Unclouded Vision re-imagines a stretch of the Portland's Interstate 405 and offers solutions for the homeless population of a fragmented urban area.
The theme of the EP Exhibit 2016 is It Takes a Community. Selected projects showcase the best work from young designers highlighting community impact and engagement.
The nation’s extensive freeway network, once championed by Robert Moses among others as the infrastructural means for regionally and nationally interconnecting our cities to the vast expanse of America, has ironically created countless stretches of freeway at a local level that do anything but create connections. The stretch of Downtown Portland’s Interstate 405 highlights this inherent dichotomy quite vividly both physically and socially. Within this 28 city block expanse, I-405 exhibits a dizzying array of infrastructural gymnastics as slices through the city, creating a tangible disconnect between the west and east side of I-405.
One particular segment of I-405 located off of Lovejoy and 16th Street is a vivid byproduct of the leftover space created. This underutilized site beneath a bifurcated stretch of I-405 is used as a parking lot, offering no meaningful public amenity underneath a highway system that was predicated on community. The resulting unsavory space under encompassed by the shadow of the freeway overpass has resulted in a wasted, cast-away urban site that apparently seems to be fit only for the homeless population that often camp there when not being vacated by local law enforcement.
Unclouded Vision starts with the premise that we can no longer ignore these interstitial urban fragments, nor can we ignore the homeless inhabitants that find refuge in such places. Along the I-405 corridor, Unclouded Vision seeks to find beauty where others see unsightly vestiges of a forgone infrastructural utopianism, opportunity where others see hopelessness, community where others only see the socially forgotten. Ultimately, we aspire to infuse life into this part of the city so that it might in turn bring new life to the homeless.