Welcome to Village Portland

Welcome to Village Portland, neighborhood news & actions in East Portland.

We’re here to bridge the gap between news & civic participation… and to encourage folks get involved with their community and support their neighbors. There are a million voices fighting for your attention, but we want to help you connect with your village, your neighborhood… where your power to connect and make change is the strongest.

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Read more about how to get involved and promote your business or organization below, or you’re an organizer or writer interested in bringing a Village Portland to your neighborhood, contact Andrew Wilkins, Publisher & Editor:

andrewtaylorwilkins@gmail.com

Read more…

What makes a home?

What influenced me to gather a group of radical idealists to work on creating an inclusive Portland

By JULIANNA ROBIDOUX

I believe in the radical notion that housing is a human right, and that everyone deserves a place to call home no matter their social class or background.

Since I moved to Portland in 2013, the cost of housing has increased and the impact of gentrification has spread. The socioeconomic implications of this led me to write my honors senior thesis on the experience of the Eastern African immigrant population here. All of this has led me to my current project— Rose City Residential— a media project about housing issues in Portland.

I’m a young professional from the East Coast living in Portland. I’ll admit I’m part of the reason its population has steadily increased, and as a result, so many luxury high rises and often harmful urban renewal projects fill the landscape.

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Going door-to-door as an enumerator for the 2020 Census underscored the disparity of the quality of housing available to people based on their incomes. I’ve been to affordable housing units where absentee landlords have neglected to maintain the property for their own objectives, forcing their tenants out onto the street.

I’ve been to 26-story luxury high-rises that have so many empty units it’s truly mind-boggling how we could simultaneously have such a high houseless population.

With the defunding of Section 8 over the last several decades and recent cuts to other public housing programs— not to mention the impact of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic— affordable housing is in higher demand and less accessible than ever.

The concept of home

What comes to mind when you hear the word “home”? By definition, the term is pretty broad. Merriam-Webster offers six definitions for the noun including: “one’s place of residence”, “the social unit formed by a family living together”, “a familiar or usual setting: congenial environment”, and “a place of origin”.

For a long time the term “homeless” was used to describe anyone without an official address to call their own. Now, the more PC term is “houseless”, because, as Kimberly Hunt puts it in a blog post on the non-profit, Do Good Multnomah’s website, “ … a house is just a place. It is simply a physical space that they currently do not have”.

Having moved from my hometown to a different state with my family at the age of seven, the concept of home has always been a little ambiguous in my mind. In 2001, when my mom got a job as a night-time news reporter at a well-known newspaper in Manchester, New Hampshire, my parents packed up our minivan and drove me and my older brother Bill six hours north of our home in Levittown, Pennsylvania to start a new life.

While 320 miles might not sound far, it felt like light years away from everything I knew as a young kid. In my hometown my mom was a well-known lifestyle columnist for the Bucks County Courier Times, the local newspaper everyone had delivered to their doorsteps each morning. She was so well-known that people would often recognize her and stop us on the street to tell her how much they related to her columns. Our roots within the community of Levittown could not have gone any deeper or spread any further.

After we moved to an apartment complex in Nashua, New Hampshire my concept of home quickly readjusted from being the place where everyone I knew and loved in the world was, to the place where my immediate family was— Mom, Dad, and Bill. That first year in New Hampshire taught me how to make new friends and adapt to a new environment.

Once my parents found a house within their budget we moved to Manchester, where my mom’s job was. Whereas our apartment complex in Nashua was made up of more low-income families and immigrants, the tight-knit community we found in Manchester was one of families that go back generations. Although I found my footing once more, I never fully felt like I fit in.

As a result, most of my friends were other outsiders; that’s where I found my new home. My identity as an outsider is also where my interest in creating an inclusive community stems from.

Changing landscapes

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

After living and traveling abroad for a while post-high school, I landed in Portland. I worked as an AmeriCorps member in an elementary school in Hillsboro to gain residency in Oregon before starting college. It was during AmeriCorps that I met my friend Rahel, a fellow team member whose family came to Portland in the 1990s as refugees fleeing civil war in Ethiopia.

Rahel and I have remained friends over the years. One of her super powers is finding the hippest brunch spots that Portland has to offer. It was one sunny Sunday afternoon when we went to a particularly trendy spot on Alberta Street in Northeast Portland that stuck with me. Rahel, a former resident of the neighborhood, made a sweeping hand motion and informed me that the entire street looked completely different just a few years before.

Rahel explained that while it was difficult for her family to constantly move over the years, their experience pales in comparison to that of the Black community in Northeast Portland that has been historically redlined and displaced.

This trendy urban landscape of yoga studios and smoothie shops had caused the rent to steadily increase, pushing her family further and further out, until they finally settled in Gresham where they reside now.

Seeing firsthand how Portland has slowly transformed over the years coupled with hearing Rahel’s perspective on Portland’s ever-changing landscape was the catalyst for my focus on gentrification and displacement.

