Portland firm unveils lofty proposal for tallest building in the Northwest

Design proposal for skyscraper courtesy William Kaven Architecture

PORTLAND, Ore. – A Portland-based architecture firm released a redevelopment plan for the city’s U.S. Postal Service headquarters that includes a skyscraper designed to be the tallest building in the Pacific Northwest.

William/Kaven and Kaven + Co. released an image of what they hope to add to Portland's skyline on Monday as a proposal for the USPS headquarters in northwest Portland.

The postal facility and surrounding properties are managed by the city’s urban renewal agency, Prosper Portland, and are included in something called the Broadway Corridor project. The city said it is looking for development ideas that would help invigorate the neighborhood while connecting to Old Town/Chinatown and the Pearl District . The city has not issued a response to the design.

The image shows an enormous two-tower skyscraper that would reach up to 970 feet tall.

For scale, the Wells Fargo Center is currently Portland's tallest building at 546 feet, followed by the U.S. Bancorp Tower (AKA Big Pink) at 536 feet.

It would serve as the USPS’s new high-speed transportation hub, however Daniel Kaven - partner and founder of the companies behind the design – said the towers and surrounding buildings would offera mix of retail, office, and residential spaces to create a neighborhood feel.

Kaven recently said in an op-ed piece published on DJC Oregon that buildings will have to start getting taller to accommodate the population growth.

“The city of Portland, currently, is devoid of iconic buildings – at least any that a tourist or foreign architect might recognize,” Kaven wrote. “It is easily established that great buildings drive tourism and generate money.”

Another consideration that might keep the skyscraper from coming to the Portland cityscape is the city’s building height limits. The Central City 2035 Plan is working to protect the scenic views throughout the city.

In the opinion piece, Kaven said city councilors have a chance to use City Central 2035 to allow for a taller development in the Broadway Corridor, adding "it would be an abomination to limit the 14 acres of the USPS site, in the heart of the city of Portland, to any height, thereby potentially missing the architectural opportunity of our lifetime."

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