The Holidays came and went, and now we’re in a new year. As we flip the page on 2015, let’s look at what’s new and what to look forward to in 2016.
RIP SofTipper Darts- The 30+ year-old business is no more, and the space they’ve long occupied at the corner of SE 64th and Foster is nearly empty. We’re not sure what came first, the decision to call it quits OR the rise in rent. But either way, NWIPA will have a new neighbor probably sooner than later. Word is it’ll be a market of some sort, but that’s only rumor. As for the rent, one Yelp reviewer says it will be more than double what SofTipper was paying; according to Loopnet, the lease is negotiable. With its prime location in the “Heart of Foster,” as well as the cool brick architecture, we’ll assume rent won’t be cheap. But it shouldn’t stop you from inquiring if you have a cool business you want to locate on Foster.
Heads High no more- Sorta. A few of the barbers at Heads High Barbershop (6006 SE Foster) have left and started a new operation on Woodstock (SE Barber Co. at 5528 SE Woodstock). We’re not sure what that means for the space on Foster, but with a sizable defection, along with the other recent turnover on that block, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more changes for that commercial strip. Bummer, too, because we got accustomed to the boys playing dominoes on the sidewalk in between stylings.
Affordable housing, mixed-use development on the way- As we discussed a few weeks ago, the vacant lot at SE 72nd and Foster could soon be home to a new mixed-use development with a combination of ground-floor commercial space and dozens of affordable housing units above. ROSE CDC has eyes on the lot, and they have a proposal in place to add as many as 60-65 units of housing in the lot, which would combine with the Portland Mercado to completely transform that section of Foster. The City is making that lot available for development as part of its attempt to stem the rental crisis and affordable housing shortage city-wide. The application deadline for that lot, as well as funding availability for specific affordable housing projects, is January 11. We should know in the next few months who will get the right to develop the lot, but we can most likely expect a mix of commercial space and affordable housing on multiple floors.
And on the topic of new housing development on Foster, 2016 could also make clearer the plans for a rebuild of the Y-Arts Center, which would include the addition of 58 units of housing at 6036 SE Foster.
Foster Streetscape maybe just a year away from construction- And while we’re talking about transformative changes…it was revealed a couple months ago that the Foster Streetscape Plan is possibly within a year of construction. PBOT project manager, Rich Newlands, shared the current timeline for the project to the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association in November. And while nothing was definitive, it was made clear that the project is more than just an idea; surveying has been done, design is in progress, and February should mark the 30% design-completion point. And thanks to a keen @FuckingFoster Tweeter, more details have been provided (to the left). According to the stated timeline, 2016 could be the year this project comes ever closer to reality—construction to start late-2016/early-2017.
More music, more art- Latchkey Gallery and BenWill Studio both set up shop in the ‘hood in 2015. Both sell art. Backstory Books, too, will be selling a select amount of local art in addition to their used books and yarn. This is all in addition to NWIPA, Pieper Cafe, O’Malley’s, and Bar Carlo having art adorning their walls (and for sale). Expect the art scene to emerge even more in 2016. The same goes for music. Foster has already had a fairly strong live music scene, and even though we lost a potential venue in the Bob White Theater, we saw Starday Tavern and SMART Collective really push live music in the last several months…and with a diverse offering, too. They join O’Malley’s, who have always hosted punk and metal bands, and Double Treble, who do their rock-n-roll thing across the street. And with Hallowed Halls recording studio up and running in the Wikman Building, expect more shows there, too. (Next event is in February, with an all-ages show dubbed CHILLFEST.) Green Noise Records puts on the occasional in-store performance, as well.
Rad community- We expect to see more of the same from our local activists, artists, late-night partiers, early morning gardeners and dog-walkers, professionals and blue-collars, small business owners, cheapskates and new monied, new parents and the elderly, kids of all ages and those finding their first apartment or room to rent, tweakers and neighborhood watchmen. They all subtly and not so subtly make us who we are. And it should only get better in 2016.
Oh, and speaking of rad community, a recent article by Thrillist did not go unnoticed when they name-dropped several neighborhood spots as evidence for Foster’s emergence as one of ‘12 Neighborhoods Across America Ready to Blow Up.’ Places like O’Malley’s, Devil’s Point, NWIPA, Foster Burger, An Xuyen, Road Runner BBQ, and Portland Mercado were hyped. We joined the likes of South Bronx and South Tacoma (go figure) as one of the “next big neighborhoods.” Only thing is they were writing about Lents. Props to Lents for getting some name-recognition, as well as hype for Zoiglhaus and New Copper Penny. But mucho kudos should also go to Foster-Powell and Mt. Scott-Arleta for really putting it down. That’s your neighborhood, folks! (Even if Thrillist didn’t do their homework.) Happy 2016.