Corporate junk food peddler.

zz no 7-11

From 2012, at MLK & Sumner. When this banner was raised and some folks in the nearby neighborhood were working to block the construction of a building to house a new 7-11 at that lot (it was built, even though 7-11 reps lied in a public meeting and claimed there was no plan at all to put a 7-11 on this property), I received an email from someone accusing those neighbors of opposing the 7-11 as part of an anti-black, pro-gentrification, ‘lack of affinity’ towards minorities.

The email ended with this: “7-11. Let them come in. They are coming anyway. They rule. They control. Money talks.”

Inspiring Dreamers, & Calling all Runners & Volunteers! MLK Dream Run is August 2nd & 3rd!

The Spirit of Portland Award Winning


Event Dates/Times

* Saturday August 2, 2014 5pm-9pm: “Taste of the Dream”  Our pre-race kickoff and community celebration.
* Sunday August 3, 2014 6:00 am-noon: The MLK Dream Run-5k,10k & 15K race and Award Ceremony

All events held at the Vanport lot, MLK & NE Alberta


 Saturday, August 2nd, 5-9 pm, at the Vanport Lot at MLK & Alberta
Featuring “Taste of the Dream” as our Pre-race Kickoff Celebration

Food and Beverages, & a Beer Garden

Free entry!

Music and entertainment by

Linda Hornbuckle, N’Touch, Javier Nero, The Brown Sisterd

Dignitary address, including Mrs. Nancy Hales, our mayor’s spouse

Also included in the festivities are:

  • Small Business “Exboutique”- booths displaying community products and service
  •  Acknowledgment of sponsors and the Elite “Dream Supporters
  • Celebration of our NNEBA Youth Fellow entrepreneurs
  • NNEBA membership appreciation 
  • Community engagement & Activities
  • Messaging tied to the impact that the “I Have A Dream” speech as well as the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964
  • Pre-Race final registration opportunities


Sunday August 3, 2013, 6-10 am
The MLK Dream Run: 5k, 10k and 15K Geoff Hollister Tribute Race

Last year’s run attracted nearly 1,000 world class and amature athletes including race winners- former Olympic Qualifying runners Ryan Vail and Jared Basset.

The race also honor’s the vision of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech given in Aug 1963. This year will be the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Civil Rights Act.

This year’s event will support the Youth Development and Empowerment programs of:
The “I Have A Dream” Foundation,
The NNEBA Youth Fellows Internship program,
The NxNE Community Health Clinic.

“Whatever you build, we’ll burn it down.”

Another incentive offered to developers [in Harlem] was an “arts and culture” bonus, in which developers were similarly rewarded that could be rented as galleries, performance space, studios, or offices for artistic organizations. The representative from the city planning department put it thusly: We’ve been told that arts and culture are important up here, so there are going to be restaurants and cultural venues. A community member in the audience grumbled in response: Arts and culture don’t pay the bills. Another suggested that the arts and culture bonus would lead to a situation was celebrated in Harlem but no black people actually lived there anymore. A long line of residents stood at a microphone to denounce the plan, the testimonies growing more and more heated. One man suggested that there have been riots before in Harlem’s past, and there can be riots again. Another man wore a T-shirt that read HARLEM IS NOT FOR SALE BECAUSE HARLEM’S ALREADY BEEN SOLD. He named the local politicians and businessmen he claimed were responsible, then left the mic to hover close to the urban planners seated at a dais in the front of the room. He looked each in the eye and then said: Whatever you build, we’ll burn it down.

—Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America


Photo of the lot at King Boulevard & Monroe, after the clearing of debris from a fire that destroyed a newly-built apartment complex last August, and view of the house on MLK next door that was badly damaged but appears to be undergoing restoration. Below, the house on Monroe that was burnt in the fire, and has been torn down. The fire was determined to be arson.


Footage of the flames; photos: “The Aftermath.

Reconstruction of the Monroe Apartments is underway – five stories, 46 units.


Brittaney Taylor’s campaign to expand Vintage By The Pound – check it out!


