The towering steel fence surrounding the Apple Store Pioneer Place in downtown Portland may soon be replaced with a new transparent polycarbonate security enclosure, according to plans Apple has discussed with a community group.
The retailer installed the large metal barrier in February 2021 as it prepared to reopen after a pandemic shutdown for the first time since the previous spring. The storefront had been fully closed since a May 2020 protest over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police turned into a destructive riot, during which a group smashed store windows and took products inside.
More than a year later, the tech giant is coming up with a plan for a more refined security barrier.
Walt Weyler, president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, said Apple representatives discussed the plans with the group’s land-use transportation committee during a virtual meeting Tuesday morning. A representative from an architectural firm hired by Apple also attended the meeting, Weyler said, and Apple asked attendees not to take screenshots of the presentation slides.
“We were very impressed with the project. We were very happy with his concept,” Weyler said. “We were excited for Apple to stay in this location and expand their investment in this part of our city.”
Another participant in the call who asked not to be identified, however, took screenshots of the call and provided them to The Oregonian/OregonLive. The person said the new polycarbonate structure would enclose the existing storefront, about 30 inches outside the glass facade.
The slides also describe a “storefront security enclosure” made of polycarbonate panels. Polycarbonate is a tough, usually transparent, thermoplastic polymer that is much stronger than glass.
Although Apple representatives did not directly explain why the company is proposing to install the new shield around the downtown storefront, the attendee said the retailer mentioned that replacement polycarbonate panels are readily available from a local source – unlike giant panes. used for the existing facade of the store.
Weyler said he believed Apple was installing the transparent panels as a safety measure.
“They do it because they want to protect their property,” he said. “Most importantly, they want to protect their customers and their employees, and second, they want to restore the wonderful look and light that this building has within it.”
Weyler warned that the project could still be in its early stages.
“My understanding was that they’re more or less in the concept phase of what they’re going to do,” Weyler said. “But the renders were quite complete and quite attractive. But I don’t think the project is far from complete.
Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to the slides, Apple aims to start building the new security box this summer.
— Kristine de Leon; [email protected]; 503-221-8506