Miracles Club groundbreaking.

Construction of the new Miracles Club facility on MLK is underway, as the ground is being cleared and a couple of small unused structures have been removed from the property.

The Skanner reports:

Miracles Club Board Chair Malcolm Slaughter celebrated the ground-breaking of the new location for the longtime social club for people in recovery for alcohol and drug addiction. In addition to the social gathering space, the club will now offer sober housing units in the top floor of the building. Former state Sen. Avel Gordly said it was a good day for Portland.

“We have not lost our ability to dream,” she told the crowd of Miracles Club members, community members and city and state officials. “We have not lost our ability to hope and we have not lost our ability to trust.”

The singly-branched tree above, its other arms shorn, reminds me of a landscape feature that might appear in a Krazy & Ignatz comic by George Herriman.

To the left of the Miracles site, out of the frame of this picture, is Mac’s Radiators, recently closed; the white building to the right is 4122 NE MLK, an unused building that was recently marked with a large U by the City of Portland – “unsafe,” in other words, a warning to firefighters.

About the new Miracles Club, the eloquent Anna Griffin writes:

The Northeast Portland nonprofit’s home for the past 10 years is rented space nobody else wants on a stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard that hasn’t yet gentrified. It’s dark and musty, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter and too small for the crowds that form more than a dozen times each week for 12-step meetings. The tales club members tell one another as part of their recovery are almost uniformly sad, if filled with dark humor. They’re stories of bad choices, broken families and ruined lives…

Taxpayers will pay for the bulk of the $12 million project through tax credits, federal stimulus grants and loans. You might not like the idea of using public money for anything other than the most basic government services. But in a world where city leaders can seriously talk about using tax dollars for pro sports and federal leaders go gaga for streetcars, we should all applaud the rare case in which our urban-renewal cash is going to rebuild lives rather than a real-estate developer’s portfolio…

The bigger, better, nicer space will allow the Miracles to serve more people, from a wider variety of backgrounds, members say. If it works, the facility could even wind up saving taxpayers money — fewer drug addicts means fewer drug-related crimes, fewer children in foster care, fewer overdose patients in Portland emergency rooms.


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