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).

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!


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,



Getting Rid of Stuff

I’ve been having fun decluttering my world. I made a little internal pact that every day for a while I’d fill some bags and bring them to Village Merchants, a nearby 2nd hand store. I’ve learned a bunch through this effort. Village Merchants, for one, is more than just a 2nd hand store – it’s a hub of my community – and also the merchandise there changes almost daily = 2 pairs of almost new shoes $16/a piece!

2. I’m getting down to a level of stuff that includes more things I actually use on a daily basis. And, I’ve removed many things that I’ve been carrying around for a long long time – I feel lighter without them in my space.

3. I look forward to my daily routine of the walk to the place. It takes me by Richmond Elementary and the school kids there playing in the playground – what a joy – the squealing laughter has been a nice reminder of play, youth, vibrancy, etc.

4. I’m excited to figure out what goes in tomorrow’s collection because I feel I have a long way to go to really get to the cleared space I want to live in.

5. This all reminds me of my early days of helping Freecycle get started through building up FreecyclePortland in 2003. The joy of passing along precious things to new friends. (Wow, I just learned that the group has almost 50,000 members – hoo boy!)

I think part of this decluttering urge came from visiting some homes in the end of 2015 which were very Zen-like. Max Ribner’s place has almost no tschotchkes in it and being there for one of the Kilikina Chocolate events in December was such a joy. My living space doesn’t look all that different from all the de-cluttering I’ve done, but I think with a few more trips, it will.

I’ve also noticed something else that’s surprised me. I’m now looking at a higher proportion of things that actually have meaning to me. Which means focusing on them, more.  Massage tools, prayer flags, plants, tarot cards and the book shelf full of un-read books.

I’m also excited to learn more about decluttering and the beneficial effects that it probably has on one’s psyche – because I feel I’ve just begun the journey.

If you have any thoughts on decluttering, please share them below. I’m curious what you know, what you think, what you’ve learned and where I might go from here 🙂

Thanks, and happy new year! Happy New Year

Update: 10.2017: Death Cleaning – it’s a thing!

And more 10.20.17 – Clutter is Bad even if you’re not a Hoarder

1.13.2020 – Here’s a great article on Decluttering.

4.20.2020 – Another great article on the topic out of the UK!

Albertideation turns one month!


It’s been about a month since I began creating this site and putting my foot forward as Albertideation. What an exciting month – I’ve learned so much and gotten such great positive feedback – thanks to everyone who is supporting this adventure!

I am excited to report that one of my ideas is already happening – using google maps to connect people who want their yards turned into gardens with those who want to become urban farmers.  It’s at https://yardsharing.org for the Portland area, but there are groups all over the country, too and I’m learning about the growth of the movement.  I also learned that it’s global entrepreneurship week this week – and there’s a nice site to go along with that.  Was on KGW yesterday in an interview regarding Freecycle – that was fun to see.

Unfortunately, Colwood has decided to appeal their case to LUBA so that puts the Keeping Colwood Green effort on hold for the moment.  The telephone book opt-out system that I have in mind is still looking for a government champion, though I have heard positive news back from new city council member, Amanda Fritz that she is interested in this issue, as is new State Rep, Jules Kopel-Bailey.

Been having great lunches and meet-ups, lately and making some great new connections – especially via the Springboard Innovation (2nd Wens, of the month @ Urban Grind, 6-9) forums.  Eecole is also busy helping the City create a fruit tree policy via the Multnomah Food Policy Council, which is exciting.

Today is organizing day, and Annelise Kelley will be coming by shortly to help me with that.  Also on the docket – getting Constant Contact referrals coming in, working with Tim at the Tummy Temple on creating wholesale relationships with online stores and attending the Kerns N’hood Assoc. meeting tonight.  Onward!  Albert


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