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Boise Neighborhood Loses Childrens Playground to Development

The landscape is preparing to change again on North Mississippi Avenue. The Kurisu Family International, who own the Mississippi Rising Ballroom at Mississippi and Shaver are planning something big. But we arent going to talk too much about something big right now, we are going to talk about something relatively small.
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.


what a four story development might look like 21.Jun.2006 09:58

bht

these are some speculative photos of what a four story development next to my house might look like. this is also, as far as we can tell, what the kurisu's are planning on doing...although they might not use red.
from the front
from the front
looking north
looking north
looking south
looking south

some more pictures 21.Jun.2006 10:43

bht

the guys working said they will probably finish taking it all down tomorrow, so folks will have a lst chance to pay their respects.

NAYA 21.Jun.2006 11:53

tiny bee

I know that little park- a green oasis u p at that end of the block and it's really a shame to lose it.

A four story building instead is not much of a trade.

But, you may have made some inaccurate assumptions about why NAYA moved.

Could someone from NAYA comment? Could an IMCista can interview someone from NAYA to describe their reasons?

It may have had to do with the changing demographic in the neighborhood, but they also needed more space and (maybe because of the changing demographic?) their rent was increasing. It's hard to keep a non-profit afloat in this economy.

Gentrification continues on Mississippi- what did people expect, though, all those cute shops and expensive restaurants and beer halls?

The street has become "desirable" and a playground for yuppies.
Now the yuppies want a places to live nearby, too.

Capitalism sucks.

At least, thanks to indymedia, more people know what's happening over on Mississippi.

Giant 21.Jun.2006 12:40

Thanks

a great big giant thanks to NAYA for
providing the playground for as long as they did

Here is a list of the many projects NAYA is involved in:
Middle School Retention Services
High School Retention Services
Tutoring and After School Programs
Young Adult Leadership Project
Middle School and High School Math and Science Summer Programs
Family Healing Circle Domestic Violence Program
Foster Care/ Independent Living Program
Sports Program
Arts and Culture Program
Youth Leadership Program
Math and Science Summer Camp
Domestic Violence Prevention
Foster Care Program
Sports Program
Arts and Culture Program

Maybe the community will think to give something in return as a gesture of gratitude. I am not from Naya so my comment is not a solicitation from them. It seems like a good thing to do:

Here is a link from their site on ways you can help:
 http://www.nayapdx.org/HowYouCanHelp.htm

NAYA's neighborhood relations were friendly 21.Jun.2006 12:51

reporter

Donita of NAYA was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding their rationale for moving.
The main reason was logistical. Their rent had increased to a somewhat burdensome level and the opportunity to move to a larger facility was available.
They are now at the old Whitaker Lakeside middle school building on NE Columbia which is a 20 acre facility, where NAYA will be opening a native american high school in the fall of next year.
According to Portland maps "market" values:
the new location is roughly $108/sq.ft
the old Mississippi location is $89/sq.ft
Donita said there was no animosity between NAYA and their Boise landlords and was unable to quote the amount of rent increase. She did indicate that NAYA plans to stay at their new location "for a while."
More importantly, Donita said that NAYA will miss their neighbors in Boise and that the feeling was mutual based on the wonderful attendance for their going away celebration on June 2.

bht 21.Jun.2006 13:12

little hummingbird

bht, I'm wondering if you could give us an idea of what your history is in the neighborhood. For example, how long you have lived in the collective house? In the neighborhood in general? Did you move up from southeast? Another city? Why?

I'd also love to hear your thoughts on your own role (or non-role?) in the ongoing gentrification of Mississippi. I hear your voice a lot on these issues, generally offering a lot of criticism (which is great), but very little in the way of self-reflection, and I have heard nothing on this website or others on which you post from the local African-American population that you repeatedly reference. I do remember that In Portland article awhile back on gentrification in n/ne where black residents were given space to speak for themselves for once and the message was complicated -- quite a bit of upset around white middle class people moving into the neighborhood and not giving them the time of day, property values going up and people selling or not being able to afford rent any longer; but also welcoming the increased safety, the increased vibrancy of the neighborhood commercial strips, etc.

