From an article by George Breunder in the June Concordia Neighborhood Association newsletter, Concordia News:
Traveling up MLK Boulevard on a recent Sunday, a lot of new buildings and businesses were quite obvious, but I counted maybe a dozen pedestrians every 20 blocks – and most of them were waiting for Tri-Met. Not much customer interaction.A street of buildings, not of people. Yet MLK Boulevard is one of the very noticeable products of the Portland Development Commission (PDC), the city’s version of what used to be called “urban renewal,” that dates back to the 1960s.
What was envisioned was the restoration of a blighted area, along with a strengthening of the local community and its infrastructure (people, homes, businesses, streets and sidewalks). MLK improvements were rolled up in an Urban Renewal Area (URA) designation with specific boundaries and a variety of planned projects. The idea was that community residents would tell PDC what needed to be done and PDC would plan and finance it.
In the Concordia News article, Mr. Breunder goes on to describe the Urban Renewal public forums hosted by the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods earlier this year, and the misgivings that many N/NE Portlanders have regarding the Portland Development Commission’s activities and efforts in the area.