Redefining home

Is it true what they say: that home is where the heart is? Or is home simply a place where you rest your head at night? Is home a tangible place or is it more of a feeling? Is it a group of people— a so-called social unit formed by a family living together, like Merriam-Webster describes it? Or a group of friends, roommates, or the broader community within the town in which you live?

I believe a city should be designed to be a place for all to call home— longtime residents, newcomers, low-income, and high-income renters alike; immigrants and refugees, people experiencing houselessness, people with means and those without. I believe the City of Portland has failed to keep this sentiment in mind when planning and designing our urban landscape.

That’s why I’ve assembled a ragtag team of local journalists, academics, and urban policy nerds who want to redefine what makes a home here in Portland for those who have been historically underrepresented, including low-income renters, queer folks, people of color, and the Black community.

We’re looking for more writers and community members to share their housing and gentrification-related stories with us. If you have a story to share or know someone who does, please let us know! We want to amplify the various individual voices that make up our city.

I hope you follow along on our journey here at Village Portland as we publish Rose City Residential!

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Footnote: As we’re just starting out, we’re looking for socially conscious businesses to sponsor our blog. If you are a business owner or an employee at a local business and want to contribute to our project, please reach out to us!

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Julianna Robidoux is a local freelance writer based in Southeast Portland. Passionate about affordable housing and immigrant rights, she is a regular contributor to The Immigrant Story, a local nonprofit that amplifies the stories of immigrants and refugees. 

Before graduating from PSU in 2019 with a major in international studies, she wrote her senior honors thesis on gentrification and displacement, focusing on the experience of the Eastern African community here. 

When she’s not reporting on social justice issues, you can find her thrifting, enjoying live music or being overly competitive at bar trivia.

Contact Julianna:

Email: julianna.robidoux@gmail.com

Call / text: 603-930-0641

Come Thru market celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day

By JULIANNA ROBIDOUX

Photos by Julianna Robidoux

Come Thru Black & Indigenous Market took place on Oct. 12 at the Redd East Event Space (831 SE Salmon St.), with musical performances to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

editor’s note: the organizers got back to us after publication, and are saying that November 9 is their last market of their season. They plan on starting again in April or May with donations. They’ll be partnering with another event in December. Inaccurate information is struck through, updated information is starred and italicized in the story.

Raceme Farm Collective and Black Food Sovereignty Council & Coalition organized the event that featured performances by vendors including song and drumming by 7 Waters Canoe Family and drumming by Black Futures Farm; Aztec dance by Yankuik Ohtli; a performance by Kiki House of Flora; and a music set by DJ Gila River Monster.

While the market has been a bi-weekly occurrence, happening every other Monday from 11 a.m. to 3 – p.m. throughout the summer, it will switch to monthly as the weather cools down.

The next last Come Thru market of the season will take place on November 9 at the same location. * Market organizers say they will be participating with the Fill Your Pantry markets in December.

Below are some of the vendors who were at the event along with information about their businesses:

Niedente Healing Collective

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Tula Sabes, founder of Niedente Healing Collective, took advantage of the market to connect with the community.

According to the collective’s Instagram page, “Niedente is culture made up of African spirituality, numerology, and many other pro-black practices that benefit the wholeness of oneself.” Niedente offers customers healing sessions, crystals, reiki classes, and healing sabbaticals.

You can find her business page on Instagram @_niedente_ with a link to her online shop.

Urban Orange

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Nichole Champion, owner of Urban Orange, shared a tent with Sabes. She said while growing up she always wanted to be a fashion designer, and was so determined she even settled on the name for her future business, Urban Orange, at the age of 12.

She made her debut at the market on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, offering hand-crocheted scrunchies, ear warmers, fingerless gloves and purses just in time for the cool fall weather.

Happiness Family Farm

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Chanel Igiraneza and Rosata Niyonzima operated a booth for Happiness Family Farm, which boasts culturally diverse vegetables grown locally and sustainably.

They deliver produce through Masafresh.com, whose tagline is “Bringing local farmers markets to you”. They regularly operate a booth at Come Thru and the St. John’s Farmers Market.

Atrum Arte

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Atrum Arte had an array of handmade musical instruments and wood carvings on display at the market, including topical portraits of political figures Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Kamala Harris.

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

As a family business, Astrid, Brent, and daughter Luciana Furstner work together to infuse their art, crafts, jewelry, and musical instruments with love and care. Some of their artwork is on display at Zumstein Bakery & Coffee Shop through the end of October.

Photosby Julianna Robidoux

Hab Sauce

Photos by Julianna Robidoux

Hab Sauce owner David Van Overeem and his wife Elizabeth sold their all natural hot sauce at the market. With award-winning hot sauce, they proudly displayed their People’s Choice World’s Favorite Hot Sauce of 2020 award from Old Boney Mountain Hot Summer Night international hot sauce competition.

Van Overeem generously gave out complimentary 2 oz. samples of their hot sauce to event goers waiting in line to enter the market.

