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Neighbors oppose new bar in Seven Corners area

The future of the Seven Corners area of Southeast Portland was once more the center of discussion and contention tonight, at a meeting between the Hosford-Abernathy Neighborhood Association (HAND) and the "Opal Corporation", which is made up of four individuals who want to open a bar called "the Night Light Lounge" at 21st & Clinton. Just around the corner from the new New Seasons, and down the street from the planned Starbucks, this establishment is one more example of how quickly Seven Corners is changing these days, and how little (if any) power that neighborhood residents have over what happens in the places they live.

The subject of tonight's meeting, which was facilitated by Eric, a man from the city's office of neighborhood involvement, was a "Good Neighbor Agreement" that Opal has been discussing with HAND over the course of several meetings. HAND has already come out in opposition to Opal's application to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). The application is for a "limited on-premise license" for beer, wine, malt beverages and cider that would let the Night Light sell those alcoholic beverages until 2:30am, the latest time allowed by Oregon State Law. It's my understanding that Opal wants to stay open that late in order to cater to the twenty- and thirty-somethings around town who work at other bars and restaurants and want someplace to go after work. HAND has offered to withdraw its opposition to the OLCC license if a Good Neighbor Agreement is signed. By the end of the meeting, however, no agreement had been reached, but a lot was revealed about the state of The System.

Opposition to the very idea of a bar in that location, which is smack-dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood, was passionate. Kimberly Mark-Villela, who is the Liquor License Notification Specialist for the city, informed the assembled group that the opinions of those who live within 2 blocks of the licensee are most important to OLCC. 18 people who lived that close to the proposed Night Light spoke; all but 2 of them were opposed to the establishment. These folks were half and half women and men, mostly over the age of thirty. Many were parents. Several were long-term home-owners in the neighborhood. One person had lived there over twenty years and her house had been "in the family" for fifty.

Reasons for opposition were many, but the most frequently named were concerns about noise and the late operating hours. Indeed, if you know this neighborhood (as i do, both living and working in it), you know that this particular intersection is inappropriate for a bar that's open to 2:30. It just wouldn't fit there, surrounded by quiet streets and small, unpretentious houses. And, across the street, at the south-western corner of 21st and Clinton, a developer is planning a new development of up to ten commercial openings, one of which might be another business asking for a liquor license, too. If the Night Light gets its license, it'll be that much easier for any new business to do so. Basically, it looks like capitalists want to turn 21st & Clinton into another 26th & Clinton. Neighbors at tonight's meeting don't want that, but have little control over whether that happens.

Opal, it looked to me, had tried to pack the meeting with people in favor of their bar. However, almost none of them lived in the neighborhood, and only one lived within two blocks. All of them were from the twenty- or thirty-something demographic they are aspiring to attract to their business. Their testimony ranged from "it'll be cool" to "Portland is a city and you can't stop it" to "they're cool, you don't have to worry". The shallowness of their sentiments, when compared to the articulate complaints put forward by neighborhood residents, was stark, and only served to illustrate how out of touch Opal is with the neighborhood.

By their own admittance, Opal did not go door-to-door during their planning stages, so didn't catch wind of the neighborhood sentiment until after they began investing in the building, making renovations, etc. They did, however, consult with HAND folks, who let them know there would be issues with the late operating hours. They decided to go ahead with it anyway. One woman who talked to them about her concerns, and who had recently moved in next door, was told by one of the owners that she should've checked the maps and seen that she was moving in next door to a lot that was zoned commercial before she bought the place. In other words, it's her lack of responsibility that is leading to this situation, not theirs. Insensitivity like this didn't seem atypical of the Opal crowd.

My favorite bit of commentary was from a woman who lives a couple doors down from the proposed establishment who is a mother and a musician. She's been playing gigs all over town for 20 years, so is not against bars in principle. "Just not here," she said. "If you move in, we'll shut you down."

One of the Opal crowd complained about this statement, saying that he didn't feel threats were necessary. (This is to say nothing about the fact that their move into the neighborhood, and the way they're going about it, is essentially a threat.)

The woman apologized, saying, "I didn't mean it as a threat. It's simply a fact." Yay! She had spirit, as did many of the other folks at the meeting, especially the women. The men seemed more into the idea of "compromose"; perhaps men are socialized more to "work out deals" with the system rather than resisting it, since they are raised more than women to be part of it?

There are stakes in this situation with the neighborhood for Opal and the Night Light. If HAND withdraws its opposition to the liquor license application, the OLCC will most likely grant it summarily and soon. If HAND retains its opposition, the OLCC may or may not act more cautiously, or perhaps call for a hearing. The OLCC is not concerned with issues of traffic, trash, or parking; they only want to hear about alcohol related issues (even though more traffic, trash, and parking would surely result). In this way, they are a typical government bureaucracy; the big picture, or the full spectrum of complaints, are never of interest to any one agency. Instead, each one picks its area of concern and listens only to complaints within that topic. The fact that six other developments are happening in the immediate area, for example, is of no interest to the city zoning office that will decide if a lot across the street from the Night Light, at 21st and Taggart, is rezoned commercial from residential. This is one of the lessons that was imparted during the walking tour of the neighborhood on Feb. 29, during the Leap for Localization that the No Starbucks in 7 Corners campaign sponsored.

