North Old Town / Chinatown Redevelopment Strategy
Portland, Oregon

A market analysis and urban design and planning effort, the North Old Town/Chinatown (NOTCT) Redevelopment Strategy sets a framework for future redevelopment of the North Old Town/Chinatown area, part of Portland's Downtown Waterfront Urban Renewal Area. Initiated by the Portland Development Commission (PDC), the redevelopment strategy was established with the input of a 17-member stakeholder advisory committee, composed of area business and property owners, residents, social-service providers, and members of the city's Asian community.

DAO led a team of economists and public-outreach consultants in the creation of a number of progressive development scenarios for North Old Town/Chinatown. The study area consisted of seven blocks, each with varying patterns of ownership, use, and historic character. A patchwork of vacant and underdeveloped parcels, as well as a mix of social-service agencies, posed distinct challenges. The district's cultural diversity and historic heritage, however, presented opportunities for near-term as well as long-range revitalization.

The strategy's main objective was to economically reinvigorate the study area, while maintaining the district's essential scale, variety of activities, and historic character. Case-study research and charrette workshops were utilized to develop various scenarios involving different uses, architectural massing, urban-design principles, market economics, and phasing. The resulting framework presents a spectrum of alternative directions for the development of Blocks 24, 25, 26, and A&N, as well as for interconnected hierarchies of public and private open spaces and circulation systems. Adopted recently, the framework is providing guidance for future development of the district.

Renderings by Craig S. Holmes