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10 Before-and-After Photos Showcase Portland’s Enhanced Skyline

Portland skyline changes

Since its founding in 1851, Portland has grown from a small timber town into the 28th most populous city in the entire U.S. From its original core in today’s Old Town, the city has expanded outward along the Willamette and Columbia rivers, blossoming with new architecture as it grows. The last decade especially has brought a burst of new contemporary buildings.

Eight Years of Architectural Innovation, in Photos

Thanks to Google’s Street View, we have looked eight years into the past to see just how much these new real estate projects have transformed Portland’s streets. Join us as we compare the past and the present, and explore some of the city’s most dynamic neighborhoods before and after their latest additions.

Simply drag the arrow bar back-and-forth to view the old and the new images.

1. 3939 SW Bond Ave, Block 49, and The Matisse – Southwest Portland

Tucked between the Willamette River and the West Hills, Southwest Portland offers some beautiful places for a stroll – and over the past decade, that riverfront land has also become home to some of Portland’s newest architectural projects. The red-and-cream colored structures of 3939 Southwest Bond Avenue and Block 49 both contain affordable housing for families; while the LEED Gold-certified Matisse offers spacious apartments, from studios to one- and two-bedrooms.

Link to Street View

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2. Mirabella Portland, The Ardea, and Riva on the Park – Southwest Portland

Further inland from the Waterfront, Mirabella Tower rises above Bond Avenue with a futuristic gleam. This 30-story structure includes 284 housing units for senior citizens, and stands as the seventh tallest building in all Portland. Nearby, the 30-story Ardea holds 323 luxury condominiums, along with 16,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space – and the LEED Gold certified Riva on the Park features studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms, all with access to a fitness center and concierge.

Link to Street View

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3. Ladd Tower – Downtown

Downtown’s skyline has a sleek new addition in the Ladd Tower whose 23 stories house luxury rental apartments, as well as ground-floor commercial spaces. This building, which cost $80 million to build, is state-of-the-art both inside and out. It’s received LEED certification for energy efficiency, and its facade – which has been described as “low-ego” by one local developer, seems to reflect the surrounding buildings and trees, letting this colossal tower vanish smoothly into the scenery.

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4. Cyan – Downtown

Just minutes’ walk from the heart of Downtown Portland, Cyan‘s playful reflective exterior contains a wide range of rental apartments, from 534-square-foot studios all the way up to 1,447-square-foot three-bedrooms. Residents can relax beneath high ceilings, or in the backyard grilling area. The building even features a community garden, from which members can gather their own fresh veggies.

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5. First & Main – Downtown

With its contemporary facade of blue glass complemented by white accents, First & Main stands out proudly among the surrounding structures. This $100 million LEED Gold-certified tower contains 17 above-ground floors, as well as three stories of below-ground parking. It’s mainly devoted to office space, but the ground floor also offers 20,000 feet of retail space for lease.

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6. Twelve West – Downtown

Home to the Indigo Twelve West apartments, this 22-story building dominates Southwest Washington street with its shimmering surfaces of blue-green glass. The building’s roof is home to four 45-foot-tall wind turbines, which generate about 9,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year. While its ground floor plays host to a variety of retail spaces, its second through fifth floors hold office spaces, and the remaining 17 stories house the Indigo apartments.

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7. 937 Condominiums – Pearl

Although Pearl began as a warehouse district, today it’s home to a thriving population of artists and other creative types – which means the quirky design of 937 Condominiums fits right in. With its cream-colored outlines and red accents, this 16-story tower complements the surrounding scenery even as it stands out. Its slim floor plan accomodates airy condos and private decks, as well as ground-floor retail spaces and underground parking.

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8. Machine Works Building and Enso Apartments – Pearl

The Machine Works Building‘s striking black exterior might look a bit secretive in the daytime but at night it lights up in a symphony of color. This $40.7 million LEED Gold-certified structure contains nine stories and 209,000 square feet of office space, as well as a large fitness center. The nearby Enso Apartments provide luxury living right in the heart of Pearl, and offer residents amenities like fire pits, gourmet kitchens, and even private wine lockers.

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9. Asa Flats + Lofts, The Lovejoy, and Enso – Pearl

On the Marshall Street skyline, it’s impossible to miss the peach-colored “L” shape of the Asa building, which offers flats and lofts ranging from 538-square-foot studios to 1,172-square-foot two-bedrooms, as well as a rooftop deck with a community garden. The LEED Gold-certified Lovejoy building stands close by, providing 280,000 square feet of retail and office space, along with its own roof terrace. Enso rounds out the corner, commanding sweeping views of Pearl’s vibrant streets.

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10. Bud Clark Commons – Old Town Chinatown

Nestled on the north side of Portland, next to the Willamette River, Old Town Chinatown was once the core of the city, and still stands as one of its timeless neighborhoods. Amid its classic buildings rises Bud Clark Commons, a playful $29 million building that offers supportive housing as well as a community resource center. Its walk-in day center provides homeless Portlandians with access to health care, housing, and a variety of other useful services.

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We hope we didn’t leave out your favorite new Portland building, or your favorite area of the city – but if we did, we’d love for you to let us know! You might just see it featured in a future RENTCafe article!

Note: The Corbett/Terwilliger neighborhood officially changed its name to Southwest Portland in 2006.

About the author

Ama Otet

Ama Otet is an online content developer and creative writer for RENTCafé. She loves all things real estate and strives to live beautifully, one green step at a time. You can connect with Ama on Twitter or via email.

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