Memoz Dessert Café – Creative, Deliciousness in Record Time

By Memoz Dessert Cafe

Brownie with Baked Alaska …
yummm!
Photo courtesy Memoz Dessert
Café

Brand new to the neighborhood, Memoz Dessert Cafe opened this spring at 3494 N. Williams. Founded by husband and wife team Aaron and Julie Allina, this one-of-a-kind, build-your-own dessert cafe serves up incredible desserts, designed by you and baked in under two minutes, right in front of your eyes.

With an array of menu items from comfort classics like brownies and cookies to the almond tart and seasonal crisp, there’s something for everyone, including gluten-free and vegan options. Memoz offers an endless array of desserts to choose from, you can design your own or choose from a selection of seasonal signature combinations, and select fun toppings like Baked Alaska, caramel, ganache, or a la mode.

Memoz pastry chef Erica Stephensen and her team of dessert guides then bake your creation in under two minutes utilizing the cafe’s cutting edge and lightning-fast ovens for a first of its kind dessert experience.

Family friendly and built as a neighborhood retreat, Memoz offers coffee as well as beer and wine for those old enough to imbibe. For families, board games and a relaxed atmosphere invites you to come and stay awhile. Memoz is open all day, 12 to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday and is open late on Fridays and Saturdays, from 12 to 11 pm.

Sandra Ford Honored by Cascadia with Portrait by Jeremy Okai Davis

By Jennifer Moffatt

Cascadia’s Garlington Health Center unveiled a new portrait by Jeremy Okai Davis to honor the retirement of long-time community health advocate and activist, Sandra Ford, PA.C. Sandra has played an instrumental role in community health for over 40 years, beginning at the Fred Hampton Peoples Health Clinic on Vancouver and Russell Streets in North Portland. After becoming a physician assistant (PA) in 1981, Sandra started as a women’s health specialist, became a family practice clinician, and soon became one of the first psychiatric PAs in the country. Sandra has been a steadfast presence at our Garlington Health Center since 2004.

Sandra’s commitment to the community has also been steadfast. As a member of Portland’s Black Panther Party, Sandra’s work included welfare rights advocacy, justice issues, and supporting students of color. With other members of the Black Panthers she helped organize a Free Breakfast Program for children in inner-city Portland at Highland Church that fed 100 – 150 children a day, five days a week; worked to establish the Fred Hampton Memorial Peoples Free Health Clinic in Portland in 1969 which arranged sickle cell anemia testing at schools and community events, screening approximately 11,000 people in Portland; and set up the Free Dental Clinic that is now the Cleve Allen Dentist Clinic. And much more.

“I hope to be remembered as a listener, a person who cared, who was respectful and tried always to do my best for others,” said Sandra.

Community members can view this new portrait, as well as the other works by Jeremy Okai Davis, Arvie Smith, Hilary Pfeifer and Anne Crumpacker at the Garlington Health Center at 3036 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.

A Vision of Albina

I don’t believe the Eliot News has ever printed a book review; however, Mitchell Jackson is a product of the neighborhood (raised in King) and the book is a memoir about growing up in Albina.

The recently published book, Survival Math, reminded me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Blue Highways, although was not well written. All three are male confessionals with significant philosophical, literary, and psychological digressions from the authors’ troubled, male perspective. Zen and Highways use interstate travel as a frame, while Math’s frame is Inner N/NE Portland and Vancouver and places of significance to the author and others in his circle of friends and relatives during the 1980-2000 era.

