Along with Commissioner Fritz, Mayor Sam Adams sent his own letter to KNA regarding the city’s policy with regards to Last Thursday. The two letters, which arrived in close succession, present a window into a strategic city policy that aims to avoid having the city take sides. The city, those who put on Last Thursday, and the people who enjoy Last Thursday’s unique flavor would like the festival to continue to play it’s role in keeping Portland weird.
Toward the end of giving Last Thursday non-city governance, Friends of Last Thursday is an organization being formed with help from the city to make the event resolve its issues while still being of the community. The city is establishing its own Last Thursday Coordinating Team consisting of representatives from Friends of Last Thursday, members of Mayor Adams’ and Commissioner Fritz’s staff, and an event coordinator who will be a paid city employee.
The mayor pledged that all city agencies will work together to make sure the event meets expectations for safety and livability. He states that the city is developing new procedures to ensure enforcement of parking and fire safety regulations.
A “Global Good Neighborhood Bar Agreement” is being developed to deal with impacts that result from the high concentration of liquor licenses on Alberta and other streets in the residential neighborhoods. He promises that the city will work closely with the OLCC to with alcohol issues.
Finally, the four affected neighborhood associations are asked to join the governing board of Friends of Last Thursday by selecting a delegate to the Steering Committee. The KNA eagerly awaits the coalescence of an organization able to fully address neighbors’ concerns about this monthly festival.
Read Mayor Adams’ letter here.
Read the application to serve on the FoLT Committee here.
Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz sent a reply to the King Neighborhood Association’s request for better governance and oversight of the monthly Last Thursday street fair. Ms. Fritz acknowledged the ongoing concerns yet pointed to recent efforts to develop a nascent, all-volunteer, Friends of Last Thursday, as well as a collective agreement between the city and district bar owners as mitigating neighborhood concerns.
It is clearly the city’s position that Last Thursday is overwhelmingly popular and should be interfered with as little as possible. Indeed, when the event draws over 10,000 visitors in a summer month’s evening, it cannot be said that it is unpopular overall. Attendees on those nights likely outnumber the entire population of King and certainly the population in the high impact areas along Alberta in King, Vernon, Sabin, and Concordia. The letter directs those who would have a say in Last Thursday to participate in the steering committees under a community governance model.
She said that the city will continue to enforce the laws with regards to safety and livability and that if problems were to continue, an earlier event end time should be considered. Managers of the event should deal with trash issues and the OLCC should deal with alcohol-related concerns.
Read KNA’s letter to the city here.
Read Commissioner Fritz’s response here.
Town Hall Meeting on Last Thursday | hosted by Friends of Last Thursday
From the Office of Neighborhood Involvement:
In partnership with Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement, a group of dedicated volunteers has spent the last year preparing to assume a stewardship role of the popular arts festival, Last Thursday on Alberta. Friends of Last Thursday’s (FOLT) mission states, “FOLT is committed to facilitating a fun, safe, and sustainable monthly public arts festival that culturally enriches the community while fostering neighborhood respect.”
FOLT will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting Saturday, April 2, 2011, 2-4 PM, at St. Andrews Church Community Hall, NE 9th and Alberta Street, to formally unveil the proposed strategy, the most vital component of which will be the participation of the larger community.
FOLT has a website at: http://www.lastthursdayonalberta.com/and a Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/LastThursday
As for who the members of FoLT are and what their leadership structure is, their information on the web and the staff at NECN could not provide this answer. Hopefully this will be cleared up at the meeting.