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

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