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School of Art + Design junior Natalie Huschka's project featured on KGW News
Author: Nate Hanson
Posted: June 1, 2018

Art Practices student Natalie Huschka's project attempts to restore and reclaim the sidewalk site of last week's campus tragedy. Her story was featured on KGW News.

'This is our home': PSU student shows hit-and-run site won't be place for fear

"This innocent and carefree symbol that I am conveying to our city and our campus is that we are not going to see this place as trauma filled with fear lurking in the shadows."

 

SEE THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PORTLAND, Ore. – “This is my home and this is my claim.”

That’s what Natalie Huschka wrote in a letter that sat with her Saturday afternoon at the corner of Southwest 6th Avenue and Montgomery Street, where just a little more than 24 hours before a driver jumped the curb and struck at least three women on the sidewalk.

“Yesterday, May 25th 2018, here in the heart of PSU, people were run down by a car on the sidewalk. This shook most of us to the core,” Huschka’s letter reads.

Huschka is a senior at Portland State University. She admits Friday’s hit-and-run affected her much more profoundly than she expected.

“It seems more than the typical tragedy,” Huschka wrote. “This is my home, these are my people and they were badly hurt.”

The crash left three women injured on the sidewalk. One of the women was critically injured and another suffered serious, but not life-threatening injuries, according to police. Police initially reported the third victim's injuries were serious, but later said the woman's family did not want any further medical updates released. All three women were rushed to Portland hospitals.

A man, who police believe was the driver, was arrested hours after the crash.

Like many others in the PSU community, Huschka wonders what the lasting impact of Friday’s traumatic event will be.

“Now that this has happened, how many of us feel safe? When we go by this area are we going to remember what “could” happen?” Huschka wrote.

That’s why, in an attempt to restore the area as a space of safety and community, she laid out a blanket on the corner where tragedy struck, sat down and began drawing.

“I am laying on this floor as a child might lay on the floor of their living room, drawing without a care in the world, listening to music and kicking the air,” she wrote.

"This innocent and carefree symbol that I am conveying to our city and our campus is that we are not going to see this place as trauma filled with fear lurking in the shadows."

Because for Hushcka and many others, Portland State University represents much more than a place to study.

“This is our home, this my home, this area belongs to us.”

READ HUSCHKA'S FULL LETTER:

Portland State University has suffered a great tragedy at home. Yesterday, May 25th 2018, here in the heart of PSU, people were run down by a car on the sidewalk. This shook most of us to the core. This is our everyday life, our routine, we live here, we work here, we spend our hours here. Now what do we do? Are we safe? Are we going to be mowed down suddenly? Where does our security lie? Are we to worry about our friends and family every time they leave their beds?

My name is Natalie Huschka, I am a student at Portland State University. This incident affected me at a level that surprised me. It seems more than the typical tragedy. This is my home, these are my people, and they were badly hurt. This is my city and this is my campus. This is my home and this is my claim.

Now that this has happened, how many of us feel safe? When we go by this area are we going to remember what “could” happen? Will we fear going out at all? Anxiety unleashed on our world? What has happened to our home? What do you see? Do you feel the same as the day before? Is this our place or has it become someone else’s? Are we visiting? Or do we live here? If we let fear rule our lives, what will life be? Do we still want this trauma hanging over us in our home?

I am laying on this floor as a child might lay on the floor of their living room, drawing without a care in the world, listening to music and kicking the air. I am here at this monument to trauma to stake a claim. This our home, my home, this area belongs to us. There is a real need to feel safe in our home. This innocent and carefree symbol that I am conveying to our city and our campus is that we are not going to see this place as trauma filled with fear lurking in the shadows. We are going to stand against fear and say that we are comfortable to own this space as home. We will lounge on the floor without fear gripping us, with carefree safety washing over us as it should be at home.We say that we are standing for those who have been injured. We are standing for their recovery and for a peaceful mind. Our hearts go out to them as we stand together as a community, no matter what happens, we are in this together.

--Nate Hanson [Photos: Maggie Vespa]