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Architect's vision for Portland growth is up, not out

The release of a new plan for developing the Post Office site in downtown Portland has been met with a mix of comments so far.

The unofficial submission to Prosper Portland from Daniel Kaven and his architecture firm William Kaven is supposed to be a conversation starter.

"We're a fast-growing city that's going to end up being one of the biggest cities on the West Coast," he said. "We'll have less congestion if we have more centralized vertical development."

The proposal features two towers, connected by a sky bridge. The bridge would allow people to cross between the buildings at 680 feet above the North Park blocks. One of the two buildings would stand at 970 feet, making it the tallest building in the Pacific Northwest. In an area with building heights restricted to around 400 feet, or 40 stories, it grabs your attention.

"We're trying to engage the city in the height discussion. We think this is the opportunity to do something large," said Kaven.

Part of that discussion involves the structural aspects of something so large, especially because this is Cascadia where we're all waiting for the "Big One." Kaven isn't worried.

"The building codes that we build any building to today are just very, very stringent," he said. "So these larger buildings you're going to be safer in than anything that Portland has as housing stock."

Another part of the conversation that Kaven wants to open with the project is the movement of the population. While shopping, restaurants and residential would all be part of the development, he sees more than that for the area. After all, Union Station is just around the corner.

"The other big idea is to have a high speed train network in the new neighborhood. That's going to connect Portland to Seattle and Vancouver and San Francisco and Los Angeles," he said.

The ideas are big and bold, but Prosper Portland is just in the early stages of development for the Broadway Corridor area.

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