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what's happened to City Repair (continued)

Continuing the conversation about City Repair and VBC (original thread:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/05/339837.shtml). VBC ends Sunday, so keep the conversation going while it's fresh.
In a thread started on May 23 about City Repair Project and VBC ( http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/05/339837.shtml) some people said that the "leaders" of City Repair Project haven't taken criticism seriously. I love CRP's ideas and have been involved with them on and off for a few years. But I've seen that some leaders listen to criticisms, and some really don't. Unfortunately it seems like many many of those people (many of them women) who HAVE listened and tried to do something about CRP's issues have ended up leaving in frustration. I wonder if the leaders that have stayed ever asked WHY these people left.

Can we hear some stories, good or bad, about the internal workings of CRP from people who were/are involved? It's a great group of people and a great idea, we should help it become better and better.
Thanks for continuing this dialogue 26.May.2006 13:09

Dexter Rexter

There are a lot of parallels between this discussion thread on City Repair and many other issues. How do we reach out and be more inclusive in causes we believe in and not get so generic or widespread that there's nothing left to keep the passionate volunteers hooked.

On the flip side, how can we grow a cause when the leaders remain insularly focused and choose to include irrelevant activities into the mix which serve to alienate people interested in the originally professed cause?

City repair does not need to include group therapy and karmic smudging. Nothing wrong with those, they just are choices for individuals unrelated to the core focus City Repair should be staying true to.

There's no use alienating people when the world is in such dire need of cooperation among far more people than the cliquish choir.

Thanks for bringing this discussion back to the top.

DR

not heavily involved but... 26.May.2006 13:55

diablita

Here's a poem I posted last night down thread after a day of hanging out there-I sorta felt like I'd had too much sugar:

I was in the middle of Starhawk's spiral dance tonight at the VBC's evening venue with many earnest citizens of Cascadia and I thought "what's not quite right with this?". This poem popped out-it reflects both that situation and some personal stuff as well but is not the personal also the political?
Don't say Love like it was your own toy

Unless you are prepared for the sobs of the

Underloved, the unchosen and

Their burden of sleepless longing nights

Measure your words carefully

Beware of trifling with the hearts

Of the shy and the sorrowful

There is pain that cannot be repaired

With your kiss

village thinking 26.May.2006 16:30

pedro

i have been involved with CR since 97 and the vbc literally since day 1. though i always thought CR would be better as a political party, on one end, or a group of anonymous voluntary cooperators simply working on direct action in the public right of way, on the other, the reality is that CR became incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2001, and continues to operate as one today. there are by-laws, a board, and over the course of many, many trainings, vision workshops and meetings, various acknowledged and consented to agreements on working together and making group decisions have been generated. they continue to be developed to this day.

like many of those who have been working with CR for the long haul, i have continued to do the work of CR in my own way and at my own pace, self-selecting those projects and social dynamics which appealed to me and avoiding those which did not. i have been putting in time and focus toward making such a revolutionary project as re-thinking the spirit of the crossroads in a way that, to me, makes the most sense. the organization has always been made up of those who choose to volunteer their time, energy and love. this goes for a volunteer who just shows up or for anyone who wants to get involved in a decision making body.

no doubt there are conflicts which arise. no doubt there are people learning, growing out of the skin of racist, sexist, classist thinking. no doubt there are raised eyebrows at certain decisions. when individuals are empowered to make decisions for a whole group, especially a group with an organic structure like CR, there will be those other individuals who think there were poor decisions made. and maybe they were simply poor decisions. no doubt there are those who lack boundaries of many kinds, and focus more on one thing than the other. welcome to the human condition 2006.

creating massive volunteer staffed public events is a challenge for a group of individuals still developing relationships of trust. if you have not been involved and simply want to rant, you do not know the challenges of putting on these events. further, many folks get involved with a misunderstanding of the limits of these projects and, perhaps, an ungrounded excitement for what they believe to be the spiritual answer for what they have been looking for, whether through the focus, actions, or events of the organization and/or particular people involved. i have seen many individuals get involved and then get burned out in such a way. i don't blame anyone or the organization; it's the human condition 2006.

this year at the vbc, i was busy during the day at the site i was working at-- portland state's book bench, where i worked with dozens of students on moving over 8 cubic yards of sand, straw and clay and turned it into something amazing in a very public place. and the real story is not this highly functional, highly artistic bench we created, or the consensual design process, the organizing, the bureuacratic triumphs, or the fact that we built this for less than 200 bucks in materials. it's that a community of previously unrelated, untrusting individuals worked together to make a change, empowering themselves to believe in their abilities and to consider what else they may choose to do next.

anyhow, like every individual in the village, i, too, have some strong critiques of the vbc this year, but you know what i am going to do with them?

