Saturday, August 2, 2008

Omigod I Love this Town

I spent my 0-18 years in a suburb outside of Rochester, New York called Pittsford. My mother is often telling me how great things are there, hinting ever so subtlely (or not) that perhaps I might like to move back some day. High school for me was basically a snobbish hell of rich girls driving their brand new BMWs and Mercedes the day they turned 16, and pre-frat boys being dicks. I did go to a really good high school where pretty much everyone goes to college, and most kids go to Ivy League or top tier schools, so I do have that to thank for a great education.

I have very little contact with folks that I went to high school with, and sometimes I forget (thankfully) how happy I am to not be there anymore. Recently, I joined Facebook (yes! I am so hip beyond my 32 years! take that generation millennium!) and have gotten back in touch with some HS alums. I was just invited to join this facebook group called "Bitch please...I'm from Pittsford", which is described as follows:

Essentially, this is for everyone from Pittsford who knows that we are better than everyone else because...

we've got Wegmans,
we've got garbage plates,
we've got more money,
we've got bigger houses,
we've got nicer houses,
we've got hamza and hilal,
we're smarter,
our moms don't dress their ages because they don't look it,
most of us drive better cars then our teachers,
we have high levels of awesomity,
we all have Ipods,
we know how to party,
we bring sexy back for real,
we need scaffolding to clean our chimneys,
we don't go in debt when we buy something from abercrombie,
we kick ass at everything we do,
we can afford to build a middle school and only use half of it,
we have ben and jerry's, coldstone and bill wahl's
we have great northern and pontillo's
we have pittsford farms dairy
we've got the one, the only, David Snyder,
we've got higher quality drugs,
basically all of us do crew,
we are amazing at hockey,
Pittsford is listed as one of 'Best Places to Live in the Country' by CNN,
the town is one of the wealthiest in the nation,
home to Oak Hill Country Club, which hosted the 1989 U.S. Open, 1995 Ryder Cup and the 2003 PGA Championship,
hosts to the NFL Buffalo Bills, who have their summer training camp at St. John Fisher,
The parents are mostly doctors/surgeons, lawyers, or successful businessmen,
A majority of the people have created their own business, earning up to as much as five million dollars a year,

and because we probably employ your parents
Thank you Portland for being a million, billion awesome things and NOT THIS. God, I hate my hometown.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

So I am training to walk the Portland Marathon in October. Training? Why would you need to train if you're only going to walk it? (my inner voice says)

Well, my dad is flying out from New York to walk it with me. He just turned 65 and he is a freaking fitness fiend. If I don't train, my father will smoke me. So, I've been walking. A lot. My goal is to finish in 7:15 or less.

There are good things about doing 3 hour walks. #1: I've discovered some fun audiobooks for my ipod. I'm currently switching back and forth between "Discover Your Inner Economist" and Stephen Colbert's "I Am America...And So Can You!". #2: Learning things about the neighborhood that I never knew. What? There's a Mormon church 4 blocks away? How did I never know this? I've chatted with some very friendly people and petted their very friendly cats. #3: That immense feeling of accomplishment when I'm finished. Holy crap - I just walked 12 miles. I am a superstar!

The bad things about 3 hour walks: #1: realizing at the end that I'm not even halfway through a marathon. crap. #2: sunburn. #3: swollen fingers and hands. mine start swelling up about 45 minutes in, and by the end of 3 hours they are ugly and bloated and terribly uncomfortable. #4: 3 hours is a long, long time. even with my funky music and audiobooks, sometimes I'm so bored. i like to dream up exotic meals that I will treat myself to after the marathon is complete. Lobster tails and butter and a lovely crisp sauvignon blanc and some kind of sauteed spinach with lots and lots of garlic. And pie for dessert.