I am not drawn to memoirs, but Mitchell’s interview on OPB piqued my curiosity. I moved to Eliot in the late 1970s, about the time Mitchell was born. His recollections of life in Albina are consistent with my own. In contrast to a current myth being promoted, Albina in the 1960-2000 period was not Wakanda on the Willamette, but the locus for “prostitution”, drugs, and gang shootings and murders. This lawlessness was tolerated, perhaps even encouraged, to confine it to Albina and protect the rest of the (largely white) city. Mitchell describes his role in this mayhem. Although he was a bit player, he was imprisoned for multiple years. He talks about drug dealing, “pimping”, and “gangbanging” from the inside with as much honesty as he can without, I suspect, confessing to additional offenses. His digressions include history lessons on slavery, the origins of Portland gangs, and the night life of Portland’s Black underworld. He also explores the philosophical and psychological roots for his and his community’s behavior rooted in America’s systemic racism and paternalism. He takes responsibility for the disruption he caused, including about 60 pages of reflection on his abuse of women.

This book is an important contribution to the history of Albina and of Portland. The community he describes was one of struggling families and choices made to survive in the face of an establishment that either ignored or actively targeted it. It isn’t a complete history because it is a personal narrative. Although he comments on the contributions the Rose Quarter, I-5, Emanuel, and Blanchard projects made to dissolution of the Black community in Albina formed after the Vanport flood. It doesn’t cover the decline of Union/MLK in the 1960s and 70s and its subsequent home for prostitution and heroin dealing. He did not experience that history. The local narrative ends when Mitchell leaves for school and his career as a professor and author in New York.

Periodically Mitchell returns to Portland. During a recent book tour he visited his old neighborhood during his interview on OPB. He was asked about the obvious transformation since his life there. I was stuck by his response. Rather than bemoaning what was lost, he compared it to the transformation of the largely German/ Northern European community by the Black population that moved to Albina in the late 1940s and 50s. In other words, he described the change as a normal part of urban development. He also noted it was obviously much safer than in his day, and that was a positive development. He did recognize some of his neighbors but added many from his former life are likely dead or in jail, a sobering vision of Albina as it really was.

Open Signal Explores Immersive Media with Four New Media Fellows

By Yousef Hatlani

Four local artists join Open Signal Portland Community Media Center for the third year of its New Media Fellowship, a residency program that supports artists exploring the social implications of immersive technologies.

Clockwise from upper left: Jessica Mehta, Laura Medina, Sam
Mendoza and Myles de Bastion.
Photo credit Sam Gehrke/Open Signal

Artists Myles de Bastion, Laura Medina, Jessica Mehta and Sam Mendoza will each work in residence for four months to create new projects that incorporate virtual reality (VR), mixed reality, 360 video and immersive media art installations. Their work will use immersive media to address science fiction, poetry, decolonization and immigrant experiences. The residencies begin September 2019.

The fellowship is the only program of its kind in the state of Oregon, and a unique opportunity for Portland-based experimental media artists to receive professional support and to create new work. Each artist will receive a $2,000 stipend, a $500 material budget and studio production training with 3D and VR software and equipment from Open Signal’s new media inventory.

Artists will also have a one-on-one mentorship with Matt Henderson of Portland Immersive Media Group and 360 Labs, a Portland-based company specializing in 360-degree media. Each artist will present a final exhibition of their work on site at Open Signal.

With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the fellows will also travel to New Mexico to exhibit their work at the CURRENTS Santa Fe International New Media Festival in June 2020. At the festival, they will show their work at the 360-degree Digital Dome at the Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA).

“It is really exciting to be able to bring our fellows out-of-state for the first time,” said Taylor Neitzke, Director of Programs at Open Signal. “It is a huge honor to present the work of these artists at an international media festival in a truly one-of-akind space at the IAIA. We are excited about how this trip will help these artists take their careers to the next level and incite conversations with artists in other states.”

Past and current New Media Fellows have received grants, exhibitions, fellowships and residencies at locations around the country. Most recently, Fellow Sharita Towne received a 2019 Creative Capital award, Manuel Arturo Abreu was selected for a 2019 Emerging Artist Residency at the Centrum Foundation and May Cat for a 2020 residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute.

2019-20 New Media Fellows applied to the program through an open call for submissions. They were selected by a panel of local and national arts organizers.