“Vintage by the pound encourages personal exploration, and originality. When you shop here no one has dictated your look, presenting you with the same silhouette over and over, occasionally changing the color, fabric, or size. Here your look is truly your own, you’re drawn to a pop of color, texture of fabric It is my desire to elevate a storefront from a place of simply being a clothing store to being a beacon and a cornerstone to a cross section of minority communities.

This is especially important in a community like Portland where spaces for said communities are daily being pushed out by gentrification’s rapid development.”

Brittaney Taylor seeks to expand Vintage By The Pound from a thrifter’s paradise into a vital community node. Check out her GoFundMe page to hear more from Brittaney, and consider contributing to campaign.



“I plan to use Vintage by The Pound to pay forward the sense of purpose that it gives me. I seek to do this in a myriad of ways: from having homeless youth as volunteers in exchange for clothing and sewing lessons, hosting free talks and events, to simply being safe space. WE plan to partner with organizations like YES!A program that teaches youth sewing skills, to make onsite alterations giving the youth real world practice and also making clothes accessible to cutomers at a low price point And PFLAG to create a program that incorporates LGBT youth into Vintage by the Pound.”

Vintage By The Pound is at MLK & Stanton, across the street from SCRAP. The store closes this location on July 17th; more information on its new location to come! VBTP on facebook.



Gypsy Jokers: the hidden pestilence of MLK Boulevard.

The Southern Poverty Lawn Center, a prominent NGO tracking hate groups in the United States, reported earlier this month that:

A massive investigation in Oregon shows evidence of a criminal web – involving guns, drugs, stolen property, identity theft and violence – linking white supremacists and outlaw motorcycle gangs.

“Operation White Christmas,” as the year-old investigation is code-named, so far has resulted in the arrests of 54 individuals, mostly in the Portland area, leading to 11 criminal cases in state court and another 43 in federal court…

Others arrested, investigators say, are associates of the Gypsy Jokers outlaw motorcycle gang whose members were believed to be involved in firearms and drug trafficking with the white supremacist gangs.


Incredibly, the Gypsy Jokers have a clubhouse on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, between Fremont and Beech on the west side. The clubhouse exits onto Garfield, and the Jokers own a house that borders the clubhouse on Garfield. (A couple of years ago, I went along Garfield to photograph the Jokers clubhouse, and someone came out of the house on Garfield to warn me away.)


The Gypsy Joker gang made the headlines last year when a member of the club, Joshua Cavett – his skin resplendent with white-supremacist tattoos – murdered his wife in front of their two-year-old daughter, after his wife obtained a restraining order against him. (For a response to this killing from a person writing with the lens of anti-domestic violence work, read the YWCA of Greater Portland’s post about it.)


Back in 2004 the Portland Police Bureau used a battering ram to invade the Gypsy Jokers’ compound on MLK; in 2008 the motorcycle club won a $50000 excessive force lawsuit about the Police Bureau resulting from the attack. An attorney for the Jokers at the time said, “Bikers still get a bad rap from some very dated stereotypes.”


Simon Sez Productions, referenced on the image above, is the organizer of the local Strip Poker Run, held annually.


I’ve said that if it’s happening somewhere in America, it also happens on a small scale in Portland, on MLK. Here’s our own piece of white supremacist thuggery, dearest Portland, on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.



Burger Barn/Christopher’s building to be saved?

Exciting news for MLK Boulevard: there’s now a campaign to preserve the Burger Barn building, last known as Christopher’s Gourmet Grill, at 3962 NE MLK. To find out more, email Teressa Raiford at burgerbarnpdx@gmail.com.

The building as it stands today:


Click the campaign link above for earlier photos of the building; here, for a snippet of info on the earlier uses of the building (and a photo of that chicken I never stop craving); here for a 1969 article on Albina, that includes a brief comment from a Burger Barn employee; and here for a Mercury article on the 1981 Burger Barn possum attack by police.

3962 NE MLK is the second oldest building on the boulevard, built in 1900.


Update: research by Dr. Tanya March reveals that Mrs. Katherine Gray, founder of the Harriet Tubman club and a founding member of  Zion AME Church, lived in the ‘Burger Barn’ building in the early 1900s, when the structure was new and Albina was largely a European immigrant neighborhood.