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Evoking Sounds of the Past

Erickson Soundscape Unveiling

Thursday, September 15
5:00 – 7:00 pm
9 NW 2nd Avenue
All are welcome to join!

Innovative Housing is very excited to announce the unveiling of its first soundscape in Old Town!  According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, a soundscape is “a mélange of musical and sometimes nonmusical sounds.”  IHI is teaming up with Jacqueline Peterson Loomis, founder of the Old Town History Project, and Charles Morrow, internationally renowned sound engineer, to create audio art installations that will help bring Old Town’s history alive.

The creative spark for this project came from Jackie Peterson Loomis, who has done extensive research and cultural preservation work with many communities that have called Old Town home.  Jackie envisioned a series of sound experiences that evoke different eras in Old Town.  The first to launch will be housed at the Erickson Fritz Apartments on 2nd Avenue and will share the sounds of August Erickson’s Workingman’s Saloon from 1900-1930.

IHI is fortunate to own several historic buildings in Old Town that will house the soundscapes, so it took the lead on implementation of this project.  IHI is partnering with Central City Concern to locate a soundscape at The Estate Hotel (once home to the Maletis Market) that will tell the story of the Greek community in Old Town circa 1925-1960.  In addition to installations at the Erickson Fritz Apartments and the Estate Hotel, IHI will be hosting a soundscape that focuses on the Jewish immigrant experience from 1925-1960 at the Modern Rich Apartments and one that depicts the Japanese American experience from 1915-1941 at Musolf Manor.  Each of these soundscapes are being carefully researched and scripted by Jackie, with the support and cooperation of Jewish, Greek, and Japanese community members and cultural preservationists. With the assistance of volunteer sound engineer Larry Johnson, Jackie is also recording pieces of music and narrative to weave into the soundscapes.

Charles Morrow and his team are producing and engineering the scripts using proprietary software that allows us to choreograph sounds for different times of day, locations in the buildings, and seasons of the year.  For example, at the Erickson, passers-by will hear the sounds of men in the saloon from below and female voices wafting overhead, as if from the upper stories of the bar where they were allowed to entertain.  Morning sounds will be different from evening and late night audio experiences, when the saloon got more raucous.

IHI is extremely grateful to the Portland Development Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust for grant funding that made this project possible. The public unveiling of the Erickson soundscape will take place on September 15 from 5-7pm at 9 NW 2nd Avenue – all are welcome to join!  The remaining soundscapes will follow later this fall.