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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Creeped out in the Pearl

The place just ain't Portland.

Comments (32)

"It just ain't Portland".

It's what a bunch of former suburbanites and out-of-staters think is Portland.

"What, doesn't every Portlander step out for a $40-a-plate dinner every night?"

I walk or bike past these artifices several times a week on my morning commute (depending on the route I take). Creepy? Perhaps. But none of these are as disuturbing as nearly being urinated on by a hideous, yappy purse-"dog" such as the kind that are so prevalent in these parts (this morning. 6:30 am. Corner of 13th and Glisan).

Boy I feel sorry for y'all havin to hang out in the Pearl. Must be terrible there compared to the east side near the 92nd Lents area where I travel every day. I am able to verify for sure that every person walking on the street here is high on meth or up to something no good. At least the City will acknowledge the problems that exist in NE and downtown. I wish S.E. had half the support. S.E. is the real Portland. But is that a good thing? Where is the Pearl anyway?


No, the headless kid mannequin behind the dancing chicken isn't disturbing or anything. It couldn't be a metaphor for the sort of people who'd shop there, could it?

For what it's worth, I don't "hang out" in the Pearl. I work here. I also walk through Old Town on the way to work, and am asked no less than once every week whether I would like to part with my money for any assortment of drugs or to help someone catch a break ("break" in this case more than likely meaning buy any assortment of drugs). There are also a ridiculous number of homeless people sleeping under awnings and in doorways in both Old Town and the Pearl. So it is not as though the city has solved all of the downtown area's issues.

Every part of the city has its problems, with drug use and homelessness being major ones throughout most neighborhoods. And while its easy to single out the Pearl because of the amount of development attention that that it has received (and, of course, its yuppie populace), it's also a rather convenient scapegoat. The city can't fix every problem at once. At any rate, as I understand it Lents is beginning to finally receive a decent amount of attention, as that neighborhood well deserves.

So Jack hates the Pearl and will rip it any time he can make an excuse to do so. Is this really even newsworthy? I guess so, since you're the authority on what is and isn't Portland.

Give me a break.


For loving Southeast your sure do your fair share of putting it down.

"able to verify for sure that every person walking on the street here is high on meth or up to something no good." Really?

As someone who has lived in 3 of the 5 quadrants of Portland (and has family history here back to the Teens) I can say there are multiple faces to this city. Which is one reason it is such a great place to be.

The Pearl is where Mr. Adams likes to s*** it. He s***s & so does The Pearl. Watch your uppity-racist-manufactured-neighborhood go down in flames with the economy when Portland's economy finally goes down the toilet. Soon... You watch.

Yeah I apologize for the incendiary nature of my previous comment, as it just leads to crap like the above from Jeff.

What I really meant to say is that I strongly disagree that this four picture post of not really very creepy at all images is a poor way to decide what is and isn't "Portland." And while of course people may love their own neighborhoods very much, that's no reason to trash where other people live.

Yes the Pearl is different than other neighborhoods, yes it has problems. Doesn't mean we live in some alternate universe or something.

Crap, that should say "a good way" and not "a poor way." Sentence as it is doesn't make much sense. Woops.

Must be terrible there compared to the east side near the 92nd Lents area where I travel every day. I am able to verify for sure that every person walking on the street here is high on meth or up to something no good.

So, which is it with you?

I have a tough time understanding why people want to criticize other neighborhoods too. I don't want to live in the Pearl, but I do think it's great that there's a choice for people that do. But, what would bigots like Jeff do without criticizing things they can't get their juvenile brains around?

Further, Jack, you say it just ain't Portland. Would it meet your approval if it were still an abandoned railyard full of derelict buildings, drugs, crime, and urban neglect? Is that what you think Portland should be? If so, there are plenty of American cities you might find more palatable. Some of use here like the fact that we actually invest in our city, in spite of a federal government that is neglectful in its treatment of city dwellers.

Portland residents are so freakin obsessed with trying to "define" the city in one tidy package. The Pearl, Hawthorne/Belmont, Alberta, 23rd, North Portland, blah blah blah. Which is the "real" Portland? Who freakin cares?

Not to say that things aren't screwed up when the local government puts a vast amount of resources into developing a well-to-do neighborhood at the expense of others...that is a matter to care about.

I think there is some rightful resentment of the amount of investment it continues to get.

Time to invest elsewhere and end the Urban Renewal district so the tremendous prop taxes that have built up in the Pearl can start to flow out to the rest of the city.

The Pearl has its niche, but it's a bit of a fantasy land. Families and the middle class need more attention than well-to-do recent arrivals and retirees.

It's strange how little the city "conversation" seems to turn towards things like "schools" and "jobs". There's a reason these are usually the main topic of conversation most places, but here it's like "I'mgoin to be a barista forever", and "what's a child?"

Now that Sam is our fearless leader we can expect more of the same.