Next week will be a 4 hour walk. Woo hoo! Stephen Colbert and Ira Glass better come through for me.

ps, I hope that whoever slashed the tire of my precious 1998 Corolla gets some bad karma. Who decided that is a fun activity?? It's not patchable, and $200 for 2 new tires was not an expense we were planning for. Ah well. I swear, most days I love my neighborhood. I just don't love finding broken 40's in our front lawn (Thank you Larsons!) and hearing some kid's lowered Honda screech down the street at 70 mph

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Empty Storefronts

Last year, the Oregon Legislature passed a law that limited the interest that check cashing/cash advance businesses could charge customers in Oregon. Essentially, this meant a lot of them packed up and left the state altogether (which, while I understand the short-term need, I think is a GOOD thing).

One such place was Cash Advance America on N. Lombard next to Encanto and Copy Pilot. The storefront has sat empty now for about 6 months. Every time I drove by, I thought please please don't let it be a...
- convenience store
- dive bar
- tobacco shop

Well, now I see a sign is in the window that says "Nails and Spa...Coming Soon." This isn't the totally best option possible, but it's not bad. I'm assuming it's going to be more downscale, like the Vogue Nails further down Lombard where you can get a manicure and pedicure for $40. Not like Trixies, which is more into the pampering experience. I will hope for the best - that it is clean, friendly, and attracts some good business.

(and yes, I've been gone for forever)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

NoPo memers

Aright, Lelo didn't tag me, but I accept anyway.

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?
Getting ready to graduate from college, pack my life up, spend 6 miserable weeks in Houston getting a crash course in how to be a teacher, then move to rural North Carolina where I would start teaching 6th grade special education math, english, science and social studies, get incredibly depressed, lose 20 pounds, and move back in with my parents 4 months later.

At exactly this point 10 years ago, I was finishing my college thesis on how preschoolers learn language. I wish I remembered some of it - it was pretty interesting.

2. What are 5 things on your to-do list?
1. Make a Goodwill trip
2. Put fresh sheets on the bed
3. Update my resume
4. Weed and mulch the front gardenbed
5. Take the pup for a long hike

3. What are 5 snacks you enjoy?
1. Trader Joe's flaxseed & honey flatbread
2. part-skim mozzarella string cheese
3. baby carrots
4. greek yogurt with honey or berries
5. nutrigrain frozen waffles

4. Name some things you would do if you were a millionaire.
I actually would never ever want to be a millionaire. It's too much responsibility, and has too much potential to wreak havoc on your relationships and life. However, if I have no choice in the matter...I would give an awful lot of money to the humanitarian arm of PLAN (Plan Loving Adoptions Now) which is sending little girls in Liberia to school and building wells for impoverished communities. My other pet charities...Our House of Portland, Dove Lewis, Cat Adoption Team, Girls Inc. and Portland Actors Conservatory...would also receive a lot of it. I'd pay off all our family student loans & debt, and R & I would take a big long trip to Europe and (in my dream), Central America.

5. Name some places where you've lived.
- Rochester, NY
- Evanston, IL
- St. Louis
- Louisburg, NC
- Every quadrant of Portland + Beaverton

6. Name some bad habits you have
Leaving kleenex in the couch cushions, interrupting people when I think I know what they're going to say (VERY bad habit...must stop)

7. Name some jobs you've had
Student campus escort, counselor for kids with disabilities, special education teacher, child development researcher, women's clothing retail clerk, market researcher, policy analyst, babysitter, lifeguard, daycare worker

