According to Ray Oldenburg, author of The Great Good Place each of us needs three places: The first is our home, the second is work or school, and the third a local hangout where individuals from the community can connect and share ideas on a neutral ground. For some it’s church, while others head to their neighborhood pub. In some cultures, the barber shop draws the community, or it may be the tennis club or local chapter of a fraternal organization like the Eagles.
In a 1996 piece from the Planning Commissioners Journal, Oldenburg wrote of the demise of the third place. “Most residential areas built since World War II have been designed to protect people from community rather than connect them to it,” he wrote. “Virtually all means of meeting and getting to know one’s neighbors have been eliminated. An electronically-operated garage door out front and a privacy fence out back afford near-total protection from those who, in former days, would have been neighbors.”
Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing a series called Preserving the Third Place: Fighting for the East Portland Eagles Lodge.
The East Portland Eagles Lodge sits on a prime piece of property located on 49th and Hawthorne, and developers have a keen eye on buying the block-sized lot and turning it into a 210-unit mixed used apartment and retail space.
According to a July 2017 Portland Business Journal piece by Jon Bell, the property has indeed been sold, and in the due diligence phase. The issue is, that this sale was not approved of by the members of the lodge, a requirement for a legal sale.
To read more and stay updated on the fate of the lodge, as well as meet members of the lodge who discuss their relationship to the community and the importance of the lodge as their third place, follow the series over at my blog DianeFreaney.com.