“We take a market driven approach to civic renewal. We focus first on connecting stakeholders in the community—particularly those who control businesses, buildings, and land use, because they drive the engine of change. Forging these relationships and understanding a place’s complete ecosystem are what allow us to facilitate economically successful development projects and revitalization programs.”

Thumbnail image for Commercial Revitalization: Stop Displacing, Start Improving

Commercial Revitalization: Stop Displacing, Start Improving

July 5, 2017

You can look at commercial district revitalization in two ways: The first way, which is the common way, and unfortunately not the best way, is to hatch a scheme to get rid of everything that is underperforming and replace it with something else. Bulldoze it, and start over with a blank slate. This approach to […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Oh the Stories They Could Tell…Astoria Armory Edition

Oh the Stories They Could Tell…Astoria Armory Edition

April 3, 2017

This nondescript building in downtown Astoria, OR was hiding a surprise: a breathtaking expanse of clear span space with a rare domed lamella roof system. As unlikely as it appears on the exterior, this warehouse-like building was actually an Armory, constructed to provide entertainment for military personnel during World War II headquartered in this lovely […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for On Nov 8th Morn…I Experienced Everything Great about America

On Nov 8th Morn…I Experienced Everything Great about America

December 20, 2016

My election day began with a meeting of a group I was recently asked to join, the NE STEM/STEAM coalition in Portland, Oregon. The group’s mission (I paraphrase) is to help students from communities of color gain access to careers and education in science, technology, and the arts. It is an incredible collection of people […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for My What a Quaint Bridge Tender House You Have Chicago

My What a Quaint Bridge Tender House You Have Chicago

July 31, 2016

Who knew that competition was so fierce and cutthroat in the world of architectural boat tours in Chicago? According to our guide, who was a docent volunteer on the official Chicago Architectural Foundation tour, CAF has turned their river meanderings into one of the top visitor draws in the city, which, of course, has spawned […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Oh the Stories They Could Tell… The “Is That a Beluga Whale?” Edition

Oh the Stories They Could Tell… The “Is That a Beluga Whale?” Edition

April 22, 2016

There is a unique joy in walking through a building and experiencing what it was, understanding what it is now, and contemplating what it can be in the future. Some structures clearly have a grand old past, evoked by remnants of fixtures, stained glass, and finish work. Some have a more sordid identity, making it difficult to […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for One-Way Streets, A Coffee Shop, and a Reunion

One-Way Streets, A Coffee Shop, and a Reunion

March 7, 2015

Working away in a coffee shop one day (I know, how very Portland of me), I couldn’t help but overhear the phone conversation of the young woman sitting to my left. (Why are cell conversations in coffee shops always so loud? #unavoidableeavesdropping) Anyway, she was chatting with someone about how long it had been since […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for A Wall, No Matter How Pretty, Is Still…a Wall

A Wall, No Matter How Pretty, Is Still…a Wall

March 11, 2014

During the summer of 2013, my husband and I took a very uncharacteristic vacation to a spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. I say “uncharacteristic” because a spa in the desert at the height of summer would not normally be at the top of our list of vacation destinations. But, long story short, we were quite happy […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for I Bet You Can’t Guess What this Is!

I Bet You Can’t Guess What this Is!

June 4, 2013

From the annals of Did an intern design this building? Can you tell what it is? I was speaking at a Society for College and University Planning conference in Denver this spring, and walking back from my talk, a few blocks from my hotel, I stood on this corner and looked at this building and […]

Read the full article →