planpdx.org: Interview with Richard Ivey
Dick Ivey could rightfully be called the initiator of the goals and guidelines for Portland's Downtown Plan. Dick passed away recently, but left us his recollection of the events and personalities surrounding the early days of the downtown planning effort, in an interview conducted by Ernie Bonner on January 13, 1995 from his bed in Good Samaritan Hospital where he was undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer.
Date of Interview: January 13, 1995
Interview By: Ernie Bonner
Location: Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland
Retiring from CH2M Hill: I retired at retirement age. Since I was sick, I got out 3 months early. They paid me. I wasn't doing anything. I was hooked up to the machine and not coming in every day, and the office said, gee, Dick, we'll pay you through April. This was January, I think. We'll pay you through April, your retirement date. But forget about coming to work. You can't take on anything new. I had my replacement hired the year before I retired which is the policy in the firm. But I was ready to go. I wouldn't have stayed anyway. I had enough money to retire and wanted to do other things with my life.
How the Downtown Plan Came About: Well, let me tell you what I remember without going back and looking up stuff. There was... the downtown merchants were concerned about parking. That was their principal concern, in 1968, 1969. And a Tacoma developer (Rod can give you a little of this history) proposed a high rise... building a high rise garage on the two-level Meier & Frank parking lot that had been created some years earlier by tearing down the old Portland Hotel, a beautiful landmark building that should never have been destroyed. Meier & Frank leased it to, I think, the Union Oil Company and it was painted blue and orange, the Union Oil Co. colors. It was absolutely the ugliest block in downtown and it was also one of the most central and most visible. People began to protest.
Citizens and, I believe, the architects, began to protest the idea of a high-rise garage there. I had joined CH2M Hill in 1964 and by 1968 I was tired of traveling around the state and the northwest. I had projects in Idaho and Washington State, southern Oregon. I'd been pretty successful but I had never done anything on the scale of the downtown plan for Portland. But Lloyd Anderson was then the manager of the Portland office of CH2M Hill. I went in to Lloyd one day and I said, Boy, there is a lot of agitation about the parking garage downtown. You know, this would be a good time for the City of Portland to have a real plan for downtown.
Now I may have known that Lloyd Keefe had the same idea and was trying to resurrect his reputation after he left the city and went to work for Downtown Portland Inc. and got his old job back. He had been back probably a couple of years, as City Planning Director. Lloyd Keefe wanted to mount a real effort to do a downtown plan, to the point of advertising widely (in national publications) for a downtown planning staff. He didn't have any budget for it, but he was advertising anyway, hoping to force Commissioner Ivancie to fund it. Really, quite independently I got the idea that this would be a good thing to do, and a possible project for our office.
And I said to Lloyd Anderson, you know, Craig Kelly who was the manager of the building owners and managers association for downtown Portland, and an old school classmate may have some ideas for us. I didn't know Craig very well, but I called him up and Lloyd and I and Craig had lunch at the Arlington Club and discussed the possibility of the downtown plan and what help BOMA could give us in initiating contacts, etc. and it seemed to me that we needed a project that heavily involved the downtown business community as well as the general citizens. Craig didn't tell me that he had just resigned from BOMA, and had set up a separate organization called the Portland Improvement Committee, which was being funded by the Downtown Property Owners and the merchants--people like Meier & Frank and Lipman's, and some of the smaller businesses like Miller's Store For Men, Oregon Typewriter. Craig had a budget and a small salary, it wasn't very much. They were sort of paying him a fee and he operated from free office space in the American Bank Building which had been made available by Bill Brewster, who was a part of what became the Downtown Committee. Craig then arranged for me to meet Glenn Jackson. Paul Murphy owned the Pacific Building but was also, I think, Chairman of the Executive Committee of PP&L. He had, some years before, brought Glenn Jackson up from the power company in southern Oregon to head PP&L. And I think Ed Steidle of Meier & Frank and a few other people who were active and influential in downtown. And I sat down in my office and wrote out a program for developing a plan.
Lloyd Anderson appointed to City Council: Now, Lloyd Anderson at the same time (and I don't know which days came first, exactly) got a call I think from Ira Keller asking if he wanted to be the Public Works Commissioner for Portland. Bill Bowes had just died. Lloyd called me in and said he had this opportunity and what did I think? He said I don't want to be the Public Works Commissioner for the rest of my career. I want to do something more. I said, well, you can be Mayor. This was before Neil showed up on the scene. Neil wasn't even appointed (elected) to the Commission yet. And I said I don't think you ought to be Governor. I don't think that's what you're good at, but I said your sense for public policy, etc. and your ability to work with people I think you'd be a swell congressman. Edith Green's about to retire. Why don't you set your sights on going to Congress. This is one way you can get visibility in the First District. And Lloyd looked out the window and he said, I'll do it. So Lloyd left the firm.
