A while back, we contacted the City to express our concerns over a number of proposed developments in the vicinity of Portland State University. It seems that unlike many other large institutions, PSU’s continued expansion is being done without the guidance of a City-approved Master Plan. The latest proposal on the table is the 16-story 283 unit College Station residential hall to be located on the block bordered by SW 5th and 6th, College and Jackson Streets. If this area sounds familiar, that’s because last fall, the owner of one of the remaining vintage houses on the block fought with Tri-Met over their attempted acquisition of his property along with the rest of the block. He prevailed, but most of the properties surrounding his home have since been leveled after Tri-Met acquired what PSU didn’t already own. Tri-Met and PSU are now collaborating on the new project, along with Austin, Texas-based developers American Campus Communities.
One of the now endangered buildings on this same block is a fairly nice early 20th century brick apartment building at the corner of SW 5th and Jackson. This 3-story (plus a basement) building has stood more than a century and is one of the last remaining vestiges of the type of residential Portland that existed in that area prior to urban renewal and the growth of PSU. The demolition of this building would call into question PSU’s highly touted sustainability efforts; not only would that be a tremendous waste of embodied energy and material resources, it would also mean the continued erosion of what little is left in that area of the historic and cultural resources of early Portland. Isn’t there a way that the old can be integrated into the new?
More information on the proposed new development can be found here.