11 key developments for the Portland metropolitan area

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A tide of new developments and infrastructure—some in the works for years and only now being realized, others in the earliest stages of planning—is quietly but persistently unfolding around Portland.

It’s a gentle throwback to the narrative that after two years of strict pandemic restrictions, social justice riots that have led to clashes with police, rampant homelessness and rising crime, the city is irreparably devastated. And it suggests that ultimately, there are still those willing to place their bets on a Portland recovery, even if the payout isn’t for a decade or more.

Yes, there are fewer cranes on the skyline at the moment, although it seems we’ll always have the massive Ritz-Carlton in the heart of downtown’s West End. But that could change — here are 11 of the projects, big and small, we’ll be keeping an eye on in the coming months.

  • Hats off to Iain MacKenzie, a local architect who is the driving force behind, always up to date nextportland.orgfor calling out this and a few other projects that made our list: You know the giant Greek Cusina building in SW 4th and Washington, which used to feature the huge, iconic purple octopus? After years of vacancy it is under new ownership who say they plan to open as a dual bar/live music venue, hopefully this spring. (The new owner warns that “supply chain issues” could derail that schedule, but that’s true of almost everything these days, we suspect.)
  • Just in time for bike commuters to be on their way back to their offices this spring (maybe?), the seemingly never-ending construction site continues The Southwest Naito Parkway is complete and the resulting bike lanes are positively Amsterdam-esque in design. Bikers are now much more shielded and safe from passing riders, although the full facelift in the form of planters and more trees won’t come until this spring. Now, can we please do the same on an east-west route downtown?
  • Three new bright spots in the local art scene: First of all the Reser Center for the Arts in Beaverton, which is slated for a spring opening with an inviting urban design and a grueling list of opening programs including Lea Salonga and the Count Basie Orchestra. nextup, as first reported by Willamette weekthe shutters Paris theater in the old town was bought by a Seattle group who put on a dinner cabaret show at Pike Place Market with plans to restore the grande dame to her former glory. Over in inner southeast Portland, developer Kevin Cavenaugh enters “double scrub” to the Oregon Theater, a former vaudeville-turned-porn palace being remodeled into apartments, retail space and a restored auditorium that they promise will be cleaned to within an inch of its life. Score this one as behind schedule (estimated completion should be 2021) but still very much worth seeing.
  • Let’s talk housing. There’s a bit of a boost, especially in neighborhoods like the Pearl District, the Southwest Waterfront, and Nob Hill. As the Portland BusinessJournal reports, there are a proposed new high-rise in the Pearl District that would add 337 new homes to the corner of NW Hoyt and 9thavenue, right at the crossroads between the Pearl and the Old Town. New lofts were proposed NW 23approx and Marshallalthough the neighborhood association has objections. A new timber frame tower totaling 266 units is under consideration for the South Waterfront neighborhood, with promising perks including a dog wash, private bike parking, and on-call repair staff. Infill, urban density, multi-family housing — all the buzzwords, really — check, check, and check (well, except affordability).
  • From the Stuff to Buy section, we wrote this week about the giant fork sculpture that will anchor what appears to be a really cool new takeaway in Fairview, complete with a children’s playground, a public square, and the Piece de Resistance, a giant forked sculpture anchoring the entrance. It’s also worth keeping an eye on: MacKenzie’s eagle-eyed view that high-end furniture retailer CB2 is planning a location in the Pearl District(There is only one Crate and Barrel mothership in Oregon to date, located in Bridgeport Village in Clackamas County).
  • Okay well this is not a new development or infrastructure except maybe for tourism purposes. But still, it must mean something optimistic the moose statue, which has been missing from its downtown spot for many months, come back, right? We’ll have to wait until 2023, but at least there’s a date now.

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