We divided Lloyd's job (Lloyd was also the director of planning for CH2M Hill and Portland Regional Manager). I became director of planning. Les Wierson, an engineer, properly, became head of the office, the regional office, which is basically an engineering office. And that created a problem for me because I knew that Lloyd who had higher ambitions would not want CH2M Hill to be involved in a contract with the city immediately after his appointment. We couldn't do that, politically. And I had always suspected that there should be some funding (how much funding was an issue, because we didn't want the downtown people to think that this was their plan, that they had paid for it and it was just looking after their own interests. I felt the City needed to be involved.
Getting the Money for the Downtown Planning Effort: I then decided to get all the money from downtown and, using Craig Kelly's new organization (PIC) and their board, I made a couple of presentations. One I remember with color slides that I had taken downtown. Bill Brewster, who was the treasurer of that group felt that they could collect about $100,000, which was the number that I took to them. So we held a meeting at the old First National Bank board room and I went through my presentation again and Julian Cheatham, Owen Cheatham's brother, the founder of Georgia Pacific, went around the table and extracted $10,000 from 10 people--a remarkable performance, I thought. So we had the money. Then I went to Frank Ivancie (I may have been in touch with Frank earlier) and explained this and Frank said he didn't have any money to put into Lloyd Keefe's program. And he said I don't know why Keefe is advertising all over the country for planners when we have no way to pay them. So I said, will you make a comparable contribution of staff time, assign up to 3 or 4 of your planners to work with us? But, I said, Lloyd Keefe is so negative. I had talked to Lloyd and told him what I was going to do. The very first thing I did was to go to Lloyd and tell him what I had in mind. and Lloyd said, Dick, we're so far ahead of you you'll never catch up with us. Well, he was--in terms of putting ads in the paper and trying to hire people and thinking about it himself. But he didn't have any money. Then I went to Frank and said, I had the money and Frank said, well, if you can get the money you can have the project. And I said Lloyd is so negative about this that I thought we ought to work outside of his office. I said, would you be willing to have City people come up and work at CH2M offices? And he said, sure, he didn't see anything wrong with that. He was pretty down on Lloyd anyway. And Lloyd wanted Dick Lakeman to head that group, with two other young people. Dick at the time was promoting a big parking garage at the foot of Morrison Bridge. I think it was a 2-block garage and the street was going to go under it. It was a huge, big block of parking. I think the bridgehead was a good location for parking, but that was an enormous project and it was also 3 or 4 blocks away from the core where people wanted to go, which would have brought the retail core down but not easily, given the plant which was in place. And, also, I didn't have much regard for Lakeman as a planner. He later left the planning commission and has had a long career as an architect.
I did have a lot of regard for Rod O'Hiser and I asked Lloyd if he wouldn't assign O'Hiser to the project. I knew O'Hiser was very interested, probably because I had talked with him. July Galantha who was chief of our graphics group had worked for the planning commission some years before and was a close friend of Rod's. Lloyd wouldn't go along with that and, at that point, I thought, gosh, Lloyd is just not the guy to be part of our team. And he has this long negative history of working with the downtown. The downtown building owners and property owners had expressed to me their concern that Lloyd would be a problem for us, because they had worked with him on that earlier assignment. And it failed basically, and the group broke up, and Lloyd went back to the city.
So, I thought well, Bob Baldwin is a good guy. Let me talk to Bob and see if we could get him to sort of take some time off from his job as Multnomah County Planning Director and join the team. Lloyd Anderson helped me there. He went to Mike Gleason who he knew better than I did. Mike was Chairman of the County Commission and asked if Bob could be relieved basically of his planning commission duties and work full time with us. And Bob pretty much did that. Lloyd then got a call from Terry Shrunk. We also met with Terry Shrunk and explained what we were up to, or Ivancie did. I don't frankly remember talking directly with Terry about this. Terry Shrunk, the Mayor, called Lloyd over and said, Lloyd, what's wrong with you? He said, I want Rod O'Hiser to go to work today and whoever you want to assign, John Shipley and another fellow. So that's what happened.
Harbor Drive as a Downtown Issue: Now at the same time, there was the other big issue besides parking--Harbor Drive. Tom McCall as Governor wanted to close Harbor Drive, which was part of the freeway system. He had hired DeLeuw-Cather to do a study as to how to close Harbor Drive. And he announced the formation of a Harbor Drive Task Force. I went to a meeting of that and Glenn announced to the task force and to those sitting... this meeting was in the council chamber... that he had hired DeLeuw-Cather to do a downtown traffic study with the purpose of recommending how to close Harbor Drive. This was Glenn Jackson, then the Chairman of the State Highway Department. Glenn was a very strong guy and he made his own judgments about who to hire. So I was dismayed, thinking that gosh, DeLeuw-Cather also was a big planning firm. I didn't personally know Glenn Jackson, so I enlisted the aid of Cliff Alterman. Cliff was Ray Kell's Partner and Ray had a long history of advising city council on different issues. He was Chairman of the Dock Commission and was what someone once described as kind of a bag man for city hall, for the Mayor and the commissioners. Cliff Alterman was his young partner. So I invited Cliff to lunch and we talked about it, and Cliff said he would discuss the issue with Jackson. And the next thing I knew Jackson had agreed to provide the resources of DeLeuw-Cather to our downtown plan, and that would be the State's contribution to the downtown plan. DeLeuw-Cather then became our traffic and transportation consultant on this downtown planning.
