Sponsored by Oregon Business

East Portland rises

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2013
Monday, April 01, 2013

BY LINDA BAKER

0413 EastPortland 02
Above: The Portland Mercado, a Latino market, is slated to open in summer 2014 in a now vacant property at the corner of SE 72nd and Foster.
Below: Hacienda CDC clients Karen Castaneda and Andres Perez (right) attend a business class at PCC as part of their training to become Mercado vendors. The husband-and-wife team hope to open a Columbian food stand.
// Photos by Sierra Breshears
0413 EastPortland 04

In a city filled with food carts, Mark White is something of a pioneer. The president of the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association, White is perhaps the first person in Portland to open a food cart on his front lawn and the first to make the cart into a political statement, in this case about the dearth of amenities along 122nd Avenue south of Powell Boulevard.

Apart from a bar, a small restaurant and a tire shop, there are virtually no businesses in the area, observes White, who named his food cart “South of Holgate” — a prosaic name rife with meaning. “I have wanted to brand this area as SoHo for a long time,” says White. “If we can ever get appropriate investment in the area, we will have a familiar name and a shovel-ready branding idea to build upon.”

White isn’t the only resident frustrated with the slow pace of development in East Portland, a region that typically refers to a collection of neighborhoods east of I-205 that were annexed by the city of Portland in the late 80s and 90s. The moniker East Portland is also applied, somewhat indiscriminately, to a wide swath of relatively poor, sprawling neighborhoods around 82nd Avenue. To this day, many outer eastside communities lack basic public services such as parks, sidewalks and transit options, as well as amenities inner-city denizens take for granted, such as grocery stores and coffee shops located within walking distance.

In 2009 the Portland City Council adopted the East Portland Action Plan, a road map designed to allocate more resources to the area. But so far, progress has been slow — and White’s food cart, a small shed sitting on a small lawn fronting 122nd Avenue’s busy four-lane artery, symbolizes the slow pace of change.

But if South of Holgate is a metaphor for East Portland circa 2013, it’s also because signs of neighborhood improvements are beginning to emerge. This past October, the city rezoned areas of 122nd Avenue to encourage more commercial activity. Community development organizations are moving forward with innovative entrepreneurial programs tapping into the region’s singular cultural diversity, and public officials and agencies, including Mayor Charlie Hales and the Portland Development Commission, are tweaking programs and policies to focus more attention on the outer east side.

At stake in these initiatives — and promises — is more than the equitable distribution of public and private resources. Since the 1990s, urban redevelopment has revolved around inner-city revitalization or new downtown developments such as the Pearl District and the South Waterfront. As efforts to improve the outer east side lumber forward, the question is whether policy makers, along with business and community groups, can create yet a third model, one that uplifts disenfranchised, car-oriented suburban neighborhoods.

“It’s the next big challenge for urban planners,” says Hales, sitting in his office this past January, just a few weeks after the mayoral election, “how to take 122nd and Division, where the pedestrian is a forlorn, endangered species, and systematically change it to a higher-value urban neighborhood.” Do outer eastside districts have to look exactly like the trendy North Williams or Alberta avenues? “No,” says Hales. “But they can’t function like they do today.”

Attention to social equity will distinguish eastside development practices, elaborates Nick Sauvie, executive director of Rose Community Development, a nonprofit working on several projects in the area. Historically, Portland revitalization efforts have involved displacing poor and minority residents from the inner city to outlying areas, Sauvie says. But East Portland requires a new strategy, one that revitalizes without gentrifying.

“It calls for an incremental, neighborhood-based approach that works with the existing strengths of the community,” says Sauvie. “Asset-building and on-the-ground organizing is what’s going to be needed to make East Portland the place people want it to be.”

 



 

Comments   

 
Guest
+2 #1 Nicely doneGuest 2013-04-03 19:39:13
What a great article, in-depth and thoughtful. I am excited to read about the REIT and the Mercado, both innovative ideas, and about the other great work ROSE, Hacienda etc. are doing in East Portland. I live in Gateway, and we are missing sidewalks and even paved roads sometimes, so I am interested in following the east Portland development plan for lots of reasons. Thanks!
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #2 OB editorGuest 2013-04-04 18:55:41
Story update: Mayor Charlie Hales has decided to restore sidewalk funding along SE 136th ave: http://bikeportland.org/2013/04/04/mayor-hales-restores-sidewalk-funding-for-se-136th-ave-85055
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
-1 #3 Delicious TacosGuest 2013-04-04 21:20:31
El Nutri Taco on Woodstock at 85th has had a food cart in their front yard for nearly a decade. I applaud Mark White, but he isn't the first.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Oregon Business expands events portfolio

The Latest
Friday, March 27, 2015
htctfacebookBY OB STAFF

New events series brings magazine to life.


Read more...

Game On

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The big news at Oregon Business is we’re getting a ping pong table. After reading the descriptions of the 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon, a disproportionate number of which feature table tennis in the office, I decided it was time to bring our own workplace into the 21st century. It was a tough call, but it’s lonely at the top, and someone has to make the hard decisions.


Read more...

Downtime with the president of NAI Norris, Beggs & Simpson

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Live, Work, Play: Catching up with Chris Johnson.


Read more...

Meeting Facilities Perspective

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A conversation with Donna Earley, director of sales and marketing for the Salem Convention Center.


Read more...

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


Read more...

On the Road

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

My daughter turned 18 last week, and for her birthday I got her a Car2Go membership. Not to label myself a disruptor or anything, but it felt like a groundbreaking moment. The two of us, mother and child, were participating in a new teen rite of passage: Instead of handing over the car keys, I handed over a car-sharing card — with the caveat that she not use the gift as her own personal car service.


Read more...

5 questions for inDinero CEO Jessica Mah

The Latest
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
jessicathumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

inDinero, a business that manages back-office accounting for startups and smaller companies, recently announced it would relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to Portland. We talked to CEO Jessica Mah about what drew her to Portland and how she plans to disrupt the traditional CPA model.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS