Beer, Tamales, and Coffee: A Perfect Recipe of Collaboration

By Sue Stringer

Creative collaboration is the name of
the game for Labrewatory and Tamale
Boy with the newest addition, Dawn
Patrol Coffee. Photo credit Rachel
Wilson

“This town is about collaboration,” says Thad Fisco, owner of Portland Kettle Works and Portland’s craft beer lab, Labrewatory. In 2015, Labrewatory opened in Lower Albina with Thad purchasing the building at 670 N Russell Street, a few blocks north of Interstate, and it has been the definition of collaboration in every sense of the word. Brewers from around the city come together to create beers which are creative and delicious. For the first couple of years, beer was the headliner at this storage facility turned brewery. That is changing now.

In 2011, Portland Kettle Works designed a new brew system and brewers immediately started placing orders. Craft beer, it turns out, was the one part of the economy that was doing well during the recession. Sales have continued and their brewing systems are now in over 250 breweries worldwide and going strong. Now Portland Kettle Works was off and running and they had a building to house equipment. Thad says that “we decided to open a brewery of our own because we were very active in putting breweries into business but hadn’t started our own yet and so we kind of looked at it as a challenge and a learning experience so we could be more informed about what we were selling to people. What an experience it has been!”

“Now we get to start doing some new things down here!” says Rachel Wilson, owner of Dawn Patrol Coffee and brewery manager. “At the beginning of the year, we added the coffee shop and extended our hours.” Dawn Patrol operates at Labrewatory in the morning hours from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. Tamale Boy started providing burritos in the morning starting at 8:30 am and beer can be sold any time of day. “We also have different beer and coffee cocktails and growlers to go,”

Rachel adds. Rachel has also taken on distribution selling kegs of Labrewatory’s beer to different restaurants and bars like Loyal Legion. Rachel continues, “We really started focusing on community events. We’re trying to bring in a different crowd of people and having the neighborhood have a place to meet. There are many different events and groups that meet at Labrewatory such as a moms club and the NoPo running club. There is even a $1 neighborhood discount for those customers who live or work in the neighborhood.”

“On Tuesdays, there is a new beer release. At 5:00 people come in and we’ll put a new beer on tap and Nick, our brewer, will take those (who have purchased a tour ticket) around and then they get their t-shirt. And there’s live music between 6 pm and 8 pm,” Rachel explains.

Labrewatory hosted a Smash festival celebrating the 100th brewed beer and tied in a nonprofit to work with, which was Special Olympics. In July they hosted a “Go Fund Me” for a friend of Rachel’s who had a climbing accident. On August 17th, there was an S’mores event, called Mighty Clementine, designed by a customer’s daughter, Clementine, who recently has recovered from an aneurysm. She chose the nonprofit, Randall Children’s Hospital Pediatric Development and Rehabilitation Fund, and also chose the flavors of the s’mores.

In addition, there are the classes that both Labrewatory and Tamale Boy offer. Classes are offered to all of the Portland Kettle Works clients. They get all of Labrewatory’s operating procedures for the front of the house, operating procedures for the brewery and get to see financial analysis. It gives the new brewery owners an idea on how to operate their business.

Jaime Soltero, Jr., owner of Tamale Boy, says, “Our philosophy is to always be training and always be evolving and getting people situated, getting their brains right and their work ethic right and let them go and explore themselves. We work with a couple of organizations that come and prep and train here so that they can get them back into the workforce. We have a person that actually went blind that used to work in the kitchen and we have gotten him back in the kitchen. That helps us also really think about what we’re doing and how we go about things. It’s a humbling experience for sure. That’s just one of the programs. We also support our community with gift certificates, fundraisers, and whatever we can do.”

The collaboration has been good for all three businesses. Thad says, “When Jaime came in with Tamale Boy our beer sales increased 30% when they opened their doors. That’s one thing we teach people. If you don’t have food you’re basically cutting yourself off at the knees. So you have to have some way to serve food and the better the food the better. So it’s been a great partnership.”

Jaime agrees, “It actually it worked out perfectly because at that time I was looking to expand to a commissary kitchen because where I started
off at Dekum (first location of Tamale Boy) it was super small and we were already saturated. Summers we were packed to the gills and we needed more space. Thad got wind of me and we got started and it’s the perfect marriage. We don’t have to worry about anything in the dining room.”

“It’s really interesting,” Thad says, “that’s the part of overhead that a restaurant hates, is the dining room, but that’s the part that we want – for people to hang out and drink beer. We tell a lot of clients if you can lease the kitchen out and keep the people in the dining area drinking beer as long as you can…”

“And coffee!” Rachel chimes in. “It IS the perfect marriage!”

