Let's talk about the Eastside's future!

The Central Eastside is known for its unique mix of arts and industry, home to hundreds of artists and creative businesses. There are many discussions happening around the rapid growth and proposed changes to the neighborhood. Milagro (with facilitating help from former Metro chair Rex Burkholder) is leading and hosting conversations to ensure arts & culture as well as civic spaces are part of the future of our beloved neighborhood. How do art, culture and civic places figure into this future?

Join us on May 20th 5:30pm - 7:30pm, for the first of three conversations this summer, open to all interested in the future of the Central Eastside -- creative workers, social organizations, residents, government officials, businesses, and community leaders. The session will focus on preparing a statement outlining community concerns, in preparation for the May 26th Planning & Sustainability Commission meeting and the July 1st Portland City Council meeting.

Recently Marketing Assistant Vicente Guzman-Orozco had the opportunity to ask Mr. Burkholder some questions about the project:

Vicente Guzman-Orozco: Give us the elevator pitch for this endeavor:

Rex Burkholder: Big changes are coming to Portland and the Central Eastside is no exception with thousands of new residents and workers expected in the coming years. Home to many creative businesses and artists, the Central Eastside plays a critical role in Portland's economy and culture. As a 30-year cultural mainstay of the Central Eastside, Milagro Theater is bringing together business, government, neighbors and creatives to ask: what is the future of arts, culture and civic life in the Central Eastside? How can we make sure that artists and creative business continue to thrive here? What can be done to enhance the civic life of this area?

VGO: What do you see as the primary challenges and opportunities in this process?

RB: Change happens quickly, sometimes before we can respond effectively. The City and its citizens are investing lots of time and energy in rewriting the plan for the Central City but the needs arts and culture in the area are missing (the focus is on zoning and transportation). These gatherings are exciting because we have the opportunity to bring attention to the incredible value of arts and creative businesses to the area and the whole city as well as build alliances with business leaders and the people of Portland.

VGO: What would you like to see as a reaction from folks that may not be directly involved in the discussions?

RB: We know that people value arts and culture, and that they hunger for civic spaces like libraries, plazas and pedestrian zones where they can meet and participate in the life of the city. Our hope is that these conversations will translate those desires into support for policies and investments that will ensure that artists and creative workers will continue to have a place to do their work and that the residents and workers of the Central Eastside of the future will enjoy a livable, vibrant and enriched community.  

The CEID Community Engagement Series is hosted by Milagro and facilitated by Rex Burkholder with support from SE Uplift and the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. RSVP to 503-236-7253 or email Sarah for more information or if you'll be attending.

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