8. Name those whom you are tagging
Spread the love - not tagging

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dear Craigslist:

dear craigslist:

this weekend marks my 6th anniversary of living in portland, and once again i availed myself of your services to great success. so...just a note to let you know how much you've helped me over the past 6 years. over time, i have you to thank for:
  • a lightly-used dresser
  • a washer & dryer for our then-new house when we had practically NO cash to spare but really really needed to do our laundry
  • a short stint living in a fabulous house in NW portland with a bedroom-balcony great view of the sunrise over the Fremont bridge, my own gorgeous bathroom with beautiful restored clawfoot tub, and forest park at my back for a mere $350/month. although i eventually got booted out of the house for reasons that remain unclear, it was an awesome 6 months of living experience
  • our puppy, lucy
  • getting rid of a dining room table & chairs, boxspring, old dishes, and countless other items we didn't want to keep when we moved
  • most recently, the most fabulous practically-new red Dirt Devil vacuum that kicks ass on our dirty hardwood floors (see puppy, above) for a mere $60
  • guitar lessons
  • and many, many more things
So thank you CL, for your many blessings. Life just wouldn't be the same without you.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What I've Been Doing

Oy. It's been so long since my last post. It's paddling season! That means practicing thrice-weekly with my team, the Wicked Wahinis. We had our first race of the season on Saturday up in Tacoma in Puget Sound. It was chaotic and hot and crazy, but so so much fun. We won the Women's "B" division (which is generally the recreational teams).

That's me, waiting to line up for our last race. Although I do not love the Thursday 6 am practice, I do LOVE paddling. It is so wonderful to be out there on the water, observing the city from a new vantage point. Even when it's hailing, sleeting, our just pouring down rain, there's something really connective about paddling your way through the conditions (although I am quite happy to have a car with heated seats after practice). Now that the weather is getting nicer, it's a treat to enjoy the beautiful scenery and sunshine.

Onto Rose Festival, Kent, Salem, Victoria, Waterfront and San Francisco races between now and October. Go Wicked!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Miss Janet, Don't be Nasty

Sitting in LRBC right now, having enjoyed my early-morning breakfast of honeyed yogurt and coffee, finishing my final geography paper on the American Community Survey (yay data!). It's all perfect except for...
...the couple sitting in the cafe "enjoying" their breakfast, while the girl continuously berates and mocks the guy for pretty much everything that comes out of his mouth. I think she thinks she's being funny, but she sounds pretty mean to me.

C'mon you guys, don't ruin a good morning! Good music on the stereo, delicious breakfast sandwiches and strong coffee. What more could you want?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Holy Feet

I got new shoes this week. Behold, the gleaming glory of the New Balance 908 trail running shoe.

I have terrible, awful feet. I get crazy calluses like you wouldn't believe and I have zero arches. Genetics + many summers spent walking barefoot on a pool deck were not kind to my feet. And yet, I have a hell of a time paying more than $30 for a pair of shoes. I hate doing it. So when I do ante up, it's a big deal. But I couldn't wear my 4 year-old running shoes any longer - they were so worn out and uncomfortable. Plus, I will be walking the Portland marathon this fall & need some good fresh training shoes.

I love New Balance shoes - better than Nike, adidas, and all the rest. But still, I almost settled for a pair of $32 Avia shoes from GI Joes.

I'm so glad I didn't. I wore them for the first time to the gym tonight, and OH my gosh what a difference. They make me float - they are so luxurious and comfortable and stable. I feel like I could walk 6 marathons in them. (okay, not really). Anyway, I highly highly recommend them even if you do not plan on doing any trail running (I do very very little). They are good for walking, running, general gym stuff.

I have a crush on my shoes. I will name them...Diana. Beautiful, rugged, purposeful.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Power to the St John's Peeps

I attended the St. John's Community Meeting on Monday evening to discuss the potential new Walgreens. Developer was a no-show which was quite unfortunately. On the plus side, there were a few hundred people there including our State Rep Tina Kotek and City Commissioner candidate Jeff Bissonnette. It was fun to look around the room and pick out other familiar faces. The guy who works at Greg's (but is not Greg), the husband-wife owners of Tres Bone, plus just some folks I know I've seen "around" before. It sounds like we have a very good chance of altering the way a Walgreens would look, and we still have SOME chance at preventing it from going in.

