a light rail stop, there are plans — being developed closely with Metro — to enhance sidewalks and right-of-way improvements.

“We see this as a real synergistic point between the two projects,” Faris said. “Currently there’s a very interesting intersection there where the station extends into the right-of-way in 17th creating a barrier you have to drive around and an estranged pedestrian crossing that isn’t very clear.”

Designs propose extending the curb out to capture the edge of the station there, creating a safer and more consistent pedestrian thoroughfare. The designers worked with TriMet to figure out what’s appropriate, and came up with options to place the station within a larger plaza or connect it to the sidewalks with a new pedestrian throughway.

URBAN RENAISSANCE GROUP/SECURITY PROPERTIES - This is the existing, former Oregonian building at the location.

Between requests from the neighborhood association, PPS, Metro, TriMet and the developers, no wonder the architects came for design advice with so many options.

“Answering the desire of the neighborhood for open space, more landscaping, we are holding the low-rise building edge away from Taylor and opening up to a south-facing plaza,” Faris said. “We want this to be a real amenity, so we’re thinking about how it can appeal to multiple generations as well as acknowledging the design guidelines — we’re thinking about how we can add a water feature at the plaza entry.”

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Oregonian Press Blocks

817 S.W. 17th Ave.

1621 S.W. Taylor St.

Neighborhood: Goose Hollow

Developers: Urban Renaissance Group, Security Properties

Designers: GBD Architects, Mithun


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