Rachel says, “The fun thing is that with this space we can have all these people that want to have an event and Labrewatory can offer the beer, Tamale Boy supplies the food and then there is a different kind of profit without having to rent an event space so more of the proceeds can go to the business holding the event.”

With any business and especially with this unique collaboration there are going to challenges and surprises. Jaime says, “We’re always adjusting we’re learning together. Everybody’s strengths we pull in together and learn from each other.” Thad says, thinking about the challenges, the important thing is, “Keeping Rachel! Plus, without this (Labrewatory) I wouldn’t have been able to grow my business and without Jaime, I wouldn’t have had food to offer. We push the edge to find new revenue streams and are backed by Portland Kettle Works so we can take risk.”

Lastly, Rachel says, “It’s fun!” She is learning about the financial side of a business, managing skills, and is challenged to find new businesses with items that are needing distribution to offer at the taproom, as well as trying to scale cold brew coffee which will be on one of the taps at the brewery.

The classes that are offered by Thad and Jaime help pop-ups which in turn are helping our community become stronger and offer diverse food and beverages to all of the Portland metro. So if you have an inkling to start a brewery or restaurant, check in with this successful team on North Russell. Collaboration is the name of the game and to sum it up, referring to the old television sit-com, Jaime says, “We’re very tight here. We’re very three’s
company.”

For more information:

Labrewatory/Dawn Patrol Coffee

670 N Russell St
971-271-8151
http://www.labrewatory.com
Hours:
Monday –Thursday 7 am—10 pm
Friday 7 am—11 pm
Saturday 9 am—11 pm
Sunday 9 am– 9 pm

Tamale Boy

668 N Russell St
503-477-6706
http://www.tamaleboy.com
Hours
Monday –Thursday 11 am—9 pm
Friday –Saturday 11 am—10 pm
Sunday 11 am– 8 pm

“That’s No Lady!” It’s a Celebration of Darcelle

Our long time neighbor, Walter Cole, who is also the world’s longest performing drag queen know as Darcelle XV, is being honored two different ways this fall.

Triangle Productions is producing a musical called, “Darcelle: That’s No Lady” performed by Kevin Loomis (as seen at OSF, on Broadway, Frasier, and The Practice) at PSU’s Lincoln Hall through October 5. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at trianglepro.org.

Oregon Historical Society (OHS) has an exhibit of some of Darcelle’s costumes which Walter made and embellished as well as some interesting information about each of them. The exhibit runs through November 3. OHS is located at 1200 SW Park and entry is free to Multnomah County residents with ID. Also, check out a partial 1979 interview between Margie Boulé and Walter Cole/ Darcelle on You Tube. Plus, for information on Walter Cole’s life check out the past Eliot News article, “Just Call Me Darcelle

Letter from the Editor

Wow, there’s so much to report on for this issue we barely had room! I have to be brief, but a couple things of note. First, air quality in Eliot is a serious issue and a common theme in a lot of our articles. Check out the causes, the ways to help prevent pollution and how you can help.

Also, don’t forget our board elections are coming up this month, October 21, at our general assembly meeting . Our neighborhood grew by almost 400 addresses in the last year to a total of 3382 business and residences so welcome to Eliot and join us because we’d love to have some new faces, ideas, and people passionate to keep Eliot a great place to live.

Lastly, we spotlight some special people, businesses and events so be sure to read this fall issue cover to cover.

Beer, Tamales, and Coffee: A Perfect Recipe of Collaboration

“This town is about collaboration,” says Thad Fisco, owner of Portland Kettle Works and Portland’s craft beer lab, Labrewatory. In 2015, Labrewatory opened in Lower Albina with Thad purchasing the building at 670 N Russell Street, a few blocks north of Interstate, and it has been the definition of collaboration in every sense of the word. Brewers from around the city come together to create beers which are creative and delicious. For the first couple of years, beer was the headliner at this storage facility turned brewery. That is changing now.

In 2011, Portland Kettle Works designed a new brew system and brewers immediately started placing orders. Craft beer, it turns out, was the one part of the economy that was doing well during the recession. Sales have continued and their brewing systems are now in over 250 breweries worldwide and going strong. 

Now Portland Kettle Works was off and running and they had a building to house equipment. Thad says that “we decided to open a brewery of our own because we were very active in putting breweries into business but hadn’t started our own yet and so we kind of looked at it as a challenge and a learning experience so we could be more informed about what we were selling to people. What an experience it has been!”

