New Development Proposals Would Mean Loss of More Historic Urban Fabric

Two new development proposals will likely spell the demise of a few more vintage Portland apartment buildings.

The first proposal is for a 5-story 66,000 square foot  mixed-use building
at 537 NE Couch. This building would extend the full block from NE Couch to NE Davis – on a lot that includes two early 20th century apartment buildings. The Davis half of the lot has been empty for some time, which begs the question, why not figure out a way to integrate the older structures into the new development? Such a design would preserve some of what remains of the historic character in this much modified part of town. It could also conserve the energy embodied in those structures and prevent construction/demolition waste from further entering our landfills. Who knows, it might even render the apartments more affordable than new construction would allow. If you are interested in this project, you can attend a public “design advice” meeting with the Portland Design Commission on December 16th – 1900 SW 4th Avenue – Room 2500A – 1:30 pm.

The second proposal is for a 4 story, 28 unit apartment building in the Alphabet Historic District. Located at 2124 NW Flanders, the old c. 1900 residence currently on the site will be demolished. The apartment buildings that stand on either side of this property (the Marlborough and Flandora Apts.) are both listed as contributing structures in the historic district, while the building to be demolished is (sadly) listed as non-contributing. This proposal will be discussed at the Portland Landmarks Commission meeting on December 13th – 1900 SW 4th Ave – Room 2500A – 1:30 pm.

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13 Comments

Filed under Historic Preservation, Infill Development, Sustainability

13 responses to “New Development Proposals Would Mean Loss of More Historic Urban Fabric

  1. Tanya March

    Does “sadly” mean that it should be contributing?

  2. rikki

    Please don’t kick me out of my beautiful home

  3. Jessica Atalla

    For the last four years I have lived in one of the buildings on NE Couch that would be affected by the first proposal. I LOVE WHERE I LIVE AND I DON’T WANT TO BE FORCED OUT!!!! This is about more than design and sustainability, although I agree that preserving the buildings makes sense in both regards. This is about taking away homes from people who don’t want to leave. We have developed a sense of community and belongingness there that would be impossible to replace. If you read this and you are someone that has any control of what happens, please think of my neighbors and me. Our lives will be greatly affected by this decision.

  4. I live here…this is the first I have been aware of this “Proposal”. What the hell?

  5. NePoCommuter

    Now that Couch is a much busier street, I’ve had plenty of chances to drive past this site when I never really noticed it before. It is sad that these two buildings are slated for demo. I’d like to see the proposed new development but the above link appears to be broken…the article does not specify whether it will include apartments or condos.

    The I know that the above posters seem very concerned about losing their current apartments, but that neighborhood is in desperate need of more housing. Having had to go much further up Burnside to find my current apartment, I would have preferred to live closer to where I work in downtown.

    • Jessica Atalla

      There is a large empty lot behind our buildings, and a warehouse across the street is now for sale… Plenty of space to develop affordable housing for those that want it without taking it away from us.

  6. I fixed the link above for the project on NE Couch. Here it is just in case:

    http://www.portlandonline.com/bds/index.cfm?c=42262&a=327578

    From our perspective, they could build something on the vacant part of the block and still leave these few remaining vestiges of the past intact. Then everyone wins.

    • Jessica Atalla

      Will representatives from Portland Preservation be attending the design advice meeting on the 16th? I will be there along with as many others as I can gather, but it would be nice to know that we are not alone in voicing our concerns to the City… Also, I would like you to know how much I appreciate you for posting this story. Had I not come across it, I probably wouldn’t have known about these plans until it was too late. If we manage to save our homes, we will have you to thank :-)

  7. An E-Petition has been created for those interested in seeing the apartments at NE 6th and Couch saved from the wrecking ball. http://home.epetitions.net/

  8. jeff

    I hope these older buldings are not lost. Seems like development does damage at times, maybe they should build somewhere else.

  9. Fred Leeson

    Mike Ryerson of the Northwest District Association has dome some additional research on the NW Flanders Street house and suggests it is more historic than the original historic district survey states. He says it was owned by Nathan Simon, brother of early 20th-century power broker Joseph Simon, who lived immediately behind in a house facing NW Everett. Joseph was a U.S. senator for one term and one-term Portland mayor who led the “Simon faction” of the Republican Party for many years. I think the apartment developer may be in for more of a battle than he expected from the well-organized NWDA.

  10. Well they ripped them down over the weekend. Some items appear to have gone to the rebuilding center, everything else to the dump. I was really hoping to see them stay. Portland certainly doesn’t need another marginal “green” building. Sad loss for us all.

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