If we can put up enough obstacles that makes it not worth their while, they could withdraw the idea. For example, they have proposed a drive-thru window, which is specifically prohibited by the St. John's-Lombard plan (which has been adopted into city code). It was suggested at the meeting that this could be a major anticipated revenue center for them, and if they can't have the window, it would take away much proposed profit. We need to find what those other things like that are, and see if we can stop them.

I have nothing against Walgreens, per se. But it is the wrong business type for that location. The hard thing is...if Walgreens doesn't go in there, what could go in that spot and actually thrive? It's an oddly triangular-shaped lot that (I don't think) particularly lends itself to the shops-on-the-street vision that the StJ board was talking about. If I were a small retail business owner, that would not be a spot that I would covet.

We all know that Trader Joes is NOT going in there, no matter how much we can all wish for it. We need a business that will appeal (both emotionally and financially) to newcomers and oldtimers on the Peninsula. If there weren't one right around the corner, I think it would be a good spot for a Burgerville. Local & sustainable but not too yuppified. Other pie-in-the-sky ideas:

- another offshoot of Powell's (like the Home & Garden one they have on Hawthorne)
- going with the St John's vintage theme, how about another Red Light or Buffalo Exchange
- a gardening/yard supply store like Pistils

I'd love some cute little shops there as much as the next middle-class-girl-who-moved-to-the-Peninsula-post-2003, but I think we need to be realistic.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Signs of Spring

I am sitting in a big picture window at Ladybug Coffee in downtown St J's, looking out over the foot & auto traffic coming and going down Lombard. I'm working on a very tedious project that is making me grumpy. But what is making me happy is the little signs of spring that are emanating here and there. Yes! Spring is coming! My 2nd favorite season in Portland (autumn is first).

1. Okay, this is a big one. It was 62 degrees yesterday! It's 57 right now! That is delightful and wonderful.

2. I can make it home at 5:30 and still take the pup for a walk before it gets pitch black. It's getting dark, but there are still tiny signs of daylight.

3. The asparagus is getting tastier at the grocery store.

4. Those little buds that are coming up everywhere in my garden. Some of them are mystery buds - what will they become? I don't know! I'm gardening-ly challenged. But it's exciting.

5. The earth smells...earthier. Like it's living again. I love that smell of spring dirt in all its loamy goodness.

Yay for Spring! Yay for more daylight hours!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Day-After Valentine's Day!

I love my wicked, wicked girlfriends.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I've spent the last couple of weeks kind of obsessed with matters of health & nutrition & weight-control, so blogging has been off the radar. But I decided I can combine two things into one here. I've gained about 10 pounds in the past year...not a good thing. And I've been getting some crazy cravings for unhealthy food that I don't even really like, but that I see on a daily basis driving around my neighborhood.

Drive down Lombard for 1/2 mile in either direction and you have...KFC, McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, Domino's, Pizza Hut, Baskin Robbins, and Papa Murphy's. I'm sure I'm leaving something out. Fast food has never ever been appealing to me. On long road trips, if I HAD to stop, I'd find a Wendy's and get a salad or maybe a fish sandwich. Somehow it seemed the least unappetizing of the bunch. But I swear that there is something about seeing these signs over and over and over again to start thinking...hey, maybe some fried chicken or a quarterpounder with cheese. What??! I don't even like that stuff. Whatever.

Anyhoo. Apparently the planning meeting for the St. John's Farmer's Market was last night. I tried to go, but I had it written down as 5:30-7:30, so I showed up at Marie's and no one was there. I guess it was from 6:30-8:30. Oops! (Side note: Marie's is super, super smoky and I would not have wanted to hang out there for 2 hours, especially given that we were talking about fresh fruits & veggies. Just seems like a weird mix.)

However, I'm still going to try & get involved with the planning. A small market is just what this community needs. Lots of potential locations were brought up, but I think the plaza is the way to go. Centrally located, visible for pedestrians & car traffic going through. Someone suggested putting it right off of Fessenden, which I think would be suicide. Visibility will be much reduced at that location. Just my 2 cents.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I've Missed You

I've been delinquent in posting of late, but rather than make excuses, here are some links to noteworthy news in and around North Portland.