The New Media Fellowship program is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Jackson Foundation.

Fellowship Bios
September – December 2019 Fellows

Jessica Mehta is a multi-award-winning poet and artist who works at the intersections of mixed and digital media. She is currently a poetry editor at Bending Genres literary review, Airlie Press, and the peer-reviewed Exclamat!on journal. Jessica is also the founder of the Jessica Tyner Scholarship Fund, the only scholarship exclusively for Native Americans pursuing an advanced degree in writing.

Jessica’s exhibition opens at Open Signal March 10,2020.

Laura Camila Medina is an interdisciplinary artist born in Bogota, Colombia and raised in Orlando, Florida. She bases her practice around memory and identity as a response to personal, cultural and historical research. Her work has shown at the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, PLANETA New York, Blackfish Gallery and with the Nat Turner Project. She earned her BFA at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Laura’s exhibition opens at Open Signal May 12, 2020.

February – May 2020 Fellows

Sam Mendoza is an educator at Portland Community College, as well as the Manager of the Virtual Reality Development Center at PCC’s Cascade Campus. They work as an independent artist and activist focusing largely on technology, indigenous futurism, decolonization, immigrant rights, trans rights, equity and environmentalism.

Sam’s exhibition opens at Open Signal August11, 2020.

Myles de Bastion is an artistic director, musician and creative-altruist who develops technology and art installations that enables sound to be experienced as light and vibration. A strong advocate for disability rights, Myles’ work centers upon themes of inclusion, diversity, equity and access for Deaf and disabled people. He is the founder of CymaSpace, a nonprofit that facilitates arts and cultural events that are inclusive of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing.

Myles’ exhibition opens at Open Signal October 13, 2020

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

Perseverance Results in Bright Future and Prestigious Clerkship for Woman of Color Attorney

Lewis & Clark Law School graduate, Vera Warren. Photo Courtesy
Vera Warren

By Shireen Hasan

Vera Warren, an uprising young woman of color, has entered the Portland legal scene in pursuit of becoming an attorney, and it looks like she’s taking the legal profession by storm! Vera grew up in Beaverton, Oregon, and traveled between two homes, with her father living in NE Portland. Vera attended South Ridge High School, and then continued onto Willamette University College, in Salem (undergrad), accomplishing her Psychology major, and Environmental Science minor in four years. She then lived in New York for two years with her aunt. Vera says it was a good experience overall, and she misses it.

After returning to Portland, Vera worked at Portland General Electric (PGE). Fulfillment was not readily achieved in Vera’s life around this time, because clearly, she had another calling; she felt the urgency for social justice and wanted to be educated in areas to ‘make change’. Once consciously awakened to this idea and to bring it into manifestation, Vera decided to pursue the profession in law, to speak out and do something about the injustices that so many people are continually victimized by today. Hence, Vera began school at Lewis & Clark College to study law for four years, and eventually left her job at PGE.

In addition to school, Vera was blessed with, and had the privilege to intern alongside her father, Ernest Warren — a powerful, hotshot attorney (and handsome, I might add), who took his daughter under his wing, teaching her the ropes and exposing her to real-life hands on training, experiences, and opportunities working with clients, cases, judges, other attorneys, and in court-rooms of law that other law students could only dream of! Ernest owns and operates his own practice, located in downtown Portland, Oregon, and has practiced law since 1988. Vera describes working with her father as the best experience. Because he wanted better for her, he pushed her, gave her opportunities, and challenged her. They have a solid foundational relationship built on communication and a good understanding with each other. She admits there were times when Vera felt overwhelmed with school, study, the hands on training, and her dad’s expectations: there were a few snippy moments working together, but all out of love.

Ernest is a leader and has helped pave the way for his daughter, and certainly for other people of color, as well. Vera mentions that her father pulled things out of her that she was not aware that she had the ability to do. In addition, she also feels that she has learned some things about herself and discovering new things that she can do. This is powerful on so many levels, and it sounds like Vera has tapped into her own innate potential.

