Giving Thanks, Foster Edition

We thought we’d tackle this piece with a short list: plenty of bars, plenty of food, plenty of rad people, and lots of promise. Boom, done.

But that doesn’t quite do Foster justice. And, well, there’s a lot about Foster we’re thankful for.

Sure, there are plenty of bars, but to gloss over them all without honoring their individual quirks and attributes wouldn’t be fair. We don’t have time for all that, though. Suffice to say, we like what most of you barkeeps and bar owners are doing. Keep doing what you do…we’re thankful.

As for the food—sure, “restaurant row” we are not. But we have some real winners. To name a few: An Xuyen, Foster Burger, Portland Mercado (take your pick), pizza at O’Malley’s, Bar Carlo, Nayar Taqueria, Henry Higgins Bagels, Torta-landia, Tambayan, Carts on Foster, and the limited but scrumptious offerings at NWIPA. (Special shout out to Midpoint Food and Drink, Siri Thai, and Arleta Library Bakery Cafe also.) We’re thankful for all of you servin’ up that tasty grub. We’re lazy and would much rather stay local when eating out.

But there’s more. We like coffee.  Thanks, Pieper Cafe, for all you do. Kelsey and the girls make getting coffee more than just a caffeine fix. Thanks. Speedboat makes a mean cup of joe, too, as does Sandino Coffee Roaster at the Mercado. Cheers to caffeine.

Ok, now on to the good stuff.

We’re thankful for the rad people, the grit, and the quirky charm that makes Foster what it is. Fiddle-playing hen, dub-stepping sign-swinger, Crazy Eddie, tweakers, biker gangs, artists, neighborhood advocates, drunks and stumblers, new-type bourgeois, and all the sidewalk seating and bar patios that give us front row seats to it all. Thanks…you make Foster unique.

Laurelwood Park. Thanks for giving refuge to the kids from Mt. Scott Learning Center, those waiting for the 14-Hawthorne, the homeless, and those who just want to soak in the humm of traffic, sirens, and live music permeating from the bars, dance studios, and music venues nearby. We heart you.

We are also thankful for the small business owners who make Foster, well, kinda funky. Red Castle Games, Fat Yoga, Velvet Goldmine, the whole collective at Foster Row, Green Noise Records, the tattoo shops, SMART Collective, I Heart Retro, Backstory Books, and even the taxidermy shop and sketchy upholstery joints. (And that’s just a small taste.) We like you. Thanks for making Foster home.

Foster Streetscape Plan. We thank you for keeping us enticed and enraged and hopeful and involved and cautiously optimistic for the last several years. We hear you’re going to become a reality soon, not just a figment of our imagination and stubborn anticipation. Can’t wait to finally meet after hearing so much about you all these years.

See, there’s a lot to be thankful for. Foster’s like the gift that keeps on giving, even when you don’t want it to (see tweakers and biker gangs above, for example). But in all its grittiness and filth, there’s a charm that keeps us coming back for more. Venture into the neighborhoods, and you’ll find community gardens, little free libraries, and people who are actively making this area the place to be. They know what time it is. Thanks.

One more thing, though. We’re thankful for you, our readers, and those who share a similar love for Foster. It’s the one thing we all have in common. And in many ways, for better or worse, it’s what defines us as a neighborhood.

Happy Thanksgiving week, y’all.

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Happy Weekend, Foster People!

Less than a week until Thanksgiving. It’s dark and bloody cold in the morning. And daylight seems to disappear shortly after lunch. It must be Winter’s early onset, which means shorter, colder and damper days. Yay!

Here are your weekend tidbits…

– Maybe some of you have noticed, but Red Castle Games finally got its corner entryway. Several months after a drunk driver wrecked shop, literally, the neighborhood game store was recently able to pry away the plywood that had been covering the damage, now revealing the new doors and corner entrance.

– And speaking of fixes and upgrades, just a mont after replacing their own damaged windows—rumor has it “Crazy Eddie” may have inserted head into said window—Bar Maven, pending approval from the city, is working on a new patio and outdoor seating area. Fingers crossed there are no holdups with the permitting process.

– Foster’s two newest businesses are up and running after grand openings last week. Backstory Books (at 6010 SE Foster) is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 am to 6 pm. Two doors down (at 6004 SE Foster), Latchkey Gallery will be open Wednesday through Saturday, from 12 pm to to 6 pm. Check ’em out…and don’t forget to support your local businesses.

– NWIPA keeps pushing the tasty eats. Last week brought the second Stealth pop-up; this Saturday brings American Cocina featuring Wild Roots Farm. Think organic Pacific Northwest fare combined with a Tex-Mex flare. Grubbin’ starts at 5pm.

– Here’s your weekend entertainment:
FoPo Tavern- Ferociously Funny Fridays, stand-up comedy at 9pm
Starday Tavern- Johnny Vargo Band, Friday at 9; Amber Harlan Granmo Trio, Saturday at 9; Jankaraoke, Sunday at 9
NWIPA- American Cocina featuring Wild Roots Farm, Saturday at 5 pm
Portland Mercado- Apple Cider Press Party, Saturday from 10 am – 3 pm (proceeds benefit the Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association)

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Throwback Thursday

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The shuttered car dealership and neighboring vacant lots  before the Mercado brought food and goods, people, color and vibrancy to SE 72nd and Foster.