This system is fucked, frankly, and that was illustrated very well at tonight's meeting of neighborhood residents and the Opal Corporation. The city facilitator, after observing the gulf between the parties, asked if there was some compromise or "middle way" that could be found. A woman from the HAND board then pointed out that neighborhood residents already have "the cards stacked against them" because of how liquor-industry-sponsored laws work (not to mention city zoning laws and the lack of public input into most decisions that affect people). i sat there thinking, "Why compromise? The place we're starting from is already compromised!" That is, there's no legal reason at all why new business owners have to talk to their neighbors or try to work things out with them. A business owner can simply waltz in and do what they want, for the most part. Meanwhile, long-term residents can have their neighborhood turned upside down around them and have nothing to say about it.

Folks from HAND were candid with Opal about the concerns they were hearing, and about where they stood on the matter. Support for a 2:30 closing in the neighborhood seemed very weak, and the opposition strong. i think they were sensing the same thing i was sensing; that if Night Light goes in with a 2:30 closing time, that some of these folks right nearby might organize themselves to get it shut down. i know, also, that HAND folks have noticed all the changes going on in the neighborhood at once, and are seeing the value of putting a foot down. In isolation, this bar is a problem enough, but in combination with the other developments, it could be tremendously problematic.

In an era of corporate globalization, one positive response is cooperative localization. Hence, the importance of getting involved in your neighborhood, at the very local-est level, and fighting the issues that are geographically closest to home. Whether it's a Starbucks, a corporate food store, or a new hipster joint with too-late hours, targets are easy to find in Seven Corners right now; in some ways, this feels like ground zero.


Who is the "Opal Corparation" 10.Mar.2004 08:43

Duncan

Do they run any other businesses in Portland?

Beginning of the end? 10.Mar.2004 10:18

Gak

Oh great! here come the quality businesses, bars, porno joints and pawn and gun shops. Is it too late to get Starbucks back?

The Opal Corporation is... 10.Mar.2004 10:37

spArk

...Daniel Fierro, Christopher Gutierrez, Hope B. Beraka, and Warren J. Boothby. Opal is their first business venture together, and the Night Light its sole current project.

Response to "Gak": The Night Light wants to go into a building down the street from the Starbucks, as mentioned in the second line of the article. This project is going forward (or not) regardless of the Starbucks, as a separate issue.

call to arms 10.Mar.2004 10:49

zenith

The points made address very critical issues affecting your neighborhood's future. I only hope all the residents recognize the need to get moving. Now is the time to jump to it. I saw first hand, the situation on the Leap for Localization tour. You could have a major mess in 5 years. I wish you all good luck against formidable corporate resistance and blind eyes and ears in government.

Down with the hipsters! 10.Mar.2004 14:02

peanut

These hipster yuppie bar fly types make me sick! Destroying family neighborhoods for profit and trying to get laid. Remember drunks make sloppy shitty lovers!

enough NIMBYism arleady! 10.Mar.2004 17:02

bigger fish to fry

It's a little frustrating to see the Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY)activism taking up so much room on indymedia and in the inner SE activist hotbed around SE Clinton St.

I can understand concerns with Starbucks, and to some extent New Seasons (although they are slightly preferrable to Nature's just up the street), but a whole article on a new bar opening up? This statement says it all 'Whether it's a Starbucks, a corporate food store, or a new hipster joint with too-late hours, targets are easy to find in Seven Corners right now; in some ways, this feels like ground zero.' A new hipster joint a target at 'ground zero'? With this logic, why not shut down all the 'old' hipster joints like Dot's, the Clinton St. Theatre, La Cruda, etc. in the neighborhood. Clearly they've brought nothing but trouble in the neighborhood.

If this is 'ground zero' its clear that white 'radicals' have it way too fucking easy. You've lost my support, and your articles on indymedia are just cluttery noise in a world of more relevant struggles on social justice, war, international capitalism, environemental issues, and on and on. Yes, getting involved locally is an important way to make change - but your radicalism around the new hipster bar opening (have you been on SE 28th and Burnside or Stark recently?) is laughable.

hey bigger fish 10.Mar.2004 17:28

neighbor neighbor

Go fry your fish elsewhere, troll! You're probably just a corpy plant and don't have a home (rented, borrowed or owned) that you give a shit about. It ALL begins with local control and issues. Have you even been to this neighborhood? Ladd's is a bit snooty but there are plenty of working-class heroes living in the area, if indeed you're some sort of reverse snob. I doubt from the way you write that you ever had any positive feelings for this issue or indymedia in general.

enough is enough already 10.Mar.2004 18:49

ms. rogers

1. NIMBYism:if memory serves, this was a term that 80's YUPPIES used to prevent homeless shelters and services from opening up...guess where? yeah, their back yard. To use such a term to whine about people who don't MORE BUSINESS in their back yard is pathetic. Gime a homeless shelter instead of the Night Light Lounge any day.

2.As for why not shut down the "old" haunts: we're trying to prevent 21st and Clinton from BECOMING like 26th & Clinton. ask the neighbors of 26th & Clinton St area and they'll tell you that they wished those places had never moved in.We heard from some of them last night. Perhaps they were made the same empty promises that the Opal is making, perhaps those bars were already there when they moved in--regardless, we have a chance to prevent it from happening again.