I've heard that the Kurisu building is going to be certified LEED platinum (i.e. ultra-sustainable). Any thoughts on this? It's all just a ruse by developers to convince guileless neighbors to say "yes!"? I ask because I remember reading Kunstler's "The Geography Of Nowhere" years ago and being convinced of the need to control suburban sprawl partly by building housing on top of retail in inner city neighborhoods and encouraging people - of mixed income levels - to desire city-living.

If your opposition to this building design is the mass (4 stories), where do you think buildings like this should get built? Anywhere on Mississippi at all? Just not next door to your house? Where would you support urban infill?

If your opposition is based on concerns about folks of lesser means getting pushed out of the neighborhood (something I am sympathetic to, btw), do you have an understanding of how affordable housing could get built? Any idea of whether or not it would need to be subsidized by the state to get built? Could the collective house partner with the city to use some of the equity you have built since the purchase of the house to develop nearby affordable housing yourselves?

I would also love to hear from NAYA about their reasons for moving. I have heard the same things, but too often it seems like minorities/people of color/the poor get spoken for by self-appointed representatives, typically white middle class activists.

And I would like to see some specifics, including links or citations, regarding this paragraph:

"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."

Thanks!

re: little hummingbird 21.Jun.2006 14:46

bht

hi. i will take a bit of that challenge and answer some of the questions as best i can.

"For example, how long you have lived in the collective house? In the neighborhood in general? Did you move up from southeast? Another city? Why?"

- I have lived in the collective house for about three years now. That was my first introduction to this neighborhood. I moved to portland from the midwest and lived in an apartment near 39th and powell.

" I'd also love to hear your thoughts on your own role (or non-role?) in the ongoing gentrification of Mississippi."

It's a complicated role. My house is owned by Portland Collective Housing, a low income housing group. Here is what is said on the website about our role in the gentrification. "Mississippi Avenue is located in North Portland, between the I5 and Martin Luther King Boulevard. Due to the close proximity to the east side docks, it was traditionally a working class neighborhood, where dockworkers and their families lived. It has been a low-income community since then. In the last 5 years Mississippi Ave has experienced fierce gentrification due to its relatively central location and the expanding Max light rail system on the North Interstate Avenue; rents are going up and the demographic is changing. What used to be an ethnically diverse low-income area is turning into a hip Caucasian cultural district, with displacement of minorities and a loss of affordable housing.

"We hope our long-term commitment to community involvement will compensate for any initial contribution made on our part toward the gentrification of our future neighborhood. While hoping to promote cooperative housing in the neighborhoods, we recognize that the racial and educational profile of the Mississippi Collective may run the risk of contributing to gentrification by virtue of its presence in what is largely a low-income neighborhood. Based on the core values of social justice and open communication, the collective can, alternatively, become a valuable resource for the neighborhood by organizing educational activities and social support programs such as organic food cooperatives. Most importantly though, the collective has existed for five years plus and we ourselves are in danger of being displaced by the forces of gentrification. Working with existing community organizations and the city, the collective can affect positive political action to promote the cause of affordable housing, an item on the immediate agenda of the city of Portland."

"I've heard that the Kurisu building is going to be certified LEED platinum (i.e. ultra-sustainable). Any thoughts on this?"

I think building sustainably is great, we are trying to retrofit our house to be more sustainable. The problem with sustainable building techniques is that they arent affordable. So its great that these "market rate" (read: expensive) condos that are going in are sustainable. But building sustainably isnt enough, it is also about educating folks how to live sustainably. If a bunch of bourgeoise people moved into these sustainable condos but didnt try to live a sustainable lifestyle, the green building would be mostly mitigated. ANd on your point of suburban sprawl, throughout this folks have been accusing me of hating urban infill and loving suburban sprawl and thats just not true. People talk of Portland of being the most sustainable and contained sity, but it is still in the top 50 cities of sprwal (with 121 sq miles of sprawl). And what about that Urban Growth Boundary? Wasnt it just pushed back more? How effective is it? Something that may keep the urban city center vital and reduce sprawl is rent control. Certainly high priced condos in the city center is not going to reduce sprawl.

