The Future of Lloyd Center

It is deeply upsetting to us that Willamette Week would publish an article that is clearly one-sided and so negative toward Lloyd Center and the Lloyd community as a whole ["Last Christmas at Lloyd Center?" WW, Dec. 4, 2019].

Lloyd Center contains over 100 businesses. Most of these local small business owners depend heavily on the holiday shopping season to make ends meet and provide for their families. This article only serves to negatively impact their livelihoods during this critical time of year by dissuading customers from visiting their shops.

This article is an insult to the efforts of the many local community stakeholders and organizations that work daily to improve the safety and livability of our neighborhood. Some of the many community initiatives that the Lloyd community is a part of include:

• Hosting Right 2 Dream Too, which is a model on how to support our citizens who suffer from houselessness. Lloyd was awarded a Portland Spirit Award for this partnership in 2018.

• Sponsoring a Rest Stop for First Responders, which fosters police-community support.

• Regular neighborhood cleanups in partnership with SOLVE, Go Lloyd, Lloyd EcoDistrict, and residents.

• Revitalization of Peace Memorial Park.

• The Holladay Park Partnership, which has contributed to reducing crime in the area as reported in a September 2019 article in The Portland Observer and in an October 2019 KGW 8 article.

We welcome the opportunity to tell the bigger story of the positive transformation that is underway in our community.

Lloyd Community Association

For many of us who grew up in Portland, Lloyd Center is an important place. For others, it's just a decaying mall. But as the article says, Lloyd Center is truly intergenerational and interracial.

Before white Portlanders totally gentrified the Northeast part of town, Lloyd Center was the place for African Americans to shop and spend time; there was no need to drive across the city to Washington Square. It was a place for students, many from nearby Benson High, to hang out and be teens. Lloyd Center is still one of the few places in the inner part of town where you can find nonwhite families and teens shopping, ice skating and enjoying a meal.

The article points out many depressing aspects to the mall. But it also highlights the people who continue to spend time there, trying to make a living, or shopping, or playing bridge, or attending NAACP meetings.

I am there at least once a week, while my daughter takes ice skating lessons. The rink, although too small after an ill-designed remodel, is a whirlwind of activity, with excellent skaters mixing it up with those still on shaky legs. My daughter skates, and then we shop, or eat, or just enjoy the people-watching.

Lloyd Center could be saved with some innovative thought combined with some knowledge about Portland's history. It's more than just a mall.

Lailah Hamblin

Northeast Portland