Photos by Julianna Robidoux

Bishop & Sons

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Phillip and OJ from Bishop & Sons were selling out of their supply of homemade baked goods and sweet potato ice cream (yum!) before the market even ended. They’re a family-owned and operated business sharing responsibly-packaged family recipes with customers.

According to Phillip, the homemade pumpkin bread is their most popular menu item.

You can also find them at the Woodlawn Farmers Market in Northeast Portland every Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. through the end of October.

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Black Futures Farm

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

As regulars at Come Thru, Alwatan Kwele and Makayla Michael from Black Futures Farm also came through, representing the community farm located on the grounds of the Learning Gardens Lab at 60th Avenue & SE Duke Street.

Black Futures Farm is a project of the Black Food Sovereignty Coalition, a non-profit sponsored by Know Agenda Foundation. As a group of Black-identified / Diasporic and Continental-African people, they combine the best of ancestral farming practices with innovative farming techniques.

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Oracle Infused Wellness Co.

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Megon Dee, owner of Oracle Infused Wellness Co., also had a booth set up at the market.

With the tagline “Heal. Protect. Find Thyself.” Oracle offers customers a wide selection of cannabinoid-infused products, including CBD tinctures, oils, and salves. She used Come Thru as an opportunity to do some market research, giving market goers samples of different products depending on their ailments, like anxiety. She then asked them to return 10 to 15 minutes later, once the product had time to take effect, to tell her how they felt and recorded their testimonies.

7 Waters Canoe Family

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Lukas Anvus from 7 Waters Canoe Family, an intertribal canoe group, was selling canned Chinook salmon and fresh produce from their farm on Sauvie Island, raising money for a fundraiser for 7 Waters. They mainly sell at the Come Thru market, so you can find them at the next market in November.

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Alley Mezza

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Kal, owner of Alley Mezza, was selling food at the market. His food cart serves mezza from all over the Middle East & North Africa “down the alley”. Kal said he changed career paths and decided to follow his passion, establishing alley mezza this past March.

Located on SE Division Street & 36th Avenue, you can try his food truck with outdoor dining and to-go options. They’re open Thursday through Sunday, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Insomnia Art & Culture

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Carmen Garnica, owner of Insomnia Art & Culture, had a wide selection of goods for sale at Come Thru. From earrings and purses to pottery and smudging herbs, Garnica had a full table of unique offerings for market goers.

Spring Water Ceramics

Photo by Julianna Robidoux

Dwayne Sackey, owner of Spring Water Ceramics had his beautiful handmade pottery on display at the market. Two-toned mugs reading “Vote Biden Harris” made a political statement among his selection of distinctive earthenware.

You can find other unique vessels like The Homie Mug, BLM Mug, and Black Lives Matter Bowl on his website, Dwaynesackey.com, and on his Instagram @dwaynespots.

Photos by Julianna Robidoux

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Julianna Robidoux is a local freelance writer based in Southeast Portland. Passionate about affordable housing and immigrant rights, she is a regular contributor to The Immigrant Story, a local nonprofit that amplifies the stories of immigrants and refugees.

Before graduating from PSU in 2019 with a major in international studies, she wrote her senior honors thesis on gentrification and displacement, focusing on the experience of the Eastern African community here.

When she’s not reporting on social justice issues, you can find her thrifting, enjoying live music or being overly competitive at bar trivia.

Contact Julianna:

Email: julianna.robidoux@gmail.com

Call / text: (603) 930-0641

This weekend

The race to be mayor of Portland is on. Challenger Sarah Innarone is in the lead by 11 points, according to a poll by released earlier this week. If you missed the debate Thursday night between Mayor Ted Wheeler and her, you can watch it here.

The run-off for a Portand City Council seat between incumbent Chloe Eudaly and Mingus Mapps was held on Friday. Watch the replay at the Portland Tribune‘s website here.

In Oregon, you can register online. The last day to register to vote in the November 4th election is October 13.

Read about all the ballot initiatives on the November 4th ballot here.

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Fall fun is fun:

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Keep an eye out for the Montavilla Mini-Farm‘s open hours. It’s a really cool venture that brings fresh food to the city.

We did a short film on the farm a few years back, as part of our enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, community, and urban gardens:

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9TH

Live jazz:

At Montavilla’s jazz and wine hot spot, Neil Mattson & Shao Way Wu will be playing outside— and the weather looks like it will be fantastic.

Vino Veritas, 7835 SE Stark St * 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. * free

Continue reading “This weekend”

My journey from social justice protester to independent journalist

By CARISSA DEZ

Balancing a passion for social justice and equality as well as the commitment to bring honest and unbiased stories to the public can be a challenging task.

My path to becoming a freelance journalist without experience or formal education has been quite the adventure, and has convinced me to pursue journalism as a career.

