By Tamara Anne Fowler | CNA Media Team
A group of the last standing Buffalo Soldiers would meet every Sunday afternoon at Magoo’s Pub on 42nd Avenue. Once Magoo’s sold in 2015, they lost their socializing venue.
Norman Sylvester understood. “We have been focusing on the impact Portland urban growth has on the African American community.”
“Tales of Old Portland,” a documentary with a projected seven episodes, presents an overview of the Portland historic journey from Lewis and Clark to the 1950s in its first episode, “Coming to Portland.” Find it at Facebook.com/oldPDX.
Norman and Concordian Jeff Dodge are creating the series. It’s been in the works for more than three years. Jeff explained, “I’d like to see this series come across with a genuine and accurate interest in where we come from and how we got into our contemporary standards.”
The next episode will focus on the ship building years in Portland, World War II, the establishment and destruction of Vanport and their overall impact on Portland history.
“The final episode is based around the history of the ‘Good In The Hood’ festival,” Jeff said. “That is actually where Norman and I met in 1995.”
If all goes well they will wrap up things by early 2021. At that time, they may expand into the other neighborhoods and those histories.
If you have tales to share with the two – especially from 1940s north and northeast Portland – they’ d like to hear from you at TrenchDigging@gmail.com.
Jeff and wife Jemila Hart have lived around the corner from Alberta Rose Theatre since 2004. They have seen a lot of change.
Between 1993 and 1995 was probably the most dangerous time in this area, as a lot of territorial gang disputes seemed to culminate around Alberta or Woodlawn.
Jeff said, “We’ll see how the interview process goes, but I’m really hoping we get to address that period of history in one of our future episodes.”
Giving his nieces a tour of Alberta last spring, he watched them take in the murals, various art galleries and eateries. It made Jeff believe this version of Alberta can survive and serve as a cornerstone of Portland culture.
“And I plan on celebrating Alberta’s and Concordia’s history as long as I live here,” he added. “I love the beautiful Concordia University campus,” Norman said. “Tears in my eye at the thought of it closing.
“The preservation of our history is a very important mission,” he added. “The reference point from our beginning helps us understand the present and prepare for the future.”
Tamara Anne Fowler is Edit Kitten, a writer with 20-plus years of experience offering a softer, gentler approach to editing and coaching. Her personal editors – Armani, Max Factor and Spicey’D – are also her cats. Visit her at EditKitten.com or contact her at Tamara@EditKitten. com.