TAD SAVINAR by decree


									                                                                         Telephone: 50 3- 227- 6969
TAD SAVINAR                                                                    Fax: 50 3- 22 7- 3011
                                                                     E-mail : tsavinar@teleport. com
                                                   Mail: Post Office Box 10798, Portland, OR 97296
                                       FedEx/UPS: 3571 SW Council Crest Drive, Portland, OR 9720 1

January 2, 2008

Dear Urban Renewal Area Review Committee,

It has been my pleasure to have been a member of the Portland cultural community for
the past thirty-five years. During that time I have seen many theaters, galleries, studios,
dance companies come and go in many parts of town. Artists have drifted like pioneering
nomads from one affordable rent to another. Institutional directors and their boards shift
in prominence and success at the whim of a season. But if one surveys the most recent
movements of various cultural organizations and artists within our city, that old adage
becomes real once again - location, location, location. While there are many myths
about the birth of the Pearl district, one thing stands. Stories of warehouses full of
studios and studios full of artists are simply not true. However, in the last few years there
has been a number of events which begin to suggest that there is at long last, a very real
arts district growing in small steps for the first time in my experience within this city.
This then, is a letter that does not argue in favor of one URA boundary over another
boundary or this year's costs vs. that year's expenditure, but rather attempts to inform
you about a fragile cultural district ecology which is growing in the gap between the east
edge of the Pearl and the western edge of Old Town/Chinatown (OT/CT). I wish to
inform you of these shifts in the event that they may be of use as you look to the future
tools which can be employed to enhance the development of these places within our city.

If one visits other communities and their thriving cultural districts you will note a few
elements which contribute to the needed balance of such a cultural ecology:

1. A mixed scale of buildings.
2. Both ends of the cultural spectrum - non-profit culture needs to rub shoulders with
for-profit culture.
3. The perception of a geographic district with edges.
4. Seamless connectivity to transit.
5. Existence of institutions and educational facilities.
6. A pedestrian-scaled environment.
7. A supply of indigenous, independent bars and restaurants.

Now, here is a list of current cultural developments within the North Park Blocks
Cultural District:
1. The preponderance of small non-profit, non commercial and other arts-related
galleries and performance venues within the light rail and bus corridor of NW 5 th and 6 th
between Burnside and Glisan.

2. The movement where by the 3 largest, and most successful, commercial contemporary
art galleries purchased buildings along NW 9 th to house their operations.

3. The move of Portland Center Stage to NW 11th and Davis

4. The survival of a number of small , bars and food service locations in OT/CT that
creatives are calling home.

5. The location of a number of live music venues along the transit corridor.

6. The redevelopment of the Daisy Kingdom building into the De Soto, a four story
facility filled with condoized contemporary commercial art galleries, a non-profit
photography center and of course the Contemporary Crafts Museum.

7. Other things are in the works, such as the new Mercy Core Headquarters, the U of 0
Architecture School moving into the White Stage Building, the possibility of PNCA
moving into the 511 Building and lastly, some giant vision by Harsch Investments to
develop their "Boxer Block" into some PNCA-friendly cultural use. Additionally, I am
part of a design team which is currently designing a number of rights of way
improvements (landscaping, unique lighting elements and street enhancements) which
would link OT/CT to the Pearl along Davis between 4 th and 11th and be funded through
the current TriMet light rail project.

If one takes a moment to review the 7 criteria from other cities listed earlier in this letter
and then check them against the 7 recent developments in Portland immediately above it
is no surprise that these urban conditions match exactly the current developments taking
place between the western edge of OT/CT and the eastern edge of the Pearl and between
Burnside and Glisan.

While I could think of a number of very simple initiatives which could be developed to
sustain and enhance this maturing cultural urban nugget within our city, that is not the
reason I am writing. I am merely writing this letter to make sure that you are informed as
to the current developments within this slice of town and to provide you with information
you would not have gleaned from other, more opinionated sources.

Good luck with your deliberations and should you wish a more detailed overview, or to
ask me so e specific questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.
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                              - II

         -      Day Activities
                Trimel Station

                Civic Meetings

                Parks & Open Space '
                                                                                                               ~ ~

                                                                                                        Performing Arts
                                                                                                        Visual Arts
                                                                                                        Building Entrance
                                                                                                        Parking Serving District
                                                                                                        Primary Culture-Based Pedestrian Circulation
                                                                                                                                                                        Downtown Cultural District
                                                                                                                                                                        DIY Cu~ure f Vis Arts
                                                                                                                                                                        Commercial Galleries

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