1. St. John's is considering a Farmer's Market? I say Yes Yes Yes! Give your comments/feedback here:

2. A shooting in McCoy Park last Saturday evening, in the New Columbia complex. Violence there seems to have calmed for the most part over the past year, but of course this doesn't help to quell anxieties.

3. The El Burrito Loco/Boulevard Tacos feud rages on. Protesters outside BT are still going strong, claiming that BT evicted EBL and then recruited cooks from the the other EBL on 82nd offering better wages, then recreated the recipes. Or at least that is the EBL side of the story. The first burrito I ever ate in Portland was at El Burrito Loco, and it has a very special place in my heart. The burritos may not have been the best ever, but the people were delightful and I really lurved their chorizo burrito. Although I am really not a fan of this quote about EBL owner Alberta Canales:
She feels that by opening a new Mexican restaurant, Boulevard Taco, at the same location, Mr Lofti is “raping my business.”
I know we probably have English as a Second Language in play here, but I *really* hate it when people use this expression. There are a million other phrases to use. What he is doing may be sleazy, contemptuous, unfair, or predatory. But in no way is it sexually violating you.

More here from the Sentinel:

4. North Portland continues to be one of the safest real estate bets in the Portland Metro area. In December, NoPo posted a 12-month price appreciation of 8.5% (2nd only to Columbia County's 11.6% and far above West Portland, Tigard, Tualatin and many other areas). NoPo inventory (Days on Market) was the lowest of all 14 areas measured, at 55 days.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Mi Cumpleanos

Today is my 32nd birthday. So Happy Birthday to me! I had a lovely day. Played hooky from work, had a wonderful lunch with my husband at Cafe Castagna (their burger really IS delicious), then went and sat at Little Red Bike for coffee, then bought myself my very own dragonboat paddle, went to the gym, and came home for a light supper. And now we're about to start re-watching the last few episodes of last season's Lost so I can be all set for the start of the 4th season.

All in all, a wonderful birthday. My horoscope says I am in for a productive and creative year that will be financially tight but lay the groundwork for bearing fruit in years to come. I hope that is true!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Yes, I have resolved to do this every-day blogging thing for 2008. And here I sit, devoid of inspiration for an interesting blog post. So this is probably a good time to start in on my Best-Places-in-North-Portland-You're-Probably-Not-Visiting. I'll just do a couple tonight.

1. La Tienda Santa Cruz. Crazy good & cheap Mexican food in the back of a Mexican grocery store in St. John's. Please skip the Cha Cha Cha! next door & head to the rear room for a $4 pollo burrito that you will love. Also recommended: asada tacos (or any tacos). And if you want something sweet to finish off your meal, help yourself to the giant pastry case in the back of the store. 2 giant Mexican pastries for $1. AND on Saturdays, they do special tamales, which I've heard are excellent but I haven't been able to try yet.
8630 N Lombard in downtown St. Js

2. Lark Press. Okay, I know the Mississippi area is barely even eligible to be called North Portland anymore, since I can barely keep up with all the latest condos & shops going in. But Lark Press is just off the beaten path on N. Williams, next to Pix. It has beautifully letterpressed cards, stationery, and paper asundries. AND it houses the wares of Lark Baby, which are adorable (a bit pricey) baby/toddler clothes that make wonderful shower gifts.
Apparently they've also started using their patterns for grown-up clothes too, like this gorgeous shirt below.
3901 N. Williams

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Good Dog

I have to rave about the magic dog treats I've discovered. Our puppy, Lucy, is wonderful, sweet and delightful. But as she's still a puppy, sometimes getting her to do things she doesn't want to do (like come inside when it's pouring rain and 5 am and all I want to do is go back to bed) is challenging. For awhile, we had a squeaky toy that she would come for, but that lost its charm after about a week. Bones, treats, food, getting excited - none of this would work.

