Portland’s east side is a vibrant and continually growing area. The Alberta area, where this building is located, has seen an immense influx of new residents in the past 15 years. Since around the time of the sale of the Alberta Shul, this neighborhood has been the heart of Portland’s African American community; but the neighborhood has rapidly gentrified, displacing many long term residents. Many of the young single Jews, younger Jewish families, unaffiliated Jews, and Jewish retirees who have been moving to this area are concerned about these changes and interested in creating space for all residents, past and present. A recent study done by the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland uncovered that there are almost twice as many Jews living in the metropolitan area than had been previously assumed and that a large majority of them live on Portland’s East Side. How many on the East Side? Ten thousand!
People are drawn to living in Portland for its emphasis on neighborhoods, excellent walkability and bicycle commuting. Synagogues and Jewish community centers on the West Side of Portland are inconvenient if not completely inaccessible for many. A Jewish community space in the Alberta neighborhood is much more accessible to East Side residents, particularly from the surrounding neighborhoods of Alameda, Laurelhurst, Concordia, Irvington, Concordia, Sabin, Piedmont, Humboldt, Mississippi, Woodlawn, Kenton, Overlook, and Arbor Lodge. As Portland’s lived environment continues to shift towards greater density, this accessibility will become increasingly important. Alberta street is a frequent transit bus line, and is easily accessible from the surrounding neighborhoods, the downtown area and neighborhoods further to the east, south, and north.