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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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What’s the Green Loop?

Find out at the upcoming Design Week.

As Design Week PDX (DWP) gets ready to kick off this weekend, we’re busy prepping all the goodies for our Green Loop displays, interactive exhibits and discussions. This concept for a six-mile linear park around Portland’s urban core is the star attraction of DWP, starting with the opening night party on Saturday evening.

A “Big Idea” from the Central City 2035 Plan, the Green Loop concept has been shepherded by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s Urban Design Studio, in collaboration with other bureaus, agencies and community stakeholders. Last year, the University of Oregon/Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape held a design competition called Loop PDX, which invited designers to flesh out the circular open space concept. Untitled Studios, a group of young designers, won the $20,000 prize and has spent the past year refining and expanding the concept based on a lot of public outreach.

They will be sharing their latest work at DWP Headquarters at The Redd all next week.

See what others are saying about it:

Experience the Green Loop, virtually

Computer-generated simulation tool shows the community their own “Emerald City.”

Imagine … You slip on a pair of special glasses, allow your eyes to adjust — and click play. Fade into scene. Look left, then right. Now try up and down. You are quickly orienting, and now you recognize a few landmarks: the building where your favorite café was and a magnolia tree that put on a show every spring.

You see a street sign that says you’re are at SE 6th and Washington. But this intersection is different than it used to be. There are more street trees, benches with people eating lunch and reading the newspaper. And that café? It’s now a pizzeria, its garage doors rolled up and beckoning you to sit down for a slice.

As you take it all in, several bicyclists zip by your shoulder. They were close, but you feel safe because they sped along a painted track that keeps you comfortably separated. Seconds later, a laughing child runs in front of you as her mom gives chase. You turn left and see that a parking lot is now a three-story building with restaurants on the first floor and offices above. You wonder if you’ve stepped into the future. 

Welcome to virtual reality.

What you just experienced is Portland’s Green Loop. Conceived by the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to be a linear park, the loop will provide residents, workers and visitors a place to walk, bike, run and play along a 6-mile loop around the Central City.

In the past, BPS has shown what new development could look like with maps, photos and drawings. But as part of Design Week Portland, the bureau partnered with Oregon Story Board and Shovels and Whiskey to create a virtual reality experience of the Green Loop.

Green Loop VRVirtual reality (or VR) is best known in the computer gaming world, but it’s now being used by health care practitioners, educators, artists and marketers. VR uses headset viewers to create immersive visual experiences that can feel very real. Employing it as a community engagement tool is pioneering and — as far as we know — BPS is one of the first planning agencies in the country to do so.

If you are at Design Week Portland’s Opening Gala, you can try it for yourself. Later in May, BPS will release a version of the Green Loop virtual reality experience to view online or with the Google Cardboard App. Look for more details about that soon.

So stay tuned for more exciting new about the Green Loop and how you can continue to experience it at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/greenloop.

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s Green Loop is star attraction at Design Week Portland

New concept for a “linear park” throughout the Central City is brought to life by Untitled Studio.

The last week in April is an exciting time in Portland, which is home to a variety of artists and artisans, designers, software developers, makers and other creators. But you don’t have to be “creative” to appreciate Design Week Portland (April 23 – 29). There’s something for everyone at this annual event featuring the latest thinking, trends and issues in all areas of design.

This year, Design Week Portland Headquarters will bring to life the Green Loop, a planned pedestrian/bike urban promenade linking the city’s east and west sides around the Central City. A “big idea” from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s (BPS) Central City 2035 Plan and shepherded by BPS’ Urban Design Studio, the Green Loop concept caught the eye of Untitled Studio, the winners of last year’s LoopPDX competition.

As part of their winning proposal for the Green Loop, Untitled Studio reimagined the design process as a public celebration. So along with City bureau partners, they will host a weeklong exhibition that invites the community to engage, react to, discuss and further envision the Green Loop’s potential.

The Exhibition

The concept for the Green Loop put forth by Untitled Studio, The Portland Mosaic, is a framework to be filled through collaborative efforts – a massive mosaic in which every Portlander can have a tile. With this exhibition, Untitled Studio invites community members to join them in imagining a diverse yet unified Green Loop.

Green loop graphic

In the exhibition, participants can experience and engage with the concept through collaboration, creative programming, a streetscape prototype and a large-scale interactive map. A special feature of the exhibit will be a virtual reality “tour” of the Green Loop, where participants can explore the various features of the loop through an immersive experience.

The Events

Because the Green Loop is the “headliner” event for this year’s Design Week, a series of workshops, charrettes, evening lectures and happy hour events will be coordinated with the Green Loop or larger themes about public space and city design, including:

Green Beer!

HUB Green Loop IPA label

No, it’s not St Patrick’s Day again. But in honor of the Green Loop, Hopworks Urban Brewery has created a new IPA dubbed … you guessed it: Green Loop IPA. A limited edition beverage from one of Portland’s most popular brew pubs, this “deliciously hoppy” IPA was made with “Certified Salmon-Safe Chinook and Crystal hops to represent the river that intersect the districts in the loop.”

So enjoy a “green beer” during Design Week while you experience the Green Loop. Cheers! 

Green Loop is featured attraction at Saturday Walkways event in the Park Blocks

Loop PDX contest winner Untitled Studios engaged hundreds of people participating in the all-day event

people walking and riding bikes downtown

On August 20, hundreds of Portlanders braved the heat to join the Oregon Walkways: Connect the Park Blocks on the Green Loop event. A mile-long celebration of public space to promote active transportation on the historic Park Blocks, the event illustrated how a potential Green Loop could feel on the ground. Co-sponsored by Oregon Walks and Better Block PDX , the all-day event was also supported by Metro, Neighbors West/Northwest, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland Parks and Recreation and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

The winner of Design Week Portland and UO John Yeon Center’s  Loop PDX design competition, Untitled Studio was a key attraction along the walk route. Members of the design team engaged passersby in a pop-up exhibit, featuring two interactive displays: a large map of the Central City and a 3D model of a typical intersection. Participants were asked to share their insights about the future design of the Green Loop through writing and drawing. Untitled Studio hopes to assemble these ideas into a future exhibition for Design Week Portland next spring.

Placed along the mid-town blocks were historical markers, created by Chet Orloff and Linda Wisner, showcasing the history of Portland’s transportation and planning in the Central City. In addition, the route featured programming and activities sponsored by community organizations, institutions and businesses such as the Multnomah County Central Library, Portland Art Museum, Oregon Historical Society, City Repair, Portland Bocce League, Nelson/Nygaard, Street Roots and many more. 

Missed the event?

Watch a short video of people interacting with the Untitled Studio displays. Or view and interact with the displays in person, along with the historical markers and photographs of the event, in the lobby of 1900 SW 4th Ave from Monday, August 29 to Friday, September 9.