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Boise Neighborhood Association Monthly Meeting receives huge turnout

Boise Neighborhood residents send a clear message to developers.NO we don't want your 4 story sustainable building,with 400 K penthouses.
BNA meeting receives huge turnout

"On Monday, December 12th, the Boise Neighborhood Association (BNA) held its monthly general meeting. The group convened at the Albina Youth Opportunity School at 7pm. The agenda included topics such as: Improvements at Unthank Park, the Drug Free Zone in our neighborhood, and the Mississippi Lofts project on North Mississippi. At its peak, the meeting held nearly 70 residents of the Boise Neighborhood.

As the legend goes, the BNA has faced meetings of ten people or less, just within the past year. Over the last several months, attendance has steadily increased bringing us to the totals that we saw at the December meeting. This meeting brought out folks who have just moved to Boise, folks who have lived their entire lives here, people who swore they would never attend another neighborhood meeting, and people who just found out that the BNA exists. Not to mention, the people who have faithfully attended meetings month after month, without fail. The response from BNA Board members: "We want more!"

This is only the beginning of the BNA outreach efforts. Our goal is to bring a true representation of our neighborhood to each and every general meeting. In order to accomplish this goal, public feedback and involvement will be crucial in understanding how we can better address the needs of the community that exists here.

The December meeting lit a fire in the souls of our neighbors. A unique sense of empowerment comes from using one's voice in a public arena. This is exactly the stepping stone that is needed to launch people into active community involvement.

Keep your eyes open for more outreach from the Boise Neighborhood Association.
To send feeback or get involved, email us at  boisena@gmail.com or write to:
3703 N Mississippi
Portland, Or 97227

In order to view the full minutes from the December meeting, please check the BNA website."

homepage: homepage: http://www.boisevoice.org

Hi 15.Dec.2005 20:23

Jason

The last meeting minutes on the boise site are from March 05 - Maybe you can post them here for people ho are interested.

Boise residents do not want to be part of the Pearl district 15.Dec.2005 21:55

Annie Kist

The community turnout for the first meeting of the Boise Neighborhood Associations(BNA) new board,I think reflects that the residents are tired of the past BNA's board continously pushing a pro-gentrification.pro-business(of any kind,destination businesses rather than community serving businesses),Mississippi this,Mississippi that,and a BNA board that has been looking out for it's own business & money making interests,without much regard or respect, and at the expense of the residents that live in the rest of the Boise neighborhood, who are finally aknowleging and seeing the affects of this pro- gentrification agenda on their livability, and seeing neighbors & freinds be displaced because of rising rents,less rental housing,and the extreme cultural & economic shift.The BNA has supported an agenda of economic & class cleansing of the Boise neighborhood,with the help of the PDC, police department (with it's Drug Free Zone policy,that has target the black community).And now the real criminals are coming in,the land speculators.
Who are the worst criminals,the drug dealers,or the high end developers ? are we just replacing one criminal with another,both are driven by greed.Both tear the community apart.....We finally have a community board that cares about the residents that are already here,struggling to stay in their homes and community. We must rise up NOW and make our community voices shake the corridors of city hall......We can not do this alone.So bring your voices to the Boise Neighborhood Association meetings.

Take back the Boise Neighborhood for our residents 16.Dec.2005 09:23

Annie Kist

The community turnout for the first meeting of the Boise Neighborhood Associations(BNA) new board,I think reflects that the residents are tired of the past BNA's board continously pushing a pro-gentrification.pro-business(of any kind,destination businesses rather than community serving businesses),Mississippi this,Mississippi that,and a BNA board that has been looking out for it's own business & money making interests,without much regard or respect, and at the expense of the residents that live in the rest of the Boise neighborhood, who are finally aknowleging and seeing the affects of this pro- gentrification agenda on their livability, and seeing neighbors & freinds be displaced because of rising rents,less rental housing,and the extreme cultural & economic shift.The BNA has supported an agenda of economic & class cleansing of the Boise neighborhood,with the help of the PDC, police department (with it's Drug Free Zone policy,that has target the black community).And now the real criminals are coming in,the land speculators.
Who are the worst criminals,the drug dealers,or the high end developers ? are we just replacing one criminal with another,both are driven by greed.Both tear the community apart.....We finally have a community board that cares about the residents that are already here,struggling to stay in their homes and community. We must rise up NOW and make our community voices shake the corridors of city hall......We can not do this alone.So bring your voices to the Boise Neighborhood Association meetings.

