At the risk of making Art Scatter look like an architecture and planning blog (we’re deeply interested, but others cover the territory fare more systematically) a couple of things are sticking in our craw. Well, my craw, at any rate.
First, the Riverdale School District’s decision to tear down an A.E. Doyle-designed elementary school in Dunthorpe, a move that’s far from surprising but depressing and exasperating, nevertheless: You get the feeling that the board never took the preservation case seriously; it just bulled ahead and did what it wanted to do. Noblesse, you might say, without the oblige. We wrote about this a while back. Now, we can’t think of any response better than those from Scatter friends Tim DuRoche, on his Portland Spaces blog, and Brian Libby, on his Portland Architecture blog. Read ’em and weep. Or get angry. Or both. This 1920 school building isn’t major Doyle, but it’s a model of how to do a modest building the right way — and after all, aren’t most buildings in most places modest? If you get the modest buildings right, the major buildings will follow suit.
Second — and not wanting to pick on Mayor-elect Sam Adams, who has a lot of energy and a lot of ideas — but what in the pluperfect hell is with his insistence on building that white elephant of a convention center hotel? I thought Metro had finally stuck a silver spike in this 600-room monster’s heart, but no: Sam just won’t let it die the death it deserves. This truly seems to be a case where money interests are overruling common sense and good public policy, which really ought to go together.
Let’s be clear about a few things.
— First, the chances of this $227 million project ever paying for itself are about as good as Bill O’Reilly’s shot at acing out Hillary and becoming Obama’s secretary of state. And let’s not even get into how much that estimated $227 million would actually end up being.