Successfully avoiding a complete corporate takeover in the near future, the soul of independent business in downtown Portland--the area west of 11th, and near Burnside--narrowly missed a significant blow last week. For five years, discussions have been underway to rezone the area--an urban mixture of small stores and affordable apartments. But last week the city's planning committee halted any rezoning of these sections.
The current zoning allows businesses to operate only out of the ground level--a protocol that preserves less expensive rents and allows independent businesses to remain competitive.
"The planning staff felt strongly that if we retain a residential zoning, that would be one thing that would not encourage redevelopment and consequently keep rents affordable," explains Graham Clark, Senior Planner for Portland Bureau of Planning. KATIA DUNN
Until two hijacked airliners plowed into the World Trade Center, it had been the summer of Genoa for activists around the world. In late July, scores of students were arrested and a man killed by police while protesting the G-8 summit in Italy.
In late July, frustrated that multinational corporations were over-running individuals' rights and upset by the police brutality in Italy, activists in Portland had seized Genoa as a rallying cry. Marchers gathered around the Italian Consulate in downtown Portland and stormed through the building. Two men, Mike McMullin and Matthew Ritzinger, were arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest.
But since the recent terrorist attacks, pundits have pointed to September 11 as a dividing line between a new world order and the old sensibility of a global village. That reconfiguration, and the overwhelming attention paid to terrorism seemed to have left concerns over globalization in the shadows.
Last week, however, Genoa appeared once again on the screen of local activists. In a press release titled, "Remember this?" the Liberation Collective reminded press outlets about the impending trials for McMullin and Ritzinger. Both men faced pre-trial hearings last Friday. McMullin requested to delay his trial until November 6 and Ritzinger failed to show. A warrant for his arrest has been issued. PHIL BUSSE