Category Archives: Infrastructure

South Waterfront Construction

I was walking through the South Waterfront on Thursday and was excited to see all the construction going on.  I’m always enthusiastic to see development inside the city rather than in the suburbs, so any work is positive in my opinion.  I think the lack of old architecture is a bane to the health of South Waterfront.  Still, It’s incredible when you consider what this land looked like 15 years ago!  I’m excited to see it fully develop.

Here are photos of the Collaborative Life Science Building and the Portland-Milwaukie Lightrail Bridge:

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South of the Collaborative Life Science Building (on Moody) is The Emery, a new residential project by ZGF.  I think the cladding looks wonderful and it fits well against the hill and next to the Ross Island Bridge.  There is so much glass curtain wall construction to be found in the South Waterfront, it’s nice to see the solidity and color in this new project.

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Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge

The Portland-Milwaukie light rail project is progressing and nowhere is it more evident than at the two towers which are growing out of the Willamette River.  When completed, this bridge will connect the west-side light rail to the new tracks on Grand Ave and the future Milwaukie track.  It will be the only bridge in Portland without auto access.  Two center lanes will be used for bus and light rail, with outer walkways for pedestrians.  Tri Met has a site for more information.  It has a ton of images about station layouts, track routes, etc (awesome!).  Check it out here: http://trimet.org/pm/

Here are my pictures and a notes:

Portland Light Rail Bridge ConstructionPortland Light Rail Bridge ConstructionPortland Light Rail Bridge ConstructionPortland Light Rail Bridge ConstructionMax OMSI Water Ave stationMax OMSI Water Ave stationMax OMSI Water Ave station

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Gibbs Street Pedestrian Bridge

I visited Portland’s newest architectural addition this weekend!  The Gibbs Street Footbridge opened on Saturday and I was there to try it out.  The footbridge runs below the aerial tram and connects Corbett-Lair Hill district with the South Waterfront. Although it is far less dramatic than the tram, I believe it’s a much more significant addition.  This will finally connect the two neighborhoods which are so drastically divided by the I-5/Macadam/Hood Ave corridor.

The bridge is tastefully done. I’ve seen older renderings which showed much more elaborate designs, but I think the finished product looks better.  The structure consists of a steel box-girder, supported by two concrete pillars, terminating at an elevator tower. I’m a big fan of the use of chain-link for the safety mesh. I’m also happy to see the bicycle tracks built-into the concrete stairs.  It’s such a simple design solution but makes all the difference when you’re trying to carry a bike up or down seven flights of stairs.

Here are my photos, sketches, and diagrams:

Gibbs Street Bridge SketchGibbs Street Bridge EntranceGibbs Street BridgeGibbs Street BridgeGibbs Street BridgeGibbs Street BridgeGibbs Street BridgeGibbs Street BridgeGibbs Street BridgePortland StreetcarPortland StreetcarPortland Aerial Tram

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Union Station

Union Station is one of Portland’s oldest and most iconic structures. It was designed by Van Brunt & Howe and opened in 1896. The Station is located at the Northern end of the transit Mall, which serves as downtown’s transportation hub, linking light rail, city buses, greyhound, and Amtrak.

Here are my sketches and photos. I’ve created a map of the various rail routes throughout Portland as well.

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Waterfront Loop

The past weekend was beautiful here in Portland and I had a chance to visit a few places around town.  Here are some sights from the East and Westside waterfronts. I parked near Water Avenue and walked North, crossing at the Steel Bridge (my favorite in Portland) and crossing back over on the Hawthorne Bridge (the oldest in Portland). The signage for the pedestrian/bicycle infrastructure is great. It’s clear, organized, and well-observed.

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Portland Aerial Tram

The Aerial Tram that connects the South Waterfront to OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University) is a recent addition to Portland’s infrastructure. Despite its striking design, the tram is not without major controversy (cost overruns, privacy issues, funding, corporate welfare, etc). I’ll avoid the politics of the tram’s creation and focus on its beauty.

Designed by AGPS, a firm based in Zürich and Los Angeles, the tram is probably the most striking piece of architecture built in Portland since the construction of the Oregon Convention Center’s glass towers in 1990. Each 12-ton car travels 3,300 horizontal feet and to an elevation of 500 feet.  The drive system is located at the lower station, with the counterweight cleverly hidden (in plain sight) at the upper station.  I can tell that great attention was paid to aesthetics and proportion- This is a beautiful system!

Here are my photos and sketches:

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