Meeting Held with City Officials
Following the disruptive summer of 2015 in the North Park Blocks (NPB), there has been a good deal of discussion and citizen activism to assure that there is not a repeat occurrence this coming summer, or ever again.
Residents and businesses adjacent to NPB gathered their forces late last summer to engage the city in efforts to promote greater activation of the park and stronger police enforcement of criminal behavior. The Pearl District Neighborhood Association Livability and Safety Committee (LSC) joined the effort and developed an activation work plan to bring more events and activity to the park.
Members of the NPB Consortium and LSC recently met with the Parks and Recreation Bureau’s top leadership and representatives from the Mayor’s and Commissioner Fritz’ offices to discuss ways to better program the North Park Blocks. There are challenges to holding some events due to fragile grass and tree roots being damaged, but many ideas were discussed including a greater long term vision for the park.
While the major focus of this meeting was on short term solutions, the NPB/LSC group asked the Parks Bureau to take a longer term, holistic view of the park that would coordinate with the upcoming upgrade of the playground, the City’s Green Loop Plan, the anticipated Flanders street bike bridge and the post office site.
The NPB/LSC vision for the North Park Blocks in 2016 and beyond should embody stimulation, movement, beauty and contemplation. The central location, a major connector between China Town, the Pearl and Downtown creating a cultural infusion where residents, students, tourists and all Portlanders come to enjoy communal interaction, commerce and reflection, bustling and brewing with creativity and joy.
Both city staff and NPB/LSC agreed to holding ongoing meetings to continue the conversation with the next meeting anticipated in early April.
Reported by Stanley Penkin
Lori DeMersseman, from Ventura County, California, an hour north of Los Angeles, spends the summers and holidays in Portland in her condo in Tanner Place on Jamison Square. Widowed five years ago, she and her husband together built up a property management business in Colorado where they lived for 20 years. She decided to buy property closer to family in both California and Oregon and moved to the Pearl in summer 2013.
"I fell in love with the Pearl when I'd visit my daughter, a flight attendant, when she lived at NW Lovejoy and 9th Ave. They now own a home in the Mississippi District and it prompted me to purchase a condo, to be here when her first baby is born this December".
Lori likes Sinju Sushi located downstairs in her building and said the staff is very friendly when she sits on their patio with her little dog, Lady.
"I love Piazza Italia, because I loved Italy and feels like I am back in Florence." She also likes to shop at the market on 9th Avenue for plants and produce. The Pearl's walkability really appeals, and she has rarely used her car. "I may take it back to California since I brought my bike, and like nature and the outdoors."
Lori still does the books for the family business in Denver, Colorado, but with today's technology can do them from anywhere there is Internet.
"There's an energy in the Pearl, and everyone's been very friendly to me. I'm a delegate to the Democratic State convention in California for the 44th District, and founded a Charter Democratic Club for singles 40 and up. I love the Liberal feel of Portland, so maybe I will try and start a similar club here in Portland."
She says she might join 24 Hour Fitness, but for now is walking so much she has not felt the need. "I love all the little quaint stores and shops. California is mostly just chain stores. There are many nice chains, but here it's more individual and interesting. Portland is actually more expensive than I thought it would be, but I do eat out about three times a week. Lovejoy Bakery and Isabella's are great for breakfast and if it was not too fattening to eat out every day, I would!"
"I'm a happy person by nature and enjoy meeting all the people at Jamison Park and when out walking Lady, my white Maltese-Poodle. The Pearl has been very friendly and I have already made several new friends!"
"Of course I don't know what's going to happen but the Pearl seems like it's going to be the next positive and happy place for me."