Let’s talk about the Eastside’s future!

Let’s talk about the Eastside’s future!

The Central Eastside is known for its unique mix of arts and industry, home to hundreds of artists and creative businesses. There are many discussions happening around the rapid growth and proposed changes to the neighborhood. Milagro (with facilitating help from former Metro chair Rex Burkholder) is leading and hosting conversations to ensure arts & culture as well as civic spaces are part of the future of our beloved neighborhood. How do art, culture and civic places figure into this future?

Join us on May 20th 5:30pm – 7:30pm, for the first of three conversations this summer, open to all interested in the future of the Central Eastside — creative workers, social organizations, residents, government officials, businesses, and community leaders. The session will focus on preparing a statement outlining community concerns, in preparation for the May 26th Planning & Sustainability Commission meeting and the July 1st Portland City Council meeting.

Recently Marketing Assistant Vicente Guzman-Orozco had the opportunity to ask Mr. Burkholder some questions about the project:

Vicente Guzman-Orozco: Give us the elevator pitch for this endeavor:

Rex Burkholder: Big
changes are coming to Portland and the Central Eastside is no exception
with thousands of new residents and workers expected in the coming
years. Home to many creative businesses and artists, the Central
Eastside plays a critical role in Portland’s economy and culture. As a
30-year cultural mainstay of the Central Eastside, Milagro Theater is
bringing together business, government, neighbors and creatives to ask:
what is the future of arts, culture and civic life in the Central
Eastside? How can we make sure that artists and creative business
continue to thrive here? What can be done to enhance the civic life of
this area?

VGO: What do you see as the primary challenges and opportunities in this process?

RB: Change
happens quickly, sometimes before we can respond effectively. The City
and its citizens are investing lots of time and energy in rewriting the
plan for the Central City but the needs arts and culture in the area are
missing (the focus is on zoning and transportation). These gatherings
are exciting because we have the opportunity to bring attention to the
incredible value of arts and creative businesses to the area and the
whole city as well as build alliances with business leaders and the
people of Portland.

VGO: What would you like to see as a reaction from folks that may not be directly involved in the discussions?

RB: We
know that people value arts and culture, and that they hunger for civic
spaces like libraries, plazas and pedestrian zones where they can meet
and participate in the life of the city. Our hope is that these
conversations will translate those desires into support for policies and
investments that will ensure that artists and creative workers will
continue to have a place to do their work and that the residents and
workers of the Central Eastside of the future will enjoy a livable,
vibrant and enriched community.  

The CEID Community Engagement Series is hosted by Milagro and facilitated by Rex Burkholder with support from SE Uplift and the
Office of Neighborhood Involvement. RSVP to 503-236-7253 or email Sarah for more information or if you’ll be attending.