planpdx.org: Interview with Greg Baldwin
Date of Interview: February 11, 2003
Interview By: Ernie Bonner
Location: Greg Baldwin's office in downtown Portland
GB = Greg Baldwin
EB = Ernie Bonner
EB: I believe this is the 11th of February in 2003, and this is an interview with Greg Baldwin. We are in his office in downtown Portland, with a beautiful view of Mount Hood. So, we want to get into some of these matters, but why don't you start off and tell me something about how you got to Portland in the '70s.
GB: Actually I got to Portland by being born in Portland. For me the '70s was an important period following some germane precedents of the '60s.
GB: Ernie, you prefaced this conversation by asking that I talk about a few conspicuous events that are closely associated with the activities of the '70s. All of the important events (of the '70s) have had a profound influence on the way we behave and what we do today. All are products of an ethic. So, I would also like to talk a bit about the foundations of this ethic that distinguishes Oregon and Portland.
GB: My professional career in Portland began in the '70s when I started working for the Planning Bureau as a summer intern. Rod O'Hiser was my first boss. Rod introduced me to Bob Frasca and the resident design community. What I was doing during those summers influenced what I did in graduate school, and my thesis. I returned to Portland and Zimmer, Gunsul, Frasca after graduate school from '69 to '71. I was in Rome for postgraduate study.
I returned to Portland in the fall of 1971. My impression was that the City had fast-forwarded a decade or two. The topics that we were discussing in the '60s had become the stuff that we were undertaking in the '70s. I have had the privilege to continue in that work in a variety of roles through the '70s, '80s, and '90s, and now. In some respects, the foundations for this work may have been anticipated in the '60s, but it was laid in the '70s.
An Ethic and an Era
GB: The '60s was a decade of false starts, but important false starts. I remember the first job I worked on the summer of my junior year in college was Harbor Drive and the Oak Street ramp. Arnold Cogan led the effort. Everybody thought the project seemed like a bad idea. The Oregonian came to photograph us working on the project. Commissioner Bill Bowes told us to cover up our drawings so that The Oregonian wouldn't reveal what we were doing.
EB: You guys were all working for the Bureau at that time, right?
GB: Yes. It was hot and sweaty in the old McElroy Ballroom. No air conditioning. I'd never drawn on linen before, I was perspiring, and obliterating a lot of questionable concepts. Anyway, we were working on Harbor Drive, Lloyd Keefe and Frand Frost were working with Portland Public Schools on strategies to reinforce the relationship between neighborhoods and schools, Rod O'Hiser was reaching out to the downtown business community, and Bob Frasca was working on Pioneer Square, drawing amphitheaters and ice rinks.
EB: I've seen those drawings.
GB: Bob Frasca was the idea urban designer. He had the work (architecture), the car (Alfa Giulietta Spider), and the apartment. He wasn't married and would have evening soirees where he'd invite people up to look at very large illustrated visions of a new downtown waterfront. Lloyd, Rod, and others would come, and we'd critique his concepts. I thought, "You know, this architecture business looks really cool." So I decided to go to graduate school, first in architecture, and then in urban design.
It was a time for individual design initiatives. My 1966 thesis was a multi-model terminal revising Front Avenue and covering Harbor Drive. It served heavy (passenger) rail, light rail, long haul and city buses. It was promoted by the Port, published in The Oregonian, some international magazines, and Progressive Architecture.
There were many opportunities for individuals to speak and be heard. Edgar Waehrer and I did a three-part TV show on the future of Portland. Ken Kajii and the AIA Urban Design Committee did a Design Handbook for Downtown.
EB: That visual survey.
GB: It was a visual survey and more.
At the beginning of the decade Ira Keller formed PDC and created new tools with which the City could invite and shape private and public co-investment. (Ira Keller was a neighbor, a generous mentor and a candid critic of my career.) To many, Ira's South Auditorium project was seen as a threat to downtown. The architectural community viewed the emergency of the South Auditorium urban renewal area and of the Lloyd Center as presages of Downtown's demise.
Rod O'Hiser was a conspicuous and effective leader, letting people know how important downtown was by revealing its potential.
Pete Mark arrived on the scene, and with others, like Ned Look and Tom Vaughan, encouraged the design community to have faith. And Bud Clark kept us in beer.
