Maybe Jesus Can Save the Phoenix Pharmacy

The Jesus train came to Foster.
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Coincidence that he stopped in front of the Phoenix Pharmacy? I think not.
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And he even stopped long enough to serenade the poor, neglected building. If only he could do the whole water-to-wine trick with the space.

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Seen in FoPo

Breakfast of champions in Kern Park.
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Hey, the neighborhood can only improve so fast, right?

#FortiesAndNeedles #BreakfastOfChampions

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Happy Weekend, Foster People!

It’s been a pleasant September thus far, and we should continue getting warm, sunny weather for a few more days. The rain returns sometime next week, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Let’s hope it doesn’t stick around for ‘Fun on Foster,’ though. We all know what happened last year. Did we say Fun on Foster? More below.

- Foster has quietly become a very, very music-centric area. We all know now that Green Noise Records is setting up shop in the ‘hood. And before them, Renaissance Guitars opened a storefront just on the other side of Nayar Taqueria from where Green Noise will be. And while we can always count on at least two to three venues hosting live music on Friday and Saturday along Foster, we also get a lot of mid-week music. And that doesn’t even count The Bobwhite Theatre, which may be the supreme icing on the cake someday soon. A couple notes on said music scene…
….Green Noise Records will be opening September 30 at 5857 SE Foster (again, in the Nayar/Renaissance Guitars/Meticon complex)
….Bar Carlo is playing catch-up—they introduced Sweet Reggae Sundays a couple months ago, now they’ve added weekly jazz to the mix on Wednesdays; in a couple weeks, you’ll also be able to count on weekly spoken word and open mic on Saturdays
….The Bobwhite Theatre will be turning 90 at the end of the month (Sept 27-29); there will be a weekend-long celebration with live music and a community event that Sunday

- Ok, about Fun on Foster. I’ve heard it mentioned once. And that was by someone who’s part of the Neighborhood Association. Apparently it’s a thing, but I haven’t seen or heard of any promotion. The Foster Area Business Association has a small blurb on their website, though, so feel free to mark your calendar for September 27.

- The Foster-Powell Community Garden has a work party today and tomorrow. Plus free hair cuts from The Phix ($10 minimum donation for the garden).

- Eight homes are coming to the corner of SE 65th and Holgate. There’s some concern about parking, as well the developer’s request to shorten the required setback length Winlybetween property lines. It’s a divisive issue, for sure…

- It looks like 7-11’s new neighbor has announced themselves. I don’t know who or what a “Winly” is, but it looks like we’re getting a ‘cash and carry.’

- Live music for the weekend:
Torta- Overwinter, Friday; Paul Savignac, Saturday
Starday- Metropolitan Farms and Hawthorne, Friday; TBD, Saturday
Gemini- Ryan David Orr, Friday; DJ’s Ashby Scaggs, Brian Todd and Cee White play Saturday

Have a good weekend, all. Be cool.

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Free Haircuts and a Final Summer Work Party at the Community Garden

The Phix Hair Studio will be offering free haircuts this Friday at the Foster-Powell Community Garden. And by “free,” we mean free with a $10.00 donation (or more if you’re feeling spendy). All money raised goes to the community garden.

Screen shot 2014-09-11 at 3.58.06 PMThe work party runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, with the “Back to School” hair cutting starting at 2 pm. Don’t be misled, though, this is an all ages fundraiser. Show up in the morning and help with installation of the water-catch system—or any other odds and ends (weeding?) around the garden—then get your hair did. Or, just get your hair did…the money raised will be helpful, too.

The weekend work party runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, too. In addition to the cistern, a covered meeting area will be constructed. Other smaller projects will be tackled, too. For more info check out the FPCG website: 62nd Garden.

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Get Ready for the Everett Home Takeover

Eight skinny homes, all market rate. Parking’s only a consideration at this point.

Skinny Home MapComing soon to a lot near you.

