It's fair to say the content today is going to be all Bricks. The synchronicities have increased to a point where either I am starting to lose it, or I'm starting to arrive to a conclusion that brings me to an existential crisis. I began doing magickal work at the Academy in earnest in Mid July. I figured it would really kick things off and have bleedthrough, and I wasn't wrong. Here's a rough chronicle of the last month's significant brick activity, before I forget to document it all.
On July 16th my friend Janet tells me that her roommate bought a bunch of bricks to make a garden path. There are Hiddens.
She and I meet at the Academy on July 25th to exchange gifts and have a socially distanced lunch. We both feel a sense of peace, calm and happiness there that we haven't felt for weeks. In a world gone mad we feel drawn to there more than ever. Janet brings me the two bricks and a gorgeous poster of Pan that her roommate (a professional artist) has drawn and gifted me. We joke about bringing Pan to a nun meeting.
While we eat at a picnic table outside the east entrance a bumblebee drops out of the sky and dies instantly. As it takes its last breath we both simultaneously go "Oh!" and reach for our bottles of water to try to give it water. Before we can do this a breeze comes and blows him through the crack of the picnic table. I bend over and search for him but he's gone.
|My prizes from Janet|
A few moments later we both see the head of what we think is a nun's habit briefly inside the academy in the glass immediately right to the east exit door (below). The building is locked and no one is inside. Janet gets an impression the nun watching us is "newer" than MoJo and Irish and has lots to say about the building. I also later buy a St. Joseph statue at my favorite local occult shop, an odd but welcome find.
Later, on August 13 John E.L. Tenney tweets about bees and what they mean:
It gives me pause. Janet feels our compassion was being tested by someone that lunch. The whole thing with the bee was just so odd that I noted it. I mean, dead bugs are everywhere all the time but the way it went down was very strange.
Also on the 25th I mail three bricks to Twitter friends in different states.
On July 29th I wake up to a surprise Columbian article discussing the demolition of the Academy's Smokestack and Outbuildings. I am gutted.
It is important to note that zero work has been done on these outbuildings for decades. Marathon Development already bought the land to the west of the main Academy site and now wants to buy the north lot where the outbuildings and smokestack are. The potential land deal now on the table is why there is a sudden rush to demolish the buildings. They are framing it as an urgent public safety issue versus an urgent make some cash issue.
On July 30th I went to the outbuildings to do a ritual and asked MoJo how to help save them. I shed tears and hugged the smokestack and apologized for what I feel is a great injustice. I asked MoJo to talk to me and randomly hit shuffle on the radio. This is a trick I use to talk to my father also. "No Diggity" by Blackstreet and "Mother's Talk" by Tears For Fears come up back to back.
I emailed my past volunteer contact at the Historic Trust inquiring about my oral history volunteer project and the news article about the outbuildings. I received a response back that he is no longer with the Historic Trust and to contact the Director of Education. The new Director says all programs are suspended indefinitely until Covid passes. I am again devastated this morning. Did my contact get fired or quit? It instantly doesn't feel right and I began to rant about it on Twitter.
August 1st I buy two 1943 bricks and a 1942 from my usual antique store downtown, one 1943 is for Janet. She's really into these bricks now and wants to see if different years feel differently.
Additionally, on August 1st local newspaper Columbian comes out pro-demolition, publishing a short opinion piece minimizing the historic value of the buildings.
This article is misleading. The Laundry building was there by at least 1890 when MoJo was and the Boiler by 1910. The Boiler also provided power to the St. Joseph hospital that was across the street. The Laundry room operated as a boys orphanage and held Spanish Flu patients in it. This building has more significance than they are admitting. The city and local media are both minimizing the importance of the outbuildings as part of the Academy Complex.
That Sunday 8/2 Janet comes back to the Academy to read the bricks, as she's gifted in psychometry. She agrees with my assessment that the bricks are somehow energetic batteries. She reads the buildings and as she's there she meets a woman walking her dog. They discuss the pending demolition and the lady turns out to be a neighbor and tells her about the local neighborhood association that is angry and about their Facebook group. Janet passes this on to me when I arrive a few minutes later with her 1943 brick and I find the "Protect Providence Academy" group on Facebook. Sean Denniston from the Columbian article and his wife are in this group.
Janet reports to Dave and I that the buildings and bricks and MoJo are pissed. There's corruption with the Hidden Trust and the City and something's fishy with it all and it needs to come out when the doorway is open as it is right now. They have no right to take down her buildings like this and that there's greed involved. There's secrets.
