Saturday, March 19, 2011

Brooklyn Neighborhood Sketchcrawl

The Portland Urban Sketchers met to sketch in southeast Portland in a neighborhood called Brooklyn. Wikipedia has some interesting history on the neighborhood:
 The area of the neighborhood was inhabited by Clackamas people before settlement by whites. The first white settler in the area of was Giddeon Tibbets, who acquired the land in the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850. He settled the area in 1851, building a family home and grist mill. Tibbets named the area "Brookland" due to the river, creeks, and lakes on his property. In 1868 Tibbets subdivided the property into smaller lots and allowed the Oregon Central Railroad to cross the property. The rail line and the subdivision quickly brought in a large number of residents to the neighborhood, which acquired its current name of "Brooklyn". The influx lead to the construction of a town square at the corner of Powell Boulevard and Milwaukie Avenue. In the 1890s, the neighborhood received an influx of largely Roman Catholic German-Americans. The neighborhood continues to bear the traces of this period today, with several older German-American businesses, as well as the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and the 1891 Johan Poulsen House.
In the 1920s, the neighborhood changed drastically as a part of a city-wide construction effort. The construction of the Ross Island Bridge over the Willamette destroyed the town square. At the same time, many of the streams and ponds in the neighborhood were filled in. The construction of McLoughlin Boulevard (Oregon Route 99E) severed the neighborhood's connection to the Willamette waterfront. The construction of an overpass on 17th avenue also divided the neighborhood in two.

We had a good turnout: Bill, Marco, Kalina, Janene, Louise, Jill, William (a new sketcher!), Tony, Colin and Luna, oh and the girl who was biking past and sat next to Jill to sketch!
We started out at True Brew coffee shop on Milwaukie, but hurried outside to take advantage of the blue sky (that was more gray by the time I took photos).

Many of us sketched the Aladdin, but Bill decided to look the other way and capture the German-American essence of the neighborhood.

 I found that a lot of folks were interested in what we were doing.
 It was a loud place to sit and sketch, but I think we all enjoyed ourselves. It's always fun to sit as a big group and sketch, too. We definitely attract attention that way, too!
 Me and Luna, the youngest Portland Urban Sketcher drew each other.
 We found a decent vantage point from which to draw the Poulsen House.

Here are my sketches from the day:
 for some reason some of them are turning on their side and there's nothing I can do to rotate them. They are uploaded the way I want them, but they flip on bloggers end of things. anyway, stretch your neck a bit to view these.
 quick sketch, knowing we'd go to lunch soon
 At the Twilight Cafe & Bar for lunch.
 Poulsen house:
A great day for a sketchcrawl! Thanks everyone for making today a good day!


  1. It's fun to see the photos and sketches from yesterday's event. I wish I could have made it. I especially like the Aladdin (nice contrast with the sign) and the Poulson House (cool vantage point). Thanks for posting.

  2. Hi Alanna, Great post! Thanks for adding the photos of your fellow sketchers and I learned something about the history of the neighborhood too. I like your sketches as always, especially the one of the Poulsen House. I've got to give that one a try sometime. Thanks for putting this event together!!

  3. I agree the Poulsen House sketch is my favorite. Thanks for the history lesson. It sounds like it was a nice little community before the bridge.