Sour on Sugar Shack, Cully neighbors unite to shut it down
By: Janice Pierce - Aug 11, 2015
Source: Portland Tribune
neighborhood bought the strip club and then threw a party.
July it became official: the Sugar Shack, a 25,991 square-foot strip-mall type
building, is now under the control of Living Cully — a coalition of Habitat for
Humanity Portland/Metro East, Hacienda Community Development Corporation, the
Native American Youth & Family Center, and Verde.
exceeding its crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo and raising nearly $60,000 in 90
days, Living Cully purchased the former strip club property. The 1950s
cinderblock building and the 2.19-acre parcel that housed several adult
businesses were purchased for $2.3 million.
like nothing I’ve seen before,” said Adam Zimmerman, executive vice president
Craft3t 3, the Northwest nonprofit that provided the loan. “We’re speaking in
terms of a historic collaboration.”
20 years, the black-and-white-checkered strip mall, calling itself an Adult
Superstore, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 30, Northeast Killingsworth
Street and Cully Boulevard — a landmark triangle on the way to the Portland
airport in Northeast Portland — weighed down this community with criminal
activity. Just across Killingsworth, multiple affordable apartment buildings
house hundreds of families with school-age children.
was (very bad),” said Wendy Yah Canul, a community member for 12 years. “There
were a lot of bad activities, naked women, drunk folks, heroin use.”
on the future with daughter Kiara Valle and son Yurel Valle in tow, Canul
stopped to reflect on the recent changes.
feel more comfortable working around here now. We hope for an active space that
our kids can use,” she said.
decades, residents have fought to keep the criminal activity from creeping
across Killingswoth to infect their family lives. And now in this celebration,
the residents reveled in the power of a community coming together and acting.
is a chance for the community to control the neighborhood’ ” said Cameron
Herrington, Living Cully anti-displacement coordinator. “As investment comes
into the neighborhood, as it grows and develops, we want the neighborhood to
serve people already here.”
turns touring the building, hundreds of community celebrants walked within the
walls of the former adult businesses, amid red carpet strewn with glass and one
remaining taxidermied duck tacked to the wall. It was an eerie sight for those
neighbors over age 18 who chose to take up a flashlight and go inside. More
than 40 small rooms, some with locks on the outside of the doors, and others
with no windows, left many wondering what had gone on inside.
are re-interpreting development as a livability strategy,” said Tony DeFalco,
Living Cully Ecodistrict Coordinator for Verde.
Sugar Shack has been a neighborhood concern for decades,” said Herrington.
“With the purchase of the Sugar Shack, we have set a precedent how Cully
neighborhood develops with neighbors in the driver’s seat.”
development is the goal for what comes next, he said.
the community develops, we want businesses and services that meet the current
neighbors’ needs. We are committed to working shoulder to shoulder.”
is one of Portland’s most diverse neighborhoods — rich in culture and
community. According to the action plan, Living Cully seeks to build around the
cornerstones of community, like schools, while creating jobs and building
community understanding through partnerships.
Portland listed as one of the top 10 fastest-growing cities in the country by Forbes
magazine, economic pressures are predicted to increase in the next few years.
need to be more creative and more bold,” Herrington said. “That’s what’s going
to take us over the top.”