The May 18th groundbreaking for Madison High School – Portland Public Schools’ fourth high school modernization project – celebrated the school’s redesign to accommodate an ultimate attendance of 1700 students in 9-12th grades. Built in 1957, the modernized school will re-open in September 2021. Madison’s curriculum is unique in that it houses sustainable agriculture and environmental studies programs. The landscape architecture work at Madison encompasses site circulation, school and stadium entry plazas, internal courtyards, an agricultural area, a childcare playground and athletic facilities. The challenging forty-acre site that straddles the Alameda Ridge has over fifty feet of grade change. Mayer/Reed is working with the project team that includes Opsis Architecture, DAO Architecture and Fortis Construction.
Last week the Portland Design Commission presented their third annual Design Excellence Award to the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic on Oregon Health & Science University’s Marquam Hill campus.
“The building and landscape work together to create a place of healing. They are elegant in their simplicity,” noted Julie Livingston, Portland Design Commission Chair. “The site plan organizes and makes sense of competing uses in a manner that improves the pedestrian environment and benefits both the new building and also the existing Casey Eye Institute.”
The building received Design Commission approval last fall and is under construction. The design commission lauded NBBJ’s architecture, Mayer/Reed’s site design and OHSU’s commitment to design on their urban campuses. Carol Mayer-Reed accepted the award on behalf of the team at a Portland City Council meeting, May 1.
Starting in the month of hearts and flowers, Portland’s cherished Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade is getting another kind of love: maintenance and repairs.
On February 1, the busy river walk will close for two months for much-needed TLC after 18 years of constant use.
Since it opened in 2001, the Eastbank has remained a popular destination for waterfront strolls, rolls or jogs, affording excellent views of downtown, the Willamette River and its many bridges.
The 1.5 mile linear park, a long-desired amenity along the central city’s waterfront, was challenged by limited space between the river and freeway. When it was completed, it became an immediate hit, connecting with the west side downtown Tom McCall Waterfront Park to create a well-traveled loop. The city’s latest counts show that the esplanade withstands about 2,400 bicycle trips and 1,200 walking trips per day in summer.
Thanks to the efforts of advocates and a city council that understands its significance to the community, the Eastbank will be spiffed up in time for the springtime masses seeking outdoor activity. And for the hardy souls who depend on the esplanade for year-round bike commuting, the city has your back with a detour onto the west side’s Better Naito.
As designers of the award-winning esplanade, we at Mayer/Reed are heartened by the city’s investment in the Eastbank’s future and thrilled that it will continue to serve and delight for many more years. We think Vera would be pleased!
What are your fondest childhood memories of explorations in nature? How did these experiences influence your values? How do we engage today’s families in natural settings, so they pass along the importance of environmental stewardship? How do we best create a balance of park amenities with preservation of the wild?These are salient topics of conversation in the planning of Errol Heights Park in SE Portland. If you haven’t discovered it first-hand, this choice locale is known for its spring-fed ponds, beavers, and steep, wooded terrain. Formerly private home sites, it’s now a 16-acre public space with minimal improvements. It reminds us of the rich, feral landscapes we experienced as kids.At a public open house earlier this month, Portland Parks and Recreation and the design team shared a proposed park plan that takes a light touch. It preserves the habitat of the lower natural wetland and riparian areas, improves the trail system and provides a low-impact, upland area for overlooks, nature play, picnics and community gardens. We had one-on-one conversations with neighbors and families, as well as educators who regularly use the space for environmental education. They shared their insights regarding park amenities, character and themes. Even the youngest attendees got involved, creating imaginative playgrounds with tactile materials. The community’s feedback will be reflected in our refinement of the park design.