Welcome! Login | Register
 

Chanel Fashion Designer Lagerfeld Passes Away at 85—Chanel Fashion Designer Lagerfeld Passes Away at 85

5 Questions On The Trail Blazers In The 2nd Half Of The Season Answered—5 Questions On The Trail Blazers In The…

Winterhawks Win Weekend With 3 & 3 Plus A Pair of Hat Tricks For Blichfeld—Winterhawks Win Weekend With 3 & 3 Plus…

Working Out With Kids—Working Out With Kids

Not All Emergencies Need a 911 Call – “Sunday Political Brunch” - February 17, 2019—Not All Emergencies Need a 911 Call –…

Seahawks’ Draft Prospects – Wide Receivers—Seahawks’ Draft Prospects – Wide Receivers

Anatomy Of A GOAT: Championships, Context, And David Foster Wallace’s ‘String Theory’—Anatomy Of A GOAT: Championships, Context, And David…

Fit for Life: Til Death do us Part—Fit for Life: Til Death do us Part

Can The Alliance Of American Football Find More Success Than The XFL?—Can The Alliance Of American Football Find More…

5 Questions On NBA All-Star Weekend Answered!—5 Questions On NBA All-Star Weekend Answered!

 
 

Can Alberta Street’s Last Thursday Be Stopped?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

 

Crowds gather at Last Thursday on Alberta Street

It started as Northeast’s working-class answer to the Pearl District’s bourgeois First Thursday. Galleries or businesses that showed art would open their doors in an attempt to bring artistic unity to the then-blighted neighborhood. 

Vendors, food carts and street performers would follow, while urban renewal transitioned Northeast Alberta Street from “the poor part of town” to the Alberta Arts District, home to commercial shops and pricy real estate.

Today, the district’s Last Thursday street festival draws close to 20,000 attendees, with tourists and out-of-towners rounding out the majority.

But trash left in residents’ yards, blocked driveways, and the party spilling beyond the designated 15-block zone, has turned long-time residents and businesses against a community event they once cherished. 

And most are not afraid to say it – they would like to see Last Thursday shut down for good.

“Nobody here likes it,” said Brian Cummings, a local artist who has lived off of Alberta Street since 2007. 

In the early years, Cummings loved going to Last Thursday every month to buy art and hang out with his neighbors. But the times have changed. 

“After the police come through and clear everything out and the vendors close, there’s still this huge group of drunk people who don’t live around here,” said Cummings. “I’ve seen kids walking on top of cars that were parked bumper to bumper.”

“It’s like Burning Man in someone’s small neighborhood,” he said. “It seems like this Last Thursday ordeal is kind of telltale for the way the city is going. So the question now shouldn’t be, do we stop this – but how do we stop it?”

Yet with no one really managing it, stopping a “word-of-mouth” event is a quagmire for the neighborhood.

Former Friends of Last Thursday

For 16 years, Last Thursday had been running with little city involvement. In 2011, Friends of Last Thursday, a group of community art supporters, formed a steering committee to try to wrangle the growing chaos of Last Thursday.

According to FoLT organizer, Maquette Reeverts, they came to Mayor Hales with a plan to keep the event free for all artists but create fees for non-art vendors to help pay for services. 

“It addressed safety and livability concerns,” said Reeverts. “The plan also included how to reduce street congestion, provide more parking areas, create paying jobs for our locals and other strategies for making Last Thursday a gem of Portland.” But they needed a small monthly stipend – $4,000 – to do so.

The city didn’t go for it, and in 2013 FoLT stepped down as the organizing body of Last Thursday. The former FoLT members now comprise a non-profit called Alberta Art Works, which continues to support local artists. 

“I personally believe the event could be brought, once again, back from the edge and made into that gem,” continued Reeverts. “I still have the playbook. But the money has always been the final issue.”

A bad neighbor

Like a hot potato, Last Thursday fell into the city’s lap two years ago, and they’ve been looking to pass it on ever since. 

Their primary focus is to return the street fair to a “manageable size.”

“As it gets smaller and a little better controlled, we believe we will find a third party that wants to take it over,” said Dana Haynes, communications director for Mayor Hales’ office. 

But since 2009, the city has spent close to $100,000 each summer on portable toilets, security, street barricades and a giant water hose to wash the streets clean at its 9 p.m. curfew.

In an effort to curb taxpayer dollars, the city is now providing services for only the months of June, July and August. 

During its last edition in May, however, the festivities took a tragic turn when a 16-year-old resident of Vancouver, WA discharged a firearm and shot three people. The mayor's office has maintained that the incident was not a symptom of Last Thursday, but an issue of gun violence as a whole.

“Last Thursday has not, historically for many years, been a good neighbor,” said Haynes. Complaints from residents have included loud music playing deep into the night, and attendees urinating, defecating and even fornicating on their lawns – and leaving used condoms behind.

In the event of a third party taking it over and deciding to shut it down, Haynes said, “We wouldn’t take any heroic efforts to try to save or resuscitate it. But we just don’t think that’s going to happen because it’s run for so many years and draws so many people from outside of Portland.”

But that’s just the problem, said Mairin, a bartender at Alberta’s The Hilt. 

“People from outside the neighborhood, or Portland even, come here, trash it and just leave.” 

Mairin points out the unfair fact that, because of Last Thursday, The Hilt and other bars are scrutinized by the fire marshal and the OLCC each month. It’s the reason The Hilt now closes during the street festival. 

The aggression from some attendees is also worrisome. A friend of Mairin’s was attacked when walking a girl home from Last Thursday, and had to get facial reconstruction from the incident. 