My, how things have changed. Nearly four years ago we commented on two articles published by Steve Beaven of the Oregonian. In separate pieces, Beaven discussed two exciting developments along Foster Road: one, the City’s desire to develop vacant lots on SE 72nd; and, two, the purchase of the—at the time—long vacant Bob White Theatre.

Both were exciting prospects: one would bring life to a former car dealership turned drab, concrete lot; the other would give the neighborhood an events venue and one less vacant but historic building.

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When Nick Storie bought the Bob White in 2011, he hosted a community party to unveil architectural drawings of the interior, as well as to solicit feedback from the community for how they’d like to see the theater used. The energy that day was never matched by Mr. Storie, and he sold the theater earlier this year.


Little did we know at the time, one of the vacant lots on SE 72nd and Foster would become the Portland Mercado. And even when it was later learned what was planned for the lot, very few could have predicted  the success and vibrancy it would bring to that corner of the neighborhood. In regards to the Bob White, who would have guessed it would host mayoral candidates, internationally known bands, and play movies before going bust and being sold again…only to become storage space and the source of scorn for many in the neighborhood.

A lot has happened in just four short years. We’ve seen many other changes along the corridor in that time, too. And no doubt, many more are to come.

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Seen in FoPo



Gotta love it…



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Kern Park Flower Shoppe Gets Jiggy With It

We have plenty of booze in the neighborhood. But we suppose there’s always room for more. Maybe Kern Park Flower Shoppe is getting in on the bottle game—wine or beer to go? So would suggest a recent liquor license application from the neighborhood flower shop located at SE 67th and Holgate.

Oregon Liquor Control Commission

Oregon Liquor Control Commission

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Happy Weekend, Foster People!

Here we are, the wet, blustery weekend. Welcome. May you find dry and calm however you can. But, please, do venture out to Foster at some point. There’s plenty to get into, and you’ll definitely find refuge from the ick outside. Oh, and happy Friday the 13th.

Here are your weekend tidbits…

– Big day for Foster today…at least relatively speaking, that is. Two new businesses are set to celebrate grand openings today (though, one is an old business moving into a new space). Backstory Books opens its doors today, along with neighbor Latchkey Gallery PDX. Both will inhabit separate spaces in the commercial strip sandwiched by the Y-Arts Center and FoPo Tavern (6004 and 6010 SE Foster, respectively). As we’ve mentioned before, Backstory Books is upgrading from their digs at the Carts on Foster pod; Latchkey Gallery is new all together, and they’ll be the second art studio/gallery space to open along the corridor within the last six months. Catch Backstory’s opening by 7pm tonight; Latchkey Gallery will have an open house until 6pm.

– New businesses on Foster is good, yes. But I suppose the real big news on Foster is that the Streetscape Plan is actually a thing—as in, wheels are in motion; it’s gonna happen; there’s a timeline; some work has already started (with some now complete). Sure, we won’t see anything until late-2017 at the earliest, but PBOT project manager, Rich Newlands, presented a rundown of the project to the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association Monday, and with the presentation came a timeline that is the closest thing the neighborhood’s seen/heard as true confirmation the project is imminent.

– You got $2,150 to spend every month on retail space? We have a spot for you. It sounds like a lot, but, as one of our reader’s pointed out, in same cases that’s nearly half the price of equivalent space in such hot-spot neighborhoods as SE Division or N Williams. So….who’s stepping up and making the Heart of Foster that much radder? On a side note, one can only speculate that the increase in rent for commercial space had something to do with the future Cafe Red’s demise.

– We’ve been seeing some vibrant colors being painted on the walls inside the vacant space next-door to Torta-landia. Gosh, it’s almost as if there’s an expansion in the works. Just sayin…

– For the foodies out there, be on the lookout for the second installment of Stealth Pop Up/Menu Takeover at NWIPA. Think: braised greens, bacon jam toast, cranberry rarebit, cider-braised beef chuck with pork sausage. Ok, done. See you there on Wednesday the 18th, 6pm.

– Here’s your entertainment for the weekend and beyond:
Backstory Books and Latchkey Gallery (6004 and 6010 SE Foster)- Grand Opening and open house, Friday (see above)
Performance Works NW- it’s really hard: Nancy Ellis, Dora Gaskell and Stephanie Lavon Trotter, Friday and Saturday at 8pm
Starday Tavern- Wild Rumpus Triumphant Return, Friday at 9pm; Aspirin Feast, Saturday at 10pm; Jankaraoke, Sunday at 9pm
FoPo Tavern- Ferociously Funny Fridays, comedy at 9pm
Bar Carlo- Donkey Team Prospective Executive Conversation Occasion View Form (yikes, that’s a mouthful), Saturday at 5pm
World Famous Cannabis Cafe- Sol Slippers (Island music), Friday night
Creston School- Pancake Breakfast and Holiday Bazaar fundraiser: $5 all you can eat pancake breakfast starting at 8am; Holiday Bazaar, 9-noon

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