When we announced 11 years ago that we were moving to North Portland, quite a few friends and associates thought we were crazy. At the time, our Arbor Lodge neighborhood was just starting to experience the revival being shared by many Portland inner-city areas.
A lot has happened since we moved from Portland's Pearl District. The adidas U.S. headquarters being built about eight blocks from our house was a major change. Coffee houses and restaurants, such as Di Prima Dolci, Roux, Sagittarius, Sal's Famous Italian Kitchen, Mio Sushi and others began to appear. The light-rail system MAX built the Yellow Line nearby. After a vigorous community email and postcard campaign, New Seasons Market opened the nearby Arbor Lodge store. A wide variety of new and relocating businesses have new homes in the area. The University of Portland, another eight blocks from where we live, continues to build a national reputation as an academic and athletic power. (My partner Ed will begin his MBA program there this winter.)
One past issue of Portland Monthly magazine named Arbor Lodge as one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city - illustrating the point with a photo of a house three away from our own home. Mike Darcy even filmed an episode of his In The Garden television show from our garden. Residences and yards throughout the area are being renovated and improved on a daily basis, and homes are still selling for seemingly unrealistic prices within a matter of days. North Portland is constantly becoming an even more desirable community for businesses and residents. From my home-based studio, the area has been a vital part of my own design business.
Saturday evening seemed like a celebration of our North Portland neighborhood. Under a beautiful sunset, the Oregon Symphony held an incredible outdoor concert, to a very appreciative audience of hundreds, one block from our house in Arbor Lodge Park. It was part of the organization's annual Oregon Symphony in the Neighborhoods program. I don't think many were even bothered by the cold and wind as the symphony played a selection of pieces from opera, television, ballet, movies, Broadway shows and the catalog of Irving Berlin. I appreciated the cheers and applause when the theme from the show The West Wing was played. Bats flying over the crowd seemed to be soaring in time to the music of Swan Lake.
Being an advertising geek, I was also excited that the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was at the park, as part of the earlier Fun Afternoon Festival.
Ed and I attracted a bit of attention in our reclining Lafuma lounge chairs. People were commenting and asking questions about them. If you are enjoying the symphony, in a beautiful park one block from your home, you may as well be very comfortable.
On the short walk home, following the concert, we shared pride in what a strong and vibrant community North Portland has become in recent years. We made a great decision to buy a home here, and enjoy being part of a neighborhood were everyone knows, and watches out for, their neighbors.
A big "thank you" to the Oregon Symphony and all who made this great event possible.
© 2007 Jeff Fisher Logomotives.