go home

contents
YEARS:
74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99

FEATURES: Intro | the Mt. Hood freeway | city hall of fame | architexture | rhymin' rogues | some of our favorite Portlanders | 25 years of statistics | what ever happened to...| Nike's marketing muscle | The Oregonian's big oh's



EVENTS

Espresso decrescendo: local javamongers Coffee People reduce the number of coffee grounds per shot from a nerve-rattling 10.5 grams to the industry-standard 7 grams. Funny, people seem a lot less edgy recently.

David Freedman and Charles Mann
publish @Large, which describes a massive Internet attack perpetrated by the Phantom Dialer, a schizophrenic post-adolescent Portlander who lived on Doritos and never qualified for a driver's license. FBI says the Dialer, a.k.a. Tim Bach, broke into the computers of universities, corporations, banks and military agencies.

Scientists at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center successfully clone two Rhesus monkeys. Alfred R. Menino Jr., associate professor of animal science at OSU, calls it "spectacular and exciting work."

A WW-KOIN-TV investigation reveals that Portland cops are guilty of severe cell-phone abuse. The story prompts the Police Bureau to deactivate cell phones in patrol cars after an internal review shows that several officers were running up excessive bills for personal calls.

Powell's Books' Internet sales top $1 million a year.

WW uncovers a "soft money" scam, in which the Democratic National Party skirted spending limits by funneling $830,000 through the Oregon Democratic Party and spent it on President Clinton's reelection campaign.

The Oregon School Board begins the first year of granting CIM (Certificate of Initial Mastery) and CAM (Certificate of Advanced Mastery) to high school students. The certificates are part of the education reforms enacted in 1991.

Still owing $22 million on its spacious new digs on the east bank of the Willamette, OMSI hovers on the brink of disaster. The submarine-tethered museum gets a hand from the City Council, which votes unanimously to bail OMSI out--to the tune of $2.7 million.

Arts booster, blues fan and party animal Mike Lindberg steps down from 17 years on City Council. The rumpled Lindberg reckons he has attended 2,500 City Council meetings. His successor: a gap-toothed, cherub-cheeked Stanford grad (and ex-WW intern) named Erik Sten.

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Edward N. Fadeley, 68, steps down from the bench, citing throat cancer. Turns out he was also facing possible suspension over accusations of having an affair with a former assistant. The Supreme Court was poised to decide on Fadeley's fate when he resigned.

Led by the nearly unstoppable Natalie Williams, the Portland Power places second in the ABL basketball finals this year, delighting its fan base of senior citizens, families with female children and, yes, lesbians--WW reports that gay women make up as much as 40 percent of the boisterous crowds.

Portland starts indulging in la vida loca long before Ricky Martin steals the hearts of muchachas everywhere--tapas becomes the only way to dine. Occupying the juicy center of the dinner-as-theater craze is Tapeo, which is named WW's Restaurant of the Year.

     
GHOST TOWN

BY CHRIS LYDGATE

  You'd never call it grand, but there was a certain magic to the stately Roosevelt Plaza, on Southwest 9th Avenue and Salmon Street. Every day, its tenants--most of them low-income seniors--would gather in the spacious lobby to discuss the day's events. Ed Hayden, 72, would sit and read the paper, while 93-year-old Olive Lacsamana scurried up and down the stairs. Handsome bachelor George Marino, 79, played the keyboard at all the lobby parties.

But the 58 Roosevelt residents never realized just what a fragile world they lived in. In May 1997, their landlords, Hans and Kenneth Juhr, decided to pull out of a federal housing subsidy known as project-based Section 8 and turn the building into a hotel. The residents were given 90 days to move out.

All the tenants were poor--most lived on less than $500 a month. Eight were over 80 years old. Five spoke no English. One was blind. Many had lived at the Roosevelt for 10 years or more, and none of them wanted to move; one woman even slit her wrists after receiving her eviction notice.

"The loss of the Roosevelt was devastating," says Susan Emmons, director of the Northwest Pilot Project, a nonprofit agency serving low-income seniors and disabled people.

NWPP advocate Martha Gies (who later wrote several moving essays about the Roosevelt) set up a makeshift office in the lobby to help the tenants find new homes, but it was an uphill battle. Downtown Portland was in the grip of an acute shortage of affordable housing. "It took four lousy months to place everyone," Gies says. "Some of them got disoriented when they moved. We just destroyed that community."

Back in the 70s, Portland boasted as many as 6,000 low-income housing units downtown. Then, like old war heroes, the cheap hotels and apartment buildings flickered out one by one, falling victim to fire, the wrecking ball or the economics of gentrification.

With each closure, dozens of residents--often the city's poorest and most vulnerable citizens--were faced with the increasingly daunting prospect of finding a room they could afford. By 1999, there would be fewer than 3,700 affordable units downtown--far below the official goal of 5,183. Office and retail projects had demolished whole neighborhoods, such as the Lownsdale community, whose down-at-heel hotels and apartments were torn down to make room for the Yamhill Marketplace, the World Trade Center and the regal Hatfield Courthouse.

Painful as it was, the closure of the Roosevelt did have one salutary effect: It spurred the City Council to protect Portland's dwindling stock of cheap units with a housing preservation ordinance, and to spend $5 million to buy up 333 Oak, the Park Terrace and the Biltmore, whose owners wanted to pull the plug on their federal subsidies. But for the residents of the Roosevelt, the move came much too late.

 

search site play dish screen visual arts music performance feature feedback site map search site personals classified webxtra culture news Willamette Week 25 years