More Nails in the Bob White Coffin

We’re not sure why we continue to let the Bob White Theater’s demise get us down. But we do.

 

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And just when we thought it couldn’t get worse, it looks like a new loading entrance has been installed/cut-out where the movie screen and stage once were. And if it’s not a loading entrance, it’s still a ginormous hole, and they both accomplish the same thing for people (us) holding on to hopes of the theater’s rebirth someday.

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So about that Save-A-Lot space…

That long-vacant, exceptionally large retail space next to Dollar Tree? Yeah, it was a Save-A-Lot not too long ago. And there’s still a sign serving as remnant next-door where a laundromat once existed.

This is not distant history, but both have been vacant long enough to become the scorn of neighbors, mostly due to the feeling of desolation and sorely missed opportunity for neighborhood-serving retail—perhaps a grocery store. (I will say, the silver lining is that it’s offered a place for skaters to hone their craft).

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Google Street View

However, with the tendency of local property owners to let their holdings sit idle and slowly deteriorate, as well as the number of grocers that have expanded just close enough to make this location less viable (think Winco at 82nd and Powell, and New Seasons on Woodstock), it seemed like all hope had been lost for this space to bring something positive to the neighborhood.

Well, we’re not here to provide hope, per se, but rather let you all know the outlook for 6828 SE Foster isn’t so gloomy.

We spoke to a broker for the building’s property manager, and they explained why the space has been empty for so long. It’s been discussed before, but the broker confirmed that when Save-A-Lot closed shop, they still held the lease for the space. That meant a couple things: the landlord was able to collect a check without a tenant in place (easy money) AND any prospective sublessor would have to pay equal to what Save-A-Lot was, but more likely more to encourage the landlord to give up the good life of collecting said easy money. That’s speculation, surely, but the broker did confirm that they had trouble finding someone willing to sublease the property. (We just ran with that information and added extra detail.)

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Loopnet

So, where’s the less-gloomy outlook, you say?

According to the broker, Save-A-Lot’s lease expires this month. Or, more accurately, at the end of this month (February). What’s more, the broker feels they may have a feel for prospective tenants and some interest may already have been expressed. And to go further, the commercial real estate website, Loopnet.com, has an updated listing for the site as of 2/5/16. Short of an Auto Zone or S&M Sex Dungeon, I think anything would be better than what we have now. Maybe. In any event, we’ve also heard rumors of people scoping the property, with one party possibly interested in turning the laundry space into a gym. Again, just rumors. Still, things may be looking up at Foster Square.

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Meet Your Neighbors: N.W.I.P.A.’s Dan Huish and Jackson Wyatt

NWIPAIt’s no secret that Foster provides ample opportunity for boozing. Booze to trivia; booze while you craft; booze to live music, strippers and karaoke. Booze with good food, and not so good. Booze, booze, booze. We like it just as much as the next, but not all booze is created equal. Case in point: N.W.I.P.A., Foster’s own champion and curator of beer. But not just any beer—good beer….rare, award-winning, and running the gamut from sours and Saisons, to Double IPAs, stouts and ciders. Our neighborhood bottle shop provides it all, by the pint or to-go. And they’ve paired it all with just the right combination of food, regular tastings and tap-takeovers, a nice selection of records, and the occasional event that brings even more beer and food and music to the masses…or, at least, you Foster-ites. Let’s take a look at the guys behind it all, Dan and Jackson.
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Everyone knows about NWIPA the bottle shop. But tell us a little about the faces behind the name.

http://www.roe.photography/#!/Origianl image: portfolio/G0000Pg1t4GtbkYw/I0000a_nyiqmaVUc

Micael Roe // Roe.Photography

Jackson- I’m from So Cal and I moved to Portland to go to culinary school after leaving the Air Force. I was always drawn to the Pacific Northwest for beer and the weather. I guess I always wanted to own my own business, like a coffee shop, since my High School Kerouac days. I met Dan when he was the chef at Bridgeport, and we’ve been friends since. 

Dan- I’m originally from Arizona. I had friends who lived in Portland during the early 90’s and always loved the small town feel it had. I was finally able to move here in 2001 and participate in the less glamorous food scene than what we have today. My wife, Jackson and I wanted to open a bottle shop in SE Portland and lucked into this space. 

Three years doesn’t seem like a long time, but so much has changed on Foster in that span. What first attracted you to the neighborhood, and how have you seen it change (for better or for worse)?


Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 7.10.21 AMJ- We got to Foster at the right time. It was underserved for our concept. That, plus the space nailed it with the best view on the street. Noticed small changes, but all positive, like such new businesses as SMART Collective, Henry Higgins, the Green Noise/Nayar area. Whoa, don’t want to forget about Foster Buds, too!

D-  Yeah, we only found this space after I had my broker search for spaces that were previously coffee shops. Bad for Guano, but platinum for us. I mostly notice new people coming into our shop, and it has increased every year. A lot of change and business-turnover ahead, with street remodel coming soon. Going to be a sought-after neighborhood in the next two years, no doubt. 

