St. Johns Design Workshop

Location: St. Johns Community Center
Date: Saturday, April 21, 2012
Presentation: 9am-12pm
Workshop: 1pm-4pm

The tables at the St. Johns Community Center were packed with paper, markers, pencils, and photographs. By 4:00 pm the dedicated group of community members and professionals were wrapping up their day-long workshop on design for the St. Johns Main Street District. In the end, the group gained a real understanding of the kinds of projects and improvements the St. Johns neighborhood had in mind for the business district.

The main focus of the day was to envision what the St. Johns downtown district could look like in the future. After a morning of presentations, teams were formed around specific blocks and then the work began. Architects, Planners, Urban Designers, and Landscape Architects worked side-by-side with community members. The teams looked at the possible future needs of key areas in downtown like Ivy Island, and the Central Plaza. More than a few mentions were made for improvements like a permanent stage and a water fountain for the Central Plaza.

“There is a real sense that some good things are happening in St. Johns,” said Josh Guerra, Chair of the St. Johns Design Committee. “This has been a unique opportunity to put some of the good ideas people have been throwing around, onto paper.”
The day long workshop included a presentation from Urban Designer Jeff Mitchem from Ankrom Moisan Architects. In his presentation he showed two short videos of other Urban Designers who spoke about taking action. “I love the metaphor of making the urban design experience about exchanges,” said Mitchem, “We plan these spaces as an opportunity to exchange and socialize. It’s like planning a party; you want those interactions to occur.”

The design and development team for the Central Hotel was in attendance as well, lending their perspective on the future of St. Johns. Other attendees included officials from the Portland Development Commission, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and the Bureau of Environmental Services.
The next task of the St. Johns Main Street Design Committee will be to compile the material generated by the workshop into a cohesive District Design Plan. Once completed, the plan will become a living document that will aid in future project development and planning for years to come. The plan is expected to be completed before the end of June 2012.

Click here to download the flyer.
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Clean Sweep 2012: 250 Volunteers Spruce Up Lombard

St. Johns Main Street Coalition, University of Portland, Rebuilding Together and the St. Johns Community say thank you to all the volunteers who came out on March 24th and participated in one of the many clean-up activities on Lombard.

Around 250 volunteers from the University of Portland gathered at the St Johns Plaza to receive instruction and meet their work team leaders for the clean-up. There were teams to work on Ivy Island, tree planting, graffiti removal, staple removal from the poles, container planting in the plaza, cleaning tree wells, and more.

It looked chaotic for awhile as mulch, compost, trees, plants, wheel barrows, shovels and no parking signs lined Lombard Street. Students worked in small groups with a team leader learning some valuable life skills about keeping a community clean so that people are attracted to the area to shop and dine and have a safe place to hang out.

James John Elementary School had 7 trees planted as part of the landscaping for the new soccer field. The shrubs and trees along the black fence on Lombard received a cleaning too.

10 local businesses participated in offering $5.00 coupon lunches for the volunteers. This was a great way to showcase the cuisine in St Johns. Students who worked received a coupon to a local restaurant and exchanged the coupon for a lunch meal. It was successful and many students were surprised at the variety of cuisine offered in downtown St Johns. This was a benefit to the restaurants and builds their customer base.

The ivy was removed from Ivy Island however the ivy needs to be sprayed and more removal done before the new plants are planted. Plans with the Boosters and St Johns Main Street are in process to finish the work.

The event wound down when the City of Portland street sweepers drove down Lombard and cleaned the street.

The event was a huge success and there are plans to do this next year.

St.Johns Main Street Public Meeting

When: Thursday, January 26 from 7:00-8:45 PM
Where: St. Johns Community Center, 8427 N. Central Street, Portland, OR 97203

A Resource team from the National Main Street group will be here all week. In their different areas of expertise they will listen and learn about the revitalization efforts and desires of St. Johns. Please come to the hear a presentation of their observations and assessments on Thursday night. Together we can walk forward as a community.

Complete the form below to RSVP and we will have St. Johns Main Street Button with your name on it waiting at the check in table.

*(denotes required field)