Company aims to make Portland’s Lloyd District a neighborhood

PORTLAND ROUNDUP: Development buzzes in Lloyd District; East Portland residents want out; prices of homes skyrocket throughout city.

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San Diego-based American Assets Trust indicated it wants Portland’s Lloyd District to have a neighborhood feel.’s Elliot Njus reports that the next step is altering the area’s town square.

As its 657-apartment Hassalo on Eighth development nears completion, AAT is turning its attention to redevelopment of the four-block site just to the south. It would replace Oregon Square, a collection of low-rise office buildings, with four new high-rise and mid-rise apartment buildings. And in the middle, the company is planning more than 100,000 square feet of open space. (That’s nearly 14 times the size of downtown Portland’sDirector Park, and almost two football fields.) The privately owned park would be open to residents and anyone else.

“We definitely see it as being both an amenity and asset to the development, but also a destination,” said Kyle Anderson of GBD Architects, which is designing the project.

 AAT Vice President Wade Lange said public spaces are vital to the success of the neighborhood.

Construction on Oregon Square will start in spring or summer of 2016, Njus’ story says.

AAT also is planning to build a 32-story skyscraper in Lloyd Center that doesn’t meet state code for earthquake safety. But Njus reports that it will be put through a “rigorous peer-review process” — the first building using such a standard in the area.

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Developers for the tower — one of four in American Assets Trust’s Oregon Square redevelopment — expect to be the first to use a longstanding exemption for so-called “performance-based design” to protect against seismic damage. It allows project engineers to show through computer simulations that their design will hold up as well as a tower built to the building code’s specifications. That will allow for faster — and therefore less expensive — construction. It also gives designers more flexibility in designing the building’s interior.  Performance-based design is most common for buildings 240 feet or taller, which have more stringent seismic requirements.

“We in Portland just haven’t seen the demand with the taller buildings,” said Andy Peterson, manager for plan review and permitting at the Portland Bureau of Development Services.

Some East Portland residents want out

Feeling neglected after being annexed by the city of Portland, residents in the neighborhoods east of Interstate 205 are pursuing a vote to secede.

Willamette Week’s Aaron Mesh reports on the trio of East Portland residents who filed a petition to include their initiative on the 2016 ballot — provided they secure 31,345 signatures by July 2016.

“East Portland is kind of doomed,” says Collene Swenson, a chief petitioner. “That’s what we feel. They are doing more than they ever have in East Portland right now. But it’s nothing new, and it’s nothing better. And meanwhile, we’re helping fund the iconic parts of downtown Portland.” 

The ballot initiative petition was first reported Tuesday by the Mid-County Memo. In their two-page proposal, the backers say Portland City Hall has failed to provide East Portland with the same level of services. Swenson, an insurance claims adjuster, tells WW that East Portland will be able to better allocate its resources to local services—like streets and sidewalks.

Says Swenson: “We elect people who don’t live in our neighborhoods, who don’t represent us,” she says. “We can all move to Vancouver, or we can remove ourselves from Portland. Because they can’t fix it. We can leave and do that. We can work on ourselves.”

Unfortunately for Swenson, City Auditor Mary Hull Caballaro ruled the petition didn’t meet the requirements set forth by the state constitution, according to an update to WW’s story. Swenson vowed to re-write her proposal because “we’re just super fed up.”

Portland home prices continue to increase

Prices of houses in the Portland market rose 7%  over the last year.

According to data from CoreLogic — and reported by the Portland Business Journal — home prices rose 1 percent from December 2014 to January 2015 alone.

The trends here in the Portland region are similar to, though stronger than, those across the country, according to CoreLogic’s data. Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased 5.7 percent in January 2015 compared to January 2014. The change represents 35 months of consecutive year-over-year increases in home prices nationally.

CoreLogic also expects that home prices will continue to rise this year. They predict that prices would climb nationally about a half a percent between January and February of this year, and by about 5 percent from January 2015 to the same month next year.