3. If the smattering of hipster friends and lovers and roommates showing up to support the Night Light Lounge is any indication of their clientele, or a reflection of the owners they came to support--I can see why people would only feel worse, not better, about them moving in. Their supporters don't live in the immediate neighborhood at all, and frankly, they make Bush Jr and Sr seem like high grade intellectuals in comparison. I can't imagine what charmers they'll be like for all the neighbors when they're drunk at 2:30am.

4. Overwhelmingly at the meeting last night it was clear the Lounge had not done its homework, or worse, just don't fucking care how they impact a neighborhood. Concerns raised at this meeting and at other meetings just seemed incredible to them. They expected the neighbors to trust and welcome them with open arms, rather than earn that trust and make an effort to compromise and ingratiate themselves into the neighborhood. In fact, neighbor by neighbor has come to realize how they've been ,misled, or lied to, or outright insulted.

5. As far as I can tell, Indymedia and its supporters also support working-class issues. The apartment building across the street, while elitists might think it an eyesore--also provides affordable housing to the working masses AND rent control. Just go pick up one of their rental brochures out front, you can see for yourself. But I suppose it's more important for a bunch of self-aggrandizing hipsters to have a place to party, then for older residents, young parents, young children and all the ranges in between to have a decent place to live, crime free, noise free, and semi-private. I guess those are things that only the bougie deserve, and it's the bougie that the Night Light Lounge will serve, as they come from all over Portland for this 'destination spot'. This is especially troubling since these same Night Light Loungers issued a letter to the neighbors, trying to get them to sign in support of the Lounge, by saying THEY are "fighting the forces that threaten our common way of life." Judging from the neighbors at this meeting and other meetings, the Night Light Lounge is as CLUELESS and CALLOUS about the community as Starbucks is. At least with Starbucks, like Republicans--you know where you stand. The Night light Lounge is more like another typical, lying "democrat" with dollar signs in their eyes while mouthing the words "local business" and "common way of life".

cheers spArk,& thanks for showing up and speaking out & showing your support.

a bad idea 10.Mar.2004 21:23

Charlie

I can't believe they think the sleepy, largely residential corner of 21st and Clinton is an ideal place to implement the dubious business plan of a place to drink after everywhere else has closed down. If they moved the 2 short blocks to Division street they would not have encountered this resistance.

I regret not having found out about the meeting. So is that it? Will there be any further review or hearings?

cursed corner 11.Mar.2004 16:47

rachel

Are we talking the NW corner (funky shithole house thing, and "cafe" space), or the SE corner of 21st and Clinton(Crackers)?
I have lived in this neighborhood for 6 years and have seen at least 4 businesses FAIL on those two corners. It is off the beaten path, there is no parking, the area has reached it's saturation point for bars, cafe's and junk shops. Mark my words, they are shooting themselves in the foot by locating there anyway.
The direction I would like to see this take is to have the commercial zoning changed to residential, put a couple houses or apartments there and be done with it. Easier said than done, I'm sure.
What ever happened to that Go Gourmet joint? They were there, what, six months? I felt sorry for them from the beginning, knowing the history of that corner.

contact the OLCC if you don't want the Night Light Lounge 12.Mar.2004 17:43

your neighbor

You can contact the OLCC's Steve Sander 503-872-5000 (general OLCC number, but ask to speak to him) or via email:  steve.sander@state.or.us

You can also go to
> Kimberly Mark-Villela
> Liquor Licensing Program Specialist
> Office Of Neighborhood Involvement
> 503-823-3092 phone
> 503-823-7961 fax
> "Mark-Villela, Kimberly" < kmarkvillela@ci.portland.or.us


The main relevant factor for the OLCC to consider in denying the NightLightLounge their license is, to quote the OLCC site directly:

"Is there already sufficient licensed premises in the area OR is the license not demanded by public interest or convenience?"

Clearly the fact that the same Clinton St area is already served by 9 (soon 10 with one more on Division about to open) bars/and or restaurants that serve beer, wine, and/or hard liquor--there are already sufficient licensed premises in the area, and one more is not demanded by public interest or convenience.

As far I'm concerned, you can copy/past that directly into your emails to either staff person, and make sure to include where you live and /or work in the area.

Thank you!

21st & Clinton : questions answered 12.Mar.2004 18:01

ms rogers

To answer Charlie's question of whether or not there will be more hearings/meetings: i don't know yet. but i will post an announcement here if there is. in the meantime, i see that someone posted the OLCC info and that is the MOST important step you can take:CONTACT THE OLCC directly.

HAND holds monthly meetings--3rd Thursday of the month, 7pm
Land Use meetings---1st Tuesday of every month, 7pm
Both take place: St Philip Neri Paulist Center, SE 17th & Division

the ongoing growth of 21st & Clinton will be an ongoing discussion...

To answer Rachel's question:
The Night Light Lounge wants to move into the old Cracker's location/SE Corner. The owner of that building ALSO owns the house right behind it, on 21st.

Interesting that you'd bring up wanting to keep some of that vacant lot residential: a vote was taken at one HAND meeting about just that issue,about just one plot of the entire lot--and one of the Night Light Lounge owners voted AGAINST trying to keep it residential. So much for 'fighting the forces that threaten our common way of life" as their letter to the neighborhood states.

This has been an important lesson that sadly, local business doesn't always mean GOOD business.

Oh, and to the poster who summized Ladd's Addition as seeming kinda snooty(though as that person said, not all of it is), two of the owners of the Night Light Lounge live in Ladd's....

huh? 12.Mar.2004 22:10

confused

I don't know but...wouldn't it be cool to be able to walk to a place to get a beer, or buy your groceries, or get a coffee...why walk to someone else's backyard for these things?

