Tuesday, August 28, 2007

gentrification marches on

your loyal correspondant has just returned from a week home with mom in Stumptown, and is sad to report the demise of another Portland institution. When I was just a wee youth, one place to go to casue trouble was NW 23rd Street. 23rd was the place where the kookiness and offbeat weirdness that made Portland, Portland flourished, just blocks from downtown. Sandwiched between a hospital, the east face of Council Crest, Burnside and a bunch of aging Victorians, 23rd had character. There was no need for a campaign to "Keep Portland Weird", it already was. everything on the street was local, from Coffee People to Escape from New York, to drinking coffee all night and smoking cloves at Rose's Deli. And this is what passed for yuppie, in the old days of PDX. We didn't have any Starbucks (seriously, in 1980, Starbucks and Coffee People split the Northwest, in what I am sure would be an illegal gentleman's agreement, Starbucks got Washington and Coffee People got Portland)

anyway, 15 years on, Coffee People is gone (a starbucks, of course) Escape is a boutique, Rose's is a f*#$ing Subway, and now, as of August 31, the anchor of the North Side of Nob Hill (the fact it is now "Nob Hill" is bad enough) the place that provided the soundtrack to our lives, Music Millenium, is falling to yuppies. MM was an independant place, the size of a Tower Records, that had been bringing music to Portland for 30 years, if you came to Portland, and you had any credibility, you stopped in at MM, Jazz, classical, blues, hiphop, grunge, hippie jam bands, everyone made their pilgrimage. And now it is gone. along with all the stuff that made 23rd an interesting place to be. the only remaining holdover is the great desserts from Pape Hayden's. But at least there is an Urban Outfitters...