Meet Your Neighbors: Foster Row

It’s been a while since our last “Foster Folk” installment. But it’s something we enjoy, so we thought we’d bring it back. With this feature, we were able to meet the owners of Foster Row, a collective of artists, crafters and makers who’ve combined to transform the former Hubbard’s Drapery building (5300 SE Foster) into a communal art/business space. In the year that the after storefront 2owners, Mark and Jen, have put their vision to reality, they’ve attracted and now house a dozen different businesses, each with their own creative touch. There are leather-makers and letter-pressers, potters and graphic designers—all artists, all makers, all creating Foster Row. This feature helps us get to know them a little more, while also marking their one year anniversary. And to celebrate their one year anniversary, as well as to usher in one of Foster Row’s newest tenants—Wolf and Rabbit Emporium—join them this Saturday for an evening of dance, music, food, art, libations, and an inside look at their creation. ****************************************************************************** Who are you and what does Foster Row offer?
“We are Mark Pendergrass and Jen Erickson. Mark is a contractor who specializes in finish carpentry and furniture. Jen is a textile weaver who specializes in custom fabrics. Foster Row offers charming studios for creative small businesses. We have a communal kitchen and dining area that serves as a space for us to socialize with each other. Before and After StorefrontEveryone in the building has the opportunity to sell their work in the retail storefront and promote their business through our website,”

How did you settle on Foster and the former drapery building?
“After touring buildings for months, we knew right away when we found this space that it was the one. It didn’t have that “warehouse feel” we were seeing in a lot of the buildings—it felt much more comfortable. It’s a self-contained building with windows all around and lets in a lot of sunlight—perfect for working long hours in the studio. In 2013, we read about the Portland Mercado moving into the neighborhood, as well as the PDC’s plans for revitalizing Foster. We felt that Foster Road has a lot of potential and we wanted to be a part of the positive change in the neighborhood.”

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your first year?
“When we moved in January 2014, we had our work cut out for us. There wasn’t a single space that was ready to be used. We’ve spent the past year putting in a lot of time and labor creating studios that we feel proud of renting to businesses. There were very few interior doors or walls, and everything was covered in carpet- including the bathrooms and some walls. There were eight-foot fluorescent light fixtures throughout the entire building that flickered and buzzed. People would break into our side alley on a regular Before and After Kitchenbusiness, and we quickly found that this was a well-known spot for urination and drug use. There were many challenges along the way and we were lucky to have great tenants that put up with a lot while we were fixing up the spaces.”

As of now, who are the businesses at Foster Row?
Mark Pendergrass Terranova Handwovens Darling Press Wolf & Rabbit Emporium Mingei Branch Cory Medina Kello FOSTER_ROW_VDAY_2COLOR_WEB

What are your neighborhood haunts when you’re not working?
“We are big fans of Nayar Taqueria, Slingshot, Gemini Lounge, Midpoint Cafe, and Speedboat.”

What can we look forward to at Foster Row in 2015 and beyond?
“This summer, we plan to work with the PDC for a storefront improvement grant. In the near future we will be installing bike racks in the front, and possibly adding a mural or two.  We are having an open studio event this Valentine’s Day and would like to continue having events open to the public twice per year.”
Thanks to Mark and Jen for the tour and taking the time to introduce themselves. If you haven’t checked them out yet, it’s worth your while. And don’t forget: big party this Saturday.

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3 Responses to Meet Your Neighbors: Foster Row

  1. Aaron says:

    Wow, nice website, Foster Row. That introductory video is superb!

  2. amy says:

    I walk by there everyday and love the building. Now I’ll have to stop in.

  3. Pingback: Happy Weekend, Foster People! | Foster-Powell. A neighborhood blog.

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