Q: How did the most boutique neighborhood grow out of such an industrial maze?
A: I’m assuming you’re talking about the infamous Pearl District! Formerly warehouses, industrial yards and railroads, the neighborhood has blossomed into a central shopping hub that has become a focal point of Portland. Yet, this process of urban renewal didn’t happen overnight—it was a slow conversion that took place over decades and it is because of the mixture of aged and innovative, elevated and expansive that the Pearl has become so unique.
It is important that we preserve the aspects of the area that are the foundation for its hip factor. The Brewery Blocks did a superb job of combining historic preservation with the current needs for commercial and residential use. Another example is the Eco Trust Building, which took an existing frame and created a statement that has become a central fixture on the Streetcar line. Yet it’s not only for commercial that this breeds true. The Pearl is surrounded by some of the most gorgeous Victorian homes in our city, many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. I could walk around the neighborhood for hours because of the vast diversity that the area has to offer.
I think the exclusive blend of mixed-use architecture has created a visionary planning perspective that Portlanders appreciate. This is something that cannot be created from scratch and therefore is a Pearl.