I Can’t Remember What This Used To Be.

Spreading Rumours has placed another signboard at MLK & Alberta:

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The background on the images is an aerial map of a neighborhood. You can view the first Spreading Rumours signboard that was placed at this site here; there are others around town, including one that’s been up on Mississippi Avenue in front of Beacon Sound for a few weeks.

Spreading Rumours is also participating in an event this afternoon, taking place at the ploughed-over lot along NE 14th Avenue just north of Fremont, a ceremony that uses this site – emptied and being readied for the construction of eight rowhomes – as a emotional and physical field to explore loss and grieving in the decades-long displacement of Albina’s black population, and solidarity with those whose communities and cultures were destroyed when Europeans arrived on the continent:

Object Permanence Project Presents: Minus Us
keyon gaskin -Performance at 4pm
Anna Gray+Ryan Wilson Paulson
Jodie Cavalier
Claire Redman
Jonah Porter …with Spreading Rumors and Roger Peet

Let’s explore the excavated building site as landscape as gallery -formally stunning, tragic. We were struck by the irony of a site reminiscent of the ruins of Pre-Columbian civilization -prescient visions of our own societal ruins presented as art space on a holiday we reject.

This space is a crack we can squeeze into and pry open to make room for artists, subalterns, thinkers. We dispute the stories of the havers, controllers, and owners.
The inaccessibility of these houses, once built, is a common refrain.Yet, we have access to the hole, as empty space, for a limited time. As soon as the concrete is poured, something happens. We are no longer welcome. Not unlike the family that lived in the house that is now a hole.

This event extends a solidarity to all displaced people.

“History of Insider Dealings Dogs Alberta St. Developer” – GoLocalPDX reports on Majestic Realty, developer at Vanport/MLK & Alberta

Shelby Sebens published a story at GoLocalPDX.com this morning, a report on some aspects of Majestic Realty’s behavior as a corporate developer interacting with local officials in other parts of the nation.

“Critics say the massive developer, who is behind a proposed NFL stadium in Los Angeles, has a history of quid pro quo deals that could spell trouble for Portland.”

Majestic’s last anchor tenant for the Vanport lot, Trader Joe’s, walked away from the proposed project earlier this year, citing community conflict. “We run neighborhood stores and our approach is simple: if a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe’s, we understand, and we won’t open the store in question,” Trader Joe’s said in a statement.

Majestic is behind a proposed stadium that could host an NFL team and could cost $800 million, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

“California lawmakers in 2009 exempted Majestic’s project from environmental laws, according to the LA Times. Two months later Majestic contributed $300,000 to a ballot measure that would allow term-limited lawmakers to stay in office longer.”

Fred Stewart, past chair of the King Neighborhood Association, was interviewed for the Seben’s article:

“This thing is so powerful, it goes against the values of the city of Portland in an obscene way,” Fred Stewart, a black real estate agent who claims the project is not in the spirit of the urban renewal district. “I don’t think this is white against black.

“I think this is (that) politicians don’t give a damn as long as they’re getting greased.” 

As was Nick Caleb, professor at Concordia U.:

“(Majestic) demonstrated that this is how they have played politics before,” Caleb said. “There is no reason to suspect that they would come into Portland and reform themselves and think campaign contributions are not going to let them receive a favor.” 

A spokesperson for the Portland Development Commission, the arm of city government that oversees urban renewal areas such as the one that includes the Vanport lot, and owns the lot itself at present, noted: “We really do want to make it clear that transparency is paramount on this thing as it moves forward.”

Note: the sale to Majestic is not yet completed.

Burger Barn preservation efforts continue: Community Unity Resource Building (CURB) plans in the works.

Helen Silvis of The Skanner has an update on Teressa Raiford’s activity to save the long-standing building at 3962 NE MLK from demolition, and keeping it active as a true resource for the community.

“A corner lot on Northeast Martin Luther King Boulevard at Shaver St. is on track to become a soul food cart court and an education center where youth can learn about Black History.”

Teressa has been working to complete a plan for the building’s future as a community hub:

[T]he building is set to be renovated and renamed the Community Unity Resource Building. Under the guidance of Maija Anderson, head of historic collections and archives at OHSU, the building will house an archive of the site project as an example of historic preservation.

Soul food – Christopher’s specialty in the building’s most recent commercial use – will be part of the project:

The vision is to install a green, sustainable soul food cart court next to the Community Unity Resource Building. Livermore architects have volunteered to work on the design, which will include shrubs and greenery to shield the eating and meeting area from busy Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

christophers

Thrill the World approaches; will Local set aside whiskey soup for an afternoon and join us?

Thrill the World Portland is coming, and I stopped in at Local Lounge this weekend to gossip with Fawn and invite the patrons of Local to join us at TTW-Portland. It’s a dry event, so Local yokels will need to set aside beers and zombie up for the afternoon.

Meanwhile, at Local…

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Keep up with Local events here; DJ Solo’s Afro-beat events at Local and Sengatera are listed here. Local is NE Portland’s queer+ bar, at 3536 NE MLK.