We chose the Benson Towers as our Portland outpost. Though "The Pearl" district is very popular right now and offers some fine loft spaces, we wanted a "greener" neighborhood that was closer to theaters and museums. The "Cultural District," where the Benson Towers is located, is across Market street from PSU, two blocks from Park Street with it's towering canopy and downtown greenbelt. The Schnitzer Center for the Performing Arts is just around the corner, as is the Museum of Art. And, we're on the Tri-Met line, which runs in front of our building. Doesn't get any better than that.
We've got a one-bedroom, corner unit on the 8th floor facing southeast. Lots of very large windows, and a small balcony that accomodates two chairs and a table with a couple of plants. The unit has two baths, which is a convenience; and a washer/dryer in a closet off the master bath. The kitchen is quite complete, though the appliances chosen by the builder are overkill.
The building is one of the few in Portland to be exempted from the ground-floor retail requirement. Most residential buildings have retail outlets on their ground floor. The Benson Towers was exempted because designers included a substantial water feature in the front of the building that was judged to be an asset to the city and a waiver was granted. I confess to being distressed when I discovered that the building was also the first high-rise in the city to be completed without union labor. That information would have influenced my decision. As it is, I'll just have to make a substantial contribution to a local labor temple's PAC and light a candle to Dan Gardner to atone for my sin.
That said, we love the place. Local architects are evidently impressed as well. The building is a true tower, with a core of support and lots of concrete, steel and glass. Just what we wanted. And the view is spectacular.