Meet Your Neighbors: Knuckleheads

Jenn & Franco


Who are you?
Jenn’s the boss n Franco is the head dishwasher at the club. We’re a blues oriented, biker friendly, bar dedicated to bringing quality music back to the people at a neighborhood level without financial considerations. We believe that with good music, one should enjoy good food and Jenn makes the best food around!! (ok, I may be bias- F-) Further, we feel that good music & good food brings good people, which is our catch-phrase: “GOOD MUSIC, GOOD FOOD, GOOD PEOPLE”. Many of our patrons ride motorcycles, as do we, and while the public at large may feel intimidated seeing all the bikes as they walk or drive by, once through our threshold they quickly feel at home. We’re proud to share a positive, none-aggressive, homelike, family atmosphere with all our clients.

What do you do?
We enjoy our music, help the public as we can, including hiring the homeless to assist cleaning and providing benefits for those in need and an ear for those alone.

What brought you and/or your business to the Foster-Powell Community?
A need for a music venue in the SE.

What is your inspiration? (Why do you do what you do?)
Continue watching the daily pressures lifted from the shoulders of our patrons, if just for a little while, as they relax and enjoy

2 Ways to unite the Fine Folks of FosterWhat is your favorite way to enjoy Foster?
Music and good food.

How do you envision the future of Foster?
We see our little corner of the world changing each day as we see people come together as new found friends.

Some top fives to appease the list lovers

Your Top Five Songs to get you through life?

Your Top Five Haunts in Portland
We dont really get out much, but Duffs Garage for music, Mama Marias occasionally, McMenamins for overall atmosphere, Petes Lair for mutual atmosphere and Jimi Macks for their great concept of sharing music with the under 21 crowd!! Cant forget Dantes downtown for the “city”feel.

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19 Responses to Meet Your Neighbors: Knuckleheads

  1. DG says:

    I appreciate that Knuckleheads is a grass-roots business whose aim is to bring people and music together, and I think it’s great they are hiring folks who really need work. I’d appreciate them a lot more if they could remind their patrons to be courteous about not opening up their motors on Foster Rd as they come and go. I live a couple blocks away and the noise this summer and fall has been overwhelming and frustrating, late into the night. Thanks in advance for your continued efforts to keep it neighborly, Knuckleheads.

  2. Aaron says:

    In absolute agreement with DG. KH, please be conscious of the DBs.

  3. Shawn says:

    Your motorcycle riders are very loud and that fact is rude to our neighbourhood. Remember this is a quiet neighbourhood, not a noisy raceway.

    • I’m sorry you’ve found the motorcycles to be disturbing. Unfortunately, because we are sandwiched between Foster Road and Powell Blvd, I doubt we’ll ever be a quiet neighborhood, and we’ll always be subject to traffic noise. The owner of Knuckleheads has been coming to the Neighborhood Association meetings, and appears open to community feedback and neighbors’ concerns. Please feel free to come share those concerns, or even speak to the owner directly.

  4. Shawn says:

    Being able to hear Knuckleheads patrons revving up, or racing their motorcycles, 2 blocks off of Foster road (In what WAS, a quiet area at night) AND waking up my family with two small children from midnight to 2am, three to four nights a week. This does show a lack of respect for the Foster Powell neighbourhood. They have been coming to the NA meetings? Well, they just woke my family up again, a few nights ago for the umpteenth time. Their motorcycle noise is loud, especially since my family lives two blocks off of Foster Road. I have had a good neighbour move away from Foster/Powell because of this motorcycle noise.

  5. DG says:

    I’ve lived here more than 8 years and the regular traffic noise of Foster was never a problem; the motorcycles coming and going from Knuckleheads are much, MUCH louder than the rest of the traffic and they go late into the night, with sudden surges of noise that really stand out, every few minutes. They have woken me up too, and I’m a sound sleeper. And this was during winter, when my windows are closed; last summer, when my windows were open, it was awful, and it looks on track to be the same this year so that I almost dread the good weather. It’s really changed my quality of life in this neighborhood.

    The Knuckleheads website itself does not have an email contact so I was hoping they’d follow, and perhaps respond to, the conversation here. I am unable to come to the Neighborhood Association meetings because of work; may I submit my concerns another way?

