A brief tour of Brentwood-Darlington

by ANDREW WILKINS 

I love neighborhoods. The way the people create spaces— streets, parks, residences, schools— and those spaces create people, and community.

And whether you’re new to Brentwood-Darlington, or have lived here your entire life, I hope you can find something to appreciate in my tour of the neighborhood.

Deep roots and long memories… new energy and fresh eyes… I think everyone has something to bring to the effort to better their neighborhood.

Village Portland wants to have a news site for every neighborhood, because we think every neighborhood has their own unique issues and deserves their own voice… a place to tell their own stories, celebrate their victories, and work out their own challenges.

I started Village Portland in Montavilla, where I live, and expanded to Lents last summer. I’ve done a lot of the reporting myself, but one of the most rewarding part of this has been empowering neighbors to tell their own stories.

The goal is to see every neighborhood to have a paid part-time organizer / reporter to tell the bigger stories and organize citizen reporters, but at this point the bulk of the burden lies with me and the citizen reporters I can bring on.

We’re all citizen reporters. We all have a story to tell, and ma of us have a camera in our pocket. Some of the stories are already being told on social media, of course, but I think there are more to be heard. Some people are natural reporters, natural story tellers, but others need help with gathering their thoughts, posting their stories online, technical skills like video editing— or just simply encouragement and empowerment.

We’ve already helped many neighbors tell their story to their neighbors, and there’s a lot more coming soon.

At the annual Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association election in early May 2018, most of the board was enthusiastically re-elected. There’s a strong core of neighbors committed to help, and the meeting was a great opportunity to hear about all the good work the board has been doing.

Issues like education, public safety, transportation infrastructure, environmental issues, and more have been the focus of the BDNA and their allies. I filmed the election, and you can see the presentations below.

These initiatives are the kind of work that I want to spotlight and celebrate, and I would love to have your help.

For one, people deserved to be thanked for their work, and perhaps more importantly: we need more people to get involved. If there’s one thing I’ve seen in every neighborhood, it’s that a small group of passionate people are doing the majority of the work. Not everyone has the time to spare, but I think public service should be a goal everyone should strive for.

This began as an introduction, but has gotten a bit deep… so back to the tour.

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I rode down the 205 Multi-Use Path from Glisan St, and started the tour up by 82nd Ave and Duke St.

It’s about a block outside the neighborhood boundary, but I had a good feeling about Chinese Delicacy (6411 82nd Ave) so I went in for lunch.

The people running the restaurant were super nice, and for $6.50 that’s a heroically large portion of vegis and tofu.

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Heading south on my bike, I passed a Plaid Pantry, Auto Zone, and plenty of car lots and mechanics. I was glad to see curb cuts along 82nd Ave, and the pedestrian crossing island at Cooper St.

Happy Teriyaki looks nice, and Mt. Scott Flowers and Yard Sticks Furniture look like solid local businesses. A Les Schwab Tire Center in the neighborhood is a good asset.

Amigos Del Sol, at the intersection of 82nd and SE Flavel, also looks awesome. How could it be bad with a color scheme like this?

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Amigos is one of five Mexican / Latin restaurants in Brentwood-Darlington. I met a film making duo who focus on tacos… and there’s talk of them featuring all the local neighborhood options. They’re pretty funny dudes, and I hope we can connect with them, as well as other creative people in Portland.

Here’s one of their videos:

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As we continue south, there are a few bars, motels, industrial / service providers, and a Progressive Insurance service center.

Down by the Springwater Corridor, is the excellent Cartlandia. There’s a bar, outdoor seating, and 32 food carts…

Food cart pods are great because because you can try a lot of different things, and it’s also great because it gives entrepreneurs a first step into the food business without the huge monetary investment a full-size restaurant.

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I rode west into the neighborhood, and it quickly turned from busy industrial 82nd industrial to what seemed like a nice quiet area. Harney City Park was a great little park, I ran across this cool little tiny library:

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Along the southern border of the neighborhood is SE Clatsop St. The street swings north to Harney St where the density drops, and the area feels almost rural. Then in the southwest corner of the neighborhood, there’s a cluster of what looks to be industrial and manufacturing companies— including Precision Castparts.

This Oregonian article has some good analysis of new Oregon pollution law, including how it would impact Precision Castparts. The Oregonian found the metal fabrication company has the second-highest risk factor for cancer in the city, and that the new pollution law will provide more information, but won’t force emission reduction.

Just across the street, is Errol Heights City Park. The City is planning $5 million in improvements, including better trails, a play areas, and bathrooms. It’s unfortunate that the park is so near Precision Castparts, but it still is very beautiful.

The hill going north on 45th Ave is long and steep and definitely no joke.

On 52nd Ave, I’d been to Mehri’s Cafe and Bakery with Chelsea Powers of BNDA before, and it was lovely. They have a nice breakfast, pastries, Persian cuisine, and wonderfully strong coffee.

I look forward to visiting Misdemeanor Meadows, I hear they’ve made a lot of changes to the business and are hosting live bands now.

Had a Blizzard at Dairy Queen, cruised through Brentwood Park, and visited my friend who works with Portland ReLeaf. Portland Public SchoolsCommunity Transition Project looks interesting, and has a lot of growing space right near Brentwood Park.

I know I missed a lot, but I enjoyed my afternoon and look forward to getting to know the people, places, and communities of Brentwood-Darlington. Thank you for reading, let me know if you’d like to show me your life or your favorite things about the neighborhood.

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