Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hillsdale needs Wikipedic attention

The entry for Hillsdale in Wikipedia, the on-line, do-it-yourself reference, needs serious attention.

If you didn't click on the above link, here is what you missed—verbatim:

"Hillsdale is a neighborhood in southwest Portland, Oregon, USA. It is centered around the Hillsdale Town Center, which is located on SW Capitol Highway between Sunset Boulevard and Bertha Boulevard."

That's it, except for a few statistics and a list of provincial places of interest.

So what is the Hillsdale story?

Where to begin...or end for that matter?

Do we tell Wikipedia readers about the great SWHRL/Hillsdale "border wars" of 2004 and 2005 and its "colorful" (sobered by lawsuits, I use the term circumspectly) cast of characters?

What about the Farmers Market, Wiggles The Clown and Ayers Creek Farm's loganberry jam?

Or Don Baack and Southwest trails? And the schools' champion, parent Mike Roach of Paloma Clothing? What about the Hillsdale peace walks and vigils, and the Save-Rieke parent insurgents.

Or the amazing 2006 Wilson High School baseball team?

And then there's The Red Electric (no, not this one, but the one in the picture. It was the MAX light rail of its day, but with classy round windows and a rumbling flair). And what of its tragic 1920 head-on collision that killed eight and injured 101?

Do we tell them about overhead wires and transformers that blight the heart of our community?

Do we mention that half the commercial area is owned by the Wardin/Braidwood family, which looks after its property nearly daily—and in person?

And what about the little-known Bertha, whose name seems everywhere. Or the late, beloved Mary Becker, Helen Ferrens and Joan Edmunds of Poncho's? Or the much missed John Waddingham, artist and bagpiper?

Or how about hard-charging Celeste Lewis, who made Hillsdale a place again, urging us 11 years ago to forge one neighborhood out of the parts of two. (How did we miss that 10th anniversary?)

What about "Dr. Rock 'n Roll" who knows more mouths than I know words.

And what of "Hillsdale's Oldest Barber" Jack Carley and his crusty humor and easy liquor on St. Patrick's day? Or John Slavin, Hillsdale's first homesteader, or Col. Henry Dosch. The Colonel arrived in Oregon broke as a Civil War veteran and former pony express rider, became an itinerant shoe salesman and eventually rose to international fame as a horticulturalist—right here in Hillsdale?

Certainly there should be something about the the Swiss settlers and the dairies and pig farms of yore. About the sounds of a century ago, when the dawn woke to the distant clanging of milk jugs jostling in horse-drawn dairy wagons as they creaked down to the thirsty city.

In the evening, yodeling echoed across these hills and dales as Swiss farmers went about their barnyard chores.

And what of the wild? The beaver, elk and salmon? To this day cat-munching coyotes occasionally savage the streets, and raccoons skulk and scuttle amongst us.

And we haven't even begun to share Hillsdale in the making. Hillsdale which has so many balls in the air that sometimes I think we are creating our own civic space flotsam. A lot of it burns out, a lot stays in orbit, and every now and then we launch a project into gravity-defying eternity and success.

Certainly there is more to tell than than Wikipedia's modest words...."Hillsdale is a neighborhood in southwest Portland, Oregon, USA. It is centered around the Hillsdale Town Center, which is located on SW Capitol Highway between Sunset Boulevard and Bertha Boulevard."

Wikipedia is inviting us to write and revise our story.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct - the school district lacked foresight in signing the contract...and what’s the use of defusing a bomb that has already exploded?

As I lean back and stare at the situation, $600,000 could be a bargain if the intention is to rid the school system of machines vending junk food. Surely, if the state launches a similar health campaign, the cost of promoting the idea could be more.

In terms of strategy, boycotting the products could be a slow and grueling process that requires personal sacrifices of each participant, not to mention the task of identifying and memorizing the list. Furthermore, I doubt if such civil action can even dent the profits of a well-established corporation. In the long course of time, it is more likely that the idea would die a natural death before it gains enough attention.

I would rather perceive the situation in another way, donating a dollar to improve food services and provide proper nourishment for schoolchildren. I have three dollars in my coin purse now and would not mind adding another seven if this would be the cause.

Eventually, the media will pick up the tragedy.

It is in this sense that I am confident that the corporation’s PR executives would be sensible enough to digest the fact that suing a school district is bad for their own health.

1:49 AM  

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