At the beginning of the week the nonprofit group Art on Alberta posted an event invitation on Facebook that signaled, to many, the potential demise of Last Thursday as we know it.
- Illustration by Jonathan Sperry
The event is billed simply as a "community meeting about Last Thursday on Alberta," and will be hosted by Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Amanda Fritz. They'll be taking public testimony from "stakeholders" (always an ominous term, in my opinion) about their options, including:
• Continue the event as is
• Continue the event with significant changes
• End Last Thursday on Alberta
The Last Thursday event has grown a great deal in recent years. What started in 1997 as Northeast Portland's version of a gallery walk has grown into a phantasmagoria of artists, pedestrians, yuppie parents, poi spinners and free-spending drunks. Not to mention the tidal wave of income that hits the street's businesses once per summer month.
The Mercury's Sarah Mirk has covered the event's growing pains: In 2008, the event's organizers convinced the city to close the street during the fair. The semi-official status led to concerns over the G-word. And last summer there were rumbles about "mounting tensions" during the event. Apparently the people who actually live there have had problems with abusive people pissing on their lawns.
Calls are out to Adams and Fritz about what they may be planning. Meanwhile, Facebook and Couchsurfing are abuzz with the seeds of resistance. What say you, Blogtownies? What's Last Thursday to you?