The beginning

I have been leading a double life. By day I run a small business. By night, I suit up for war-like conditions and film police and protesters going head-to-head. Juggling all of these responsibilities hasn’t been easy, but the experience has been fulfilling in ways I couldn’t have foreseen.

Getting to this point has been a truly strange and exciting journey. A fervor for equality led me to protest, but it was a thirst for knowledge and truth that led me to journalism. I started down a rabbit hole when I began filming, not knowing where or what it would lead to.

My Journey started at the end of May, after the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. Like many other people, I watched with horror as Floyd struggled for and lost his life on camera. I was struck by the unnecessary and brutal treatment he received as a result of institutional racism and militaristic police tactics.

I felt compelled to do something about it. This feeling grew into a burning desire to go out and protest— even though I’d never marched, chanted, or waved a sign for a cause in my life.

After a couple of weeks of daily protesting, I started to keep a video and photo journal of the events I was witnessing. More and more, I saw this documentation becoming a way to record important events occurring at the protests that weren’t getting fair representation in mainstream media.

I took a video journalism class in high school and have dabbled in photography where I have enjoyed capturing intense and beautiful moments in life. However, livestreaming was something I had never done before May 2020.

When it became apparent that people were interested in watching my live videos in June, I made it my mission to film as often as I could so viewers could see what was happening with the Portland protests.

A 30-second video of a fire doesn’t tell a complete story. Many people watching from home wanted to make up their own minds about the protests that were happening in their cities, rather than solely listen to what mainstream media was telling them. So, I equipped myself with ballistic gear and set out with my new gimbal.

A chaotic scene

My first experience with the police declaring an unlawful assembly over the LRAD (long-range acoustic device) was on June 26, 2020.

I started the night off at the Multnomah County Justice Center where arguments were happening between groups. I was trying to decide whether I should go home or not when someone in my livestream comments let me know that I was needed to document at Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct.

READ MORE…

This weekend

By ANDREW WILKINS

It’s great to see so much momentum behind this venture that is Village Portland. So many smart, involved, big-hearted neighbors are stepping up to tell their stories. (It took a while for folks to get it, but we won’t get into that.)

There are some great new stories and folks coming soon, and here’s one I’m very proud to share. If you haven’t seen it, Patricia Sanders‘ article about Shiloh Baptist, Montavilla‘s first Black church, is excellent.

Her story makes history come alive, and you can really empathize with all the hard work it took to make that church a reality. Hopefully, the hard work by Ida Thompson and church leaders inspires us all to better community service.

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Wanting to get out of town for a late-season road trip? Reggie and Paula did too… but they don’t always feel safe out in the world. The latest episode of Life in the Village:

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Outer Powell Blvd. upgrades:

Upgrades to Powell Bou between SE 122nd and SE 136th Avenues are finished, and you can visit the stations virtually here. At the link, you can also sign up for updates and learn what to do if your property is to be impacted.

The next phase will stretch from SE 99th to SE 122nd Avenues, and SE 136th Avenue to the Portland / Gresham border just east of SE 174th Avenue.

Offer feedback on the project here.

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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3RD

“AshMob Strolling Brass Band will appear and stroll down SE 80th from Burnside to Stark with a concert in front of Montavilla Station. No Cover charge~Tips appreciated… “

Montavilla Station, * 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. * tips

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Dumpster cleanup (invitation):

“Hey everyone, we have a big “dumpster” clean-up coming up — this means you can skip a run to the dump and save yourself some money if you have large trash / recycling items that you need to get rid of! It’s completely FREE to the community!”

Visit the link in the heading for more details.

Mt. Scott Churchm 10603 SE Henderson St. * 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. * free

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House plant sale (invitation):

“Join us this weekend for a pop up houseplant sale! 2 days of 12+ sellers. There will be plant, plant supplies, macrame and crafts. 100% outdoor. Masks required and social distancing recommendations apply.”

1816 SE Marion St. * Sat. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. & Sun. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4TH

Farmers markets: 

Expect fall favorites as well as late summer bounty at both of these excellent farmers markets.

Learn about Montavilla Farmers Market is vendors here.

7700 block of SE Stark St * 10 am – 2 pm

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At Lents International Farmers Market you can “double up” your SNAP benefits. Read more about the market and that program here.

SE 92nd & Reedway, between Foster Rd & Harold St * 9 am – 2 pm

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Enjoy your weekend!

Shiloh Baptist, Montavilla’s first Black church

BY PATRICIA SANDERS

Photograph of the Montavilla Mission congregation, 1916
Source: The Sunday Oregonian, July 30, 1916 (Historic Oregon Newspapers)

I love stories. Stories are how we make sense of the world. Since I began researching Montavilla history about two years ago, I feel like the stories of this neighborhood have been revealing themselves a layer at a time, in all their diversity and complexity.

Most recently my research on Montavilla’s Black community has added yet another layer. It’s a layer so complex and so rich that it’s really several stories.

To me, it makes sense to begin with Shiloh Baptist Church, since for over 40 years it was a center of the community’s spiritual, cultural, and social life.

Before there was Shiloh Baptist in Montavilla, there was Montavilla Mission, founded in 1916. A photo and short article in The Sunday Oregonian of July 30, 1916 credits recently-license preacher, George Gardner (1880 – 1937) and Mrs. Ida “Thomas” [Thompson] (1872 – 1960) with starting this Church which met at East 79th Avenue and Stark Streets.

In the photograph above, Rev. Gardner stands proudly in the center of his flock, but it’s difficult to say which of the women might be 44-year-old Ida Thompson. The congregation around Rev. Gardner seems to be the majority of Montavilla’s Black population at the time.

I count 41 individuals in the photo, compared to the 60 individuals identified as Black or Mulatto that I found in the 1920 United States Census for the area corresponding closely to the boundaries of our current Montavilla neighborhood.

(For a much better, slightly later photograph of the congregation, see Kimberly Stowers Moreland’s “Black Pioneers”, p. 27).

For such a small population, a neighborhood church was unique. At this time, most Black Portland churchgoers would have attended one of the established churches, Mt. Olivet Baptist or Bethel A.M.E. Church, several miles away. It took grit and determination to establish and maintain such a small church for so long.

One of the steadfast leaders in this effort was Ida Thompson, who was frequently praised for her contributions. In 1929, when Shiloh Baptist celebrated its 12th anniversary, she was called the Mother of Shiloh. She was not only a founder of the Church, but her commitment to it outlasted every pastor but the last. She was still a trustee in the 1950s.

Who, you may wonder, was this resolute Ida Thompson?

She was born Ida E. Newberry in Hannibal, Missouri in 1872, a mere seven years after that state abolished slavery. Perhaps some of her dedication and resolve came from her father, Lewis Newberry (1842 – 1891), who enlisted as a 19-year-old farmer in the Union Army’s 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

This Black regiment fought alongside the famed 54th at the brutal Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina, as well as other battles in the South.

Because of post-Civil War segregationist laws in Missouri, Ida would have attended a school for Blacks only.

At 16. she married her first husband, Alfred Slayton (1867 – ???) in Hannibal’s oldest Black church, Missionary Baptist. Perhaps this is where her passion for church work began. In 1889 her son, Marcus, was born. By 1906, the Slayton family was living in Denver, Colorado.

Why did they move? I’ve found no specific evidence, but one factor was likely the desire for a safer place to live.

A 2017 study by the Equal Justice Initiative identified Missouri as having the second highest rate of racial lynchings— after Oklahoma— outside the deep South. Furthermore, Marion County, where Hannibal is located, is part of Missouri’s “Little Dixie” area, which had a higher rate of slavery in 1860 and later a higher frequency of mob violence than the rest of the state.

The map below tells the story. It was published by the National Association of Colored People in 1922 and shows what was then known about the number of lynchings in each state between 1889 and 1921. Each dot represents an individual lynching, and this gaves an idea of the risks families like the Slayton’s needed to consider, although they would have relied on reports in the Black press.

NAACP map of lynchings in the US 1889 – 1921
Source: The Crisis Magazine, February, 1922 (Creative Commons)

Missouri, in the center just right of the fold, has a sizable cluster of dots. Two states to the left, Colorado has substantially fewer dots. Oregon, where Ida moved in 1913, has only four dots. So her moves may represent relocations to places that would have been seemed safer.

Ida and others fleeing Jim Crow laws and lynch mobs may not have known that Oregon, from its very inception, did not welcome Blacks or other minorities. Most Black migrants like Ida would settle in Portland, where they still regularly encountered discrimination in housing, employment, and the justice system, to name just a few of the of the social inequities.

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In Denver, both she and her husband were active in Bethlehem Baptist Church She was superintendent of the Sunday School and he was a deacon. Of course, they would have known Bethlehem’s Rev. Alexander E. Reynolds, who will later become part of the Shiloh story.

1913 was a year of many changes for Ida. She and Alfred divorced, and Ida moved with her son to Portland. Within a few months after she arrived, Ida married Henry C. Thompson (c. 1862 – c. 1922). Three years later, as we’ve seen, she helped give birth to the Montavilla Mission Church.

By 1919, the congregation had dwindled to only nine. But Mrs. Thompson did not give up easily. She and her friend Mrs. Sarah James purchased a lot with a house at the northwest corner of NE Everett Street and NE 76th Avenue, a mere block from where Ida and Henry lived. This house would serve as the church, despite repeated efforts to rebuild, until the 1950s.

It was a convenient location for the majority of Montavilla’s Black residents, located between Burnside and Glisan Streets, from NE 74th Avenue to NE 79th Avenue.

In 1919, the church was renamed Shiloh Baptist Church of Montavilla. Shiloh— a Hebrew name associated with the New Testament Messiah— was a popular designation for Black Baptist churches throughout the country. Since Rev. Gardner’s birthplace, Selma, Alabama, had its own Shiloh Baptist, perhaps he is the one who suggested this name.

While Rev. Gardner would lead the Montavilla church off and on for several years, in 1919 he was replaced by Rev. Alexander E. Reynolds of Denver, perhaps recruited by Ida Thompson for his exceptional fundraising skills. (Shiloh Baptist was then heavily in debt.)

I doubt Rev. Reynolds succeeded, since the congregation would remain in debt for years and since a new church was never built. In any event, he did departed for the greener pastures of Yakima, Washington a little over a year after he arrived.

In the early 1920s, Shiloh Baptist was serving the wider community in spiritual and social ways. In the summer of 1921, it brought in an evangelist, Rev. Lowe, to lead a revival. Whether or not the Shiloh community felt a need for spiritual solace after the Tulsa Massacre— one of the worst incidences of racial violence in US history— a large audience of both Blacks and other community members attended.

Another example of community service is the offer of meeting space for local social groups, such as a Black tennis club begun started in 1922. (A tennis court for Blacks had been constructed recently.)

In 1923 and 1924, Shiloh had a run of bad luck. In 1923, they got some bad press when their recently hired pastor from New Jersey was arrested in— of all things— a moonshine raid. It was Prohibition, after all, so Rev. Elijah Moseley and his fellow tipplers were fined $10. The indiscretion was covered in the October 11 and 13 editions of The Oregon Journal.

Even worse, about this time, Shiloh almost lost its property. But it was rescued by Rev. J. W. Anderson and Rev. W. D. Carter of the Northwest Coast Baptist Association. On November 1, 1924, The Advocate, one of Portland’s two Black newspapers at this time, welcomed Shiloh Baptist back after months of silence.

Source: The Advocate, November 8, 1924 (Historic Oregon Newspapers)

By 1926 / 1927, life at Shiloh Baptist was looking up. Rev. Gardner was back. The Church celebrated its eighth anniversary. Sunday School attendance under Mrs. Thompson was up. The church debt was down to $300 from $800. Clubs met. There were barbecues, chitterling suppers, holiday parties. The Advocate, always on the lookout for positive community news, recorded the tiny church’s successes.

Source: The Advocate, July 2, 1927 (Historic Oregon Newspapers)

Just as church life seemed so positive, a frustrated Rev. Gardner preached his last sermon on Nov. 6, 1927. He chafed at being Shiloh’s janitor as well as its pastor, and also complained about parishioners preferring movies to his soul-stirring sermons. And that temptation was just a block away.

The Granada Theater opened in 1925 on E. Glisan Street, mid-block between NE 76th and NE 78th Avenues. Were he alive today, Rev. Gardner might think it divine justice that the Highland Christian Center now inhabits the very site where the Granada once stood.

Source: The Montavilla Times, November 3, 1927

More changes came quickly in 1928. Mrs. Thompson moved to her recently-purchased chicken farm in Clackamas, although, as we’ll see, she continued her church work. As Shiloh lost a Sunday School superintendent, it gained a new pastor, Rev. W. T. House.

With the coming of the Depression, Shiloh Baptist experienced a succession of pastors. Rev. House resigned in 1929 and Rev. Gardner returned in 1931. Then, in 1933, came Rev. Robert E. Donaldson (1885 – 1966), freshly out of the Moody Bible Institute. He served for 14 years, the longest period of stability in Shiloh Baptist’s history.

Rev. Donaldson initiated several benevolent and outreach initiatives. Here are a few. In 1938, he founded a retirement home for Black clergymen, the first of its kind in the Northwest. (It was located just across the street from the Church in the 1890 house at 7524 NE Everett St. which still stands.) In 1939, Shiloh hosted a well-baby clinic and presented programs of evening entertainment at Hope Presbyterian Church (NE Everett Street and NE 78th Avenue), featuring the Velvet Tone Singers of Montavilla— I love that name— and at the Institution for the Blind (where Multnomah University is today).

Shiloh Baptist carried on, although not without problems until 1961, when the last known pastor, Rev. Robert H. Anderson, retired. Beginning in 1943, the name was changed several times: People’s Community Baptist Church, then Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, then New Shiloh Baptist Church, and finally back to Shiloh Baptist Church.

These name changes correspond to a period of difficulties and discord, much of it stemming from the condition of the church facility. By the 1940s, it was in disrepair. The City condemned in 1948.

There were efforts both to restore it and to build anew, efforts that caused a split into two factions, Ida Thompson, Sarah James, and Rev. Donaldson on one side and congregants loyal to Donaldson’s successor, Rev. Robert H. Anderson, on the other.

This would devolve into litigation as well as moves to other venues. Rev. Anderson continued to lead Shiloh Baptist his retirement. In 1965, Crown Construction company replaced the old house-cum-church with the present duplex that stands.

To me, this is, overall, a remarkable story of dedication and determination. Shiloh Baptist could have faltered and ceased to exist at several points along its historic path. But it didn’t. 

Someday, maybe a plaque will mark the spot where Shiloh Baptist stood. 

For now, its memory is preserved in the National Register of Historic Places, as part of a multiple-property listing, which was just approved by the National Park Service in July, 2020.

***

Some references:

SE Examiner reports: “Good News for Black Homes and Heritage”

The Advocate: This is one of the main sources of information on Shiloh Baptist Church and the people associated with it. Although not all issues of its long run (1903 – 1937) are available, digital issues from 1923 to 1933 are available online in the University of Oregon’s Historic Oregon Newspapers database for your perusal.

Darrell Millner, Carl Abbott, and Cathy Galbraith, “Cornerstones of Community: Buildings of Portland’s African American History” (1995) is a useful reference for Oregon and Portland Black history in general and for information about places of historical significance.

“African American Resources in Portland, Oregon, from 1851 to 1973”, National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form.

This is Portland’s application for a multiple-property listing in the National Register of Historic Places that was approved by the National Park Service in July, 2020. It includes a detailed account of properties and relevant historical background. Thanks to Brandon Spencer-Hartle of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability for drawing my attention to this resource.

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Historical story ideas? Questions about Montavilla’s past? Also share a love for neighborhood history? 

Comment on the article at the link in the heading. Or you can reach out to Pat Sanders at pat.montavilla.history@gmail.com.

Read all of the “Montavilla Memories” articles by Pat Sanders here.

This weekend

It seems we traded smoke for rain, and somehow lost summertime weather in the bargain. But the fall is always beautiful here, and brings new opportunities…

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Apple tasting:

The excellent apple tasting event at Portland Nursery won’t be happening this year, but you can still visit to taste apples and get 99-cent deals! Learn more here.

9000 SE Division St * September & October

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Here’s a great, inspiring comic from Pandemic Duck:

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Housing help:

On a Facebook group, a helpful neighbor in Lents pointed out this opportunity for folks in that area about long-term housing.

The Portland Housing Bureau is offering a no-interest loans of up to $40,000 for repairs, and the Down Payment Assistance Loan is designed to help, “first-time homebuyers purchase a home in Portland’s Interstate Corridor and Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Areas.”

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 26TH

Farm fest:

Zenger Farm is having their Harvest online this year. There’ll be two events: one early for the youth and another happy hour later on.

Learn about their work, participate in seed saving, make a healing syrup, and many more activities— all to celebrate their 20 years of service to the community!

Read more here.

Online * 11 am – noon & 4 pm – 5:30 pm

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As a positive counter to a Right wing rally planned for this weekend, Brown Hope and NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon are raising money during “Black Joy Weekend” to give to Black identified Portlanders.

Read more here in the Portland Mercury, including how to participate.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27TH

Farmers markets:

And just like every Sunday during season, East Portland’s excellent farmers markets are open:

The Montavilla Farmers Market is every Sunday, learn more about their vendors for this week’s market here.

7700 block of SE Stark St * 10 am – 2 pm

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Lents International Farmers Market is also Sunday!

Learn more about the market here, including how to “double up” your SNAP benefits.

SE 92nd & Reedway, between Foster Rd & Harold St * 9 am – 2 pm

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Be safe out there and do your best to find your joy this weekend.

This weekend

It’s been a rough year so far for a lot of folks— so how about we chill out a bit with some amazing animation from our talented Village Portland contributors?

Let’s start with some rainy-day musings from Michael B (@UrbanHumanBeing on Instagram):

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More talk of rain, this time as a metaphor from your cartoon friends at Village Portland exclusive Life in the Village by Anne Cascadian (she’s just about ready to step into social media).

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Jen Taft (jen3taft on Twitter) is another talented local creator who has stepped up to work with Village Portland.

Pandemic Duck has a lot to say about just about everything happening these days, so follow her to keep up.

All these creators are further proof that making art can help keep you from quacking up during hard times. ✌️ & ❤️

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From September 10th through 30th, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time Based Art festival is happening in person and online:

Online & various locations * Sept. 10th – 30th

“In this year— our 25th— we need to talk, share, experience, process, and open our eyes to new possibilities— to the newly possible.”

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A historical look back:

“The show consists of images of people, places and things no longer in our city. They’ve assembled 30+ new prints, including a large scale, wallpaper sized, 1956 service station tourist map of the city of Portland as it was then, and images ranging ‘from the magnificent to the mundane.'”

Read more about it in the Southeast Examiner here.

PushDot Gallery, 2505 SE 11th at Division St. * Sept. 4th – Oct. 30th

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH

“The Vino Veritas Live Music is back! Every Friday, throughout the month of September, we will have live music on the patio from 7:30-9:30 pm!”

Vino Veritas, 7835 SE Stark St * 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. * free

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20TH

As we found in our recent visit to the Lents International Market, farmers markets are wonderful opportunities to grow community and entrepreneurial ventures.

East PDX News published a story on the Montavilla Farmers Market recently, and found that they’ve been able to double the area of the market— making it easier to shop and social distance.

Read their story here.

***

Farmers markets:

It’s unclear if the markets will be cancelled again due to poor air quality— give it a look befoee heading out.

The Montavilla Farmers Market is every Sunday, learn more about their vendors for this week’s market here.

7700 block of SE Stark St * 10 am – 2 pm

***

Lents International Farmers Market is also Sunday!

Learn more about the market here, including how to “double up” your SNAP benefits.

SE 92nd & Reedway, between Foster Rd & Harold St * 9 am – 2 pm

This weekend

By ANDREW WILKINS

Wildfires are burning throughout Oregon, destroying property, placing about half a million residents under an evacuation warning (not evacuated as we and many outlets first reported), and inflicting heavy smoke upon us all.

Around 40,000 Oregonians have had to evacuate, Gov. Kate Brown clarified after the Oregonian questioned that claim.

As of 1 p.m. Friday, Multnomah and Clackamas County officials say there’s no threat of evacuation to Multnomah County residents— but many in Clackamas County have evacuated, and the entire county is under a warning.

Evacuation updates can be found here.

This is a screenshot from early Friday afternoon, for up-to-date information, click on the evacuation updates link above.

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According to officials in Clackamas County, the best way to help is Red Cross and Oregon Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Volunteer with OVOAD here. I signed up so we’ll see what they say…

They’re also recommending a Facebook group that is offering direct support (“clothes, shelter for animals, a place to camp”), but it doesn’t seem to be administered— so be aware of that.

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13TH

Unfortunately, due to the wildfires both the Lents International Market and Montavilla Farmers Market are closed today. They both made the announcement Friday.

Last week, we had beautiful weather at the Lents market for our video visit we’re calling “Lents International Market: Growing Community and Entrepreneurship”. It’s hosted by Michael B— a rad new contributor who’s talents include graphic design, radio, improv.

You can’t eat or drink it, but you can hopefully feel the community and entrepreneurial spirit we felt so strongly there. It will be up on our YouTube page tonight! Like, comment, share… and join us by hitting that subscribe button.

We hope our good time and all the wonderful entrepreneurial enterprises spotlighted brings you a bit of comfort in these rough times.

Take care, y’all.

Officer Richard Cranium speaks up

By CORY ELIA

Hello folks! I’m Cory Elia the managing editor of Village Portland. Some of you may know me mainly from my reportings on this app called Twitter.

Prior to covering the protests in downtown Portland, I was reporting on different situations around the city of Portland. I love this city because it’s where I was born and raised. But there is this thing called journalistic fatigue. I’ve been feeling it for a while now.

Some people like to write when they are frustrated to relieve the stress, I’m the complete opposite. However, I figured I should take some time to explain this letter which was found after the Saturday, August 22nd rallies in downtown Portland and given to me.

When it was discovered, it was written on a piece of paper in crayon and contained a significant amount of both spelling and grammatical errors.

The letter appears to be a complaint from an Officer Richard Cranium— and even contained a Twitter handle. It was difficult to read but we at Village Portland painstakingly deciphered the letter and recreated it for you as follows…

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A Complaint Letter
by Officer Richard Cranium

@CraniumOfficer

As a local law enforcement officer, I have to speak up about the current situation pertaining to the nightly riots in Portland, Oregon.

For too long we officers have remained silent. Especially while beating rioters. All this violent graffiti and violent damaging of property needs to stop. Property is valuable and needs to be protected above all else.

All these people complaining about a racist police system need to understand that is why I became an officer to begin with. This system was built to protect the rich, white, and males of the country and I find that noble. It was the prospect of violating citizens’ rights and being racist towards minorities without any consequences that attracts many of us to this field of work. We enjoy it. You can see this by officers gathering around after teargassing and brutalizing protesters, press, legal observers, and then cracking jokes about it. There’s footage! It’s our version of the old water cooler.

These restraining orders that have been put in place while supposedly being a deterrent from us assaulting press and legal observers just makes it more fun because now we have to try and do so without anyone seeing. However, this means we officers can’t fully do as we please which is frustrating. I AM THE LAW!

When our Supreme Leader Donald Trump stated we can beat up on protesters and then called the media the enemy many of us started taking extra steroids to prepare for the fun we would be allowed to have. PPA President Daryl Turner has done his best to ensure we can do as we please to the best of his ability and I commend him for that. He truly understands the thrills we get from this job. He is a true hero! At least we got to hide our names.

But being muzzled isn’t something we enjoy and with more lawsuits being formed it’s becoming less acceptable to performing the essential duties of tear gassing, bull rushing, and beating people senselessly.

So… here I must plea to all the City officials and judges looking at this situation… can’t we beat up protesters, press, and legal observers just a little bit without being punished? We kind of need the release. Just ask our wives. 

Sincerely,
Officer Richard Cranium

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If any more letter like this are found please feel free to reach out to me at @therealcoryelia or @villageportland on Twitter.