Inspiration at Afrique Bistro

Afrique Bistro Entrance

On a Friday night not too long ago my wife and I were once again looking for a place to go for dinner.  It has kind of become a weekly tradition to visit one our fabulous neighborhood spots each and every Friday.  After short a discussion with friends we decided to show them Afrique Bistro.

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The Story of the Neighborhood Owl

Hornblower AKA, Muhammad Owli

The owl turned up on Tillamook Street right before Thanksgiving.

My wife, Shara, noticed some crows having a fit about something in an old birch tree in our yard on a Monday morning. To her surprise, there appeared to be a Great Horned Owl sitting on a branch 30 feet up. She told my cousin, Liz, an avid birder who lives behind us on Thompson Street. We pulled out the binoculars. We gawked. We pointed it out to passersby, including a troupe of children from a nearby pre-school. It wasn’t just the crows who were upset. A pair of hummingbirds that live in our yard buzzed the owl repeatedly. But the owl — he? she? — barely flinched. At one point, it moved its neck suddenly and — I swear — a crow that was squawking at it jumped. We saw the owl’s talons through the binoculars. They looked sharp and powerful. We figured a predator like that isn’t easily perturbed. I called the Portland Audubon Society. They were impressed. They said Great Horned Owls are rarely seen in the city. Shara and I continued to tell everyone we could find. The owl was still in the birch tree at dusk when our daughters got home from school, so they got a chance to see it. Liz had the great fortune of seeing the great bird fly off before the sun completely set.

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New Graham Street Lofts Neighbors

Graham Street Lofts

Have you noticed the relatively new pumpkin orange building on the corner of MLK Jr. and Graham St?  It’s the one I use to describe to my friends how to get to my house.  You can’t miss it!  It’s called Graham Street Lofts. It was built to create superior housing using revolutionary European construction designed to be comfortable and energy efficient.  The ground floor of the 4-story building contains mixed-use units which have recently been filled.

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A Review of Jumptown

When most people think of jazz, Portland, Oregon, is not the first place that comes to mind.  And yet, for a golden decade following World War II, the Eliot neighborhood, a thriving African American neighborhood that would soon be bulldozed for urban renewal, spawned a jazz heyday.  Such luminaries as: Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzie Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, and local talent; Wardell Gray and Doc Severinsen headlined Portland clubs.  The fact that Portland was a port city with a busy railroad, and had a bustling shipbuilding industry, made it ripe to become a jazz Mecca.  Jumptown, by Robert Dietsche is a fascinating blend of music, politics, and social history.

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The White Eagle Saloon

White Eagle Saloon

A Building Full of Colorful History & Stories

Our neighborhood is so fortunate to have buildings that have survived for nearly a century or more.  Every building has seen much use from many people over the years and has many stories to tell as well.  The White Eagle Saloon & Café at 836 N Russell Street is a great example of a simple building known for its colorful past.  The White Eagle, as it is now known as, has not only serviced many different people from different walks of life, but also is full of stories of events passed through several generations.  In 95 years of existence, the building has served the same function as a saloon, tavern, or pub.  Perhaps the walls are trying to talk as mysteries still shroud this building and reports of haunting by ghosts continue.

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The Future of Eliot

The next couple of years will see new plans and projects proposed that will affect the future of Eliot.  There are outside interests driving these that do not necessarily have Eliot’s interests at heart.  It is important for us, as residents, to make our interests known.  Both the Eliot Land Use Committee and the Board are here to do that and, in some cases, we are already preparing, but we need to be sure we are accurately representing the neighborhood, so participating in neighborhood meetings is critical.

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