The West Quadrant of Portland’s Central City is a place for work, learning and play. While it serves as a major employment hub for the city, it also offers a wide range of recreational activities, fine dining, nightlife, and other amenities that create a lively civic atmosphere. As a result, the West Quadrant has increasingly become an attractive place for residential development with several well-established urban neighborhoods, including the Pearl District and Goose Hollow.
Future housing development should include a range of affordability and types. Charrette participants expressed interest in targeting particular types of housing in certain areas. For example, family-friendly housing should be targeted in areas with amenities such as parks and schools for children. There are some challenges, however, to achieving diverse, vibrant neighborhoods in the West Quadrant, including available tools to create a range of housing options.
During the West Quadrant Charrette in June, participants identified the need for at least some housing in every district to increase livability and appeal — even in employment-focused areas. There is ample development capacity to accommodate significant new development for housing. But with housing sprinkled more evenly throughout the West Quadrant, better residential services and improved connections to services will be needed.
An example of where this could happen is along the downtown waterfront, near Waterfront Park. At the heart of the city and as the major employment center for the entire metropolitan region, downtown could be a more desirable place to live. More housing near the waterfront could dramatically increase evening and weekend activity in the area, as well as improve public safety and help businesses thrive and attract a diverse workforce.
In the West Quadrant, a great model of a district in which people can work, play and live is the West End, located west of downtown between the Park Blocks and the I-405 freeway. With a diverse mix of housing, employment, entertainment and retail offerings, the West End has transformed in recent years into a culturally rich and desirable neighborhood. While not New York City with round-the-clock activity, the West End features lots of amenities for residents and visitors alike.
Other areas of the West Quadrant could also be transformed into unique places, busy with the bustle of employees heading to or from work — who could also enjoy the offerings of their neighborhood after work and on the weekends.
Creating more residential options and enhancing the West Quadrant’s neighborhoods is just one of the big ideas that came out of the West Quadrant Charrette. Stay tuned over the coming weeks as we feature other themes that emerged from the process. Next up: Active transportation!