Foster has more than its fair share of places to drink. But there’s a surprising lack of redundancy because each has its own niche (i.e. somewhere for the bikers, the family, those looking for live music or a place to watch the Blazers, etc). Combined, they’ve given the neighborhood a pretty active evening/social/street scene. NWIPA plays no small role in that, and since you opened more than three years ago, folks now have a place to savor over quality beers and ciders they might not find elsewhere on Foster (plus a place to sit outside and watch the madness unfold). Is there a certain vibe you initially set out to create, or have you let it evolve into what it is?
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Happy Weekend, Foster People!

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 8.47.42 AM.pngUm, so, climate change. Kinda scary, yeah? The flip side is this: 60+ degrees in early February. I know we’ll regret the excitement when summer burns the hell out of us and Mt. Hood has no snow-melt to keep our rivers flowing. But in the meantime, enjoy the weekend to come; it starts out mostly dry and in the 50’s, but creeps up to the low-60s by Sunday and beyond. Yikes!


Here are your weekend tidbits…

– The Mt. Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Association got a visit from PBOT at their meeting last week, and they provided an update on the Foster Streetscape Plan’s status. Nothing major at this point, but they expect to hit the 30% design-completion benchmark at the beginning of March; design work is anticipated to be 60% complete by July. When PBOT does hit the 60% mark, an open house will show off early design and plan work. Stay tuned.

– In slightly (I mean super) maddening news, there’s a cloud of arsenic and cadmium raining down on parts of SE Portland, causing concerns for increased risk of health issues. The Portland Mercury broke the story earlier in the week, and it appears like the culprit of the toxic, heavy-metal-laden air may be a glass manufacturer operating near SE 21st and Powell. Tests have identified poor air quality in the surrounding neighborhood, specifically at two area schools—Cleveland and Winterhaven—but the extent of the pollution’s reach is not yet known. Ugh!

– Ok, so if you want to drink away that depressing bit of news, NWIPA is probably your place over the next few weeks (though, we might point out that you can throw a stone in any direction on Foster to find a place to drink). At our bottle shop, though, we have the following:
Saturday, Feb 6Willamette Week’s Great Portland IPA Challenge
Burger Mondays with the following guest burger-makers- Xico (Feb 8), Woodsman Tavern (Feb 15), Southpark (Feb 22), and Kim Jong Grillin (Feb 29). Check with NWIPA to make sure there’s still availability, as the number of burgers served is limited.
Saturday, Feb 13- Stealth Pop-up #3 (we’re talking gourmet food on Foster here, folks)
Saturday, Feb 20- Block 15 Bourbon Month
Saturday Feb 27- Third Annual Triple IPA Fest (with guest appearances by Chicken & Guns and Bunk Sandwiches)

– First Friday at Darling Press—get your art, music, wine, and good vibes on tonight at Foster Row’s Darling Press Studio. Good for these guys promoting the art scene on Foster. It’s emerging, for sure, so support it when you can. More info here.

– Might we suggest you do some shopping at Backstory Books, Latchkey Gallery, Velvet Goldmine, Green Noise Records, SMART Collective and I Heart Retro this weekend? And there’s plenty more, too. Fortune cookies, taxidermy, pot, DIY beer-making supplies, magnets and bumper stickers, pottery, custom-made cards…and the list goes on.

Here’s your upcoming Foster entertainment:
Y Arts Little Theater- Ethyl’s Pies: a comedy of deceit in two acts, Fri – Sun at 7:30 pm
Starday Tavern- A Soul-filled Journey Through Time (r&b, neo-soul, hip-hop, trip-hop, and house music), tonight (Friday) at 9pm
Backstory Books-Story Time (for kids 5 and under), Saturday at 10:30 am
Portland Mercado– Music Mondays, Ariel Cook performs at Barrio starting at 7:30 pm
World Famous Cannabis Cafe- DJ Brain Food, Friday at 8pm; Todd Armstrong Comedy Hour, Saturday at 7pm; Kelsey and the Next Right Thing, Saturday at 8pm

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Seen in FoPo

No words. Kinda wonderful nonetheless….

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A Sign of Change to Come

We’re not quite sure what’s a bigger sign of our changing neighborhood—

$450k infill housing, in which old Foster-Powell is juxtaposed with the new…
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OR…

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Groupon

…Da’ Hui reaching to the masses with a Groupon ad.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not blasting change—only commenting on it. We can’t afford the $450k house, but kudos to you if you can. As for Da’ Hui—we always dig us some Da’ Hui—they deserve more love, and their food is probably better than you’d expect. But it’s the stiff drinks and “this is Foster, don’t come in here with your pretentious bullshit” vibe that really makes it what it is (the Groupon crowd is not how I picture them). But more business is more business and, like we said, they deserve the extra love. Might we suggest the Spam Musubi as an appetizer?

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