06 April 2015

[Out122ndWay] The Sign At Powell Villa

Out 122nd Way we do kind of fancy that we safekeep the pre-Portlandia Portland (not that I dislike them or anything like that, but they do get a bit smug about reinventing the city). And two of those things are pre-sign code signs. There's one on NE 122nd Avenue in front of the legendary Ron Tonkin dealership. And there's this one.

Powell Villa is a shopping center from back in the day that's still operating. Of course, the anchor grocery store, whatever it was, hove out some years back; there's an Oregon Department of Human Services office filling that space. There's a few small business in an outbuilding on the NW corner of the property. Our favorite Ace Hardware store is there (Love Powell Villa Ace, and they love us back). There's a billiards hall. There's a Baskin Robbins. There's a 7-Eleven (one of the new ones). And there's this sign.

Standing tall and holding court over the landscape just south of SE Powell Blvd on SE 122nd, it seems to defy time. It's very well-kept … the neon isn't often out, and when it is, it's not out for long. It's charming and friendly and reminds one of the time when east county was still east county.

Squint a bit, and you can almost fantasize about the less-gentrified time that it was attached to. Most of the business around this intersection seem a bit careworn by todays bright'n'shiny standards … there's a dive bar or two, a clearance shop that still selling VHS tapes (a dollar a toss) and a veterans thrift store that looks like it was upthrust about the same time as the Boring Volcanics erupted (it even has the big U sign that tells firefighters don't go in here if it's burning.

I dread, as most of us out here might, I imagine, that the hounds of gentrification and condo-bunker building might eventually come out that way. Until they do, it's a nice area full of good people who are doing what they can to get by. And doing fine by that, thank you.

And we even have a pole star to guide us.

No comments: