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Monday, August 13, 2007

Earth to Ryan

Since time began in Portland, Old Town has been that rough patch in the crook of downtown where the Willamette River makes its northwest turn. It's been home for the rowdy men of the forest and shipyards and, in recent years, drug pushers who've kept their street corner grip even through downtown Portland's renaissance.
Downtown Portland... recent years... renaissance?

Comments (10)

Is that intro intended to sound like Carl Sagan, Ernest Hemingway, or a middle school journalism student?

It reminds me of one Randy Gragg gagged out about the aerial tram [rim shot]. Something about how since the beginning of time, the easiest and most elegant way to get something up a hill was to drag it on a rope. They must have a template for these things.

It is too bad that Ryan Frank didn't interview the real, almost former occupants of Old Town-the ChinaTown owners and patrons. I know several, and they all say the fancy Chinese Gate at NW 4th and Burnside now has no meaning because PDC's playing developer has sorely blighted, stifled the district's viatality.

ChinaTown is now lost after the four years of tearing out the Chinese cherry trees, messing up the streets of Old Town/China Town, driving out businesses, eliminating a high portion of on-street parking, etc. It may look like a PDC project now, but the businesses and the patrons couldn't take the four years of chaos. Now they must live with the two years of chaos along NW 5th and 6th as the transit mall once again needs revision.

Looks like we'll need another extension of urban renewal to attack the "blight" caused by the recent urban renewal projects.

Meaning the last forty years, except for the last ten. Or so.

Couldn't be clearer! :-)

Perhaps he's referring to the renaissance in the civil rights of Old Town's homeless since rent-a-cops with no civilian oversight began patrolling the district in 1998? Or perhaps not. Even at City Hall, Frank never wrote much on that subject.

All credit to him for putting a bit of effort in, though. That paragraph felt like it had been worked on for at least five minutes.

Sorry, but I think the U of O and Mercy Corps HQ count as real action in Old Town, especially with the height limits (which are being respected by the new arrivals).

Reflexive criticism could at times benefit from more subtlety and specific knowledge, even without jeopardizing the larger indictment, however important it may be.

Reading Ryan's description this morning of "rowdy men of the forest", I could only think of this.

Despite the road construction and the odd weather, I've been surprised at how lively Portland has been this summer.

I'm noticing so many people out and about downtown, at the waterfront and around Burnside, I wonder where they are all coming from.

Many must be tourists. They look like they are having a good time. My out of town guests who came in July loved Portland.

old town and the sort of traditional downtown centers (say burnside and broadway) have changed quite a bit in the last 15 years though.

i remember heading downtown on a rainy sunday for brunch, followed by a powells visit, some thrift shopping, record stores, and who knows what. it used to just about the only destination where you could walk around and just have a day wandering.

while you can still do that downtown, now i don't bother so much. you can find that sort of thing all over town.

the way i see it downtown hasnt DIED, its that portland has expanded.

15 years ago i would have never set foot where i live right now. i would have feared for my life here after dark. now we have tourists here, the guitarist from the smiths used to live down the block, and so on...

portland is a very different place.

I wonder if Belinda's guests would "Love" Portland if they visited in say November or March? I have some distant relatives that just bought a home here after living in San Diego. I can hardly wait to see how they feel after spending a full winter here.

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