1. share them with the groups most involved in a constructive way

2. get involved next year on some key visioning and organizing aspects for vbc7

3. take a few minutes and post on indymedia

that's all i have time for now.

peace out.

giving 26.May.2006 16:33

thanks

Thanks for bringing this thread back to the fore. Maybe the last day of vbc folks can have a face to face discussion about what's been brought up here.

i love you all!

starhawk poem ? 26.May.2006 19:29

small one

Could the poster who left the poem that "popped out" while at the spiral dance with Starhawk, elaborate on that?
I'm intrigued, but somewhat mystified. Fascinated, but (dense, maybe?) feeling like I'm not totally getting the point.

Starhawk has lately been involved with mass civil disobedience actions and travel (to the Palestinian occupied territories) and has been doing some amazing political work (besides her great spiritual leadership).

Sometimes, though, the witchy in-group jargon can be off-putting to those not in the inner circle of Starhawk's fans. This is too bad, but raises an interesting question: just who is VBC "for"?

Is VBC a convergence of only the like-minded? Are the projects that are left behind really "speaking" to the wider community?
Does it even matter?

I've been to some VBC events in the past and I love a lot of what this organization has done- although the price of admission this year for the eveing activities, seems WAY out of reach for many Portlanders.

Maybe this was just an "off" year.

I sure hope that next year, the VBC evening events are made to be affordable for regular people. That might ensure that there is more of a diverse group participating.

"Group Therapy" 26.May.2006 22:18

fireweed

I hope that more comments can be made on what else people want to see at the VBC, rather than on what processes are "irrelevant" to community-building.

I see the point that individuals have many opportunities to participate in healing activities outside of the VBC, and also would encourage folks connected to the healing professions to be wary of creating events that are heavy on the "healing profession good" side.

I also encourage commentors to remember - if the personal is the political, then dealing with personal stuff like emotions and relationships is a political act. Not the only political act, fer sure. But political.

Some people may not have access to the political outlook on healing, or to healing at all. In this city, acupuncture, therapy, and other forms of individual/collective healing are sprouting out of every corner, so anyone from the middle class up has a huge range of options. Working class and more dispossesed folks even have a few "nontraditional" choices. In some other places not so far away, some forms of healing are stigmatized, while others are not even known.

The health of a body and of a spirit, of the quality of relationship each person brings to another, is in my opinion deeply relevant to community.

To me the big question is: to what extent are the events at this year's VBC preaching to the choir?

And, sorry to all the commentors, the "don't give feedback unless you're willing to organize" approach doesn't work for me - and for many others. Some of us don't earn enough dough to have enough free time to plan these things. Some of us take care of other people, like children and/or disabled friends and family. Some of us have other very vital social action committments. We're too busy holding up that part of community to do much for the VBC, but we would like to know that our feedback still matters to people in VBC roles. This "more communal than thou" approach doesn't fly for me.

It comes, I know, from a desire to see people get out of apathy and infighting and into collaboration. And sometimes, when you tell people to act instead of talk, maybe someone goes, "Whoa, maybe I should." If they have, I've never seen it yet on any of the peace movement forums, or community building postings.

I personally like being asked to join, not guilt tripped. Please beg us to join, out of enthusiasm for our ideas and energy, not snap at us to join because you're so cross that we are asking something of you or others. If you'd like us to give props as well as suggestions, please tell us so. Please be ready to give us props as well. Please don't dismiss what we have to say just because we're not going to a meeting. This, as far as I am concerned, IS a meeting. I am taking the time to show up because I care. How are you going to treat me?

In return, I promise to show how happy I am that there is a VBC at all! It rocks. How many places have incredibly creative structures blooming on corners throughout the city? How many people per year smile and feel happy when they see them? I know I do.

In writing classes I've taken, one of the things I learned is that sometimes the best thing a story can do is leave people wanting more.

That is not to say that your work is all good for all people, or that working through the issues posted in this thread wouldn't be a wonderful thing to do. If you all in your role could find a way to go further towards service to all races and classes, I would love that. I could even refer you to people who can help advise you, who will praise what you've already done as well as help you go one step beyond.