The Port was beginning to expand. (My father was the General Manager of the Port at the time.) The Port was in the process of merging with the Dock Commission. They decided to get involved in industrial development and initiated the creation of Rivergage and the expansion of Swan Island. They explored developing a public transit system (before Tri-Met). We (ZGF) were just beginning to work on the airport terminal at that time. I remember doing a drawing in 1967 of a light rail system connection downtown to the airport. Norm Zimmer (or Bob) was asked to remove my signature from all perspectives.
EB: Because it was so dingy?
GB: My signature, the perspective... or the fact that it was Dad's idea?
A lot of people were taking initiative, and it was an exciting time. Portland seemed like a fertile place. Yet only a few were putting their money where their mouths were. While envisioning a new future, we were still doing business as usual. Holiday magazine published an article on how wonderful Portland was, without one photograph of downtown. The region was planning the "freeway system of the future" that would enable Portland to build more square feet of freeway pavement per capita than L.S., and so on. We were a community of contrasting perspectives.
I received a Rome Prize, and went to Rome for a couple of years. As I was leaving, my high school classmate, Tom Walsh, was making noise about changes. Neil Goldschmidt showed up. Old friends such as Steve Schell, and Ogden and Charlotte Beeman became active. Glenn Jackson began his conversion. A new generation of visions and commitment was beginning.
GB: I left, I came back. SOM had just been hired to do the EIS for Mt. Hood Freeway. I decided to work for SOM.
EB: So you left in '69 and came back in '71?
GB: In '71.
EB: So in those two years...
GB: The Mt. Hood Freeway was starting. And our sentiments about infrastructure and cities were maturing.
Howard McKee, Francis Demose, and Matt Lackey of SOM arrived from Baltimore having just eliminated the Inner Harbor Freeway. Bruce Johnston and I were added to form the core of the SOM Mt. Hood Freeway team.
Coincidentally, my father had just become head of the Department of Transportation/Highway Division. (We had been hired before he was.) The Feds told Dad and Glenn Jackson, "You have just hired the firm that is going to kill urban freeways in America". I remember my father's comment - "And so?" He was about two weeks on the job. He knew SOM and Dave Pugh in the context of what they'd already begun to do in Portland. He knew they were very respected by his friend Ira Keller.
And frankly, he wanted a firm with mature urban experience to lead a design team that would challenge conventions.
If the '60s was an era of some good ideas, and a restatement of values that were useful, then the '70s began an era of application. I view the '70s as a time when people began working in concert to provide the context that we've been living off of ever since.
The '70s did have a rocky start. In the first month I was home I met Neil Goldschmidt, who was running for Mayor. He impressed me as being someone who was very much dedicated to the neighborhoods and didn't have much interest in downtown. That worried me a great deal. He had some bright, somewhat self-important and inexperienced people working with him. He had some very enthusiastic and sophisticated people supporting him. I liked his energy, I liked him, but I was unconvinced of his ability to effectively challenge norms. However, my concern was soon diminished.
On the other hand, I was energized by the outside sort of perspective that Howard McKee brought, and others who came to town over the next couple of years - you, for example, Doug Wright, John Russell, and my former partner Glen Odell. And with other key individuals at TriMet and CRAG (such as Rick Gustafson) you provided complementary but outside perspectives. Rather than being disruptive, you all tended to enrich, discipline, and guide the best of what was already happening.
Something interesting was happening at the State level. Old friends like Steve Schell, whom I'd known since high school, and others to whom he introduced me, were working on drafting Senate Bill 100. What was really fascinating was that they were articulating an ethic that reconciled the preservation of natural and agricultural resources with the promise of an urban environment.
Then I met Ted Hallock, who was doing some marketing work for SOM. He was helping articulate and develop one cohesive agenda for Oregon. I believe that that agenda advanced a frequently ignored but critical insight. My grandmother called it "common sense".
Anyway, all these different things were happening concurrently, yet they seemed to be complementary. We would design a freeway to see if it could be made to be a good idea. Simultaneously we would invite options to give substance to the better idea. We would develop options to give substance to the better idea. And then we would figure out how to bag the project and keep the money for the better idea.
The better idea would emerge from many origins. Lloyd Anderson and the Downtown Plan would invent the transit mall. Neil and Bill Roberts would promote the transit mall and encourage the development of a retail core. Then we would discover that ODOT had just told Washington Square, Mt. Hood Mall, and Clackamas Town Center that they would deny or limit their access to the freeway system unless each shopping center made a significant commitment to transit, and their anchor stores a corollary commitment to the redevelopment of downtown. You'd day, "Where did that come from? I know Neil didn't ask for it." It just happened because it made sense.