"If your opposition to this building design is the mass (4 stories), where do you think buildings like this should get built? Anywhere on Mississippi at all? Just not next door to your house? Where would you support urban infill?"

This is also a tough question. Part of me definately says "just not next door to my house." Something that is going to be really tough for us here is that our big south facing windows are going to be looking at an ultra sustainble brick wall in a year or so. That our gardens in the front and back yards will get much less sunlight and our quality of life will be drastically reduced. But thats not all of it. The Kurisus can build a four story building next to my house and still take into consideration or sunlight, they can design a building that works for both of us, and we talked with them about that, the problem is that they havent. North of Shaver is mostly single family homes. There is the "flowers by viktor" commercial space that is soon to be a restaurant and the environment warehouse, the mississippi lofts warehouse, monsoon thai, and the church across the street. Right now there are four story buildings scheduled for the south of my house, directly to the west of my house and one block north of my house. The amount and the rapidity of change is just too much for a community to embrace it. If it were for the community, they would find a way to keep that park that so many families used. They would build something that the community could enjoy. The japanese garden seems more to show their wealthy clients what kind of gardens they build instead of giving the community a place that they can congregate and enjoy life. The problem is that the developemnt isnt for the community it is for a new community that will support the businesses to the south. I have read time and again that the businesses in the Mississippi Conservation District are largely destination businesses because they dont offer much real service for the regular folks that live there. So folks come up here. For the businesses to survive long term a class of people will have to move in that can and will support the businesses. That class is upper-middle/upper-upper, the kind of folks that can afford $250,000 for about 860 sq ft of living space. Again, this is a tough question. I am not against developemnt, I am just more pro-community and want to see good process that involves and values the community that still exists.

"If your opposition is based on concerns about folks of lesser means getting pushed out of the neighborhood (something I am sympathetic to, btw), do you have an understanding of how affordable housing could get built? Any idea of whether or not it would need to be subsidized by the state to get built? Could the collective house partner with the city to use some of the equity you have built since the purchase of the house to develop nearby affordable housing yourselves?"

I dont really understand how affordable housing gets built. It is something that I am trying too. I have just become able to start taking college classes for the first time in my life (becuase my work place is paying for it) and am going to take urban studies classes and learn more about affordable housing and those types of things. PCH does affordable housing and we have some equity to throw around, we just need more focus and some clear objectives to move forward and start providing more low-income housing ourselves. Also, I think PDC still has loans and grants for low income housing.

"And I would like to see some specifics, including links or citations, regarding this paragraph:"

Its tough to give citations. I hear it from the city folk that i have come into contact with and cant find it anywhere on paper. I would suggest to get involved with your neighborhood association and your district coalition and talk to city planners and such to hear things first hand.


Liberal Museum culture policy 21.Jun.2006 15:07

Kid Akai travelsbybrian@hotmail.com

I think part of what the little hummingbird is trying to get across is that this "change" or gentrification you speak of is happening internally and vicariously. It's not some foreign earthquake we didn't see coming, not some aftermath or shock from a much more broader event happening somewhere away from the problem, and have we noticed that the problem is always exactly where we are standing? It's important to recognize that Mississippi street is doomed and has been doomed since the begining, gentrification and this "change" has happened already it is now only gathering weight..but the form is already there.
-It would be good for you to note that this word "gentrification" is a very gentile word, I've never heard a black man use it. Subconsiously there is a lot of guilt there when we use that word, when it's used the process behind the process is being ignored. There is a kind of strange self-reflection happening internally yet conciously the user of this word seeks to detach the problem from one's self. There is an inner struggle when this word is used by a gentile.-

-The word "change" in this context is a good one too. It supplies that now and suddenly it is changing but had never been constant before. Change is constant and the change happening will always inevitably lead to the present, mark the present and map the past and you have the future. This "change" when used by one of these neighborhood dwellers, if negative, can only happen after the dwellar has established oneself. Suddenly to say "this neighborhood is changing" gives the new neighborhood gentile a feeling of be a part of the community, 'he is here and has noticed so he is here'. Let me note something here: Change is what attracted the neighboorhood in the first place, if you were blind in deaf, only then can you be detached from the process of change. It is this "gentrification" that allowed for you to come here in the first place. To say: I was here before all of this began is a deliberate lie. It began because you are here and you know it. I'm sorry I'm abstracting the problem; we are here because change is here: change recruited us into itself as if change were a virus and had to call upon evolution to help it thrive.-

It's good to note the way both of these words are used, take note of it every time you hear it. They are a part of some bizarre social tapestry, it's all very American.