Everett Custom Homes announced last year that they intended to develop homes on a vacant lot at SE 65th and Holgate. They proposed up to seven or eight homes, fully intact with alleyway access and detached, rear garages. The proposal sparked some debate as to whether the character of the houses would fit the neighborhood, as well as the impact more high-priced homes might have on the area’s affordability.

And then there was parking. And that worry might be growing for nearby residents, as the detached garages originally included in the plan have suddenly disappeared from the most recent submission. And with other design features requiring potential code modifications, there’s increasing concern about the merits of the project. The current designs have triggered a Planned Development Review due to the narrow width of lots—24 feet in most cases—and side setbacks from each of the property lines. In essence (from my understanding), they are seeking the ability to build more houses than building code currently allows.

Here is an excerpt from the Design Review:

       “In addition, a Planned Development Review is triggered since Lots 2 through 7 are proposed to be less than 25 feet wide and developed with detached housed (33.611.200.C.2.b). The applicant also requests Modifications to reduce the side building setbacks (33.110.220) for Lots 1 though 8. The applicant requests a reduction in all the side setbacks that are interior to the site from the required 5 feet to 4 feet for the building walls, 3.5 feet for bay window and eave projections.”
Skinny Homes

Density can be good. Don’t get me wrong. It keeps us city folk from encroaching too much into forestlands, watersheds, and other natural areas outside of the urban boundary. It also adds to the housing stock, which (in theory) helps maintain affordable prices. (Though, that’s probably just theoretical in inner-SE.) There’s also a rationale behind development that encourages the use of alternative forms of transportation (read: limited or no parking). And in some cases, the fight against infill may be a tad overblown. Let’s also not forget that the current state of the vacant lot brings its own set of problems.

But for those most directly impacted, that all might not mean as much. And with parking already scarce on this particular block (a six-unit apartment building is finalizing construction across the street), it seems like what was once just an issue for folks on Division street to debate has suddenly crept into the Foster environs. And when a developer gives a concession to the neighborhood in good will and then conveniently takes them away without notice, perhaps questions/objections are worth posing.

What say you?

Is this kind of development good for Portland? The neighborhood? Does it ward off rising home prices or just speed up gentrification and further erode the affordable housing stock? Too crowded or not dense enough for an urban neighborhood?

Have at it, folks…but keep it civil.

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Updates on Red Castle Plaza and Green Noise Records

Life after the awning.

Life after the awning.

Two of our commercial plazas are getting serious facelifts. Last week we saw the imposing, 70’s era, green awning come down from the Red Castle Plaza, and the improvement is already noticeable. The western portion of the building, built in 1932 and now housing Red Castle Games, is already showing off its old brick facade and second-level row of windows. The eastern stretch, built in 1936 and currently home to Portlandia Foods, the future Cafe Red, and former Karate studio, shows similar potential but with painted out windows and sans brick.

Before and After, West

Before and after the awning era.

Natalie Caulkins—project manager for Cafe Red and part-driving force behind the renovation—along with Red Castle Games owner, Matthew Micetik, will be meeting with the building owner and architect this week to discuss final renovation plans and how to fully restore the building. If the initial deconstruction is any indication, this building could join several others in the immediate area that provide an historic vibe to our commercial core.

Down the street a little, another commercial plaza is seeing a rebirth. What was once Meticon Bikes, a dusty antique shop, a dying Salvadoran restaurant and mostly dilapidated storefronts has quickly become a spiffed up version of itself. Only now, the neighborhood bike shop is surrounded by a rad little taqueria, Renaissance Guitars and now, we can finally say, Green Noise Records.

IMG_1229What was once rumored to be a chocolate shop, then chocolate shop/cafe/pizza counter, then who knows what’s behind the black plastic covering the window, is now set to become your neighborhood music store. Green Noise will be moving into the space at 5857 SE Foster by the end of the month.

Rejoice, all!

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