Wednesday, May 28, 2014

N. Williams & Russet

The next painted intersection on our ongoing tour is at N. Williams Ave. & Russet St., just north of Lombard, and just a few blocks south of the industrial side of North Portland. This one's also maybe known as "Loveleigh Neighborhood Watch", unless that's just the group that put it together; I'm not entirely sure. I usually just quote from the project page to explain what the design's all about, but this one makes more sense if you have the full About section for context. I've noticed that City Repair web pages seem to come and go unpredictably and the page might vanish at some point, so here's what they had to say:

Our neighborhood is in transition. It has seen illegal dumping, day-time break-ins and theft, drug production and selling, prostitution, gang conflicts. It’s bounded by busy thoroughfares -- MLK to the East, Lombard to the South, Vancouver to the West, and to the North, the railroad, six tracks (some liken the boom and trundle to a heavy day at the coast).

But there is a great potential here -- new families, first homes, neighbors who step forward, at- tend meetings, and contribute their ideas and, most important, their participation. This transition is marked by newly planted trees, children biking, neighbors chatting – and now, a street graphic project.

Our design is simple, a rose (is a rose is a rose, thank you Gertrude) and the cardinal directions formed by leaves. And then there’s the dream: a community garden in an undeveloped street.

Robert Pirsig, in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, wrote about the difference between spectators and participants. Spectators are on the sidelines, watching. Participants are on the field, engaged. Spectators toss their Taco Bell wrappers in the gutter. Participants pick them up.

Our neighborhood is being occupied by participants. OCCUPY LOVELEIGH!

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