I’ve known about City Repair for years – been to a couple Earth Days, volunteered here and there and this year, worked with my Neighborhood Association to get a couple projects onto the drawing board and now into a school, intersection and park. This year’s building convergence is happening right now. It’s a lot of local projects, enthusiastic volunteers, and nightly celebrations of building community. The event’s headquarters are in the Disjecta building at 3rd and Burnside, just south of the bridge, and within are wonders. There’s a café that serves everyone yummy vegan food every night, an art gallery, yoga space, massage area, kids’ village, and many other stations making the two floors of the building seem more like village center. The atmosphere is celebratory and welcoming.
Last night’s program featured Starhawk who spoke about Herstory and then led us all in a beautiful spiral dance. There was also a woman who spoke about ecovillages she’s helping build in South Africa which also combat AIDS. The evening’s music topped everything off – the Mambo Queens and Jujuba got us all dancing.
I spoke to two women who’d traveled far to participate in the VBC. One from San Francisco said “I’ve always wanted to get involved in something like this in SF, but we don’t seem to have anything like it, really”. The woman from Brooklyn spoke of wanting to move here to be a part of this segment of the community-building revolution.
I’m writing to tell you about this because I believe it is something special. There is a movement in Portland and though it’s a bit under the MSM (mainstream media) radar, something important is being built. It’s more than just cob benches and pretty intersections – it seems to be about building a culture of community and care for one another. My dream is that City Repair would eventually get a portion of the PDC budget to do their work – imagine a million dollars, for starters, going to an organization that takes such care in the materials it uses and the way people treat one another. I think it’s worth the investment in alternative forms of building alone for them to receive a percentage of what’s going to the PDC.
There are a few nights left of speakers and entertainment. Rabbi Michael Lerner (Editor of Tikkun Magazine and one of the “founders” of the Jewish Renewal movement) is speaking tonight and you’ll find me in the front row. Also, the various projects around town are well underway and I challenge you to go and find the project closest to you and see what it’s about.
Kudos to City Repair – you make living in Portland that much greater! And thanks to all the great volunteers from far away and here at home - your work is making a big difference in our lives - thank you!
PS - this just in: news from Beaumont Wilshire's project - plug, plug, plug :) on the jump...
From: Billy Warlick
Date: May 24, 2007 10:10 AM
Subject: Beaumont-Wilshire Launch!!
Are y'all ready to dance?!
The paint has been selected, the plants are ready to move in, the
bioswale is mapped and YES, parks has given us the green light...
Beaumont-Wilshire Repair VBC7 is launching full force this Saturday! Here how:
Bioswale Installation- Saturday the 26th from 10am-4pm
We'll be doing the first stages of construction with direction
from Jeremy and Michael, our brilliant neighborhood landscape
architect and environmental engineer. We will have some supplies but
if you have any of the following, please bring:
Steel garden rakes
Art! in the Park- Saturday 1:00-4:00
Viewing/Idea exchange with our muralists Anna and Virginia
about the future mural to be painted inside the pavilion and plenty of
paint for YOU to use at your discretion (on paper and selves).
NE 37th and Shaver- Will be from 8am-8pm, with the goal of getting
most of the painting, planting and rock gardening happening from
POT LUCK- Bring some food to share and enjoy some delicacies from
local restaurants,ChaChaCha, Papa Murphy's, Alameda Brewhouse,
Parisi's, who are so graciously helping feed us. Remember to bring a
plate or bowl to minimize trash! Everyone is welcome to eat and share
Sunday will be dedicated to finishing touches.....
Everyone should bring:
-a water bottle- We will have water for you to fill, and re-fill, (we
did not invite throw-away cups but like those family members we all
have, they will probably show up and we'll have to accept them...)
-a plate/bowl and utensil- again, to minimize the eco-logical
footprint, minimize garbage!
-friends, family, pets, musical instruments, frisbees, solutions to
global warming, etc..............
Special appearances from: Fire Engine 14, local musicians and the
bright, shining sun.
...and have you checked out the evening events at disjecta? don't
miss out, City Repair has really done something special with that
look for updates at www.heyneighbor.info
See you Saturday!
By Albert Kaufman
May 24, 2007
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