Origin of Gentrification in Eliot

Board Co-Chair Wilson’s heartfelt article in the last issue encouraged me to provide more perspective on his, and our neighborhood’s, experience with gentrification.  Docks, railyards, and industries in Lower Eliot (now Lower Albina) provided jobs and Upper Albina (now Eliot’s residential area) provided housing for successions of groups seeking either, or both, refuge and a better life.  The last wave was former, mostly black, shipyard workers fleeing the Vanport flood, many of whom were welcomed into the homes of former co-workers living in N/NE Portland.  The lack of jobs and redlining stranded many of these in crowded, dilapidated homes.  These conditions were a good fit for City leaders to looking for ways to stimulate economic development through “urban renewal.”  The resulting renewal efforts and their impacts are well known; the Rose Quarter, PPS’s Blanchard Building, and Emanuel Hospital expansion.  What is less recognized is the role Portland’s comprehensive planning and zoning practices played in facilitating gentrification. 

State land use practice is controlled by Senate Bill 100 adopted in 1973 that was designed to slow urban sprawl.  SB 100 required each county to develop, implement, and maintain plans and associated zoning that accommodates expected economic and population growth within an urban growth boundary (UGB).  Industrial and residential development outside the UGB is severely limited.  The expectation then, and now, is that future growth within the UGB will require increased density; smaller lots, multi-family buildings, and in-fill development. 

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, Portland’s housing was predominately single-family, owner-occupied (roughly 65%) with the balance rental homes and apartments.  The situation in Eliot was exactly the opposite; 65% rental and 35% resident-owned but in mostly single-family homes.  Our population was equally distinct being one of the City’s most diverse and poorest.  Although counties adopted land use plans based on long-range projections of population and economic growth, there was little of either during Oregon’s recession of the 1980s.  The metro region’s population projection at the end of the recession was for an additional 1 million residents by 2040, of which Portland agreed to house at least half.  To do so, it needed to change land use plans and zoning to squeeze those people into existing neighborhoods.  Neighborhoods with a majority of homeowners naturally opposed any density increases in their neighborhoods.  Consequently, City staff looked for poor, less well connected and organized neighborhoods to dump that density.  Eliot loomed large as a target. 

Controversy over the plan to dump density in inner N/NE neighborhoods forced the City to couch this change in the Albina Community Plan, adopted in 1993.  The Plan paid lip service to the preservation of existing historic and affordable housing stock: however, the Housing Goal was to add 3,000 housing units by “increasing density … and increasing infill,” which it did by rezoning single-family lots for multifamily development.  The Plan suggested new units would be constructed on vacant and under-developed lots; however, many of those lots were (and still are) vacant because of pollution and ownership questions making it impractical to repurpose them.  Rezoning a home for potential multifamily use makes it more difficult to get a mortgage to purchase or rehabilitate a single-family home.  As a result, the Albina Plan laid the foundation for gentrification through the conversion of older, but affordable, single-family homes to multifamily developments including townhomes and apartments, and a few McMansions. 

