Save the Good Old Houses: The 1989 Struggle in NW Portland November 18th

22 Oct

 

 

DID YOU MISS IT? YOU CAN HEAR IT ON KBOO’S ARCHIVES

 

Demolition Photo (Small)

Photo: David L. Minick

Nov. 18, 7pm
Architectural Heritage Center
701 SE Grand Ave., Portland, OR

Panel with five veterans of the 1989 struggle to save good old houses from the wrecking ball in NW Portland: Frank Dixson, Joleen Jensen-Classen, Rick Michaelson, Nancy Neswich & Ruth Roth

Always Free!
Join us

Can’t make it out on Tuesday? Listen live on KBOO 90.7 fm

From Eastmoreland, to Kenton, to Ladd’s Addition, to Northwest Portland, Portlanders are fighting to save good old houses and maintain the character of their neighborhoods–the City of Portland has called it a “demolition uproar.” Others call it a demolition epidemic.

As neighbors and neighborhood associations enter the fray, few are aware of a similar conflict in NW Portland and the events of May 23, 1989 when townhouse developer Philip J. Morford’s bulldozer attacked on NW Overton and twenty-three neighborhood residents were arrested when they put their bodies in the way.

Join History of Social Justice Organizing for this timely presentation on Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 7pm, at the Architectural Heritage Center, 701 SE Grand Ave., Portland. Free and open to the public.

The clash had been brewing for months; a hearing was scheduled for the next day with the Landmarks Commission when Morford sent in the bulldozers early in the day. They were quickly noticed, a call went out and a crowd of protestors arrived. A number sat down on one of the porch of a targeted house and were dragged away by police.

In the aftermath, the Northwest District Association (NADA) and a neighborhood negotiation committee managed to save a grand Overton house designed by Whidden Lewis to be saved on site and for two other houses to be moved nearby. A few years later, the Alphabet District (an area zoned for historic preservation extending roughly between NW 17th and 24th Avenues, and between W Burnside and NW Marshall Street) was approved by the Landmarks Commission and the Portland City Council.

The panel will feature five central participants in the struggle:

Nancy Nesewich, the leader of the grassroots movement to save the houses, was one of the first arrested that day.

Ruth Roth, the first to occupy the porch, was dragged off and arrested a few minutes later. At the time, she was chair of the NWDA Historic Resources Committee and spearheaded efforts to get the Overton Pettygrove houses declared historic landmarks.

As staff to the neighborhood association, Joleen Jensen-Classen coordinated the negotiation process.

Frank Dixon and Rick Michaelson were lead negotiators on the neighborhood negotiation team that reached the settlement.

More about the panel participants:

Frank Dixon, currently the State Chair of Democratic Party of Oregon, has lived in Portland since 1976. He practiced consumer law for fifteen years in state and federal courts. He started community organizing as a precinct committee person and neighborhood association leader. He’s served as chair or director of Neighbors West/ Northwest Coalition, Northwest District Association, Right to Pride PAC, Basic Rights Oregon and the Democratic Party of Oregon GLBT Caucus. He was also one of the founders of Veterans for Human Rights, an early LGBT war veterans group. Appointed to serve on numerous city and countywide commissions, Frank became the Portland City Commissioner’s staff liaison to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement in 1999.

Joleen Jensen-Classen has lived in NW Portland since 1981. In February of 1989 she became executive director of Neighbors West/NW the coalition office serving 10 NW and inner SW neighborhoods. In December of 1999 when she went to work for the Office of Neighborhood Involvement at the City of Portland. She worked for the Bureau of Environmental Services providing community outreach on the Westside Big Pipe project.  In November of 2005 she provided community outreach for the Portland Development Commission.  She currently is the Marketing Director for the NW Examiner Community Newspaper.

Nancy Nesewich had an initial career in law in Chicago before she moved to NW Portland in 1986 and began working as a coordinator of community and environmental projects. She became active in the NADA, where she learned of Morford’s plans to demolish a block of vintage houses in order to build a row of townhouses. In the 1990’s and thereafter, she ran several small businesses, including importing and wholesaling kilims and rugs from the Middle East and leading hiking tours in France.

Rick Michaelson’s career has been split between for-profit real estate development and volunteer work for governments and non-profit agencies in the fields of planning, community revitalization, housing, and historic preservation. He has provided civic leadership with over 20 years of service with the Portland Planning, Landmarks, and
Design Commissions. He is also an active board member of a number of historic preservation organizations. He has been actively involved in NW Portland since the 1970s and was one of the early participants in the residential and commercial revitalization of the area. He is responsible for the relocation and renovation of over fifteen NW houses slated for demolition. He is presently part of the team working to save the historic Bernard Goldsmith house on NW 24th.

Ruth Roth, a Portland native, has lived in the NW neighborhood for twenty-seven years. In 1989, when she heard the bulldozers were preparing to begin demolition, she rushed to the site and indignantly sat down on the front porch of one of the houses and refused to move despite entreaties by the Police. “My actions were fueled by pure fury,” she said later. She continues to support historic preservation efforts in northwest Portland and was one of the contributors to the fund that saved the Goldsmith house earlier this year.

For more than 25 years, the Architectural Heritage Center (AHC) has worked to preserve our shared built environment – from vintage homes, to landmark commercial buildings downtown, to churches and schools down the street. By building appreciation for this legacy through programs, tours, exhibits, and advocacy, the AHC demonstrates that historic preservation means economic development, is a foundation for good planning, and promotes cultural and environmental sustainability. The AHC is housed in the historic West’s Block, built in 1883, and located at 701 SE Grand Ave., Portland, OR 97214. Click here for more information.

