Throwback Thursday

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The shuttered car dealership and neighboring vacant lots  before the Mercado brought food and goods, people, color and vibrancy to SE 72nd and Foster.


My, how things have changed. Nearly four years ago we commented on two articles published by Steve Beaven of the Oregonian. In separate pieces, Beaven discussed two exciting developments along Foster Road: one, the City’s desire to develop vacant lots on SE 72nd; and, two, the purchase of the—at the time—long vacant Bob White Theatre.

Both were exciting prospects: one would bring life to a former car dealership turned drab, concrete lot; the other would give the neighborhood an events venue and one less vacant but historic building.

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When Nick Storie bought the Bob White in 2011, he hosted a community party to unveil architectural drawings of the interior, as well as to solicit feedback from the community for how they’d like to see the theater used. The energy that day was never matched by Mr. Storie, and he sold the theater earlier this year.


Little did we know at the time, one of the vacant lots on SE 72nd and Foster would become the Portland Mercado. And even when it was later learned what was planned for the lot, very few could have predicted  the success and vibrancy it would bring to that corner of the neighborhood. In regards to the Bob White, who would have guessed it would host mayoral candidates, internationally known bands, and play movies before going bust and being sold again…only to become storage space and the source of scorn for many in the neighborhood.

A lot has happened in just four short years. We’ve seen many other changes along the corridor in that time, too. And no doubt, many more are to come.

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