“Now we get to start doing some new things down here!” says Rachel Wilson, owner of Dawn Patrol Coffee and brewery manager. “At the beginning of the year, we added the coffee shop and extended our hours.” Dawn Patrol operates at Labrewatory in the morning hours from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. Tamale Boy started providing burritos in the morning starting at 8:30 am and beer can be sold any time of day.  “We also have different beer and coffee cocktails and growlers to go,” Rachel adds. Rachel has also taken on distribution selling kegs of La Brewatory’s beer to different restaurants and bars like Loyal Legion.

 Rachel continues, “We really started focusing on community events. We’re trying to bring in a different crowd of people and having the neighborhood have a place to meet. There are many different events and groups that meet at Labrewatory such as a moms club and the NoPo running club. There is even a $1 neighborhood discount for those customers who live or work in the neighborhood.” 

“On Tuesdays, there is a new beer release. At 5:00 people come in and we’ll put a new beer on tap and Nick, our brewer, will take those (who have purchased a tour ticket) around and then they get their t-shirt. And there’s live music between 6 pm and 8 pm,” Rachel explains. 

Labrewatory hosted a Smash festival celebrating the 100th brewed beer and tied in a nonprofit to work with, which was Special Olympics. In July they hosted a “Go Fund Me” for a friend of Rachel’s who had a climbing accident. Soon, on August 17th, there will be an S’mores event, called Mighty Clementine, designed by a customer’s daughter, Clementine, who recently has recovered from an aneurysm. She chose the nonprofit, Randall Children’s Hospital Pediatric Development and Rehabilitation Fund, and also will choose the flavors of the s’mores. 

 In addition, there are the classes that both La Brewatory and Tamale Boy offer. Classes are offered to all of the Portland Kettle Works clients. They get all of La Brewatory’s operating procedures for the front of the house, operating procedures for the brewery and get to see financial analysis. It gives the new brewery owners an idea on how to operate their business. 

Jaime Soltero, Jr., owner of Tamale Boy, says, “Our philosophy is to always be training and always be evolving and getting people situated, getting their brains right and their work ethic right and let them go and explore themselves. We work with a couple of organizations that come and prep and train here so that they can get them back into the workforce. We have a person that actually went blind that used to work in the kitchen and we have gotten him back in the kitchen. That helps us also really think about what we’re doing and how we go about things. It’s a humbling experience for sure. That’s just one of the programs. We also support our community with gift certificates, fundraisers, and whatever we can do.”

The collaboration has been good for all three businesses. Thad says, “When Jaime came in with Tamale Boy our beer sales increased 30% when they opened their doors. That’s one thing we teach people. If you don’t have food you’re basically cutting yourself off at the knees. So you have to have some way to serve food and the better the food the better. So it’s been a great partnership.”

Jaime agrees, “It actually it worked out perfectly because at that time I was looking to expand to a commissary kitchen because where I started off at Dekum (first location of Tamale Boy) it was super small and we were already saturated. Summers we were packed to the gills and we needed more space. Thad got wind of me and we got started and it’s the perfect marriage. We don’t have to worry about anything in the dining room.” 

“It’s really interesting,” Thad says, “that’s the part of overhead that a restaurant hates, is the dining room, but that’s the part that we want – for people to hang out and drink beer. We tell a lot of clients if you can lease the kitchen out and keep the people in the dining area drinking beer as long as you can…” 

“And coffee!” Rachel chimes in. “It IS the perfect marriage!”

Rachel says, “The fun thing is that with this space we can have all these people that want to have an event and Labrewatory can offer the beer, Tamale Boy supplies the food and then there is a different kind of profit without having to rent an event space so more of the proceeds can go to the business holding the event.”

With any business and especially with this unique collaboration there are going to challenges and surprises. Jaime says, “We’re always adjusting- we’re learning together. Everybody’s strengths we pull in together and learn from each other.” Thad says, thinking about the challenges, the important thing is, “Keeping Rachel! Plus, without this (La Brewatory) I wouldn’t have been able to grow my business and without Jaime, I wouldn’t have had food to offer. We push the edge to find new revenue streams and are backed by Portland Kettle Works so we can take risks.”

Lastly, Rachel says, “It’s fun!” She is learning about the financial side of a business, managing skills, and is challenged to find new businesses with items that are needing distribution to offer at the taproom, as well as trying to scale cold brew coffee which will be on one of the taps at the brewery. 

The classes that are offered by Thad and Jaime help pop-ups which in turn are helping our community become stronger and offer diverse food and beverages to all of the Portland metro area.

So if you have an inkling to start a brewery or restaurant, check in with this successful team on North Russell. Collaboration is the name of the game and to sum it up, referring to the old television sit-com, Jaime says, “We’re very tight here. We’re very three’s company.”

