Thursday, November 23, 2006

Gentrification - Article (INDY MEDIA)

This full ongoing thread can be found on Indy Media in the link below
It has a originating story by Howl along with my comments and others:

The following four paragraphs are from the original poster (Howl)
He brings up a good subject.
My comments (well Ben Waiting was me also) were emotionally written and heartfelt.
As I am sure others who posted were too.

"I call it a squat because it is the only place that about a dozen of my neighbors have to live, but really it is just a covered sidewalk in front of where the old Safeway used to be and Top to Bottom and a Big Five now inhabit. This area provided a mostly dry area for these good people to sleep, lock up their bikes, and hang out with friends. For the past year that has been the extent of what they have done there. I have never seen any violent activity nor drug use/selling from any of these kind folks. In fact I have never even seen the police called on any of them, EVER.

Today something was different. As the Portland Development Commission or PDC continues their quest for urban renewal they have managed to attract new business to the area. These businesses are looking to benefit from the new light rail train that will run down I-205, the new farmers market, and of course the increased property value a lifeless commercial look brings. One of these interested businesses is Big 5 Sporting Goods. This week is Big 5's Grand Opening.

As I rode my bike past the cop cars and stopped a comfortable distance away to keep an eye on the officers I couldn't help but stand in awe at how quickly gentrification changes the face of a neighborhood. The police had formed a barrier between the consumers that were happily streaming in and out of the new retail establishment and the people whos' very existence our society has declared as illegal.

From what I could see. The cops did not physically attack anyone nor did they make any arrests. However, they did destroy the only home these people knew when they declared that if they returned they would be trespassing."

The stark reality of spending a night in the cold
....would change many a mind if one found himself firsthand feeling the pangs and restless chill

The poster Howl also latter about after a dozen comments..... sends this eye opening comment and enthustically starts collecting info from the community at large to help the issue of homelessness and gentrification and livilibity in his neighborhood. In an inspiring rightous move he post the following excerpt I found on INDY MEDIA (see link at top of this page)

Anyone interested in forming a mutual aid network?
by Howl

It sounds like there are a lot of available resources, but not all are well known in the community. I just made an email address if anyone is interested in networking the available resources we have here. Perhaps you can donate a few bucks, expired but edible food, an old coat, some extra space in your garage, a meeting space, or a few hours of time to volunteer each week. Imagine if we made a flier with all the resources that are already available from lunch programs like Food Not Bombs to drug treatment programs. We could then look to see where are neighborhood is lacking and work to fill the cracks before more people fall through them. With it being Thanksgiving tomorrow, and more holidays on the way. Try to think how you could help out our neighborhood however big or small the contribution might be. By the way, I have an 8'x8' tarp you can have. It spent some weeks out in the woods with me, but it's in good shape. Just email me.