    • DG, thanks for your response. You and Shawn have similar complaints, and it’s an unfortunate situation. We try to advocate for our local businesses as much as possible, especially since they sometimes feel few and far between. With that being said, we like to give them the benefit of the doubt, so I’d like to think they’d be responsive to your complaints. However, I don’t know for sure, so if that doesn’t work, you can always explore the city’s Noise Control Program, which addresses public nuisance noise…including that from motor vehicles.

      Again, I’d first suggest contacting Knuckleheads directly to give them a chance to respond. The Neighborhood Association would be the next step, too, but it sounds like that would be difficult for you. Good luck, and please keep us posted.

  6. Shawn says:

    You wrote “With that being said, we like to give them the benefit of the doubt”.

    Looks like they have been warned by the city about their motorcycle noise, as recently as Jan 11, 2012 according to Seems like since the noise issue is still going on two month later, that they have chosen to ignore this.

    There are actually three complaints from home-owners posted here, not two. Plus, I have several other neighbours who are very upset about this noise issue too.

    • Shawn, I’d like to reiterate our sympathies for the noise you have to endure. I’m also glad you feel FosterPowellPdx is a place you can share your concerns. However, we don’t represent Knuckleheads, so I hope you’ll be able to use the suggestions I’ve offered above. Again, please let us know how/if this gets resolved.

  7. Jess says:

    Shawn, we feel your pain. Sorry to use your forum as a place to vent, FoPoPDX, as obviously you don’t represent Knuckleheads. We have been here since 2005. Since Knuckleheads opened the noise pollution in our neighborhood has easily quadrupled. The bikers all have illegally modified pipes on their bikes. The sound of them coming and going from the club is deafening. The amount of noise the straight pipes and other illegal pipes make is incredible, it is the loudest thing going down Foster, and that includes sirens. They seem to enjoy long periods of sitting and revving the engines, sometimes right in front of the bar, and sometimes at the red light right next to it. In addition, we have noticed bikers rev their engines while simply riding past. Sometimes our windows literally rattle in their frames. The nicer the weather and the more we want to enjoy gardening and working on our yard, the more obnoxious and frequent the sound of the bikes becomes. With the tiny glimmers of nice weather we’ve been having, the noise has immediately gotten worse. Nuisance complaints don’t seem to help. I believe the only hope we have is lobbying the city to pass EPA stamp enforcement. That would allow cops to write expensive tickets for illegally modified bikes, which I would hope would make bikers want to call less attention to them. As for approaching Knuckleheads directly, I don’t intend to try to reason with people who deliberately and illegally modify their bikes to make as much noise as possible, and pretend it isn’t a problem for the residents nearby. In our house, with the doors and windows closed, we sometimes have to stop and wait for the bikers to finally take off before we can hear each other again. Might I add we are completely ok with regular traffic noise, noise from a bar or a band on the weekend, and we have been guilty of noisy parties ourselves. The illegally modified pipes are a whole different level of noise pollution.

    Thanks for letting me post this, FoPoPDX. We really appreciate your great blog.

    • No sweat at all, Jess. We welcome and love all interaction on this site. It’s just more evidence that we have a dedicated and active citizenry in FoPo.

      Another thought crossed my mind. Perhaps looking into OLCC regulations could be worth your while. In any event, I hope a middle ground will be found…and you don’t have to endure more window-rattling.


  8. Shawn says:

    I thought the neighbourhood association was there to help us out with situations like this? I don’t mean to sound rude, but isn’t Foster/Powell NA suppose to help with neighbourhood liveability problems?

    This is a clear noise pollution issue. This being Portland, if this was any other form of pollution it would be dealt with immediately. The bikes are as loud as a plane passing closely overhead. Jess cannot even talk inside his house with the windows closed, and people are being woken up and disturbed at all hours. Is this not a issue that the NA could at least address?

    People are obviously scared to talk to Knuckleheads one on one about the noise. Would our Foster/Powell NA at least address this at your next meeting?

    • Shawn, your anger sounds warranted, but it is being misdirected. FosterPowellPdx is not the Foster Powell Neighborhood Association. We serve as a source for news, goings on, events, and general info in and around FoPo. I am sympathetic to your concerns, but there are avenues for you to pursue in regards to addressing this issue.

