Month: December 2008

MLK Boulevard news & notes.

  • Roy Roos has published “The History of Albina,” which includes a longish essay on the history of the neighborhood, along with photos and notes on past and present buildings in the area.
  • The Portland Planning Commission recently approved thirty years of tax exemption for Shaver Green, the development at Shaver and MLK that will provide affordable housing. The Hollywood Star News reports that planner Barbara Sack told the Commission that all of the rents for the building’s 85 units will be kept at levels affordable to people earning sixty percent or more of median area family income. That “or more” sounds like a giant loophole that the building’s owners can jump through, doesn’t it?
  • Bill Reed, owner of the Standard Dairy Building at 2808 MLK whose ground-level commercial space housed Billy Reed’s (then Spice, and then Venue), is considering that space to a daycare, according to the Hollywood Star News. Meanwhile, the Oregon Business Journal noted last month that Spice Restaurants, Inc., renewed its business license for this very same location.
  • A recent article in the Sentinel noted that the “crackdown on prostitution” along 82nd Avenue has caused prostitutes to take up soliciting along Interstate Avenue and MLK Boulevard more frequently than usual. The November 2008 article hilariously notes that “neighborhood association meetings have been a hotbed of conversation about prostitution… [s]ome have even lodged complaints about specific prostitutes. ‘In September, someone mentioned a prostitute with a prosthetic leg they’d seen around.’ “
  • The Sentinel reports on the groundbreaking of the new Planned Parenthood site, with a blog post including pictures, video, and comments from readers. Meanwhile, the Hollywood Star News reports that the Muslim Community Center next door doesn’t approve of the project; one of its spokespersons said (it’s unclear to whom) “we can’t pray when babies are being killed next door.”
  • In October, the Wolf Education & Research Center (3909 NE MLK, Suite 202 [above Wayne's Chicago Red Hots]), hosted a Wolf Conference at Concordia University. The Conference came one week after “Wolf Awareness Week” ended.
  • In January, the City of Portland will hold a hearing on approving zoning variances for the Miracles development (housing and the Miracles drug rehabilitation center).

“The Newspaper”

Was the Oregon Fair Employment Practices law, mentioned in a recent post here, effective? One gentleman wrote into “The Newspaper” to say that he didn’t think so:

To the editor:

In regards to an article in the Oregonian dated Thursday, February 26, 1970, the Forum Section. The article concerns itself with the dropouts in the Apprentice Program. Has it ever occurred to the writer that when blacks are assigned to the program, or hired to work on a job, that he is an individual and not a group or a race; that he is only an individual, and that his success or failure in that program or job is not, and should not be indicative of his race. If so, then the writer did not treat it in such a manner.

Did it ever occur to the writer or whites, as a whole, that if the Fair Employment Practice Law of Oregon had succeeded there would be no need for implementation of this program through the Urban League in order to train blacks for jobs. Why, then, should the Urban League be used as a go between for blacks to enter this program that the State has already said is open to every individual?

Why doesn’t the writer go to the root of the matter which belongs to the Department of Labor, which is responsible for administering and enforcing the FEPC law?

Approximately 20 years ago, the Labor commission got off the hook by appointing a black man to the Fair Employment Practice Commission as the administrator of the FEPC law. In essence, his job was to tell blacks they did not qualify for jobs or the apprentice program. This was done by Unions telling blacks to “get the jobs and we’ll admit you to the Union.”  In reverse, management would say “get into the Union, and we will hire you.”  I think it is very sad that the Urban League, in its many good community services had to be drug into this unholy mess.

During World War II, Federal Bill 8802 (no discrimination in defense plants, hiring, etc.) was implemented by Executive Presidential order (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) for blacks in both the North and South, in order for them to work in defense plants. I had thought that with the announcement from the Nixon Administration, that they were going to improve black capital and increase blacks in on the job training[; f]rom where I stand we have very little hope[,]with the announcement of the Nixon Administration that it will no longer help minorities in Civil Service Employment by not forcing any quote system in civil service or management of Government contracts. This will increase the negative attitude of those who seem to think that blacks have no place, even on common jobs where decent pay is available.

Charles B. Maxey

4624 N Williams Ave.

Portland, Oregon

(A copy of the above letter has also been sent to the editor of the Oregonian.)

This letter was sent to “The Newspaper” and printed on March 19, 1970. The Newspaper was an Albina-neighborhood publication focussed on  topics important to the black community, and this single issue, on microfilm at the North Portland Library, is the only known issue of The Newspaper to survive.

Places on Union Avenue (now MLK Jr. Boulevard) mentioned in this issue include:

  • Jim’s Pie Piper, 5246 NE Union, “Specializing in sweet potato pie”;
  • H. Glen Jewelry, 5266 NE Union, watch and jewelry repairing;
  • Rick Record’s Consignment City, 6931 NE Union, used autos;
  • Walnut Park Hairstylists, 5280 NE Union, owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. James Porter. “Mrs. Porter and her staff – Vernette Bolton, Valerie Jones, and Peggy White will assist you in every phase of the beauty business. Permanents, hair cutting, afros, hair weaving, coloring, etc. Announcement: Miss Lonnie Jenkins, well-known Portland stylist has recently joined our staff and we invite her many clients to visit her at our salon.”

The issue also contains this very short article:

“FASHION TIP: If you smoke, carry your own cigarettes… Nothing’s more annoying than bumming cigarettes.”