First and foremost, in my last post it was mentioned that CubeSpace, a Portland hub of community, will be closing at the end of this week. Since they will be no more, we need to do something not to lose them. What is it? I have a few ideas, and I will edit and update this post as needed. Reminder: This is not a place for talking about what could have been done differently or for passing messages on to CubeSpace. We are only looking to move forward and not lose the amazing community that CubeSpace was an integral part of building.
(See my next post for more on this.)
It is with deep sadness that Eva and I announce that CubeSpace will be closing its doors on Friday, June 12, 2009. During the past two weeks of negotiations, we have very much appreciated the support from all of you. Yet when it came down to it, we realized that even though business has been up and the outpouring of support from the community has been so great, we do not have the resources to keep CubeSpace open.
For roughly three years, Eva and I have poured ourselves into CubeSpace. We have poured in all of our financial resources, and have never taken any salary. We have poured the vast majority of our energy into CubeSpace. We have poured most of our attention into CubeSpace. Now, we have no more to put in. We are tired and broke, and it is now time for us to move on.
We do not consider CubeSpace a failure. Rather, we succeeded in fostering a meaningful community that supports each other in hard times and celebrates together in good times. We feel privileged to have been a part of this community, and look forward to participating in other ways in the years to come.
Many of you have asked what you can do to help. Eva and I have been unable to answer, until now. What we need now are jobs. We have mountains of debt, no assets, and are facing the possibility of personal bankruptcy.
Another piece of help is not for us, but for the community. We know that the closing of CubeSpace will have a negative impact on the community. CubeSpace has served as a central meeting place. It has served as a clubhouse. It has been a default place to hold community events. We now need others in the community to step up and offer up meeting places. Eva and I will continue to contribute our time and energy to community events, but we will no longer be able to contribute the space. It may take some creative thinking, but I believe that as a community we will survive and continue to join together at events if other members of the corporate community will step up to offer space to host the many events CubeSpace has been hosting.
Finally, please be aware that Eva and I need your emotional support as we go through this tough period. As I said in the beginning, we are very tired, emotionally drained and sad. Please do not tell us what we might have done better. Trust us, we know far too well all the mistakes we’ve made. Now is not when we want to rehash them. We welcome your support, your friendship and your caring. We would love suggestions for our future. But right now, we aren’t in a good position to be second-guessing past decisions.
Thank you all so much for being a part of our lives these past years,
David and Eva
622 SE Grand Ave.
Portland, OR 97214
503-206-3500 – voice
503-206-3302 – fax
Friday had two notable lovely moments. Here they are. (I did have two separate posts but it didn’t make sense to have two about one thing, so now they are together. Enjoy.)
On Twitter, Liz Grover asked if anyone downtown could give her a ride to Beer and Blog. I told her I could, about 3ish if that worked, and she said that would be awesome. We finalized details and I met her and we drove off to the Green Dragon. We had a nice conversation on the way there and when we go there she reached in her pocket and handed me a small Buddha which I think is carved from stone. It is maybe the size of my thumb and she just handed it to me and said she really appreciated the ride. I was touched. I wondered for a moment about a world where things like this happen more and what a nice place that would be at any time of year. Even now on Monday I still can’t get over it. Out of nowhere! It was wonderful to get a token of appreciation like that, and it now has a permanent home in a particular pocket of my purse with my TARDIS key. Somehow to me that seems oddly appropriate.
Ever spend time with a little kid? I’m talking about 5 to about 9 years old, they know what they are telling you and aren’t beat down by society yet.
Well I know one such small person. She’s almost 7 and her mom and I are good friends. Friday night I was at Beer And Blog as I do, and as it happened, ma and pa were going to come and bring her with them.
She was very excited to see me, and I was happy too, because she’s always entertaining. So we sat down at a table in a restaurant full of people and got to talking as she was drawing a beautiful beach scene on the table (it’s cool, the tables are all chalkboard painted and artwork is encouraged). She said she was glad to get to show up and I asked if it was because she got to see a bunch of people she knew or if it was french fries (the ones at the Green Dragon are REALLY good). She pointed at me. I asked her if she meant everybody and she shook her head and pointed at me again. Just to be sure I asked her if she was SURE it wasn’t the fries, because I’ve had them and they are really really good, and she shook her head a third time and held out her hand, little finger up, in the customary Pinky Swear Position. So we pinky swore that she was happy to see me and me alone, everybody else was bonus. Then we colored some more on the table.
That was a great way to kick off the weekend. And I didn’t even tell you about Strange Love Live! There is a TON of positive energy around, you just gotta know where to look.
About a week ago it started snowing like Mother Nature had something to prove. It was CRAZY. Especially because in Portland this is simply not the case. It’s an inch, and the city freaks out. There is currently at least a foot outside and that’s after a bit of melting. It is INSANITY and frankly it’s starting to freak ME out.
