97th and Couch Apartments Approved by Design Commission (images)

The Design Commission has approved the 97th and Couch Apartments, a six story building in Gateway designed by Works Progress Architecture. The building will include 61 residential units, with a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom units, as well as a small ground floor retail space. 62 long term and 6 short bicycle parking spaces will be provided, plus 11 spaces for electric scooters. No vehicular parking is proposed.

The building will be subject to the city’s inclusionary housing rules, which require the provision of affordable housing or the payment of a fee-in-lieu.

NE 97th and Couch

The project will be located at 9648 NE Couch St, at the corner of NE Couch St and 97th Ave. To the south of the building is a remnant parcel owned by TriMet, which will be landscaped as part of the project. To the west of the site is the I-205 multiuse path, which will receive new landscaping.

NE 97th and Couch

In April 2019 the City Council approved a Local Improvement District (LID), which will provide street, sidewalk, and stormwater improvements along NE 97th Ave between E Burnside and the previously completed improvements to the north. A future phase of the LID will extend NE Couch and Davis between NE 97th and 99th, in order to break down the superblock that currently exists. NE Couch St west of 97th is expected to be vacated, and improved as a pedestrian plaza providing a connection to the multiuse path.

NE 97th and Couch

The primary material for the building will be a dark integral color Viroc cement bonded particle board, with fiber cement panel accent areas. Other materials include metal panel, perforated metal panel guardrails, concrete, vinyl windows and aluminum storefronts.

NE 97th and Couch
NE 97th and Couch

97th and Couch was approved at its first design review hearing, held on May 16th, 2019. In the conclusion to the Final Findings and Decision by the Design Commission the project was found to respond to the desired future character of Gateway:

The project provides a mixed-use development which incorporates commercial and residential space, both of which are desired development in the Gateway Regional Center. The area is envisioned to redevelop into a highly-urbanized, pedestrian-oriented center, with an overall built size and scale second only to Portland’s Central City.

This project’s massing strategy breaks down the quarter-City block scale of the development to address the many speeds of travel surround the site – Rail, Freeway, Local Street, Bike and Pedestrian – as well as the widely varying existing and future building stock in the area. A human-scale ground floor shifts to a two-story mid-level and variable top articulations shift horizontally and vertically. When the planned NE Couch Street vacation is completed, as a separate filing, it will be converted to publicly accessible plaza.

The resulting architecture features traditional building forms, typologies, and materials in a contemporary way which integrates the scale and finishes of future development in area while referencing the current residential and industrial scales and materials. Utilization of an over- sized shingle façade references the texture of residential homes in the area at a scale appropriate for the scale of the building.

Building permits will need to applied for and obtained before construction can begin.


7 thoughts on “97th and Couch Apartments Approved by Design Commission (images)

  1. Man gateway is finally blowing up. Between this and he new Halsey-Weidler improvements, the project on 99th and Glisan makes me wish I bought a house in Gateway. Only 4 max spots from the Lloyd district as well.. underrated area gateway is

  2. I like the project, and the introduction of such density in E Portland. I am annoyed, though at the typical landscape architecture which seeks to make it difficult to walk in a straight line. Look at the path you’d need to take from 97th and Burnside, to walk north to the Mixed Use Path. You thread your way through the “Open Space”, avoiding jagged-edge planting areas to get there. Architects and/or Landscape Architects seem not inclined to designing for easy biking and walking as transportation. They assume people will just be lolling about in the space, or simply strolling for “recreation”, not to get anywhere.

  3. Nice to see a number of 2-bedroom units in the plan. The potential for Gateway is huge – though the city has kind of turned its back on it.

    Parking? The project at 97th/Everett has parking and yet residents also fill up the adjacent vacant lot and cars line the streets, despite being a stone’s throw away from the MAX station.

    Not sure I agree with Doug on the plaza design – freeway like pedestrian paths can be just a boring as, well, freeways! A little meandering is good for the soul!

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