Red Castle Renovation Continues, Foster Gets More Sexy

IMG_4435Ok, sure, you may have to squint a little. You may even have to ask what it all looked like before. I assure you, though, Foster is looking a lot better these days.

Yes, there are vacant building galore. Perhaps, even, there are a few questionable businesses that may or may not occupy the other seemingly-vacant buildings. Some are in disrepair, some should be torn down altogether, some just need a little love. But others—others, I say—are getting sexified; prettied; dolled up, if you will.

IMG_4438And these buildings, even if just one paint coat at a time, are making their mark. And someone should be applauded for the effort.

Let us first look at the Red Castle Empire, with game store on one end and its soon-to-be late night, caffeine and panini fueling station for its gamers (and non-gamers, too) next door. The building’s owner is now knee-deep in a full-on renovation that first stripped the hideous green awning a couple months ago; has since added windows to compliment the original and newly exposed ones on the corner; and is now restoring the original brick that revealed itself after the awning came down. After the building gets its final polishing in the weeks to come, the only thing left will be to fill the vacant corner space.

IMG_1321If you walk a couple blocks east, you’ll stumble across an O’Malley’s that is like its twin version, but with cleaner skin, fancier clothes, and some fresh new kicks. But the clothes, skin, and shoes are really new windows, a paint job and even a raised garden bed on the sidewalk.

Back west, now, Green Noise Records has set up shop in what used to be a commercial space that sagged, slanted, and probably would have fallen over in the current three-day arctic wind blast. Fortunately, someone came along, fixed up the space, and said, “Hey, Green Noise, how about a space to call your own since the landlords on Gladstone jacked up your rent.” And voila: storefront improvement and new business in the hood. Ditto with its neighbors, Nayar IMG_4353Taqueria and Renaissance Guitars. The spaces look improved and real businesses occupy them (sorry, Ma Tona’s didn’t count).

Back to Red Castle, though. Once the renovation of that building is complete, the only thing left will be to find a tenant for the lone, vacant retail space that’s left. Surely it’ll be an easier sell with a spruced up building and thriving businesses neighboring it, and perhaps now (soon) will end the rotating door of in-and-out businesses in that commercial strip. You know, since we’re getting all sexy and stuff.

IMG_4325One side note: it’s worth mentioning, too, that there’s a grassroots effort to improve the visual appeal of some of the less-than-cared-for buildings on Foster, as well. (You know who/where they are.) The Foster Window Project aims to add a little more vibrancy to the corridor, engage some of the absentee property owners, and raise the profile of our commercial strip through a series of art installations. You can find more on that here.

So as the visual appeal of our commercial spaces improve, what should fill them? Surely Foster needs a grocer, but that’s out of our hands and it certainly wouldn’t happen in a small retail space. So aside from grocery store, what would you all like to see on Foster? What would serve the needs of the community, what would be supported and thrive?

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Get Down with the Get Down, Raise Money for Arleta School

Bar Carlo Dine Out Night

This isn’t some bake sale to raise money for the PTA. We’re talking food, drink, music, live entertainment, and good times. Oh, and some local fundraising, too.

Bar Carlo continues its series of community-minded jam sessions this Friday, November 14, with a blend of live music, customary good food and drink specials in an event aimed at raising money for the Arleta PTA.

Ok, you got us—this is a PTA fundraiser. But, come on? Food, drink, and live music. And you can bring the whole family. So parents, this your rare chance to get out on a Friday night. Everyone else, support the cause.

Live music by Sonasi, who perform “a mixture of Latin American music, utilizing folkloric and modern rhythms and instruments from Cuba, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and more.” 

* 6-10 p.m., food and drink specials, 50/50 raffle, portion of evening proceeds go to Arleta PTA

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Get Your Cinema On

Ok, well, not cinema. At least not cinema in the “classically produced, poetically directed, let’s talk movies and snob-out” kinda cinema. I’m talking “catch a flick, eat some popcorn, get a good chuckle, solid entertainment” kinda cinema.

How could you not go to a movie here?

How could you not go to a movie here?

And it’s happening at your local theater. Yeah, your local theater. Don’t forget you have a local theater, y’all.

In general, we’re putting our shameless cheerleading for local businesses on hold for a while until we get paid, so consider this more of a wakeup call: You have a neighborhood theater! If you want it to stick around, you have to support it.

On tap for this week: Wayne’s World (Tuesday), Transformers (also Tuesday), Sci-Fi Double Feature with Last Man on Earth and End of the World (Wednesday), Airplane! (yeah, freaking Airplane!—Thursday), and the gloriously shitty (in a good way) classic, The Room (Friday).
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Happy Weekend, Foster People!

We hope you all had a grand Halloween. Now we have our sights on Thanksgiving. (Unless you’re a department store, and you’re completely honed in on Christmas.) Bear with us as we do the obligatory “what are you thankful for” and “best of 2014″ posts.

Here are your weekend tidbits…

- I guess we’ll just get right to it. As we inch closer to Thanksgiving, it might be fun to share what the Foster area makes us (and you) thankful for. We’ll start: we’re thankful for the handful of rad business owners that have taken a chance on the rough-around-the-edges-but-ripe-with-potential thoroughfare. Now you go…

- Now that pot’s legal, we figure we’d share the Willamette Week’s review of a newish dispensary on Foster: Shango. And of course, we all now know that Smokey’s is a dispensary-to-be, too. Ahead of the game, we are, huh?

- Did anybody see Rusted Root last weekend at The Bobwhite?

- Despite what you’ve heard, crime is down in the neighborhood. Or at least that’s what crime stats say when comparing this year to last. Why do we share this? It seems like the common perception is that crime is up in the neighborhood, which tends to make folks more unsettled and less at ease in their neighborhood. Yes, we still deal with asshole bike thieves and meth heads who scour the ‘hood, but less than we have in the past. Be cautious—even be vigilant—but let’s not do the fear mongering thing.

- If you’ve got local news to share, feel free to let us know. Just shoot us an email at

- Live music and other happenings in the ‘hood.
Torta- Steve Cheseborough, Friday; Rogue Bluegrass Band, Saturday
Starday Tavern- Stoneface Honey, Friday; Pretty Gritty, Saturday
Gemini- ABC DJs Ashby Scaggs, Brian Todd and Cee White, Saturday
Bobwhite Theatre- Rock Night, Friday: Heavy Metal (at 6pm) and Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (8pm)
Bar Maven- Gilgamesh Brewery Tap Takeover, Friday at 7
NWIPA- Fun Italian Wines, Saturday (4-6); Bruery Tasting, Monday (6-9)

Have a good weekend, all. Be cool, be safe.

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Seen in FoPo

One of the joys of neighborhood alleyways: It’s expressive and subtly artistic, with a mix of off-the-beaten-path, urban decay.

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Civic Opportunities

There are two events this week sure to excite the most civic-minded of you. One will address the needs of 82nd Avenue and the efforts to improve it. The other will present concepts for re-zoning and planning the future of our commercial corridors in the city.

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With expected population growth, a new comprehensive plan coming, and an emphasis on smart and sustainable planning, the Mixed Use Zones Project is the city’s attempt to make our commercial corridors ready for these changes to come, as well as make our neighborhoods more livable. If you’re not quite sure how this applies, remember that our neighborhood is bordered by two busy commercial corridors. The next workshops are November 5 and 6, from 6 – 9 pm. Check the above link for more details.
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In regards to one of our commercial corridors, in particular, 82nd Avenue is a beast unto itself. It crosses a large swath of the city, touches several neighborhoods, and is currently under the jurisdiction of the state—not the city of Portland. The latter fact is what poses a particular problem for folks interested in improving the busy thoroughfare. But there’s potential on 82nd, along with a growing effort to realize that potential. Join the 82nd Avenue Improvement Coalition, as well as tranpsortation planners and representatives from the state, to hear about the needs of 82nd, how they’re being conceptualized, and what options there are to help improve it. The Town Hall meeting will take place on November 6, from 6:30 – 8 pm, at the PCC Southeast campus.

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