This building actually seems to pull off Faux-Historic better than most.

The protest banner does a good job conveying the scale of the building, but is misleading (perhaps not intentionally) because what is being constructed will not be a bright yellow windowless cube... it will in fact be a building much like those already found around town from decades past in well-established neighborhoods.

I'd like to see some renderings of the proposed structure which show neighboring houses (including the angle from the protest banner)... I'm just finding it difficult to be offended by this building. But, I don't have to live next door to it, and I don't live in Irvington.

However, I would gladly replace two less-dense but completely ugly (IMHO) properties across from my house with the Irvington Squire. :-)
The neighborhood's position, which appears to be roundly supported by the city Landmarks Commission, is that it is an attractive building that is just too large for its site, which is a particularly sensitive location in that three National Register landmark buildings -- including two on the same block -- are located nearby. In all, there are seven national landmark buildings in the vicinity.

I think the Commission's preliminary judgement is largely based on the fact that the overall bulk and scale of the proposed building is dramatically greater than any other building in the area. It size simply overwhelms its neighbors and doesn't meet the design standards that are mandatory approval criteria in an Historic Conservation District.

From that standpoint, it's a pretty straightforward call. The neighborhood has said that it could support this very same project if it is no taller than 54 feet and has a greater setback from NE 15th that will maintain the important visual corridor that helps define NE 15th avenue as the "gateway to Irvington" and that also will have the additional virtue of helping to save the mature street trees along that street. Here again, another defining characteristic of the neighborhood.

So, in the end, we do hope the project gets built, but at the proper scale and configuration on the site.
Well, .... The proposed building seems OK to me. If it is architectually appealing and recalls historic building ideas, then why oppose it? If ding code allows, and it will reflect archtectual style, then Portland is better off for good buildings where good people will live.
What better way to honor the rich history of the gentrification of that neighborhood than by keeping more affordable housing out of the mix?

Fight on, you proud baby boomers, for your cause is wealthy!
Landmarks Commission says: "Design review guidelines DO trump code..."

And then, City Council and LUBA say: "no they don't..."

Seriously, has this question not been adjudicated before? It's pretty fundamental. And who would want to live in a can of worms, anyhow?
I want to know why the city continues to approve the building of new high rises in town when we can't fill the ones we've already got built. We've seen numerous articles written in the last year about these buildings sitting at half residential capacity and many cannot fill the commercial spots open at ground level.
Five stories is by no means a "high rise".

Take a look at buildings like 530 NW 23rd Ave (a different part of town, true) for a building which is essentially 5 stories tall at the north end, and was built in 1912.

Such buildings are a relative rarity outside of downtown, but they do exist. Typically, walk-ups were limited to 3-4 floors (most people don't like to climb lots of stairs on a daily basis), but with elevators, 5-6 story buildings became more economical, while still maintaining a modest scale.

There is a sweet spot at 5 to 6 stories where you can get away with 1 or 2 relatively inexpensive hydraulic elevators to serve a whole building. As you start to get taller, you need more expensive elevators and/or more total elevators, stronger construction methods, etc.

But 5 stories does not a "high rise" make.

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