In a short period of time, people sort of got it. And these were people who didn't like each other all of the time. However, even though they were occasionally inclined to undermine each other, they instinctively pursued a common agenda. I remember being invited to a Thursday morning STOP meeting in City Hall to discuss strategies for getting rid of Dad. They needed a fresh perspective. At the time, Dad was encouraging SOM to find alternatives to the Mt. Hood, was providing for the accommodation of rail transit on I-5 and I-205, and supporting the development of a transit system focusing on downtown.
So, when I told Dad about the meeting, he thought it was pretty funny. However, he asked, "Was Neil there?" I said, "No, no, he wasn't there." Dad responded, "Okay." Maybe you were at that STOP meeting?
EB: No, I don't remember that.
GB: Well, we were all friends, but I didn't provide any useful insight. Although, to digress, I did have something to do with Dad's demise, which is another funny story.
There was this guy Bob Burko who came to town and on his first evening in Oregon he had dinner with me and my partners, Steve Schell, Glen O'Dell (prime drafter of Oregon's adopted Air Quality Strategy), Mar Seaton (formerly an environmental engineer for GP), Brian Johnson (formerly Region 10 director for water quality), and Russ Beaton (economist, Willamette professor, and contributor to Senate Bill 100 and goals for LCDC). We'd formed this new firm (Environmental Disciplines, Inc.). Burko wanted to talk about opportunities in Oregon. He'd been working with Tom Bradley in L.A. and wanted to move to Oregon. We thought he wanted a job with us. However, what he really wanted was to run a public agency. So he asked, "Who's vulnerable?"
We went down the list: Tom King was vulnerable at TriMet, someone was vulnerable at CRAG, and I offered, "My dad's vulnerable." The next day I got a call from Glenn Jackson asking, "Who the hell is Bob Burko?" I said, "Well I don't really know him, I just met him last night." Glenn responded, "He's down here, he's talking to me, and he wants your father's job."
EB: He moved fast.
GB: My point is that there was a high level of faith--and naivete. People were candid and open. Independently they followed complementary paths. What was unusual about the era was that a few fundamental truths and shared values were so evident, that opportunistic individuals were almost always inclined to capitalize or to complement the initiatives of others.
GB: So for somebody who designed stuff and planned stuff, it was a terrific time. I worked on the transit mall and on the Mt. Hood Freeway. I did not work on the Downtown plan, but I was involved in the development of its progeny, the Downtown Waterfront Framework Plan and the development regulations for downtown.
Bob Frasca finally got the opportunity to work on the waterfront. How Harbor Drive was eliminated is an interesting story in itself.
I introduced Ernie Hahn to Neil, and we started talking about an in-town shopping center, which, with the support of Livingston and Blaney, became a fundamental component of the Waterfront Plan. Ultimately, that idea begat Pioneer Place.
Waterfront Park/Harbor Drive
GB: What I found interesting about Harbor Drive was its evolutionary promotion of a remedy. Perhaps this was led by Rod O'Hiser's stewardship, of Bob Frasca's ideas in the '60s, of our subsequent studies with the Planning Bureau and/or of citizen and professional concerns reflected in the work of Dick Ivey and others. Certainly, Tom McCall and Glenn Jackson listening to a bunch of architects talk in front of City Council about an alternative to the manifold of ramps coming off of Harbor Drive into downtown, and then acting, was essential. They said "Let's not do it, it's a bad idea." My understanding is that the result was a call to DeLeuw-Cather - "Do a study that shows we don't need it."
EB: Who asked for that?
GB: The call came from Glenn. I guess Israel Gilboa (DeLeuw) and Bob Frasca said, "Okay". So study showed that we didn't need it. The State then went to City Council and effectively said "We've made the decision for you, we're tearing it out."
Mt. Hood Freeway
GB: There are times when the Harbor Drive kind of decision needs to be made. Sometimes it is the responsibility of one, and other times it is that of a few. Why was the Mt. Hood Freeway not built? Certainly, Frank Ivancie kept pushing it, as you know.
EB: And lots of others.
GB: On the other hand, not only were many skeptical (with good reason) of the projected benefits for the Mt. Hood, but the subsequent EIS indicated that those presumed benefits could not be substantiated.