DeLeuw-Cather sent a man by the name of Israel Gilboa to Portland. He had recently been studying rail for Seattle and Gilboa is an aggressive marketer. We didn't see much of him after they got the job. They brought in a younger planner named Carl Buttke, who still lives and works in Portland and Carl joined our team and when we had our weekly meetings Carl was there. Gilboa may have attended from time to time but I don't remember that. They had a deadline on their study for the waterfront program, and recommended tearing out Harbor Drive as the Governor proposed and substituting a couplet which would be built on 1st and 2nd avenues, or possibly Front and First, I've forgotten. But the couplet included Skidmore Fountain. I was surprised at that. I didn't think that putting traffic on two streets through downtown, through traffic of the sort that the freeway was carrying made sense to me. That was the end of their study on Harbor Drive. We never incorporated that concept into the Downtown Plan. Carl Buttke never joined the team, in the sense that he participated in conversations. He mostly sat there listening and then went his own way. So we effectively did our own traffic and circulation planning ourselves.
Downtown Plannning: A Job for Planners or Architects? At the outset, local architects were very concerned that downtown planning was being turned over to an engineering firm, CH2M Hill. Who was the Dean at Oregon who moved up to Portland?... He wrote a long, full-page story in the Oregonian, on the Op-Ed page with a headline across the top "Who's in charge of the Downtown?" The thrust of his article was that architects ought to be in charge and that it looked like the city was about to hire an engineering firm, CH2M Hill to engineer the plan for downtown Portland. Terry Shrunk called me up and asked me to draft a reply for him to send to the Oregonian. I did. I wrote that the City Council is in charge, not the engineers or the architects. Only the city council could adopt a plan and that this would have broad participation by the general public. The architects would have plenty of opportunity to present their views and the downtown property owners and merchants would have opportunity to present their views, since they were paying for it, largely. They were also going to have an opportunity to organize themselves in a way that they could present a point of view to us, independently of the general public. I think that rubbed some people the wrong way, maybe the architects and some members of the general public be cause it was beginning to get a lot of press. But it was never my intention not to have citizens committee and, in fact, I thought the citizens committee should have a paid director or assistant to help them organize and present and so forth, which they did.
The Field Office at PGE: We worked in our office for a couple of weeks and then moved to Portland General Electric Company property. On the bottom floor on the street front Howard Glazer had an architectural office, which was then empty. it was a nice office. It wasn't very large, but it was painted white and had a nice front and a tree growing out of the doorway into the street and going up into the air... it was very livable. We could tell people who wanted to know where we were that, well, we're right where you can see the tree running out of the building. We put a great big sign up: Downtown Planning. PGE paid the rent and we moved into that and did all of our work there where it was very accessible to people off the street. And we kept it open and Valerie Peurasaari-- who became the staff person for the citizens committee, the general citizens committee had an office--there and that worked out very well for us. Again, I think there was some concern that, well, the rent's being paid by PGE. But, I think that dissipated. The fact is, all PGE ever contributed was their money.
The Downtown Committee: I honestly can't remember that Frank Warren or Hib Johnson, who replaced Frank on the committee, ever really had much to say beyond asking whether we were getting paid on time, etc. They didn't know enough about what their interests were or how downtown ought to be planned and, frankly, the chief executives of those different groups didn't seem to have a whole lot of interest with the exception of Bill Roberts. Bill owned Lipman-Wolfe and before that, Roberts Brothers, which was no longer in business and was a major giver to the Art Museum, etc. Bill liked to run things. And he was running Tri-Met. Apart from that, I don't recall the downtown committee ever did much more than listen as we made presentations along the way. I think Glenn Jackson chaired the meetings.
Nor can I remember them making any presentations to the City Council or the Planning Commission. Most of our meetings in the early months were with the Planning commission and they were reporting sessions. The planning commission, of course, could offer advice.
An Economic Study? One of the issues... Lloyd Anderson (who was then Public Works Commissioner) wanted us, sort of, kept at arms length. Frank Ivancie was the commissioner in charge of planning. Lloyd did want us to include an economic study. That's the only time I can remember Lloyd interfering, he felt we should hire an economist. I made the case that we had a bunch of economists on the powerful downtown committee and I can remember telling Glenn and the rest of them at a meeting that I thought they were pretty good economists and I didn't want to spend any money for an economic study because I don't think an economist can tell us anything. I think that what happens downtown is what you make happen. An economist can make some assumptions, etc. based on what's happened in the past but he isn't going to be able to test a plan which hasn't been prepared yet. If you want to hire an economist, hire him after we get through, after we have been able to do our own projections. And that's what happened. But we didn't spend any money on an economist.
