On May 31st, 2007 over 70 people gathered at Franklin Towers, the public high-rise on the corner of Franklin and Cumberland Avenue in Portland, to discuss the impacts and potential of Franklin Street Arterial.
The meeting was organized by members of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization and the Bayside Neighborhood Association, and was documented for broadcast on local access television. Publicity for the event included posters, newspaper coverage, an interview on WMPG radio, and direct contact with residents and area business owners.
The intention of the workshop was to ask, from a decidedly neighborhood-based, pedestrian-oriented perspective, “How can we make this road better?”
Many visual and informational background materials were displayed around the room. These highlighted the history and current layout of Franklin Street and its surroundings, as well as plans and photos documenting other cities solutions to similarly challenged road corridors. Additionally the 20” x 20” submissions to the “Lost Sites” exhibit, commissioned by the Architalx lecture series and recently hung at Aucocisco Gallery, were displayed around the room. These boards depict various conceptual plans for the Franklin Street corridor, as envisioned by local residents, architects, and neighborhood groups.
After opening remarks by Markos Miller of MHNO, Bayside resident Steve Hirshon gave a slideshow presentation on the history of the road and the residents who populated the area over the years prior to demolition in the 1970’s.
District 1 City Councilor Kevin Donoghue then spoke about the current political process. He lauded those in attendance for undertaking this important citizen planning effort, and strongly encouraged people to remain engaged.
Landscape Architect Mitchell Rasor then spoke on some basic urban design principles, and the challenges Franklin poses in the urban context. City of Portland Urban Designer Carrie Marsh, acting as the facilitator for the evening, then walked the group through the process of creating a vision. She specifically noted that a vision should include the entire corridor, and not just the road itself. Ms. Marsh was assisted throughout the evening by Portland Senior Planner Bill Needleman.