In fact, doesn't that make a neighbood even more desirable...a tight community *and* businesses?

What do you guys want here, I am confused....have you been to outer SE portland?? LOTS of houses.....no businesses..it sucks!

we have it already 13.Mar.2004 09:03

your neighbor

confused: we have 9 places already that we can walk to in the immediate area to drink beer, plus we can walk to hawethorne or powell for more...and we have Peoples co-op and natures we can walk to for groceries...

so what is your point? gimme more convenience or gimme death?

we don't have a laundromat anymore that we can walk to, thanks to a third grocery store moving in...

corporate dominance? 13.Mar.2004 17:51

mr. wiggles

This is not an isssue of corporate dominance. I live in the area and am in support of their venture to open an independent business. Starbucks and New Seasons are entirely different. The issue of these individuals opening a cafe/bar in the neighborhood has been turned into something entirely different. I don't see where globalization and corporate dominance are any kind of issue. If you really have genuine concern about the issue at hand, educate yourself. Talk to those involved on BOTH sides of this issue. I'm certain all involved would be eager to speak with you. Classifying these individuals as an evil corporation or yuppie hipsters doesn't do anybody any good. I am skeptical of anyone who is so quick to pass this kind of judgement on them without ever actually having a conversation with them. If the issue is about the bar, then please stick to the point.
By the way, thanks for the OLCC contact info. I will be voicing my support with. I encourage anyone concerned with the issue to get out there and meet the people involved, on both sides, and then (and only then) act on your decision.
Thanks

Open Invitation 14.Mar.2004 13:54

Christopher

I am an owner, a builder, an eventual worker, and unfortunately currently a politician by necessity for the Night Light. We are a four-member partnership who has made the decision to open up a small business close to where we live.

If you are interested in hearing from us about the business we are creating, we encourage you to come down for yourself. The front door is always open when we're there.

-christopher
2100 SE Clinton
2100 SE Clinton

Like there aren't enough bars in portland 14.Mar.2004 19:11

Mark

Don't you think you could find an existing bar and renovate it? Wouldn't it be easier to transfer a liquor license rather than apply for a new one? Do we really need another place with shitty PBR and no fuckin' Newcastle?

no control over our neighborhoods = corporate dominance 14.Mar.2004 23:43

indy reader

whether it's new seasons, starbucks, high-priced housing, or a late-night bar, the people who live near all these things have just about ZILCH control. all these things will change life in this neighborhood, and though there could be positive effects, the community here hasn't been able to do anything about it either way. no voice = being dominated.

the night light folks didn't do their homework, it's true. they should've talked to their neighbors first. this is a lot more resistance than you would normally get to a project like this. it's definitely not a good spot for it. now it's too late for them to back out without losing money or (worse yet, i suspect) injuring their pride.

my prediction: they'll open the place, start dealing with complaints, not get as much business as they were expecting, and close down in less than a year. it hasn't been a good intersection for businesses. (and that's just fine with a lot of us, who like it sleepy.)

how 'bout riding your bikes from your nearby homes? 14.Mar.2004 23:50

Ben Watchinn

To Christopher and the other owners -- If you live so close by, why are you usually driving to meetings and work? Inner SE is biking territory. Culturally and politically, y'all are missing the boat with us.

Pro Business Comment 15.Mar.2004 03:56

Nick Turner

Personnaly, I think that most responsible businesses should be incouraged. With our terrible economy and the City of Portland making it torturously difficult to run a small business anyway due to high taxes. I think that the business should be given a chance. I have found that most objections brought by people that NIMBY [Not In My Back Yard!] are religious people that wouldn't patronize those businesses if they were in Downtown Manhatten. My opinion is that if there aren't enough people to patronize a business then it will go away. After all businesses are in business to make a PROFIT! If they don't and all the people that didn't want it there in the first place were correct in their assesment then it will be a moot point and they will close their doors. On the other hand if the business does well, then obviously the people that didn't want it there were in the minority. And may I point out something.. I don't think that I am all that different from the average joe, and when I go to bars [which isn't that often] I tend to stay in my own neighborhood. I don't drive to another area of town to go drinking unless I want to hit a club in Downtown Portland.

That having been said, I can't say that I would be terribly excited about a bar opening two doors down from my house. I would want the neighborhood association help me defend my sleep and my yard from stumbling inebriated party goers. If fingers need to be pointed they should be pointed at the city planners that zone plots. Not the business man that takes advantage of an opertunity. Neighborhoods often have this desire to pick and choose which specific businesses get located next them. But it doesn't work that way for the most part. If you want that, you have to go to a socialist country, like China. Government will just decide for you. I happend to live in the Hollywood distrct a while back when there was a big uproar about a new Home Depot purposed to be buit right off the I-84 ext. for Hollywood. It would have had some drawbacks but it also would have had some positives as well. There might be some posotive benefits from that bar moving in. Wouldn't you rather have that, then say an full on strip club? Or maybe a porn shop?

I think that a happy medium can be accomplished. And just remember, I don't think the bar owners want to cause trouble and the OLC are Nazi bastards that have the power to destroy alcohol serving businesses.

Waaaaa......nimby......waaaaaa 15.Mar.2004 08:07

SE Neighbor

I live in this neighborhood, I'm pretty darn progressive, and I'm tired of the whining.

