Portland Mall Revitalization

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Portland Mall Revitalization | Notes of Interest

Already an icon of progressive planning, the revitalized Portland Mall is significant nationally as a new benchmark in urban design, place-making and transportation infrastructure. Extending the entire length of downtown Portland, it mixes multiple modes of transportation, stimulates adjacent development and re-establishes itself as one of Portland’s premier civic spaces.

The project involved renovation or rebuilding of 58 blocks and 59 intersections while providing exclusive transit lanes for buss and light rail, dedicated lanes for autos and bicycles, enhanced sidewalks for pedestrians, and parking and loading zones.

The original Mall created in 1978 was deteriorating after years of heavy use and diminishing public maintenance funding. To reverse this decline and accommodate a projected 1 million new residents by 2030, TriMet in partnership with the City of Portland, Metro, the Portland Business Alliance and the architect, teamed up to create a vision for the Mall as a Great Street.

After more than a decade of process, design and construction, the Mall’s reopening was complemented by two major hotel redevelopments, national retail openings, over 40 local storefront renovations, and several institutional projects.

The revitalized Mall combines design character, aspirations, active context, operations and management of a truly great street for the 21st century.

Additional Credit

Engineer: Dewhurst MacFarlane and Partners; John Knapton; KPFF Consulting Engineers, Inc.;
          LTK Engineering Services; URS Corporation
General Contractor: Kiewit Construction Group, Inc.; Stacy and Witbeck, Inc.
Landscape Design: Mayer/Reed
Project Manager: Shiels, Obletz, Johnsen

Photo Credit

© Bruce Forster
© Eckert & Eckert

Portland Mall Revitalization

  • Architect: ZGF Architects LLP
  • Owner: Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District
              of Oregon (TriMet) 
  • Location: Portland, Oregon

Jury Comments

Beautiful! This project asserts that urban design can really work, and exemplified this through design at both the large scale and the detail.

A strong sense of urban space has been created by the continuity of the streetscape. The environment is accessible on all levels.

It has been beautifully executed, with fine design details upgrading the good bones of the existing situation. A sense of urban play and connectivity is evident.

2012 Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design Jury

  • Bruce Lindsey, AIA, Chair
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • St. Louis
  • Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, AIA
  • Catherine Seavitt Studio
  • New York City
  • Martha Welborne, FAIA
  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Los Angeles

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