PAALF petition to the City re: PDC’s giveaway to Majestic/Trader Joe’s at MLK & Alberta.

“The Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) is writing in response to the proposed development in partnership with Majestic Realty.  Our opposition is rooted in the well-documented and ongoing attempt to profit from development in inner N/NE Portland at the expense of Black and low-income individuals.  Rather than invest in proven methods to stop displacement and empower the African American community, the Portland Development Commission (PDC) and City of Portland have consistently supported projects that have displaced existing residents and attracted wealthier ones in their place.

In October, PAALF met with city officials including, Mayor Hales, Patrick Quinton and John Jackley to discuss the disparate impact gentrification has had on our community’s wellbeing and viability. Both Mayor Hales and Patrick Quinton expressed a commitment to solving the issues related to gentrification and to finding community based-solutions to stabilize Black residents.  This decision indicates the opposite and reflects the City’s overall track record of implementing policies that serve to uproot, displace and disempower our most vulnerable community members.”

Read the rest of the letter and sign the petition here.

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Pizza Hut (of all things) to land at Alberta and MLK?

It seems as though a Pizza Hut is going to occupy the empty building at 5020 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard – the building that last housed an adidas outlet store:

Trace Salmon wonders on the King Neighborhood Association blog just how beneficial a development this is for the neighborhood:

Long envisioned as a focal intersection in the plans to rejuvenate the King commercial district, the site has been plagued by poor foot traffic, no onstreet parking and a lack of commercial activity in the vicinity. With another large national chain expanding into the area, the continuing development of walkable communities with local identities is in question in King.

The Portland Development Commission’s Vanport Square project stalled after the first third was completed and is still not fully leased. The existing buildings on the south end of the site were bulldozed for a phase of the project that never began and removed a noise buffer from neighbors on Garfield Street.

Unable to wait indefinitely for economic conditions to change, private landowners are put in the postion of leasing to whomever can profit from the decreasing affluence of the community as customers with means patronize other neighborhoods. King could benefit from a renewed discussion about what we want our community to look like long-term and not wait for apathy or resignation to make that decision for us.

At the very least, it’s no comfort to fans of Old Town Pizza at Vanport Square to have a national chain set up shop just down the block.


Art Not Crime: Provenance Gallery’s Last Thursday graffiti art creation, hosted by DeAngelo Raines.

Provenance Gallery, a hallway gallery in the rehabbed building at MLK and Alberta and run by DeAngelo Raines, has been hosting a Last Thursday graffiti art workshop. Raines invites in graffiti artists and provides them the opportunity to create graffiti pieces in real-time during Last Thursday, and folks can come and watch, or talk with the artists.

The owners of the building have donated use of an unfinished portion of the building for artists to work in.

Check out Raines’ ArtNotCrime website here, including info on the artists who participated in last month’s show, and then peruse some photos from last month’s Provenance Gallery Last Thursday show:

Bruce Forster @ the Provenance Gallery.

The recently rehabbed building at MLK & Alberta holds two businesses: Sweet Thing Bakery on the ground floor, and It’s About Me Fitness upstairs. The hallways of the building downstairs have been converted to use an art gallery – Provenance Gallery, curated by DeAngelo Raines. Raines is a graffiti artist and promoter in town – here’s a video of him talking about graffiti art and murals:

One of the featured artists at the Provenance Gallery has been photographer Bruce Forster, who set out to document some amazing graffiti art that was about to disappear:

Forster’s website is here; and here, Brian Libby reviews Graffiti Funhouse, a 2009 exhibit of Forster’s photographs.

Rehabbing a building, Alberta & MLK

The long dormant building at Alberta & NE MLK, southwest corner, and the two buildings that are south of it and attached are being rehabbed for future leasing:

The lot that is shown specifically in pictures two and four above, on the south side of Alberta, once held an Edsel dealership.

edit: Thanks to Jim, who left a comment below about the Edsel dealership. The dealership was Alford’s, and if you go to the Edsel dealer locator, choose Oregon, and click on the Alford’s name, it will take you to a nifty Alford’s Edsel ad.