New Seasons is locally-owned, stocks more local and organic produce than any other chain store in town, and seems like a fine addition to the neighborhood to me. As much as I like People's, there's lots of stuff I need that they don't carry and it's too damn expensive for me to buy all my groceries there (I guess that's why I see People's workers shopping at New Seasons and Wild Oats). It's elitist to suggest everyone should do all their shopping at Peoples.

I don't particularly want Starbucks moving in, but this is a problem of city-wide proportions. Has anyone involved in this campaign tried to stop any other Starbucks from opening elsewhere? Or is it only a problem if it affects us in this neighborhood? Isn't it worse having a Domino's pizza across the street? Seems damn hypocritical to me.

Now we're against a locally-owned bar? What's the rationale for this? It'll be open late? Waaaaaaaa....whine....

Night Light Lounge 15.Mar.2004 10:56

"The Woman" rocknrollschool@msn.com

These folks used a "Good Neighbor Agreement" to pretend they really gave a shit about what "The Neighbors" thought. They told my neighbor that she should of looked at the zoning before she bought her house.I say "The Opal Corporation" should of checked out the fact that people in this hood will organize and take care of business! WE DO NOT WANT YOU HERE!

I second the opinion of SE Neighbor 15.Mar.2004 11:09

Another SE Neighbor

I live a few blocks from this proposed bar, and have friends who live next door and within a block of the bar. We all support the idea.
I like living in a mixed residential-business neighborhood - it is one of the main reasons I chose to live here. The fact that most of the business here is local is also important. We should not spend our time tearing down local business.

misdirected attention 15.Mar.2004 13:36

Next door neighbor

I fully support the night light lounge. I live next door and will be the first (and probably only) neighbor to actually feel any immediate effects from this establishment. All this hullabaloo is simply misdirected negativity from a neighborhood that is currently in flux - with all the construction, including new homes, new cafes, new seasons and starbucks, people are turning to the only business that they can fight - the one business that needs a liquor license.

But take 2 seconds to look at who you're fighting - a locally owned business! If Starbucks (corporate giant) is your enemy, how can a small, locally owned business also be your enemy? The people who are opposed to the Night Light have too much time on their hands and too quick a trigger to oppose anything that is not their immediate idea. This is a new pet project - a new cause to sign on to, but I'll be damned if they have the right to say "the neighbors" oppose it when they are only talking about their select few comrades - if anyone is a neighbor at all, I AM - my roommates are, and we say YES! WELCOME NIGHT LIGHT! WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR ARRIVAL!

The writer of this article went immediately to personal attacks, assumptions and misrepresentations, That is the first sign of a weak argument - an argument that is only being made for the sake of making a fuss. If you feel as if you've been harmed by Starbucks - complain to Starbucks - insist on a city-wide "coffee license" or some other form of controlling landlords who want to make a buck off their leases. If you're upset about New Seasons - I simply don't know what to tell you.

Don't punish a group of intelligent, friendly, wonderful entreprenuers who are trying to give our neighborhood a place to hang out. And don't throw your "9 places to hang out" argument at me - that has nothing to do with anything. There are 6 million places to get coffee, eat, drink, shop etc. etc. in the city of Portland, that doesn't make any difference - we're discussing one business here not all the businesses in the city.

Finally, to those who think the owners of the Night Light tried to pack the most recent meeting with their supporters - that is far from the truth. All of the letters / phone calls / emails that were in support of the Night Light (including my own) were completely ignored and left out of the discussion - after being specifically TOLD that they would be read at the meeting. This, my friends, is NOT due process and it is not a fair chance and it is not neighborly.

Hope, Daniel, Christopher and Warren - WELCOME! we can't wait to hang out in your bar,

focused attention 15.Mar.2004 13:56

SE resident

Any business moving into a community should respect the desires of that community. Intelligent entrepreneurs know that they should either fill the needs of a community, or look for a community that is welcoming to the business they are looking to start.

I used to live a block from 29th and stark and I wouldn't wish that situation on anyone who didn't enjoy being kept up for hours every friday and saturday night by people screaming, fighting, crying, pissing, shitting, puking, yelling, shouting, passing out, drinking on people's porches and yards. Not to mention that it attracted crime with lots of cars being broken into and bikes being stolen.

However, some have spoken of compromise and there are ways to compromise.

1) Don't open a bar. If what they want is a place to "hang out" then open an establishment other than a bar.

2) Don't stay open late. By closing early people will not be quite so drunk, and even when they are it wouldn't be as big of a deal for drunk people to be obnoxious at 10pm rather than 3am.

If a small business is unwilling to work with the neighborhood in an already business unfriendly location, well, I guess they're going to learn that a few friends won't keep them in business. Which is sad, because I do agree with what they are trying to do and it's not too late to start making some smarter decisions. Antagonizing the community and refusing to listen to their concerns is the surest way to make sure the neighbors put in immediate complaints about public drunkenness and get the liquor license revoked.

compromise 15.Mar.2004 23:12

nearby neighbor

Thank you, SE resident in Focused Attention, for raising the issue of compromise.

Members of this neighborhood and community hold diverse opinions and positions regarding the Night Light Lounge. Compromise is likely the only way to reach a solution that may work for folks here. While somewhat cathartic, name-calling and temper tantrums belong on the playground. They do little to persuade and really just belittle the name-callers' own position.

