Theaster Gates: How to revive a neighbourhood: with imagination, beauty and art

Resounding Power

A really interesting and engaging talk by Theaster Gates about how he transformed neighbourhoods in his home of South Chicago. It is hugely inspiring to see the outcomes of his vast project and hear his bold end-goal idea.

“At every point, there were things I didn’t know that I needed to learn”

I was reminded that we can have huge goals and sometimes see them as so far out of reach that we stop moving towards them. By breaking our goals into small, manageable steps, we can get there.

“How to start with what you got”

He truly embraces the concept of rebirth. He has the ability to see what others may see as a negative as potential for great change and works to transform and renew.

Theaster Gates, a potter by training and a social activist by calling, wanted to do something about the sorry state of his neighborhood…

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Up-and-coming Cully

Homing in on Portland

(Portland Modern Home Tour) (Portland Modern Home Tour)

Northeast Portland’s Cully was in the spotlight for two reasons last week. The neighborhood received a grant of half a million dollars from the federal government to develop a 25-acre park on a former landfill. And a new home on NE Wygant was among 8 featured in the April 25 Modern Home Tour.

The two events may seem unrelated. But they are part of a larger trend. If this large, diverse and historically low-income neighborhood were a stock, analysts would surely give it a “buy” rating.

Three census tracts covering most of Cully were gentrified between 2000 and 2015, according to research profiled in this blog on February 26.

As its desirability grows, the neighborhood has attracted new investment and in-fill like the home on Wygant. The 2,800+ square foot property resembles a Craftsman on the outside, but its interior space offers high-quality modern…

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Up Close and Personal: Angela Kremer

Eliot Neighborhood

Angela Kremer at her Victorian house Angela Kremer at her Victorian house

“It’s a work in progress,” Angela Kremer says of the interior paint of her home. Like many residents of Eliot she and her husband chose the location in part because of its affordability relative to other close-in Portland neighborhoods. She spotted the three bedroom Victorian house on the corner of Rodney and Hancock in 1998 when she was riding by on her bike. “It needed a lot of work, but I just fell in love with it. It really appealed to me to fix it up and make it something that people could enjoy from the outside.”

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Portland Housing Update. Are things OK?

Oregon Office of Economic Analysis

The Portland Business Journal ran a special edition on residential real estate in last week’s print edition. I was asked for my thoughts on the market, which are similar to our previous work, and reproduced below. If you can get a copy, there are additional comments and insights from local economists and housing industry experts.

First, prices are booming and and the median sale price, as reported by RMLS, is effectively back to an all-time high. Rents have never been higher. However these gains are driven by the fact that housing demand and household formation have returned to normal but the number of homes for sale or rent, both existing and new, have not. From this high level perspective it’s simple supply and demand. Demand is up considerably from the depths of the Great Recession while housing inventory is not. That’s a clear recipe for rising prices.


While new construction…

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Job Growth Across Oregon

Oregon Office of Economic Analysis

What follows is a mostly graphical update on the landscape of jobs across Oregon. As mentioned in the previous post on the state more broadly, Oregon is near full-throttle rates of growth. This acceleration has largely come from the pick-up in the state’s second tier metros — Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Medford and Salem — all of which are growing at good to excellent rates today.

Of course Portland, and the Columbia Gorge, turned the corner first and regained their recessionary lost jobs ahead of other areas. But these second tier metros are now not far behind. Nonmetro, or rural, Oregon has likewise seen big improvements. While rural Oregon is now growing about as fast as it did during the housing boom, effectively 2 percent, it is still digging out from the Great Recession.

ORMetroNonmetro215On an individual county basis, the share adding jobs at all and at various strengths of growth…

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