A colleague I know who grew up in Portland described the Alberta Street of his youth as a place his mom told him not to visit. It was not that friendly. It was in an area that used to be defined by low-wage earning residents, clear social and crime problems, and inattention by the City of Portland. The story is a long one, involving the building of a nearby interstate, the demolition of African American residences nearby, a great flood in 1948, and the emergence of the new Portland in the late 1990s.
Today the street is a local if not national darling of Portland’s vaunted urban revitalization. There are plenty of restaurants, small business, and cafes. I tried to go to a boulangerie last weekend, when I filmed this video, but it was packed. Northeast Portland also use to have a lot more African American residents. That is no longer the case. There remains plenty of buzz about this place. I say, take a look for yourself. Do not let the hype or even this video sway your mind. Decide for yourself. It is most defnitely a shining star of the Portland I know, as Portland would define things.