Thursday, December 1, 2011

Belgians in Portland (12-01-11)

After living for years in the Portland area, it was quite a nice surprise to find out that there is a group of Belgians who meet once a month to have a drink and chat!
The meeting place is Bazi, a small brasserie off of Hawthorne Blvd. which, despite less-than-stellar service, has the distinct advantage of offering a large selection of Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired Happy Hour menu items.
Everyone is pretty nice, and it's always a pleasure to meet, and to know that despite the language barrier (most attendees are from Flanders, while Yours Truly is from Wallonia and speaks French) we all have this small country we cherish in common.

RACC Open House (12-01-11)

What a party! The Regional Arts and Culture Council had an Open House to celebrate their move to their beautiful new headquarters in the Park Blocks. Large windows; lots of exposed bricks and natural wood.

Artist Leslie E. at left
Despite the cold, the place was packed. I walked around and observed people.

"Performance art is so powerful. How did you attach the harness?"
 It was the usual art scene, people talking and networking, drink in hand.

Signature removed to protect the Mayor's privacy.
 I was very pleased to run into Sam Adams, the Mayor of Portland. I got him to sign my sketchbook!

MAP Meeting at Rex Putnam High School (11-30-11)

Since I live within the area concerned, and curious to see what has been finalized for the McLoughlin Area Plan, I decided to attend the meeting that had been scheduled at Rex Putnam High School.
McLoughlin Blvd.
McLoughlin Blvd/Hwy. 99 is an eyesore. The necessary-evil-throughway from Portland to Oregon City, it is littered with car dealerships, parking lots, and strip clubs. There are practically no sidewalks, the traffic is intense, and is quasi-impossible to cross on foot. The focus of this meeting was to present the improvement ideas and concerns that had been brought up during several planning meetings over the course of the last several months.
Oak Lodge Citizenry
There was a large crowd present, and people were given the opportunity to "vote" on some points of the presentation given by the planning committee by clicking on audience response cards that had been provided.

Now, most of the people present seemed to be in their 50s, and a majority of them were men. Not your Portland hipster crowds, but more like the type that go hunting or fishing on the weekend. I was sitting in front of a group of reactionary Neanderthal types, who seemed to take pride in voting down anything that was presented on the screen, and were snickering like middle-school kids at terms such as "job incubator area."

One of the proposals that was met with strong opposition was the idea of Section 8 housing being built at the site of the Elks Lodge, suggestive that these people think that such housing would bring undesirables to the area. I briefly wondered whether this reflected more than just an economic class concern...

From what was said during the Question/Comments part of the meeting, one gathers that these people don't care that any improvements be done to McLoughlin Blvd. They like it as it is. I can't understand the mindset, given the trashy looks of the highway, the abundance of outdated mobile home parks that border it, and all the side streets with potholes! Clearly, we are not in Beaverton. No. Leave everything as it is. Just don't anyone touch their homes, and bring on Walmart!

As for me, I would love to see a Trader Joe's, and if there is one now on SE 82nd Ave., -McLoughlin's twin with used car dealerships and unsavory characters-, there is no good reason to not have one here also. I am sure that (at least many of) the residents in this area, such as people who live in homes in the vicinity of River Rd., would support it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Self-Portrait (11-27-11)

...Although a common thread runs throughout, self-portraits looks different because the end result is affected by one's self-perception at the moment.
Traveler with a Heavy Heart