Saturday, May 24, 2008

Election Results

Lat wednesday our class went around the Alberta street busniesses to gauge people's reactions of the election (both local and presidental) results. People were generally satisfied with the presidential primary. I don't think we talked to a single person who wasn't an Obama supporter. The people at the second barbershop we visted thought that we would all be Hillary supporters, an interesting assumption since we're all white.

Earl (of the eponymous babershop) and his customer were also pleased that Obama won Oregon, and were pretty confident about the rest of the campaign. Interestingly, both Earl and his customer thought that Jon Edwards would be a good VP candidate. It seems that alot of people who were Edwards supports at the beginning of the race are now Obama supporters. One thing is for sure though: nobody wants to see Hillary as his VP.

As to the local elections, Earl and his customer were for Sho, and we all know Sam Adams won. But overall I didn't get the feeling that they were really displeased. The people at the second barershop also had wanted Sho, because he'd been a community activist for so long, but again I didn't really think it was a huge issue to them. What was an issue to them was rising housing costs and overcrowding. Those two things are going to be big issues for Sam Adams now, I feel.

And lastly, as to my somepeople project. I was planning on documenting Jen from the Obama office, but last wednesday when I went down there the campaign office was closed, and all subsequent attempts to contact her have failed. Since we're rapidly approaching the end of the terms, it's crunch time, and if anyone needs a partner for their documentary I would be deeply indebted to them.

The Obama Office

So our class went to the Obama campaign headquaters in Northeast today. I have to say, the experince was pretty good. I'd never visted a camaign office before, and the people there were very interesting and enthusiastic. There were people from all demographics there, white and black, and people of all ages too. The office was probably 50% people under 30 and fifty percent people over 30.

A group of local kids and drawn a bunch of pro-Obama pictures which the campaign people had posted on the outside of their building. What was so fascinating about that was that according to the Obama people, the children came in of their own volition and drew the pictures--nobody asked them to do it. Now it would be truly amazing to me if Obama is inspiring 7 and 8 year olds. Maybe they should lower the voting age.

But overall the experience was gave me a new perspective on Obama. I liked him to begin with, but this really showed me the effect he and his message of hope are having on people, and the extent to which the American public is behind him. But it looks like all those folks' hard work paid off since he won Oregon!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


This week the assignment was to find something interesting in someone's front yard or a window and ask the person who lived there to explain the object. The goal was to get to know the people in the neighborhood better. First we met this guy who was from Canada (thus the flag) and told us that many people say that a Canadian accent is a much slower version of a Scottish one.

Then I saw this on someone's door. They weren't there to explain it, but I thought I'd post it anyway because it's amusing.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


So on Wednesday we had to fan out in our groups and find someone in the neighborhood who would be willing to give a short little lecture to the class about what they do and their experiences in the neighborhood. Denise and I found two people, Earl from the eponymous barber shop, and a lady from Mimosa (a pottery place). Comparing our two interviews, we learned something very interesting. On the subject of gentrification, Earl (an african-american man) and Dana (a white woman) had exactly the same opinion. Both of them saw gentrification less as a phenomenon or crisis, and more as a natural force. According to both of them, the mixing of black and white was inevitable. Earl said he didn't mind the process, it was boosting his business.

Also of interest, Mimosa said they might be willing to donate a frame to us at the end of the term. If we each purchased a ceramic tile, we could make some sort of pottery collage about our project and place it somewhere in the neighborhood.

Lastly, I just remembered this tonight but the library website has a some great archives of newspapers. I think they have every article from the Oregonian and the NY Times every published uploaded. That would be a great place to get some historical perspectives and maybe some more info on the gentrification process.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The inauguration!

The first blog! Hooray!

Well I guess its time to summarize. After we all met at the lot today on 15th, my triad, consisting of myself, Denise, and Laura, went walking down Alberta searching for inspiration. We came up with some good ideas and leads. I think one of the most promising was the Rose City Cab Co. We all thought it would be a blast to interview a cabbie; who would know the more colorful people of the area any better? The people who worked there were not very forthcoming, but told us that if we came back Pat would speak to us.

Then Denise came up with the neat idea of finding the oldest resident in the area and interviewing them, or perhaps finding a cemetary to see what families started in the area and whatnot. There was also a Candy Company that we were interested in (we'll admit it, we love sweets). The last thing we did was visit the Mexican grocery store. In the future that might be a good place to take the pulse of the Latino community in the area.

Aside from that, next time we go out again I'm bringing my video camera and we're going to just get back out there and have a good time learning about the place.

Peace y'all :-)