In addition to owning the ballroom, the Kurisu's own the two lots to the north and the three lots to the east, a total of six lots. They have had speculative plans since they bought the properties in 2004, plans that include a large enclosed Japanese garden and a mixed use four story building. |
NAYA, The Native American Youth Association, leased the main office in the Mississippi Rising Building for as long as I've lived here and longer. But the other week, they moved out. I have been told that they moved out due to the changing demographics of the area and them not being a welcomed addition by the new neighborhood dwellers. In the lot to the north of the Ballroom, NAYA had purchased and insured a small playground for neighborhood kids which had alot of use. This morning, when I came downstairs, it was in the process of being taken apart.
This comes as no shock, I knew they were taking it down, I just figured they would give a bit of notice. Yesterday a father and his daughter walked through the alley behind the park and the daughter asked if she could go play on the playground. The father said we can go tomorrow. I guess for that little girl tomorrow never comes.
When this neighborhood, The Boise Neighborhood, started getting hot and folks started buying homes, it seemed like a lot of it was young familys. Couples expecting a child and wanting a nice big old house with amenities nearby for their children to grow up in. Now, developers are talking about urban infill, and how they can maximize their investment. No doubt that this was by design. I have also been told that back in '92 when the largely African-American residents of North Portland got together with the city to draft new zoning with the Albina Plan, everything the residents wanted was washed over and that was when the neighborhood movement lost steam. When the city opened it ears and then wrote something completely opposite it seemed like a waste of time for already busy people to stay involved.
But, I am getting off the point. The Kurisu Family has plans for more green space. On some conglomeration of the three east lots there will be a parking lot and a Japanese Garden, not without fences. WHat was nice about this playground was its functionality, its openness and how much it got used. I would see lines of kids coming down the street from the daycare or kids with parents from the Fresh Pot, it was something that really tied it together, saying that yes this street is being developed but it is still trying to be real for real people.
The Kurisu's plan is to put a four story building on top of where the playground is currently being taken apart. That isnt slated until next year, but the changes dont stop there. On July 10th a precedent setting decision will be made, by the Historical Landmarks Commission, regarding the fate of North Mississippi. The Mississippi Avenue Lofts, fairly or unfairly, has been the inaugural development. If they are approved, 3 or 4 other 4-story developments-in-waiting will breathe a sigh of relief and submit their plans. If denied, those developers will walk with gingered feet and give more thought to the designs of the developments.
The changes are coming and we just need to exercise our voices to help make them more palatable to our desires as neighbors.