The case with the Native Americans is a phenomena that has been going on since the birth of civilization, also more obviously: the birth of America itself. Every minority will indeed pick up and leave when the problem has gotten to the point where it is now. Why is that? Why is it that the White family suburban dwellars try to make some feeble attempt to run after them while they are moving on? Did any of us go to NAYA and show support and respect for them while they were here? At best NAYA was a novelty, NAYA was a legetimizing source for our strange liberal Disneyland we've created on Mississippi street. When NAYA picks up to go, suddenly we are all fascists, no longer the liberal image we've carved out for ourselves before. It's kind of funny, because just like with most things: NAYA had more of a right to be there than anything on the block, the NU-right grocery store as well. Fresh pot, the crow bar, "video verit'e": I've been in all of these places, where are the blacks? Where is NAYA? Shit! There no where to be found! 'But then look there! All of these people congregated are all very liberal white people complaining about gentrification, why do the blacks move to MLK while these people bury themselves behind a versade of fascist art and literature?'HMMM....Do they complain because it helps? As if to say 'we' are not responsible?

So the Native Americans will go and move with an expressionless face peacefully into whatever awaits: a continual cultural destruction of what they've created. Their presence will be sensed in each neighboorhood they come across, the people complaining about gentrification will move closer to them so that they might lift a little less guilt off of their shoulders. These people will walk by NAYA and never go in, secretly thinking their drum beats and cultural traditions a spectacle. And to be sure, it is. Where is the grass? Where are the trees? Why do they sit in gymnasiums and warehouses? There's no heart in that! Why? Because that's all there is left; to be one with the earth and with one's culture one must remain in sterile environments fighting lease agreements. It is a spectacle.
There will be coffee shops like the fresh pot opening up right across the street from NAYA's new building, I can assure you that. We gentile's will move in because rent is cheap and the neighboorhood is more: "eclectic" (A very bourgeouse word). Fascist art will move in like the coca-cola trucks after the Berlin wall fell and we will gather drinking coffee and admiring it. Rent will go up and NAYA will move on, is this starting to sound familiar?

I think it is interesting how we seek to isolate events to this very moment, like the problem is here and now and it is immediate. The problem is perpetual. And we are perpetually at the joysticks in this bizarre little mash up.

If you are truly upset with the inevitable "progress" on Mississippi street I suggest you leave it. I have never encountered such a strange liberal disneyland in all of my life. Odwalla drink is a metaphor for that street; the liberal drink owned by coca-cola with it's consumers completely unaware.
The business owners on that street are ridiculous. Have you ever talked to one? I know quite a few; there is a private war going on inside of them, there has to be. They too complain about gentrification, support protest and the likes. Remember that those most responsible for the oppression around us are our neighbors complaining the most about the problems. They are the real-estate owners jacking up the prices for NAYA. They are the bar owners moving in and marking up the prices for the gentile "artists". We are these artists and consumers.
Talk to some of the business owners though, they for the most part are wrapped up in the Portland Business association. It's amazing how inwardly racist they are. In my opinion these people are the worst kind. They run about frantically complaining about change all the while with their hands on all of the buttons. They can get away with the most insane endeavors under the veil of "peace and Justice". They are more Orwellian then all of them.

Mississippi street is in itself a Bushism and Orwellism: Freedom, Art. There is nothing more Bush like than that street; to take meaning and turn it on it's head sell it and argue logically that you are without blame. To form any real critique of it remember that America in itself is an evolutionary being, it will do anything it can to insure it's in goal: short lived power and ultimate destruction of humanity. It's like taking the endevors of this president and replacing him with a black female, wouldn't that be necesary for the next step? Now we can do the same thing but under the veil of real open-minded democracy.
That street is a clause in an over arching issue, what has happenED there WAS inevitable. Quit trying to museamify the NAYA and minority culture. If you want to do something, sell your fucking house, drown your kids, and bludgeon some of these business owners to death with a rental agreement. The change will be short-lived but will still be somewhat exciting all the same.