The Plan also included an infill overlay to facilitate “granny flats,” which enabled two dwelling units on one, single-family home site.  This encouraged the further loss of single-family homes and an increase in rental apartments.  The Albina Plan was superseded by the new NE Quadrant Plan within the new Comprehensive Plan in 2016.  Active engagement by the Eliot Neighborhood Land Use Committee resulted in zoning changes that concentrate increased density along Broadway, MLK, and Williams/Vancouver along with changes to residential zoning.  This was intended to reduce pressure to demolish Eliot’s remaining, older homes.  Unfortunately, after the plan was adopted the City changed the definitions of the new residential zones increasing pressure to convert lots with single-family lots into multifamily developments.  In these days of heightened awareness of racial bias in institutional decisions, it is easy to conclude the zoning changes in Eliot were at least tainted by racism.  That is difficult to conclude because the changes hide behind “policies” rather than individual decisions.  Nevertheless, it is obvious white and wealthy neighborhoods avoided density dumping.  Regardless, the City continues to assign blame for gentrification to the developers it enabled rather than acknowledging its role in that process.  At a minimum, this reflects the City’s racial tone-deafness.  One recent example of this is its “right to return” program that encouraged black residents to return to city-supported housing in Eliot.  As several black leaders pointed out, this reinforces the public perception that Portland’s black population “belongs” in inner N/NE rather than in other, whiter neighborhoods.  Another example is the proposal to put “lids” over the expanded I-5 freeway to “reconnect” the neighborhood.  This ignores both the history of that area and its geography.  I-5 in Eliot wasn’t carved out of a former residential area, it is below a bluff that is part of the Willamette River flood plain.  In fact, as designed, the lid in Eliot will be primarily an overpass that is designed to connect truck traffic between Lower Albina and our residential areas via Hancock.  In other words, it is a benefit for the trucking industry (as is the widening project itself) not the Eliot neighborhood or its residents, past or present.  Hopefully, a new Council and the new racial awareness will finally result in policies that do not continue policies harming our community, starting with stopping the I-5 freeway expansion and, ideally, attacking vehicle pollution from the freeway and the rail and trucking industries in Lower Albina.

Albina Library Moves Back to Eliot Neighborhood

Multnomah County Library has declined to renew the lease for the current Albina Library location at 3605 NE 15th Ave. On July 1, the library will relocate back to its former location at 216 NE Knott St into a larger, historic Carnegie library building that currently serves as Title Wave Used Bookstore.

Title Wave Bookstore where the Albina library will relocate back to. This was the original location for this library branch.

This is unexpected and due to be a loss to many who have relied on the library in its current location. However, Eliot residents will probably be happy to have the library return to our neighborhood.  Relocating any neighborhood’s library was not a decision that the Multnomah County Library staff took lightly. As Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries, stated in her letter to library patrons recently, “A variety of factors contributed to our decision, including this pandemic, which has caused us to make difficult choices and think in new ways about how the library can serve the community.”

Albina Library is the smallest branch in the Multnomah County Library system. Its current location is just 3,500 square feet. It doesn’t even have a public meeting room. The small space would not accommodate  physical distancing which may be a necessary precaution for the foreseeable future. Therefore it would be likely that the space would allow only sidewalk service. However, the new location on Knott Street is about 2,000 square feet larger.

“The library’s lease of Albina Library expires on June 1, 2020. A three-year renewal would cost more than $260,000. As a steward of public resources, the library can’t justify that expenditure, when a suitable and larger option exists nearby that is already owned by the library,” stated Oehlke.

The new library will be 1.1 miles closer and easily accessible to both Eliot residents as well as not to far from the residents that were used to the Fremont and NE 15th Avenue location. The staff is working hard on getting the inventory relocated. If you have an item currently on hold at Albina Library the library will notify you about holds and pickups.

For information about the phased reopening plan, an FAQ and instructions for using the holds pickup service at other locations, please visit multcolib.org/covid19.

Cartside: New food cart pod in Eliot on N Williams

By Monique Gaskins

Lots of options at Cartside the new food cart pod on N Williams at NE Hancock. Photo credit Sue Stringer

We have a new local food option available in Eliot. The varied purveyors at Cartside, a new food cart pod started serving customers in Mid-May.

The site includes space for at least seven food trucks and a tap house with indoor seating and WiFi. Located at 1825 North Williams Avenue at NE Hancock Street, this is a convenient option for Eliot residents, especially if you find yourself working from home more than usual.

Not all of the carts are open yet, but in the current environment, it’s encouraging to hear about small businesses opening in the neighborhood. With warmer weather coming to Portland, consider walking over to Cartside and trying out a new entree. 

Check out http://www.cartsidepdx for more information on carts, their websites and other information.

Care to share?

