Sacred ground

Although I have lived in Portland for more than 40 years, I'll never be a native Oregonian. I once had a girlfriend who was a native Oregonian, and she used to remind me regularly that I would never be one. To her, my status was invasive species. When she'd hear me complain about all the newcomers coming up from California, she'd say, "Like you?"

Likewise, I have no memories from the Alpenrose Dairy in southwest Portland, although people my age who grew up here rave about the place. It was way more than a dairy; it served as a kind of laid-back local Disneyland, as far as I can tell. The Oregonian did a fine spread on the facility here, and scrolling through it, it's easy to see why the Portland lifers think of it so fondly.

But times change, generations pass, and eventually Old Man Money sticks his nose into everything, good and bad. The dairy property is no longer a family fun center, and now it looks as though it's going be turned into a crowded residential subdivision.

The neighbors aren't happy. The old-timers with their memories aren't happy. But the power of filthy lucre is enormous, and there's a developer marsupial and a bunch of construction dudes around every corner. Cue the bulldozers.

What could stop it? The only thing I can think of is the fact that the property is within the city limits of Portland, and Portland City Hall knows how to tie property owners in knots when it wants to. What if the city declared the place a historic site? To me, it actually qualifies as one. Or maybe the bureaucrats would require that affordable, equitable, blah blah apartments be included. Or maybe that a managed homeless camp be located at the end of every cul-de-sac. 

Maybe somebody will discover an endangered animal making its home there. And there are always toxic waste possibilities. Did dairies dump stuff back in the day? Did the little kids' go-carts spill oil?

We've all had to say goodbye to a lot of the good, old Portland over the last couple of decades. And all for soulless schlock and trendy nonsense while the basic social fabric crumbled away. The Alpenrose Dairy site? Take it from this invader from California: It's probably going to be another casualty.