08 January 2009

Vol. 0, Issue 2 | In Local News...

[originally written 05 May 2004, 5:01pm]

I awoke this morning with the urge... no, the compulsion to write. I found this odd. Usually, my early morning compulsions are limited to (in no particular order) drinking my weight in coffee, fucking and/or masturbation, showering, smoking or art. Writing doesn't factor in. So, when I'm actually compelled to do so, write I must.

It has come to my attention (which I pointed out to myself yesterday) that I have succumb to the Sickness. More on that in a moment...

Much of my ranting today will center around local news. Think globally, etc. and all that. So, to start with, the story on the morning news is about the aftermath of early morning vandalism against one of corporate America's major icons.

Portland, for those not from here, has many quaint or themed neighborhoods (not themed like planned communities, but themed in an organic sense), the Seven Corners at the intersections of SE 20th & Division being one of them. Like many of Stumptown's neighborhoods, the Seven Corners is looked at as historical, culturally & socially important, and should therefore be shaped as the neighborhood sees fit. I look at the Seven Corners and think that perhaps the city planners could have used lessons in street layout, but I digress.

Into this quaint neighborhood saunters in Starbucks, or rather a franchise thereof. No big deal, right? Wrong. Today was to be the grand opening of the new 'Bucks, whose presence incited much heated debate. Many people simply think that such an institution commercializes, and therefore de-personalizes, the Seven Corners. Since the 'Bucks went in against the will of many, someone (or someones) from the "Fuck Starbucks" camp opted to make their feelings clear by tossing a couple of Molotov Cocktails (my personal favorite) through the windows. I'm sure those responsible were disappointed that their plan never reached fruition: The building stands undamaged (albeit with two broken windows), and will be serving ice-cold Frappacinos to the wanting public tomorrow.

Here's what I find amusing/bothersome/irritating/worth-a-foot-in-the-ass about the whole sick thing: The fuckers that bombed the place, and protested, and who are still whining about the 'Bucks... They'll be in line tomorrow. Friday tops. But there is something there in the Zeitgeist. Something that is demanding our attention, but in a coy fashion.

Under the same heading of NIMBY, plans to open up yet another adult toy, book & movie shop have members of a NE Portland neighborhood freaking out. It's certainly not because Portlanders aren't used to the sex industry. Portland boasts having more strip bars and adult entertainment stores per capita than any other city in the USA. (No really. We boast about it all the time.) And no one can fault the business owners who want to open the show up on the under-revitalization Interstate Avenue area. So... why are they bitching, you ask? The three most important things in business: Location, Location and Location.

Across the street from the impending sex shop is Ockley Green Middle School. Yes. Middle School. Full of middle schoolers.

Now, I'm not against sex shops. In fact, I'm all for them. But this is a really bad idea. Is it legal? Youbetcha. Is it tasteless? Yuh-huh. Should the shop think about locating elsewhere? Definitely. So why do you think they'd try and open up across from the school. There are several reasons I can think of. One, free press. Until they decide to actually set up across from the school or go elsewhere, they will be on the local news, ad infinitum. Two, they're taking a page right from the marketing strategies of the Tobacco Industry. How that? Future customers. Porn is definitely one of the most sought after items in a pre-teen boy's life. Least, that's how I remember my teen years. Dunno. Maybe teens & preteens today are running Fotune 500 companies or working to cure cancer instead. Real noble pursuits. Anyway... Three, well, it's legal.

That last one's a doozy. The neighborhood doesn't want the shop there, nor does the school, the parents, the teachers, or the students. But, as City Hall has pointed out, there isn't a lot that can be done. Nothing legal. Nothing above board.

I have a hard time being convinced that anything happens as a result of coincidence. Back to back on the news, we hear of the events caused by the concerns of a neighborhood not being heard, and another neighborhood starting out in that direction. When (not if, and I'll put real money on this) the NE/Ockley Green community lays to waste the sex shop on the day it's set to open, remember that I said it would happen. And I'll also bet they'll say they got the idea from the Seven Corners/Starbucks incident. A city cannot ignore the voice of its people, its communities, its neighborhoods. It will eventually lead to the revolution. At least, I can certainly hope so.

In the meantime, I'm going to get some marshmallows for the roast.

I take back the bit about the Sickness. Not the having, but the discussing. Need to mull that one over. Be back tomorrow.

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