To the uninitiated, it may come as a surprise that North Portland hosts a maze of alleys, which weave in and out of plain sight in the surrounding neighborhoods. These small networks that connect our city streets are not maintained by the city. However, if a person wishes to complete any sort of work on an alley, it must meet the city’s existing street standard, which is both prescriptive and restrictive. Enter Melinda Matson, Organizer of The Beech-Failing Alley Project (BFAP). The BFAP mission “aims to green and activate our neglected and highly public alley, while advocating for relative policy citywide.” More specifically, BFAP will focus on improved alleyways for the sake of “pedestrian benefit” and environmental stewardship.”
Matson’s project efforts can be broken down into three major areas. First, Matson hopes to improve the alley behind her house; second, she wants to encourage the city to either create a grant program to pay for some alley work or simplify alley work requirements; and third, she aims to promote various unique notions of what an alley might look like or offer to the community.
In order to achieve this trifecta, BFAP set up a crowd-sourcing website to raise $10 thousand dollars, but was having trouble gaining the support of backers and developers in our city. We share a similar vision for Portland’s alleys and the projects that engage them. So, Owen Gabbert, LLC chose to provide logistical support directly fund this project; we’re happy to say that it received its full funding and will now move forward. We encourage you to take a look at the video above to get a better understanding of what this project will aim to take on.