We have been experiencing some challenging times with both the coronavirus pandemic, the subsequent economic impact and also the Black Lives Matter protests. We are currently collecting content for our fall issue of the Eliot News. Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus?Or perhaps a story from the Black Lives Matter protests you’d like to share? How you or your family handling the pandemic? Any silver linings or new routines or skills you’ve discovered? Please share with us by emailing to news@eliotneighborhood.org. We’ll follow up with any questions or clarifications. Thank you~ Sue Stringer, Editor, Eliot News

To Our Community from the Eliot Neighborhood Association Board

The Eliot Neighborhood Association (ENA) stands in solidarity with the Black community and supports the recent protests denouncing police violence. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others – These tragedies now add to the staggering number of Black lives taken unjustly by a country which continues to devalue those lives. Their names and their stories matter. Their lives matter. Black lives matter.

In these times, as an institution that has worked with the City of Portland in maintaining systems of white supremacy, it is critical that we turn the lens onto ourselves and ask how we have been and how we are complicit, and what we will do to fix that. Knowing that a neighborhood association has an outsized voice in the zoning process in the City of Portland and that those decisions can help build or destroy wealth in our community, it is incredibly important that we take this task seriously. Because neighborhood associations and the public outreach processes that our representatives engage in are spaces that can exclude Black voices, these processes have prevented Black residents from receiving the same opportunities as their white counterparts. 

As a result, we are committed to using our roles as leaders in the community not only to facilitate the necessary conversations but also to work towards community dialogues that are inherently anti-racist. The Eliot Neighborhood Association believes neighborhood associations can be for the greater good and can raise issues in ways that will be good for all residents.

Moving forward, the Eliot Neighborhood Association will continue to try to have Black representation on our board and our Land Use committee in addition to other committees in our neighborhood. We are committed to empowering those that are often left out of critical conversations. Additionally, we are always looking for new members and have open seats for those who would want to get engaged. We are continuously looking for articles for the Eliot News that amplify marginalized voices and we encourage more submissions that do so.

Neighborhood Associations are far from the most important conversation right now in a time when communities are grieving. However, as leaders of this institution, we have the responsibility to use our position to advocate for the Black community. We will donate $1000 to the Black Resilience Fund.

Sincerely,

The Eliot Neighborhood Association Board of Directors

Eliot Neighborhood Welcomes New Veterinary Practice

By Alex Simpson

In January 2020,  Grateful Heart Veterinary Hospital started providing North and Northeast Portland with the highest quality, compassionate, and cutting-edge veterinary care.  Dr Katy Felton and her team opened a small animal practice at 3334 North Vancouver Ave. There is a rear entrance and ample parking at 107 N. Cook St, Suite B, right across from New Seasons and Mud Bay stores.

Dr. Felton’s focus is on comprehensive whole-life care of cats and dogs.  With over 13 years in practice, including her role as Medical Director of a thriving Portland clinic, Dr. Felton practices caring, high-touch, and customized medical care.She loves surgery and dentistry, and is a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner, bringing her care of seniors, athletes and pets recovering from procedures to a new level. She is bringing Portland’s best certified team of vet care professionals with her to North Portland. The entire staff is Fear Free Certified, dedicated to making veterinary visits as low stress as possible for pets and their families.

Stop by the clinic in January, visit our website at www.gratefulheartvethospital.com, or call us at 503-813-2050 to meet our team, see our vision, and share in the best veterinary experience possible.  We think anyone who loves their pets as much as we do will enjoy the gorgeous space, culture, and phenomenal care we’re bringing to North Portland and the Eliot neighborhood.

Oasis of Change- Response to Coronavirus

By Dov Judd

I hope everyone is staying safe and finding constructive ways to keep occupied and connect with those around you. We at Oasis of Change miss seeing everyone around especially as the spring is starting and the farm is coming to life. Eating meals on the farm with no community around is just not the same.

