Month: August 2012

Nightjar Tattoo & Gallery.

Jabarrie and I wandered further down MLK, and found that the Windows building now has a ground floor tenant.  We met Diana and Joseph, who are opening Nightjar Tattoo & Gallery. The space will hold both tattoo booths and a front area that is for art, gatherings, receptions, and such.

Windows is a rehabbed commercial building. All that remains of the original structure is the brick shell that surrounds the first floor. Apartments sit atop; it took several years for their complete construction; the original plan was for it to be condos, but presumably financing was withdrawn, and the building sat half-built for at least a year. Revived, the project has apartments ready for rent, and now a street-level tenant.

The building is at 7100 NE MLK, so not far from the revival of Dekum Street’s commercial life. This part of MLK isn’t experiencing the same changes… yet.


Diana and Joseph hope to have Nightjar ready for opening by next month. A nightjar, by the way, is a kind of nighthawk, sometimes called a goatsucker.

Here’s a 2009 photo of the Windows building, not finished but not radically different in appearance than what it looks like now. The ground floor held a business that sold windows, and one of its signs is still painted on the brick. A wooden “Windows” sign on the difficult-to-access north side of the building unfortunately disappeared some time in the last year or so.

Wells Fargo, investor in for-profit private prison companies. The community responds.

On August 10th, jabarrie* and I wandered up to the Wells Fargo store on MLK, to witness the protest going on there.  Community members are calling out WF for being an investor in the for-profit prison industry, a menace that is warping our justice system in the name of profits. For-profit prisons also carry the shame of repeated violations of prisoner rights (though government-run prisons are a disaster in this area, as well), with oversight by any outside agency difficult.

I have been extremely supportive of the work that PCASC (the Portland Central American Solidarity Committee) has been doing on behalf of folks here and abroad. To read more about their role in organizing this protest and the on-going campaign against Wells Fargo, visit here.

Another org in town that has really worked – on a statewide level, primarily – on criminal justice reform is the Partnership for Safety & Justice.


*You can see jabarrie’s impressive goatee in one of these photos.


500th post: M.O.M.S. Walk and a police stop on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard.

The MOMS headed out on their walk to Washington – one hundred miles, and one hundred stories, as they crossed Portland and headed north over the river, to raise awareness about mental illness, and the reliance on psychiatric medications to extend the power of the legal/judicial system over people’s minds and bodies. The MOMS are people whose loved ones have suffered from the intersection of a deeply-troubled justice system, and a pharma-medical system whose overriding imperative is to serve those in power.

On their walk north, traveling up MLK Boulevard, they encountered a police stop. Ten Portland police officers were “needed” to stop and search a single automobile that four black youth were in. A gentleman with Portland CopWatch was on hand, and filmed the Moms interacting with the officers:

Who’s surprised that the police bureau would ‘waste’ so much time and officer energy on a useless stop? The police were doing exactly as they’re charged with – harassing the unwanted, and keeping steady pressure on black folks to find central Portland unlivable. Just as inner N/NE was once the dumping ground of Portland’s unwanted, now it is meant to be cleared of them, as the city needs more and more land close to downtown for (re)development.

JoAnn Hardesty and Dave Mazza discuss what occurs in the video above, on their KBOO program Voices From the Edge – the 7/26/12 episode.

My fifth hundred post on this blog (thank you to wordpress for counting them).  My first post was on April 20th, 2008, a photo of the Spiffin’ Up MLK clean-up that spring. More to come – that’s all I know for now.