Then I bought these:

I bought the pink one, which is peanut-butter-and-jelly. Other flavors are chicken pot pie, apple dumpling, and blueberry cobbler. They are shaped like tiny little bones, and are made of all natural ingredients (no wheat or corn). And she goes CRAZY for them. It's been 3 weeks now, and she's not tired of them yet. All I have to do is shake the box at the door and she comes booking inside, desperate for a treat. The only place so far I've found them is at Tres Bone, the new pet shop in St. John's, but I'm sure they are elsewhere. At $6.50 per box, they're not cheap. But I think a box will last a long time.

Lucy says: Tres Yeah!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Out with the Old (a wee bit late)

Stolen adapted from Fleur de Lisa, a new Portland Midwest blog that I just found and love (wow...batting 0-for-2 so far):

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Tried dragonboating and outriggers, and eventually joined a dragonboating team.
Got a puppy.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for 2008?
My 2007 resolution was to have a better relationship with my mother. That was...less than successful. But I admit to not trying very hard. My 2008 resolution is to walk the 2008 Portland Marathon, and I've roped my dad into it, so I have someone to be accountable to.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Physically close to me? No, thank goodness. But one of my best friends in San Fran gave birth to a beautiful little girl named in Lindsay, and my cousin K. is the proud new mama of Daphne.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Sadly, yes. My wonderful, hilarious, generous Aunt Carolyn died after her 4th go-round with cancer. She was a nun for 40 years and taught me more about how to enjoy life than almost anyone. Also, she danced the polka at my wedding with my husband 2 1/2 years ago, so how cool is that? She is dearly, greatly missed.

5. What countries did you visit?
None but this one, I'm sad to say. Didn't even make it up to Canada.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
A new dishwasher. Is that petty? Also, a new fondness for vegetables.

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Learning to live within increased financial constraints without resentment or bitterness.

8. What was your biggest failure?
See: 2007 New Year's Resolution

9. What was the best thing you bought?
Splurged on a laptop that I am currently using and loving

10. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband's, for accomplishing a full year back in school as a full-time student and kicking the sh!t out of all his classes.

11. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My mom's.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, student loans

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
All the fun new stuff opening up in St. Johns and Portsmouth! LRB, Tres Bone, James John, etc...

14. Compared to this time last year, are you...
a) happier or sadder? Happier, so so much happier
b) thinner or fatter? Heavier, but a little bit fitter
c) richer or poorer? poorer, probably

15. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish we'd been able to take more weekend trips around the Northwest.

16. What do you wish you'd done less of?

17. How did you spend Christmas?
With my husband - going to see Juno, going up to Council Crest Park to have a snowball fight and glory in the fresh snow, having a fantastic home-cooked dinner and curling up to a glass of wine, a puppy and a fat black cat

18. How did you ring in 2007?
Annual dinner party & wine tasting with friends

19. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Yes! Her name is Lucy, she is black and furry, and is 5 months old.

20. What was your favorite TV program?
Surprisingly, Battlestar Galactica

21. What was the best book you read?
New England White by Stephen Carter

22. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Anais Mitchell

23. What was your favorite film of this year?
Children of Men

24. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 31, and went to Pix for dessert with my husband

25. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Clive Owen (tie) Jon Stewart (tie) Jenna Fischer

26. Who was the best new person you met?
M, my new co-worker.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Congrats Barack

Although I am a hard-core John (and Elizabeth) Edwards supporter, I offer my hearty congratulations to Barack Obama for his commanding win tonight in Iowa. I do feel that Edwards is the more truly progressive candidate, but I'm afraid he's doomed. And I would MUCH rather have Obama over Clinton as a Democratic nominee. And Michelle Obama would be a kick-ass first lady. So hats off B.O. Here's hoping it's the beginning of the road to the presidency.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Miscellaneous Roundup

1. Ask & You Shall Receive
I outlined my wish for a NoPo venue that serves affordable dinner, something besides Thai, pizza, fast food or diner food. In today's WWeek review of Little Red Bike:
Jepson and Dohrmann are taking their bike-friendly cafe one spoke at a time, but they hope to branch into dinner by way of housemade pot pies in upcoming months. When asked about the pot pie prospectus, Dohrmann rattles off a few ideas that include meaty as well as veggie and vegan options.
Hallelujah! LRB + pot-pie = Delicious.