210-467-7018

more on the park 22.Jun.2006 01:13

xb

i just wanted to chime in with what i have heard re: the park/playground. note that this is secondhand, so take it with a grain of salt, perhaps.

(a) the playground was nayas, but they didnt buy it -- it was given to them by the previous property owner (jerry) when the place sold. for what its worth (?)
(b) one of the kurisus had intended to put a sign on the playground notifying folks of its impending removal, but naya(?) started the removal earlier than expected
(c) i also heard about the same stuff regarding naya and the landlords: not so much about rent, but needing more room and also feeling the neighborhood was changing

i guess thats all i have to add. i wonder if there was ever any progress with the kurisus idea of releasing the easement of the alley to the city and building a park along the entire alley. i really liked that idea, but it seemed far-fetched to get 100% of adjacent property owner approval for that. (when i heard about it, the kurisus were going to foot the bill to do the landscaping and conversion from the alley -- which i thought was cool. sure, they would get to span their development across the alley on their lots too -- it wasnt without motivation -- but it wouldnt be cheap to turn an alley back into a park, so i thought that was a nice thing, despite some of the other cons to the whole thing.)


Agesim & money making come before community & livability 22.Jun.2006 09:36

Lilly

Concerned Neighbor...Could you give everyone the HUGE dimensions, of this new green space, and then the dimensions of the green space that already exists, that is utilized by all ages and has a nice play structure for children to play on (will there be a play structure for our families in the new Green space?),which has been a wonderful community park , in continuous use . Will we still be hearing the wonderful sound of children at play when the un-natural demonstration Japanese show piece garden is fenced in, and only open at certain times to the community ? , and has already been presented as a meditation,relaxation garden- Kids don't do much of either, so will it be an inviting place for families with children,ageism can be very subtle ?. It will also feel like meditating in a fish bowl,with the back row of windows of the Kurisu's world headquarters looking out over the meditation park, for their potential,wealthy consumers to look at the cute poor folk looking for play structures and fun things to play with. But I have to agree that the Kurisu development project totally goes along with what the Mississippi Loft developers have been pushing on the Boise neighborhood, and that is making Boise an unfriendly place for families and more inviting to the trendy singles crowd, who can afford the numerous bars,resaturants and cutsie coffee shops and boutiques and high condo rents and sale prices.
I don't think it will be long before the city and education board will look once again into closing,Boise Elliott School, Humbolt and maybe even Jefferson, they have already been trying, but we still have families and potential families not wanting their children taking busses all over town. But as the Boise and Humbolt neighborhood get less family freindly,both with resourses for children, and financially hard for families to be able to afford the rents (if there are any rental opportunities left), and high price condo's, then families will be forced to relocate.
Once again putting stress onto parents and tearing the roots of community building and security that these children need.
All these developers & city planners know what will and is happening, but they are all driven by greed,ego's and selfishness...Take a look around the world. The American dream that has been forced on the worlds natural resources and people's is collapsing and there is not enough lifeboats to go round ? We can continue to be ignorant and except that the city planners and developers truly have our best interests at heart, or we can start looking at the numerous examples of community development failures from around the US and the world. And ask them to stop ripping our communites apart for the sake of their bottom line politics...$$$$.

affordable housing in portland 22.Jun.2006 09:43

displaced

The term "affordable housing" is a bit of a joke here in Portland. I am disabled and I am trying to live on a small monthly disability check. I lived in my parent's home in North Portland for nearly 40 years. They purchased the home in 1940's. We watched the neighborhood (Piedmont) go up and down in terms of livability, property values. My parents passed away and I continued to live in the house up until last year. Then things started to take off as Piedmont became "trendy". My other family members decided to take advantage of the market and sold my home for $300,000. It was purchased by someone who just wanted to flip it for a profit. This spring it was sold again (one year later) for over $500,000. When I was trying to find housing that I could afford in this city -- my lifetime home-- I could not find anything I could afford in my own neighborhood. The properties advertised as "affordable developments" were way over my rent budget. I now live in a dingy, old apartment in southwest Portland, far from the community I grew up in and loved. Ironic-- southwest used to be considered the more expensive part of town. Eventually I will leave Portland entirely as it just has become too expensive for me to live here with a decent quality of life.

wonderful discussion 22.Jun.2006 12:15

ivy

Hey, I just wanted to say thanks for this wonderful discussion. there is a lot of interesting points made in here, and I've enjoyed reading it.

