15 Years in Portland

I moved to Portland, Oregon 15 years ago in 2002 – right after Folklife and around the time of the Breitenbush Summer Solstice Healing Retreat – SSHR – which I’ve been attending serially since 1995 (thank you, Shelley Glendenning).

Aloha!
Yes, it’s true, I’m back on Maui! I’ve taken to highlighting sections on my calendar where there are open spaces – this time the invitation by my friend Jenny to return to Maui was offered and I decided to come back for another round. This trip has been very different from my time here in March – more reading/beach and less touring/social/business – oriented. I needed to find this book on happiness, for instance.
The lanai
Speaking of Maui, Jenny’s place is for rent 6.1-26 – comes with a car – click here for more info.

Birthday Wish

The birthday wishes on FB are sweet, but so impermanent. If you’d like to take a moment and leave a review either on Yelp! or my Albertideation  Facebook page – I’ll be able to keep them forever! Thank you!

MAKING PROGRESS

I moved to Portland, Oregon in 2002 about this time of year. That makes it my 15th year anniversary. During that time I’ve been involved in so many projects and ideas. I was thinking it might be fun to take a gander at these in a free-style gonzo-journalism approach and see what I come up with.  Here goes.
Farm My Yard – my DIY project for bringing together urban farmers and people with yards they wish to farm. That got started 5 years ago – about the same time as The Birthday Garden – a community garden a bunch of us started 5 years ago at 3rd and Hancock, NE. Well, The Birthday Garden transitioned into home for a few tiny houses and many of us who were involved moved away from the area – so, that’s no longer a community garden. Farm My Yard? It’s got an email list of 450 people/a website/a FB and Twitter presence. I still get asked about it a lot – and it still remains a place where people come for information about how to connect with their neighbors – overall, I think it’s been a good thing, but I’ve never really pushed it forward in the way I had envisioned – by buying a bunch of signs and handing them out at farmers’ markets and helping it to happen big time in a neighborhood – and then repeating that if it worked. So, I feel a little frustrated about this one.
Freecycle: I gave the Freecycle Network a push in 2003 after coming back from my 3rd Burning Man and starting Freecycle Portland (and then many Freecycle groups around the world). That seems to be going very well, these days, and I’m not involved at all. I did get a free t-shirt, but it was an XL and I’m not wearing those anymore, so I think I passed it along!
Progressive politics. Well, that’s a big one. I still feel that I’m participating in bringing forth progressive policies and candidates. It’s hard to really feel that positive about this during the time of impending impeachment at the national level, but in the last many years we’ve managed to do a lot of great work at the state and local level – preventing fluoridation of Portland’s water; legalizing cannabis in Oregon; preventing LNG/Oil/Coal terminals in the area – pushing back against many of these, successfully. And there have been lots of losses, too – I’m sure I’m not the only one that wishes measure 97 had passed – this would have forced OR state corporations to pay more of their fair share of taxes – it was close but we lost. Then, there’s GMO-labeling – which also was close – but we were outspent by Monsanto and friends, heavily, and that effort seems stalled at the moment.
Then there’s Bernie. Like many of my progressive friends, I really wanted Bernie to win the nomination. At least it would have been a good thing had he been put on the ticket as VP – I’m still not sure why Hillary and Co. didn’t think of/do that. Anyway, now we’ve got the hand that we were dealt on the national level and my main hope is that we will all focus on making sure people all over the country have the right and easy access to vote. If everyone could vote by mail like we do in Oregon, this country would get on a better track, quickly. I’m sure of it.
Population issues. We’re at 7.5 billion people. More than double when I was born in 1961. We add 75 million people a year. In my reading of the situation everything related to climate change comes back to our human numbers increasing. I keep trying to add that commentary into every conversation I have with people about climate change. Here on Maui I just heard a great talk by a guy who studies climate science – and learned a new phrase – nuisance flooding. That nagging flooding that comes once in a while – it doesn’t wipe everything out, but it sure is a nuisance. There are a lot of great people working on climate change and I wish they would all start mentioning the elephant in the room – population growth.  If we could bring our numbers down we’d have a chance (as would other species). If not, I don’t think all the windmills and solar panels in the world will do enough because we’ll keep needing more and more of everything. Feel free to join me – and learn about and donate to Population Connection in DC – doing the great work of lobbying Congress and informing people about this issue since it was called ZPG (Zero Population Growth) many years ago. Through PopConnect I’ve traveled to DC many times to lobby my congresspeople. Luckily, these days, the Oregon delegation is fantastic on the issues minus the Republican schmuck, Greg Walden, from Eastern Oregon.
Then there are some local things I’ve been working on:
  • Organizing a group of tree enthusiasts who are trying to adjust the Portland tree code to save more tall old trees as they are threatened by development. This has led to an email list and FB group for organizing.
  • A neighborhood effort to find a grocery store replacement for Zupan’s which moved out of their Belmont Street location
  • Trying to encourage the fabulous social media site, Nextdoor.com to add a ride share category to their site – this would be such a huge and excellent addition to their site. On a side note – I’ve joined Nextdoor.com here in Maui and I’m trying to encourage local folks to use it. I imagine the impact in a spread out local community like Ha’aiku could be incredible.
  • Supporting artists/musicians/friends – I have a bunch of friends who’ve been raising money to support their music and I’ve been mentoring some to use various tools and approaches that I’ve learned over the years.

