Stop 09

Stop 9: MLK & Burnside

We just crossed over Interstate 84 (the Banfield Freeway) and are heading south. Burnside divides the city North and South, while the Willamette River divides it East and West.



The three-story Templeton Building peeks over the South edge of the Burnside Bridge. It was originally an assembly & retail location for Frigidaire.

Burnside Skatepark is near its foundation, the Best Spot to Execute a Riparian Ollie, according to Thrasher magazine.


Lower East Burnside’s reputation as one of Portland’s less desirable neighborhoods changed almost literally overnight in 2003 when partners Kelsey Bunker and Tod Breslau created the Jupiter Hotel. They teamed with Skylab Architects to transfigure the dilapidated mid-century motor inn into the an 80-room boutique hotel featuring the popular music venue Doug Fir Lounge.

The spot has become a communal hang out for gay and straight hipsters of all persuasions. Other popular night spots Ron Toms and Report Lounge rode on the coattails of Doug Fir, along with restaurants Biwa, Simpatica Dining Hall, and Le Pigeon.

The Eastside Streetcar line is expected to fuel growth in the Central Eastside Industrial District.

Works Partnership Architecture has one of the most striking buildings at 5th and Burnside, called bSIDE6. The original building was permitted to build over the sidewalks when their properties were narrowed in the 1920s to widen the street.

The developers sought to follow this technique by projecting upper volumes above the sidewalk. But after the real estate bubble burst the outcome was in doubt. Today, however, the striking architecture and the column-free, cantilevered, glass-walled space helped fill the building to 95 percent occupancy at market rents comparable to, or higher than, the more than 350,000 square feet of creative space in the converted warehouses nearby.

Building rehabs for the creative industry has enjoyed success in Portland, with examples like the Leftbank Project on Broadway, Malsin’s East Bank Commerce Center and Olympic Mills Commerce Center in the Central Eastside, and the Ford Building in Southeast, all of which are full of tenants. Gerding Edlen pioneered green building development (in collaboration with GBD Architects, ZGF, SERA Architects and other firms).

The Public Review Draft of the Center City 2035 Concept Plan was announced this September. It emphasizes the important role the city center plays for the region and is intended to guide development of four detailed quadrant plans within the Central City (N/NE, SE, NW and SW).

The SE Portland Art Walk has over 150 artists showing in over 50 locations. This walking art tour brings you up close and personal to artists throughout the vibrant, SE Portland.

A temporary public art installation, Line.Plane.Object. is part of a multi-piece set.

GATE, the first of three “sculptural gestures”, is installed by the streetcar stop on Burnside.

Also, be sure to check out Starks Vacuum Museum. Stark’s is one of the largest independent vacuum cleaner dealers in the U.S. with nine locations and over 50 employees.

In this 1933 photo the 1894 Burkhard Building dominated the northeast corner of E. Burnside and Union (MLK), notes Vintage Portland. The building “arcades” on either side of Burnside were the result of a street widening project in the late 1920s – a theme picked up by the bSIDE6 building.

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