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Clarence Eckerson

A Portland Neighborhood Reclaims its Streets

1:22 PM EDT on May 25, 2007

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 Convergencein Portland, Oregon where hundreds of neighbors, students, andvolunteers are taking back their streets to make them more livable, andcommunity-oriented. Of the dozens of seminars, celebrations andbuilding projects going on, StreetFilms loves the Intersection Repair.

AnIntersection Repair usually involves painting an intersection with anelaborate design that creates a community gathering space and hopefullycajoles drivers to slow down; to give them a signal that they areentering a neighborhood. But it goes far beyond the paint on theasphalt as neighbors at some locations further enhance the experienceover time by adding benches, establishing community bulletin boards,introducing gardens & art, etc. - all of which entice neighborsinteract more and care about the commons outside their homes.

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

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