Share-It Square

Your Guide
Rachel Hill, ASLA

Intersections can become centers of activity in neighborhoods. In 1996, a group of neighbors at the intersection of SE 9th and Sherrett decided to pool together $65 and create a unique gathering space. Their effort was the seed project for City Repair, an organization that has since created 32 projects across Portland, including intersection paintings, natural building projects, community gardens, and projects that combine multiple elements at once. Another ripple effect of Share-It Square: Portland adopted an ordinance that allows for similar projects if 80 percent of neighbors within two blocks approve.

The “placemaking” part of the process is just as important as the resulting space. Each year, the intersection is re-painted, bringing the community back together to both design and execute the painting of the artwork.

As City Repair founder Mark Lakeman explains, projects of this nature are driven by a shared desire for equity, beginning with the idea that a functional democracy, and freedom of assembly, requires a physical place to assemble. Through the larger lens of sustainability in Portland, projects like Share-It Square promote grassroots engagement by encouraging communities to create their own space, for their own purposes.

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