So I am a little stir crazy basically being housebound since Saturday evening (that was Freezing Rain time) and today declared on Twitter that I was losing my mind. A neighbor and fellow Tweep was on and getting ready to go out herself. I figured it was time my car had tire chains at least “in case” so I called around and found some just out on (the now infamous) 82nd. So @SharonG came by in her 4Runner and off we went. At least 82nd was pavement so it was ok to get around. We talked about this stretch of 82nd not being bad because there was Pho and having a mutual love of Vietnamese beef noodle soup we pulled in. We had a lovely lunch, and then off to get chains. We lost the place because the address in Google maps didn’t have much to do with where they ACTUALLY were, so as we headed down to 82nd and Holgate she got a text message reading only SOS and called to see what happened. Tire Tragedy at 92nd and Foster! So the second I had my chains we took off and of course got there in the nick of time! We didn’t end up doing anything helpful except lending moral support. Which is sort of disappointing since the universe put us almost exactly in the spot where they had ended up so we could go be helpful. That was basically it, a way around the problem had been sorted out after the call was made, so we ended up heading home. We came up 92nd and there on the right as a shining beacon of goodness was Burgerville. I mentioned they were on Twitter and had said earlier to hitch up the reindeer and head on in. So we were lured by the possibility of Chocolate Hazelnut Milkshakes and pulled in. We got around and the auto drive-through thing offered us that very thing! Again, the universe saying DO EET! So we tried. First there was debate about whether or not there were milkshakes of ANY variety. It was determined there were in fact milkshakes, but there was no hazelnut ‘syrup’ to give it all the actual hazelnutty flavor one (apparently) expects from a milkshake. So we tried, and eventually she sold us two. We got to the window and Sharon said “Do we get a discount for being experimental?” and we did! So that was cool. Then she continued up 92nd and we made it home safely.
After all that adventure, did I take a nap? Heck no! I shoveled a path for Teh Scoot to get from the curb to the garage door. I didn’t mean to, I meant to clear it so he could actually park in the driveway, but it SO didn’t happen after the snow got deeper AND I remembered we have a downhill slant to our driveway so it was even deeper than I originally thought. It was way more work than I was prepared for so I carved a path and called it good.
I measured today – 4″ at the front door (which is dry in all but the most intense of rainstorms, I have a covered porch that eliminates most of that). Just off the step (which was drifted so you couldn’t even see steps) it was EIGHTEEN inches. Out in front of the garage door it was more like two feet. Snow is currently up to the bumper of my car in the street. I’ll have photos up later, right now it’s late and I have to go in to work tomorrow (we were closed Monday and Tuesday) so I have to get some sleep.
Thanks to @SharonG for an awesome afternoon of pho and sliding and splashing around 82nd. Again, the power of Twitter. (:
I leave you with this: If SNOWPOCALYPSE is so unbelievably bad, just wait until THAWNAMI! You heard me.
So you may remember that at one point I was quoted as saying some unkind things about Southeast 82nd. And no, I still won’t call it the other thing. Well there’s another round of 82nd angst going around right now, because of the No-Hooker-Zone and it being allowed to expire and all this nonsense.
Oh you heard me, I said nonsense. Because apparently the REAL issue here is that we don’t yet have a Mayor Potter Style Advisory Committee to make recommendations. OK, we didn’t, until now. I am still confused about the No-Hooker-Zone because I thought Portland, nay, OREGON was a No-Hooker-Zone. If prostitution is illegal then why do we have a special part of town where it’s extra illegal? Like the No-Meth-Zone downtown I don’t get it. What makes this a good thing to spend time and resources and money on?
This isn’t to say I think it’s stupid to reach out to the people involved and try to get them off the street and into a better situation, I can’t imagine anyone “working” 82nd is doing it for fun. It’s a good idea to try harder to address the actual issue, and I’m not against that. It’s more that once again the approach is to sit around and talk about what’s going on and what can happen. But we KNOW what’s going on and we KNOW what is happening. Why isn’t it possible to take a different approach?
Here’s my idea: make 82nd less seedy so it attracts less seedy people. Whether you love it or it makes you itch, the Pearl District is the new fancy part of town. Imagine your “standard issue” streetwalker from 82nd sashaying down NW 11th. Not likely! So if 82nd looked better and had more than just porn and used cars, maybe this “oh no the prostitutes are back and what will we do and how is this possible and oh my STARS my delicate sensibilities” attitude and handwringing and committeeforming can finally stop.
Here’s what I said at the time:
Why not do what you’ve done in other parts of town? Give new businesses tax breaks to move there, make deals on new construction, make it tempting to build a new thing on 82nd. If perceptions are so key, then let people perceive actual redevelopment instead of some signs and some landscaping.
And here’s what I say now:
* Get a deal with Home Depot or Lowe’s or Hertz Heavy Equipment or whoever and give out vouchers for powerwashers. Make deals on paint. Make the barrier of entry to a Clean Shiny Eighty Second so low they are fools to pass it up.
* Make a deal with a big or popular business to MOVE to 82nd or open something new there (besides Wal-Mart). Give tax breaks to everybody who wants to set up shop there. Make new construction easier to start. If I thought it were possible I’d say to make a deal so moving into the former location of a used car lot was EXTRA cheap.