Recently, in preparation for the Oregon State Bar exam, Vera has stopped working. She studied for four to six hours a day, and took another smaller course to practice. Vera mentioned staying in isolation so that she could put in the time that she needed. Folks wanted Vera to take the time to go out and participate in activities, but she had no time to spend hanging out with family and friends. She found that she had to be really disciplined, and she says that if you do not pass the bar exam the first time, there is a really long wait period for the next opportunity to try it again. Vera has taken the bar exam and is expecting the results from it in the fall of 2019.

To begin with, Vera plans to work in public defense and criminal justice, and says she wants to advocate for the groups who are severely underrepresented. For example, prison inmates, folks with mental health and addiction issues, and people of color, specifically black people because of their higher representation in the inmate population. She wants to make small changes wherever she can as she moves through her journey, not allowing herself to become overwhelmed because the issues are so entrenched and expansive. Her goals are to be able to go into policy to make change, and says that she has to start with smaller goals in steps to help bring them about; maybe becoming a judge later on down the road.

In August 2020, she will start a clerkship in the Court of Appeals, working under a judge to explain laws. She’ll focus on clear communication, with some technical writing, which she enjoys. But working as a public defender before that time is at the top of her agenda.

Her continuing education is inevitable because it is required in order to continue practicing law. Vera feels that being ahead of the competition is amazing — she can share information with other attorneys, and furthermore learn from others.

Vera encourages youth who may be interested in professional law to ‘Go for It’! However, she cautions to be ready to feel uncomfortable because being in this field there may not be a lot of support for people of color, and you would need to find folks who are involved where you can receive the support that you need. This is a community, so even if you do not understand the work, just go for it anyway.

Vera encourages adults who are interested in pursuing a law profession to check out Lewis & Clark College’s evening program, because it even has allowed parents with kids to go through law classes . It’s possible if you can fit it in and can figure it out.

Vera was exposed to many aspects of law, for example, she learned taxes, mortgages, and other topics that she wished that she could spend more time on. Vera adds that you learn how to defend yourself and how to properly do things when you learn about the law, and this information is useful to her through her life.

After all of Vera’s hard work, time, energy, and determination that she has put into her education and doing her best to be the best, she is now able to take some time off and reconnect with friends and especially with family. Very says that spending time with family is very important to her. She is happy to see members of the family that she has not seen in a while. Vera is also happy to be back out in the community and connecting with everyone.

It is very exciting to see this strong, beautiful, intelligent, and down-to-earth young woman of color blazing in the direction of leadership and power. It will be interesting to follow how this unfolds for Vera. We need more young women of color taking their rightful place in society, working for the next generation of leaders at the forefront of justice, fighting for justice, and guiding our youth to do the same. We are cheering for you, Vera. You Go Girl!

Behind the Oval: FISK

By Abby Morgan 

Hidden in plain sight, only slightly off bustling Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, FISK, is a design studio and art gallery on the border of the Eliot Neighborhood. Your best chance of noticing FISK, their name emblazoned on the facade of their space, is if you plan on dropping by Kee’s #Loaded Kitchen or Mothership Music in the near future. 

Founded by Iranian-American graphic designer, Bijan Berahimi, FISK evolved from a zine into a gallery and professional design practice in 2014. Its evolution coincided with Berahimi relocating from Los Angeles to Portland. Design-wise, FISK’s heart is in cultivating strong relationships with clients, focusing on typography, identities, and experiences. They have worked with Toro y Moi, Cult Classic Magazine, Nike, Akadi, and the University of Oregon.

On the gallery side, FISK hosts artists from all over the nation and world. In the last six years and at the time of this article, FISK has put on nearly 28 shows featuring artists trained in commercial practices such as graphics and set design, animation, and illustration. 