As a former (and perhaps future-once-again) resident of the N. Mississippi neighborhood with a lot of complex thoughts about it, it's nice to read this (now that I've relocated temporarily to the East Coast...where this topic of discussion has different dimensions, when it happens at all).

Anyway, I have nothing to add, except that the paragraphs on the strange self-reflection that comes along with the word "gentrification" was stunning...and definitely gave words to something I suspected but never had words for.

So, thanks!

Early headstart children start crying at sight of no more park 22.Jun.2006 15:06

Community building Vs Making money

I just wanted to share with the Kurisu family, that owns 240 acres out in Sherwood.sothing for them to think about how they use their financial privilege. A group of kids just came down from the Albina Headstart early learning center.Not quite the Havard leducation that you were privileged to be able to afford.They came down with their teachers to enjoy an hour running and playing in the park, that they have been coming to since before you purchased the piece of land. When they arrived to see the play structure they have been playing on for years, they all started crying.Another urban green space destroyed, that had become a home for those that do not have the means, or do not feel safe heading into the rural playgrounds of the rich,which are located in areas rampant with racist police forces and communities. I wonder how long before city folk will have to start paying a use fee for using the city parks, even though we already pay in our taxes ?

Keep speaking out Paul 22.Jun.2006 19:23

ws

Hey Paul, if you're of the black community, living in the neighborhood, the occasion of your speaking out in this forum about the impact of gentrification on it, is met with enthusiasm, and is desperately needed, with greater frequency.

I've kind of figured that many people from the black community, who might, if they were still here, have spoken out about the merciless, speculator driven wave of change occurring on Mississippi Avenue, have already been shifted out one way or another.

I don't know who "bht" is really...some guy living in the collective house. It's often true, that smart, educated white folks have a better chance of transitioning out of their grass roots, or slummy beginnings than do some people of other colors. When one of them in that grass root period does take occassion to speak counter to the tendencies of the speculator tsunami, this would seem to be a spark of hope for the life of the neighborhood.

Anybody not speaking out about concerns they have related to speculator driven development, that displaces the black community, and low income people of any color, is part of the problem.

I don't live on Mississippi. Can't hardly even afford to eat much, let alone shop in the little playground of shops and cafes, but I have come walking in there. And you know what? Even though I'm not of the black community, I'd like to think I'm right to recognize and enjoy some of intrinsically pleasant qualities associated with the experience of walking in this presently quiet, safe place, seeing and hearing laughing and talking.

People must speak out if there is any possibility of this avoiding the devolution of this experience that comes with excessive development, superfluous goods shops, and car travel. People of all income levels should be able to live in this neighborhood. The neighborhood should be able to prioritize providing basic amenities; groceries, shoe repair, etc., before knick-knack shops. It should be able to have authority in determining whether a lot shall continue to be playground for the kids, or a parking lot for more cars.

All dreams that never happen unless people put their strength on the table and present a force to be reckoned with.

One answer for "little hummingbird" 22.Jun.2006 23:27

resident

"If your opposition to this building design is the mass (4 stories), where do you think buildings like this should get built? Anywhere on Mississippi at all?"

Nowhere!

" Just not next door to your house? Where would you support urban infill?"

Nowhere!

Get it, braindead! Listen, read, learn! The region is already way overpopulated and overconsumed--that is, we have already long overshot the human carrying capacity of the region's natural resources. The only reaons why growth continues to happen is not because of act of God, but because of very delliberate actions on the part of our local governments in cooperation with big corporate leaders. These actions are: 1) HUGE subsidies, to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars of taxpayer money, to large, non-local corporations and developers, 2) twenty years of sophisticated marketing campaigns to draw more businesses and people to the region, 3) continual expansions of the Urban Growth Boundary to provide for new housing and commercial development, 4) complicity of local governments to insure that each new resident is paid THOUSANDS of dollars to relocate here and that there are enough housing and jobs provided for them to ensure that they stay.

