Portland Open Studios creates a unique educational opportunity for the public to witness art in the making, and learn about media, materials and the business of creative endeavor. Through this interaction, Portland Open Studios creates a platform for local artists to thrive, engage and foster a community that values the arts.
This year, out of the total 118 citywide individuals selected, the juried group of artists includes 22 Northeast Portland artists whose studios will be open to the public. The work includes painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography, mixed media and jewelry. The NE Open Studios community has also invited artists who participate in the Portland Art and Learning Center to take part in this event.
Dates and times are the weekends of October 12-13, and October 19-20. Hours are 10am to 5pm for each of the four days.
Look soon for the free official Open Studio map guide available all over the Portland metro area! There will also be a NE Community card with a group map available throughout the neighborhood.
Portland Open Studios will also be convening a meeting of our community artists on August 28 at the Portland Art and Learning Center, 4852 NE MLK Blvd at 6:30 if you’d like to attend to meet some of the artists and chat further about individual work and the overall event.
Gardening at St. Philip the Deacon Church is in swing. People walking by are stopping to take a peek at what is going on behind this historic church. Community volunteers have rolled up their sleeves to bring this amazing opportunity into fruition for the community; from planting seeds and starters, native plants, flowers, and watering, to laying bark chips, soil/compost, and building. Thank you to all the community participants, local residents of Eliot neighborhood, church members, and local organizations who have supported this initiative by donating hoses, plants, compost, starters, and other resources, supplies, and also monetary contributions to grow the community gardening initiative to feed the community! Special thanks to Bellagio’s Pizza for donating massive amounts of delicious pizza to our garden party held on May 4, 2019! My stomach still hurts!
The team has so far built several garden beds for diverse community participation (African Americans, houseless, veterans, church members, youth, and low-income individuals).
Work is being done around the church property to beautify the environment and ‘raise the vibration’. The Co-op is in conversation with Zenger Farms to bring in their farm’s extra harvest to allow folks complimentary access to healthy fruits, and vegetables at the church location.
The initiative had suffered some setback and in moving forward to overcome a few barriers we are asking for the community’s continued support, contributions, and labor assistance to build an accessible garden bed for folks with disabilities who otherwise would not have access to gardening opportunities.
We are also asking for a donation of a nice bench for the upcoming meditation area that will be designed for the church. In addition, we are looking for experienced or well-versed African American artists to work in collaboration with Reverend Maria, and current member artist, Su(e) Diyg, to preserve the memory of North/Northeast Portland’s African American diaspora by creating visual art for all to see and remember.
Come join in with gardening fun, starting every Saturday in July from 11AM-1PM to continue the expansion of community gardening to feed the community and to add a nice, new makeover to the church grounds in the months to come!
For more information email the coordinator, Shireen: at shihas_2005 at yahoo dot com.
“This town is about collaboration,” says Thad Fisco, owner of Portland Kettle Works and Portland’s craft beer lab, Labrewatory. In 2015, Labrewatory opened in Lower Albina with Thad purchasing the building at 670 N Russell Street, a few blocks north of Interstate, and it has been the definition of collaboration in every sense of the word. Brewers from around the city come together to create beers which are creative and delicious. For the first couple of years, beer was the headliner at this storage facility turned brewery. That is changing now.
In 2011, Portland Kettle Works designed a new brew system and brewers immediately started placing orders. Craft beer, it turns out, was the one part of the economy that was doing well during the recession. Sales have continued and their brewing systems are now in over 250 breweries worldwide and going strong.
Now Portland Kettle Works was off and running and they had a building to house equipment. Thad says that “we decided to open a brewery of our own because we were very active in putting breweries into business but hadn’t started our own yet and so we kind of looked at it as a challenge and a learning experience so we could be more informed about what we were selling to people. What an experience it has been!”