CH2M Staff on the Project: CH2M had some great staff working on the downtown plan. Brainard was my principal assistant. Judy Galantha, who worked closely with Dick and shared office space, was hired to head our graphics group. Judy was untrained but she is a really a good site planner and she's very, very bright. She's just untrained and therefore, in the eyes of a lot of people, unqualified. But she was important in the development of ideas--a bright, imaginative woman. Dick (Brainard), certainly. We had several other people in the office I hired just ahead of the downtown plan--a man named Roger Osbaldeston, who had worked for Dan Kiley in Vermont and for Larry Halprin in San Francisco and had been brought over here on a scholarship by Ian McHarg and got a master's degree at Penn. He had about 10 years of experience and I thought that Roger would probably be our lead urban designer. As it turned out, he was something of a bust and I let him go. We got urban design help, really, informally through the architects.
The Transit Mall: We did propose as part of the transit mall concept that we have this central spine of tall buildings relating to the two block transit mall. I remember that Bill Roberts felt very strongly that all the buses should go by his store, and he wanted all of the buses to go by his store, which was on fifth. I felt that the transit mall (what I called the transit mall--it didn't have a name then), should be routed on two streets, as a couplet, which would strengthen the mall and also I thought that that was too many buses to put on one street. So we worked all night, Judy and Dick and I, Rod may have been there, and had an early morning meeting with Bill Roberts. We asked him to come up, and we demonstrated to him--using numbers--that we needed both streets. I don't know that Bill agreed with us especially, but the issue died. He also wanted to buy the Mead Building which was the old JC Penny store and create a half-block parking garage that would benefit his store and we objected to that strongly, because we didn't want parking that close.
Parking Garages in Downtown: We wanted four full block parking garages serving the retail core, all on the perimeter. Two of those were built: the Meier & Frank garage on the Blue Mouse block (the block containing the old Blue Mouse Theater) which Meier & Frank agreed to build. And Bill Naito built one next to his Galleria store on Tenth. I preferred to have it across the street, but Bill was able to get that property better, so he put it sort of inside what we drew as the retail core. And the Meier & Frank garage was on the other side of the street. We proposed two more, the north and south which were never built. We also proposed a second level pedestrian walkway linking some of the stores, similar to what you find in Minneapolis-St.Paul. And, in fact, after Neil was Mayor we took the whole city council back to Minneapolis and we toured St. Paul and Minneapolis. We were entertained by the city planning director and some of their downtown people. Bill Roberts had sold his store to Dayton Hudson at that point and Dayton Hudson entertained us at a reception. It was a useful trip. And we saw Nicolet Mall. That's what Bill had in mind for 5Th. Avenue. All of the buses run on Nicolet Mall, but they're not big buses, as I recall, they are smaller. But they weren't just designed, as in Denver, for the mall project. Whereas we didn't think that was as doable and convenient.
The architects proposed that we develop a retail spine east and west going down to the river, picking up the Galleria on Morrison, creating a Morrison Street Mall. There may have been some attempt to do that in the concept plan but I don't recall that. We felt that it ought to be concentrated... that it ought to be related to the Transit Mall, picking up the Galleria but keeping it compact and walkable--with the parking garages on the periphery, and that it be a simple, strong statement that shoppers could understand and keep in their mind. I can remember using my mother as an example. She shopped at Lloyd Center and lived in Laurelhurst. She was old, but she knew exactly how she was going to get there. She knew which on and off-ramps to take to get into the Lloyd parking garage. She knew exactly where she was going to go and it made her feel comfortable. I wanted all of the parking garages to be designed the same way--to be uniform, simple structures. And I used the existing city parking garage that had just recently been built, designed by Zimmer Gunsul as an example--a good looking structure, as opposed to what Pete Mark put up and, I think, as opposed to the double helix system in the Meier & Frank garage, I think that's confusing to people.
[End of Side 1, Tape 1]
Dick Ivey's History: You mentioned Carl Abbott's fine book. I read it with great interest, partly because I have worked so long at the planning commission. I started working at the city planning commission when I was a high school student. I was 16 and my father arranged for me to get a job at the city planning department. He was a deputy city auditor and the reading clerk of the city council, and he knew I was interested in things like that and was trying a little bit to encourage my career. In those years, the city council, the city planning department, the city hall were open on Saturday mornings until noon. City officials worked a 44-hour week. So, after school I worked a couple of hours and the 4 hours on Saturday mornings. Arthur D. McVoy had just been, this is in 1944, Arthur D. McVoy was the planning director, replacing Ted Hauser. Arthur was wonderfully trained--he was an architect and planner. When he left Portland he became planning director in Baltimore, and died early, I think of a heart attack. He published quite a bit and was quite a remarkable man. I worked there until I went off to college and then when I was at Reed College I wrote my senior thesis on urban renewal. This is in 1949 and 1950 and the urban redevelopment act had been just passed and I used that as the basis for taking a piece of Portland (actually old south Portland) and proposing a renewal project there. I got help from the planning department and from Glenn Stanton, who was chairman of the planning commission and a long-time Portland architect and others.
