Saturday, January 23, 2010

Director Park expedition

Director Park


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A few photos of Portland's fancy new "Simon and Helen Director Park", previously known as "South Park Block 5". Which, depending on who you talk to, is either a.) an important step toward the long term goal of an unbroken stretch of park blocks from PSU all the way to the Pearl District; or b.) an unnecessary boondoggle, designed to inflate the egos and wallets of well-connected City Hall insiders.

Director Park

I'm not sold on the larger unifying-the-park-blocks idea, but I really had high hopes for this place. I suppose I shouldn't have, considering how most of our recent high-concept park projects have turned out, but I did. I really hoped we'd get something worthy of the existing North & South Park Blocks. Initially we were promised there'd be greenery of some sort. They obviously dropped that idea somewhere along the line. Instead, it's nothing but beige stone. Very high quality, meticulously worked, expensive-looking, austere beige stone. And not a single blade of grass for contrast. Maybe it'll look better when we can get a good look at it in the sun, but that won't be possible for months yet.

Director Park

It wasn't supposed to be like this. The original "Three Downtown Parks" vision (which also includes unfunded makeovers for O'Bryant Square and Ankeny Park) called for greenspace at this location, specifically to contrast with Pioneer Courthouse Square -- which, let's not forget, is just a block east of here. I haven't seen a good answer as to why that changed. It's possible it just wasn't practical, due to what's under the park. Note the elevators here: Beneath the bland beige stony surface lies a mindbendingly vast parking garage, untold levels deep. I haven't been inside, but I'm told that on the lowest levels, far, far below the deepest delving of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he. But if I ever get around to visiting there, I will happily bring a report to darken the light of day.

Director Park

Umm... in any case, what you see here is what we're stuck with now, and for a long, long time to come. So presented without additional comment are a few links from around the local interwebs:

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