Women of Portland

Name: Nickia D.

Neighborhood: Sunnyside

Occupation: Budtender

1. I have lived in Portland for a little over 3 years now. Originally from Kansas.

2. The thing I love most about Portland is that the culture of this city provides you the freedom to be whomever you want to be…so long as you are not causing harm to others.

3. The median rent for a one bedroom apartment just hit a baffling $1400/month…not to mention the Wapato jail sitting unused for 12 years in North Portland. I can only imagine the many benefits this facility could bring to the community if it could be approved as a homeless shelter/rehabilitation center. I would say one of the most pressing issues for Portland at the moment is clean, affordable housing for the city’s inhabitants.

4. The words that I live by come from the author Paolo Coelho: “We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”

Photo courtesy of Nickia D

* Interview originally posted on womenpdx tumblr.

Women of Portland

Name: Carrie L.

Neighborhood: North Portland

Profession: Owner & Operator of Combustible Media

1. How long have you lived in Portland and where are you from originally? I moved to Portland on July 1, 2005 from Salida, Colorado. I rolled into town mid-day driving a U-Haul and towing my car. I grew up in rural, isolated Northern Maine in a town of 400 people called Oakfield, near the Eastern Canadian border.

2. What do you like most about Portland? I like that people get outside rain or shine. In any degree of rain, people still go walking, hiking, running and biking. When I first moved here, it was a good lesson for me.

3. How do you think Portland could improve/ be a better place to live? I read an article in The Oregonian that our state ranks 41 in the country when it comes to education. Portland Public Schools’ graduation rate is one of the worst in Oregon for low-income students. Even though we have a city of vibrant interesting people, our city’s schools are mediocre. It is such a disappointment and an embarrassment.

4. What is your life motto or what words do you live by? It is fine to fall down, but make sure to get up. Don’t stay down, don’t give up on yourself. Life is tricky and you will get your share of bumps and bruises. It is what makes you resilient and to me it is what makes us interesting.

*Interview originally posted on womenpdx tumblr.

Women Talking About

“It cost me a lot to be who I am. I stood up in front of the world with my arms wide open and I said: Come, let’s talk. Let’s talk, night after night. And the world and me, we talked every night. Sometimes I was rejected. It cost me so much to be out front; I cried tears of blood.”

-Chavela Vargas, the grand dame of Mexican song

Women of Portland

Name: Mariko O. I usually go by “Mod” which my family calls me.

Neighborhood: Border of Mt. Tabor/Montavilla.

Profession: Licensed Clinical Social Worker

1. How long have you lived in Portland and where are you from originally?
We moved from Oakland exactly 3 years ago! This is always a tough question to answer. I’m a military brat so home was where we hung our hat–VA, CA, Japan, and NY. I’m not from anywhere but I do consider the east coast home.

2. What do you like most about Portland? So much! But I’d say the trees and flowers, the down-to-earth spirit, the spectrum of bars that allow me to have a high-brow cocktail one day and then drink beers with my preschooler running around in a pen another day. And so much good food.

3. How do you think Portland could improve/ be a better place to live?
I believe Portland the City could stand to have some individual therapy and explore these points: What is your identity? What meaning do you make of your relationships? How can you get along better with others? How do you stay happy? Civic leaders, teachers, merchants and neighbors need to talk about homelessness and the lack of access to mental health and social services, the crux of retaining the quirkiness of Portland while accepting newcomers who bring in more growth, and how to bridge the widening socioeconomic gap.

I also think this city would be a whole lot better if everyone took a “how to merge on the freeway” course. That would make this city smooth like butter (likely organic and grass-fed butter).

4. What is your life motto or what words do you live by? Fish or cut bait. This pretty much sums up how I’ve lived my life. Stay until I get restless, then pack up, move along and follow my gut. Or stay. But don’t idle mindlessly.

* Interview reprinted from womenpdx tumblr.

Imagining the civic self: architecture and public art in Cleveland

Mirror panels reflecting Cleveland Public Auditorium

The interplay between Cleveland’s architecture and public art serves as a striking and ever adapting chronicle of the city’s history and ambitions. Like many great American cities, Cleveland was an industrial titan, experienced White flight, and is now being “rediscovered” by the children and grandchildren of those who abandoned the city for a suburban ideal.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

As more people are drawn back to the city center, they will finally experience its deep beauty. Downtown Cleveland’s distinctive cityscape is defined by a cornucopia of styles: Beaux Arts buildings, corporate glass palaces of late 20th century vintage, and the wacky modernist architecture of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“Free Stamp” by Coosje van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburg

The city’s public art is an inventive and dynamic compliment to its downtown architecture. “Free Stamp” at Willard Park anchors Cleveland’s public art as both historically resonant and forward thinking. The piece references Ohio’s status as a Union state in the Civil War by way of giant pop art sculpture. Newer works like the mirror panels at the Huntington Convention Center literally reflect the Cleveland Public Auditorium, a significant city landmark.

View of downtown Cleveland

A city’s architecture and public art help shape a community’s understanding of itself and the image it seeks to portray to the world. Downtown Cleveland is rich ground for exploration and scholarship.