I was drafted into the army and spent two years in the service, came back and went to graduate school in Berkeley and kind of lost interest in city planning. At one point, I went over to talk to Jack Kent, who originally admitted me to his program before I went into the army, and I considered changing horses and getting my degree in city planning or even in architecture. But I was married then and decided I would opt for a career in journalism. I pursued that for a couple of years until I decided that I really wanted to be a city planner, and sort of learned on the job at the Bureau of Governmental Research and Service in Eugene. It had become the state planning agency for the administration of 701 planning assistance funds and I was providing planning services to the smaller cities and counties throughout the state.
So that's my background--a little bit of newspaper writing and public administration and city planning. My degree in Reed is in political science and my degree from Berkeley, my Master's degree, is in political science. I was born and brought up in Portland and I graduated from Reed College.
Citizen Input in the Plan: We tried to have as much input from different directions as possible. We had a good citizens advisory committee. They held a number of meetings. Valerie Peurasaari was the staff assistant to the committee. The architects, as I recall, had no special way of participating. I talked to a lot of the architects we knew along the way and they made presentations in public meetings.
Dean Gisvold was chairman of the citizens advisory committee. Dean is a lawyer downtown. Dean was responsible for drafting the goals that were established by the citizens advisory committee. Dean then gave me the goals, which I thought were so badly written (not badly conceived, but badly presented) that I called him up and asked him if I couldn't edit them. He said no. And then I said OK, then I am going to leave them out, because people reading these goals are not going to take them seriously unless they're written in English. I was surprised that a lawyer couldn't do better than that. They were just so left-handed and awkward and I wanted people to see them first, they were going to go right up front in the report. These were the citizens' goals for downtown. And Dean said that if I touched them he wouldn't let me include them. My memory is that I ignored him and included them anyway and rewrote them. I didn't change the substance at all, but made them sound like they were written in English. I wrote most of the report myself. We had some good illustrations, drawings. One of the younger fellows from the planning commission who was assigned to us had a good hand and he did a lot of drawings. Judy did a lot of the work.
On the Road with the Downtown Plan: Bob Baldwin and I were constantly on the run. We made joint presentations everywhere, together. We regarded ourselves as co-directors of the plan. Bob was wonderful to work with: sensible, practical, analytical. The only time Bob got into trouble was when Alan Webber came to a meeting once, pulled out his cigar and Bob said if he didn't put out his cigar he was going to leave. And Alan left... I've forgotten whether Alan left or put the cigar out, but he never appreciated Bob after that. That was a loss to us because Alan is a bright guy and I wished he attended more meetings. He was there as kind of an observer for Neil. But we really worked at getting good input from this broader range of interests. And I was disappointed that the so-called powerful downtown committee (and I think that was our name for them) didn't participate more in a substantive way. They were very good about attending meetings. At the outset I had said that only the principals could come. They could not send a second man. And I think I told you the anecdote about someone stopping Hib Johnson out on the sidewalk and saying he couldn't come because he wasn't Frank Warren. Actually, I intervened and we let Frank off the hook because Frank was traveling so much that he wouldn't come anyway. And Hib was the number 2 guy at PGE and a good head and I had known him a little bit before. He was close to retirement and widely respected downtown. But Ed Steidle of Meier & Frank and the President of US Bank, we had a lot of strong people and they came. I think they were, more than trying to influence the direction of downtown, they were fascinated by the process--and hoping that we could do something about parking. We did not include Doug Goodman, and Doug resented that. He berated me once. I didn't know him, but he knew who I was and he said What do you guys think you're doing? But we didn't want Doug because Doug owned all the parking lots and we knew what his interest was, and I had the feeling that we were going to end up doing something different. He would pick up odd lots, blocks that were undervalued or underused, and turn them into parking lots and that's not the way to provide parking downtown. It's a disorganized and opportunistic way to provide parking.
Council Adopts the Goals and Guidelines: It took us about a year to finish the work. We made a presentation to the council and the council adopted the plan. They accepted DeLeuw-Cather's report on downtown plan parking and circulation. We largely ignored their recommendation. They also had a plan for a huge parking garage in Northwest. Gosh, we made presentations to the Chamber of Commerce, lot of different groups. We got good coverage by the Oregonian. Paul Pintarich did a couple of feature stories, the Oregonian had a full page on the citizens goals and guidelines. We had pictures in the paper. We had a downtown display, I think in the old Bidell Building which has been remodeled, on the ground floor with a big open space we were there temporarily between remodels and reuse; it was very accessible, visible from the sidewalk. We had a big presentation of our plan there with drawings. We used the downtown model. We brought that out of Stanton Yard and up in the space where we could play with it. I hope they're keeping that up, because there is a real investment in that. And the fact that you can take the buildings out, we used that a lot.