Webster's defines compromise as "a settlement of differences by mutual concessions." SE Resident in Focused Attention presents a good opening for discussion of options for compromise. It is worth remembering, however, that compromise entails *mutual* concessions by definition. This unfortunately means that neither proponents nor opponents of the lounge will end up with exactly what they want.

Opponents who are interested in finding some middle ground that works for everybody in the neighborhood (not just themselves) recognize that there are residents who live in close proximity to the would-be lounge who are in favor of the lounge. Compromise requires consideration of their opinions and preferences too.

A couple of suggestions:

1) Rather than closing at 2:30 a.m. every night, close at midnight on weeknights, and 1:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

2) Follow the proposed "Good Neighbor" agreements provisions for outside seating--namely, no outside seating after 9:30 p.m., and tables cleared by 10:00 p.m.

There are clearly folks who are uninterested in compromise and who insist that it's their way or the high way. It is unfortunate that some individuals feel victimized by the changes in the neighborhood and that they feel powerless to have any say about it. However, it is unfair for those people to force their preferences and beliefs on everyone else without giving up a little themselves. Living in a city and in a neighborhood with other people necessarily involves consideration of the others who live and work there. That means those who want to open a lounge, those who want the lounge, and those who don't want the lounge.

At least some lounge proponents are interested in finding a middle ground. However, some lounge opponents seem uninterested in true compromise and prefer threats, name-calling, and strong-arm tactics--all methods popular with two-year-olds intent on getting their way. I think that most here, including lounge opponents, can and should start acting like reasonable adults. At that point perhaps we can come to a resolution that provides something for everybody.

you're welcome, but 15.Mar.2004 23:43

SE resident

I don't think your post is helping matters. For one thing, you've already chosen sides and in addition you've failed to note what a bad position the Night Light is in. They are not going to succeed without the support of the community. They may not succeed anyway given the history of that location but they certainly will not succeed without support from the community. How many complaints do you think it will take for them to lose their liquor license? How many damaged cars, 2am police flashers, and lost sleep do you think it will take to get those complaints?

You see, the neighborhood has nothing to lose by acting as a strong opposition; the lounge has everything to lose by doing so. Again, it comes down to being smart. It was a mistake to invest in a property that has a poor business history without talking to the community. So at this point, they can back out and find a location that's more suitable to what they want to do, or they can try to get the neighborhood on their side, or they can continue to make poor choices and be out of business in a year (and there's nothing wrong with that really, a lot can be learned from failed business ventures).

Anyway, if it were my house, and my family, I sure as hell wouldn't want a bar keeping me and my family up at 2am and I would fight with everything I had to keep such an establishment from coming in. If those who want the lounge cannot understand these concerns they are in for a rough time. If you cannot understand another's position you cannot effectively communicate with them or reach a compromise.

By the way, accusing your opponents of name calling and then calling them names is an extremely poor choice of arguments and will not work to win anyone to your side. In fact, it will just continue to alienate them.

Unless I see some changes in tactics, the lounge has already lost my business.

Sifting through the rhetoric 16.Mar.2004 01:55

Dr. Gonzo

First, I find it hard to respond reasonably to the rant posted by spArk due to the fact that his writing is riddled with inaccuracies, gross analogies and direct contradictions. I can't fathom the mindset of a person who could actually associate a locally owned business in the same realm of corporate globalization. (Because if that is the slightest bit the case, I'll take one hundred shares in the Night Light Lounge please, thank you.) Seriously folks, I truly feel spArk's (remember that capital "A") article is deceptive and counterproductive. Not once did he report the "GIGANTIC" Opal Corp's position unless it was a meaningless personal attack. Did you know the Opal Corp is made up four young friends who are trying to start a business for the first time? Look out Starbucks! And someone who actually took the time to get to know them might call them artists, students and parents who care about things like community and the environment. Not evil hipster capitalists who plan to take over the world starting at 21st & Clinton a.k.a. "ground zero". Let's save the mudslinging for the politicians. I believe the Opal Corp will be asset to the community. A recent study done in Maine concerning local businesses versus chain businesses showed overwhelming evidence that the majority of the money spent in and for the local businesses went directly back to the community and the state. (See http://www.newrules.org/retail/midcoaststudy.pdf) So I don't understand whom spArk is fighting here. In Oregon's economic crisis, why pick on the little guy? It seems there may be ulterior motives at bay. If it's a concern about business hours, just stick to that. There's no need for delusions of grandeur. It's obvious there are neighborhood concerns. I think what everyone wants is a symbiotic relationship in the community. It doesn't seem unattainable to me. Who knows, you might find you actually like the Night Light.

you're welcome, but (2) 16.Mar.2004 16:05

nearby neighbor

In response to SE resident, of course I have already chosen sides--I fail to see how that is relevant here. Almost all of the postings here reflect a "side." The point of this discussion is to try to reach an agreement that works for all "sides."

I admit that "lounge opponent" is a label and some might find it to be just more offensive name-calling. I identified name-calling, and a few other conflict-resolution tactics, with common child behaviors. I understand that those who engage in such tactics are adults and are likely capable of conducting themselves as such. Again, I admit that drawing comparisons between name-callers and children is probably offensive to some. However, it was not meant to offend and was meant simply to provide a useful, slightly colorful analogy. It's clearly not as colorful as "hipster yuppie bar fly type," "troll," "corpy plant," or "self-aggrandizing hipsters," but is offenseive nonetheless and I apologize for that.