Judging from some of the posts, a good place to start with this would be to learn how to deeply hear one and support one another, past differences, within City Repair.

reply to small one 26.May.2006 23:12

diablita

Sorry I didn't explain more of how the poem came about. I have nothing bad to say about Starhawk; it was just my accumulated experiences of the VBC that created the words in my head.
It seems that there this sort of generic "love" that's tossed about but, like someone mentioned on the other vbc thread, people including the organizers were pretty much sticking with their own cliques and not really engaging with folks they didn't know or with those who were a bit shy. I'm not real reserved and I tried a large number of times to start up some chat with people at the disjecta site and often felt snubbed. It really didn't help that they had some real hardasses at the gate-I paid my dime well in advance and had the proper receipts but got ferociously grilled nearly every time I went in.
In my personal life I've had friends/acquaintances (some from the same groups) say the L word frequently and thoughtlessly. If it's an important concept should we be bandying it about? If ya don't mean it don't say it!

What I would like to see for future VBCs 27.May.2006 00:01

msj

It isn't enough to put aside some time to build small structures or benches or to try to turn an auto-dominated roadway into a living room if the rest of the year we continue to work, live and play in dead spaces churning out products and services that are destructive to the human spirit and the planet. I would therefore like to see VBC become a staging point for every day becoming a movement for Portland transforming itself into an ecocity.

What makes an ecocity? It occurs to me that most folks volunteering with CR are not aware of the amazing possibilities, the possibilities that could and should be integral to every aspect of urban life.

First and foremost, I would like to see a VBC raise the possibilities of Earth-sustaining commerce taking the place of the rapacious, growth-dependent suicide economy that continues to dominate in Portland, to which even the most progressive-seeming politicians still feel beholden to promulgate. Commerce that is deeply rooted in place, deeply localized--from increasing the stores of our local renewable raw materials from plant sources and locally harvesting and turning them into biodegradable products on a small scale; to focusing distribution of these products locally rather than in the destructive global economy; to making total employment for existing resident in satisfying work the goal rather than "creating jobs," which simply means subsidizing growth; to building up local, community-based investment pools and helping workers and renters become owners of their companies and buildings; and to shortening the distances between work, play and entertainment, so that most everyone can easily walk or bike to most of their destinations, and thus eliminate the car as the dominant urban feature.

I'd like to see visions and plans for creating at least one real car-free zone in the city, which could lead to more and bigger ones. I'd like to see emphasis on people getting together with their immediate neighbors and turning where they live in the city into small ecovillages. I'd like to see long-term visions for restoring large swathes of the city into wildland greenbelts. I'd like to see projects to daylight our urban streams. I would like to see one demonstrative dark-sky project where one or two blocks get rid of the nasty glaring sodium cobra street lights set way up high and replace with them with low-wattage, indirect full-spectrum lights that don't shine upward or into passerbys' eyes. I would like to see as a project at least one block-level solar/wind/hydro electrolytic converter/biomass off-the-grid energy generation. I would like to see greater understanding opening about the necessity of bringing our population and consumption within the carrying capacity of the bioregion. I would like to see greater understanding brought forth about what our bioregion is and what makes its health integral to ours.

These only represent the beginning of what a VBC could offer. Evening events could have foremost thinkers and activists in each of these arenas present the projects like these that they have initiated in their cities, and they could learn from us things that we have initiated that no one else has. Portland, via CR/VBC could host the International Ecocity Conference, but make it the International Ecocity Convergence--an idea that some of us initiated but which did not continue forth.

If we are going to deal realistically with the coming of peak oil, water shortages, and climate change, we will have to begin thinking about the whole systems approach to repairing the city into clusters of pedestrian, economically self-reliant ecovillages interwoven with productive farm and forest lands. CR has built up a momentum of drawing individuals towards the vision of making change that matters, and the change that matters most is transforming the city through its economic, political, and transportation systems, through the recognition of our dire dependence on our local resources for our survival, of our dependence on the gentle power and beauty of those resources in great abundance to sustain us psychologically and emotionally as well.

All the projects that have been worked on via VBC are sweet and inspiring, but there is so much more that needs to be done, and what needs to be done needs to be done in tandem with what we do for our income and sustenance. Many of us don't volunteer to work on the building projects that much because the daily necessities of our lives don't make doing so a practical thing. But we still want each moment of our lives be a movement towards village building. A Village Building Convergence that serves as a staging point for whole-scale transformation of the city would aid in making that happen.