Any talks of containing the housing bubble? 16.Dec.2005 10:26

Sephiroth

Most of us are familiar to some degree with the gentrification problems that tend to go hand in hand with a push for mindless consumerism and higher real estate prices. The Pearl district (and I am NO expert on this topic) has seen rents shoot up in the past few years, to where a huge number of downtowners have been compelled to move east of the river. While the people pushed out of cities often do manage to form new communities in other neighborhoods, too often they end up scattered, isolated from one another, and politically disenfranchised. And even for those who can afford to stay, they are forking over a larger portion of their paycheck to landlords and real estate speculators.

Has anybody at the Boise meetings proposed a definite plan to restrict speculation? I'm not an expert on these types of regulations, but I bet there are certain kinds of taxes and regulations that would help disincentivize speculation, and in some cases, punish it outright! Economist James Tobin, who proposed in the 1960s a tiny tax on international financial transactions to prevent "hot money" from wreaking havoc on the global economy, has yet to see his idea put into practice. (actually he never will since he passed on a few years ago). But I wonder if a similar policy could be used on real estate?

Granted, the bubble may soon collapse anyway, but shouldn't we as a society do more to prevent these kinds of nuisances from happening, especially when they drive up the cost of living in the name of profit?

home owners opinion? 16.Dec.2005 18:05

looking from the backseat

Just curious if the feelings expressed are those of a few or a lot and more importantly I wonder what the view of the people who are actually 'invested' in the community are? How many of these voices are from people who have lived in the area before the transformation and have not transiently come in recently? I live a bit north of the area but have seen Mississippi go through a tremendous evolution over the last 4 years. It seems what is currently being sanctified as something that needs to be preserved, was not there, in the same form, 4-5 years ago. How many people have actually come in it to the area in the last few years and imposed their idealogy on a community that was not asking for it? Is the intention to create a gated community that traps 'Mississippi circa 2004' in a time capsule and keeps the evilness of the rest of the city out? I am confident that there is uneasiness to this prospect as well.

Like I said, just curious.

oh my god 16.Dec.2005 22:50

sell now and go away please

> people who are actually 'invested' in the community

That's right, peons! Listen to your betters! Listen to your OWNERS! You're all "transients"!

rose colored glasses aint gonna cut it 17.Dec.2005 02:06

San

Best thing would be to establish baselines for a community: The community wants x quality and standard of living, x number of people/sq mile, specified numbers of people from each income level established and maintained, etc, etc. In doing so, you may be able to stablize livability for those who would otherwise be displaced. Problem is in doing so, you neccessarily begin to dramatically gnaw away at freedom for the individual to do as they will. And where do you draw the line and at what cost?

The comments of "looking from the backseat" aptly raises the nature of the problem. It's a conflicted situation. Think about mississippi, pre-spec. Kind of drab, even kind of scary to those not familiar with it. Static, and not chic for people used to lounging around casually exciting places on a low budget. Some long term 'sippi residents probably welcomed the new era and maybe even benefitted from it, sold their prop, made a profit, etc. But look at that glitzy piss-hole now. $7.50 coctails at the goddam pizza joint bar. Fuck that. Scrape the new paint off the old buildings, knock down the new ones, bring the working gals and the junkies back. At least back then, it was one to one.

There is no regard for marginally existing people in the new era 'sippi. It's all about the assholes in lovely to be built mixed use condos with the set back upper floors. Here's a suggestion: Let them build the new condo. Say there's 4 units to a floor, side by side. Two of them will house $50,000 or more annual income, two of them will house $10,000 or less annual income. The units alternate, one high income, one lower income. They share a common entrance and hallways. The condo residents observe and uphold a common standard of civility and conduct to sustain compatibility. When I see that kind of equal accessibility in that neighborhood, the beginnings of a realistic argument for renewal/gentrification may be there.