“Now we get to start doing some new things down here!” says Rachel Wilson, owner of Dawn Patrol Coffee and brewery manager. “At the beginning of the year, we added the coffee shop and extended our hours.” Dawn Patrol operates at Labrewatory in the morning hours from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. Tamale Boy started providing burritos in the morning starting at 8:30 am and beer can be sold any time of day. “We also have different beer and coffee cocktails and growlers to go,” Rachel adds. Rachel has also taken on distribution selling kegs of La Brewatory’s beer to different restaurants and bars like Loyal Legion.
Rachel continues, “We really started focusing on community events. We’re trying to bring in a different crowd of people and having the neighborhood have a place to meet. There are many different events and groups that meet at Labrewatory such as a moms club and the NoPo running club. There is even a $1 neighborhood discount for those customers who live or work in the neighborhood.”
“On Tuesdays, there is a new beer release. At 5:00 people come in and we’ll put a new beer on tap and Nick, our brewer, will take those (who have purchased a tour ticket) around and then they get their t-shirt. And there’s live music between 6 pm and 8 pm,” Rachel explains.
Labrewatory hosted a Smash festival celebrating the 100th brewed beer and tied in a nonprofit to work with, which was Special Olympics. In July they hosted a “Go Fund Me” for a friend of Rachel’s who had a climbing accident. Soon, on August 17th, there will be an S’mores event, called Mighty Clementine, designed by a customer’s daughter, Clementine, who recently has recovered from an aneurysm. She chose the nonprofit, Randall Children’s Hospital Pediatric Development and Rehabilitation Fund, and also will choose the flavors of the s’mores.
In addition, there are the classes that both La Brewatory and Tamale Boy offer. Classes are offered to all of the Portland Kettle Works clients. They get all of La Brewatory’s operating procedures for the front of the house, operating procedures for the brewery and get to see financial analysis. It gives the new brewery owners an idea on how to operate their business.
Jaime Soltero, Jr., owner of Tamale Boy, says, “Our philosophy is to always be training and always be evolving and getting people situated, getting their brains right and their work ethic right and let them go and explore themselves. We work with a couple of organizations that come and prep and train here so that they can get them back into the workforce. We have a person that actually went blind that used to work in the kitchen and we have gotten him back in the kitchen. That helps us also really think about what we’re doing and how we go about things. It’s a humbling experience for sure. That’s just one of the programs. We also support our community with gift certificates, fundraisers, and whatever we can do.”
The collaboration has been good for all three businesses. Thad says, “When Jaime came in with Tamale Boy our beer sales increased 30% when they opened their doors. That’s one thing we teach people. If you don’t have food you’re basically cutting yourself off at the knees. So you have to have some way to serve food and the better the food the better. So it’s been a great partnership.”
Jaime agrees, “It actually it worked out perfectly because at that time I was looking to expand to a commissary kitchen because where I started off at Dekum (first location of Tamale Boy) it was super small and we were already saturated. Summers we were packed to the gills and we needed more space. Thad got wind of me and we got started and it’s the perfect marriage. We don’t have to worry about anything in the dining room.”
“It’s really interesting,” Thad says, “that’s the part of overhead that a restaurant hates, is the dining room, but that’s the part that we want – for people to hang out and drink beer. We tell a lot of clients if you can lease the kitchen out and keep the people in the dining area drinking beer as long as you can…”
“And coffee!” Rachel chimes in. “It IS the perfect marriage!”
Rachel says, “The fun thing is that with this space we can have all these people that want to have an event and Labrewatory can offer the beer, Tamale Boy supplies the food and then there is a different kind of profit without having to rent an event space so more of the proceeds can go to the business holding the event.”
With any business and especially with this unique collaboration there are going to challenges and surprises. Jaime says, “We’re always adjusting- we’re learning together. Everybody’s strengths we pull in together and learn from each other.” Thad says, thinking about the challenges, the important thing is, “Keeping Rachel! Plus, without this (La Brewatory) I wouldn’t have been able to grow my business and without Jaime, I wouldn’t have had food to offer. We push the edge to find new revenue streams and are backed by Portland Kettle Works so we can take risks.”
Lastly, Rachel says, “It’s fun!” She is learning about the financial side of a business, managing skills, and is challenged to find new businesses with items that are needing distribution to offer at the taproom, as well as trying to scale cold brew coffee which will be on one of the taps at the brewery.
The classes that are offered by Thad and Jaime help pop-ups which in turn are helping our community become stronger and offer diverse food and beverages to all of the Portland metro area.
So if you have an inkling to start a brewery or restaurant, check in with this successful team on North Russell. Collaboration is the name of the game and to sum it up, referring to the old television sit-com, Jaime says, “We’re very tight here. We’re very three’s company.”
Saturday, August 17, 12-5 pm
Benefit for Randall Children’s Hospital Pediatric Development and Rehabilitation Fund
For more information:
Labrewatory/Dawn Patrol Coffee
670 N Russell St
Hours: Monday to Friday Open 7 am, Saturday and Sunday Open 9 am, closing times vary
It’s that time again and Black Parent Initiative (BPI) has teamed up with Portland Parks & Recreation to bring you another amazing fun filled event. On Friday, August 16, 2019, we will be hosting Movie in the Park in collaboration with Portland Parks & Recreation’s Summer Free for All. Similar to last year’s concert series, but all tied into a one-day spectacular event. BPI will also be celebrating another successful year in services to the community by adding elements of our Family Fun Day.
We have the pleasure of bringing you a host of activities including:
♦ Portland Trail Blazers Basketball Clinics
♦ Nike “Made to Play” Activity Van
♦ Bouncin Bins Bounce House
♦ Mystique’s Fancy Faces Face Painting
♦ PACKY Academy Arts & Crafts
♦ SMART Book Give Away
♦ Eliot Neighborhood Association Domino Tournament
♦ Portland Children’s Museum
♦ And many more
The event will start at 4 pm with activities going until about 7 pm. As a part of the Movie in the Park there will be a concert at 6:30 pm featuring Mz. Etta’s World, followed by a showing of Captain Marvel when it gets dark!
Food trucks on site include Hana’s Authentic New Orleans Snowballs and Stoopid Burger.
There will be tons of giveaways, drawings, and resources! Make sure you join us as we celebrate community, music, and movies! This will be fun for the entire family.
Friday, August 16, 2019
(corner Stanton & N Williams)
For more information or to become a sponsor please contact leigh dot bohannon at thebpi dot org.
For the full schedule of Summer Free For All Concerts and Movies in the Park visit:
The sun is shining and I hear the cheerful sound of voices and the percussive chime of tools being used in the garden as I walk up to the 126-year-old Victorian home behind the Billy Webb Elks Lodge just south of Tillamook on Williams. I realize that today is going to be a good day of community building. The peaceful feeling I experience is overwhelming as I enter the house looking for the owners of the new business in our Eliot neighborhood. This space is definitely an oasis in the center of the city and in the middle of our neighborhood. Though it sits on busy North Williams Ave, once inside the house and even on the surrounding lot, you forget that there is a bustling world beyond its borders. As I introduce myself to the business owners, a group of women and children arrive happily chatting amongst themselves. We all exchange introductions and then my tour of the property begins.
Oasis of Change is the dream turned the reality of Dov Judd and Kathryn Cannon. Dov, a certified Play Therapist, had been a pediatric therapy practice owner for 10 years. His wife, Kathryn was working as a peer to peer support specialist. They dreamed of creating a space where the focus could be on health, nutrition, community and giving back to their neighborhood.
Dov and Kathryn both grew up on the east coast but Kathryn had spent some time on the west coast. They needed to find a location with enough water, a space to grow food and people to share their vision of health care of the future. Oregon seemed to be the perfect fit. After spending last summer in Dallas, Oregon learning how to farm organically, they decided to look in Portland for the right location for their venture.
Their real estate agent brought them to 2037 N Williams and Dov couldn’t believe how it perfectly embodied the space he had been imagining. The beautiful Victorian house will offer space for medical practitioners on the top floor with the main floor serving as a welcome area with large rooms for group therapy, classes, and an art gallery. The spacious kitchen will be the perfect place for a food lab and teaching kitchen as well as a pop-up restaurant for chefs to create healthy meals for guests. The basement will have a commercial kitchen specifically for baking. Dov and Kathryn also will be able to offer Farm to Table experience dinners for guests on weekend nights for an extremely reasonable fee. Live music is a frequent occurrence which is, of course, the perfect accompaniment to garden fresh food and delectable locally sourced ingredients. Guests can stroll the garden and grounds taking in the amazing space that Dov and Kathryn are creating.
In the middle of the amazing garden tour, a couple arrives bearing tempeh for Dov and Kathryn to try. I was fortunate enough to be invited to stay for lunch and enjoy the sautéed tempeh which was incredibly delicious. Also in attendance is Modern Cavegirl who has a pop-up restaurant onsite occasionally for Saturday breakfast. Other chefs offer pop up dinners. (See the short article about Hearts & Bones Kitchen on page 8) The amount of networking that Dov and Kathryn have done just since April when they opened the doors to Oasis of Change is impressive!
Oasis of Change will have a membership model where members will have access to classes, the garden, the restaurant, daycare, and be surrounded by a community of people, unlike anything I’ve witnessed in Portland. The fence bordering Williams will be covered with edible plants that anyone walking by can snack on.
Also, onsite there will be practitioners such as medical doctors, nutritionists, and therapists who rent practice space at an hourly rate. The ability to have a workspace without having to commit to an office lease contract allows flexibility for practitioners and less financial stress. As Dov explained, the traditional model of medicine puts up a medical wall between the practitioner and the patient/person. By getting rid of the medical practice model, the practitioner takes ownership/responsibility of their patient and can better serve the person, becoming more connected and understanding them better.
Plus we can look forward to some small retail spaces on the street side of the business and a market to sell farm-fresh produce and other nutritional food products.
The philosophy of Oasis of Change is to offer community supported health care in an environment where the joy of growing food from start to finish helps kids and adults alike appreciate the process and make eating healthy an adventure that will carry over for a lifetime.
This is a work in progress and plans are coming to fruition yet morphing at the same time. Stop by and see for yourself this healthy oasis and maybe it will help you affect the change you see in your own life. It truly is a way to escape the city and commune with nature and some wonderful people.
For more information stop by or visit their website:
Summer is here! Portlanders can take advantage of the warmer weather to explore new parts of town and meet new people. While moving around Portland, you might notice posters supporting neighbors of various ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Although this might seem unnecessary in “liberal Portland,” this wasn’t always the case. Starting before Oregon even achieved statehood, its inhabitants enacted various laws to preclude the immigration of non-white neighbors.
You may have overheard jokes about the lack of diversity in Oregon. For example, “There are no Black people in Portland.” Or, “You live in the Great White North.” You might have shaken your head and continued on, but the lack of diversity in Oregon is very real and isn’t due to chance. According to The US Census Bureau’s 2018 data, the percentage of Black residents nationwide is 13%. The percentage for the state of Oregon is 2%. The city of Portland is slightly higher, with 6% black residents.
The low number of black residents in Oregon is not an accident and is the outcome of over 150 years of exclusionary policies.
1844: The first Black exclusion law was adopted. This law mandated that “blacks attempting to settle in Oregon would be publicly whipped—thirty-nine lashes, repeated every six months—until they departed.”
1850: The Donation land act of 1850 granted land to white settlers, establishing home ownership specifically to whites. This offered an incentive for more whites to populate Oregon, and reap the benefits of land ownership.
