It was an old story. It had happened in New York City, in SoHo, and again in LA, with the Arts District, and even in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the Haymarket district. All these places have a healthy dose of the arts mixed in the company of a potpourri of land uses.
Portland artists pioneered the Northwest Triangle in the ‘80s. Bill Will, a sculptor, was one of the earliest arrivals among the first wave of artists who rented studios in the district.
“Bill, what did the artists contribute to the Pearl in the early years?” I said, years later.
Smiling, Bill replied, “I think the artists were the developers.”
That’s an interesting point of view, I thought.
Bill went on. “They were the ones who moved in first and legitimized it as a place to work and live.” In saying that, Bill meant the artists had just as much right to claim they had discovered the district as did the property developers who profited from renovating the old warehouses the artists worked in and sometimes lived in too. And because the artists didn’t work on the same schedule as the manufacturing workers in the district, “they brought life to it [the district].”
November 9, 2018
I have a new book title—Pearl District with a sub title of PLACEMAKING FROM THE GROUND UP. The cover design has also changed replacing the previous image with an oblique aerial view of NW 13 Avenue looking south. The current picture is of the street in the mid-1980s. And I’m thinking of putting another photograph on the back cover.
I finally have a complete first draft although various sections have been revised several times already. But it’s now time for serious revisions because I have 144,000 plus words. There’s an ending, but I have a finally section entitled “Further Away and Now.” There are a couple of major projects including the master planning for the redevelopment of Portland’s main post office site. I want to include a brief narrative about where the urban planning process is with respect to this project as it will have a significant impact on what the Pearl becomes in the future.
With luck the book will be published in Spring 2019 or early summer.