L.E.S 1982 17.Dec.2005 11:11

Neil

To respond to some of the comments.No the whole neighborhood did not bring it's voice,but we had nearly 70 people,with multi generations,from Elders that have lived in the community for 20,30 years,since the Vanport floods,we had their children,who have also made Boise their home and their families home.We had new homeowners,new renters, new businesses owners. And what I heard was the frustration from residents who have historically not felt part of,or even invited to the table,of any community decision making process.We have a couple of options,either to slow down the growth and listen and build with the needs of the community residents,working to create stability for everyone , or take the route that has traditinally been forced onto working class poor communties around the US,to not invite them to the planning table and let developers and business build on the communities and use economic classism to force them out.
For people going through the gentrification process for the first time, if they are property owners,or have businesses along North Mississippi,it is probably exciting for them to see their property values sky rocket,the businesses get to see a higher income bracket of customers come in,that will be able to afford the luxury items they sell. But the neighborhood looses something...
A freind that knew I had grown up on the Loisaida (L.E.S) of Manhattan,told me I had to watch this documentary they had just seen, called,"7th Street".I moved to NYC when I was 21,the year was 1982, and the LES was still known as,Alphabet City,Avenues,A,B,C & D.At the time you could score drugs on every block,you could turn any corner and see little cans attatched to string being lowered from burnt out shells of buildings,that had been torched by landlords,who were warehousing them,until a time when they could make more money,even though there was a severe housing shortage.There would be a line of people waiting to score.on each block it was a different drug.At the time the cops drove around alone, and were not allowed to leave their vehicles because their cars would either get jacked or set fire to.In the next few years the policy would require 2 cops to a car, and 1 would stay with the vehicle.I did not choose to live in this environment because of some romantic image,I was an immigrant with no money,no job and strong set political ideals.This was where I got my education and learned street survival skills that have saved my life more than once. When I talk to people about the good old days (although most think of it as the bad old days),what they do not grasp is the sense of community that was buried underneath the economic frustration & instability & chaos of the loisiada.A group of us opened up a building on 8th Street between Avenue B & Avenue C,no water,no electric.But we made this abandoned building into our home,using our own hands to create something that we were proud of.For years we lived fairly peacefully,every now and again we would have a show down with local dealers trying to move their street dealers into our building,gradually we gained their respect. We collectively worked on fixing up our home using a building process of trial & error.The Loisaida became our extended family,we knew all the characters, and not even realizing it,we also became the characters.We watched out for each other. Even though people were economically struggling,there was a happiness in the sense of community, people shared food,shelter, we would sit in Tompkins Square park till dawn sipping 40's with the homeless,telling stories and loving our village,the Lower east side. We didn't even notice the danger that was pushing east from 5th avenue,GENTRIFICATION. We watched as the community serving stores changed from old polish diners, bakeries,bodegas & neighborhood bars into fancy French bistro's and trendy bars,that did not serve the Loisaida community,and so would need to find a new customer that could afford to eat and drink .We stupidly thought that this economic invasion would stop at Tompkins Square Park,Avenue A.But then the first building on Avenue B got sold to a high end developer and our daily battles began,against the city baliffs and police.We finally lost our building,and ultimately my Loisaida family was ripped apart . I moved out to a 2500 ft,run down lumber warehouse in Greenpoint,Brooklyn, and used the skills I had learned in the squat to fix it up. I struggled to find the sense of community that I had known on the Loisaida,but something beautiful had been destroyed for greed & profit.......
I am hoping to have an opportunity to show the documentery to the Boise community,because it shows the beauty that can be lost when we do not listen to and build with our community,but let developers come in and build on it...It is called 7th Street by Josh Pais


One community, wide ranging income levels, successfully living together 18.Dec.2005 14:34

San

Neil, that was a great story about the presence of community inherent in the squat. I think the idea, for most people of relatively affluent means, that such a positive presence of community could exist in a non-rev situation, would generally be taken with a great deal of skepticism. At least in the situation you described, it would probably not be viewed with much admiration, if any at all.

The anxiety such an idea undoubtedly provokes, especially from a business perspective, probably would naturally counter recognition of the benefits of a self-contained community that responded to the needs of those of a wide range of income levels within that community. I imagine the biggest players, bankers, would object highly to a business plan that would be completely contrary to the most promising approach to generating the greatest amount of profit from their investment.

They would want to support a plan that attracted the wealthiest possible residents justifying the highest possible rents. Conceding to the needs of those of truly modest income levels within a community that targeted those of relatively affluent means for the income they would represent to investors, in their minds, would probably create an insurmountable ongoing conflict that would threaten the viability of the project.

