|Before we lose them, it's worth asking.|
McMahon wasn't the only one bringing inspiring ideas to town, noting that not only do "places make us" (moreover: "placemaking must be rooted in authenticity") but "sameness is a minus, not a plus, in today's world" and that "older smaller buildings consistently punch above their weight class" while also making use of durable old-growth resources.
|Alex Gilliam likes it local, creating|
projects with and for residents (as below).
|Courtesy Ed McMahon/|
Urban Land Institute
|Courtesy Public Workshop|
Nothing could be more egalitarian than a neighborhood association, where all you have to do is exist somewhere in Portland to be eligible to participate—no common background, choice of transportation, or shared special interest required. No place is more inclusive and transparent at the ground level than a neighborhood association, which is bound by public meetings law, election rules, and voting processes.
|Neighbors plant trees in Northeast, especially important as teardown|
development razes mature urban tree canopy throughout Portland.
Neighborhood associations are accountable, a conduit for information both directions between city staff and the street level, and are necessarily engaged groups dedicated to improvement. After all, neighbors know how to make positive change, whether it's planting trees, staging cleanups, solving local transportation issues, organizing neighborhood watches, and otherwise helping make this city such a fine place to live.
|Another hallmark activity of neighborhood associations aside from|
engagement in local land use issues are boots-on-the-ground,
hugely popular events such as bulky-waste cleanups, here manned
by Roseway board members and other volunteers.
One could argue that the diminished power of neighborhoods has had the resultant effect on participation. Give the people something more important to decide than what movie should play in the park that summer, and they will show up, as evidenced by meetings focused on land use issues.
This year, how about resolving to show up for your neighborhood? Read on for more reasons why or be inspired to act by the cautionary tale of near-total displacement experienced in one of Portland's classic neighborhoods—with all the free screenings coming up, there's no excuse to miss it.