All of these actions ensure that the developers managers and majority stockholders of large, non-local corporations become enriched at the expense of the rest of us. Sucking wealth away from the majority of residents and towards a super-wealthy minority is the only means and ends of population and consumptin growth in the region. There is nothing responsible or beneficial in the slightest about accommodating growth. Wake up to the scam.

Step Out The Cycle of expoitation,Un-natural Capitalism 23.Jun.2006 09:54

Shooting Blanks since 1962

I made a hard choice many, many years ago. A committment to our earth to not breed, and add to the over population & to not live an over consumerist lifestyle, and work at freeing myself from the chains of a cycle of capitalist exploitation of our natural resources and our brothers and sisters around the world. As many know, we are reaching our carrying capacity. But how do we stop those who are driven by their addiction to MONEY and to the class and political privilege it brings them ?
Deep down inside I actually long for us to exhaust our resources and our carrying capacity. I have spent 43 years hearing story after story about the extinction of non human animals . In my heart it's the story of the extinction of the human animal I want to take with me.



I love this whole argument about,"if we don't allow high density housing,we'll loose the forest and farms", which is presented as an eventuality. We are also being told that million of people are going to be moving to Portland, which I guess then we will also be facing the inevitability that we will of course be loosing our forest and farms, because the city will burst the Urban Growth Boundry (UGB),no amount of city density housing is going to be able to stop it, plus aren't we loosing them already, to play areas for the wealthier, there are more ski area's planned. More land up around Mt Hood, is being sold off for weekend condos and summer houses ? You talk about the suburbs of Portland. Those were once farming areas,yes the country and farms, and they were annexed, and the agricultural workforce,who were living in small rural communties, all of a sudden were forced to move from small affordable housing units, to pay higher taxes to live in the greater city of Portland,and to live in higher priced apt buildings. But still work on farms that do not pay a living wage. So the agricultural workforce has moved to construction, which as you will see,if you take a trip out to the " urban suburbs" is going on everywhere, and even businesses like New Season's are locating their new stores into these new urban sub-divisions.
And let's take a short look at the high density living situation. Usually high priced small apartments,attracting either single proffessionals with high paying jobs, or dinks (double income no kids). Being forced to work high paying,stressful jobs, that traditionally survive on the exploitation of someone around the globe. They will use these apartments, until kid number 1 comes along, then the reality hits, "we cannot not afford to live here if we are not both working ?" So they start looking for "affordable housing", like was available in the Boise neighborhood about 3 years ago, or they start moving out of the city into rural areas (not wanting to settle into urban suburbs,because traditionally this is where the poorer,less privileged classes end up, but close to main highway arteries to communte to their job.And where are the jobs,kind of funny that there's this push for high urban density living, but people are being forced to communte out to find the higher paying jobs to sustain,this economically unsustainable lifestyle choice, take a commute out on 26 one morning ?....So let's start talking about the taboo subject of,ZERO POPULATION GROWTH & ZERO OVER CONSUMPTION

last photos 23.Jun.2006 12:18

bht

i wanted to get a set before this of the posts as a playground graveyard and the scoope machine that dug up those posts and the jackhammer that broke off the concrete but i missed those. one person said that a jackhammer is the furthest thing from a playground and when it was going it seemed like it.

here are some phtos of the playground that never was. also, a picture of the note the kurisu's left. note the date of 6/16/06, the note was posted late on the 21st of june...so i dont know if they put it there to give the illusion of notice, or if they actually wrote it on the 16th and couldnt find a way to get across the street for five days? (their current world headquarters are caddy corner to the ballroom, about a full 1/6 of a block away from the playground.)

Kurisu supports the culture of making money 29.Jun.2006 09:02

Warrior soul

Native Americans move into new home
Thursday, June 29, 2006
By Stephen Beaven
The Oregonian
Nichole Maher searched for more than two years, looking high and low for a suitable headquarters to house the Native American Youth and Family Center.

