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BOOMER STREET

IS THERE A RIFT BETWEEN OLD AND NEW ON DIVISION?

SE DIVISION STREET, A HOT MICRO-HOOD FOR A COOL TIME

SE DIVISION STREET, A HOT MICRO-HOOD FOR A COOL TIME

Where does urban vision meet the necessities of life?

On one hand, Portland Monthly Magazine calls SE Division Street from 20th to 50th one of the city’s “hottest micro-hoods“.

A micro-hood is an area, not a miniature thug.

It has some size, in this case thirty blocks.

The name ‘micro’ fits the neighborhood the same way it fits Portland’s famous beer served in pint glasses instead of a specimen-sized cup.

It’s fresh and local.

Division is a destination for Portland baby boomers, but there’s a problem.

For everything good about Division, it’s also a destination for people who aren’t thinking about urban planning, Portland public schools, or parking their car.

Young people moving to the city want apartments, not a re-creation of their parents home by renting a room. They want independence from mommies and daddies, not mature thirty-somethings telling them to “turn it down.”

For the segment of the population ready to move it on up to the eastside, Division is perfect.

Good planners find the right infill lot and build according to neighborhood standards. They hook up with designers and consultants and end up with houses that’ll stand the test of time.

Poor planners roll in for whatever is available at the lowest rent then move on when the cost increases.

Apartment hunters aren’t the problem. Lack of apartments in a hot micro-hood is a problem solved by building new apartments.

Which is another problem.

Aging baby boomers seek calm and stable neighborhoods where they don’t find dumpster-diving transients passed out on the sidewalk in front of their new favorite restaurant.

They want to pick up the morning Oregonian delivered to their driveway instead of watching a vagrant pick it up and throw it into their shopping cart.

Like good citizens, boomers give back to the community, do volunteer work, and participate in neighborhood issues. They are the riches of the city.

And they get angry when they feel wronged by the system.

From The Oregonian regarding a building permit for new apartments:

Mike Hayakawa, a supervising planner with the Bureau of Development Services, said the bureau wasn’t required to notify the Richmond neighbors and city commissioners when the legal landscape changed. The bureau, he said, was simply evaluating the permit as required by city code.

“It’s a building permit,” Hayakawa said. “I think there was some expectation that there would be more participation, and it’s not a participatory process for permits.”

What happens when residents feel thwarted in their efforts to protect their home turf from the expected renter invasion? Good manners are the first casualty. They go after construction workers and superintendents with the sort of old school witch-hunt vigor no one needs to brighten their day.

The gulf between those who show up for a day’s work and those who feel enabled to question the work grows wider with each accusation.

Portland has great neighborhoods. When people notice how great, they want to be there.

Welcoming new Portlanders to the eastside isn’t part of some evil scheme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About David Gillaspie

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