Mr. Skomra has been in Portland for about a year, and cautions that he thus has only impressions of the MLK there based on his own observations and local journalism. Still, his comments are interesting:
Portland is seeing a huge development boom and MLK is no exception. The Portland Development Commission would like to run a “streetcar ” (we already have a light rail and two other “streetcars”) up the MLK here which would surely increase the rate of the development in the area. The Boulevard runs through Northeast Portland, one of
Portland’s five “quadrants.” Northeast Portland is a different ball of wax. Suffice it to say that NE Portland was formerly predominantly African American and a number of
factors are causing more whites and Latinos to move into the area. I presume this will eventually change, in some way, the character of MLK, but I can’t really predict what
that change will be.
MLK is a business district more than a neighborhood. (There is a Neighborhood “King” which is adjacent to a part of MLK Blvd.) Most of the businesses are small, with some corporate chains, and a couple of flagship-type stores by Nike and Adidas. Unlike MLK in New York, which I lived close to for five years, most of the traffic is by car or bus. There isn’t much pedestrian traffic, though there are some establishments where people gather socially.
The picture I took was of the side of a building which has a small business. Interestingly enough, after I took the photo the owner (I presume it was the owner) removed the MORE graffiti but left the “Paulrus is Dead” tag.
Mr. Skomra has some interesting observations about photography in the digital on his profile page. (“There’s something wonderful about flickr in that all of the photos still seem to be random, you could chance upon anything, but now because images can be tagged they can also be easily retrieved from their randomness. The combination of order and disorder in the database rules.”)
Separately, regarding his own photography, he says: “Most of my photographs try and place the subject in some kind of larger context. In general, I’d rather have a photo
with too much information that seems cluttered than have a singular romanticized subject.” Often his photo setting is Northeast Portland.