      I’ve offered a couple suggestions already, and would like to hear someday that you and your neighbors have found resolution. If you’d like to bring the issue to the NA, they certainly welcome such concerns. Also, there is usually a cop present who may be able to advise you more. If you can’t make a meeting, you can contact any of the board members and recommend a specific issue be discussed. However, if this issue is important to you, it would make sense for you to show up and represent yourself in some capacity. Here is a link with contact info for the NA board:

  9. DG says:

    Hi all,
    FosterPowellPDX, thanks for clarifying that you don’t represent the neighborhood association(s). And thanks for your even-handed discussion facilitation. Everybody else, thanks for chiming in. It’s affirming to see we all have concerns and I think it’s worth trying to get together to do something about them. A neighborhood meeting would be the logical place for us at least to meet up and consult with the neighborhood cop.

    I’ve submitted a number of noise complaints to the city’s Noise Control program, which you can do here: (The address of Knuckleheads is 6219 SE Foster Rd.)

    I’ve also spoken with Paul Van Nordin, the Noise Control Officer for this area (at least in Sept 2011), and his number is 503-823-5829. He says Jess is right that the modified bikes almost certainly exceed legal noise limits (and totally exceed the limits of common courtesy), but the logistics of holding specific bikers accountable are daunting. He encourages people to keep submitting complaints so they can document our concerns and levy fines. He also suggests we speak to all candidates running for office about our urban-core quality-of-life concerns. In the current economy, non-urgent issues such as this are woefully underfunded but we can try to let folks with clout know they matter.

    I have just begun filling out a Citizen Complaint Log to document the noise violation. I got this from Code Specialist Michael Rick at the Bureau of Development Services. His email is and their phone number is 503-823-3039. Their website is (Noise Control is a link on the left).

    Foster-Powell Neighborhood Ass’n meetings are held (according to the website the second Monday of every month (except August). The next one would be April 9.

    Foster Rd also borders the Mt Scott-Arleta Neighborhood Ass’n ( Their website,, says their monthly meetings are the first Wed. of the month at 6:30, Mt. Scott Community Center. The next one would be April 4. I will try to attend this meeting and I invite y’all to join me.

    (The Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood covers Foster as far east as 59th, so they might be interested also, although Knuckleheads doesn’t fall quite within their official boundary

    Maybe I’ll meet some of you on April 4 (or if you can, try the FoPo meeting on April 9). Bring your neighbors!
    – DG

  10. DG, we’re impressed with the efforts you’ve taken to tackle this issue. This is definitely a good starting point for folks looking to organize around this cause. Thanks, too, for sharing on our site, as it increasingly becomes more of a resource for folks in our community.

    Please feel free to keep the conversation going here, as it appears many people need a place to swap ideas, concerns, vent, etc.

  11. Jess says:

    FoPoPDX, thanks again. Your responses are really thoughtful, helpful, and diplomatic.

    DG, thanks for taking the time to detail all of that! Your last comment is a great resource. Your approach is very organized and level headed and it’s really heartening to see. I did fill out an online noise complaint form just the other day. I would like to find out more about who best to write to and petition in Portland on matters like this. I also hope we’ll all get to meet; we will make every effort to go to the Mt. Scot meeting on the 4th and perhaps we’ll be able to make it to the FoPo on on the 9th too. It’s been really encouraging to see all of these comments.

  12. DG says:

    Hi folks,
    Just fyi, the OLCC is accepting neighborhood feedback about any liquor-licensed establishment south of Burnside (license renewals are coming up). They need to hear your feedback before MAY 15.

    Here is the announcement:

    The person to contact is Theresa Marchetti, City of Portland Liquor License Specialist, at 503-823-3092 or

    I wrote her for info, and she said, “Please send a detailed account of your specific concerns to me in writing. Encourage any other neighbors with similar concerns to do so as well.”


  13. DG says:

    By the way, a friend and I also went and had an interesting conversation with the owners of Knuckleheads, who gave us a friendly reception and listened with concern to our comments about noise. They even brainstormed solutions with us, but unfortunately we couldn’t find a way to resolve the concerns, although we did come up with the idea of asking 7-11 if they’d plant some trees along Foster as a possible sound barrier. Maybe there is some city agency that helps advise about noise pollution issues?

    [Also, moderator, would you kindly change my handle back to DG, above? I forgot to. Thanks!]

  14. Pingback: Red Castle Endures Five Years of FoPoPDX Crush | Foster-Powell. A neighborhood blog.

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