Upcoming Event: 

Mighty Clementine

Saturday, August 17, 12-5 pm

Benefit for Randall Children’s Hospital Pediatric Development and Rehabilitation Fund

For more information:

Labrewatory/Dawn Patrol Coffee

670 N Russell St

Hours: Monday to Friday Open 7 am, Saturday and Sunday Open 9 am, closing times vary

Contact: 971-271-8151, www.labrewatory.com

Tamale Boy

668 N Russell St

Hours Monday – Sunday Open 11 am, closing times vary

Contact: 503-477-6706, www.tamaleboy.com

Amazing Mid-City Oasis Offers Food and Wellness Center

The sun is shining and I hear the cheerful sound of voices and the percussive chime of tools being used in the garden as I walk up to the 126-year-old Victorian home behind the Billy Webb Elks Lodge just south of Tillamook on Williams. I realize that today is going to be a good day of community building. The peaceful feeling I experience is overwhelming as I enter the house looking for the owners of the new business in our Eliot neighborhood. This space is definitely an oasis in the center of the city and in the middle of our neighborhood. Though it sits on busy North Williams Ave, once inside the house and even on the surrounding lot, you forget that there is a bustling world beyond its borders. As I introduce myself to the business owners, a group of women and children arrive happily chatting amongst themselves. We all exchange introductions and then my tour of the property begins. 

Oasis of Change is the dream turned the reality of Dov Judd and Kathryn Cannon. Dov, a certified Play Therapist, had been a pediatric therapy practice owner for 10 years. His wife, Kathryn was working as a peer to peer support specialist. They dreamed of creating a space where the focus could be on health, nutrition, community and giving back to their neighborhood.

Dov and Kathryn both grew up on the east coast but Kathryn had spent some time on the west coast. They needed to find a location with enough water, a space to grow food and people to share their vision of health care of the future. Oregon seemed to be the perfect fit. After spending last summer in Dallas, Oregon learning how to farm organically, they decided to look in Portland for the right location for their venture. 

Their real estate agent brought them to 2037 N Williams and Dov couldn’t believe how it perfectly embodied the space he had been imagining. The beautiful Victorian house will offer space for medical practitioners on the top floor with the main floor serving as a welcome area with large rooms for group therapy, classes, and an art gallery. The spacious kitchen will be the perfect place for a food lab and teaching kitchen as well as a pop-up restaurant for chefs to create healthy meals for guests. The basement will have a commercial kitchen specifically for baking. Dov and Kathryn also will be able to offer Farm to Table experience dinners for guests on weekend nights for an extremely reasonable fee. Live music is a frequent occurrence which is, of course, the perfect accompaniment to garden fresh food and delectable locally sourced ingredients. Guests can stroll the garden and grounds taking in the amazing space that Dov and Kathryn are creating. 

In the middle of the amazing garden tour, a couple arrives bearing tempeh for Dov and Kathryn to try. I was fortunate enough to be invited to stay for lunch and enjoy the sautéed tempeh which was incredibly delicious. Also in attendance is Modern Cavegirl who has a pop-up restaurant onsite occasionally for Saturday breakfast. Other chefs offer pop up dinners. (See the short article about Hearts & Bones Kitchen on page 8) The amount of networking that Dov and Kathryn have done just since April when they opened the doors to Oasis of Change is impressive! 

Oasis of Change will have a membership model where members will have access to classes, the garden, the restaurant, daycare, and be surrounded by a community of people, unlike anything I’ve witnessed in Portland. The fence bordering Williams will be covered with edible plants that anyone walking by can snack on. 

Also, onsite there will be practitioners such as medical doctors, nutritionists, and therapists who rent practice space at an hourly rate. The ability to have a workspace without having to commit to an office lease contract allows flexibility for practitioners and less financial stress. As Dov explained, the traditional model of medicine puts up a medical wall between the practitioner and the patient/person. By getting rid of the medical practice model, the practitioner takes ownership/responsibility of their patient and can better serve the person, becoming more connected and understanding them better.

Plus we can look forward to some small retail spaces on the street side of the business and a market to sell farm-fresh produce and other nutritional food products. 

The philosophy of Oasis of Change is to offer community supported health care in an environment where the joy of growing food from start to finish helps kids and adults alike appreciate the process and make eating healthy an adventure that will carry over for a lifetime. 

This is a work in progress and plans are coming to fruition yet morphing at the same time. Stop by and see for yourself this healthy oasis and maybe it will help you affect the change you see in your own life. It truly is a way to escape the city and commune with nature and some wonderful people.