2. Congratulations to the St. John's Sentinel, now just "The Sentinel", for their fab new web site and newspaper layout. Check it out at Maybe possibly they are considering moving to two papers per month? That would be great.

3. Portland Public Schools is hosting some forums around Portland in January to talk about the future of school buildings in need of repair or remodeling. Even if you don't have kids in school (I don't), I think this is a valuable opportunity to give input on how our community is shaped. I know that Clarendon-Portsmouth, since going to a K-8 school is crammed and in desperate need of some help to accommodate all the extra students. I'm also interested in what PPS is planning to do with the old Clarendon school.
Anyway, for more info, go here:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Wishes & Hopes for 08

I am intrigued by this crazy 365 blogging (hat tip to Lelo). I am not yet fully committed, but I may give it a shot.

Anyway, Happy New Year to everyone. 2007 was a hell of a year, and I'm expecting 2008 to bring a whole new round of surprises. At the very least, when the year is over, we will know who our new president will be, and it will NOT be someone in the Bush family.

Since this blog is really supposed to be about North Portland, I was thinking about some hopes I have for North Portland in 2008. Consider this my fantasy wishlist:

1. Less of this
2. And this
3. Some actual resolution of the Interstate/Chavez debacle that gives each side some sense of fairness. I think this is going to have to get uglier before it gets better, as lots of people feel shut down, and all that resentment isn't just going to disappear. Personally, I would like to see the conversation move beyond a street name and into the realm of making a significant recognition of the growing Latino presence and influence in NoPo. Mayor Potter's role in this whole fiasco was unprofessional (who can forget him walking out of a City Council meeting like a teenager storming off to his room after a fight with his parents) and naive. The less involved he is here, the better. I can only hope that City Council tackles this and doesn't shy away from the fact that it is a politically sensitive issue. Let's do away with the racist accusations on all sides, ok?
4. That Walgreens NOT go into the vacant Honda dealership in St. John's. I guess this classifies me as a St J transplant, but I would much rather see some restaurants, a Trader Joes, or small businesses go in there. Or maybe some live/work space. We already have Freddys and Safeway in the village, and there is both a Rite Aid and a Walgreens within 3 miles and Trimet accessible.
5. I would love for a few nice-but-reasonably-priced restaurants that serve DINNER to go in North Portland somewhere north of Rosa Parks Way/Portland Blvd. We have been incredibly lucky over the past year-plus to see an influx of coffee/pastry/breakfast places like Little Red Bike, James John and LadyBug. But aside from take-out and diners, there are very few options. I've been disappointed by Encanto, and you have to mosey on down to Alberta or Mississippi for some better options. So c'mon all you enterprising Pacific Northwest chefs looking for some cheaper rent to start your own place: come on up to 97203! I am thinking along the lines of Country Cat in Montavilla (I would settle for something half as good), Equinox or even Mississippi Station on Mississippi.
6. Some increased security at the N. Lombard Transit Center, especially the one on the North side of the street. It is the only bus stop in Portland where I have witnessed or been the target of repeated harassment, and can get a scary mob-like vibe at times. I'm not sure what the answer is, but it needs some better scrutiny.
7. That Tulip Pastry open on Sundays. What better time to enjoy a delightful marionberry fritter than Sunday morning?

Happy New Year, NoPo. Let's make 2008 the best one yet.