How Will Portland Develop Its Last Major Parcel?

Brian Libby examines the plans for Zidell Yards, downtown Portland's last major real estate opportunity, which "seeks to be a macro development comprised of many different micro-sized parts."

The 30-acre riverfront parcel long owned by the Zidell Marine barge-building company, has been called "one of the top five transit-oriented infill development opportunities in the United States." So what do the owners of the property and the master plan’s designers, ZGF Architects, have in mind for the future of the long, thin strip of land that, due to its boundaries (the river and the highway) lends itself to being viewed as a "corridor" rather than a "place."

According to Libby, "[t]he pass-through character that often makes corridors unremarkable may actually form the basis of the Zidell Yards’ identity, one very different from the Pearl and South Waterfront: that of a diverse crossroads, be it of transit modes, of people, or of the ongoing industrial history of this land (the Zidells are keeping their barge-building facility on the property’s southern edge) with a higher-technology future."

With a layout that deviates from Portland’s standard grid, while bringing the river and greenspaces further inland, the designers hope the curving streets discourage fluid movement and instead create places that "[make] you smell the roses."

Full Story: A Hopeful 'Crossroads' for Portland

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