For more information stop by or visit their website:

Oasis of Change – 2037 N Williams 

http://www.oasisofchange.com

kathryn at oasisofchange dot com

301-467-8441

Tours offered Wednesday – Sunday 10am-5pm

Within and Beyond the Borders of Eliot – Summer Activities Galore

This column features businesses in Eliot and just beyond our neighborhood’s borders to help our residents learn what exciting businesses and opportunities are located in and around our amazing neighborhood.  

This issue we focus on some summer activity ideas in and around Eliot. 

 It’s summertime and you’re probably looking for some activities for you and possibly for your kids. Opportunities are plentiful and we’ve gathered a few resources and specific events for you to check out. 

Block Parties

Make sure you put the block parties listed below for VOA’s Men’s Residential center and Matt Dishman Community Center on your calendar. You can also organize your own block party. It’s easy to get a free permit from the city and then rent barricades for a small fee to block off your street for an afternoon of food, fun, activities and get to know your neighbors better as a bonus. See the links below for permits and block party ideas.

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/civic/33907

https://www.neighbor.com/storage-blog/neighborhood-block-party-games-and-ideas/

Matt Dishman Community Center Block Party

The community center is holding its annual block party on Saturday, August 24 from  12:00-4:00 pm at 77 NE  Knott Street. Knott Street between Rodney and Williams will be closed off to traffic. The event will include a free barbeque, snow cones,  cotton candy, kids and family activities, face painting, arts and crafts, and live music. The theme this year is “Celebrating our Neighborhood Heroes” focusing on the history of our community and people that have made a difference. Stop by and have some fun! Call Autumn at 503-823-3673 for more details.

Volunteer of America Men’s Residential Center Block Party

The center is holding its annual block party on Tuesday, August 20th, from 4:30-7:00 pm. As always, they will plan to have BBQ food (for free) some family-friendly live music, face painting, balloon twisting, and a children’s bounce house.  Stop by Sacramento St. (between MLK and NE 7th Avenue) – they will have the street closed to through traffic from 2-7:30 pm that day. This is always a well-attended event. 

Growing Upwards

Growing Upwards is your one-stop for all things summer camps and classes and daycare too. Visiting their website is an easy way to search for classes or camps to keep your kids busy this summer. Visit GrowingUpwards.com or call (503) 927-3136

Matt Dishman Community Center 

The center offers preschool camps and summer camps for ages 3 and up. They also offer classes for adults and of course, there’s the indoor pool to enjoy too!

77 NE Knott St, 503-823-3673 

Open Signal 

According to its website, Open Signal is “your local media arts space. Unlike any other media center in the Pacific Northwest, we offer production studios and equipment, filmmaking workshops, artist residencies, and a cable broadcast platform, all under one roof.” They are also offering summer camps for kids grades 6 through 12 and also classes for adults. For more information about Open Signal visit opensignalpdx.org/calendar, stop by 2755 NE MLK or call 503-288-1515.

PICA (Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts) TBA Festival

PICA has an annual arts festival in September at various locations around the city. TBA which stands for Time Based Art is an amazing collection of artists, performers screenings and talks and visual art installments. According to their website, “TBA is interdisciplinary, and champions those artists who are challenging forms and working across mediums.” This year the festival runs from September 5-15. Their primary location and offices are located in our neighborhood at 15 NE Hancock Street.  Check their website, Pica.org, for more information or call 503-242-1419. You don’t want to miss this!

Portland’s Culinary Workshop

Have an inkling to learn something new or heighten your culinary skills? Portland’s Culinary Workshop located at 807 N Russell Street is the place with classes for kids and adults. The 2-3 hour classes are listed on their website and are fun, informative and inspiring. Call 503-512-0447 or visit Portlandsculinaryworkshop.com 

Portland Parks & Recreation

Our neighborhood Matt Dishman center is part of Portland Parks & Recreation but there are lots of other locations to choose from for summer classes and camps. Check out this article on their website at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/38277  There is also a lot more on their general website at portlandoregon.gov/parks. Check it out and have some fun this summer!

Free for All—concerts and more

Portland Parks & Recreation offer free concerts, movies and a program called lunch and play and more. Check out the events and other options at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/732643 

Pedal Palooza

Looking for a family-friendly way to get exercise, make some new friends and see your city? Check out Pedal Palooza. https://www.shift2bikes.org/pages/pedalpalooza/ 

Coalition of Black Men- Annual Community Bike Ride 

Saturday, August 3  from 9am-2pm starting at 5257 NE MLK at Vanport building. All are welcome to join this annual, fun event. For more information visit cobmpdx.org  or call(503) 919-6804. 

