Tom Badrick, longtime Parkrose Heights Association of Neighbors chair, is leading the effort to redesign a local green space that’s currently better known as a notorious eyesore. The roundabout island at Northeast 102nd Avenue and Weidler Street, across from a Kaiser clinic, is a site so infamous that it goes by many names. Even Badrick isn’t sure what to call it. “I don’t really like any of its names,” says Badrick. Its most common titles are “Windscape” and the “Jughandle.”
The one thing east Portlanders do seem to agree on is that the property needs a facelift—and fast. Presently, the disheveled junkyard is devastated by homeless campers, a broken bioswale and a variety of non-native weeds.
Badrick, along with David Goodyke, a senior registered landscape architect from design firm Nevue Ngan, held a surprise open house in January (“Updates to ‘Windscape’ roundabout draw strong reactions,” MCM Feb. 2018) to gain public input on what to do with the property. Their endeavor is buoyed by a $60,000 Prosper Portland grant.
A second open house in June gave Badrick and an 11-person committee of local business owners who own property in the area about a month to make a final recommendation to pass off to the property’s official owner, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). Badrick says all committee members made it to the second open house and heavily weighed public commentary when creating a final recommendation. “People would really like to see the property cleaned up, with no camping. The designs we walked away with last night will meet the public’s concerns and make the facility look nice. The way it looks today is about as far from nice as you could think. It’s one of those properties that’s easy to drive by and not pay attention to, but if you do drive by, it’s kind of a special place,” says Badrick.
Badrick believes the public will welcome the changes his committee has approved, but he emphasizes that reconstruction will mean quality over quantity. “Given the resources and processes we have available––the city has a lot of maintenance to do––we wanted to be as maintenance-free as possible,” says Badrick. “What we walked away from was a plan that includes a few Douglas firs added to the property, possibly some other trees, and relatively low groundcover so there’s not much maintenance. That’s the front half of the project. The plants would be native.”
PBOT has had its hands tied with the Halsey-Weidler Streetscape Plan, which is now delayed but out for bids. Ironically, the pushed-back Halsey-Weidler Streetscape Plan might deliver the Windscape redesign into action at a cheaper cost.
Badrick, as well as designers from Nevue Ngan, have spoken with PBOT and are planning to complete the Windscape redesign in conjunction with the Halsey-Weidler Streetscape Plan. This will limit production costs, as the Windscape can utilize some Halsey-Weidler materials, such as trees and boulders.
Halsey-Weidler Streetscape construction delayed
In an email statement, PBOT’s Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera did not comment on PBOT’s relationship with the Windscape project. However, he did speak on behalf of the Halsey-Weidler Streetscape Plan’s delay. “The contractor [for the Halsey-Weidler Streetscape Plan] has not submitted a schedule, but we expect construction to start in a couple of months. We received many questions during the bidding process, including one the day before bids were due, so the City of Portland’s Procurement Office extended the bid process by two weeks.”
For now, the timeline for Badrick’s piece of the puzzle remains open-ended, too.
“The core elements of rehabbing the bioswale and putting the boulders in there [to prevent camping], in addition to cleaning up the property, so it doesn’t have four-foot-tall thistles, can be phase one,” says Badrick. “I would think it will take two to three months from now for the Windscape to start construction. We need to make sure that Prosper Portland, PBOT and the Bureau of Environmental Services, who will maintain the bioswale, are happy with it.
If the Halsey-Weidler Streetscape Plan is two months out by fall, this won’t be the first thing done. I still have to get Prosper Portland to do a contract faster than the usual molasses.”
As Badrick met with all the parties involved before the second open house, he believes the committee’s recommendations will look something like the result.
“Nobody has said no to any of the designs we showed the public,” adds Badrick.
In a year or two, another open house could be held to option additional ideas for the space. Badrick likes the idea of an art piece, such as a monument, that he could erect through consulting with the Regional Arts and Culture Council for an additional grant.
Hearkening back to the site’s name, Badrick believes even that could evolve with time. “I’d love to have a name that resonates with the community,” he says.
If you would like to know more about the Windscape redesign or if you feel strongly about renaming the site, you can contact Badrick directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 971-325-9727.