Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Beam’s new building will be bike-friendly

Posted by on February 20th, 2007 at 7:42 am

[The current B&O warehouse.]
Photo: Courtesy Beam Development

A landmark building on Portland’s central eastside is about to be significantly redeveloped, and the folks behind the project plan to make it very bike-friendly.

The B&O building on SE Stark and 2nd (between the Morrison and Burnside bridges) is being re-constructed by Portland-based Beam Development into creative office space for small businesses.

[The future building.]
Photo: Courtesy Beam Development

Beam’s Keven Farrell got in touch to tell me that, along with their architects, they’re going to create a “super bike-friendly building.”

Here’s an excerpt of an email forwarded to me from an architect working on the project:

“… the B&O is aptly located on the main bicycle access to the district along Stark St. This street has recently been improved by PDOT to include bike lanes and minimize back in loading along the route.

We are also doing major improvements to Second Ave. along the property line to remove the abandoned tracks, replace the potholed street surface and provide sidewalk access. We have requested PDOT to allow short term bike parking on this sidewalk…we have also considered locating short term bike racks inside the north entry.

The basement affords a lot of space for secure long term bicycle parking. We have two areas for bike parking located close to the elevators on the north side and south sides of the building. The south bicycle parking will be on a floor mounted rack…The north bike parking area will be in a separate room on wall mounted racks.

This room is planned to be a future locker room build-out with showers an adjacent a work out facility. Since the building can accommodate so many bikers due to its location and facilities we have anticipated that there may be a need for more secure bicycle parking stalls and have identified flex space close to the south elevator, in the basement to accommodate that need. We hope to have to use it.”

It’s great to see bicycle access and convenience given such high priority in this major re-development.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Ron February 20, 2007 at 11:19 am

    That’s fantastic, love to see more infrastructure for small business support and the bicycle friendly nature of the project makes me want to start one and locate there! Perhaps I will…

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  • Keven February 20, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Ron and anyone else interested in more information regarding leasing space at the Olympic Mills Commerce Center (B&O) can contact me via email at leasing@eastbank1.com.

    Please include your mailing address, square footage needs, and contact information. I have information packets I can send out including floorplans and FAQ’s.


    Keven Farrell

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  • Garlynn February 20, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    So, I guess this means that the conversion of the Central Eastside from “Industrial Sanctuary” to “Neighborhood of the Future” is very real, and happening now?

    That news couldn’t be better, but I hope that the City is now fully on board with the concept (as they were ten years ago with the Pearl).

    Kudos all around — this sounds like a very exciting project! Can’t wait to ride my bike past the completed development.

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  • Dennis February 20, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Beam Development should be applauded, not only by cyclist but by anyone hoping to have a livable Portland 20 years from now.

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  • peejay February 20, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    Let’s not get too excited about having another Pearl District just yet. I don’t want to be another Pearl-basher (disclosure, I lived there from 2000-2005), but in spite of all the urban density, great new restaurants and other benefits, it’s really only a residential option for the upper incomes. And many businesses were pushed out to accommodate the fancy housewares boutiques, businesses that either shut down or relocated to Tigard. How is this good for the city, the environment, or the bicycling community?

    We do need a strong effort to keep the CE a viable option for light industrial and office business, and not turn it into another playground for the BMW set. The above project is great, because it’s just rehabilitating a cool old building that needed some TLC, and, it sounds like, making better use of the floorspace to create more opportunity for business in the city center. Good for you, Keven; just keep the rents somewhat affordable, please.

    In general, we’re at the next phase in the great urban renaissance. Phase one was to stem the tide of residents fleeing to the suburbs, and to reverse the trend. That part is going reasonably well, as long as all incomes can participate. The next phase is to keep the jobs here, too, and attract new ones. The idea is to reduce commute times, which reduces the need for all that car-based infrastructure. I’ve more to say on this issue, but I’ll save it.

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  • Keven February 20, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    Yes our spaces are pretty affordable going for $1.17 – $1.67 per sq. ft. And we have spaces as small as 400 square feet up to 3000.

    And luckily due to zoning, a lot of the CE will not be fit for residential use. Like you said touched on peejay, this will create an abundance of new jobs. As we have done with some of our other buildings, the Eastbank Commerce Center and the Water Avenue Commerce Center.

    However the one of the major problems I foresee is the train that cuts right through the area. More commerce is going to inevitably create a higher traffic area, and with the train holding people up for up to 15 minutes sometimes, it’s going to get backed up real fast.

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  • peejay February 20, 2007 at 6:45 pm


    Are you proposing the removal of the rail line? I think it’s a mistake to reduce rail infrastructure at the expense of cars. What if, in the future, we could use existing track for some kind of passenger service? Let’s keep the tracks there, and better integrate other modes with them. I suggest a couple of bike/ped crossovers, which would also put a small price on the cost of driving in the area, which is a positive thing. As for deliveries, well, perhaps the freight operators could stick to schedules better, and deliveries could work around them.

    The future cost of rail removal is exponentially large. We’ll need those rails later.

    Glad to know your units are affordable.

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  • peejay February 20, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    By the way, it would be great if non-car-using occupants of your building got a break on their rents. Now THAT would be bike-friendly!

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  • peejay February 20, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    Oh, and good on you about the green roof!

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  • shawn. February 20, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    FYI-the rail line does already have passenger service in the form of a few Amtrak trains. Now if we could get more and more frequent passenger service…

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  • Keven February 20, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Yes I agree it would be extremely illogical in every sense to remove the rail. Again I only foresee it being more of a noticeable traffic problem in the near future. I wouldn’t suggest how to fix the problem, as I won’t pretend to know the first thing about where to begin.

    But the bike/ped crossovers would be a great idea. Parking I can see as one of the other major setbacks. However I’ve no doubt we will see parking structures popping up sooner or later.

    And agreed on the rent break 🙂 I wish we could; however due to the lack of vehicle parking for the building we do charge for parking per month. So in a way there is a small financial incentive to finding other ways to commute to the building.

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  • peejay February 20, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Charging for parking is exactly the same as giving a break to those who don’t park. Good on you again!

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  • Lenny Anderson February 21, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    The changes in the Central Eastside are interesting to watch. Light industry is leaving regardless due to macro economic forces, but where does light industry (printing presses) leave off and commercial (graphic designers)start?
    The freeway, bridge ramps and UPRR line keep rents down for the forseeable future, but there will come a time when…after SoWa is built out…pressure will build to bury both the freeway and rail line and build yet another new Portland.
    Let’s make sure its bike and ped friendly with lots of transit and most important with a lovely beach on the River where we can watch the sun set over the city.

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  • Jonathan Maus February 21, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Don’t forget the effort to bury the freeway along that stretch.

    Put that nasty freeway underground and then you’ll really see a central eastside renaissance!

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  • Scott Mizée February 22, 2007 at 6:28 am

    Thanks for sending me back to that post, Jonathan. I missed it the first time and had only heard about the idea–not read their website. Looks like a great group working on the project.

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  • Jonathan Long February 27, 2007 at 12:11 am

    Keven and Beam have been doing a great job turning those buildings into affordable office spaces for all sorts of creative entrepreneurs. The new ‘super bike friendly’ building will be a great thing for the CE.
    I’m all for burying the freeway on that side. Why not spend that 6 billion dollars on this kind of project instead of that dumb proposed bridge over the columbia.

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