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LoopPDX challenge invites 'bold, creative' ideas for Green Loop walk/bike path

COURTESY: PORTLAND BUREAU OF TRANSPORTATION  - A proposed 6-mile scheme of a Portland Green Loop would connect neighbors, create new public spaces and promote new opportunities for residents -- as well as the city's new bike share program, BikeTown, set to launch this summer. 
Just a week after the city's BikeTown announcement, city leaders announced Loop PDX — a call for "bold, creative" design ideas to jumpstart the city's Green Loop project.

The Green Loop is a proposed 6-mile pedestrian and bike promenade that would link the east and west sides.

While it's been part of the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability's Central City 2035 Plan, it's been just a concept, without a design or funding.

The University of Oregon John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape and Design Week Portland issued the public challenge on Wednesday, hoping to kickstart the Green Loop into becoming a reality.

"Like Indianapolis’ Cultural Trail, Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard, and Manhattan’s Highline, the loop has the potential to become a significant amenity to an ever-denser city, helping to shape streetscapes, the skyline, and urban social life into a series of addresses connected by a promenade," the LoopPDX flier reads.

Like the creation of the North and South Park Blocks, the fountain plazas, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, the Eastbank Esplanade and the Pearl District, Loop PDX aims to "seed a grassroots form of 'light infrastructure' that brings the loop to life by citizens and businesses to write a new chapter in Portland’s history of urban innovation."

Design submissions are due by Feb. 29.

Up to five finalists will be selected to present at a public forum at Loop PDX’s public event during Design Week PDX, April 18 at Jimmy Mak’s Jazz Club.

The winner or winners will receive up to $20,000 to further develop and implement their schemes.

As proposed, the Green Loop would connect the two sides of the Willamette River at the Broadway Bridges and Tilikum Crossing, and link the Pearl District/Old Town, West End, Cultural District, PSU, South Auditorium, South Waterfront, OMSI, Central Eastside and Lloyd District.

The Loop may be a linear path, a series of connected places, or both.

Besides physically linking the two sides of the city, the goals are to amplify neighborhood character, boost recreation, create more public spaces, connect neighbors and re-envision the city.

Loop PDX's four key themes are renewing a tradition; reflecting Portland as a city of the future; generating dialogue; and designing to implement, buildable within months.

"Be fearless," the flier urges.

Some of the elements might include public art; trees and landscaping; stormwater facilities or other urban heat

island mitigation; street furnishings like water fountains or trash cans; lighting and wayfinding; viewpoint space; interpretive elements.

The challenge is open to anyone, especially architects, urban designers, landscape architects, makers and others interested in designing built pieces and creating places. Designs could include specific art, furniture, signage, and other elements that would create dynamic public space.

Communication designers and strategists could build an identity for implementing the Green Loop, something that would excite the public and an approach for communicating the opportunities.

For more: DesignWeekPortland.com/Competition.

See past Tribune coverage of the Green Loop here:

http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/266114-139364-portland-delegates-wheels-turning-after-copenhagen-trip

http://portlandtribune.com/sl/204879-city-seeks-full-network%20of-downtown-bike-routes

@jenmomanderson