Design and art are treated holistically. Seamlessly and architecturally interwoven, each discipline at FISK informs the other, and often, the intersection happens through products. Made in collaboration with other makers, Maak Lab and Cloudforest to name a couple, the shelves of the FISK store are lined with unique books, prints, and objects.

At FISK, there is never a dull moment and it is that energy that Berahimi says FISK thrives on. 

“Diversity is essential to what we do. We want to offer Portland a glimpse into what the world has to offer and we’re doing that by bringing innovative, exciting artists to the community. No two days are the same, no two projects or products identical. We are always trying to bend the rules or make up our own. We like to have fun and we’re good at it,” Berahimi explains.

It is this mentality of “let’s make cool stuff and have fun” that has allowed FISK to flourish in many ways, especially through free, community events. This summer will be no different. Berahimi along with co-curator Michael Spoljaric, will kick off summer 2019 with a show by British artist, Sophy Hollington. Opening on June 14th, Hollington’s relief prints explore themes and symbolism in folklore. 

Type designers and font fans alike, mark your calendars for August 2nd as local type foundry Future Fonts will celebrate their one year anniversary. Their site allows typography designers to upload work in progress type specimens for peer review and purchase.

FISK plans to offer a couple small pop-ups and get-togethers throughout the rest of summer, with dates announced via their newsletter and social media. If you’re curious about what is to come, drop by or email hey at fiskgallery dot com to join their newsletter –both the gallery and store are open to the public.

Hours: 

Wednesday-Friday 12-6, Saturday and Sunday 12-4

Follow FISK on Instagram @fiskprojects @fiskgallery 

FISK at 3613 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Portland, OR 97212

Heart & Bones Kitchen Creating Healthy, Delicious Recipes Courtesy of Modern Cavegirl

By Brittany Cappetta

Heart & Bones Kitchen was started on the principal of food transparency and inclusivity. I know, personally, the distress of eating out with dietary requirements. For a lot of us, food has the potential to either harm or heal and often people with restrictive diets and allergies opt to eat at home instead of going out to eat because we’re treated like an inconvenience to our server at best, and at worst our restrictions are not taken seriously. I wanted to create a safe space for people to feel like their needs and concerns are valid, a place that’s already free of most common allergies, where they know exactly what’s in their food and can enjoy a unique flavorful meal without having to worry about getting sick.

I firmly believe that healthy food needs to be more accessible. It shouldn’t be a choice between eating well and paying your bills on time. Heart & Bones specializes in Paleo and Vegan organic, local meals all liberated from dairy, grains, soy, nuts, legumes, refined sugars, and made completely from scratch with love and care.

 It’s been an honor of to work with Oasis of Change, the new business on Williams at Tillamook (see the article on page 10), doing pop up breakfasts and farm to table dinners and being able to show others the value and importance of eating whole, nutritious foods. On June 15th Oasis of Change hosted a benefit dinner at their urban farm for Cupcake Girl’s, a nonprofit organization that provides resources for those involved in human trafficking. It’s a perfect example of how food can connect an entire community and the healing power it can have. 

Check out Hearts & Bones website for recipes, prepacked products to purchase, events, catering and information on cooking lessons and private chef services. 

 Website: Heartbonekitchen.com

Instagram: Modern_Cavegirl

Photos courtesy Modern Cavegirl 

Oregon Property Taxation 101

The earlier column “Taxed to Death? – Part 1 of 2” provided some history for how Eliot finds itself at the center of a policy debate about inequitable property tax payments by residents in newly “gentrified” areas and potential risks to us/them presented by some Legislative discussions. There was fear at the time the Legislature would make changes that would radically increase taxes in Eliot. That is not likely in this legislative session, but there is a proposal to revise how property taxes are levied that may have that result. The proposal hasn’t passed and just calls for a study to set the stage for that change. Because it hasn’t passed, Part 2 of “Taxed to Death” is postponed for now. Instead, this column provides a summary of the current assessment process. It also responds to a number of questions that have been asked about the prior column.

