The Community Livability Grant can be used to honor and enhance a neighborhood’s cultural diversity and history, as demonstrated by an innovative project in Old Town/Chinatown.
A $40,000 grant awarded in 2015 to Innovative Housing, Inc. supported the creation of multi-ethnic soundscape installations to bring Old Town history to life. On Thursday, September 15, 2016, neighbors and residents celebrated the first installation on NW 2nd Avenue between Burnside and Couch, in front of the Erickson Fritz Apartments.
“The Erickson Saloon, 1890-1920” evokes August Erickson’s Workingman’s Saloon, between 1890 and 1916 and is the first in a groundbreaking series of public sound art installations telling the story of past lives in Portland’s Old Town, to be installed on the facades of buildings within the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District. The soundscapes are designed by historian Jacqueline Peterson-Loomis and sound recordist Larry Johnson and produced in collaboration with Charles Morrow of Charles Morrow Sound, Inc. Oregon Cultural Trust also provided funding.
Future soundscapes will tell the story of the Greek community in Old Town circa 1925-1960, the Jewish immigrant experience from 1925-1960, and the Japanese American experience from 1915-1941. Each soundscape will be installed on a historic building within a three-block radius to provide visitors a self-guided tour through Old Town’s past.