Sponsored by Lane Powell

South Waterfront finally comes to life

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Monday, August 23, 2010

By Jessica Hoch

The ribbon-cutting of Elizabeth Caruthers Park last Thursday sent a strong signal that the idealized South Waterfront District isn’t completely lost to a stalled economy. Quite the contrary, it looks as though the neighbors are finally moving in, and so is business.


Webbabies_in_fountainScores of families, dogs and residents joined in on the official opening of the grassy park, an event complete with free gelato and Italian soda.  Muffled by the music of the jazz band was even a faint sound of progress, a drill pounding the pavement for a new dentist's office.  During the ceremony City of Portland Commissioner Nick Fish promised the future of South Waterfront was finally here.

Residents have long waited for the park to lose the fence and open to the public. It was promised years ago before the housing crisis in 2007 left brand-new condominiums such as the Atwater Place vacant and waiting to be auctioned off for fractions of the original asking prices.  Promised to be the next Pearl District, the new neighborhood was practically empty.

But the numbers are starting to look positive.  The Atwater Place is selling about a unit a week and is well over half full. Vacancies in the John Ross are almost down to single digits and the Mirabella is largely pre-sold and set to open August 31st.  The Ardea and Riva on the Park rental properties are 72% and 85% occupied respectively.

The long-delayed affordable housing unit, The Tamarack, will finally break ground in the fall to build a five-story building and 209 units, which will bring some diversity to the community.

Benjamin Silver is a resident in the Atwater Place. He moved to the district in December because he felt it offered so much more value for the price compared to the Pearl and other parts of Portland.

“When we moved in it was quiet, but we fell in love with the area and with the park now open, it is true what they say, build it and they will come,” said Silver.  “The day it opened there were children jumping in the fountain, and people biking and playing with their dogs.”

Like many residents, Silver would love to see a lot more retail, especially a grocery store.  So far a few eateries, doggy daycare, a bank and a grocery mart dot empty window fronts. 

“When you get a grocery store you know the neighborhood has finally arrived,” said Kathleen Mazzocco of Clear PR, who represents the Atwater. “It took the Pearl 10 years to get a grocery store and with a population of 1,500 we need a bit more, but we are happy with the growth.”

The growth looks like it should continue over the next couple of years as projects are added to the pipeline.  The neighborhood will open three children’s learning centers in the fall, including a day care at OHSU and a charter school.  The community garden is up to 80 plots. A government agency is planning to add 74,000 square feet to house the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit.  The 700-foot Gibbs Street pedestrian bridge passing over I-5, adjacent to the aerial tram, will connect Lair Hill to the South Waterfront and will begin construction this winter.

Access remains an issue. The streetcar runs through, but there isn’t a MAX line.  Some residents say they prefer the isolation since it keeps things a little more quiet than the bustle of other districts.  That could change if the proposed plans for a streetcar line to Lake Oswego through Moody Street gets more serious, but that is still years away.

For now though, signs of progress on the waterfront and the beautiful new park serve as effective distractions from the empty construction sites still waiting for the shovel.

Jessica Hoch is an online reporter for Oregon Business.

 

Comments   

 
EastPDXResident
0 #1 Waiting for the fence to come downEastPDXResident 2010-08-23 11:22:57
Residents of East Portland have been waiting 15 or 20 years for several parks "to lose the fence and open to the public" -- and we are STILL WAITING!
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Stuck in EP Limbo
0 #2 ...and waiting, and waiting, and waiting...Stuck in EP Limbo 2010-08-23 12:02:10
It's a sad and uncomfortable fact that when we ask our representatives WHY population-heav y East Portland has been overlooked for appropriate financing of basic improvements and upgrades, they can only respond with "why aren't those residents voting?"

Make your voices heard, EPDXers! Be the squeek that your elected officials will respond to!
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


Read more...

Money Talks

March 2015
Saturday, February 21, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Will community banks survive the digital age? Three CEOs peer into banking's crystal ball.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Tortoise and the Hare

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015

The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average. 


Read more...

Downtime with the president of NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Live, Work, Play: Catching up with Chris Johnson.


Read more...

MBA Perspective

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Robin Anderson, dean of the Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland: "You need people who are comfortable leading in ambiguity."


Read more...

6 chiefs of staff dish on their bosses

The Latest
Thursday, February 05, 2015
legilistiblog-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask chiefs of staff for the scoop on Oregon legislators.


Read more...

Uncertainty about convention center hotel could cost Portland an NBA All-Star Game

The Latest
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
463545460BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

NBA commissioner: "I would love to end up having an All-Star Game in Portland. It's really just a function of ensuring that we can fit in town."


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS