Some people in my neighborhood have put up lawn signs saying "Save Eastmoreland ... Support the (Proposed) Historic District." I find that message ironic because, whether a district is created or not, the neighborhood might already be lost.
A neighborhood is not just a collection of houses. A neighborhood is the people in the houses and how they interact. A good neighborhood is one where the people are friendly, helpful, considerate and welcoming — in a word, neighborly. And lately Eastmoreland has been anything but neighborly.
The proposed historic district has sharply divided us, and the debate has turned rancorous, with lots of name-calling, innuendo, rumor-mongering, and, in some cases, fabrication (e.g., Keep Eastmoreland Free, an anti-district group, is a front for developers).
Discussion in online forums, like NextDoor.com, has become toxic, and it must be worse in private email and behind-the-back conversations. (Fair disclosure: I regret the tone of some emails I've sent.)
Recently, two of our neighbors, both of Korean descent, were working in their yard by their anti-district sign, when a passer-by, someone they didn't know, regarded the sign and then called out: "You don't belong here." Let's assume he didn't realize how that remark could be received; it still wasn't nice.
Whichever side wins this battle might find, in the end, that it lost the war. The victors might have what they want, but the hard feelings will endure.
I suggest that we call it quits before it's too late. Press pause on the historic-district nomination and see if we can find consensus on some other way forward. Not historic designation, but also not doing nothing.
I don't worry that we won't find common ground. I worry about the consequences of not even looking for it.
Police want to keep the peace
I am a proud Portlander. I have lived in downtown Portland for a year now. However, between the time I moved to the Rose City and the present, I have noticed conflicts with the Portland Police Bureau get more and more tense.
During the May Day protest, the event started peacefully. I understand people's desire to stand up for what they believe in. However, anarchists hijacked the event by throwing projectiles at police, and then causing destruction and unrest. What protesters don't seem to realize is that police monitor the event to make sure it is safe. The police do not take action until people throw objects at them and turn violent.
Protesters blame the police for causing an uprising. But from what I've seen, the police canceled the permitted event to keep peaceful protesters safe. The job of the PPB is to keep order in our city. When criminals throw objects at officers, light objects on fire, block traffic, smash windows and attack other people, I totally agree that the police should disperse the crowd. People need to remember that the police are trying to keep downtown safe.
I understand there have been many police shootings involving innocent African-Americans. I agree there are some bad cops. But most police officers are not like that. Portlanders need to appreciate the bureau's help for making Portland a safe city. What if someone were breaking into one's home? The victim would depend on police to respond. The officers risk their lives to protect the citizens from danger, and I disapprove of blaming them for being cruel.
I would like to see Portlanders begin to appreciate the Portland Police Bureau for caring about citizens' safety.