Construction on MLK

MLK Construction Sites
Map of new projects on MLK. Two story buildings (B,C), Four stories (D), Five stories (A)

I’ve lived in Eliot for 5 years now, and Martin Luther King, Junior Boulevard (MLK) is less than half a block from my house. If I had to use one word to describe it I would say ‘highway’ probably. The traffic is what defines MLK, slow and busy at rush hour, and fast and sparse throughout the rest of the day.

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Eliot News in Danger

The Eliot Newspaper is a publication of the Eliot Neighborhood Association and has been published for the past 22 years. In recent times, former Board Chair Clint Lundmark has been the Editor, Advertising contact, Layout manager, and a major content creator for the paper. This is a tremendous amount of work for one person—too much for me—to do as I am quickly finding out, and I would like to thank Clint for the amount of work he has done for the paper over the past year.

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One Down, One to Go

Readers of this column will know that the NE Quadrant phase of the Central City Plan update recently finished. The resulting Plan was approved by City Council. This plan is “advisory” and may be changed of modified subsequently. Concern about possible changes that would upset the compromises agreed to by the stakeholder committee resulted in a request that the committee be notified of any prospective changes and re-engaged to review and comment before they are adopted. It isn’t clear Council will be bound by that request, but here is hoping it will be.

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The Germans Left Churches

St Mark’s Baptist Church was a former German church
St Mark’s Baptist Church was a former German church

When I sent the moldings in my home off to the stripper, I noted the name on the back appeared to be German. I also suspected the owner worked for the railroad because the front door is a custom size, probably to accommodate a window in the shape of a Union Pacific shield, which dates from the 1880s, and my home was built in 1908. A recent Oregonian article, (“NE Portland church tells story…” 1/12/2013) confirmed these suspicions. Although the article warned of the potential tragic loss of churches founded by German immigrants, it noted that these settlers were from the Volga region of Russia.

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Thoughts on Neighborhood Development

As a fairly recent transplant to Eliot I am excited for the developments along Williams and Vancouver. The addition of New Seasons and mixed use residential buildings are just the beginning of local economic growth, and this has the benefit of also increasing scrutiny of factors that affect Eliot as a walkable and healthy neighborhood. There is a general theory of walk-ability that requires satisfaction of four main criteria: it must be useful, safe, comfortable and interesting. Having a grocery store return to Eliot will meet the first criteria, and I for one will enjoy the proximity of my favorite place to shop. The nature of walking allows you to meander and find your most interesting and safe route, although the two can often be mutually exclusive. Safety for pedestrians, a very fragile group, requires well-lit paths, well-marked crossings, a buffering from cars and an overall sense of security. Residents of Eliot must deal with high traffic volumes, and a proximity to the freeway that compromises this sense of security.

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Neighborhood Livability Partnership

The Eliot Neighborhood Association has a vital role in helping leaders connect to each other. Our meetings increase the sense of cohesion and community through partnerships and funding with other groups and through special initiatives. In April of 2012, a group of Eliot residents secured a partnership agreement, the Neighborhood Livability Partnership. The Partnership has three equal partners, the Eliot Neighborhood Board, the Lloyd District Community Association, and Portland Arena Management (PAM), the management group that oversees the Rose Quarter. Like all partnerships, each entity has shared goals and individual perspectives. The Partnership has been formalized with a signed Agreement between each of the three partners that focuses on preserving the historic character of Eliot while improving the livability and accessibility of the area.

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