So, that’s a random sampling of some of the things I’ve been up to in the 15 years of living in Portland (heavily weighted to recent times). Plus throwing a few great parties at Hollywood Vintage; helping a bunch of trees get planted; etc. One of the reasons I’m listing all of this is that I’m going through a thought process right now trying to figure out my personal direction(s) for the future. I recognize that I’m a bit spread thin and this is leading me to have a huge network but perhaps not as much depth as I’d like. It’s kind of how my social life is built, too, and I want to change that. I’ve recently found myself deleting myself as an admin on various FB pages where I don’t have a major role (BRCPO, you may be next!) and I’ll probably continue down this path of tidying until I get to the point where when I pick something up I’m either feeling joy, or discarding!

Being in Maui has been great for my mood. And now I’m feeling ready to be back on the mainland and I’m looking forward to a great Summer filled with connection; gardening; some awesome client work; and further refining what I’m doing with my time.

I hope life/work/love is treating you perfectly.

Mahalo (thank you) for being my friend and ally,

Albert

Farm My Yard: Resources

Resources connected with Farmmyyard.org

  1. Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community
    Start here!
  2. GrowPortland – Empowering our community to grow healthy food.
  3. FoodHub – FoodHub gathers professional food buyers, wholesale producers, distributors and industry suppliers in one dynamic community.
  4. Friends of Family Farmers Promoting and Protecting Socially Responsible Farming in Oregon.
  5. SPIN-Farming http://www.spinfarming.com/ create an income-producing farm in your (or someone else’s) yard.
  6. FoodPool in Oakland, CA – FB page:  At FoodPool, we see the “problem” of excess garden abundance as an opportunity! It is an opportunity to help provide people in need with fresh, ripe, homegrown produce. The only obstacle lies in linking growers with their hungry neighbors. Our answer is “FoodPooling.”
  7. Seattle Urban Farm Company – started early in the spring of 2007. It was created find the answer to one simple question: Does anybody need help setting up a vegetable garden?Great resources, and interesting looking book on backyard farming.
  8. iFarm: a great resource for people looking for farm land and those wishing to offer farm land in Oregon!
  9. Rogue Farm Corps also, blog post on this site @ here

iFarm

11 Years of Activism in Portland

bunsnotguns from little t american bakerI've been living in Portland for 11 years now. 11 years of activism. I noticed last night as I was updating this blog (for better SEO and righting some images) that I was putting out a lot more activism over the last couple years than I am now.  Issues like billboards, getting rid of the yellow pages, chearing on the first Obama administration, holding voting parties, idling, population growth and saving the Tillamook State Forest - all were big issues for me in 2009.

These issues all still persist, but I haven't been focusing on them as much. I've started fan pages for a few, and I continue to put a shout out for an issue when I see something about it in the media, but my own activism has definitely shifted some. I've also been working hard to develop my business and I hope that eventually that will pay me enough to devote more time to the activist areas that I care about. Actually, one area, Farm My Yard, I have been dedicating a bunch of time to - keeping the website up, updating the FB fan page, and I'm meeting with someone today to discuss building an app for the project. So, I guess I'm not done saving the world.

And, some issues come back around - like my current project regarding the Oregonian's slide to the Tea Party Right on BlueOregon. They've been lying to us more and more about their tea party agenda, and I want to do what I can to call them out on it.

So, I guess I just want to say - don't worry, I'm still at it. And perhaps I'm partially writing this to myself to remind myself that I'm still busy trying to change the world, I'm just mixing it up more with my effort with people and small businesses to help them with their marketing and getting the word out.

Yesterday, as I was heading to a client meeting I was thinking about being 52 and wondering who I could find to take on the various efforts I've started or care about. I was thinking about asking in the dance community to see about training some folks who are 20 or 30 years younger than I am, but noone came immediately to mind. And, I suppose activism is not for the feint at heart. You have to have support in your life - people who really are there to back you - and a process to keep you from falling down when things get hard. I've been using Co-counseling for that for many years to good effect, but many people don't have a process to discharge their fears when they come up against things that are hard - government agencies; industries fighting back; a right-wing media.

All good things for me to think about - succession - who are the next group of activists? Who cares enough about the issues that I do to take them on? And, how do I reignite some of the causes that I cared about and still do but which I have let come off of the table?  Perhaps I'll do a little spreadsheet and see where things are and put that up for myself and others.  and for now, happy new year 2014 - let's see what we can accomplish!

Yard Rents – new Farm My Yard sponsor!

YardRents.com

Click the image above: YardRents.com is offering a 10% discount to Portlanders who use their Farm My Yard package – and, they’ll also donate 10% of your purchase to Farm My Yard!

Farm My Yard has a new sponsor, YardRents.com – When Portlanders use YardRents.com for their project YardRents.com will give a 10% discount and also donate 10% of the purchase amount to Farm My Yard.

If you’re planning on any yard projects, please use the “FarmMyYard” code on their website – get a great deal – have your tools delivered and picked up?  Wow! And, support a great local organization/effort – Farm My Yard!

Send them some Facebook love if you like: https://www.facebook.com/YardRents

Next, seeking a seed company 🙂