Sunday, August 03, 2014

NE 12th & Beech

Here's another of Portland's painted intersections, in the Sabin neighborhood at NE 12th & Beech. It's supposed to be part of a larger "Beech St. Project", which this year's Village Building Convergence guide describes as:

Our goal is a super community-friendly, gorgeous, interactive, happy space for moseying and chatting with neighbors. Including: two intersection paintings, three little libraries, filling several curbstrips with beautiful pollinator attracting plants, and an urbanite bench. We are planning to have lots of fun working together, so come by and join in. This is a Fly Awake PDX project, with support from: Whole Foods, Advantis Credit Union, Albina Library, Beanstalk, Papa Murphy’s, Nature’s Needs, Caffé Destino, Acadia, Hankins Hardware, Ticket PDX, Irvington Veterinary Clinic, and, of course, our awesome neighbors, City Repair and, all you, the volunteers!

So this is a bit more ambitious than your average intersection repair thing, where people have an annual block party, meet their neighbors, paint (or repaint) a single intersection, and call it good. I don't want to snipe at people for being way more ambitious and energetic than I am, but multiple intersections, multiple library boxes and more just seems like overdoing it a bit, if you ask me.

But maybe this project's raising the bar for everyone else around town. Maybe by this time next year you'll get sneered at if you don't have a high-concept multiblock project in the works, and the other cooler neighborhoods will laugh and kick sand, er, organic compost on you. A couple of years after that, you'll need to hire professional painters and landscapers, because nobody has time for all that volunteering, and to pay them you might need to work some advertising into your intersection design, or sign the little libraries up as Amazon affiliates or something. Then local tech companies and such join the craze, painting the intersections outside their offices as a cool Portlandy team building thing, and everyone gets a polo shirt and commutes back home to Tualatin afterward.

Ok, no, I'm getting silly here, that's probably not going to happen, or most of it probably won't. The tech company part is bound to happen sooner or later, though. My company would probably have done one already if we weren't right downtown on a busy street. Speaking of which, although we may be up to a couple of dozen painted intersections now, as far as I know there are still zero anywhere on the Westside, not even near 23rd or in Multnomah Village. I probably ought to have a glib sociological theory about why that is, but I don't have one yet.

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