The cache of deliberate community describes the Alberta Street Neighborhood. Its has become a place where one wants to be seen. People want to become associated with it and be part of it. Like a college campus. But then all of Portland has these niches. There is the Hawthorne area and Belmont. Once these places became to expensive for home buyers and shopkeepers, the growth went to Irvington and Piedmont. Then Alberta and now into St. Johns. People have the tendency to purchase where they can afford. The rest just falls into place.
As the bemused grandparent of the ASN, Muir Price still feels like a kid. However she can't help but allow pride and yes smugness to ensue as she presides over her estate. Especially when younger people look at her home with envy. But it wasn't always like this the street filled with 30 somethings, baby strollers, and business opened into the night. There was a time when she felt that there was a more violent and threating element to the area. Her home was broken into several times and the neighborhood boys burnt down an unattached garage. Luckily no one was home during these instances. As her friend Gail mentioned earlier, ASN was the "Wild West".
Muir moved into the area while she was in her early twenties. David and she were a young couple. He had family about one mile south while she was from the east coast. Working as a mail carrier this was an area that she could afford to buy into. With the house and the ability to purchase the empty lot next to it, there were great possibilities. When associates at work ask where she was planning to buy, she was asked "isn't it kinda dark out there?" Being a bit naive she didn't quite get what they were getting at. Once she understood what they were implying, she would request that they "spell it out to her". That of course made them feel uncomfortable. Her response to them would then be "yes, and I like lots of variety. Besides it keeps the bigots out."
Additions have been made to their home, both out towards the back of the lot and a second story–complete with a tower.
The garden space is in a constant flux.
As fun items are found or made they become incorporated into the landscape as the Goddess of the grapevine was. And with Portland' s downtown bus mall renovation a legally acquired Portland Street lamp will be wired into place.
When I asked Muir what her denifiation of home is she said that it entailed beauty. She cares what her home looks like and enjoys being there to appreciate the work that both she and David have accomplished.
She hopes that the ASN can hold itself together and fend off the national chains. She feels that the "Arts" definition of the street has become a nonentity and that the area should become known for its restaurants. Above all the Alberta Street Neighborhood has become a very pleasant community. One where hopefully you can leave your car behind.