Meet Mark Lakeman

The following is a combination of an August, 31 post about Mark Lakeman and a newly edited video interview from our time with him on that day. And though 4-minutes hardly captures the inspiring stories and depth, we hope you’ll enjoy!

We had the recent privilege to meet with Portland activist and architect Mark Lakeman of City Repair, a community initiative to take back and create public gathering spaces in local neighborhoods. Mark also likes circles. They are an inherent piece of his philosophy on ecological design and living. “The grid based intersection is a denial of the cross-roads of our lives,” he explains, alluding to the idea of our broken connection of commerce and community. Mark speaks in careful circles too; interrupting himself for the story of his experience with a Mayan elder communing with a butterfly and then pausing to return mid-way through his point. ” Our social structure is not linear. There is a loop, and it will only close when we get powerful”. He scratches at the mud caked to his forearm, ” and I don’t necessarily think we need to fight against anything. We just need to decide what dream we want to live at the most local level and create it.”

Mark is definitely creating it. With other volunteers from City Repair we created it too; lathering dry straw with a mix of water and clay to be packed into the wall of a new garage space for a neighborhood resident. The reward of our participation was not in currency or barter, but instead in new friends and strengthened skills. The lesson I’ve found is this – Just as the bi-circles we ride propel us forward, the revolution of our social circles will move us toward a new way of experiencing how we relate to and provide for one another. Curves and bends of a breeze will move in circles around us wherever we are. Create something there.

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