The PGE Building: I don't mean there was no urban design element. I mean that we did not have a strong urban designer. There were some issues when PGE wanted to build their 3-block complex. The city invited Rai Okamoto from San Francisco to come up and advise them. It seems to me that I argued for the tower on Front Avenue and Rai wanted it back on the back street. I didn't want a high-rise row of buildings... I tied it to the bridgehead. I felt that the concept of having high rise buildings at the bridgeheads sort of created a framework for downtown. Not high-rise as we proposed along the Transit Mall, but you know up to 5 or 6 stories, right at the bridgeheads and then you would have lower-rise between the bridgeheads--to get some variation so you wouldn't have a wall of low buildings, either. To me, that was a better urban design process. Rai thought otherwise, although he never talked to me and I didn't know him. I think also there was some feeling that I probably wasn't the best person to recommend a site for the high rise. It was originally designed by Frasca to locate the high-rise building on front.
Closing Harbor Drive: I can discuss that briefly. In the wake of DeLeuw-Cather's report recommending a couplet, I felt strongly that was a mistake and that Front avenue should be the new Harbor Drive. I sort of developed this idea in my head driving down the freeway on my way to Corvallis one day I got as far as the Salem turnoff and drove into the Highway Department, walked into Fred Klaboe's office who was then head of the Highway Department and told him what I thought. I wanted to kill off the DeLeuw-Cather report and Fred, a real gentleman, no longer living, but a wonderful guy, very strong and polished, had a huge office with a great big long conference table and his desk. He heard me out and then he took me over to his conference table and, there laid out was a sketch of Front Avenue and he said, I was embarrassed to ask the boys upstairs to do this, so I did it myself. He said, I agree with you. All we need to do is beef it up, improve it so it can carry the truck traffic, the strength of it, and re-design it with a median and with better controls. And he said, I think that can do the job along with what you suggested to Glenn about using I-405 and the freeway and the freeway along on the East side, the Eastbank freeway.
When it came time to figure out how to close Harbor Drive, I got a call from Glenn Jackson, who was over in eastern Oregon. His secretary called my office and when I called in for messages, they said Mr. Jackson wants to see you in the morning. And so I called and she told me I could come at 9 or 9:30. I chose 9:30. Rod called me about 7 o'clock in the morning. He had read the editorial in the Oregonian that day that said that closing Harbor Drive was impossible, and that the traffic engineers in Salem and the traffic engineers in Portland all agreed that you couldn't close Harbor Drive without creating a terrible mess. And Glen Jackson, tough old bird, handed me the editorial and said read this. That's all he said. He said read this. And I read it. But I had already heard it over the phone from Rod, so I had time to think about it a little bit. Jackson shrugged and said, Hell, all I'm trying to do is help the Governor. My boys tell me that you can't close it. What are we going to do? You don't like the couplet. Probably other people don't like the couplet. And so I said well, we ought to firm up Front Avenue to carry heavier traffic, which means repaving it and redesigning it. And then keeping the old Harbor Drive area where the old Journal Building was, there was a park, which was done and it's Downtown Waterfront McCall Park. Wonderful facility for the city. So then I remember I thought I would be there only a few minutes, because Jackson doesn't give you much time, and I think it was 3 hours later that I got out of there and had a parking ticket because I only put half an hour's worth of money in the meter. It was a good session. I said, if I were you... He said, "Look, I've got to go to City Council this afternoon and tell them how we're going to do this. And Don Bergstrom, the Traffic Engineer, is saying that this will back cars clear up to Lake Oswego, if we do this." And I said, "I don't believe that." I said, "I don't believe the numbers." If you let people know well ahead of time that you're going to close Harbor Drive, people who use it now will use I-405 which is under-used right now, some of them will cross the river and take both bridges because they're headed for the Northwest district to go to work. The river is a psychological barrier, but the fact is that the distance involved isn't much more. People cross one bridge and go back over the river on the other and they'll end up right out at Yeon Avenue where they work. And I said, "If I were you, I'd have a map that showed that, to illustrate your point to the city council." So he got Fred Klaboe on the phone and ordered the map drawn and brought up by car by 3 o'clock. And that's what he did.
Some months later, I ran into Don Bergstrom in a grocery store in Lake Oswego and Don said "Well, Dick, you must be a mighty proud fellow today." And I said, "Why?" -- because I had gone on to other things and had forgotten. And he said, "They closed Harbor Drive today and there wasn't a ripple." Sort of end of story. And Fred Klaboe said to me, "Dick, the numbers aren't anything anymore. It's all politics."
Yes, that was one of the great opportunities we had. We had Tom McCall trying to sort of rescue the river. He wanted Harbor Drive closed, not Glenn Jackson. Glenn Jackson liked Harbor Drive. He was basically closing it for his boss. That's exactly what he said to me. He threw up his hands and he said, "I'm just trying to help the Governor." That's exactly what he was doing. And he did. Because he could pretty much do anything he wanted to--the strongest highway director we ever had. But I don't think that arguing with Tom would have done much good. Tom didn't argue much either. Oh, I think Jackson had pretty good instincts. I remember when he spoke to City Club, he was terribly frustrated by all the environmental stuff that was being thrown up in his way. My memory is that his last statement when he made his formal address to the City Club were, "We've got to start laying concrete." And that didn't set too well with the City Club, who thought he had already laid too much.
