Portland has a new community plaza and it is right here in beautiful Mt. Scott-Arleta! The Arleta Triangle Square opened earlier this month and thanks to hundreds of responses from the community a vision has emerged.
Last year the neighborhood experienced a dramatic increase in gunfire violence and reckless driving. Thanks to the support of multiple bureaus, a community-initiated plan led by impacted neighbors saw a 64% reduction of confirmed shootings over a three month pilot period in the area surrounding 72nd Ave and Woodstock.Violent crime remained steady city wide during the same time. The opening of the Arleta Triangle Square is the next phase of the community safety strategy and one that started decades ago.
The Arleta Triangle Project began in earnest thanks to a cohort of community members in 2005. They were interested in creating a safer crossing of 72nd Ave at Woodstock and building out space for community use from an “island” of land at the intersection. The linden tree shown above in the photo is still present today. The project is a rare autonomous space within the city organized and supported by community volunteers. Thanks to City Council, the Office of Commissioner Hardesty and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), the neighborhood now has a plaza with increased safety and access for public gatherings. The Arleta Triangle Square is your shared space for events, gatherings, public forums, celebration and relaxation.
The genesis can be traced back to 1994 when the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association (MSANA) adopted support for the Mt. Scott/Arleta Neighborhood Plan. This included a vision for the neighborhood in 2020 centered on livability and community pride. Sidewalks are accessible to people walking and “the streets are safe and traffic through the neighborhood is limited.” That plan is city ordinance today and approved by resolution back in 1996.
Over the next few months, the Portland State University (PSU) Center for Public Interest Design, PBOT, the Office of Commissioner Hardesty, MSANA, Portland Parks & Recreation, Multnomah County Youth Violence Prevention Office, and Anderson Construction Foundation will grow our partnerships. Later this week we hope to have outdoor furniture available and begin implementing the plaza plan later into the summer. The design is based upon input from hundreds of community members which indicated a strong desire for public performances, plantings and access to nature, arts and murals, and flexibility to host community events. The colors and art may change.
Please join us for our monthly work parties held on the last Saturday morning of each month throughout the summer. Light refreshments will be provided. Thank you for being a neighbor and making the neighborhood a safe, welcoming space for everyone. We hope to see you outside this summer at the Arleta Triangle Square!