The challenge will be to introduce to and persuade enough members of the community of the idea that building a community that embraces and supports a wide range of income levels within the community is going to create a desirable living environment of richness and vitality. I think there have been such examples, and places like this probably exist in the world today, maybe in smaller european or medditeranean cities. Around Portland though, what seems to happen, is that an old neighborhood is taken over for conversion to a ghetto for those of means. Then, the only people of low income remaining in the area, are panhandlers.

So many people, as they gain relative wealth, seem to lose an appreciation of the essential importance of dignity and community to the health and welfare of the individual, and by consequence, to the public as a whole. A book I like to mention as the occassion arises, is "Fragile Dwellings", by Margaret Morton. It's a photo essay, documenting some of the remarkable, improvised residence structures homeless people erected upon empty lots and abandoned properties during the tax hike fiascos of the Giuliani administration in NYC.

Out of throwaway crap, people assembled, tidy, well ordered blocks of little houses with patios, gardens, and in some cases, inevitably, enclosing fences and decorative walls. Most important, they established what they did not have before, or had at at one time but lost; community, a sense of place, a connectedness to the city at large. They reinvigorated their dignity.

What this bullshit kind of economic renewal taking place on Mississippi St does, is destroy the dignity of people who are least prepared to endure any assaults upon it. It may appear to be good business to some to support development that coincidentally displaces low income people, but ultimately, it's bad business that comes back to bite the city in a bad way.

I think showing the film is a great idea. If enough passionate people from the Boise neighborhood get the concept of cross income level residential community into their minds and hearts, they may be able to levy enough authourity to successfully introduce the idea to a public that may be more ready for it than we think.

Compelling thoughts, difficult implementation 20.Dec.2005 20:16

looking from the backseat

San and Neil, you both raise very interesting insight to the crux of the issue but there are inherent difficulties in the implementation of these ideas. First I think it is great to get the community involved in their neighborhood and that is why my post asked 'who' was representing these ideas. You want to raise awareness in the community, great. But you usually have to entice people to participate so in order to do that you need controversy, right? G-Dub already used "yellow cake" to create a buzz so another good buzz word is "gentrification". This of course is useful to get a certain percentage of the population excited but it doesn't really mean much to the family down the street, mom and dad work, kids in school. They don't show up to give support or criticism. Now you might be able to get these guys involved if the flyers indicated that there was a methadone clinic going in or Dignity Village setting up. Please don't think I am making light of this, I am just attempting to show either way you dress this it is a form of NIMBY (not in my backyard). There will always be the group that doesn't want affluent people moving in and the group that doesn't want reduced income people moving in.

Now the word 'gentrification' isn't good or bad. Look anywhere around Portland and you can see that the same thing happening on Mississippi has either already taken place or is happening. See Hawthorne, Clinton, Nob Hill, Alberta, ect. I am not saying that these transitions have not displaced folks but they certainly have been able to retain the 'community' inherent to each neighborhood. You don't have to agree but I think Portland is lucky in that people want to live within these 'communities' and not in the 'burbs. In my opinion the only place you can really point the gentrification finger is at the Pearl district and now the South Waterfront. Both of these areas are and will be essentially Disneyland communities. Build over a large area of land without an EXISTING community woven in and around them. How many of the people moving into the Pearl do you really think would even consider living on Mississippi? You ask for a mixed income community but you have to offer a reason for more affluent people around the area, or moving back into the area who see the qualities of Mississippi to move in. Does that mean they have to buy a big house to do it? I guess that is okay if it is your approach but it doesn't make sense in some ways. Do these private homeowners get called out for 'gentrifying' their community when they sell? How are they less evil than the guy building a building down the street?

There are successful examples of mixed income communities and projects around the nation but they are rarely, if ever done with private funds. Often the developer that builds in an emerging community is one with fewer resources. The ones who have deep pockets are buying land on Hawthorne or the South Waterfront. You can look at the New Columbia project in the Portsmouth neighborhood to see Portland's attempt at private and public assistance living. So far it looks like a success but that project couldn't have been done without a lot of public money. This support is not available to market rate developers and currently in this country there is no model for it. That could be the next logical step and what San is pointing towards but he is right, the banks aren't going to pitch-in to do this. Does that leave the government? Taxes? Bake Sales?