Being back in Portland has been great. Getting use to paying $1.70 a bus ride is nuts. How the hell did that happen? The rainy season is nearing and I'm looking forward to getting back into this blog thingamagig.
Here's my latest digs from the new issue of the paper...
Street Roots is thrilled to be taking part in the Autumn Moon Festival, where more than a dozen social service agencies, and local businesses, along with the Old Town/Chinatown Neighborhood Association, and the Portland Development Commission will be welcoming a newer and more vibrant neighborhood with the opening of Davis and Flanders as walking streets. Unfortunately, for many small organizations such as Street Roots, we wonder if we are celebrating the beginning of our own demise. There’s no stopping the development of Old Town/China Town. The question has become, how do we want to create a lively neighborhood without becoming the Pearl?
While the Pearl has its charm, really, it’s not about Portlanders so much as it is about welcoming new and wealthy members to our community – which is fine, so long as you balance the efforts with innovative urban development. In the Pearl, this was not done. Sure, Central City Concern was able to leverage its capital to create some affordable housing. We appreciate that. Still, at the end of the day, we should be talking about what it means to require developers to give X amount of dollars for every square foot built in downtown to 0-30 percent affordable housing. Or what it means to be offering incentives for African-Americans being displaced from North Portland to move downtown instead of Gresham.
Visionaries abound, but Portland has to be smart and innovative about the changes that are occurring throughout the downtown region. What good is a downtown without mixed incomes, diversity of color and vibrant sidewalks?
Currently, the 30 percent now being directed toward affordable housing from the PDC seems like a win for Portland. The city now needs to set firm income guidelines for the 30 percent, saying exactly where that money goes.
Street Roots is headed into a new round of strategic planning next month. Your insight matters to us, whether it’s from an editorial perspective or from a vendor perspective. We are working hard to bring the more than 70
vendors in the Portland region a professional product, so they are better able to make money. We want to hear from you. What would you like to see from Street Roots in the future? Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to 211 NW Davis, Portland, OR 97209.