The City Council in 1973 wanted a presentation on SOM's preliminary design and EIS. Howard McKee remembers going to my dad and saying, "The City Council wants me to present the preliminary findings of our study. What do you want me to say?" And Dad said, "Well, where are you now?" And I'm paraphrasing Howard, but in summary he said, "What we're showing is that it's a bad idea, it's a bad investment, and you probably can't build it successfully." Dad said, "Just tell them that."
EB: This is the Mt. Hood Freeway?
GB: The Mt. Hood. Well, the Council may not have supported the Freeway anyway. My point is that there are times when a few can't hide behind a public vote but rather must make an informed decision and move on. If there is one behavior that is characteristic of the '70s, it was that of making tough decisions, and then designing and executing a series of policies and projects that made those decisions not only right, but essential to our well being as a community.
I often think that today we err too often not making those kinds of decisions. Maybe we haven't had the opportunities. Maybe similar heroic moments aren't present; I don't know.
EB: Well, something that certainly rings true to me is that we spend too much time with these regulations and so forth that say not and not enough time trying to build these agreements, contingent or otherwise.
GB: The same behavior directed the decision to proceed on the transit mall. I remember going with Bill Roberts and Roger Shiels to meet with key property owners. The response, in a series of morning meetings was either, "Convince me, I'm luke warm about the idea" or "I don't like it." Bill said, "Look, it's going to happen. How can we ease your pain, how will you help us make it work?" And today, we are following the same process on the Mall. Fortunately, with 30 years of intervening experience, the reception today is a bit warmer and a lot more constructive.
Downtown Plan and Its Successors
GB: I think that Neil's most important contribution to the implementation of the Downtown Plan was to outline two key principles. First, he told us to develop a specific plan and strategy that did not require any condemnation of property. Second, he stated that he wanted us to apply the principle of leveraging public dollars with private investment. He referenced the original South Waterfront urban renewal area, where for every public dollar spent, ten private dollars were invested. (It is ironic that he was responsible for Ira Keller's departure from PDC, but used the experience of Ira's legacy to shape the implementation of the Downtown Plan.) He said - and I'm paraphrasing it, "I want you to create the circumstance where the things that we plan and build will stimulate the private sector to complete the downtown that we desire."
Do you remember that?
GB: It was really clear. No bullshit planning...
EB: He was probably most successful in that, in joint private-public initiatives.
GB: I remember later working on the design standards and development regulations for retailing in downtown. We proposed that fifty percent of all of the block faces in an expanded retail core be devoted to street front retail. When I asked the opinion of our consulting economist, Lou Pritchard, (who was an economist then at First Interstate or U.S.) he said that we were naive, and then proceeded with an analysis confirming his observation. He was a very nice and experienced gentleman, but I chose to ignore his advice, and you all moved forward.
With some dumb luck, this proved to be a very wise move. The developers of office buildings assumed the responsibility for making retail happen, and thus they became the most effective promoters for retailing in the downtown. The absorption rate in the mid-'70s for office space was about 750,000 square feet a year (including the Lloyd Center) and virtually every new downtown office building had to find a way to girdle its base with retail activity.
The result was extraordinary. The information that we had then indicated that in the early '70s, then percent of the soft goods in the region were sold in downtown. By the mid-80s the downtown's share was closer to 45 percent.
Portland Public Schools and Neighborhood Associations
GB: As you recall, I spent two years in the middle of the '70s at the school district. Neil threatened a City takeover of the school district (or so its administration thought) when the district started closing schools due to declining enrollment and school reorganization. To reconcile their differences, the school board, Robert Blanchard, and the Mayor's office created two new collaborating positions. Charlotte Beeman and I were the designees. In the end, the school district and the City became dedicated supporters of each other.
GB: School district funds for renovation were aggregated with local and Federal dollars for urban neighborhood programs. The school board established a competitive program to allocate renovation monies to candidate schools. They asked the local schools to make their proposals directly to the board and required that neighborhood associations be integral participants. Selection was based on potential fulfillment of three goals - that investment would benefit the school plant, its curriculum, and its neighborhood. If the proposal did not include co-investment by other public entities, it would not be successful.
In part because of their experience in the Mt. Hood Freeway, Southeast Uplift was extremely effective in keeping all of its schools open, and attracting public and private investment in its neighborhoods. Even though they had lost population because of the Mt. Hood Freeway, we kept every one of those schools open.
On the other hand, Shattuck, Failing, Terwilliger, Fulton Park, Collins View, Capitol Hill, and Jackson High School, had weak or emerging neighborhood associations and disruptive highway projects imposed upon them. Over a period of two decades, all of these contiguous west side schools have been closed. Big difference.
