Boise Elliott seems to be the hot spot in Portland right now. As reported previously there are several large projects in the pipeline including two apartment/retail projects and the New Seasons previously mentioned. Today on the Oregonian’s website I found this article, “Boise building boom has North Portland neighborhood edgy, developers moving cautiously.” It details several other projects working their way through the system. The most interesting is the Payne Apartments pictured above: a five story building with 19-21 apartments over 1000 square feet of retail at the northeast corner of Williams and Beech. They mention GBD as the architects. I searched Portlandmaps and found that the property was bough in August 2011and the owner listed as Payne LLC and Heather Guthrie, a lawyer at Dunn Carney Dunn law firm. The other project is the Miss at 3807 N. Mississippi next to Pistils nursery. It is a four story building with 25 units over one retail and one live/work space with no parking planned. The developer is WDC with Fosler Architects as the designer.
The Oregonian article is largely about change in the neighborhood and residents’ response to it. I am all for change and believe that if cities do not evolve and grow they stagnate and die. I also believe that while new development is a driver of demographic change and gentrification, stopping development just leads to greater gentrification as people bid up the cost of an artificially constrained supply of housing and commercial space. That being said it is important to understand the reasons behind the feeling of people in the area. On that note, the Sarah Mink just put a post, “By the Numbers: Charting Change on North Williams,” Avenue on the Mercury’s Blogtown recapping some of the radical demographic change that has transpired in the area. A more in-depth analysis can be found in Karen Gibson’s fascinating research paper on the area’s tragic relations with city government () : “Bleeding Albina: A History of Community Disinvestment, 1940-2000.” It documents the role that North/Northeast Portland has played in the city, particularly for the Black community and the arrogance and disregard for community shown by the city for much of its history. For Albina, when the city mentioned “planning” it usually ended up bad for area residents. Another interesting historical look at the neighborhood I came across was at the Skanner, “Portland Gentrification: The North Williams Avenue That Was – 1956“. As part of their investigations into neighborhood change they created a Google map of all the businesses that existed on Williams in 1956… and it is not anything like the list you would make for 2012.