Imagine your ideal alley • Have conversations with your neighbors • Find common ground • Plan small steps to begin with • Start with a cleanup effort • Enhance your shared spaces • Create something beautiful
COMPLETED ACTIVITIES: 2015
Alley Cleanup Day
Student volunteers from Lewis & Clark joined neighbors to remove weeds and debris. See photos from the event here.
Art in the Alley - We painted windows and doors from the Rebuilding Center to make decorations for alley fences. See photos from the event here.
Goat Walk - We meandered through some alleys on the way from Unthank Park to the tire swing lot, with four goats on leashes. Kids loved walking the goats, who happily ate blackberry and other weeds. Meanwhile, the human kids and adults got to eat Oregon Deli sandwiches at the tire swing lot.
ADU Tour - We toured inside some ADUs and even a large treehouse, many of which were built using materials from the Rebuilding Center. Our hosts told us about the history of their structures and the process they went through to create or restore them.
ALLEY ACTIVATING IDEAS
Community • install benches or other seating • spend time in your backyard • build relationships with neighbors • plan neighborhood events in your alley • paint a mural on your alley garage or fence • install sculptures • create a community board • install a children’s play area
Environment & Nature • install a planter box or vertical plant wall • plant a tree • plant a rain garden • plant a naturescape using native plants • plant a community flower or food garden
Accessible Clean & Safe • improve visibility along the alley by cutting back overgrown trees, bushes, and plants along your portion of the alley • mow the grass and weeds in your alley • fill in potholes • leave a light on • remove trash • install wayfinding signs • install alley lighting • establish a pedestrian network using alleys
Prosperity • build an ADU (guest house/granny flat) • permanently improve your alley with surface brick, cobblestone, or other forms of permeable pavers • start or recruit a food cart or stand
WHAT INTERESTS YOU?
- Tell us about your individual interest, concerns, and ideas for your alley, so we can follow up with you and help you with a site assessment and idea brainstorm. Take the survey!
- What would you name your alley? Learn how to name your alley and put up signs.
- Check out the crowdsourced Google map of neighborhood assets & cool spots in alleyways (ADUs, art, goats, etc). Contribute to the map!
- Walk with neighbors, make some friends by using Nextdoor.com. Walking groups are a great way to keep up your exercise accountability, to meet neighbors (and make new friends), and to increase public safety and security. Take it a step further by making it a litter pickup, a dog or kid buddy meetup, or a book club.
- Invite your neighbors to a work party to remove invasive plants/weeds, and/or plant native plants/edibles (Samuel, our intern can help you with writing small grant proposals, getting volunteers, tools, and/or doing neighbor outreach). You can also trade hours working in each other's yards, share tools, trade plants, and give garden tours.
- Have a beautification celebration wine tasting, BBQ or other strictly fun party to celebrate what you've accomplished together
- Invite your neighbors to a linear lawn game party in the alley. Play horseshoes, cornhole, ladderball, Viking Chess, tug of war, or slip n' slide.
- Create new neighborhood traditions
- Create a sense of place in neighborhoods
- Engage and empower neighbors to do projects together
- Draw attention to and enhance common space that neighbors share
- Educate people with what they can do with their space
This project was started by Katy Wolf (Boise) and Garlynn Woodsong (Concordia) in spring 2015. We are able to do this work through the support of the PSU Institute for Sustainable Solutions, who have provided a part-time Neighborhood Sustainability internship. Our Fall/Winter 2015 intern was Samuel Garcia, a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning student. Our previous intern was Cheryl Leontina, a Masters in Architecture student.
Below is a video created by artist Krista Connerly of Portland, who participated in the 2014 Resident Residency program, and created "unmade city", a study on her neighborhood alleyways. Her project culminated in an "Alleyway Nap Day" and a gallery exhibition of alleyway photographs and the video. Her focus is on alleyways as a meditative and psychologically fascinating space, with an appreciation for wildness in nature and its reflection in the human soul.