Some welcome relief from staying at home – planting starwberries at Oasis of Change. Photo credit Dov Judd

We have been thinking hard about how we can help the community in this time and so far we have come up with a couple special ideas. We have been so saddened to see how empty it has gotten and our mission is to create community so we are going to try to start inviting people back in safe ways. We are opening up our garden and farm space to the public as a community coffee and tea hangout. We have partnered with Karma Cup, a really amazing organization who is working to end homelessness.  We have so much beautiful outdoor space we might as well share it and the benefit of being outdoors is that the sun actually disinfects! 

We just finished re-doing the garden space to allow us to have all the distance we need. We can accommodate up to 6 people per group and we have 10 private outdoor seating spaces all separated by a beautiful farm. So, come relax and see everything coming to life and feel some normalcy in this time. It is recommended that you call ahead to reserve. We are also opening up our outdoor gym and trampoline to families and individuals who miss working out all you have to do is reach out and book a 30 minute to hour time slot. So if you’re feeling stuck and want a little breath of normalcy in your life come out and have a cup of coffee.

1. We launched Oasis of Change online which will hopefully give you something to laugh at and you might even learn some cooking tips.  The link is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp_2HabSRwCzlvnThpsKwzQ/ please feel free to share. 

2. Dr. Kat is opening up a covid-19 drive through no contact testing program here. The link to more information and to sign up is http://www.drkatlopez.com/covidtestpdx

3. We are keeping the farm space semi-open as we can all keep distance and get our hands in the dirt. Contact us directly if you would like to get dirty with us, 301-467-8441

Land Use and Climate Change

By Brad Baker, LUTC Chair

Climate change has been top of mind a lot for me recently. I used to think that individual consumption choices could help make a change, but recently I’ve adapted more of the mindset that we need to advocate for systemic changes that enable people to lead more sustainable lives and help make sustainable choices the default. Luckily, the city has been pushing for some land use and transportation policies recently that will help achieve more sustainable outcomes.

I’m personally excited about the Residential Infill Project. I will admit that it has flaws, but I think the positives far outweigh the negatives. At a high level, it ends the ban of building 2, 3, and 4 plexes in single family zoned lots. By allowing for the construction of higher density living arrangements, heating will be more efficient (less energy usage!), and transit, walking, and bicycling for daily errands become more viable (less fossil fuel consumption!). Another benefit is that the requirement for off-street parking is removed which will hopefully lead to more tree coverage as there will be fewer driveways and more space for trees. The city’s own analysis also showed that this proposal would decrease displacement in Eliot which is a huge win for the neighborhood.

Another policy proposal the city has recently put forth is the Rose Lane Project. The aim with this proposal is to get busses out of car traffic on the most utilized routes. By helping the bus move more quickly, we’ll be helping move people more quickly and we’ll make taking the bus a more viable alternative to driving for more people. The more people who choose taking the bus over driving leads to less emissions. This project will also benefit Eliot as some of the busses to be prioritized are the 6 on MLK and the 4/44 on Vancouver/Williams.

It’s an exciting time to be involved right now as a lot is changing and there are some projects that make me feel optimistic which can be hard to come by right now. If this kind of thing sounds interesting to you, we’d love for you to come to our Eliot Neighborhood Land Use and Transportation Committee meetings on the second Monday of the month at 7pm at St Philip the Deacon.

Introducing the Eliot Business District!

By Corey Kaster

I am Corey Kaster, with Insurance Masters NW (directly behind the Nike Factory Store), and want to share with you an exciting transformation coming to the Eliot Neighborhood! 

The present state of the neighborhood with graffiti, crime, and litter doesn’t work. Business owners and residents have been taking the only action they know how and adding lighting, fencing, cameras, etc. While this may be somewhat effective, it also hasn’t made the neighborhood feel like a better place to live/work. 

Not only are things bad, but without action I foresee them getting worse resulting in more incidents, disconnection, fear, and reactionary actions. 