Consulting on the I-505 Freeway Proposal: I had hoped that the City would hire my firm to do the rezoning scheme for downtown Portland, but they hired a San Francisco firm (Livingston and Blayney) to do that. I thought they did a good job. The issue of the cap on pollution was important, too. Anyway, we were almost immediately hired by the Highway Department based on our work downtown to be the prime consultants for the re-study of I-505, so I jumped from that to directing the I-505 study. We were hired on a Friday, and on Saturday morning I drove out to take a look around. They were proposing an Upshur-Vaughn couplet and, I thought, Gosh, the obvious way to move this traffic is out Yeon Avenue through the industrial area. There were some problems with relocating railroads, etc. to serve those different areas, but we worked for the next two years on that project and they did it exactly as I felt made sense that Saturday morning. But it took going through the whole process, looking at all the alternatives. Again, we moved our office into the study area. The Highway Department owned a building that they had acquired as part of the right-of-way and let us work there. We hired Mary Petersen, who had been the staff director of the Northwest District Association, and Mary Catherine did a wonderful job for us in mobilizing the citizens and representing the district. We brought her right inside the program and paid her half time (she was only being paid half-time in the district) she needed more money. But she could not be co-opted. I mean, it never occurred to me or anyone that because we were paying Mary that she would in any way be on our side if she and the District thought differently. Very strong personality. She had a doctorate from Yale In political science; taught at Reed; eventually ran off with some religious cult.
Yes, she was very helpful. We opened a special office for her, up more in the residential part of the neighborhood where she worked and we kept an open door. We encouraged at our public meetings, the neighborhood to walk in individually, as a group, talk to our guys as they were working, meeting the engineers and planners and economists, etc. We had a separate traffic consultant, Voorhies and Associates.
The people up in Willamette Heights were up in arms about the Thurman Vaughn, the Vaughn Upshur couplet because it would have routed traffic right along the base of Willamette Heights. I think the Highway Department just didn't want to upset the industrial people with a lot of traffic, and tended to see run-down housing as vulnerable, as easier to grab than going through an industrial area. It actually helped the industrial area very much, I think, the way it set up. Plus we have a very short section of freeway, actual freeway, doesn't go much past the interchange. So I thought it was an excellent solution and Front Avenue now carries more traffic, too. And there's that new railroad overpass which connects Front Avenue, the s-shaped overpass.
Dick Ivey and Lloyd Anderson: Lloyd Anderson and I go back a long way. Lloyd worked at the Bureau of Governmental Research which was then called the Bureau of Municipal Research. He was there for about 5 years, as the director of the 701 planning assistance program, section 701 of the old Housing Act, which provided matching grants to cities and counties throughout the state. Lloyd had been planning director at Multnomah County. But that was only a 2-year stint, I think, before he moved down to Eugene. Before that he had been the Zoning Administrator in King County in Seattle. And had graduated from the Univ. of Washington in engineering and taken a masters degree in city planning. So he brought, in those years, a good background. There weren't too many trained planners around. The rest of us had learned mostly just out of graduate school and not necessarily just in planning. Earl Bradfish, who became Frank Ivancie's assistant, was a part of that early group. He was trained as a geographer, had worked for the Army map service.
What about Frank Ivancie? Frank's a mixed bag, but mostly I think Frank has shown (in his later career) some of the abilities that were evident in Portland--without maybe some of the baggage. Frank is a Republican. I guess that's the worst thing I can say about Frank. But Frank was very supportive of my project, downtown. Frank is a project guy. He's not a big thinker, not a comprehensive thinker. He's not a visionary. He could get his arms around a Powell Blvd railroad overpass, putting Tartan turf on the stadium. He's project-oriented. He supported me because he thought it would help him, more than he thought it would help the city.
And he did support the appointment of the citizens advisory committee, maybe because he felt he had no choice. The first thing we did was sit down with a pencil and paper and write down the names of people who Frank thought ought to be on the powerful downtown committee. Ira Keller was then the chairman of the development commission, and I thought he could participate through the development commission rather than on the board. I got a call from Frank a day or two later saying that Ira wanted to be on the powerful downtown committee also and I'd better put him there. So I did, and it turned out that the next meeting was in Ira Keller's board room, at Willamette Industries. These meetings were high level stuff for me... heady stuff for me, because I had never worked at that level in the city before. It was revealing to me how little these guys understood their business interests, in terms of city planning and downtown planning. They really looked on us as the experts. I thought the contribution they made, quite apart from the money of course, were sound and in the general interest. But at one point they brought in Pietro Belluschi. Paul Murphy, as a young man, had been taken by his family on the grand tour in Europe and Italy especially. Pietro Belluschi, who was then a young northwest architect, and the family took Pietro Belluschi along as a companion for Paul and as a kind of tour guide. The Murphy family had been early real estate pioneers, developed Lake Oswego and Laurelhurst and some of the large projects like that. So Paul Murphy knew Pietro from his childhood and called him up and asked him to come up to his office and asked me (and I think Bob was there too) to make a presentation for Pietro's advice. And Pietro didn't have a lot to say. He seemed to be very positive. He said, he didn't want to feel like a fool, but he didn't know enough about what the alternatives were. He was very gracious anyway. So, from time to time I called him up with specific questions or asking him for ideas after that. I don't recall that he had a whole lot to do, he was retired and well along in years at the time. That was about it.
