The situation with Providence and its seemly endless expansion hangs like a constant dark cloud over our neighborhood. Laurelhurst is our home, it’s the neighborhood where anyone would dream of raising kids and growing old. It’s the neighborhood where my husband and I have raised our family.
I have attended only one meeting at Providence and the arrogance and aloofness that the Providence administration conveyed frustrated me so much I walked out. My husband attended another meeting and returned home disappointed and angry. Neighborly? No, more like an overgrown bully.
What really helped me realize the full impact of the decades of Providence’s growth was delivering flyers door-to-door inviting our neighbors to the Providence Good Neighbors website and listening to story after story about the butcher shop, the hardware store, a credit union and other small businesses that used to line Glisan. All gone to make space for Providence to grow!
After this many years, there is a defeated population in this neighborhood that does not trust Providence or the City to step up and address the concerns of the people who actually live here. No one has responded when we’ve shared our fears in the past and neighbors know they will continue to be unheard.
As a teacher, I see plenty of bullying and I tell my students to speak up, be heard, take a stand for what is right and fair for all. Should I change my lesson plans and tell my students they are powerless to influence any decisions made by large corporations or the City of Portland even when those decisions have a negative effect on the quality of life in their neighborhoods? No. After more than 30 years of teaching, to sit passively by is not an option for me.
On Wednesday, April 25th, I will walk to the MAX station, travel downtown, attend the meeting, even if my neighbors who testify are not heard. I will follow the lessons I teach my students and support my neighbors who have lost so much.
Sarah Arrington, residing at 43rd Avenue for 25 years