On Thursday, September 20th, at 6:30 p.m. Walidah Imarisha is presenting the Oregon Humanities Conversation Project program Break It Down: Exploring Hip Hop’s Musical and Cultural Odyssey. This will be an interactive multimedia exploration of the various political, economic, and social forces that have shaped the world’s top-selling musical genre.
Write Around Portland is hosting a 10 week writing workshop for seniors and people with disabilities starting on Wednesday, September 19th. This is an opportunity to explore the power of writing and community in a safe, respectful and creative environment. Writing journals, pens and light snacks are provided, and bus tickets are available for those who qualify. To register, please contact me, Faith Buchanan, at 503-281-6109.
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several years for their complete construction; the original plan was for it to be condos, but presumably financing was withdrawn, and the building sat half-built for at least a year.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.
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.