Wednesday, April 30, 2008

neighborhood distinguished

wednesday 4/30
windows and yards as exhibition areas. residents as curators. this was our task today- to go out seeking something interesting or out of the ordinary that is on display in residential yards/windows/porches. we were then to find out its significance. harrell began by bringing us to the yard sculptures that ultimately got him his house...

jodi and i went off in search of a giant lego we saw in a previous excursion. We found the lego but nobody was home, so we were unable to find out any more details about it's significance. we found some other interesting things as well, but nobody seemed to be home. so we will try again later.

Monday, April 28, 2008

rain or shine

wednesday 4/23 was a stormy windy day and we ventured out to explore something specific in the neighborhood and find out about it from some potentially different perspectives. In our curious nature, we headed for the mysterious Arthur Cole Candy Co. to see what we could find out. It was pretty quiet outside the building and there was no answer when we knocked on the door of the warehouse. Across the street a barbershop (that has been in the neighborhood for about 10 years) suggested we knock on the large garage doors. So we tried again and this time the door opened. I'm not sure if this was just a coincidence or if they were actually responding to us but we nonetheless made contact. We spoke with Walt, the son of Arthur Cole, who told us that they were a distributor of wholesale goods. It was a little disappointing as I had hoped to see the exciting inner-workings of a candy factory, but Walt was very nice and had some interesting things to say about the community. Basically he mentioned the same changes that most speak of in the neighborhood, but added that the good thing now is the measure of security with the improvements in the last few years. His company has been in business since 1948 and has been working from this 14th & Alberta location for about 20 years.

Saturday 4/26
I returned to Alberta yesterday afternoon and it was a beautiful day. There were quite a few people out wandering around, in and out of shops and restaurants, sitting on patios and enjoying the sunshine. I was actually surprised that it was not busier out as it was a weekend day and sunny. Compared to our normal Wednesday excursions (which have mostly been on gray drizzly days) there were definitely more people on the streets. I imagine the weekends bring a lot more business to the neighborhood but this will be something to further look into.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


on this wednesday morning we split up into pairs and walked up the street with intent to meet some local business owners or employees willing to talk with our class about their experience in the neighborhood. It was nice that most of the local shops seemed more than happy to welcome us and speak with us. Erica, the owner of Garnish, told us of the Alberta Business Association which covers issues such as street maintenance and safety. She was very enthusiastic about the community and had the attitude of "the more the merrier."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

2 minutes with a book

ever tried to get as much as you could from a book in only two minutes?
This is what we did in class yesterday and it created a very interesting take on how I look at books. All the books were very different and were meant to have some connection to a means of documenting somewhere, someone, something. With some of the books I found myself so fascinated I didn't want to give it up after two minutes had passed and with others I didn't have time to become very intrigued. The content and imagery also brought out a range of reactions in me.
I think it would be fun to try this in a bookstore. Allow a certain amount of time, 30 minutes, an hour? and spend 2 minutes with every book you pick up- no more and no less. Try it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

crime mapper

I decided to look at some crime statistics for this neighborhood and found that larceny and burglary are the most common crimes committed in the area (within the previous 12 months).
A key for this grid:
orange triangle-arson
red triangle-homicide
blue triangle-larceny
orange square-assault
grey circle-robbery/vehicle theft
green circle-burglary

More detailed information can be found at Just type in a location and click on the crime link.

Monday, April 7, 2008

be curious

Day 1-researching the NE 15th & Alberta neighborhood

Today brought out a new kind of exploring in the task of approaching complete strangers in order to begin to delve into and document the neighborhood. It goes to show how easy it really can be to learn something new. Jodi, Ally, and I spoke to some City of Portland crew members who were working on a sewer line. They told us of a field day that happens once a year when anyone can go out with a crew for the day. This would allow citizens to get a closer look at the inner workings of city crews. If interested, the number to call is (503) 823 1700.