I envision a new future…. one where there is a vibrant, connected, and engaged business community that is a powerful force in transforming our neighborhood into something currently unimaginable. Imagine spotless streets, connected business owners that powerfully engage with the Neighborhood Association and Sustainable Eliot, and a neighborhood we are excited to live and work in with a sense pride! 

If you have a business in the neighborhood and are inspired by this future please email me to connect at corey@im-nw.com.


The new Eliot Business District Facebook Group that can be accessed here to build this community is at this link – eliot.im-nw.com

Bernstein’s Bagels: A Good Bagel Can Be Hard to Find, But at Bernstein’s Bagels It’s Easy

By Abby Morgan

On a clear morning, as the sun traces a path from east to west, the light eventually breaks out over the treetops of the Eliot Neighborhood, slips under the freeway passes and spills sunshine onto North Russell Street. Still a quiet strip that’s surely poised to grow, right now it’s a mix of industrial shops peppered with business storefronts.

It’s during this time of day, at about 7:30 A.M. that you’ll want to make your way over to Bernstein’s Bagels. In the winter of 2018, Bernstein’s grew into the space that was formerly home to Mint, one of Portland’s mainstay cocktail bars. A labor of love and dedication, the renovation at 816 North Russell by owners Noah Bernstein and Peter Hurteau, features plenty of seating room and hand-painted wallpaper by Melanie Nead.

In fact, Nead’s studio that focuses on custom wall treatments and ceramic objects, Lonesome West Studio, sits beside the bagel shop. Her Arts and Crafts Movement inspired designs bring a coziness to the space and certainly do the historic property justice. All things boiled and baked dough, the frieze pays homage to the venerated everything bagel. Concentrate on it closely and the subtle ingredients begin to pop out: sea salt, barley, wheat, and poppies.

Even as they bid farewell to their firstborn, a location in St. Johns, a whole year after moving into the Eliot, Bernstein thrives. They continue to serve up delightfully hearty bagel sandwiches. However, the old adage rings true: the early bird catches the worm. Except, in this case, it’s bagels and they are very popular. They are “hand-rolled, boiled, and made onsite twice daily.” Looking for a classic lox combination? You got it. Schmear not, their spreads change from time-to-time. Flavors you may know—cinnamon raisin, herb, and strawberry—tossed in with wildcards like carrot cake and once upon a time even pizza. The bagel is merely a blank canvas; how you dress it is up to you.

Arrive eagerly and on time—your weekday and weekend windows to visit vary. Hot bagels come out of the oven at 7:30 A.M. Monday through Friday and at 8:30 A.M. on the weekends. Stop in or check out their Instagram (@bernsteinsbagels) for updates on specials.

A Lot of Great Opportunities Await at Labrewatory

Labrewatory brewpub is a place bustling with opportunity. Rachel Wilson, the owner of Dawn Patrol Coffee and Labrewatory brewery manager, wants Eliot to know that the space at Labrewatory is available for a variety of uses. The brewery has an event space that can hold around 30 people and can be reserved for parties or other get-togethers. There is no charge for the space for 30 people or less but it must be reserved through Rachel. Email her at rachel@labrewatory.com to get on the schedule and get more details.

Also, don’t forget about the free live music every Tuesday from 6-8 pm by local musicians.

Need a place to work outside your office or just a change of environment? There is a workspace above
the brewing room with couches, free wi-fi and a comfortable space to work or just hang out. Rachel is now roasting her own brand of coffee, Dawn Patrol Coffee, for those looking for their dose of caffeine and wanting to buy local and support a small business. You can enjoy the coffee at Labrewatory or buy a bag to take home.

Also, spread the word, both beer and coffee are available for distribution to local restaurants and businesses if you are looking for creative and tasty beverage inventory.

Also, starting in 2020 you can brew your own beer right at Labrewatory which is Portland’s only award-winning experimental brewery on a professional system. Have friends that would like to learn how to brew beer and make your own unique recipe? Sign up for a class for only $125 per person for six or fewer. There’s a discounted price of $100 per person for seven or more. After the class, you can take home a free keg or a six-pack of 32-ounce growlers.