Participation of Local Architects: Among the local architects, there were several active guys. One was Jon Schleuning. Jon Schleuning was really put out by the fact that we were an engineering firm. Jon was outspoken and he may have been the AIA President or he was Chairman of their urban design committee, and Jon was very articulate about what was going on. I think he got to be President of City Club one year. He was very critical, and he felt responsible for the fact that we had a citizens committee at all, which annoyed me. Having a citizens committee or some vehicle for public participation is essential to the planning process. I've always done that. Politically, there's no way we couldn't do it. Besides that, I would say planning is too important to be left to the planners. It was our way of getting broader support and we had a very good citizens committee.
The Citizens' Advisory Committee: They met regularly and participated. And there were other venues for bringing in people, and it was, I thought, a very positive thing. In fact, Ron Cease wrote a report on how to accomplish citizen participation in the downtown planning process. I think that I felt that with the criticism coming from the architects that we needed some independent advice on how to develop a citizens committee. Also, I was interested in what Ron, who was a political scientist, would have to offer. At least, in those days there didn't seem to be too many ways to get citizen participation and the citizens advisory committee was, to me, almost a clichÃƒÂ¯Â¿Â½. But that's what he recommended. I was curious to see whether he wouldn't recommend other things besides that, other ways to do that.
Major Players at CH2M: You asked who were the major players. Well, certainly Dick Brainard, a young man named John McCormick was in the office. John was an architect. John worked on it but not with any independent responsibility. Wayne Stewart may have been in the office. I think Wayne left during the course of the program. I asked him to take on a comprehensive planning study for some small city and he said, well, he had already done that once. It wasn't a high interest of Wayne's. I was always fascinated that every time you got to plan a new city it was a whole new career. Every city is so different and your ability to bring to bear the different principles on a new set of circumstances is a really challenging and interesting and fun assignment. I was always grateful that in my own career I could stay in one or two places (the Bureau and CH2M) for almost 30 years and still find myself in different circumstances, especially as we developed our international practice and moved into the middle east and southeast Asia. That was terribly exciting. Well, I am a great believer in comprehensive planning.
The Downtown Plan Goals and Guidelines: The problem with goals is that they get to be sort of pat, they don't mean much. Everybody can agree. It's sort of like motherhood. Goals ideally should be, ideally, a set of... they should be chosen from among alternatives. And if there are no alternatives, they don't serve much use. I mean, everybody agrees that you ought to be able to move traffic and provide people with water and sewer and services and other services, that kids ought to be able to walk to school, all of those things, and to write them as goals, I prefer to think of them more as a check list, rather than a great thing to do, just as a reminder that when you are doing comprehensive planning there are a whole bunch of things that you look at. And that everybody can agree that, you know, property values ought to be stable and streets ought to be safe. To say having safe streets is a goal seems to be sort of pointless because nobody would argue that they ought to be unsafe.
And goals have got to be more specific. Planners are always trying to differentiate between goals and objectives and policies. To me, goals and objectives are defined in the dictionary as the same thing. But there is a difference between a goal and a policy. A policy is a course of action that you take to reach a goal. And the policies are easier to write, for me, because there is usually more than one way to get to a goal. So you can set criteria for developing policies, based on things like cost and practicality and realities of proceeding along certain lines.
[End of Side B, Tape 1]
Development on South of Downtown Waterfront: I feel that I had an important hand in the way the south of Downtown waterfront area developed. When Davidson Company was first talking about developing that property, Pollin sent his lawyer to talk to me. He said, why are you doing this to us? And I said because you've got such a crappy architect. That wasn't the whole reason, but they were going to put a fake grass roof on it, as I recall. It was supposed to look like a south sea island. It was Red Lion's proposal. Pollin I think was involved in it. When I told Pollin that he had a crappy architect because he was using the Red Lion architect, the guy who designed all of the red lion hotels, he went out and got George Rockrise. So then he invited me to lunch and he had this model that Rockrise had prepared and showed me... we had sandwiches in his office. It must have been 1972 or 1973. I remember that I appeared before the planning commission, which held its hearing in the council chamber. I appeared, and I said I am speaking tonight without portfolio, because I was no longer the consultant. Somebody later asked me what is without portfolio? I said I had no standing as a consultant. But I thought that was a real loss of opportunity to let that go for that purpose. So one thing led to another and, in the meantime, the development commission started to acquire it... we gave them some breathing room to get hold of the property.