I nabbed this article from the Oregonian. It is about my neighborhood. Our house is 1 block off of Division Street and within walking distance of some of the best restaurants imaginable! I do not agree with the article about the hood loosing its charm, however. We welcome and embrace these new developments. They’re awesome! We love the transformation our neighborhood is taking!
Portland’s SE Division Street named one of top 10 up-and-coming neighborhoods nationwide
Southeast Division Street’s restaurant scene has once again received national accolade.
USA Today named the Southeast Portland district one of the top 10 up-and-coming neighborhoods in the nation.
“Southeast Portland’s Division Street has been slowly evolving into Portland’s hottest food neighborhood for more than 10 years, led by now legendary pioneers Pok Pok and Stumptown Coffee,” Leif Pettersen writes for the national outlet.
While few are likely to argue with the street’s culinary merit, nearby residents frequently lament rapid and perhaps less-than-cohesive development.
Heather Flint Chatto, an urban planner and member of the Richmond Neighborhood Association said the street is losing its neighborhood feel as a result of that up-and-coming status.
“These new big buildings are all like, ‘Look at me!’ and they could be anywhere,” she said. “They draw a lot of attention to themselves to the detriment of the district.”
In response to the multitude of new apartment and commercial buildings, Flint Chatto is leading the Division Design Initiative, a neighbor-led effort to establish a set of design guidelines for development on the street.
The committee doesn’t have the authority to impose design standards, but Flint Chatto said there is still value in creating a vision. Most neighbors don’t know how to talk with developers about design, she said, so one of the committee’s goals is to produce a booklet or similar tool residents can use to send a consistent message.
The project is still in the early stages of public involvement. Next month large installations shaped like recognizable icons (such as a heart, light bulb or thought bubble) will appear along the street with opportunities for passersby to answer simple questions about the street’s design.
You can help shape the committee’s design recommendations now by taking their survey, designed by a Portland State University student. Also, keep an eye out next month for those installations when you’re on the street grabbing an award-winning dinner.
— Melissa Binder