Anyway, I do understand that the Night Light is in a difficult position. You say that they will not succeed without the support of the community. That is true. This community, however, consists of more than just people who oppose the lounge. There are those of us who welcome the Night Light, although perhaps not until 2:30 in the morning. Our voices and opinions deserve to be heard and respected alongside yours and those who do not want the lounge--that's all. And yes, those people in the neighborhood who are strongly opposed to the lounge have nothing to lose by making a strong stand. However, they do not represent the entire community, and if they are claiming to act on behalf of the whole community, they cannot make such a stand without just plain misrepresenting themselves.

Not about corporate interests 16.Mar.2004 16:32

flimflam

The real story here isn't about big corporate interests, or nimbys or whiny neighbbors. It is about people having control over things that will profoundly affect their homes and their families. Face it -- a bar open until 2:30 is a lot different than an antique store (what was there before). That corner has no history of bars, or other late night businesses, and there is no "shielding" of residenes from noise and other problems that bars inevitably create. Folks living there want to have some control over what happens there, not to have a veto over any particular business, but to the point of saying a bar is just not right for that location. The Opal guys may be nice artist parents, but they are also asking a lot of their neighbors if they want them to accept the bar without a fight.

Things look a lot different after being awoken at 2:30Am every night for a week.

this Spark is extinguished 24.Mar.2004 13:30

Og Monkey ogsoul@yahoo.com

Well, hello everyone. It seems to me that this SpArk guy is highly miss guided, I have known all of the business owners and they are not, in any stretch of the imagination(which it seems that spark has a big one)a big business. They are 4 every day type of prople tring to better themselves and their community. One of them being a mother and home owner.I think people are 'fooled' by their name,"Opal Corporation", please don't get confused and missguided by a name. They have all been in Portland for years, and have no plans on leaving any time soon. You are very misguided in tring to catorigise them as a big conglmorate. I also know of the plans they have for the place, which incorporates organic produce, art opening, and other same type of activities.
Another thing I have noticed is that 'HAND' seems to boycott alot of stuff and they don't seem to support, which should be there aim. It amazes me that with all the Local, local, local, talk around, that this, local, community space, would and should be supported. I also was at that meeting, and I saw a slightly different story. I saw the neighborhood organzation, that wasn't wanting to give anything and on the other side, the Opal corp. was giving alott. I remember accually that one of the board members, I believe his name to be Brooks, had mention this very fact, that we all should find a middle ground and that they(Hand) were not giving anything and that the opal corp was giving alott. This was kind of 'swept under the mat' and was not addressed.
I also would like to add that in this day and age when there are 'REAL' threats to our viability, that are energy should be directed in different ways and more suitible target, not a local business. I am very concerned about the globization of the World, this is definately not an example of it. I find it hard to believe that the two can be put in the same sentance.I would also like to say that it seems that people are assuming the worse, but, there are alott of area bars and reastaurant that are run responsible and with a concious mind. I believe that will be the case with this place, because of the people involved have those qualities. The location is a commercial spot and with the enevablity of something going in that location, it would be nice to have local, owner running a business in the area, instead of a corporate globalized business. once again I can't believe that this is used in the same sentance. this busines is going to support the whole community by different means, such as supporting Arts, by have showings of local artist of all kinds, also there will be light, acustic music, so supporting local musician. They will also be support other local businesses and farms, by there daily business, such as Local, farm direct produce in their food menu. It will also fill a differnet need, opposed to the other local bars and reastuarant in the area. all people need places they can go that they feel comfortable with, so we need a diversity of place to go and meet and relate. This socialization is a basic 'Need' and 'Want' of everyone. hopefully everyone can see this, and accually 'see' the place as a whole. SEE the forest, not just your litlle tree, although they all make up the same. Well this is getting long, but so much more to say... bye for now, I'll be back. Support loccally owned and operated businesses!

HAND Board meets 3rd Tuesday 03.Apr.2004 15:06

another neighbor

The HAND Board now meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, 7 pm at St. Philip Neri, SE16th and Division.

HAND meeting location 04.Apr.2004 16:39

cathy

Just to clarify, the meeting is in the classroom building of St. Philp Neri, which is at the west end of the parking lot. Agendas are typically published beforehand on the hand-announce listserve.

pee & traffic: welcome lounge hipsters 17.May.2004 23:54

SE

so far a few neigbhors have complained of customers of the lounge
urinating on their lawns--and that was just their first night !
since then, the Lounge gets *louder* after 11pm and through
2:30am. This is just what many concerned neighbors were worried
about during the GNA process and HAND meetings. If the Lounge had
compromised and closed at 11 or midnight--those who live nearby
would not be so affected. But we're stuck. Blame the city?
Hell no, Opal Corporation and Mark Abrams (also listed in the business directory) have probably
invested upwards of $40,000 in setting up the joint--and they're the ones who chose not to listen to the same
community they claimed to support in the letter they circulated to get support.
And judging from the numbers of cars parked and cabs going to and from---it doesn't seem like the bulk of their customers are even from the immediate neighborhood. In fact, they regularly park blocking the #10 bus stop /heading towards Portland. I guess their customers are as civic minded as the owners are.
The owners ended up making enemies before they even opened, and except for their piss (pun intended) drunk friends and customers--they seem to continue to increase the tension rather than take any direct steps to work with the neighborhood. You'd think one of the owners outside during a smoke break would notice SUVs/trucks blocking the bus stop and politely ask inside if it belongs to a customer or not.
So far, they're living up to everyone's crappy expectations of them. Too bad.
A local place like the Hedge Hog on Division would be welcome. Then again, Clinton St isn't Division--and that's sort of the point.

