Friday, January 7, 2011

Opposing the Demolition of the Galaxy Restaurant

If you haven't heard, the Galaxy, over at NE 9th and Burnside, is slated for destruction. The Portland Preservation blog has a good post about it, including a picture of the god-awful design plans for the new structure. There's still a possibility that the project can be stopped or modified, as it is still open for public comment. If you're interested, you should contact Christine Caruso, the city planner. Her email is Christine.Caruso@portlandoregon.gov, and you should reference case number LU 10-160377 DZ. Here's the email I sent to her this morning:

Hi Christine,

I'm submitting this email to you in order to register my opposition to the plans to demolish the Galaxy Restaurant at 9th and Burnside. I am interested in this issue because I live at SE 15th and Stark Street, and walk by this property everyday on my walk home from work; additionally, I spend a lot of leisure time in this area at nearby bars and shops. I'm opposed to the current plan because of the following issues:

  • The current structure has some historical context in that it is the first Denny's Restaurant in Portland, and that it is an example of the Googie architectural style. Admittedly, I personally don't believe this to be especially significant, but I do have the belief that this is a type of architecture that Portlanders will lament the destruction of in future decades, much the same way we regret today the destruction that occurred in the 1930s of our cast iron buildings.
  • The destruction of a one-story structure in order to replace it with another one-story structure is not in line with our city's values of re-use and sustainability. In the Oregonian article, "Portland's first Denny's building, a rare example of Googie architecture, could be demolished", architect James M. Park cites the out-dated plumbing and the need for additional square footage as two reasons why the building could not be salvaged, but this is a false argument; replacing plumbing does not require the removal of a structure, and square footage can be added to the existing structure without completely demolishing it. Destroying buildings has a real cost in the amount of energy and resources it costs, as well as the amount of waste it generates.
  • The idea that the site should be replaced by another one-story structure does not make sense when considering the future growth of the neighborhood. With the completion of the Burnside-Couch couplet, lower Burnside is poised to grow exponentially and become a much higher density mixed-use neighborhood - a 20 minute neighborhood. Should this structure be destroyed and re-developed, it doesn't make sense to replace it with a structure that doesn't seem to anticipate or take advantage of the neighborhood's future.
  • Finally, having reviewed the proposed architectural plans for "Trio Club", I believe that the aesthetic of this project is horrible. The proposed design and materials resemble something from the "big box" complexes of the suburbs. The project certainly does not follow the guidelines put forth in the 1991 Special Design Guidelines for the Central Eastside Plan, specifically ignoring the preference on Burnside for arcaded buildings. I would argue that no one would agree that the proposed design meets the goal of "enriching the pedestrian environment with quality materials and design features that are respective of the district's urban character."
Thank you for taking the time to read my email and considering my opinions,
Khris Soden

2 comments:

Patricia said...

When I read the article in the paper, my first thought was that the Galaxy Restaurant fits perfectly in that setting, what with the Jupiter Hotel.

Khris Soden said...

Yeah, the Jupiter Hotel & Doug Fir complex were both built in the same year. The 811 Building that houses Redux, Nationale, etc. was built two years later, in 1965. Outside of the BSide6 building and the building that houses Noble Rot, they are the most recently built structures on Burnside.