To some motorists, the Hillsdale business district in Southwest Portland is a narrow point in the road connecting downtown Portland and outlying areas. But those who spend time here enjoy a lively marketplace with a wide assortment of local businesses. Over the years, neighborhood groups have made many improvements to this business district, and one of the newest is the Hillsdale Bike Plaza. Before it was built, it was not much more than a sidewalk connecting the grocery store and the bakery:After much volunteer effort, fundraising, and thoughtful planning, which I learned about in this short video by Peter DeCrescenzo, the space was transformed into an outdoor living room for people who walk, work, or shop here. I took this picture of the same space last winter:The new benches are inviting and comfy.Conveniently for me, it is next to my favorite grocery store.One of the objectives is to encourage bicycle use.The small plantings make the “room” feel cozy.Bulletin boards provide community information.As I walked through the Plaza a couple of weeks ago, I saw this:With an audience of one, she was playing the banjo and singing The Garden. It sounded very much like a recording you can listen to by clicking here. Gorgeous!After the song, we talked, and she said I could put her picture on this blog. It turns out that she is a midwife:Angela is certainly a good name for someone who helps new babies into the world and who sings like she does. This serendipitous and wonderful moment was made possible by the Hillsdale Bike Plaza. * * * * * * *
As you will see in this video of its dedication in May 2011, many community organizations and individuals joined hands to create the Hillsdale Bike Plaza. Thank you!