NAYA had outgrown its cramped and COSTLY home on North Mississippi Avenue, and Maher, the agency's executive director, knew exactly what she wanted to replace it with.

"We always hoped to get a school," she says. "It never felt like a real possibility."

But, finally, she found one.

Two weeks ago, NAYA moved into its new offices at the old Whitaker-Lakeside Middle School, where it plans to open an alternative high school in fall 2007.

In addition to being bigger and more easily accessible for NAYA's clients, the new location is also culturally relevant. Behind the school, there's a wooded walking path along the Columbia Slough. This area is believed to be the site of a historic Multnomah Chinook village.

NAYA is leasing about half of the school building at 5135 N.E. Columbia Blvd. and expects four other Native American groups to join it. A grand opening is planned for later this summer.

The center is open for business, however, providing the same services as the old site, including tutoring, job placement, sports and counseling.

The planned high school, which will include a curriculum featuring math, science and Native American culture, marks a major expansion for NAYA. The school will be developed with the help of Portland Public Schools, Portland Community College and Antioch University Seattle, which administers the Early College High School for Native Youth Initiative. A grant from that program of $350,000 will help cover startup. Other funding will come from the Portland Schools Foundation and Portland Public. For the next 15 months, NAYA will work with the Native American community and others to plan the school.

Maher credits PPS Superintendent Vicki Phillips with helping NAYA find the right building. Phillips says the intense academic atmosphere that NAYA proposed will be a boon for Native American youngsters.

"One of the things I like is their focus on the high-rigor, early college model," she says. "We all agreed that this is a population that is often at risk for dropping out of school and often doesn't get the opportunities for college they should."

Numbers back that up. Native American students have the highest dropout rates and lowest college completion rates of any ethnic group in the country, according to the National Indian Education Association.

Whitaker-Lakeside closed in June 2005, sending most of its students to Tubman Middle School. There were a number of problems with Whitaker, says PPS spokesman Bob Lawrence. It was an older building, so it was difficult to maintain. And it was on a busy street in an industrial area, making student safety an issue. "I think there was a perception that it was a dangerous area," Lawrence says.

NAYA was eager to move out of North Mississippi, where NAYA clients have been the targets of racial slurs. Some families have said they didn't feel comfortable in local shops. Late last year, someone left racist graffiti on the center's van.

"We knew we had to leave Mississippi," Maher says. "It just wasn't working for us."

The school, however, is a perfect fit for NAYA. It's centrally located for Native American families, many of whom live in outer Northeast and Southeast. The athletic facilities mean that NAYA won't have to rent gyms throughout the city for its sports programs. And the proximity to the historic village provides the sort of educational opportunities that few, if any, sites can match.

"Being able to be in this place means a lot to us," Maher says.

a good project 29.Jun.2006 10:58

Brian Libby brianlibby@hotmail.com

Although I support the principles of zero population growth, I think it's unrealistic and unfair to pidgeonhole and fight this particular project for those reasons. I write about architecture for a living, and I've seen the plans for the building and garden planned here. In my experience, this stands out as a very well designed project. I've been told that the majority of neighborhood residents have supported this project, but that its completion has now been threatened because the philosophies of a select few are opposed to any kind of development here, under the zero-growth principle. I respect these people's ideologies, but I support this development, both in and of itself as a quality building and garden, but also as part of a pragmatic approach to the growth that is indeed happening and will continue to happen here. I don't think it's being improperly pro-establishment to accept the basic tenets and precepts of anti-sprawl, high-density development as part of a regional planning/growth model. Stopping this project seems absurd to me. If it doesn't happen, the neighborhood will only buy a few years of time (at most) until a much lesser project in terms of design takes its place.


there is another playground... 30.Jul.2006 00:51

lala

there is an awesome playground about 2 or 3 blocks north of shaver at unthank park.. swings and everything. Come to think of it, usually my child and I are the only ones there, in the middle of the day.

Here's what will be replacing the green space 23.Aug.2006 16:54

Astronaut

Not exactly street car era architecture ? Wonder if they realize they are in a conservation/Historic district, or maybe they think they are building on the moon.