Mayor Hales’ state of the union: ‘Soul District’/MLK Boulevard still in his sights

From the Mayor’s 2015 State of the City, and presented to the Mayors’ Institute on City Design:

Let’s take a walk around an aspirational neighborhood, which the residents are now calling the Soul District. All along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in the not-too-distant future, we’ll see the results of a newly energized housing strategy, a new grocery store, smaller businesses owned by residents. This is all the work of community leaders who have a vision for development on MLK. A vision for supporting African-American-owned businesses, and promoting a cultural home on that great street.

If I’ve learned anything from watching how development proceeds, in the last few years, it’s that the ‘community leaders’ that the mayor is likely to spend time hearing from, are the ones hand-picked by city hall ahead of time.

Vice magazine: MLK Boulevard is the borderline in Portland’s gang wars.

The dividing line between Bloods and Crips in Portland, Grant explains, is MLK, where the two of us are sitting. West is the Crip side; the east side, the side Miracle’s Club is on, is the Blood side. The only gang on the west side that aren’t Crips is the Unthank Park Hustlers, named after a North Portland neighborhood park. During his mother’s tenure as a Blood, Grant says, shootouts between Crips and Bloods were frequent on MLK.

Read more at Is Portland’s Gang Problem Getting Worse?

Ifanyi Bell on returning to Portland; and the release of the video Future: Portland.


Oregon Humanities is proud to debut “Future: Portland,” a short video inspired by Ifanyi Bell’s essay from the Quandary issue of Oregon Humanities magazine, “The Air I Breathe,” which explored the challenges of growing up black in Portland. In the five-minute video, civic leaders describe the loss of Portland’s strong black communities and the hope of restoring them in the future. Featured are Avel Gordly, former Oregon state legislator; Rukaiyah Adams, chief investment officer at Meyer Memorial Trust; Joy DeGruy, author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome; Nolan Lienhart, director of planning and urban design at ZGF Architects; and Charles McGee, executive director of Black Parent Initiative.

Watch Future: Portland here.

“Perhaps the most difficult thing about living in Portland was the lack of an authentic visual and social acknowledgment, recognition, and appreciation of African American people. Without a historical anchor, I fear the potential of what Portland could be in the twenty-first century will be lost to the unrelenting pressure to maintain and preserve a very particular understanding of its history…

The city was very different than I remembered from 1996.  It seemed that Portland no longer had any black neighborhoods; instead, it seemed that there were places where black people lived or occasionally came to be for periods of time. In hindsight it is more likely that there were never any truly black neighborhoods, but simply places in Portland where white people did not go out of fear, mostly imagined and exacerbated by isolation and economic factors…

Though there is no precedent for such large-scale social, political, and ethical reform, if there is any city that can investigate the anthill beneath its boot, it is Portland. It is for a purely selfish reason that I hold out hope that this city and the people who control it will chart a new course for the future.”

–from “The Air I Breathe: Growing up Tolerated and Underestimated in Portland,” by Ifanyi Bell, also published by Oregon Humanities.

the smell of rotten flesh, pt 2: Ollie North, Michael Reagan @ Convention Center this weekend.

From Oregon Catalyst:

Oregon Liberty Alliance

You are invited to join the members of the Oregon Liberty Alliance at our 2015 Freedom Rally to support Fiscal Responsibility, Life, Public Safety, Family Values, and Religious Liberty.

The keynote speaker will be Colonel Oliver North, followed by Michael Reagan, Carol Tobias (President of the National Right to Life Committee), and Congressman Greg Walden.

The rally will take place on March 14th, 2015 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. It starts at Noon (doors open for registration at 11am) and tickets include a catered lunch and some amazing speakers. Tickets are $25 and kids 16 and under attend for free!

Sharon Maxwell is planning a protest of the event.

The Convention Center is at 777 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.