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COLUMN

Happytown

We're proud Linda Stewart was born this way and born to run for office. We're not so proud the the Creative Village may turn into Portlando. That Commander X hacking thing? We don't know what to think. We're too busy marching.

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Getting off the gay path – well, sort of, anyway – you know that wishing-well-shaped void of urban-planning schizophrenia purportedly known as the Creative Village? Well, it turns out that all of those space-age plans for a monorail future full of think tanks and neon dreams may turn out to be more like cuffed skinny jeans on a fixie, to hear Rollins College tell it. A couple of weeks back, the school posted an article on its website titled “Civic urbanism students bring Portland design ideas back to Orlando’s Creative Village.” Uh-oh. The Creative Village is going to be Portlando™?

“Portland is such an excellent laboratory for urban-planning studies,” Rollins Environmental Studies professor Bruce Stephenson told his own school’s news source. “Over the last 20 years, its vacant downtown industrial areas have been redeveloped and revitalized resulting in urban spaces that continue to win awards for sustainability.”

Stephenson took 12 of his students – and Creative Village developer Craig Ustler – to the hipster mecca in order to pick their clockwork minds for ideas on what to do with the 60 acres of old Centroplex property that has yet to be demolished. Free labor! Totally unexpectedly, the kids came back saying things about the “Portland way of thinking.”Like any wise professor, Stephenson gleefully responded to the resulting presentation of manic-depressive doodlings of faux-European piazzas by his students, saying, “They did a far better job that [sic] I could have done.” Ustler, meanwhile, was apparently “blown away.” We, meanwhile, remain dubious about this multimillion-dollar class project, except for the fact that after six years of typing “Creative Village” with our eyes in the back of our head, we can now simply shorthand it to something more meaningful. Welcome to Portlando!

Remember Commander X? He was the guy who took credit for this past summer’s cyber attacks on websites (often loosely) affiliated with the city of Orlando. On one occasion, this “hacktivism” campaigncompelled the webpage of Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter ride to spit out, again and again: “BOYCOTT ORLANDO – FnB #OpOrlando.” As the X-Man made clear, this was in retribution for the arrests of those sharing food with the homeless in violation of the city’s Large Group Feeding ordinance. “Your recent arrest of Food Not Bombs activists is the line in the sand,” he wrote to the city government, whose webpage emerged unscathed.

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