Soo Bahk Do/Tai Chi/Qigong/Therapeutic Martial Arts

Ever consider taking up martial arts? According to their website, “Portland Soo Bahk Do is the first Moo Duk Kwan® School in Portland Oregon- opening on January 20th, 2015- during the 70th anniversary of the birth of Founder Hwang Kee’s Moo Duk Kwan® school in Korea (1945).”  Portland Soo Bahk Do offers classes in Soo Bahk Do which is a Korean classical martial art as well as Tai Chi, Qigong and Therapeutic Martial Arts. There are classes for all ages Tuesday and Thursday afternoon  and evenings. For more information visit www.PortlandSooBahkDo.com or call 503-502-2965 or 503-303-4783.

Woodlawn MIC Center

1425 NE Dekum St

Soo Bahk Do:Tues & Thurs 7-8 PM

Therapeutic Martial Arts/Tai Chi/Qigong: Tues &Thurs 6-7PM and
Tues & Fri 7-8AM

Yoga: Thurs 8-9AM

Blazers Boys & Girls Club After School Youth Program 

5250 NE MLK Jr Blvd

Soo Bahk Do: Tues & Thurs 4-5 PM

Eliot Board Members Serving Up Meals and Providing Community at Walnut Park Shelter

For the last few months, the Eliot Neighborhood Association board members have been participating in providing and serving dinner once a month to the residents at Walnut Park Shelter. According to the website for Multnomah County, “The Walnut Park Shelter, at 5329 NE Martin Luther King Blvd., will provide nighttime accommodations for up to 80 people, with special priority for veterans, people 55 and older, those with disabilities, and people already experiencing unsheltered homelessness in the neighborhood. The shelter will open daily at 5 p.m. and close at 7:30 a.m.” There is no kitchen available on site but the staff is friendly and the residents appreciate the meals served.

Continue reading Eliot Board Members Serving Up Meals and Providing Community at Walnut Park Shelter

More Mayo House History and Its Amazing Move

Please note that a response to this article, as well as an editor’s note,  follow this article.

Mayo house at its first location on NE Sacramento. Photo credit Portland City Archives

What started as a way to buy an affordable house ended up a many-years-long adventure to refurbish a home while unexpectedly experiencing the spirit world up close and personal.

Gardner and Donna Murphy knew they wanted to get out of the northwest Portland apartment they were living in and started the search to buy a home. In 1979 homes were much less expensive than they are today but still, most home prices were out of reach for the young couple. After being shown many homes by their real estate agent in “white” neighborhoods they wondered if there were any other neighborhoods they could explore where they could afford to buy. As was common practice, their real estate agent would not take them to any of the homes for sale in the “black” neighborhoods so the Murphys took matters into their own hands. While looking in the Oregonian real estate section, one house jumped out to them. The sweet home at 206 NE Sacramento Street built in 1896 seemed like just the property they had been looking for. The current owner was a businessman who owned several properties that he had brought up to code and then rented them out. However, he was getting ready to move out of Portland and this particular house needed a lot of repairs to bring it up to code. He had been able to obtain a loan because of the success of the other homes he had refurbished. The Murphys agreed to provide a lot of sweat equity and to assume his loan for what was a very affordable price. They were given a deadline to complete the repairs, but it would end up taking a lot more sweat equity than originally anticipated to complete the project.

Mayo house at 206 NE Sacramento. Photo credit Sue Stringer

“I thought Gardner knew more about construction and he thought I knew more about construction,” says Donna Murphy. “We had to get an extension of a few more weeks from the owner,” Donna says, “but, he liked what we did.”

The home had no heat at first except for a sawdust burner. “For the first 2 or 3 years ‘til we got the PDC (Portland Development Commission) loan there would be ice on the inside of the windows,” Donna remembers. Gardner recalls, “there was almost no interest on that PDC loan.” They were able to get other PDC loans for the storm windows and insulation.

A few months after they had moved into the home the ghost activity began. Donna confesses, “I never believed in ghosts ‘til I saw one within a few months of moving in. Our little baby, Annie, coughed in the middle of the night and I looked over to see if she was okay and there was a man with a plaid shirt on, like a flannel shirt, looking over the crib looking at her. I thought it was Gardner. I thought Gardner beat me to the crib and then I realized, no, Gardner’s right here (next to her in bed) and this man that was crouched over drifted that way and into the kitchen. It was never scary, it was just interesting. The next morning I thought, ‘I saw a ghost!’ I read that Martin Mayo had a baby while living at that house.”

Donna learned that fact much later after they had moved from and sold the house so she didn’t know who this ghost might be.