* Increase police. I don’t mean if it happens on 82nd all the cops in town show up, but right now the only time I see police in my neighborhood is when they’re lit up. I don’t see patrols or anything, and that should change.
* Promote good things. Fubonn, Asian Supermall, is a beautiful place and I ADORE it. Make some noise about it! Find a way to make a big deal about Hung Far Low, Slighty Tipsy Portland Institution, moving out to 82nd. Recognize those who ARE making an effort to improve 82nd and the area around it, like the Academy Theater.
* Ask the public! There are a LOT of people who live or work right around 82nd who have a lot of ideas and suggestions. Find out what they are! Crowdsourcing the brainstorm of improvement is a really easy way to get a lot of ideas that could be useful and it makes people in the area feel like they are doing something to improve the situation. Everybody wins!
And you know what? I didn’t even spend a bunch of time thinking of those few ideas. I’m sure if I applied some brainpower I could come up with some really fantastic ones! But the fact remains: There are better things to do about 82nd than forming a committee to talk about what we can do about 82nd. All this time later I think it proves that I was right: Changing the name DIDN’T DO A DAMNED THING. It was a (metaphorical) pig before, and we put (metaphorical) lipstick on it by changing the name, and now years later what do we have? A (metaphorical) pig. That’s right! Why don’t you quote me on THAT, Oregonian?
As usual, it was all Twitter‘s fault. This morning @justinkistner mentioned that he and @emailstine were going to head south for The First Official Offshoot Chapter Of Beer And Blog. I asked if it would be possible to get a ride there with them, and Justin said of COURSE it would be possible. (See? I told you! Stupid Twitter.) So we coordinated addresses and I was given permission to leave a little early today, so off we went to Corvallis. Block 15, to be exact. This was history in the making, people!
Let me back up.
Almost a year ago, Justin was getting bombarded (mostly via Twitter, I know, AGAIN with the Twitter!) by support questions and blog issues and decided to get all the askers in one room at the Lucky Lab with some beer so they could all ask at once. Some folks who missed it wanted another crack at picking Mister Kistner’s brain, so he did it again. Then I wanted to talk about the essentials when you finally jump into your own WordPress installation, so we did that too, and eventually it got a name and a logo and was a regular event that moved to the Green Dragon and eventually turned their patio into THE happening place for the Portland Geek/Nerd who wasn’t afraid to socialize.
We didn’t just stop there, oh no! There was a Beer And Squirtguns session the Friday it was over a HUNDRED degrees, a Beer And Bowl session, a field trip to North Portland, all kinds of awesome speakers and ideas and generally good things happening. In fact WordCamp Portland actually came out of a Beer And Blog where we were talking about WordCamps in other cities and how we should have one….well why don’t we go for it? And well, we did and it was AWESOME.
I was telling Justin tonight that the moment it hit me something special was happening was when people stopped asking if it was going to happen this Friday and started asking who was going to speak or when people were going to start showing up. When people took for granted that this was always going to happen, that’s when I thought we might really be on to something. Well we were, and now not only are we on to something, but we are on to something contagious. (Listen to me, “we” like I run it or something!)
So that’s where it started, and that brings us to tonight, the three of us heading south. WE HAD A BLAST! I got to meet some great folks, talk about Star Wars and iPhones and Cameras and Goonies and Blogging (yeah we ended up there eventually) and WordPress and it was SUCH a good time! We ended up staying longer than intended and got back later than scheduled but I could have stayed the whole evening there in the upstairs part of Block 15.
Here’s the thing: Any city can start their own Beer And Blog Chapter. But it will fall flat EVERY time if you have no community to tap into or group of folks who are willing to talk to strangers and get people mingling. It’s really just an outlet for something you already have going on. If you have no community of any kind, you can’t get the word out. If you have no social people, you’ll just get a restaurant full of people on their laptops instant messaging each other about how they aren’t having fun. This isn’t to say don’t try it. But see if you can get a couple of your chatty friends to come with you and maybe have the nerve yourself (if this isn’t your usual M.O.) to walk up to someone and say “Hi, I’m _____ and we haven’t met yet.” Sometimes that’s ALL it takes. Well. That and smile at someone who comes up to you and says the same thing.
I think Portland REALLY works for this because we’re a social bunch and we have a fundamentally helpful attitude. Want proof? Sign in to Twitter and ask for help. With ANYTHING. Someone in Portland will offer you exactly what you need, something really close, or an introduction to someone else who can help you. This is another reason I adore it here. I really do enjoy helping out, and something that to me is no big deal can mean the world to somebody else.
So I threatened to go to bed about an hour ago and still haven’t because my head is still buzzing from all the ideas and the good conversation and the amazing energy I got to soak up in that loud crowded AWESOME group of Corvallians (I can’t think of a better word) who decided a little Beer and a little Blog was the perfect thing for a December Wednesday. Thanks for having me!