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Buddhadharma : Summer 2015
22 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 2 0 1 5 In 2012, Portland’s Dharma Rain Zen Center (DRZC) made the first move to alter the course of half of that Brownfield property when it decided to leave its home of twenty- five years and purchase fourteen acres. With the support of Portland’s Brownfield Program, which helps devel- opers with potentially contaminated land, Dharma Rain has been restoring the land and building a multiuse facility. Jenn Bildersee, Program Coordinator of the Brownfield Program, says, “While landfills are traditionally approached as, at best, blank slates that can be capped for rede- velopment, the DRZC’s plans tap into the site’s unique opportunities for ecological renewal, community access to open space, and creative design response to environ- mental concerns.” In addition to a traditionally built Zen center, there will be a park and wildlife cor- ridor, an oak grove, community gardens, a preschool, bike paths away from the busy neighboring road, and a small block of resi- dential properties. The buildings will have light profiles, without the deep footprints of big-box stores, and the reclaimed land will be a haven for native plants and wildlife. The temple and the site will be a public resource, with public park space and a vari- ety of daily classes, programs, and events that will be open to all. in Focus planting zen in portland by vivien shotwell fFOR ALMOST FiFTy yEARS, until 1983, a twenty-six-acre plot of land in Portland, Oregon, was used as a gravel pit and con- struction landfill. For thirty more years, the Brownfield property called Siskiyou Square, capped with clay and soil, remained vacant. Developers were wary. The likeliest candi- date seemed a big-box store like Walmart or Target, because only a large company would be willing to take on the expense of building on environmentally damaged land, with its potential for methane explosions and seismic instability. When Walmart showed interest, however, neighboring communities protested. They wanted some- thing more enriching. (Top) Aerial view of Siskiyou Square (Above) Kakumyo Lowe- Charde (right) planting with volunteers on the site PHOTO(lEFT)KenbarKer(top)photoKenbarKer,ARCHITECTURAlRENDERINgmichaelhowellsarchitecture&desin;(inset)schemataworKshop;(TOPRIgHT)JimhencKe