Because of this detail and other details about Martin Mayo, the Murphys think that the ghost could have been the spirit of Martin Mayo. Mayo was a cook at a restaurant which he ended up buying and naming it the Mayo Restaurant. Lucretia and Martin’s only son, George P. Mayo was born in that house.

Gardner recalls, “I never had any thought of ghosts until living in that house. In a gas stove, there is an igniter that usually goes click, click, click (fast). Ours started going at night when you weren’t in the room as you were getting ready for bed and it would go click (pause), click if it was bedtime and you weren’t in the kitchen. Our renters asked us about that too.” The stove was changed out three times and each would have that same random clicking at bedtime which would stop when anyone went into the kitchen.

Also, says Gardner, “I felt the bed shaking once and you did too (Donna). I woke up. I took a quick peek and then back under the covers!”

Donna also recalls smells coming from the kitchen. “There was the smell of oatmeal and bacon in the middle of the night.”

“And the voices… One day my sister, as we were bringing in the groceries said, ‘did you leave a radio on?’ And I said, ‘No, that’s the spooks.’ The one was a man having a conversation with himself and the other was a female upstairs in the attic talking slow and measured for hours at a time. You just get used to it. It was like living with roommates next door,” says Donna. “I never felt in any danger. However, I was having nightmares about the clicking and one night I said, ‘You have to stop!’ There was two separate loud pops or bangs and pretty much after that, there was no more ghost activity.” So it seems that Donna had gotten through to the ghosts for the time being!

Apparently, others who have lived in the house have experienced the same thing including tenants of the Murphy’s, some kids who came by and said they had lived in the house and asked if they had heard any ghosts and also some friends of their daughter, Annie, who also lived in the house. Pretty persistent spirits, those Mayos.

Even though the house was haunted, the Murphy’s loved owning and living in the Mayo house and enjoyed the diverse neighborhood and wonderful neighbors. They also enjoyed the adjacent two lots which they purchased from a developer who was going to put up a 6 unit apartment building. They basically purchased those for just over the cost of the back taxes. Saving the lots from development, they turned the property into an urban forest, farm and playground for the kids. Tall trees to climb, room to play baseball and ride bikes, it was a veritable wonderland. Ironic that now the property will again be transformed by a developer building an even larger complex than the one originally avoided in the 1980s.

A House on the move… the Mayo house rolling down the street to its new location at 236 NE Sacramento. Photo credit Brad Baker.

Fast forward to 2019 and the lucky opportunity to meet the Murphy’s at the Mayo house move on January 27th. The Murphys and many other neighbors, friends, family and intrigued residents gathered to watch a house move for the third time down the same street. This time the house will become home to the Black history archives courtesy of Cleo and Kayin Davis. They purchased the house and through a lot of bureaucratic sweat equity and help from the city planners, were able to get a zoning change, fees waived and coordinate the logistics to move a house to their property at 236 NE Sacramento. The actual process was awesome to watch and hard to imagine possible that a 123-year-old home can handle that much movement. Who knows, maybe Martin Mayo and his wife are happy that the house is moving to a third location on the same block and their spirits will be at rest. As for the Murphy’s, they are at peace. Back in 1986 when they sold the house to one of their renters they bought a house in the Beaumont Neighborhood. Thankfully the house they now own is, “at peace with itself,” according to Donna.

Whew, made it all in one piece! Final destination on the Davis’ property. Photo credit Sue Stringer.

We’re not going to say this is the final chapter of the Martin Mayo house story because there is so much more to come with the “ARTChives” the Davis’s are going to create. Who knows? The house may last another hundred years so it will have a chance to have a much longer story with guaranteed interesting twists and turns and perhaps some new ghosts to haunt its rooms.

Shara Alexander submitted this response to the above article.

Response to  “A Story of Sweat Equity”

Shara Alexander

The April 2019 Eliot News story about a previous owner of the Mayo house used a word in the title that has a connotation other than ghosts. That word is “spooks”. (“A Story of Sweat Equity and Spooks- More Martin Mayo House History and its Amazing Move”) People over the age of 50 or people of any age who have read about or experienced racism will be familiar with this racist epithet for African Americans. The title of the article has been changed online.