The State Department of Revenue is responsible for ensuring uniform taxation of properties in the state, although actual taxes are levied and collected at the county level. The guidelines for all counties are similar. Properties are assessed at “real market value” (RMV) using a common set of guidelines for property assessment; however, these are subject to adjustments by each county to reflect actual market conditions. That includes applying different criteria in different neighborhoods and in rural versus urban areas to capture market price trends. Property assessments are to be complete by September 25th each year and bills sent a month later. The tax year runs from July to July. The tax bill you receive in October is based on the Assessor’s estimate of RMV as of January 1st. So, if the Assessor calculated RMV for your neighborhood and your house in April, they adjust that value to what they believe it would have been on January 1. That establishes the RMV and for the tax bill in October. For structures without any modifications, “improvements” in tax language, this method is used for all comparable properties. A different method is used if improvements have been made after the previous tax year. As noted in the prior column, the property taxes that are due are subject to a tax cap established by Measure 50 in 1997, which was a Constitutional amendment and can’t be changed without a public vote. Measure 50 essentially froze the “tax assessed value” at the RMV in 1997, plus an allowed inflation adjustment. Properties that pre-date 1997 have their value (but not their taxes) capped as of 1997. The county is still required to reassess the RMV every year, it just can’t use the current RMV to calculate the tax bill, with one exception; if there are newly constructed “improvements.” New construction IS assessed at RMV; however, Measure 50 limits the “tax assessed value” to a fraction of that, roughly 60%.

There are two situations where a tax reassessment may occur. The first is when improvements are made to an existing structure, such as a new deck. The other is when a wholly new structure is added to an existing property. In the case of the new deck, the assessor estimates how much the new deck adds to the RMV and increases the value of the existing building by that amount. For example, assume your house has an RMV at $200,000 and the deck is estimated to add $50,000 to that.  You will be taxed for an improvement of $50,000. Where this gets tricky is when the “assessed value” for tax purposed is wildly different than the RMV; namely, homes built prior to Measure 50. In that case, the “tax assessed value” of the existing home may be $50,000, in which case the new deck would increase it. Assuming a Measure 50 cap of 60%, to $80,000 and nearly double the amount of taxes owed. The same is true for a wholly new structure, such as an ADU.

For new construction, the assessor will probably use a “cost” method to calculate the RMV. In other words, how much it cost to build the structure rather than its market value. The state provides cost guidance so this estimate is uniform across all new structures (with local cost adjustments). Returning to the example above, if a new ADU valued at $200,000 is added to the property instead of the $50,000 deck, the new assessed value will be $170,000 ($50,000 for the Measure 50 assessed value of the existing building plus 60% of the new $200,000 ADU; another $120,000).  The new tax bill will be over 3 times the previous bill.  

New construction presents a taxation challenge to both the assessor and the taxpayer; you. Recall that assessed values are based on the situation on January 1st. If construction began in June, there would be no improvements as of January 1, since construction hadn’t begun. So your October tax bill wouldn’t reflect the new addition. If the ADU is completed within the calendar year, its value would be added in the next year, and show up in the tax bill in the next October, over a year after construction began. If construction takes 12-months or is spread across two years, this process also extends two years. In that case, the assessed value during first July-to-July tax year is based on the value of the structure as it was on January 1 of the next calendar year. For a project started in June, that would be what was completed over the 6 previous months; an amount less than the value of the finished project. Assuming it is only 50% complete, the new assessed value would be half the value of the completed project. In our example, that would be $100,000 (of the $200,000 total cost) and would be reflected in the October tax bill the year after construction started.  Once the project is finished, the value the would be assessed at the full $200,000, but that wouldn’t show up until the next calendar year’s tax bill, because it won’t be until that tax year that the project will be complete as of January 1st. This lag in tax billing surprises many taxpayers as the see jumps in their taxes over multiple years; nothing in the year construction begins, a jump in the next year when construction is complete, and then yet another jump a year after the project finished. This last adjustment usually catches people by surprise.  

