Contact: Shawn Uhlman, email@example.com, 503-823-7994
On Tuesday, November 1 from noon to 1:00 p.m., PDC Executive Director Kimberly Branam will join family members of a longtime Kenton business and property owner to dedicate Nelson Plaza, 8419 N. Interstate. The site will be a community gathering space and home to up to six new food carts serving the neighborhood.
Family patriarch Victor R. Nelson founded Kenton Machine Works and was the force behind Kenton’s most visible landmark, the Paul Bunyan statue that stands at the north end of N. Interstate Avenue. The statue represents Kenton’s roots as a rugged, working class neighborhood. The Nelson Plaza dedication will include the presentation of a plaque recognizing Mr. Nelson and his family’s history in the community.
The Plaza site is one of four properties originally owned by the Nelsons and purchased by PDC in 2011 for future development. Due to market conditions, PDC decided to hold onto the Plaza site and make tenant improvements instead. In 2015, PDC completed a development study that recommended a phasing approached for future development of the site and surrounding PDC-owned properties.
PDC worked with a group of community stakeholders to gather input on use of the Plaza site that would be supported by the neighborhood. The stakeholders, including local business owners and members of the Kenton Neighborhood and Kenton Business associations, expressed a strong desire to activate the space and attract the public to the north end of Denver Avenue.
Branam said, “We’re happy to honor the Nelson family’s role in Kenton and dedicate this site as a community space that also offers new opportunities for food entrepreneurs to serve residents and local businesses and their employees.”
Karen Nelson Wheeler said, “Our family has a long history here in Kenton, and we’re honored to have a plaque recognizing the role of my grandfather, as not only a longtime property and business owner but also as the visionary behind Kenton’s landmark Paul Bunyan statue. We’re very proud of our impact on the community and look forward to its future growth.”
The design and construction team (Raimore Construction, KPFF, 2.Ink Studio, and R& W Engineering) incorporated many of the community ideas, including spaces for food carts, a courtyard, a boardwalk path, community kiosk, plants and trees. PDC used Interstate Corridor urban renewal area funds for the site renovation.
Food carts up and running at Nelson Plaza include DeHomis, Drunken Noodle, and Killa Dilla.
PDC’s history with the Kenton neighborhood and physical improvements dates back many years and includes a $5 million streetscape improvement project completed in 2010.