Hey 27.May.2006 04:10

Art

I sadly didn't participate this year in any VBC event but I have in just about every other year. I just want to say that I have much respect for what City Repair has done and I feel that most everybody posting their frustrations also has that same respect. But yes I am frustrated also. I was scared away by the high cost of the evening events. I was very concerned that VBC was shifting toward an exclusive wealthy environmentalist event which left out the grassroots diversity. I understand the need for funding. Its hard to put on a good event with no money but at the same time its hard to influence people if no one shows up. My mom was in town visiting and I really wanted to take her to some of the nightly events but I simply was priced out of experience. All I really want to say is that remember the low income people are part of the village too.

ABOUT the inventing of words 27.May.2006 12:10

Adriana

I actualy think it is fun to invent words and does not hurt anyone. In Spanish that is what we do all the time, I think there is nothing wrong in having some enjoyment in life. If not of some joy how can we sorvive this horrific world. I like to have fun some times as being serios others.

Again critizicing is different than observing. Also Criticism is done when our needs are not being met but we do not know What are our needs and what is triggering the need to criticize.

Aren't we all want peace, communication, healthy wolrd, no raicism, have our basic needs cover (home, health, food, love,and peace)

a revolution of everyday life 27.May.2006 12:16

brush

thanks, everyone. as many have noted, this kind of feedback and reflection is crucial to becoming the change we desire, especially when it supports and invites new practices and engagements.

i think there can be little question that city repair throughout its history has been subcultural in attitude, aesthetics, and appeal. over time there have been shifts in the mix of subcultures, of "choirs" to which it speaks, and that is the cause of some of the criticism i hear on this thread. other criticism is rooted in elitism, ossification, power structures, patriarchy, and other dynamics that remain a deep challenge for virtually every form of organizing i have participated in. may we continue that struggle, and appreciate everyone who engages in it constructively, with energy and insight.

and some of the criticism is rooted in a yearning for city repair or the vbc to become something more than subcultural, an agent of widespread fundamental transformation of the fabric of everyday life in portland, a new political economy of justice and wisdom emergent in the shell of the old.

i would like to suggest that it may be both futile and unwise to wish for city repair, vbc, or any other particular organization or community to play this role. as someone noted above, people become passionate about engagement with movements and communities because of the particular experiences and cultural modes they experience there: aura cleansing and spiral dances, or bicycle jousting and carhardts, or homebrewed beer and postcolonial discourse, or the insane clown posse and self-mutilation. to attempt to become "neutral" or a "broad church" or an "umbrella" for a wide variety of such subcultures is a recipe for a) unconscious reproduction of the tropes of establishmentarian white supremacy as a stand-in for "human nature" (political parties, mainstream nonprofits, etc.), b) gathering and maintaining power in the hands of a few in the name of the many (populism, vanguardism, etc.), and/or c) schism, failure, collapse.

the emergence of a powerful ecology of self-organized transformation, respect, and accessibility looks different, i think. a wide variety of organizations, collectives, gatherings, and events appeal to specific subcultures, attitudes, ideologies, skills, etc. they focus on becoming increasingly effective at empowering new people to participate in them, on facilitating the growth of new spaces that do similar work, and on building effective webs of relation and articulation with (geographical, ideological, organizational, accidental) "neighbors" in the overall ecology. as much as possible, there is no center of power, communication, or coordination; instead, there are many hubs and liaisons that maintain a redundant, diverse, yet agile coherence with reduced vulnerability to the internal and external threats that have lead to the ultimate failure of all previous revolutionary movement. right, permaculture.

probably, many of you already have this vision in mind. i just thought i'd make it explicit. in this context, i think, the valuable critique of city repair and vbc remains, but in a somewhat different light: it is appropriate to "preach to the choir", but it is critical to open the doors to as many people as possible to join it, if they wish, and it is urgent to build understanding and experience with others from divergent perspectives and experiences who are not motivated by the particularities of this subculture, but who recognize themselves as part of the same ecology of change.

to do that work, certain specific under-emphasized roles and forms of engagement become critical: inviters and greeters making it easy to be welcome and get plugged in; conflict mediators facilitating the cohesion of a group and a recognition of when resources are better split between diverging collectives rather than maintaining an artificial unity; and diplomats and liaisons building relations between the many cultures and communities of the new world trying to become. (plug: if you'd like to pursue this work, email brush .at. riseup .dot. net.)

let's take the pressure off the vbc and city repair. portland is much bigger than can be held in any organization's belly. catalysts, facilitators, diplomats: emerge!

all power to the people.
.b


WoW WOW Anger fits with this comment 27.May.2006 12:17

Adriana

Reading your comments about VBC sound like you are angry and City Repair has been your TARGET. May be Non-violent communication could help find what your needs are. Because you cannot find your needs in everything you want in an event. I agree was expensive and has things that are not perfect but are you perfect? Could you as a volunteer make everything perfect so everyone likes it and no one critizices it?
About the food, I have help before making food for 100's of people it is not an easy task, remember this is done by volunteers with a tight budget and donations. I challenge you to try that and If you can do it, then volunteer next time and organize the food part.

