An interesting article popped up yesterday on The Eastsider yesterday about all of the hullaballoo surrounding a wall that went up on Sunset and Sanborn, the corner of Sunset Junction that–until recently–has not had a wall on it. People have been griping and complaining about it, saying that its an eyesore and that it’s ruining the corner. In a move to express this so everyone could see it, a tagger tagged both sides of the wall with a psychotic looking writing that says “TEAR DOWN THIS WALL.” The Eastsider spoke with owner of the corner (yes, most of the entire corner), who was furious with locals. A minor war is waging between shop owner, supporters, and haters, as people are not welcoming changes to the ‘hood.
We stumbled upon the wall ourselves a few weeks ago and noticed that Driftwood was moving out and assumed Stella was expanding, something we were very excited about because Stella is the only restaurant within blocks from there worth a damn (the rest are just silly attempts at creating “cool food” but not good food). The wall was a little unsightly but, of course, it was in transition. The wall wasn’t going to be permanent and we knew that. We cast no shade and we moved on. Flash forward, we saw the Sunset Junction sign coming down to the chagrin of some Facebook friends. That sucks, yes, but who cares? It doesn’t change the fact that the area is still and always will be Sunset Junction nor does it mean it won’t be going right back up after a facelift.
Upon first hearing the story of some graffiti happening on the wall, it was a bit shocking because it is like someone went up to you painted “I DON’T LIKE YOUR SHIRT” on you as you were putting on the shirt they don’t like. It’s impolite and bratty and, mostly, super immature. Lots of parts of town have problems but, like in any city, people go to community meetings to voice opinions and solve things (which is what Gareth did and no one objected). Bob Warpehoski, who took the photo that the Easterside was given gave his thought which–as commenters note–is straight out of Portlandia and may have generated a neighborhood defying quote that does no one any favors: “The corner was a small public gathering space, where one could meet up with friends and chat without feeling like one was blocking the pathway for other pedestrians. Now one must rush by, head down, through a corral of oppression as we try to keep this new bunker area clear of congestion.” What? Last I checked before that wall, that area was where people just waited to cross the street or drop off or pick up people: no one was camping there (and, if they were, that’s the stupidest thing I have ever heard).
People are claiming Stella and Kanter are “out of touch” and are up in arms on both sides of the fight. We side with Kanter: that area wouldn’t be anything without the hard work he did for it not to mention the investments he is still making (likely to combat the unsightly new apartment/retail complexes infringing upon the Junction, a real point of concern). If anything, Kanter is maturing his area which, unlike anything else between Sanborn and Maltman (give or take), seems to still be stuck in some counter cultural daze or holding fast to their pre-Sunset-Junction-Is-A-Cool-Place roots. And, anyone who hates on what Kanter is doing and what Stella is just are not their audience: they are kids. Kanter’s Stellar (typo–keeping it)–like the Cheese Store and Intelligentsia–is a carefully curated place that caters to a certain demographic of people like Kanter himself. Not the people who sit in Intelligentsia all day or stand around on the corner trying to be seen but the artists and tastemakers who can frequent there without thinking, “Waaaahhhh: I can’t afford an $11 Croque Madame. Waaaaaaaah.”
That unsightly, soon-to-be-not-just-a-wall-and-part-of-the-building wall isn’t for you guys: it’s for the people who are better than you guys. Let store owners do what they like and don’t bother them as they work. And, who knows, maybe the person who got their shit together and filed a complaint about the wall will shut us up. Until then, let them keep on keeping on.
(Moreover, if you have something you want to concern yourself with on that corner, maybe you should turn to the streetlamp that is standing on top of a wooden pole quite precariously.)