I ask the nuns and building if I can collect some brick pieces from the grounds here as they are just going in the trash anyway.
August 5th the public meeting about the proposed demolition of the Academy outbuildings took place online due to Covid. Four hours of arguing about magical bricks on Webex and I was there for every word. That morning I began by going back to the Academy for another ritual. I felt more fired up this time and not sad as I was last time I visited. I again asked Mother Joseph to give me advice via the radio and she played "A Town Called Malice" from The Jam. I begin to really suspect something dirty is occurring and Janet's impressions are correct.
There were 10 concerned members of the public who had our emails chosen as part of the agenda for the August 5 meeting. I was public comment number 6. There were many other emails sent in after the agenda was written, the public cares very much about this issue. My on the record comments are below:
I was not moved to speak at the meeting as a member of the Committee directly referenced some of my comments during the course of the discourse as it unfolded, but I was there for every twist and turn, and there were several.
The first thing they announced is that the smokestack would be taken off the table in tonight's discussion and brought up at a later meeting. I do not believe the smokestack would fall under the "unfit" code, and I'm sure that's why they tabled that part after seeing public outcry at the potential of the loss of the stack. They actually photoshopped it out of aerial photos of the site in the Architect's demolition plan:
Clever but it's right here:
It has always been noted as being saved in the Aegis plans. Before it stood there awkwardly in the corner, a concession due to how beloved it is. The public deemed this non-negotiable. I've spent plenty of time around this stack, this part of the structure is solid.
The claim is that the stack is a danger to the public in the event of an earthquake and the estimated cost to retrofit it to be safe is $800,000. The stack is only 80 feet tall. That's $10,000 per foot of tower, which seems absurd. I can't wait to hear that estimate's insane cost explanation next meeting. She feels solid to me in every regard, missing a few bricks but overall in great shape.
The meeting agenda kicked off with an explanation how they will repair the main Academy building's foundation and plan to use original Hidden Brick salvaged from the demolition for the project. At the outset this all seems like its all a great idea. It is implied the land sale for Aegis will "save" the main building as a result of the funds from the sale, a necessary sacrifice to move forward for preservation of the main facility.
The Committee members ask the members of the Historic Trust if all the buildings on the site are made of all the original Hidden brick material and the head of the Historic Trust does not know the answer. This is important because if the building is repaired with newer material than the original the repairs could actually cause the site to lose value. The head of the Trust admits he doesn't know the answer about the age.
I'll repeat that.
The man in charge of the Historic Trust who owns and manages the site in question does not know basic information about the age, uniqueness or value of the materials that they insist they will preserve at the historically important site they are trying to demolish. After stumbling on these basic questions, the head of the Trust is mostly quiet the rest of the meeting. It's clear he doesn't care or even know enough about the building to be at the table. He's dead weight.
The new Historic Trust corporate mouthpiece Holly Chamberlain (hired in 2019) knows the statistics on the building, and steps in to answer the question about if all the bricks are original to the time period, which is YES. At the outset it is a relief to see someone speaking for the Trust that knows the building in and out.
She talks about the Hidden Brick Company's involvement and describes how the Trust really wants to further recognize not just the Hiddens but the actual workers involved with building the site. She explains how there are plans for this in the future onsite interpretive center that again, will be funded due to the site sale. This planned center is said to have a special tribute to Mother Joseph, as it should.
In a soothing, polished voice Ms. Chamberlain lines out the Historic Trust's Mitigation plan presented as part of their application for demolition of the outbuildings:
The Trust has filed a request with the City for demolition of the outbuildings (and smokestack - which has now mysteriously been tabled from tonight's discussion even though its undeniably tied to the outbuildings, and was mentioned in the news article also as on the chopping block) under an unfit building permit. They mention again at the beginning of the unfit building presentation that the smokestack is not up for discussion at this meeting despite the fact that moments later it is linked to the outbuildings being debated in this meeting.
They discuss about how they will make the Academy ADA compliant as part of the next phase of renovations funded by the Aegis project and explain the large cost to do this properly. Again, it is implied the sale of the lot for the outbuildings will help pay for the restoration of the main Academy building that will make it accessible to all.
The Marathon Development team discusses how they will use the original Hidden brick material from the demolition of the outbuildings to restore the main building. It becomes clear that the Trust wants to pull down the outbuildings with the excuses they are too expensive to repair, they are a danger and public nuisance, and we can use the materials to make the big building more accessible for all. It's all very wrapped up neatly in their presentation. It's so sad we lose them, but now we have ALL these materials to save the rest!
