Source: Pamplin Media
Written By: Dana Haynes Date: November 05 2021
Portland Tribune readers were asked about the best use of the space occupied now by the Lloyd Center, after it was announced that a real estate finance trust said it will foreclose on a $110 million loan and redevelop the site.
Earlier this week, an unscientific survey was sent to people who receive the Tribune’s email newsletter. As of Friday, Nov. 5, almost 280 people had responded.
The overwhelming favorite option include a combination of low- and middle-income housing in a mixed-use setting — a combination of residential and commercial space.
And many readers wanted that, plus keeping the skating rink as is.
No two people offered the exact same answer to the open-ended question: “What would be the best use for that building, or that site, should the mall cease to be?” But an estimated 67 people opted for mixed use, with 43 readers — often the same ones — opting for affordable housing.
“It’s time to reimagine the district as a vibrant hub for commerce and housing, in one of the west’s best transportation zones. Let’s be bold!” — Survey respondent
“Instead of mall space, use some space for low-income apartments and training space for the low-income people. Maybe child care so folks could work,” wrote a reader named Colleen.
Another reader, Michele, agreed. “Redevelop for much-needed mix of housing, with supportive services include jobs training, child care on site. It’s time to reimagine the district as a vibrant hub for commerce and housing, in one of the west’s best transportation zones. Let’s be bold!”
A reader named Stanley wrote, “This is an opportunity to create an innovative mixed-use project that should also include affordable housing and some recreational use.”
“Should be converted and used to house the homeless instead of pushing them out into local neighborhoods.” said a reader named Billy.
“The entire facility should be converted into housing for Portland’s homeless,” according to a reader named Robert. “It would be safe, warm, and with easy access to city and state social services. It could probably house several hundred homeless in a dormitory setting.”
A reader named Roxane opted for a variation of that. “Not suitable for low-income housing but what about offering all sorts of services to the homeless and addicted and mentally ill people?” she asked.
The next most popular set of options revolved around entertainment. Twenty readers want the site used as a stadium for Major League Baseball — Portland does not have an MLB team, but efforts to lure one here have been ongoing for decades.
At least 24 people asked that the ice-skating rink remain, either as is, or as an outdoor venue.
Six suggested a kind of entertainment destination. “It could be turned into an entertainment/restaurant destination,” wrote an anonymous responder. “Live Nation was considering a music venue there, as was a movie theater group. Combine that with supporting restaurants and I think it could be a winner. In addition, some of the space could be used for housing and office space, but keep the skating rink, and the new spiral stair. Those are icon emblems of the place that used to be.”
An estimated 22 readers feel the best use of the mall is … as a mall.
“Would be so nice to have it remain a shopping destination, as the east side is underserved for shopping,” wrote a reader named Rebecca.
“I think the city of Portland should buy the mall and continue to operate it, using the income to fund city functions, much as the city bought Pittock Mansion and turned it into a park,” wrote Lisa.
The flip side of that: a retail format that isn’t the traditional mall. “Homes and offices sound OK, but a general array of stores: hardware, dry cleaners, dime stores … restaurants must be needed in that community,” wrote Susan. “So why not change it … to something other than a mall?”
Readers also came up with other options:
• Seven seek a new city park.
• Five people want to see senior housing or a retirement community.
• Three suggested turning it into a school.
• And other options, with at least one vote each, included a hub for bike-centric services, a U.S. Post Office, an industrial campus, a cluster of food carts, and space dedicated to nonprofits.
Two readers were adamant that it not become “a new Pearl District.”
And, being an unscientific survey, of course, some readers’ responses ranged from the humorous to the cranky.
“Civic detention center for vagrants and … ‘peaceful protesters’ who loot and use violence to freely express their societal complaints,” wrote one.
“Don’t know and don’t really care as my family will never go there,” wrote Don. “PDX is on such a disastrous path that no one I know goes anywhere there.”
One reader blamed “globalist Zionists” for the closure of Lloyd Center.
And one reader felt the ultimate answer for the mall was to think small.
“Put in a Cheesecake Factory.”