I appreciate reading these comments from Shrie, Rong, and others. It's got me thinking more about that block, neighborhood change, and neighbors' role in it.
I live a ways away from this, and my attitude toward Angie's is mainly tolerant neglect. I've been inside only twice, I've read about some violence, but I haven't experienced it. When I walk that way I'm usually on the east side of Rainier, because there's more interest for me there.
Shrie and Brian are right: Angie's is an institution. It's emblematic of a time before my time. And whenever newbies arrive on the scene and start railing at the status quo, well… eyes roll. Believe me, I think any neighbor can bring valuable perspectives to the conversation, but the rest of us can't help but measure those ideas against what little we can glean about that Citizen's background. Still, I wish we would all focus more on the message, less on the messenger.
It seems like this conversation muddles cause, effect, and responsibility. I like how Rob's characterization teases out the players and their roles. The landowners, the business owners, and the City are clearly having a hard time working together on dealing with the bad guys — but I'm none of those.
So what's neighbors' role? Maybe it was neighbors' complaints that caused the City to write this letter — that's a political angle (any idea whether a new City Attorney might take a different approach?) It seems like the bigger gentrification questions hinge on the business & social angles. I don't drink at Angie's because, well, it's not the Ale House. And to the extent that other Columbia City newbies share my tastes for microbrews, we draw down Angie's pool of legitimate clientele by not patronizing it. But if the likes of me did show up expecting our pints of porter and our world soccer, well — it pretty soon it wouldn't be Angie's anymore.
So sure, maybe Brian's call to action could get the City to back off for awhile. But then what? To patronize, or no? For me, either choice is one more nudge toward gentrification. Angie's outcome is just an indicator — neighborhood change is much more about us.