The Historic Preservation Committee has valid concerns about what will happen to these historic and irreplaceable outbuilding materials if the demolition is approved. How can we protect them from loss? Who decides if they are salvageable or should be tossed? What is the expected percentage that can be salvaged?
The Trust says they will keep items of significance for their interpretive center, saying the boiler room doors are a planned centerpiece. They can not make a guess as to when the planned interpretive center will open, Covid causing "research issues". There is no timeline for the interpretive center, but they're ready to roll on demolition. That's interesting given I was volunteering on an oral history project for the center and was told last week that the program was discontinued for now. They state they are planning social media posts and a podcast to help keep the community connected to the site until they can do in person tours again.
The Committee again asks the Trust, how many bricks will be saved according to the plan? Trust admits mortar removal "can damage" materials and they are "old and deteriorating". They will not give a percentage. This is dangerous as if they are granted their unfit building demolition there is no oversight to prevent all the materials from going into the trash. They could bring in a bulldozer and knock them all over and trash them all legally under this unfit permit if they wanted. This was not an accident, as we learn later in the meeting. Rules for historic sites are expensive.
The Historic Preservation Committee is mostly full of praise over phase one of the restoration, over $15 million sunk into the Academy since it was purchased by the Trust in 2015. The roof and the south balconies were completed and look excellent, but they are critical of the developer and restoration when it came to the lack of use of original materials. It is felt that while the repair is lovely it did not use enough reclaimed or repaired materials, too much went to the landfill. The concern about the bricks being discarded during demolition is warranted.
The next portion of the discussion about the demolition begins with architect Sree Thirunagari, a "Chief Building Official" for the City of Vancouver. He presents a study on the site's condition detailing the deterioration of the building with photos, comparing them to the list of criteria for an unfit building. He says the outbuildings meet the unfit criteria and the building code seems to back up his criteria. He is very competent but quickly becomes defensive later under questioning from the Committee.
The photos from inside the outbuildings are devastating. The Boiler Room had a fire and no repair attempt was ever made.
The laundry building is in even a worse state, as I have seen with my own eyes. I truly believe the laundry is in fact a lost cause. Photos inside show similar destruction and back up their claims of an attractive nuisance.
Outside of the laundry is decaying badly also. I don't see how this building can be saved and it breaks my heart.
The saddest reveal during his presentation is that part of the outbuilding structures has already been dismantled and raided. Part of the outbuilding that connected the smokestack, laundry and powerhouse is simply missing. An entire load bearing structure that was part of Mother Joseph's original design is simply gone, making them truly unstable. No one at the Trust can explain what happened nor pinpoint when, but it was after 1972 when the last National Historic Site registry was done and after the Boiler fire.
How convenient for a roughly 10 X 10 load bearing structure to have just disappeared mysteriously over time with no record. How convenient that no repairs were ever made after the boiler fire.
The biggest problem with the unfit building demolition permit is that granting that permit requires no rules at all - that permit is designed for removal of a public nuisance, not a historic site. The Historic Trust should have filed for a demolition permit versus an unsafe building permit, so that there are extra rules in place due to the nature of the site's importance.
The Committee asked the Trust to refile for a demolition permit versus an unfit building permit. The discussion is spicy and the City attorney finally admits they can't modify (read: won't), "unfile" or convert the unfit permit into a regular demo permit. But here's the thing - the City is who applies and enforces the code they say they can't modify. It's ridiculous. The committee asks if there's any protection for the building from the City's actions under Clark County law.
The County's attorney stepped in to comment: "We wish the County had input here but the City law says the city gets approval" - i/e there's no check on the City. They have the power to do whatever they want.
Remember, the City has given special permissions for the site before. Technically, the entire Academy site doesn't meet code as it's condemned due to no drainage anywhere in the lots due to the age. Continual flooding in the parking lot is an issue that is to be addressed with this project, according to the plan. A Committee member railed at the group, "Shame on you City of Vancouver, change your code!"
The next presentation is from a consultant named Jessica Engeman with Meritus Consulting that is supposed to be an expert on historic buildings and their restoration and reuse. Engeman says McMenamins was asked about interest in the site in the past and declined. She says that they looked at office, apartment or restaurant use and none are "economically feasible". They came up with a cost of $4.6 million for the laundry, $1.5 million for the boiler, and $800K for smokestack restoration. They state that the buildings "cannot be restored in a sustainable economic fashion" in any way known. The damage from neglect is just too great.
