Italian Slow Cooking Found in Portland Slower Living Suburban Villages

The spirit of Italy’s  re-invention of Slow Cooking is alive in the spirit of our Slower Living Suburban Communities.   Local language, humor, recipes, a sense of ownership of history , Multnomah Villages story is a portrait with its primary brush marks ageless strokes of Time. Engraved by  passing lives and generations pressing  the values acquired by authentic living in community upon our consciousness and culture.  Living the good life,  when time slows into tattered moments of the shadow and softened light  on the beauty and ordeals of our lives.  An antidote for the 20th century.

 Where did Multnomah get its name?

 The Oregon Electric Railway decided to locate a station near where Multnomah crossed todays Capital Hwy. And called it Multnomah after an important Oregon Native American chief and tribe that no longer enjoy the Willamette Valley.

 Why is Multnomah blvd broad and straight and Capital hwy so different in character?

 Multnomah was created by the same folks that engineered the Northern Pacific through the Rockies.  Oregon’s Electric Railway  ran right through Multnomah in starting in 1907 and ending suddenly disappearing during the depression in 1933.

 Capital hwy was built in fits and starts staring in the 1850 with Slavin road in Hillsdale opening commerce  through densely forested ravines and hills through the Fanno Creek watershed.  Early settlers arrived  during 1883-1891 when the transcontinental rail was completed.  Larger tracts on the west side attracted  the mostly Swiss-German dairy farmers who cleared the land and improved small sections of road.

 Where did the Capital Hwy overpass originate.

 Increase in automobile traffic brought the first gas station in 1919, a garage, a new school, Masonic Lodge and the famous Lovejoy stove and Ellis drugstore.  Frequent collisions between cars and trains prompted the building of the overpass.

What business remain today from the 20’s?

 Multnomah’s golden age ended during the depression. The railroad was torn up, the local bank was forced to close.  After the war Fred Meyer opened on Barbour and shopping malls like Washington sq eroded the clientele and most merchants closed their doors.   Today Johns Marketplace,  which was Johns Meat Market and Renners Grill remain.  Up until 1969, many storefronts were vacant,  but  antique stores and eclectic shops moved in due to low low rents. 

  Multnomah’s  2nd hundred years

Called  Multnomah Village during the late 1970’s its has grown into a vibrant endearing tight community with unique character.  The mix of vintage and eclectic styled homes  scattered in the hills surrounding  the central district offer quiet,  diversity and the ultimate walkable community minutes to downtown Portland.  Let’s hope that current placeholders hold a vision that maintains the character and size of the Village that provides  the amenities and resources needed for a diverse and involved community.    Image of America Portland Multnomah Village by Nanci Hamilton

Living in Community Urban Villages- Ignite the Fire in Your Heart Through Compassion

 I entered the urban corner café seeking spiritual nourishment. The 20’s style high ceilinged room had  an  open kitchen and a scattering of customers chatting at dozen tables.  A sign listed eggs and toast , whole plates for $1.25, coffee and beverages .75 cents. People out on the city street on bikes and shopping carts felt part of the quiet connected atmosphere inside the Café  called the Sisters of the Road  a non-profit serving the homeless in Portland Oregon  for the past 30 years. 

 My sister Monica  originally offering me lunch instead fed and nourished me with epiphanies.

 While waiting for her, I briefly read the forward to the Sisters signature book ‘Voices from the Streets’ offering a quote from Dorothy Day an early century rights worker.

 “Love and ever more love is the only solution to every problem that comes up.If we love each other enough, we will — with each other’s faults and burdens.If we are brave enough we are going to light a fire in the hearts of others.And it is love that will burn out he sins and hatred that saddens us. It is love that will make us want to do great thing for each other. No sacrifice and no suffering will seem too much”

 I silently wept in their commons room.  Grief and pain , hope and emptiness welling up out of nowhere. It is these things that open our hearts to hold both pain and joy .

I embraced Monica and as she helped me enter into the flow of her community. One that is diverse   based on equality, personal integrity and non violence. We sat on an old fashioned window skirting the entrance of the café as customers and co-workers acknowledged each other with a silent grace.

Sisters organizational model is non hierarchal one that empowers equality, responsibility, dignity and non-judgement. The core values of their community create safety and a foundation to support recovery, healing and self worth many of us reveres and is searching for.

 On any given nite millions of our fellow human beings are homeless.  ‘Stories of the Road’ documents 600 stories that are really about you and me. 

 ”Judy- becoming homeless made me look into the way I deal with God’ every single day I walk with God. You know, I thank God for my blessings. I thank God for the air I breathe. I thank God for the lessons I learn. I thank God for inspirational people come back on my path every single day”.

 Sisters founder shares – “as a Society we are spiritually bereft.  I could never say this about the people out on the street and in the care  shelters.  They walk in with the knowledge that there is a power greater than them and that’s how they get through their lives”.

 The epiphanies at Sisters truly nourish ones soul and re-ignite the fire in our hearts.   May your life be transformed into success and significance through compassion?