Portland is changing, and quickly. If you have comments you’d like to post, please email them, or drop a line to: info (at) thealofm (dot) US. We value thoughtful, detailed and constructive observations.
Vanessa is a filmmaker, artist and inspiring badass. You can find her work at The Oregon Department of Kickass. Thanks to her for her action and for allowing us to share it here. -rg
I went to testify to the mayor and commissioners yesterday about the demolitions. A lot of people were there doing the same. Even so, if you would take the time to write an email with your thoughts..it would be good for more voices to be heard! Here, just copy and paste these addresses into your compose box and get to it!
Mayor Charlie Hales: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Amanda Fritz: email@example.com
Commissioner Nick Fish: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Dan Saltzman: email@example.com
Commissioner Steve Novick: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is roughly what I said, which veered a bit off topic:
My name is Vanessa Renwick and I have been a long time Sabin resident…for 25 years now. I live in a house built by the Millers in 1908. They were Volga Germans. I am an artist and I have made a film about The House Of Sound, an African American owned record shop, which was combined with a barber shop and corner store. It was an important gathering place for the community on Williams Ave. and is now gone. I wanted to comment on the remark that Cathy Galbraith made earlier about most people not liking the new design sensibility on Williams Avenue. Myself and some of my friends have taken to calling Williams Avenue “Frankenstein Avenue”.
I am here speaking for myself, as well as many friends and neighbors who could not attend today. We are all concerned about the loss of smaller starter homes which are mainly being replaced with Hillsboro Hideous architecture- not in step at all with old Portland neighborhoods, and priced way out of range of working class and lower income people. Many of my friends have left town, as they can’t afford to live here. And not only people, but with all the huge trees being cut down to build these huge houses, habitat is lost for birds and other wildlife as well.
Also, as an aside, if the coming density is an issue, why are people allowed to own property and leave it vacant, as 3 homes within a 2 block radius of my house have been for 25 years, at least?
I don’t know the answers to how to address these concerns, but as I sit here listening to all who spoke, I found myself, the artist, looking up at my friend Michael Brophy’s painting above you all. The painting depicts Portland before the settlers arrived, early development, and now.
And I found myself thinking I should just paint a huge $ symbol over the entire painting, as with all the demolitions, replacing houses that poorer people can afford with monstrosities, we are heading in a very short time to becoming the nightmare that is San Francisco now.
I am grateful for the time given for us to voice our concerns and ask that solutions be found quickly before more damage is done to this city that we all love dearly.