You are commenting that you did not like the workshops because they are hedonistic. I think many people do their activism by healing them self, learning better communication skills so they make their points across better in conflict situations (I tell you this as a minority). Also when I heard you say hedonistic I hear in my head then a Shaman's work in the spiritual realm is selfish and does not make any changes in the world. I think That is not true that we need changes within our self to be able to help others and change the world as well as do external changes. I believe that it is important to acknowledge the different ways people do activism. And what you do is not for everyone, what I do neither, what city repair neither. I think it is important to acknowledge that what City Repair is doing (their volunteers) is in the best intention and that they have their challenges and remember THEY ARE VOLUNTEERS WORKING TRYING TO DO THE BEST THEY CAN THEY ARE HUMANS NOT GOD TO BE PERFECT AND PLEASE EVERYONE.

There is a difference betwen criticism and observations of what is causing some emotional reaction because we do not agree with it. For me is important to not criticize because the other side would react and then there will come conflict and misunderstandings. Then nothing will solve or change. Remember how you feel when someone criticizes you?

Adriana

Why I think City Repair has change my life 27.May.2006 13:11

Adriana

When I came to the united states I had depression for around 3 years had to be in anti-depression drugs for a while> It was really hard to make friends. Never met neighbors. I was really lonly. Now that I live in a intersection repair, I know people around me. It is great. It keeps me going, gives me hope. The construction of benches is great, provides a place for anyone to seat, old people that are tired walking, for homeless to rest,etc. It welcome everyone.
It is very easy to talk about the people conflicts in City Repair, remember there is always going to be some disagreements between people, we are never going to think the same. Trying to change people is not the anwser. We all need to learn how to communicate better so we can hear others and viceversa, and remember that hearing others does not mean trying to change the other person to what we want. I recomend reading books about communication and workshops (as the non-violent communication and others. Also It is not easy to change the patterns of communication that we grew up with.

Well-organized event Thursday night 27.May.2006 17:00

THANKS, City Repair!

For getting the convergence center so spiffed-up, for feeding hundreds of people a beautiful meal, and for organizing the whole event so it flowed just right.

Challenging, and you did a fabulous job.

nvc-not as cool as it seems 27.May.2006 20:34

czech it out

I sat through a lecture by marshall rosenberg a couple years ago and while I agree that our language needs to be demilitarized i couldn't swallow the stuff about the giraffe and hyena puppets-give me a break. And unfortunately the only person i know in town who teaches it i have seen behave in a predatory manner towards men-she's creepy.

NVC-not as cool as it seemd to CZECH it out 28.May.2006 10:14

adriana

Yes is true is not going to make people perfect, Sound that you where frustrated with the person that teaches NVC. there is a lot to heal in our hearts and the world. Non-violent communication does not mean only the book of rosenberg. I see the need for understanding each other without picking on each other. The way we react to situations is depending on the experiences we had in the past, how we perceive what is happening depends of our experiences. We have the power to change the way we react in a way that is less destructive (to others and to our selves) as adults. Does not mean to dismiss our experiences but to use them in a more healthy way. I wish there was a fast anwer to communication and conflicts. It is a life practice, and I do not think there is a perfect human been that has never have conflict and that is able to manage all conflict perfectly. We cannot expect a human been to be perfect, to have all under control, to not be vulnerable, to not make mistakes, to never have disagreements, etc. I would like humans to be able to work tours solving conflic, respect each other and each other experiences. In my mind I think this would solve many racism conflicst, etc. I do not mean this is everyones path, this is what I think in my perception world.
The person you are talking about probably had a bad experience with men. Does not mean I believe its ok to mistreat men, she has something to work on. May be if we knew we will undesrtand her and that may be is the reason why she is trying to do NVC???
I wanted to say that critisism is different than observation and helping to work tours finding solutions. And to remember that when we are criticize most of us react in a defensive way (in my experience). I hope this makes more sense of what I was trying to say. It is hard to have written conversations.

constructive criticism 28.May.2006 13:12

anonymous

If City Repair wants to truly serve the community, then it should be open to criticism (preferably constructive criticism) from the community.

