Today we began at the Ladd tower. We did a quick activity to meet our newest member, Tim. We then made a short trek to the Urban Center at PSU where we met with Dr. Lisa Bates. She showed us several intriguing photos of the Albina district over the past fifty years, including one of the I-5 freeway construction. This image stuck with me because it showed how the new construction project, built to “help” the people of Portland, literally split a community in half.
We then boarded a bus that took us to an urban farm in NE Portland. The farm’s owner, Amanda, allowed us to try several of her crops. They were delicious. She then talked about the history of the property and the challenges that face urban farmers.
After a short stop at some food carts, some terrible joke telling, and a long wait for the bus, we finally ended up on our way to North Portland. The bus ride was long, but allowed us to survey the community from a good vantage point. Eventually we arrived at our destination: a recent urban renewal project. The neighborhood was made of high-density condos as well as town houses. In the center there was a wide, grassy park with picnic tables and a fountain. We talked about several successes and failures of the project. First off, we noticed that the nearest grocery store to the neighborhood was fairly far away. The area is served by only one or two bus lines, so finding ways into downtown could also be a problem. We did, however, note that the neighborhood seemed to be an attractive, safe place to live. We then boarded a third bus back to downtown Portland where we ended the day.