After living in the Alberta district since 2008, Mairin recently moved to another neighborhood. 

If someone passed her a petition to end Last Thursday, she would sign it. “I would like for it to be shut down,” she said. “I think the only people who support it are newer, larger businesses that don’t serve alcohol.”

“It’s not about the art anymore,” she continued. “No one even goes to the galleries. It’s just a street shit-show.” 

The people keep coming

But how does one stop – or even scale back – a street festival with no official organizer?

For Brook Balocca, a former member of FoLT, Last Thursday works well as a “micro economic booster… but it is a bit out of hand, and wrangling it back together will be tough for whoever – if anyone – steps up to take a whack at it.”

“Most events start from the ground up, and the rules and expectations are very clear,” continued Balocca. “Last Thursday is the opposite: powered by the people that attend, and beginning with no infrastructure or management to speak of, has created a difficult problem to solve now that it’s so large in size.”

That’s one point a former organizer and the mayor’s office can agree upon.

“If we tried to stop it tomorrow, we believe the same tens of thousands of people would show up anyhow,” said Haynes.

Melanie Sevcenko is a journalist for radio, print and online. She reports internationally for BBC World Service and Monocle Radio (M24) in the UK, and for Deutsche Welle in Germany. Melanie also reports for the online news source GoLocalPDX, in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been broadcast by CBC in Canada and the Northwest News Network, and published by Al Jazeera English, Global Post, Pacific Standard, the Toronto Star and USA Today, amongst others.

 

Related Slideshow: Portland’s 20 Hottest Neighborhoods for Real Estate

What are Portland’s hottest neighborhoods for real estate? The 20 neighborhoods below are ranked by the number of sold homes over the last 90 days. The information, along with the median list price and median price per square foot, comes from the real estate company Redfin. The population is from 2010 census data. 

The sale to list percentage, also from Redfin, is the final selling price over what the listed price was, to show how close sellers came to their asking price. In cases where it is over 100 percent, the seller got more than then listed price. 

Find out what the hottest real estate neighborhoods in Portland are: 

Prev Next

#20 (tied)

Wilkes  

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 34

Median List Price: $259,925

Median Price Per Square Foot: $143

Sale to List Percentage: 98.1%

Population: 8,775

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#19 (tied)

Rose City Park

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 34

Median List Price: $489,700

Median Price Per Square Foot: $287

Sale to List Percentage: 98.3%

Population: 8,982

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#18 (tied)

Richmond

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 34

Median List Price: $497,000

Median Price Per Square Foot: $345

Sale to List Percentage: 98.9%

Population: 11,607

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#17

Downtown

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 36

Median List Price: $394,500

Median Price Per Square Foot: $442

Sale to List Percentage: 97.5%

Population: 12,801

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#16 (tied)

Mount Tabor

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 38

Median List Price: $574,900

Median Price Per Square Foot: $356

Sale to List Percentage: 99.2%

Population: 10,162

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#15 (tied)

Cully

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 38

Median List Price: $235,000

Median Price Per Square Foot: $180

Sale to List Percentage: 100.3%

Population: 13,209

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#14 (tied)

Mount Scott-Arleta

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 39

Median List Price: $249,974

Median Price Per Square Foot: $178

Sale to List Percentage: 98.7%

Population: 7,397

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#13 (tied)

Concordia

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 39

Median List Price: $249,974

Median Price Per Square Foot: $178

Sale to List Percentage: 98.7%

Population: 9,550

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#12 (tied)

St. Johns

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 42

Median List Price: $234,925

Median Price Per Square Foot: $164

Sale to List Percentage: 97.6%

Population: 12,207

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#11 (tied)

Corbett

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 42

Median List Price: $574,950

Median Price Per Square Foot: $361

Sale to List Percentage: 98.2%

Population: 7,088

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#10

Portsmouth

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 43

Median List Price: $225,000

Median Price Per Square Foot: $172

Sale to List Percentage: 101.1%

Population: 9,789

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#9

Mount Scott

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 44

Median List Price: $274,700

Median Price Per Square Foot: $185

Sale to List Percentage: 97.8%

Population (Mount Scott-Arleta): 7,397

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#8

Centennial

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 50

Median List Price: $203,000

Median Price Per Square Foot: $153

Sale to List Percentage: 99.6%

Population: 23,662

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#7

Pearl

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 51

Median List Price: $500,000

Median Price Per Square Foot: $445

Sale to List Percentage: 98.9%

Population: 5,997

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#6

Beaumont

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 54

Median List Price: $699,900

Median Price Per Square Foot: $253

Sale to List Percentage: 101.3%

Population: 5,346

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#5

Hazelwood

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 56

Median List Price: $225,000

Median Price Per Square Foot: $166

Sale to List Percentage: 98.3%

Population: 23,462

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#4

Brentwood

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 58

Median List Price: $184,950

Median Price Per Square Foot: $161

Sale to List Percentage: 99.3%

Population (Brentwood-Darlington): 12,994

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#3

Powellhurst-Gilbert

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 67

Median List Price: $214,950

Median Price Per Square Foot: $164

Sale to List Percentage: 97.9%

Population: 30,639

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#2

Montavilla

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 67

Median List Price: $222,500

Median Price Per Square Foot: $201

Sale to List Percentage: 100%

Population: 16,287

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

Prev Next

#1

Brentwood-Darlington

# of Homes Sold Over the Last 90 Days: 81

Median List Price: $212,450

Median Price Per Square Foot: $178

Sale to List Percentage: 99.3%

Population: 12,994

Note: Sale to List Percentage shows how close the sale price was to the listed price.

 
 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

 
Delivered Free Every
Day to Your Inbox