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|Thursday, November 01, 2012|
BY LINDA BAKER
In our October issue, I wrote a story about several Willamette Valley cities and their efforts to retool their economies, post-recession. A few common themes emerged—namely, a shared focus on downtown revitalization and the creation of new value-added businesses, be it green nanotech in Albany or advanced food processing (artisan cider) in Salem.
That article left out another emerging development strategy. With few exceptions, the Willamette Valley cities are returning to their namesake but oft-ignored river as an urban amenity and eco-friendly development tool.
In Salem, for example, the city has been working to implement a long-standing community plan connecting three urban parks and more than twenty miles of trails via two pedestrian bridges over the Willamette. In 2009, the city completed the first bridge: the Union Street Railroad Bridge, linking West Salem’s Wallace Marine Park with downtown’s Riverfront Park.
The next step is to build the Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge and multimodal trail. The conceptual design was completed this summer and the final design phase will be completed in April, 2013. So far, about $5,000,000 in urban renewal funds has been allocated for the project. To boost tourism and encourage more people to live/work/play downtown, "we are returning to the river," says John Wales, Salem's urban development director.
Portland, of course, is building its own bike/pedestrian/light rail bridge over the Willamette. As the Oregonian’s Anna Griffin reported in October, the city is also taking a dramatic new approach to riverfront development, to be codified in the Central City 2035 plan, a 20-year vision in progress for downtown Portland. The river "is not going to be something to just look at anymore," Michelle Rudd, a land-use lawyer with Stoel Rives and vice chair of Portland's Planning and Sustainability Commission, told Griffin. To engage residents, businesses and tourists with the city’s signature waterway, planners are considering moving riprap to create natural river banks and swimming beaches, and running water taxis to and from OMSI, the Rose Garden and Waterfront Park.
The efforts underway in Portland, Salem and Springfield reflect growing interest in mining the amenity value of Oregon's natural waterways. Famous for its open access approach to the Oregon coast, the state has treated many of its rivers as obstacles to be crossed, dumping grounds for pollutants--or, at best, a natural (cleaned up) waterway disconnected from the life of the city. Now cities such as Hood River, The Dalles, and Astoria are trying to close the gap between the metropolis and the river that runs through it, via natural restoration, beach access and mixed-use development.
Inevitably, these people-oriented river restoration efforts will come into conflict with longtime industrial uses of the river – and expanding urban beach access alongside working ports or harbors will continue to be an issue in many of Oregon's river cities.
Despite the challenges, the return to the river fits in with larger downtown revitalization and economic development trends, in which urban amenities such as greenspaces have become critical tools in recruiting and retaining companies and workers.
Albany developer David Johnson, for one, is banking on the appeal of the river to spur business. He recently completed the Wheelhouse, one of the city's first riverfront mixed-use office buildings, featuring a restaurant patio jutting out into the Willamette. “There are," says Johnson, "only so many natural waterways.”
Linda Baker is managing editor of Oregon Business
Thursday, December 04, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?
Thursday, November 13, 2014
BY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BY MEGHAN NOLT
VIDEO: Under the radar — complete with a soda counter, the traditional Paulsen's Pharmacy looks to compete with big box retailers.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
The president of LaPorte & Associates lets us in on his day-to-day life.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR
The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.
Monday, November 10, 2014
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:
The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace.
Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.
This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay.
Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.
New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”
That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!
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Amy will practice in the firm's Business, Real Estate, and Tax practice groups.
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