1857: The Oregon Constitution was adopted. It excluded blacks from legal residence, including voting, using the legal system, and owning property.
After explicit race-based policies were unavailable, other methods were utilized to maintain the homogenous status quo. The Ku Klux Klan had an active presence in Oregon, targeting not only black but also Jews and Catholics. This preference towards white protestant neighbors led many neighborhoods and individual homeowners to add restrictive clauses to their deeds or neighborhood documentation. For example, a deed from neighboring Irvington (officially Dolph Park at the time) included the following, “For a period of twenty-five years from the date of this dedication, the premises shall be used exclusively for residence purposes and shall be occupied by the white race and no member of any race other than the white race shall own or occupy any portion of DOLPH PARK”. This practice, called Redlining, made it difficult to procure bank loans and housing insurance for homes in non-white neighborhoods. Redlining also meant that these homes weren’t providing as many wealth building opportunities to its owners as those in white neighborhoods.
These clauses and related attitudes consolidated non-protestant whites into specific areas of the city, such as Eliot. From 1910 to the 1960s, blacks began moving to Eliot because of its convenient location to transportation, railroad, and hotel jobs. After the end of World War II, Portland targeted Albina (including Eliot) as a suitable neighborhood for blacks who were displaced in the Vanport flood of 1948. According to an interactive redlining map of Portland from around 1930, the Eliot neighborhood ranked as “Hazardous”, the lowest of 4 possible categories. The clarifying remarks are, “Zoned multi-family residential and business. This area constitutes Portland’s “Melting Pot” and is the nearest approach to a “slum district” in the city. “Three-quarters of the Negro population of the city reside here and in addition there are some 300 Orientals, 1000 Southern Europeans and Russians.” These categories made it difficult to qualify for loans and home insurance in Eliot, but residents often didn’t have much choice, as they were unwelcome in other parts of the city.
Portland’s lukewarm approval of a multicultural neighborhood in the middle of the city wouldn’t last. In the 1960s, the I-5 construction destroyed parts of Eliot and displaced many black residents. In the early 1970s, the city condemned parts of Eliot – including the land purchased for Legacy Emanuel – further disrupting black families.
Today, housing in Portland is unaffordable for many people of all races, religions, and ethnicities. Let’s move beyond our history, and support policies that help all people feel more housing secure in our state, city, and neighborhood. A key to helping our neighborhood thrive is to allow diverse types of housing that would be more affordable to more people. Currently, much of Eliot is zoned for single-family homes, pushing up housing costs, and supporting a policy with racist roots. The Residential Infill Project aims to make housing more affordable by allowing more types of housing to be built in areas zoned for only single-family homes. Another resource is Portland for Everyone. They’re advocating for housing that will serve many different types of neighbors.
Let’s learn from past mistakes and embrace diversity. Let’s be good neighbors, especially for people that might not have historically been welcomed in Oregon.
It’s summertime now and the gardens are thriving here at Albina Cooperative Garden! We are a community based, urban farm located in the Eliot neighborhood on the corner of Russell Street and Vancouver Avenue. This large, organic gardening project produces impressive amounts of delicious produce every season here in the heart of NE Portland.
The flowers in our pollinator garden are in full bloom and the bees are doing their work, lettuce, chard, and arugula are fresh as can be, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and basil plants are looking fantastic. We are so busy this time of year with crops growing bigger every day and even new seeds are being sown for the fall and winter harvest. Come by and say hello, we are often out in the sun (or rain), cultivating the soil that borders Legacy Emanuel Hospital who gifted this land to the Eliot neighborhood many years ago. Take a stroll through our thriving garden spaces, try a taste of some fresh sugar snap peas, bush beans, sweet peppers or luscious strawberries, maybe relax in the orchard and listen to the sounds of the many creatures that live here, bumblebees, butterfly wings, and bird songs.