EB: Big difference, that's right. I was out at Southeast Uplift last night talking about the ice rink, and Hosford-Abernethy, and I was telling them, "It's fun to come back here; I haven't been here for a long time, but you traditionally in my experience have more effectively worked in your own interests in an opportunistic and constructive way than most any other area of the city."
GB: I think that the neighborhood associations have been extremely important. It is my belief that the most effective neighborhoods have been those with capital investments to work on. The improvements can be ones they don't build, like the Mt. Hood Freeway, or ones that they do build, like MAX. What is critical is that they gain experience from designing and building something in their own image, in the image of what they value and need.
To return to schools for a moment, they do play an essential role. If a neighborhood doesn't have a school, they are missing a critical asset. I remember Neil saying many times over the last 30 years, "What Portland neighborhoods value most is their schools". Well, a lot of Portland neighborhoods don't have schools any more.
EB: That's right and more to come.
GB: That is unacceptable. Absolutely. I don't care how you slice it, it is unacceptable.
Downtown Development/Clackamas Town Center
GB: In the seventies I viewed the Urban Growth Boundary as a kind of fence that enabled us - it didn't constrain us - to develop the focus to which were committed by the Downtown Plan. It gave us time to say, "We don't need to invest in circumferential roads, we need to invest in a radial system aimed at downtown". It gave us the excuse for saying, "We need to have a retail bias in downtown, and yeah, ODOT, thank you for not connecting shopping centers to freeways."
I can remember the conversations that temporarily kept Nordstrom's out of Clackamas Town Center and were going to keep them out of Lloyd Center until they committed to downtown.
EB: Oh, really, before they actually got Nordstrom's downtown?
GB: Yes. Carter Hawley Hale, who was Hahn's partner in the proposed Clackamas Town Center, went through the roof, when they heard that Nordstrom's participation at CTC was contingent upon their commitment to downtown. Meier & Frank threatened to pull out of CTC, if Nordstrom's wasn't included. So, overtly or otherwise, Nordstrom's had a lot of suburban encouragement to build downtown.
Some really interesting games were being played without a grand strategy. It was just people acting with some consistency. I remember calling Bob Bothman and asking, "How many lanes (from I-205) would CTC get (they had none) if they built a transit center with two thirds the capacity of the transit mall?" He called back and said, "Two lanes." CTC built the transit center and gained access to I-205.
That was one conversation; there were many unconnected but related conversations that different people were having. We kept moving in a direction that was consistent and complementary. That's what makes it seem magic when we look back.
GB: I remember Francis DeMose talking about light rail in the early '70s when we were working on the Mt. Hood. We started with trackless trolleys as an alternative to the freeway and then with the help of Howard McKee, Arlee Reno, and others, we moved on to light rail.
Then Lon Topaz did his study out in Beaverton for light rail, and so then we started looking at using it to connect downtown with Clackamas Town Center and Oregon City.
The Governor's Task Force for the Mt. Hood decided that LRT corridors (which are virtually identical to those build and planned today). TriMet hired a staff and selected consultants for each of the corridors.
EB: Do you know when this was?
GB: 1974, as I recall.
EB: What else can we talk about that would strike you as interesting or important as an event in the '70s?
GB: At the end of the '70s we saw the consequences of our initiative, things getting built: the transit mall got built, Waterfront Park got built, Pioneer Square was started, and MAX was being planned.
In the '80s, regardless of the economy, we began to live off the investments of the '70s. But we also continued to enhance those investments.
It was then that I began to appreciate one of the qualities that are basic to Portland. That is the concept of establishing the fertile project, the project that begets the next project, which, in turn, begets the next project. Yet this is a very important concept that today we often forget. As a consequence, we've begun to build a lot of elegant mules. They aren't very fertile. They're nifty projects, but they aren't stimulating other projects.
EB: It definitely was the development, I think, that followed the plans that really struck gold. That was when people knew it was serious. They got motivated by that, and they got more confidence that their investments could do as well. So it was definitely that building that was important.
EB: I mean, we didn't get any awards from the Smithsonian for our plans, but everybody could see the rewards of the development. So the plan had its place, but the development is what realized the vision for everybody.
GB: I think it did, because Senate Bill 100, the original ten LCDC goals, and the Downtown Plan, established goals that people could agree on, and then assigned each and all of us the responsibility to act consistently in the context of these goals. Thus they became the measure of the quality of what we do.
