Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

Up & Running

Hey everyone, just thought I’d let those of you that were interested know that I’ve updated my blog with "Obama '08" "Terrell Brandon's Barbershop" & "Memorial Day Chicken Massacre". My life's been pretty hectic lately but I'm trying to finish out the term as strong as I can.

I also wanted to let you guys know I've enjoyed reading about experiances I've missed. Thanks -G

Saturday, May 31, 2008


We were introduced to Maryetta Jacques who lives next door to the empty lot on NE 15th avenue. Here is what Ryan and I found out:

Maryetta was born in Palo Alto, CA

She has one sister, Emily, who is a country singer.

Her parents moved to Ashland, OR when she was very young.

They wanted to lead a calmer life that included a house and garden.

Mom teaches special education.

Dad is a longer story but in short, an artist.

Sadly, mom and dad divorced.

Dad is very sick: Heart and Lung disease.

Maryetta went to Portland State University when she was 18 years old.

Her undergraduate studies were in Sociology and Psychology and art classes.

She met her husband Matt in a Painting class at PSU.

She dressed in uncomfortable clothes to get his attention.

She told her friend she was going to marry him before they ever dated.

It took four years for them to finally go on a date together.

They moved to Seattle after they finished undergraduate school.

They had an apartment near Pike Place Market.

Getting fresh food at the market everyday got her interested in growing food.

Matt went to Mexico for a project.

Maryetta moved back to Portland.

The house they live in now, on NE 15th, Matt had already bought when they met.

She was grossed out by it and wanted him to sell.

She is happy they didn’t.

A man peed his name on the sidewalk once when she was hosting a dinner.

Maryetta and Matt have a lovely garden and backyard.

It is in constant evolution.

It used to be covered in blackberry bushes.

They did everything themselves.

They have four chickens

One of These Chickens Is Illegal

The legal limit of chickens in the city is three.

She and Matt wanted it to be an oasis for their children, when they had them.

The empty lot next door used to belong to the neighbors.

Maryetta started a community garden and art gathering space there.

Community Garden

Maryetta and Matt have a daughter named Sophia.

Maryetta feels that she appreciates life a lot more because of Sophia.


She says it’s harder than it looks.

She likes to ride her bike with Sophia on the back.

Once she saved people from a house fire.

She broke down the door of the house next door.

She had to wake up her neighbors because they passed out from smoke inhalation.

She said it all happened very fast.

Fox News called her “Hero Mom”

People drive too fast down 15th Ave.

Her cat got out and was run over.

Maryetta got a MFA at Portland State University in 2006.

Her concentration is painting, but has been drawn to sculpture.

Sculpture articulates her ideas better, sometimes.

She feels that she took a lot out of Graduate school.

She also feels that Graduate school took some of her joy and enthusiasm out of her creating.

She wants to get back in making more art.

Since her daughter is growing, she wants to concentrate on her personal endeavors as an artist.

She hopes that people in the Alberta neighborhood will continue to take risks.

She wants to see a community garden space again.

She likes to look out her window and see something beautiful.

The family

Saturday, May 24, 2008

May 21st

Last Wednesday we all met at the lot and discussed the primary results from the election the day before. It seemed that all of the people in attendance that day were Obama supporters, so the discussion was enthusiastic. People seemed indifferent by the fact that our mayor elect was a gay man. Not indifferent in a negative way, but no one really had much to say on the topic. We all walked down to Earl's again and talked to him about the election results. He was happy that Obama won and upset that Sho Dozono lost the mayoral bid, but he had a "what can you do about it?" attitude toward it.
Earl told us of a Barbershop down on 13th and Alberta to check out. Most of the people in there were very young and I thought it was nice to hear from people of our age range from that neighborhood. After we went into that barbershop Harrell told us that when he initially went in there to ask them if it was ok if we all came in, they asked who he voted for and they were surprised to hear that he voted for Obama. They had wanted Sho to win. Businesses really liked Sho.

Friday, May 16, 2008


On Wednesday the 14th, I walked north from the lot to the Habitat for Humanity office on Killingsworth and 14th. I sat down with Ron who told me a lot about the organization. He is the construction supervisor of the Portland branch. He said that 70% of labor put into a house's construction is volunteer. He said that the city of Portland is very involved with their process and gives them incentive for creating sustainable housing. Habitat is going to be building two houses this summer that use a plethora of sustainable materials inside and out. He said HFH's concentration was to help below income/single families to purchase affordable homes.
Ron used to work in construction and mortgages, and before that he worked with teens in
Boise, Colorado, and California.
In their office a home owner of one of the HFH houses was there. Her name was Theresa and before she moved into her house she lived in an RV. She is happy to be out of substandard housing and into a safer, cleaner, and more affordable home. She says here overall quality of life has increased and she is happy to have the stability of a home to raise her child in.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Art Hop!

I thought everyone should want to know about this event on Alberta Street.

This year, the 9th Annual Alberta Art Hop will take place on Saturday, May 17th. This creative/cultural arts festival is put on by the street's local business owners and artists, coordinated by Art on Alberta. Together we create community through the power of the arts.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A lot of_______ project series-calandar

A lot of ________________
An event series with the PSU MFA Art and Social Practice Program.
3:00 PM, Every Sunday between MAY 18-JUNE 29
Neighborhood Projects (15th and Alberta)
Please join us for "a lot of _______," a series of convergences, experiments, collaborations, and
adventures initiated by the students of the PSU MFA Social Practice Program. Located at
Neighborhood Projects (15th and Alberta), just south of Alberta on 15th street, this series aims
to engage the surrounding neighborhood by providing a platform for communication and
collaboration. Each student in the program will take turns facilitating an event, every Sunday at
3pm from May 18th-June 29th.
Neighborhood Projects (15th and Alberta) is a vacant lot made available for use by local
architect Matthew Beitz. This lot is the future home of a movable off-site classroom for the PSU
MFA Social Practice program. The classroom is being designed by a group of PSU architecture
students under the direction of Beitz, owner and operator of quartertwenty design studio. The
classroom is scheduled to be complete for inclusion in this year’s TBA festival, organized by
“The new Art and Social Practice MFA at Portland State University is a two year program that
will educate and activate students to develop and utilize their artistic skills to engage in society
and transcend traditional studio art paradigms. Students will learn about a variety of working
artists and non-artists who have engaged in civic activity, and will apply their knowledge and
abilities to initiate, develop, and complete projects with the public - individuals, groups, and
institutions.” -Harrell Fletcher
For further inquiries into “A lot of __________” please contact
Cyrus W Smith
MFA Candidate
ongoing documentation @ www.lotofprojects.blogspot.com

The Schedule

Purple Rain
Varinthorn Christopher
May 18th
Pepsi Rocket Ship Moon Voyage Launch!
Host: Cyrus W Smith
May 25th
Meet and Greet BBQ
Hosts: Eric Steen &
Sandy Sampson
June 1st
Movement Exchange
Hosts: Amy Steel &
Eric Nordstrom
June 8th
A Lot of Strangers
Host: Avalon Kalin
June 15th
A Lot of Lids
Hosts: Laurel Kurtz &
Steve Beatty
June 22nd
Swap Meet
Host: Sandy Sampson &
Eric Steen
June 29th
THE Scavenger Hunt
Hosts: Katy Asher &
Tuey Burns

ongoing documentation @ www.lotofprojects.blogspot.com