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Anna Griffin, on Interstate Avenue

November 11th, 2007

You know, it would help if the Oregon Live site, you know. Worked. If it was easier to navigate, if the keywords for searches actually took you to the articles you were seeking. If the links didn’t go dead after two weeks. Anyway.

Now comes Anna Griffin, with an article titled “The Inner State of Interstate.” Do tell, Ms. Griffin — how would you describe my neighborhood after spending two hours here?

“Undeniably ugly,” she says (that’s her lead.)

“From the driver’s seat, Interstate Avenue looks like just another long stretch of urban landscape — busy, cluttered and, at times, undeniably ugly.”

That’s sweet, honey. Glad you could stop by.

Next? She compares it to a petri dish. Awesome! The phrase she was looking for was “melting pot.” (Editor: “But we need something more… more… original than melting pot…” Reporter, eager to please: “Petri dish?” Editor: “Good!”)

“On foot, however, Interstate is much more — a vast social petri dish where Caucasians, African Americans, first-generation immigrants from Fiji and third-generation Polish Americans do business side by side; where senior citizens, young families and newly arrived hipsters mingle over coffee and antique furniture.”

No Mexicans, though. (Yes, there are Hispanic-owned businesses in my neighborhood — she even interviews the owners of Jesusito grocery, where “neighborhood folks” shop, according to Griffin. See? We all get along.)

“With all this uncertainty, it’s no wonder the people of North Interstate Avenue are feeling a lot of things these days — and happy is not among them.”

Kent Brockman: “‘Twas the night before Christmas, and in this house a creature *was* stirring. But the only thing he was stirring was: up trouble.” — The Simpsons, “Homer the Vigilante”

The street history? It’s called Interstate Avenue because the street leads to the Interstate Bridge, connecting Oregon to Washington. Although this has been corrected in the online version of the article, there was nothing in the print edition about the street’s original name, North Patton Avenue (after landowner Matthew Patton). (Old-timers still call it Pacific Highway, or 99W.)


  1. dieselboi says

    Interesting. There are neither hipster coffee shops nor antique stores anywhere on N. Interstate. Which Interstate blvd did she visit?


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  2. WackyMommy says

    Maybe the one in Sellwood?

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  3. northportlandander says

    dieselboi and WackyMommy: Duhh! That would be The NorthStar Coffeehouse @ 7540 N. Interstate Ave. and Eric Vetter Modern @ 7600 N. Interstate Ave. both which are located IN N. Portland ON N. Interstate, one block North of N. Lombard. Did you not read the paper where both of these business owners were interviewed?

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  4. WackyMommy says

    Oh, Duhh! yourself. I read the whole article, even the part where Griffin interviewed the two drinkers at what, 10 a.m. at George’s bar? and takes them to be “voice of the neighborhood.” They’re all, name something in Woodlawn Chavez, no one would say anything, yadda yadda blip. And I would hardly call Northstar a “hipster hangout.” It is a nice place to go for a cup of coffee, though. I like Eric Vetter’s stuff, but he fits right in over here — he’s not antique/boutique-chi chi.

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  5. megs says

    Perhaps as Griffin becomes more experienced she will become a better writer. Go read some more Bukowski,Anna, and have another shot of whiskey. Then try writing that article again.

    November 12th, 2007 | #

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