Our members maintain this land for growing food and creating a living, green space in the center of the city. We educate citizens on sustainability and organic urban food production, we come together as a cooperative organization to share those values with our Eliot neighbors and our greater Portland community.
Interested in membership? All are welcome to share in the year-round bounty in trade for satisfying work and a small annual membership fee. Eliot neighbors that need financial assistance are welcome to join us through a generous scholarship fund gifted to you, the community by the Eliot Neighborhood Association, please do email us for the application at albinacooperativegarden at gmail dot com.
Lace up your boots and bring a friend for Walk Williams, a summer party thrown by Williams and Vancouver businesses. Join us for free pedicab rides, live music, entertainers, pop-ups and prizes.
Pick up an event passport at participating businesses on each second Wednesday starting June through October from 4-8pm then eat, shop and play to earn three stickers and turn your passport in for automatic prizes like beer, chocolate or oysters. Each passport you submit is entered into our grand prize raffle, meaning you can play five Walk Williams, automatically win five monthly prizes and enter five times in the grand prize drawing.
August 14, September 11, October 9 from 4-8pm at participating Williams/Vancouver businesses. Prizes, participants and full event details at williamsdistrict.com/walkwilliams
I’m writing to thank all those adopt-a-blockers who kept up the good fight and did their best to keep Eliot’s streets clean this past spring. Not easy dealing with the cold and wet, plus all the maneuvering between construction equipment that many of you are still enduring via our on-going sewer work. But you did your neighborhood proud!
Alas, there are still streets awaiting their loving adoption families… (so many still needed!) and we’d love to have you on board. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes a day, or a bit longer once or twice a week to improve the area you call home, please contact Jody at jodyguth at gmail dot com. I’ll get you set up with trash bags, gloves, pickers, and lots of encouragement. The added bonus is the drawing we hold every 3 months to determine who wins a $100.00 New Seasons gift certificate. Who doesn’t like to shop at New Seasons?!
I had the pleasure of recently drawing our current winner with my trusty pal, Adrian. The latest number was lucky 16, and the recipient none other than Sue Stringer, a gal who does so much for our community… congratulations, Sue!! Besides being the editor of our Eliot News newspaper, Sue finds time to be a member of the Friends of NE 7th Avenue Greenway committee, is on the Eliot neighborhood board and is one of the fabulous organizers the 7th Avenue block party fame (between Russell and Brazee). Sue is eager to join whatever she can to help make Eliot thrive. While also working a full-time job, I’m never sure how she finds the time to get it all done. We’re just so glad she lives here!
This column features businesses in Eliot and just beyond our neighborhood’s borders to help our residents learn what exciting businesses and opportunities are located in and around our amazing neighborhood.
This issue we focus on some summer activity ideas in and around Eliot.
It’s summertime and you’re probably looking for some activities for you and possibly for your kids. Opportunities are plentiful and we’ve gathered a few resources and specific events for you to check out.
Make sure you put the block parties listed below for VOA’s Men’s Residential center and Matt Dishman Community Center on your calendar. You can also organize your own block party. It’s easy to get a free permit from the city and then rent barricades for a small fee to block off your street for an afternoon of food, fun, activities and get to know your neighbors better as a bonus. See the links below for permits and block party ideas.
The community center is holding its annual block party on Saturday, August 24 from 12:00-4:00 pm at 77 NE Knott Street. Knott Street between Rodney and Williams will be closed off to traffic. The event will include a free barbeque, snow cones, cotton candy, kids and family activities, face painting, arts and crafts, and live music. The theme this year is “Celebrating our Neighborhood Heroes” focusing on the history of our community and people that have made a difference. Stop by and have some fun! Call Autumn at 503-823-3673 for more details.
Volunteer of America Men’s Residential Center Block Party
The center is holding its annual block party on Tuesday, August 20th, from 4:30-7:00 pm. As always, they will plan to have BBQ food (for free) some family-friendly live music, face painting, balloon twisting, and a children’s bounce house. Stop by Sacramento St. (between MLK and NE 7th Avenue) – they will have the street closed to through traffic from 2-7:30 pm that day. This is always a well-attended event.