Want to rent out the whole brewery space? For a flat fee of $2000, you can brew your own beer and pair it with food from Tamale Boy which is conveniently located next door. For any of the classes or for more information, email Rachel at rachel@labrewatory.com or call the brewery at 971-271-8151.

Diversity Gardening Co-op Harvests Food and Fosters Community

By Darren Holcomb

The Diversity Gardening Co-op is a citizen-led project envisioned by Eliot Neighborhood Association board member, Shireen Hasan, with the generous support of the members of St. Philip the Deacon Church led by Reverend Maria McDowell. It was designed and constructed by myself and other Eliot residents and community members.

This garden had its beginnings in August of 2018 and in April of this year 2019, construction began. By May we planted our first crops. Those crops were harvested this summer. Currently, the garden consists of nine 3’x6’ planter boxes growing a variety of vegetables for the members of our community. Our ultimate goal is to expand that number to provide gardening space for the members of the church, the unhoused, African Americans, low income, flash disadvantaged, veterans, youth who are in our area and even a raised gardening box for those needing wheelchair accessibility. There will also be an extensive herb garden for all to plant in as well as a meditation garden including artwork to reflect the African American Diaspora in the neighborhood.

These additions are currently in the design stage. This project is breathing renewed life to an area that was starting to slip back upon itself. The pooling of our group’s talents, community and business organization’s resources and other partnerships and support of the neighborhood have been key to helping us proceed past a number of obstacles, both inherent to the project and that arose from unexpected sources along the way. With the continued support of all involved, we are looking forward to the completion of this vision in the summer/fall of 2020.

Stay tuned for quarterly updates and please consider volunteering at the garden this year. It’s a great way to meet some new neighbors and friends and give back to your community.

New Plant Shop Takes Roots

By Ruth Eddy

On one of the last sunny days of the year, Tylor Rogers looks out an open garage door at Arium Botanicals, soaking in the fresh air with a room full of plants behind him. Just outside the door is the busy traffic at the intersection of MLK and Tillamook Streets and the skeleton of a sign left vacant from the previous tenants. “A sign is next,” Tylor says, “maybe something that just says ‘plants’.”

Over the last few months, Anthony Sanchez, 22, and Tylor Rogers, 24, partners in life and business, have taken over the former home of the Land Rover repair shop, Green Oval, which moved to a larger space at 121 NE Weidler Street, and the old garage is blooming with new life.

“I love seeing people’s faces when they walk in,” Rogers says. Most of the people who came to Arium’s grand opening this summer were plant enthusiasts who had started following the shop when it was only online. Like a well-cared-for plant, the business has grown visibly. Prior to their recent move, they rented a 400 square foot space in the Standard Dairy Building further north on MLK. There, they shipped online orders from the store half the week and were open to the public the other half.

“We would drive past this building every day on our way to work and imagine what it would be like,” said Rogers, who wasted no time when the building went up for rent. “It’s nice to be able to branch out and grow, so to say,” he said with a laugh. The new space is more than six times larger than their old shop. It’s painted a bright
white, with garage door windows inviting sunlight for cactus arranged on the floor. Other house plants are paired with locally made ceramic pots and macramé hangers. Rogers and Sanchez say they feel like they have found their forever home.

The shop’s name, Arium, is a representation of the space. It’s a play on “terrarium”, which breaks down into to Latin roots Terre, or Earth, and arium, or container.
“This is an entire vessel,” Rogers said, “Think of it as a large terrarium to host these plants and grow them to bring into other people’s spaces.”

Tylor and Anthony have a clear love for plants and are enthusiastic and approachable about sharing their knowledge with people looking to buy their first house plant or
to add an exotic aroid to their collection. “We have definitely killed plants in the past from not knowing how to take care of it. So we want to set everyone up as best as we can,” said Sanchez, recalling the fate of his first houseplant, a parlor palm from The Home Depot.