In addition to using a racist epithet in the title, the article seems to be indifferent to the context of racism, loss and displacement for many residents of this neighborhood. It’s the story of a white family taking advantage of the disparity in home prices and conditions in a redlined area of the city in 1979. This is not just one family’s experience, but is a broad national economic trend founded in racism. I am also white and took advantage of the seemingly irrational low prices of homes and lots in this quadrant of the city when I bought my home in 1992. Even if I didn’t have much money at the time I bought my house, I was in a better economic position than many existing residents and had access to more resources (bank loans, family money, job opportunities) as well as the ability to be comfortable and welcomed in any neighborhood in the city due to my race. This is not a victimless advantage, and it’s not a coincidence, even if we are blissfully unaware as white home buyers. As long as the homes and lots in this neighborhood were owned by people of color, they had lower value. Once the area was transferred into primarily white hands the values began to increase. It was gradual but irreversible, and we are seeing the result of this process today. Economically disadvantaged people are priced out and scramble to find housing again in the currently less desirable parts of the city. The parts of town deemed less desirable by real estate agents and high income buyers changes over time, but are always home to the poor, people of color and immigrants through this economic process of loss and gain. If we are blind to that history and to the continuation of economic disparities by race and other biases we are allowing the system to continue. This entrenched problem may be complex, but if we recognize and acknowledge it we can begin to work together to find solutions.

This neighborhood paper has published many articles about the neighborhood’s history of racism, most recently “ARTchives could be a Game Changer for Portland’s Black Diaspora” January 27, 2019  and “Emanuel Apologizes” September 6th, 2017. I hope readers will continue to think critically about what they see in the neighborhood, how we got here, and who is most impacted by the continuing gentrification and displacement of families in Portland.

Additional resources for learning about racism and the home ownership history of Albina/Eliot:

“Priced Out” the documentary film will be shown from 7pm at the Leaven Community Center on May 2nd

High Country News: https://www.hcn.org/issues/50.9/race-racism-portlands-racist-history-of-housing-discrimination-and-gentrification

The above article “More Martin Mayo House History and its Amazing Move” was published in the spring issue of the Eliot News. The original title and a quote in the article had some phrases that are insensitive and though, not excusable, in the context they were used they were not intended to be offensive. The article title has been amended to exclude those words. The article also does not adequately explain the issues surrounding home buying and selling in the racially diverse Eliot Neighborhood in the not so distant past. 
The Eliot News team will take this oversight as an opportunity to explore topics of racial equity, cultural sensitivity, and historical inequities in our neighborhood. We want to be sensitive and thoughtful when choosing and sharing content with our residents and the extended communities in Portland. 
Sue Stringer, Editor, Eliot News

Letter from the Editor

Welcome Spring! Soon Summer will be here before we know it. The year is moving along faster than I can keep up. I do look forward to the nicer weather and being able to stop and pause in the warmth of the sun, take a walk through the neighborhood and enjoy all the beautiful gardens and spring flowers. My crocuses are plentiful this year and the tulips are preparing for a fantastic show of color. Soon we will have new trees around some businesses and homes in Eliot to add to the urban landscape (see page 10).

Continue reading Letter from the Editor

Historic Rinehart Building Still Bringing Community Together at Game Knight Lounge

Two people in black shirts and pants stand in front of a wall of shelves containing board games.
Christian Wright and Andrew Pitt, owners of Game Knight Lounge, surrounded by the 700+ games available to play with your friends.

By Sue Stringer

If the walls could speak, the historic Rinehart Building, which sits at the corner of Williams and Monroe, would have so many stories to tell. Its history includes tenants from a variety of different businesses and has been frequented by people from many different walks of life. There are even tales of tunnels under the building connecting to nearby churches to allow people to outrun the law during raids in the prohibition era.

Continue reading Historic Rinehart Building Still Bringing Community Together at Game Knight Lounge

Within and Beyond the Borders of Eliot: Meet Your New Eliot Neighborhood Association Board for 2019

By Sue Stringer

This column usually features businesses, in Eliot and just beyond our neighborhood’s borders to help our residents learn what exciting businesses and opportunities are located in and around our amazing neighborhood. However, in this issue, we focus on the people that make up the Eliot Neighborhood Association Board.

Our Eliot Neighborhood Association board is made up of 12 members this year. Most live in Eliot but some just work in Eliot and live in other neighborhoods. We have included most of them here so you can get to know them better. Also, you can always stop by a neighborhood association meeting and come meet us in person!

Continue reading Within and Beyond the Borders of Eliot: Meet Your New Eliot Neighborhood Association Board for 2019

Moving News about Martin Mayo House

Martin Mayo House
Martin Mayo House in 2018. Photo by Sue Stringer

It’s not often that a house is in the news multiple times over the course of 122 years, but it’s no wonder when one specific house has had 4 different physical addresses. The Martin Mayo House has been the topic of many articles in the Eliot News – most recently in the summer issue of the Eliot News (“Historic Martin Mayo House Slated for Demolition” and “Help Stop the Demolition of Martin Mayo House”).

Continue reading Moving News about Martin Mayo House