North Deering neighbors and all who pass through Portland’s congested Allen’s Corner intersection are reminded daily of its chaotic traffic patterns.
But a new group has rallied to build community and improve pedestrian safety in the motorist-heavy zone.
The Friends of Allen’s Corner — named after the intersection where Allen Ave. and Washington Ave. intersect in North Deering — officially formed as a neighborhood group after its predecessor in the area, the North Deering Neighborhood Association, sat dormant for over a year. The new group has a more direct focus on the corner and its nearby streets, taking early steps to organize and lay out goals.
Zoe Miller, one of the group’s organizers, notes that the group’s activity is finally gaining some attention.
“[We’re] successfully turning up the volume on what is needed at Allen’s Corner,” she said at the group’s June 1 meeting. Held at the North Deering Congregational Church, the inaugural meeting pulled around 20 attendees.
The group discussed how to go about getting preferred businesses and activity in the neighborhood, which currently has numerous dollar-store outlets and fast-food chains.
Anita Germani, a North Deering resident, said there should be more of a pull to get people outdoors, but acknowledged widely-shared safety concerns.
“It’s actually treacherous to get across that street,” Germani said.
Though the team of inspired neighbors is still getting to know each other, there was tangible excitement about getting together and organizing — and also for the addition of new business in the area, like an extension of the Bayou Kitchen diner and a new pub going into antique parlor Cherished Possessions.
On May 16, the group held a “walk and talk” at the intersection for 50 neighbors and three city councilors — Andrew Zarro (D4) and Mark Dion (D5), whose districts intersect at Allen Ave., as well as Roberto Rodriguez (At-Large), who lives in the neighborhood.