A Portland Neighborhood Reclaims its Streets

Streetfilms‘ Clarence Eckerson was in Portland recently where he caught up with a neighborhood "Intersection Repair" project.

New York City will experience a similar community-driven street reclamation project later this summer. A number of groups will be coming out to repair the Brooklyn intersection where a 4-year-old boy was run over and killed by the driver of a Hummer in February. Stay tuned for more information about what is sure to be a landmark Livable Streets project.

In the meantime, here is Clarence’s correspondence from Portland:

Just returned from City Repair’s 7th Annual Village Building Convergence
in Portland, Oregon where hundreds of neighbors, students, and
volunteers are taking back their streets to make them more livable, and
community-oriented. Of the dozens of seminars, celebrations and
building projects going on, StreetFilms loves the Intersection Repair.

An
Intersection Repair usually involves painting an intersection with an
elaborate design that creates a community gathering space and hopefully
cajoles drivers to slow down; to give them a signal that they are
entering a neighborhood.
But it goes far beyond the paint on the
asphalt as neighbors at some locations further enhance the experience
over time by adding benches, establishing community bulletin boards,
introducing gardens & art, etc. – all of which entice neighbors
interact more and care about the commons outside their homes.

When City Repair
first attempted some of these events many years ago, the Portland
Office of Transportation (PDOT) did not sancation it. Undaunted,
communities went ahead and did them anyway! Thankfully, today times
have changed: PDOT has an official liasion to City Repair who helps
coordinate permitting and street closures and also oversees some of the
design standards.
Yup, there is a StreetFilm in the works that may post by the end of the week, but for now enjoy the photos.

  • Not to get all misty, but this is exactly the kind of Streetsblog post that gets me fired up to agitate for change in my little slice of tarmac-covered heaven.

    The creativity. The sensibility. The humanity.

  • Lars

    And these sections of Portland may look remote, but actually much of these neighborhoods are akin to alot of places in Queens and Brooklyn, maybe not Manhattan but could easily be done here.

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