I saw the demolition while shooting the Portland gentrification documentary I am producing.
The little blue house at 100 North Cook Street hosted the very first house party I went to after I arrived in Portland in 1995. I distinctly remember holding a plastic cup of beer in my hand and looking down from the porch at the vacant expanse of lots and abandoned buildings that was the neighborhood.
Almost 20 years later, the house is being pulled down as part of a multi-building demolition project. Soon, the Cook Street Lofts will rise on the block, according to the Daily Journal of Commerce.
The building is just the latest in a tidal wave of five and six story apartment buildings that has rolled up the avenue.
The Cook Street house was known by the hipster girl who was working Pizza A-Go-Go across the street on North Williams Avenue.
“I hadn’t even realized they were knocking it down,” she said wistfully.
Been Greene, who lived next door to the house, in another house that was itself demolished last week, said he was sad to see the houses go.
“The whole neighborhood changing,” Greene said.
I would say I do but it’s kind of a cumulative effect of the home that neighborhood changing.
Of course, before the area was known as a condo corridor, or a house party haven, it was the heart of Oregon’s black community. A yet-to-materialize expansion of Emmanuel Hospital and plans to convert the area into an industrial zone resulted in the demolition of the area’s commercial and residential core starting in the 1960s.
After forty years, the neighborhood is finally being rebuilt, but as it is often observed, many former residents, and perhaps some current ones, might be left behind.