I offer no criticism, as plenty has been given already, but rather a well-intentioned suggestion: Seek out the people who were involved over the years in City Repair, VBC, Earth Day, T-Horse, etc. and are no longer volunteers (there have been many of us). Ask us why we left. Ask us what we think you can do better. Set up a way to do this anonymously, if possible, so you get frank responses. Act on what you hear.

I have seen so much joy, and so much hurt, come out of people's involvement with City Repair since I started following your work in 1997. I am perplexed as to why the CRP leadership has never really sought to understand and address the hurt. You might retain more volunteers if you do.

What is CR's mission? 29.May.2006 23:05

activist

In response to Brush's suggestion to not think of CR as the be-all and end-all org for repairing the city:

If the org wants to redefine itself, that's its board's prerogative. It would then be appropriate to draw in its ambitious stated objectives. No more voicing the wish for the org to serve as a vehicle for addressing the core issues affecting the health of the human race and the planet. It would also be appropriate to make a name change, to something like: Community Small Natural Structures Builders and Intersection Decorators. Maybe throw in some words about New Age beliefs and hand-holding.

But if the board does want the org to address the core issues, then it is appropriate those who have been involved through the years with the desire to do the same to voice viewpoints that might help the org to get on track. All said, it is clear that the board does need to convene in order to clarify and make clear to the community at large what it's mission is, how it intends to fulfill it, and what it desires from the larger community in this regard.

to activist 30.May.2006 09:21

Daniel

You're entitled to your opinion on the usefulness of painting the street or holding hands in a circle with one's neighbors, but making vaguely snide remarks about these things really doesn't help your otherwise good points.

CR's mission statement is a bit general, yes; we wrote it that way on purpose so as to have flexibility in how we might work for urban sustainability in the future. You're absolutely right, though, that City Repair needs to better clarify its objectives and intent to the community. A well-meaning mission statement isn't enough.

As far as actually 'redefining' the work of City Repair goes: if this is to happen, it's actually _not_ necessarily the role of our Board to lead the process. The CR Board generally follows the lead of the Core in what the organization will actually _do_. This is by design: we wanted City Repair's agenda to be set by the people doing the day-to-day work; the Board is largely there to keep things running smoothly and legally. This set-up aims to keep the program more grassroots than in a conventional non-profit, but I think it also unfortunately makes it harder to project a clear message.

Of course, to the community this is a moot point, and an internal matter. We need to be more clear with the community about about our mission, one way or another.

I think your and others' comments point to a key challenge City Repair has long faced: the attention paid to our tools (cob, tea, circles, painting) often overshadows what we're _actually_ working for (community relationships, neighborhood empowerment, skill-building, sustainability education). Our harshest critics, our most fervent supporters, and we within City Repair itself have all done this. It's hard to constantly keep on message, but we need to do it, and keep trying to do it better.

Thanks for the comments. I think these are enormously helpful, and I always welcome constructive criticism.

Daniel

City Repair Hijacked 31.May.2006 11:26

Observer

It seems to me that CR has been hijacked by the former organizers of the now defunct Centerring. (talk about overpriced events! the centerring was notorious -- 20 bucks to listen to a dj??) The Centerring was also a yoga/healing space, which I think explains a lot of the "woo-woo" "now-wow" programming at this year's vbc. The organizers are quite young, which is great, but results I think in a very myopic view, not to mention a drug-soaked vibe/aesthetic that is alienating to most people outside of this 20-something group of well-intentioned but naive organizers.

Repairing Portland 07.Jun.2006 04:10

Mark Lakeman

Thanks for all the construcive energy, and even the unkind and innaccurate comments are fun to read.

It's great to see how many people seem to care about CR, have some sense of what CR is up to.

Hmm, about CR explaining itself...since it's really just driven by the community of Portland anyway, it kind of just keeps creating it's way forward as an expression and reflection. Since VBC is simply a summation of diverse communities doing their own initiatives, I think that you are already seeing many of the core issues and visions of CR expressed over and over again in different permutations. The issues being addressed are enormous in scale and scope of applicability. Simply: Tons of people are getting to practice multiple patterns of creative, "democratic"-cultural sustainability all at once. Good old -ashioned common ground. As for CR presenting itself, we already do that, over and over again each month in Portland and many other places across the country. You can access CR in many ways, as an organization or on some personal level.

Mark