Fortunately a few landmark use decisions, like Fasano , placed the responsibility for conformance clearly on the actor, not on the agency, but on the actor. This was contrary to the development philosophy adopted by California, by Washington, and by most of the U.S. To be successful in Portland, public and private developers first had to become knowledgeable, and then reconcile their wishes with public need. We did not always produce the most elegant projects. Yet I think we did produce some of the most civilized stuff that was being executed in America.
I think that if there is an ethic that re-emerged in the '70s, it probably was composed of four parts.
The first if the value of the good idea and the good deal. If it's a good idea, and it's a good deal, don't talk about it, do it. We had lots of good ideas in the '60s, but in the '70s we asked each to be a good deal.
The second is the utility of the fertile project. That creates the environment that causes individual initiatives to coalesce and complement each other. And the human condition is enriched and expanded.
The third is the efficacy of contingent relationships. This was a concept that matured in the '80s as public/private partnerships became more sophisticated - posturing almost disappeared. People began to understand each other's business, and frankly, they became much better partners. As a consequence, the realm of complementary relationships expanded.
The fourth is simply common sense. In application, it was a fundamental 19 th century agrarian ideal. Farmers tend to be individuals; that's why they farm. But when harvested, they needed each other, and when they irrigated, they needed to be considerate of each other. In fact they demonstrated the most basic kind of urbane behavior. When we apply that behavior, we do well.
Perhaps the issues today are cut more finely. In a sense, the approach to removing Harbor Drive was pretty crude, but effective. Today we may require more refined strategies. But I think that the four principles still apply.
But We Digress
EB: True. But on Harbor Drive, for instance, the driving force was an impatient Governor McCall and a bunch of impatient citizens, who together produced a power and a force, the supporting force, and of course then Glenn Jackson was tremendous because he could facilitate that like nobody else in the world could. It seems like your father was much the same way because your father was one of the few trusted Transportation Department officials that I remember from back then. Bob Bothman came along eventually.
GB: When Dad arrived at ODOT, he began to change its direction. ODOT's project manager for the Mt. Hood (who was slated to become the Metro engineer) was re-assigned to Eastern Oregon. Bob Bothman was elevated and encouraged to work directly with the City, so that he didn't have to run down to Salem every time you wanted an answer. Dad brought Ted Spence from the Port to add patient insight, and he brought in Fred Miller for ammunition to challenge City Hall (of course, with the best of intentions).
EB: Exactly, and there was trust there.
GB: Yeah, there was trust, but Dad was a bureaucrat, not a politician.
EB: People have a role, different roles.
GB: There was a concern that a vacuum would exist when Bill Roberts, Bill Naito, Pete Mark, Harold Hirsh, Glenn Jackson, or Doug Goodman left the scene. I've been concerned. I've noticed over the past decade that often private sector concerns are expressed and advice is given, but only a few lead, or take initiative in a manner that advances the City's fortune.
When we started talking in the mid-'90s about renovating the Mall, the response from the private sector was, "We are not investing in this". However, that mind set is changing. What I see now are individuals saying, "This is what I want to do, this is what I think we could do, and if it's a good idea, can we do this together?" Certainly, that was the experience with the Streetcar.
EB: Yes, exactly.
GB: So, it's unfair to say that the ethic that drove the '70s is dead. If it seems absent in one place, in fact it exists somewhere else. Certainly it has existed in the River District, where six private sector folks came to City Council and said, "We will spend $750 million if you spend $150 million, to build a community of 5,000 housing units rather than the 350 that you are anticipating".
It has been emerging in North Macadam. It is underway in the West End - after how many years? When did we start?
GB: I thought it was going to happen in 1981 as soon as you developed the AX zone, we finished the Framework Master Plan, and Neil formed CDIC with Jerry Bidwell, Louie Scherzer, and others.
EB: They built at least one good project there with PDC money, but that basically is just now beginning to come alive.
GB: PDC had to take more initiative than, frankly, should have been necessary.
EB: And they did it kicking and screaming, too, because they knew it was risky for them.
GB: But they were leading. Instead of responding and augmenting private sector initiatives, they were trying to substitute. I thought, "Gee, this isn't going where I thought it was supposed to". We had been stopping freeways, building transit projects and a waterfront, and reforming a region to create a fulcrum. The question was then and now, "aren't we doing all this to actually get the private sector to build what we would like to have happen?"
EB: Absolutely right. That's what builds a downtown, the federal government and private investors, basically, I think.