Join Us June 5th from 11-1pm @ SW Broadway and Montgomery for Portland Inclusivity Picnic
In his 2008 inauguration speech, then Mayor Sam Adams laid out a vision for Portland to become the “most sustainable city in the world”. It was an optimistic vision and one that called on everyone in Portland to work together to achieve. Today that narrative seems overrun by, as Tim Davis put it, “people in towers opposing towers”, homeowners fighting against people without homes, people with immense privilege excluding people without much, and even motorists trying to reserve as much space as possible for their private automobiles. It would be hard to claim that ten years later Portland has lived up to Mayor Adam’s vision.
The desire to claim your exclusive rights to common space is tempting in a world that seems run more off of social media than face-to-face contact, but exclusivity will not help us solve the most pressing problems we face as a society. Bicycles can be a tool to help us see each other and efficiently include people in a growing city. But as Denmark’s recent ban on religious face wear shows, we will need more than nice bikeways. We need to embrace a culture of including as many people as possible and understand that by doing so we will all be more wealthy, happy, and healthier.
In the summer of 1969, Portlanders hosted several “conscious raising picnics” in the small grassy area between the lanes of what was then the Harbor Drive highway. They ambitiously called for transforming the highway into a park. Today, it is impossible to imagine our city without Tom McCall Waterfront Park..
It is time for Portlanders to bring out their picnic blankets again.
Tomorrow, we are taking over a small section of Portland’s expansive public space dedicated to cars before people. We are reclaiming it to make a place where people can feel included and differences are celebrated. This inclusivity picnic will last for two hours and we will will host an open mic with several invited guest speakers to collectively imagine what an inclusive Portland might look and feel like.
Please join us tomorrow, June 5th, from 11-1pm on SW Montgomery between Broadway and 6th for a picnic to raise our consciousness about inclusivity and resist the pulls at our society to hide behind the shields of our car windows and single family zoned lots. Bring your own blanket and meal or join someone else on their blanket. Everyone is welcome.