So let's talk about that neglect. Why have these buildings sat here decaying in the exact same condition for over 40 years? About half way through, the meeting gets really interesting when it's time for the live public comments. All commenters are passionate about trying to save the site but some of them are actually bringing damning testimony towards all the parties involved in the Aegis project, including the Historic Trust. The people who speak live during the meeting are insiders, and they blow the lid off of the whole project.
Former City Council member Sarah Fox is careful to note that she attends the meeting about the demolition as a member of the public. She admits when she was on a private, insider tour given by the Historic Trust a few years ago she had a shocking experience. Not only was she surprised at the total access she was given to the outbuildings (she called it "freewheeling" at this supposedly dangerous site), the Trust specifically told her the outbuildings were being salvaged to restore the main building. The plan was always to tear them down.
Here's the meeting clip beginning with Sarah's statement where you can hear the whole sordid story for yourself, from a City of Vancouver insider here.
No one from the Trust denies there was talk of them being salvaged for materials during this meeting. This is the complete opposite of what they told the public when they first announced the Aegis project, and what they have been telling visitors at the Academy for years - that restoration of all the complex was the priority, removal was last resort.
It was clearly all a lie. They have willfully neglected the outbuildings so that they would fall under the unfit status and be able to be fast tracked for a cheap removal for the gigantic apartment complex that suddenly has a much larger footprint to work with if they are gone.
Vice Chair of the Historical Preservation Committee Sean Denniston (mentioned in the July 29 Columbian article above) adjourned himself before the discussion over the Academy began. He attended as a member of the public versus as a member of the HPC, avoiding a conflict of interest. He feels very passionately that the Historic Trust has in fact neglected these buildings on purpose and is taking shortcuts for demolition due to greed. He brought actual proof to back up his explosive claims.
Voice shaking with fury, he read out loud public record emails between a City official and the development company discussing getting the unfit building code, it's a quick and easy deal. They allude to how easy it will be to tear down with an unfit building permit. It's very chummy and damning, and all City and County emails are public record. They are busted. The City, the Trust and Marathon Development let these buildings rot on purpose to gentrify the site and admitted it.
Here's one of the City emails from October 2019 that Denniston read to the Committee about the agreed plan to take shortcuts here.
Denniston then noted that he himself as a volunteer in the community and HPC Member, someone with lots of experience specifically with saving historic sites, approached the Trust multiple times to help write grants to raise the funds to save the buildings and was continually ignored. Sounds familiar... like someone who was to work on an oral history project beginning in March and has been stalled off again and again by Trust management until this month, when I was finally told that the program was killed. They do not want these outbuildings saved. They never did.
I now have doubts we will ever see an Interpretive Center on this site. I don't believe a word the Historic Trust says anymore. They let MoJo and the community down. The Historic Trust has become the enemy. It needs to be gutted and people who actually care about saving buildings need to be brought on board.
After all of this comes to light, the Historical Preservation Committee voted NO on the proposed Historic Trust Planned Mitigation Measures and came back with a formal request for a demo permit not a unfit permit due to the importance of the site. They requested that the Aegis project phase two build officially be tied to the demolition of the site so that it has to go through the due process for a more thorough determination. They firmly want to establish the link between the demo and the development to force the parties to obtain the proper permits and go through the proper process to demolition.
They want rules on salvage of materials, an architectural survey, 3D mapping, photographing, full reports, an archaeologist on site for demo if it comes to that. They also feel members of the public *cough* have ideas that should be considered before they give up and tear it down. They have been rotting 40 years, what's a few more months for the public to try to come up with ideas?
The Historic Preservation Committee have no legal power behind their "No" vote, and this should be getting media notice as this decision "sets a precedent that generations will look back on", and I agree. The buildings will likely come down because they were so badly neglected but they need to come down using due process. All but one committee member (she is new, and honestly, I feel a plant) agree the site needs more consideration before demolition is just accepted. They drafted a recommendation that has no legal power but is damning.
Let's face it, the bad guys are probably going to win and are probably going to tear them down. The two outbuildings definitely are done, the Stack is the real prize to focus on now. If they do tear down it won't be in the dead of night and without consequences from the public. It's terrifying an all volunteer committee at the HPC is the only thing keeping this precious site protected from this development deal.
I gave Janet the meeting details over instant messenger and she wakes up at 4am the Morning of August 6th realizing she was right about the psychic impressions she got when she went to the bricks on August 2nd.
