Northeast Portland has one of the city’s densest concentrations of residential alleys. We’re currently working with partners at PSU, the Concordia Neighborhood Association and the Boise Neighborhood on projects in these two neighborhoods. More details are below.
Note: The Institute for Sustainable Solutions is currently seeking a PSU paid student intern to work on alley projects and neighborhood level sustainability in the Concordia and Boise Neighborhoods. Click here to learn more about this position.
Northeast 28th-29th Alley Project
Date: January 2015 – Present
We are currently advising a group of five PSU undergraduate capstone students who are working with a large group of residents on the block between NE Killingsworth and NE Jarrett Streets to establish a shared vision for the alley and plan for making improvements. Read blog posts about the project to see their progress.
Key elements of the project:
- Remove blackberries from southern portion of the alley.
- Excavate top layer of soil that contains blackberry seeds and creates access problems from backyards at a lower grade. Note: Erosion control systems will be used following excavation.
- Use gravel and other permeable surface materials that will improve bike and vehicle access.
- Build features that will allow the alley to function as a community space including lighting of some sort and potted plants.
- Residents are unhappy with the annual motorcycle ride (Portland Alley Sweeper) that goes through the alleys creating noise and fumes. Note: This is a common complaint from Portland residents living on alleys.
Concordia Alley Architecture Project
Date: December 2014 – Present
We are working with PSU Master of Architecture student Greg Anton to develop installations and other built improvements for commercial and residential alleys based on community input. The commercial alley will be sited off the busy retail-oriented portion of NE Alberta Street. His work will culminate in a collection of published materials and temporary installations that coincide with a Concordia Neighborhood Association sponsored event this spring to highlight the neighborhood’s many alleys as resources. Draft materials from his project can be found in the gallery above.
Alley Commons PDX (Concordia Neighborhood)
Date: January-March 2014
This project sought to establish a community vision around alleys in Portland’s most alley-dense neighborhood, Concordia. How are residents using their alleys, what are their concerns and what would they like to do with their alleys in the future? During the project Andrew Alexander and Joshua Williams met with the Concordia Neighborhood Association (CNA) to provide information and to understand discussions residents are having about alleys.
The students quickly found that the CNA and Concordia residents were already familiar with Alley Allies and had discussed a number of projects. An inventory of all alleys in the neighborhood was already underway, so the students focused their time on providing information around the different project ideas being discussed. Their work provides a strong starting point for developing a plan to reimagine Concordia’s alleys through a combination of individual alley pilot projects and neighborhood-wide campaigns such as naming the alleys.
Boise-Eliot Lane Way Project
Date: Winter 2014 (Incomplete)
This community activist alley improvement project was envisioned to create attractive public spaces in the alleys between Unthank Park and the Boise-Eliot School in Portland’s Boise Neighborhood. Students in the neighborhood need safe routes to school and the project would provide enhanced pedestrian access to Historic Mississippi Avenue and rapidly developing North Williams Avenue a few blocks away on either side.