Your description of the pre-Pearl NW warehouse district as a hallmark of dereliction and neglect, drugs and crime doesn't quite jibe with what I recall of the area.
Perhaps we were ships that passed in the night, with different experiences and recollections but, having spent much time at the Blue Gallery and the long gone Long Goodbye, as well as numerous friends' bands practicing at the Palace, I don't have any recollection of being hassled by dope dealers (back then most of that stuff occurred in Old Town on 6th AV by the Satyricon- wow, some things never change)nor do I recall being shocked at the sight of several decades old brick warehouses that served as...warehouses.
I'm not being snarky here, I just don't recall the place as being all that dangerous or scary pre-makeover. Maybe that's just me. Please share if you had a different experience.

I apologize for my incendiary comment. Apparently Medo belives that telling the truth about The Pearl is crap and trashing on the Mayor-elect with a little verbal-diarrhea is bigotry when I'm 100% positive that Medo is the kind of liberal-elitist that perpetuates the thin veil of racism that Portland hides behind. Why don't you try living with your fellow multi-colored brethren rather than casting them out into NE Portland? Oh I forgot, you're a racist bigot. Good luck looking in the mirror ater your good night's sleep.

I must also apologize for putting down Lents. I am frustrated with watching what seems to me to be a continuing decline of an area I love. I will try to take a more positive approach in the future and there are certainly a lot of hard working good folks around Lents that would like to see the same.



There're other blogs to browse, y'know ... Jack.

Here, try one of mine: 3QuarksDaily.COM

I have to agree with SMM. I've got nothing but love for the pre-developed Pearl. It really was the heart of the city, free and undesigned. Going down there now is intensely alienating. I'm always trying to reconcile myself to it, but I just can't. It's like walking around inside Barbi's Big City Dollhouse. Creepy is right.

I don't get what's creepy about that stuff.

I do remember way back to the 1960's and the area was scary then with vagrants of various persuasions.
Later on when the drugs really got going one did not stick around after dark at all. The so called "black heroin", was all over in the 70's and well into the late 1990's the street drugs were delt on most corners.
The park blocks were where the "working girls" hung out.
Those are my recollections.

I no longer wonder what would happen if someone opened Pandora’s Box.

"As someone who has lived in 3 of the 5 quadrants of Portland ..."

Portland has FIVE quadrants?

How very special.

What else do they have five of what every other city only has four of?

Would it meet your approval if it were still an abandoned railyard full of derelict buildings, drugs, crime, and urban neglect?

Putting the Pearl in there just pushed those problems into the rest of downtown, which in case you haven't noticed, is kinda sleazy. It also sucked a large amount of retail life out of downtown, and in this economy, it won't be coming back for a long time.


I know the math ain't right, but...

Anybody who's been around these here parts for a while recognizes: Southwest, Southeast, Northwest, Northeast, and North Portland as the five regions (quadrants) referred to. I think Kevin is just showing a little good ol' Portland humor.

I first thought Jack was commenting on the difference between the shack and the old chevy pickup and the rest of the pictures-the justification for "blight", thus urban renewal.

I assumed that was how PDC is justifying continuing the Pearls urban renewal area and sucking another $380 Million from the taxpayers and taking another $18 Million from the Portland Schools.

Thanks, PDX Native. I have never lived in PDX proper, so I tend to read things literally.

What about the famed West Hills? Given all I read about the power base that lives there, maybe they should have three of the five quads reserved just for them?

Harry, my man!

Funny you should mention! I've lived in the West Hills since I was four (1960). Only I don't really - if you mean the West Hills facing East. Those are the power West Hills. We face Southwest, which is really cool since you see the weather coming a good hour or so before it hits - most of the time. Sunrise is late for us, but we absorb the last rays of the setting sun. (Haven't seen the green flash yet, but I still might!) When you get right down to it, it isn't the altitude, it's attitude! You may have hit on something I never parsed before. There are at least 3 sets of West Hills, and I think you can look on a topographical map to pretty much define them. This deserves some thought...

Hey wait a minute! How did you know I live in the West Hills?

What really sucks about "The Pearl" is that it's a taxpayer subsidized upper-crust neighborhood, and the urban renewal financial vehicle that built it depletes services from the low-income neighborhoods that need those services the most. Take a ride out to the outer east-side sometime and see what I'm talking about. No urban renewal going on there - not even on the drawing board. Urban renewal is to build dwellings for the rich, and to enrich developers, at the expense of everyone else. It's a trickle-down lie that never pays off for the people it was supposedly designed to help.

No doubt, Steve. I recently had the rare treat of going long in SE and was genuinely astonished by what is to be seen there. This portion of our city isn't neglected, it's abandoned. Perhaps the city's interest now is in merely preventing the area from collapsing into ungovernable slums.
It seems to be by historical mandate that it is the perogative of the privileged not to build to serve, but to build to impress. A intent of a west hills tram, trolly or pearl district pedestrian bridge is not to hearten or help anybody on the ground, but is is to act strictly as a vehicle for recognition.
Which isn't to say that the more connected denizens of the west hills aren't genuinely concerned about the plight and blight of the city's least-served neighborhoods. Only that they would like to help by making an award-winning documentary about their struggles.

Steve? Wha-?! Frank, obvs.


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