Growing Upwards is your one-stop for all things summer camps and classes and daycare too. Visiting their website is an easy way to search for classes or camps to keep your kids busy this summer. Visit GrowingUpwards.com or call (503) 927-3136.
Matt Dishman Community Center
The center offers preschool camps and summer camps for ages 3 and up. They also offer classes for adults and of course, there’s the indoor pool to enjoy too!
77 NE Knott St, 503-823-3673
According to its website, Open Signal is “your local media arts space. Unlike any other media center in the Pacific Northwest, we offer production studios and equipment, filmmaking workshops, artist residencies, and a cable broadcast platform, all under one roof.” They are also offering summer camps for kids grades 6 through 12 and also classes for adults. For more information about Open Signal visit opensignalpdx.org/calendar, stop by 2755 NE MLK or call 503-288-1515.
PICA (Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts) TBA Festival
PICA has an annual arts festival in September at various locations around the city. TBA which stands for Time Based Art is an amazing collection of artists, performers screenings and talks and visual art installments. According to their website, “TBA is interdisciplinary, and champions those artists who are challenging forms and working across mediums.” This year the festival runs from September 5-15. Their primary location and offices are located in our neighborhood at 15 NE Hancock Street. Check their website, Pica.org, for more information or call 503-242-1419. You don’t want to miss this!
Portland’s Culinary Workshop
Have an inkling to learn something new or heighten your culinary skills? Portland’s Culinary Workshop located at 807 N Russell Street is the place with classes for kids and adults. The 2-3 hour classes are listed on their website and are fun, informative and inspiring. Call 503-512-0447 or visit Portlandsculinaryworkshop.com
Portland Parks & Recreation
Our neighborhood Matt Dishman center is part of Portland Parks & Recreation but there are lots of other locations to choose from for summer classes and camps. Check out this article on their website at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/38277 There is also a lot more on their general website at portlandoregon.gov/parks. Check it out and have some fun this summer!
Coalition of Black Men- Annual Community Bike Ride
Saturday, August 3 from 9am-2pm starting at 5257 NE MLK at Vanport building. All are welcome to join this annual, fun event. For more information visit cobmpdx.org or call(503) 919-6804.
Soo Bahk Do/Tai Chi/Qigong/Therapeutic Martial Arts
Ever consider taking up martial arts? According to their website, “Portland Soo Bahk Do is the first Moo Duk Kwan® School in Portland Oregon- opening on January 20th, 2015- during the 70th anniversary of the birth of Founder Hwang Kee’s Moo Duk Kwan® school in Korea (1945).” Portland Soo Bahk Do offers classes in Soo Bahk Do which is a Korean classical martial art as well as Tai Chi, Qigong and Therapeutic Martial Arts. There are classes for all ages Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and evenings. For more information visit www.PortlandSooBahkDo.com or call 503-502-2965 or 503-303-4783.
Unreinforced masonry buildings (URMs) have been the subject of multiple laws and lawsuits in Portland since 1995. As of June 1st, it’s unclear how the city of Portland will work to reduce the current number of URMs, even as renovating URMs becomes more urgent.
URMs are subject to such discussion in Portland because they’re considered particularly risky during an earthquake. These buildings are all older, dating to between 1870 and 1960, and were built using bricks and mortar. In URMs, brick-and-mortar walls are not directly attached to roofs and foundations. During earthquakes, the walls are significantly more likely to crack or crumble than those built to modern seismic safety standards. These buildings can be updated by reinforcing parapets, bolting walls to floors, and bracing the building with steel beams.
