Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Portland, Oregon

Jean and I made a trip to Portland this past weekend. We don't get there too often since it's 400 miles away. We lived there in the late 50's and early 60's while I was going to school. It's amazing how it has changed in just 40 years or so! We stayed at the Mark Spencer Hotel which is on SW 11th and Stark. It is a very nice place with very friendly staff. I would recommend it to you if you ever get to Portland. It's close to downtown and right next to the Pearl District, which is a good example of urban renewal. Instead of tearing down all of the old buildings and starting new (which they did in SW Portland 40 years ago) they just recycled the old buildings into new uses. The old National Guard Armory, which looks like an old castle, is now a performing arts theater. Our grand daughter lives in a new set of apartments built across the street from the old RR car barns, which now supply parking for those working in the city. She can ride the light rail or walk to anyplace she wants to go, has no need of a car. The Pearl District is filled will art galleries and little shops and has become a fun place to go. When we lived in Portland, that area was to be avoided, it was the skid road section of town. My only concern is where did the folks who used to live down there go? It was even seedier than the section we lived in , but the rents were really cheap. Those elderly folks living on Social Security can't afford the rents in the Pearl now. Where did they put them? The homeless folks live in tent villages or under the bridges, but I can't see someone in their 70's surviving very long in that environment. I've never seen anything in The Oregonian about low cost housing for the elderly. That's the downside of gentrification. The people who used to live there can't afford it any more. The downtown core is now a really people friendly place now, but I hurt for those forced out.

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