Uneveness and Poverty: Who Will Lead the Way?

These days, there’s little debate about the fact that we live in a region where opportunity, need and community capacity are unevenly distributed. The Coalition for a Livable Future’s Opportunity Maps 2.0 do a fine job of both documenting this and providing a tool to explore the quantitative dimensions of unevenness. 

To complement the Atlas, CLF recently unveiled a new resource that depicts the qualitative dimensions of unevenness. Equity Stories is a treasure trove of videos, photographs and personal stories created by people who don’t fully share in the Portland region’s bounty and opportunities. To create it, CLF partnered with twelve community-based organizations in the region, a photographer and a videographer to capture words and images of people and places at the fringe.

Where do we go from here? Addressing unevenness in need and community capacity doesn’t have to mean sameness. I believe that some of the best solutions grow organically from the underlying cultures, values and rhythm of life in the places where they are rooted, sometimes with the aid of outside advocacy, inspiration and resources. 

The stage is set for thoughtful discussions about how our region might respond to these conditions.  Who will lead the way?  


Posted on January 7, 2014 .

Noticing Overlooked Artifacts


Yesterday I spotted this mosaic in the entrance of a vacant storefront near NE 7th and Knott in Portland. It stopped me in my tracks and made me wonder about who created it, what that person intended to communicate, and what business was inside. 

Who among us hasn’t had a moment like this, when an unexpected glimpse of some odd artifact invites us to pause, pay attention, and reflect about the overlooked, the forgotten?

And so this idiosyncratic image, and the response it evoked, captures the intention of this blog:  to catch readers in the flow of their day and provide a moment to reflect and connect with ideas, people and places outside the mainstream. Most posts will be practical and have links to resources or information. A few may be provocative. And a few may pose questions to what I hope will become a growing community of people who share a passion for honoring people and places at the fringe.

Posted on December 17, 2013 .