SAVE THE GOOD OLD HOUSES

8 Oct

our next program

Nov. 18, 7pm
Architectural Heritage Center
701 SE Grand Ave., Portland, OR

Panel with five veterans of the 1989 struggle to save good old houses from the wrecking ball in NW Portland: Frank Dixson, Joleen Jensen-Classen, Rick Michaelson, Nancy Neswich & Ruth Roth

Always Free!
Join us

Can’t make it out on Tuesday? Listen live on KBOO 90.7 fm

UPCOMING PROGRAM: SAVE THE GOOD OLD HOUSES

4 Sep

Portlanders are protesting the demolition of good old houses in many parts of town; City Council is trying to figure out a response but few current Portland residents are aware that twenty-five years ago in Northwest Portland people were protesting, sitting in and getting arrested to save beautiful old houses from the wrecking ball.

Save the date: November 18th,  Tuesday at 7 pm for a conversation with five veterans of this struggle: Frank Dixon, Joleen Jensen-Classen, Rick Michaelson, Nancy Nesewich and Ruth Roth.

More info to come including the venue.

We’re coming back soon!

30 Jun

We ran into some roadblocks this Spring so put the series on hold but we’re back working on programs for Fall.

Please stay tuned!

History of Portland’s Gay Press on KBOO

4 Feb

 Tuesday , February 11th at 6 pm

  • 90.7 fm in Portland
  • 104.3 fm in Corvallis
  • 91.9 fm in Hood River
Image 7 Jan

flyer gay Press Panel longer_1

 

History of the Gay Press in Portland, a panel presentation examining the power of the LGBT press to inform and celebrate the LGBT community in Portland.

It will take place on Thursday, January 23 at 7pm in room 298 Smith Memorial Center at Portland State University, 1825 SW Broadway.

Positive coverage of LGBT issues and events was non-existent in Portland’s mass media until 1970 when the alternative paper, Willamette Bridge, began printing some articles. The next year, Oregon’s first specifically gay newspaper, The Fountain, was launched. Some Portland LGBT publications that followed included NW Gay Review, the Oregon Gay Rights Report, The Northwest Fountain, Cascade Voice, Rag Times, Just Out, Lavender Network and PQ Monthly. These publications and others helped organize Portland-area LGBT people in their attempts to build community, gain equality, counter anti-gay political measures, and respond to AIDS.

All our panelists were involved in one or more of the above publications.

Rupert Kinnard’s extensive career in publication design began with Just Out as one of the original staff members where he helped the publication win the National Gay Press Association award for best overall design in 1983. In 1996, while working as art director for the Skanner, Rupert won an award for best graphic and typographical excellence by the West Coast Black Journalist Association.

Renee LaChance covered lesbian events as the women’s editor for The Northwest Fountain and served as the editor of The Cascade Voice and was co-founder and publisher of Just Out. Pride Northwest has presented her with two awards: the 2000 Spirit of Pride Award and the Pioneer Award both for her work with Just Out.

Paula Nielsen served as a feature writer and columnist for the LGBT press from 1976 through most of the 1990’s.  Paula was Religion Editor for the NW Fountain, and also wrote feature news articles.  For the Cascade Voice, Eagle Newsmagazine, City Open Press, City Week, Oregon Gay News, and Alternative Connection, Paula wrote a column called “Thoughts From Paula”.

History of Social Justice Organizing is an ongoing series of presentations by activists and scholars on a wide variety of social justice organizing topics in Portland and elsewhere. The program is cosponsored by the Center for Women, Politics & Policy whose mission is to increase women’s leadership in public policy through targeted teaching and community service programs.

History of the Portland Gay Press, a panel

12 Dec

Thursday, January 23
7pm
298 Smith Memorial Center
Portland State University
1825  SW Broadway
FREE

Positive coverage of LGBT issues and events was non-existent in Portland’s press until 1970 when the alternative paper, Willamette Bridge, began printing some articles. The next year, The Fountain, Oregon’s first specifically gay newspaper, was launched, followed by a numerous other publications. They were instrumental in helping organize Portland-area LGBT people as they worked to build community, gain equality, counter anti-gay political measures, and respond to AIDS. All the panelists were involved with one or more of these important publications.

The Panelists:

Judith Barrington is a writer who, in the 70s and 80s was the first and only paid writer for A Woman’s Place Newsletter and then for Rag Times, which was put together by a collective of women. She wrote on feminist issues of all kinds and often used the research later to write columns on the same subjects that were published regularly in The Oregonian.

Rupert Kinnard’s extensive career in publication design began with Just Out as one of the original staff members where he helped the publication win the National Gay Press Association award for best overall design in 1983. In 1996, while working as art director for the Skanner, Rupert won an award for best graphic and typographical excellence by the West Coast Black Journalist Association.

Renee LaChance covered lesbian events as the women’s editor for The Northwest Fountain and served as the editor of The Cascade Voice and was co-founder and publisher of Just Out. Portland Northwest Pride has presented her with two awards: the 2000 Spirit of Pride Award and the Pioneer Award both for her work with Just Out.

Paula Nielsen served as a feature writer and columnist for the LGBT press from 1976 through most of the 1990’s.  Paula was Religion Editor for the NW Fountain, and also wrote feature news articles.  For the Cascade Voice, Eagle Newsmagazine, City Open Press, City Week, Oregon Gay News, and Alternative Connection, Paula wrote a column called “Thoughts From Paula”.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.