Looking Forward, Looking Back: Urban Plaza in 2007

November 4, 2009 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

As PCRI looks forward to a celebration for completed renovations (finally!) including lower level rooms and main floor common areas at Urban Plaza, we’re also looking back to the spring of 2007, when we completed renovations of the building’s residential units.  This profile was part of our Spring 2007 newsletter:

Eugene BrooksEugene Brooks (pictured at left) and Willie Jones didn’t know what to expect when they learned that PCRI planned to renovate the newly-acquired Urban Plaza building.  Some of the residents were temporarily relocated to other PCRI units but Brooks and Jones were among the residents who stayed.  For months they lived through seismic upgrades to the roof and major improvements to the plumbing and heating systems.

They moved to completed top floor units while the work was being done in their units.  There, Brooks came to really enjoy the view from his tree top window.  He could see over the top of the Rose Garden Arena, across downtown Portland, and all the way to the West Hills (pictured below as seen from the rooftop) that twinkled at night.

Jones, on the other hand, moved into space that was smaller than what he was used to, and this had an impact on his work as an artist.  “I had so much stuff in that small space that I couldn’t get the connection for the website,” he said.

During the eight-month renovation, residents commented on the progress from the sidelines.  Carpets, cabinets, countertops, appliances, windows and lighting were all replaced.

“Even though people had a lot to say, everyone felt it was a good idea and turned out pretty good,” said Brooks.Urban Plaza Roof

“It was hard to get around the construction activity, but the building was greatly improved from what it was,” agreed Jones.

In the end, Jones moved back into his much-improved downstairs studio apartment with its high ceilings and spacious windows.  “I got to have the light,” he said.

As for Brooks, he decided to stay in the much smaller studio upstairs, explaining, “I couldn’t give up the view.”

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