Eliot Neighborhood Association unveils oral history tour of vanishing black community, thanks to help from many groups

30 July 2011

About Picture: Courtesy Laurie Simpson
Boise-Eliot School student Anthony Brown interviews neighborhood resident Joe Nunn.

More than a year after the Eliot Neighborhood Association launched an oral history project to strengthen community and capture the past of a rapidly gentrifying community, the effort has grown to include several other groups and now features an extensive walking tour and history guide.

The tour, designed by Portland State University students, features the oral history interviews of 18 North and Northeast Portland elders. The interviews began in the spring last year and were first conducted by students at Boise-Eliot School.

The effort, funded by a $1,500 grant through the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, expanded, and adults with disabilities participating in Project Grow activities conducted a second round of interviews. Then the project grew yet again to include students from the Ivy School.

The students, in the university's Community Development Program, conducted further interviews and did a community outreach program at the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church. Then yet another group got involved. Night shift workers at Calaroga Terrace Retirement Community transcribed many of the interviews as a volunteer service.

The PSU students distilled all the interviews conducted by students and adults at Project Grow, and created a 45-minute audio tour that starts and ends at Matt Dishman Community Center and covers three miles with 13 stops. The audio tour comes with an accordion-style brochure and is played on MP3 players that are checked out at Dishman in exchange for a driver's license.

Project coordinator Laurie Simpson, who recently went on a dry run of the tour with other organizers and participants, called it an amazing look at the history of North and Northeast Portland as heard through people who lived the history. The tour covers history, culture, gentrification, and the urban development that pushed many people from the predominantly African American community between the 1950s and the 1970s.

The tours will officially be unveiled during the 25th North-Northeast reunion event, The Gathering, held the last Sunday of August in Dawson Park.

"We were trying to build connections in the community, to break down barriers, and to reaffirm the history of the neighborhood," Simpson said.

To learn more, go to www.eliotoralhistories.com.

-- Larry Bingham
Follow me on Twitter and check out The O's new Northeast Portland blog
© 2011 OregonLive.com. All rights reserved.

 By Larry Bingham, The Oregonian 

Number of Visits: 4322


Full Name:
A review of twenty years of oral history in Iran

Scientific and professional authority; perspective of Iranian Oral History Association

If a person has a personal library in his or her house, one or more oral history books are seen among them. In recent decades, the wave of book lovers has turned towards the field of oral history, and all this rising trend is owed to the activists in this field.


A memory from Asadollah Tajrishi
At the beginning of my arrival in Evin Prison, I was taken to solitary confinement as always and after a few days, I was transferred to the public cell. The public cells had been located in two floors. The arrangement of these cells in the cells of 1355 and 1356 was such that on the lower floor, there was a ward ...
Part of memoirs of Mamoosta Molla Qader Qaderi, Paveh’s Friday Prayer Leader

The trip of Ahmad Moftizadeh & Mamoosta Sheikh Jalal Hosseini to Paveh

After the victory of the Islamic revolution, the people of Oramanat area and the Sunni people of Kermanshah Province, unlike most cities in northern Kurdistan were alongside the Islamic Republic system ...

“Internal Reaction” published

Apart from the student activities and massive demonstrations in the years 1352 to 1354 (1973-1975), another part of my activities was the books I was writing myself. Of course, before they turned into books, I used to lend them in the form of nameless pamphlets in university libraries. Many harmful writings or books were taken to the mountains or transferred to other universities, sometimes even abroad.