The Story Line
The book chronicles four decades of urban redevelopment on the edge of downtown Portland, Oregon. The story begins in an industrial area—The Northwest Triangle—when older, manufacturing businesses were leaving the central city. New businesses soon took their place through adaptive reuse of the area’s warehouse building stock.
Other developers, recognizing these successful endeavors, followed suit converting more warehouses into loft apartments, then condominiums. Unused rail yards became building sites for mid and high-rise buildings and neighborhood retail services slowly occupied the new ground level storefronts. An array of restaurants and boutiques soon appeared supported by an increasing numbers of new residents seeking an urbane lifestyle in what had become The Pearl District.
Early in the redevelopment process artists and art galleries had been attracted to the district. Later both an art college and a local theater group took up residence. Together with special art and festival events The Cultured Pearl gave the district a special ambiance. Central to this story are the business people who through their personal visions and commitment to the transformation process made possible the evolution of the area. There was no single vision or blueprint that everyone followed. There were many visions that collectively and incrementally coalesced into a dynamic organism that continues to change as the story continues.