Assessors monitor improvements to existing structures and land through building permits, site visits, record checks, and notices from the population, say a neighbor. Untaxed improvements, called “omitted records,” result when discrepancies are found between the assessor’s records and field inspections. This can happen when construction was done without permits; however, all construction doesn’t require permits. It can also happen through errors in communication of construction activity between permit authorities and the county and mistakes in the assessment. In those cases, the assessor has the right to reassess RMV for the 5 prior tax years. When that occurs, the taxpayer is sent a notice that provides 20-days to correct an erroneous record.  A corrected assessment, including a bill for the 5-years owed, will follow. The taxpayer has a limited time to appeal the assessment, as it can for any tax bill. One problem with property taxation is that it is unlike income or sales taxes. We are used to the income tax process where we self-report our income and taxes and the IRS is responsible for any audits and tax adjustments after the fact. In the case of property taxes, the Assessor sets the tax amount and the property owner is responsible for verifying it is correct, and appealing if they feel it is not. In other words, property owners play the role of “tax auditor” to the assessor, which is just the reverse of what we know from income taxes.  

Not Everyone Gets a Trophy

By Ruth Eddy

Gold, silver, blue, purple plastic pillars, and crystal bowls glisten in large corner windows on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, and Brazee Street. The Bardy Trophy showroom is hard to miss, but the business’s production goes mostly unseen and it’s legacy goes back 95 years.

Walter Bardy, Sr. began the business in the niche market of hand engraving silver and metal awards. The current owner, Greg Gruszczynski, knew nothing about the trophy industry when he answered a help wanted sign at Bardy, then located at 15th and Broadway.  “I sandblasted glass, built trophies, put plaques together, and magnets of the back of name tags. I did it all,” said Gruszcynski. He liked working with his hands, living close to his job, and the sense of completion that came with each order. When the Bardy brothers were ready to retire, they sold the business to Greg and two other employees. For the past 15 years, he has been the sole owner.

When people ask what he does, Greg says he “makes people happy.” Clients want to show their appreciation with a variety of products, not just trophies. The business includes custom apparel, keychains, clocks, thermoses, and chairs. Offices’ walls have transformed into cubicles and company logo jackets have replaced walnut plaques, but the message is the same. Greg knows that “It’s this mutual respect and admiration that you don’t always use words for. It’s a way of substituting words – to give somebody something and hope that translates into ‘I mean something to you’.”

As a business owner, Greg opts to bring donuts to show his employees he appreciates them rather than plaques. As a business, Bardy Trophy has a few trophies of its own, celebrating its contributions to its community both locally and in the trophy industry. A framed Trail Blazers jersey with the name Bardy on its back hangs their showroom, a gift from a repeat customer within the Trail Blazers organization. 95% of all orders come from Portland.

Trophies are symbols of the values people have and a way to reinforce those values.  Bardy Trophy is about making literal trophies as much as it is about helping customers celebrating milestones, recognizing accomplishments and making people feel worthwhile. Sometimes a handwritten card can send the message, but Bardy Trophy is for when you need something shiny to do the trick.

Portland Open Studios Provides a Peak Inside Northeast Studios

By Joanie Krug

Portland Open Studios creates a unique educational opportunity for the public to witness art in the making, and learn about media, materials and the business of creative endeavor. Through this interaction, Portland Open Studios creates a platform for local artists to thrive, engage and foster a community that values the arts.

This year, out of the total 118 citywide individuals selected, the juried group of artists includes 22 Northeast Portland artists whose studios will be open to the public. The work includes painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography, mixed media and jewelry.  The  NE Open Studios  community has also invited artists who participate in the Portland Art and Learning Center to take part in this event.

Dates and times are the weekends of October 12-13, and October 19-20. Hours are 10am to 5pm for each of the four days.