The house plant industry has seen huge growth in the last decade. Arium is a boat on that rising tide. A recent article in the NY Times reported a botanic design company, Greenery NYC saw a 6,500 percent increase in business in the past ten years. “I think it does something different for everyone,” Rogers said, “For us, we don’t have pets.”

Sanchez added, “But when we come home, it’s nice to walk into a space with living things.” Just like pets, houseplant owners find ways to communicate with their floral family, picking up hints about their plant’s needs.

Sanchez and Rogers have become more selective with the plants they have at their house as the collection in the shop has grown. Occasionally, they do become attached
to new plants for sale, but they are always happy to see them go to a new home. Many customers come back to share pictures of new growth. “It’s cool to create relationships with the people who acquire our plants,” Sanchez said, “You kind of feel like the plant is still in our life.”

On a recent walk in the neighborhood, the couple spotted a plant in a window, with the Arium tag still attached. Sanchez shook their head
recalling the feeling. “That’s really weird, like bizarre.”

“It’s super special to know we are playing a little piece in people’s lives,” Rogers added.

Arium Botanicals
2046 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
503-719-4763
Ariumbotanicals.com

Black Hat Books Program Offerings

By Ruth Eddy

Local book shop, Black Hat Books, has an ongoing workshop and a reading group worth checking out. Learn confidence and become more well read while supporting a locally owned business.

Public Speaking!
1st and 3rd Saturdays 2:00 PM
Performative Reading and conquering stage fright twice monthly. All ages workshop taught by actor and musician Chrissy Sukboriboon

Reading Group
Mondays 7:00- 9:00 PM
Excerpts, essays, and poetry on a rotating monthly theme centering on black authors

Black Hat Books
2831 NE MLK Jr. Blvd

Mayo House Update

Many of our readers may remember the series of articles we have printed about the Martin Mayo House. You can find them on the Eliot Neighborhood Association website at eliotneighborhood.org. To recap, this Victorian house has had a very mobile history in our neighborhood moving three times to where it now stands at 236 NE Sacramento Street.

Back in the middle of 2018, the owners of the house were going to have the house demolished as they had sold the land to a developer who was going to build a new apartment complex. Enter, Cleo Davis, whose family has lived on the street since the 1980s. Just a few doors down to the east, where a little house sits at the back of the lot, is a piece of vacant land that once was occupied by an apartment building owned by Cleo’s grandmother. Unfortunately, the property, that was supposed to be income-producing for the family, was demolished in the late 1980s because of being deemed as blight.

Cleo is a local artist who was looking for a place to house the ARTchives which will focus on Black history in our neighborhood as well as other Black people who have made contributions to the community. When he saw that the house was going to be demolished, he went to work on buying the Mayo House, getting it moved down the street and then getting the property rezoned to accommodate businesses and residences. This was all accomplished by January of 2019 and the little house moved again, hopefully for the last time. It now sits on its new foundation awaiting renovation.

The history of the Davis family and the house move can be seen in a touching, short documentary called “Root Shocked” by Cecilia Brown, which can be found on Vimeo.

Most recently, potential ideas for renovations have been undertaken by the University of Oregon graduate students in the architectural program. Cleo co-instructed the course as students learned about the history of the neighborhood covering redlining and displacement. Then the students used the theories of spatial justice to draw up plans to build out the space using the existing Mayo House in the plans and provide community space and opportunities for displaced residents and artists. Each graduate student displayed creative uses of the space and house as final exam projects.

What the future holds for this historic home is uncertain as to the design and final architectural plans, but one thing is certain, this little house will not have to move ever again if Cleo Davis has any say in the matter. His grandmother can rest easy knowing that her property will be a place of community, provide financial security to her family and that future families will have a place to live that honors the past and provide bright opportunities for the future at the Martin Mayo House.