Friday, May 22, 2009

In search of a home for the Bike Temple

Wednesday night Deacon Amos and I went to the Lotus Seed Temple's Wednesday night dinner. The place had changed a lot since the previous week -- they had cleared the pews out of one of the basement rooms, opened the door to let in light, and they had about 40 bicycle frames in various stages of undress. Johnny and a youngun were stripping some frames and making a few repairs. Brian outside had a "no weld" bicycle trailer made from a couple huffy carcasses. (unfortunately Deacon Amos and myself were both having "no camera" days, so no photos). All around, it looked like the beginnings of a Bike Church.

Here is a photo from streetview, with an orange circle around the basement door where the Lotus Seed Bike Church is emerging. On the 9th Ave Bicycle Boulevard at Going St.

Dinner ($3 - 5 donation) was some fabulous beans and rice with tasty other things, like fresh-fried chips, sour cream, salsa. The Lotus Seed crowd is a friendly bunch, we offered to include them on the Joy of Sects ride and they were pretty excited. They're really making good use of the building, it has a library, offices, kitchen (with a great south-facing window), a huge chapel, basement rooms, etc. Last week it was dark and rainy, this week it was bright and breezy. The spring air here has to be inhaled to be believed -- fresh and seashore-like, and it was wafting through the great old craftsman church through many open doors and windows.

We said we'd be back, to help strip frames in the basement, maybe set up a tool rack, and help weld together a bicycle dome in the back yard.

After the Lotus Seed, Amos and I went down to The Succeeding House on Failing St. to look at the church there. We met a Dan who knew a bit about the vacant church, he said it was owned by a "Reverend Macaphie" who was hoping to find more uses for it. Rev. M had been cleaning out some old junk in the basement, but hadn't finished yet. Dan figured the reverend may well be open to having a Bike Temple on-site if we'd help keep the place up.

Here is a photo of the Failing Church, with the basement side door circled. There were some folks ready to be parishoners on the day the google camera car drove by, which indicates a level of need in the neighborhood for a community bike shop.

It appears that inner NE Portland may be full of empty church basements waiting to be turned into somethnig like a Bike Temple. Prospects look good.

Does anyone else have any leads on vacant churchs in places where you'd like to see a community bike shop?

Pasture Ted

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