St. John and the Diamonds

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Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay. — Robert Frost A virgin new year brings to mind Eden gone to grief, then we inhale our breath soon for Nature’s hardest hue. It’s coming. Rainfall will provide a drumroll entrance for her.

Our new year will see many new businesses start as gold: A hand-shake and newspapers on the windows gives way to a flurry of activity, and may come to grief in weeks. As CorpoChrist might have said: “We will always have failing businesses”.

And we could easily say that St. John’s was an economic Eden come to grief, That is equally true of many neighborhoods, nothing special there.

Strange, though, St. John’s has been the last staying place for some of Portland’s diamonds. No mere lumps of metal, these gems have facets that reveal beauty. St. John’s have been quietly keeping invisible treasures hidden in plain sight — an incredible growth opportunity? Possibly. The world’s most beautiful bridge? It’s in the running. Willing workers? Oh, my yes. A human testament to reliability? We got that.

Crouchley Plumbing may still need the wagon wheel railings and horse tie rings that line the street curbs here and there in St. John’s.

Wayne’s barber shop has been home to Wayne since he walked down the gangway of the Battleship California after WWII. He still cuts hair every day and has a full plate of regular customers.

The 50’s music at Patti’s Home Plate or the quality of the food at the James John Cafe is as reliable as our constant pursuit of Politically Correct language.  (I’m betting the PC stuff goes out of style quicker)

The popcorn popper that generated all the business last year is still going strong in St. John’s.  It will generate more this coming year, and more of those businesses have a chance to dip into our abundant resource of workers.

How’s that for the staying power of diamond, Mr. Frost? Even though after enough time, Wayne will close his doors, but until the bridge crumbles to dust, St. John’s has diamonds.

Business as usual will be on us soon.  We will inhale the New Year, and await Nature’s hardest hue to hold…

Opportunities abound. Just know that the value may just last a bit longer than Mr. Frost may suggest.

You don’t have to be as tenacious as Wayne, or as stunning as our Bridge. But it helps.  

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