View of the proposed arcade through the Rothko Pavilion between SW 10th and Park. (Drawings: Vinci Hamp Architects)
The Portland Art Museum has proposed a new design for their forthcoming Rothko Pavilion project that includes an open walkway through Madison Plaza on the South Park Blocks. The move comes after the museum fielded widespread opposition to previous plans that would have would have closed off the 24/7 public access through the plaza that people enjoy today. [Read more…]
Portland Art Museum Rendering of new Rothko Pavillion that will enclose Madison Plaza.
With eight-months to respond to vehement opposition, the Portland Art Museum’s plans for their $50 million Rothko Pavillion didn’t change much, so the response from its many critics hasn’t changed either.
That’s where we find ourselves today as museum leaders head to City Council to try and pass an ordinance (PDF) that will ultimately allow them to enclose what is currently an open plaza on SW Madison between 10th Avenue and the Park Blocks. (Note: PAM already effectively owns the plaza, but only under conditions of an easement controlled by the City of Portland.)
As we reported last month, PAM’s Executive Director Brian Ferriso came to a joint meeting of the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) and Pedestrian Advisory Committee to ask for support for the plans. Committee members hoped to see a proposal with more details about how the museum’s plans would impact the free movement of walkers and rollers through the plaza. But Ferriso didn’t share any new design details. His new pitch was an expansion of museum access hours and a reversal of their previous ban on bikes and pets altogether. [Read more…]
Seven months later they’re ready to share a new one.
At issue is how the plans will impact Madision Plaza, a public easement between existing museum buildings. Madison Plaza is considered an important link in downtown bicycling and walking connectivity.
Earlier this year, PAM asked the City of Portland to amend the existing easement for SW Madison Street between Park and 10th. Initial plans for the new pavillion would have created a new structure to display art, host events, and serve as the museum’s main entrance. The pavillion would be open to the public for free, but access would be limited to museum hours (10:00 am to 5:00 pm Sunday through Wednesday and 10:00 to 8:00 pm Thursday and Friday) and people riding bicycles or walking dogs would be completely prohibited.
That plan proved highly controversial. Following a large outcry from nearby residents and other people who use the plaza, PAM put the plans on hold. [Read more…]
The Portland Art Museum says their $50 million expansion plans would create one of our city’s best public spaces — but it’s the existing public space they want to close that has put their project on shaky ground.
Portland City Council held its first hearing on PAM’s Rothko Pavillion project last week. At issue is whether or not the City should amend an existing public easement on SW Madison between Park and 10th that runs between the museum’s two main buildings. PAM’s new pavillion aims to connect the buildings with a new structure that would display art, host events, and serve as its main entrance. The public would be allowed to move through the new structure without buying a ticket; but access would be limited to museum hours (10:00 am to 5:00 pm Sunday through Wednesday and 10:00 to 8:00 pm Thursday and Friday) and people riding bicycles or walking dogs would be completely prohibited. [Read more…]
Doug Klotz voiced opposition to the plans at Tuesday’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting. (Photo: J Maus/BikePortland)
Two influential City of Portland advisory committees oppose plans by the Portland Art Museum to create a new structure that would limit public access on a downtown block.
As we reported on March 29th, the Portland Art Museum’s $50 million Rothko Pavillion plans would further restrict public right-of-way between Southwest Park and 10th Avenues. On March 14th, at a joint meeting of the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Portland Pedestrian Advisory Committee, members overwhelmingly opposed the plans in an informal straw poll. Before taking an official position on the matter, the chair of the bicycle committee invited a representative from the museum to a subsequent meeting. [Read more…]
Portland Art Museum’s planned “Rothko Pavillion”. (Drawing: Vinci Hamp Architects)
A planned expansion of the Portland Art Museum will (PAM) come at a cost of $50 million in new construction — and it would also come at the cost of public access to our city streets.
As part of their plans to build the “Rothko Pavillion,” PAM has asked the City of Portland for permission to close an existing public right-of-way through a plaza between two of their buildings that connects SW 10th and Park at Madison Street. The proposal would add a significant new structure to the museum’s footprint and it has architects and cultural backers very excited. But some advocates are concerned that the new plans will further limit walking and rolling in a part of town where street connections are invaluable.
Places where it’s easy and attractive to walk and roll have small blocks with lots of connections between them. The tighter the grid, the thinking goes, the better walkability a place has. As city blocks become “superblocks,” human-powered trip times increase, which makes walking and biking less attractive.
PAM’s latest plans are just the latest in a long history of limiting access to this block. [Read more…]