Local=good if it's backed by integrity and not just greed on a smaller scale.

removed from community 18.May.2004 12:47

fiery

Regarding the copy below--it is ridiculous how some of react when challenged/disagreed with, I mean COME ON, calling someone who thoughtfully disagrees with you a "corpy plant"? Isolating and ghettoizing yourselves is not helping any of your various causes, some of which I happen to agree with, by the way. Businesses opening in an area on land that previously hosted vacant lots and abandoned buildings is part of BUILDING A COMMUNITY, just as much as buying or renting a home...but, hey,that is (not) just me!

To some (many?), the presence of the Red & Black is as annoying as any "hipster bar" in the area--but to each his own.

I am a social worker in Portland and forever find it laughable that this is the sort of thing people in this city want to occupy their mind and time with. Especially people who consider themselves activists...really, you are coming off as effete, isolated fools. Get your head out of the dumpsters, people.

And no, I don't live in H-A, thank the lawd. I live in a NE Portland community that has generally been pretty embracing of this supposedly godawful gentrification (opening up of abandoned buildings, creation of more activity and knowing your neighbor than at any other point since I have lived here)...and we are just fine, with several hipster bars surrounding us. You people are as bad as the 'burbs!

"Go fry your fish elsewhere, troll! You're probably just a corpy plant and don't have a home (rented, borrowed or owned) that you give a shit about. It ALL begins with local control and issues. Have you even been to this neighborhood? Ladd's is a bit snooty but there are plenty of working-class heroes living in the area, if indeed you're some sort of reverse snob. I doubt from the way you write that you ever had any positive feelings for this issue or indymedia in general."

Same as the old Boss 19.May.2004 19:48

Duncan

All good people know. And all good people say. That all good people like us are We. And everyone else is They. "Hipsters," "Corporate," "Radical." This is all shit. If you people spend all of your time starting wars in your own neighborhood, then don't bitch about your leaders. A bar is not going to ruin your little neighborhood. There is no corporate oppression going on here. You have been surrounded by the same opinions and ideologies for so long that you've lost touch with reality. The place is two blocks from Division! There are businesses everywhere. This is not a rock club, its a small restaurant. Some of the people complaining own businesses in the same neighborhood and sell alcohol through the same OLCC that governs Night Lite. This is not about politics. It's an us vs. them mentality. It's our neighborhood, right. Those unintelligent "hipsters" are apparently not as righteous as the Spark crowd who comes into the establishment to break two glasses of beer (both replaced for free, you know, corporate service standards and all), trash the bathrooms, and VANDALIZE THE FUCKING ARTWORK! That artist chose the wrong bar to hang his work, I guess, with the HAND mafia in charge of the town. You're making such a difference in the world, neighbors. Keep up the good work.
I have been living and working in the neighborhood for years, and yes, I work late. Portland is a quiet place after Ten at night. A few more late night establishments are not going to hurt anyone. If some piss on your pretty lawn ruins your whole day, I feel for you. But some of you must have a few real problems. Please.

1st did not work 19.May.2004 19:58

911

I wasted my time. It did not work. What the hell?!

What the fuck? 19.May.2004 20:01

me

Why is this not working? Damn it!

trash 20.May.2004 06:00

neighbor

Duncan,
My understanding of the 'pretty lawns" that were pissed on: one was in front of the apartment building across the street, a female customer came from the Lounge and instead of getting into her car-walked through the yard in front of open windows and peed. The other lawn did belong to a longtime homeowner, a senior citizen who lives alone and really was quite upset by it.

Why should anyone see their surroundings turned into a toilet? Why didn't the customers use the toilets inside the Lounge? In case you don't know , pissing on someone's lawn is a crime: trespassing, and i believe it falls under the umbrella of vandalism, and perhaps public 'lewd' behavior. If you don't see this as a problem, then post your address your yard (home or apartment) can be used as a convenient toilet for the public.

According to one neighbor involved, at least one of the co-owners was understanding and apologetic about it when he was approached a couple of days later. Actually, he was pretty peeved about it--and explained that part of the problem was that the crowd wasn't being monitored--and that some of their friends/customers were drinking, then leaving to get high, and then coming back again--so the neighborhood was just their open playground. This is exactly what the neigbhorhood didn't want.

You made the point perfectly: there are other businesses on Division. And Division (or Powell, or inner Industrial area like where the Red Wing or Genies is) would've been great locations for this bar. Not the sleepy corner of Clinton & 21st which is now turned into a parking lot , public toilet, and playground by drunks who just don't care.

Who are you? 21.May.2004 00:53

Leaf

I have a feeling this Duncan Asshole is a Hipster friend of Opal Corp.

Bar-magedon! 15.Aug.2004 00:18

H Bizzle

So what happened? Have home values plummeted to the point where little old ladies are forced to work the corner of Clinton street? Or have the hipsters been made to see the error of their ways, and close down the bar in time to catch Blues Clues at home in their H-A hipster lairs?

Somebody update. I am riveted.