Look soon for the free official Open Studio map guide available all over the Portland metro area!  There will also be a NE Community card with a group map available throughout the neighborhood.

Portland Open Studios will also be convening a meeting of our community artists on August 28 at the Portland Art and Learning Center, 4852 NE MLK Blvd at 6:30 if you’d like to attend to meet some of the artists and chat further about individual work and the overall event.

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

Free for All Summer Concert and Movie in the Park

Image of a bad playing at the gazebo at Dawson Park

It’s that time again and Black Parent Initiative (BPI) has teamed up with Portland Parks & Recreation to bring you another amazing fun filled event.  On Friday, August 16, 2019, we will be hosting Movie in the Park in collaboration with Portland Parks & Recreation’s Summer Free for All.  Similar to last year’s concert series, but all tied into a one-day spectacular event.  BPI will also be celebrating another successful year in services to the community by adding elements of our Family Fun Day.

We have the pleasure of bringing you a host of activities including: 

♦ Portland Trail Blazers Basketball Clinics

♦ Nike “Made to Play” Activity Van

♦ Bouncin Bins Bounce House

♦ Mystique’s Fancy Faces Face Painting

♦ PACKY Academy Arts & Crafts

♦ SMART Book Give Away

♦ Eliot Neighborhood Association Domino Tournament

♦ Portland Children’s Museum

♦ And many more

The event will start at 4 pm with activities going until about 7 pm.  As a part of the Movie in the Park there will be a concert at 6:30 pm featuring Mz. Etta’s World, followed by a showing of Captain Marvel when it gets dark!  

Food trucks on site include Hana’s Authentic New Orleans Snowballs and Stoopid Burger.

There will be tons of giveaways, drawings, and resources!  Make sure you join us as we celebrate community, music, and movies!  This will be fun for the entire family.

Friday, August 16, 2019

4pm

Dawson Park 

(corner Stanton & N Williams)

For more information or to become a sponsor please contact leigh dot bohannon at thebpi dot org.

For the full schedule of Summer Free For All Concerts and Movies in the Park visit:

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/69554

By Leigh Bohannon

Sponsored by:

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

Bountiful Produce and Community at Albina Cooperative Garden

By Kat Severi

A close up image of a bee on a yellow sunflower next to a green leaf

It’s summertime now and the gardens are thriving here at Albina Cooperative Garden! We are a community based, urban farm located in the Eliot neighborhood on the corner of Russell Street and Vancouver Avenue. This large, organic gardening project produces impressive amounts of delicious produce every season here in the heart of NE Portland. 

The flowers in our pollinator garden are in full bloom and the bees are doing their work, lettuce, chard, and arugula are fresh as can be, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and basil plants are looking fantastic. We are so busy this time of year with crops growing bigger every day and even new seeds are being sown for the fall and winter harvest. Come by and say hello, we are often out in the sun (or rain), cultivating the soil that borders Legacy Emanuel Hospital who gifted this land to the Eliot neighborhood many years ago. Take a stroll through our thriving garden spaces, try a taste of some fresh sugar snap peas, bush beans, sweet peppers or luscious strawberries, maybe relax in the orchard and listen to the sounds of the many creatures that live here, bumblebees, butterfly wings, and bird songs.

Our members maintain this land for growing food and creating a living, green space in the center of the city. We educate citizens on sustainability and organic urban food production, we come together as a cooperative organization to share those values with our Eliot neighbors and our greater Portland community. 

Interested in membership? All are welcome to share in the year-round bounty in trade for satisfying work and a small annual membership fee. Eliot neighbors that need financial assistance are welcome to join us through a generous scholarship fund gifted to you, the community by the Eliot Neighborhood Association, please do email us for the application at albinacooperativegarden at gmail dot com

Visit our Instagram @albinacooperativegarden and Facebook page Albina Cooperative Garden for our garden events, membership signup or to find out how you can join the next Saturday work party.