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Portland City Council To Consider Preserving Space For Art


Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (left) and Commissioner Nick Fish (right) attending a council work session on solutions for preserving creative space.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (left) and Commissioner Nick Fish (right) attending a council work session on solutions for preserving creative space.

April Baer/OPB

Among the casualties of the Portland region’s surging real estate market are the galleries, studios and performance spaces priced out of the central city. But Portland leaders are working on a series of policy changes intended to preserve this creative space.

Staff for Mayor Ted Wheeler and for commissioners Chloe Eudaly and Nick Fish collected two dozen best practices, based on case studies in other West Coast cities, from funding a city staffer to act as an arts concierge to establishing artist residencies in city buildings.

A Plan for Preserving and Expanding Affordable

Draft recommendations compiled by staff from Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Commissioners Nick Fish and Chloe Eudaly.

view document »

Commissioner Amanda Fritz expressed skepticism toward some ideas, such as waiving height requirements for certain creative building projects.

Fish responded to her concerns, calling this the first step in a long-overdue process.

“These are a blend of readily achievable ideas in short-term and very provocative ideas that are unlikely to see the light of day,” Fish said. “None of these ideas are baked in concrete. If it’s the council’s initial inclination this is a non-starter, we have 23 others to review and to calibrate.”

The session drew a crowd of about 50 artists, advocates, property owners and others who came to listen to the discussion. Council has a full presentation on the proposals scheduled for Feb. 15.

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