There has been no public media report from The Columbian or other media other than the Protect Providence Academy Facebook page about the alleged corruption and collusion between the City, Marathon Development, and the Historic Trust.
August 6th, the day after the long meeting, I am rewarded three times for my efforts. My tattoo artist finally emailed me back about getting my Brick tattoo. I had preordered a handbag months ago and was contacted by the seamstress that it was in production. In the mail that night were an order of milagros - Sacred Hearts. I witched them on the brick from the Academy. Janet is also rewarded this day with something personal she wants very badly.
Also on August 6th, another Twitter friend of mine in Michigan dreams about the bricks. They were talking to everyone the day after the big meeting I guess:
Additionally, Janet discovers the veve (sigil) for Erzulie, the loa of Love the day after. Yep, a sacred heart.
August 7th I used the Rose of Jericho I purchased some time ago but have been waiting for the right time to use. I perform an ancestor ritual intended to get in contact with Mother Joseph. I ask her for guidance and help to save the Academy.
The Milagro charm I put in the skull bowl of water ends up entwined with the Rose of Jericho that blooms over night.
The same night, Janet lights a candle and asks MoJo and Mother Gamelin for funds to save the outbuildings. She reports that the candle flame moves as if the door or window is open when it is not.
August 8th I go to Mother Joseph Catholic Cemetery where I perform the second part of the ritual asking for communication with Mother Joseph for the purpose of helping the Academy and wash her tombstone with the Rose of Jericho water. I do some other stuff that hasn't had results...yet.
Also on August 8, Twitter friend John E.L. Tenney digs up a red brick behind his garage in Michigan and we have a discussion about it. I'm thrilled by this as the big joke ongoing between us is Tenney always does everything first and then I follow up years later. Now he's in the bricks and I'm blaming myself. (Also, I was born in Michigan and it's interesting that my friends in Michigan are all having brick things happen).
August 12th my friend and fellow liminal.earth Ambassador Holly had a super vivid dream about the bricks, the tower, and some symbols that I immediately understood as being related to Mother Joseph and myself. It definitely was an answer that she heard my request. Holly's blog detailing the dream is here. Holly has one of the most vivid, active dream lives I've ever known. This week since I paged MoJo at the cemetery I had a lot of personal stress going on and I haven't been sleeping well nor dreaming as a result. I think she was sick of waiting for my brain to be available and went down the line to Holly to answer.
Also this week, a friend of mine had a tweet mentioning bricks go viral across social media platforms, a new story about Roman brick discoveries came out, a Twitter bot known as Gef the Mongoose repeated a tweet about bricks, and Vice came out with an article about and the fact that bricks work as batteries... just like we've been saying they do.
On August 15th, an antique Sacred Heart Medallion from Quebec arrived with the Prayer Card for Sainte Anne de Beaupre as a bonus. I had no idea this holy site existed in Montreal and it will be added to the visit list. I don't know what I'll find down this rabbit hole but I have an intuition it's important.
Same day, a new twitter follower is tagged by a mutual when she remote views a brick school with glass doors. She mentions it having blue trim. The Academy had steel blue trim circa 1910.
I also went to the usual store for antique Hiddens but they were out today. I felt like there was something else there I needed so I walked around for a few. I found a box of old cards from a defunct bank in the 1990s. William Papas was an award winning watercolor artist who died in 2002. He was commissioned by the Bank of Vancouver to create a series of local paintings. "The Academy" and another watercolor of downtown was found today, a nice consolation prize.
I found a listing of the Bank of Vancouver exhibit noted on the Papas website but can't find any image of this painting online anywhere, or a specific reference to it. I cannot find a reference to the second card that remained in the box either. This ended up being more of a rarity that I originally realized. I ordered a used book about his work in the Portland area in case it is inside.
The bricks are awake and talking to everyone that is paying attention. I'm definitely paying attention. Does the fact that it's all bricks all the time mean that everything truly is a simulation? Why are bricks suddenly EVERYWHERE? If nothing is real and everything is manufactured in our minds, the increase in bricks would definitely be something my subconscious would influence. If I think about this for too long I start to get into existential crisis mode.
As an experiment with a good and trusted friend who also similarly feels that we are in a simulation, we together chose a completely neutral item and decided to try to pump energy into thinking about it to see if we could create repeated patterns, like bricks, and moths, and a few other synchronicities that have been popping up for others. The idea behind this is that if we spent a few moments thinking about our random target if this is all a simulation we will start seeing it "play back" and reflect what we are putting into it more frequently. So far it's not had any reportable results.