Currently, remodeling a substantial portion of a building must also include bringing the property into compliance with current building codes. Increasing a building’s occupancy or changing a building’s use also requires upgrading seismic safety to modern standards. That requirement, combined with demolition for redevelopment, has been somewhat effective in reducing the number of URMs still standing in Portland. About 8 percent of URM buildings standing in 1995 (when that requirement was enacted) have been demolished, another 5 percent have been fully upgraded, and 9 percent have been partially upgraded.
Placarding has proven particularly problematic in Portland: multiple churches with predominantly Black congregations are on the list. It disproportionately affects organizations and individuals least likely to be able to retrofit, therefore reinforcing the impact of red-lining and gentrification in our neighborhoods. There’s an additional concern that placarding or requiring retrofitting could worsen gentrification: if small business owners or single property owners can’t afford to retrofit, their properties are more likely to wind up in the hands of developers, which leads to demolition rather than remodelers. The Eliot neighborhood is particularly susceptible to these buyouts due to our location.
Other cities have used strategies other than placarding to improve safety in URMs, with much better results. A 2004 study established that placarding was one of the least successful approaches for Californian municipalities, while programs offering financial tools to building owners to mitigate the cost of seismic upgrades were the most effective. In Berkley, there are only 6 URMs left out of 587 identified in the mid-90s. The rest have been updated or demolished, substantially improving the city’s earthquake resiliency. Berkley’s secret sauce? The city provided financial grants to help building owners make upgrades. The city of Portland’s own URM working group recommended creating property tax exemptions to help property owners afford seismic improvements in 2015, along with other financial aid. However, that aid has yet to materialize.
Some of these funding options might be particularly useful in Eliot. While grants are ideal, a revolving loan fund could provide financial assistance faster than lobbying the state of Oregon to create a seismic retrofit tax credit. Proposals to use urban renewal area funds or to create economic development zones, in comparison, have the potential to add to the on-going gentrification in Eliot, rather than helping neighborhood residents who are already here.
Several of our neighborhood landmarks were built with unreinforced masonry walls. Given the age of most URMs, many are eligible for historic status, which can further complicate the upgrade process. Around a third of Portland’s URMs are already on the National Register of Historic Places or are contributing structures in a designated National Historic District or Conservation District. There are some benefits to such status, including an existing federal tax credit for these types of upgrades. Eliot has also been a historical conservation district since 1992, which allows for more changes than listing on the National Register of Historic Places does, but still places some limits on changes to the neighborhood’s appearance.
Safety is a priority for the Land Use and Transportation Committee, and we want to make sure that folks in our neighborhood safely get to the places they want to go to.
In the last year, we’ve had two students at Tubman hit by cars as they were walking to school. About a month ago, a woman was hit and killed on NE Broadway and Grand. Generally in Portland, “pedestrian fatalities have trended up over the last five years” according to PBOT’s Vision Zero website. Finally, over 50% of car crashes happen within 5 miles of home.
There are many potential reasons why things are getting less safe out there for people on foot. One possible reason is that cars are getting bigger and taller which means a more powerful impact. Also, the economy is doing well which means people are driving more. More driving, in general, leads to more crashes.
There are many long term solutions that will ultimately make it safer for people. If the city and the neighborhood continue to work for the city to be more friendly for walking, biking, and transit, there are two benefits. Better biking, walking, and transit infrastructure typically means having some separated, safe place to travel by those modes which means you’d be less likely to be hit. Also, with more people taking those modes there will be fewer folks driving and fewer opportunities for folks to be hit. These are the types of things the Land Use and Transportation Committee usually advocates for.
So in the short term what can we do? Try to drive less. It’s summertime and the weather is great, so hop on a bike, walk or take the bus to the grocery store, or try out an e-scooter. Every trip that’s made outside of a car leads to a safer city for everyone. If you’re car shopping, consider getting a smaller car or a car with a lower bumper. Think about where your bumper would impact a kid if the car you’re driving came into contact with them. Finally, if you’re going to be driving around in the neighborhood, be safe: drive slow and stay alert.