A few different businesses have occupied the bar under the Wonder Ballroom on NE Russell Street. Since I have been in the neighborhood, it has been Trigger and Bunk Sandwiches. Cliff’s PDX is the newest tenant, but Josh Luebke has been around for all three of the recent iterations of this space.
There’s a new place to hang out in Eliot. Whether or not you are into motorcycles, Legion Motorcycle Company has something for everyone. Need to repair your motorcycle? Legion can help with that. Want a place to hang out, drink a beer or grab a snack with your friends? Legion can help with that. Want to take a class or hold an event? Legion can help with that. Or maybe you need a haircut? Legion can help with that… well, actually the barber that is located in Legion Motorcycle Company’s shop can help with that.
Gabriel Court and Alex Glover opened Legion Motorcycle Company last August. The two, who met while working with homeless veterans, wanted to open a shop that supported the motorcycle community but with less of a cliquey and exclusive feel and making it comfortable and accessible to anyone interested in cycling. After settling on their current location at 2145 NE MLK Jr Blvd across from Billy Ray’s Tavern and next to Jayne dispensary, the two envisioned a DIY motorcycle repair shop, but it has morphed into a full service motorcycle repair shop/bar/barber shop complete with events, classes and a relaxed space to hang out. This is not a motorcycle club but is open to the public and is a place for anyone to come check out, hang out, and enjoy.
Gabriel and Alex were both combat veterans. Alex was a master of arms in the Navy and Gabriel was an airborne medic in the Army. After their military service, both ended up working with homeless veterans in Portland which is how their paths crossed. Alex worked for Transition Projects and was the director of housing. Gabriel worked for Multnomah County as an Emergency Operations Manager. They worked together and ended up opening several homeless shelters across the city. Spending time together and becoming friends they discovered that they both liked motorcycles and were getting burned out on social work. Thus, when they talked about their futures, combining what they loved about motorcycles and their skills with motorcycle repair seemed to lead to creating a business that is unique in Portland especially with all the additional services that Legion Motorcycle Company offers. The name is a nod to their military service which they credit with their meeting each other and fulfilling their future adventures.
The business started as a DIY motorcycle shop where one could work on their bike using Legion’s tools and getting advice or assistance they needed with repairs. However, the DIY only format was not sustainable so Legion has developed into a full service shop while still offering a small segment of their business devoted to do it yourself repairs as well as membership opportunities. Legion purchased Portland Moto Collective and also some machining equipment for metal fabrication from the onsite scooter rental that recently went out of business. Add a barber and a bar and you have a unique new business in Eliot. The barber, Fabian Redondo, already had his station in this location with a prior barbershop onsite. Fabian has 11 years of experience and is available to make you look sharp Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm.
The addition of the bar makes the business even more sustainable and of course, a more entertaining place to hang out. What started as a few cans of beer and a tip jar has jumped to a whole new level with fellow veteran Lucas Plant, the bartender and , pouring beer from Labrewatory, serving up vegetarian/vegan snacks, and mixing up reasonably priced, creative, low ABV wine and beer cocktails such as the Misunderstood Genius (red wine and Coca Cola) and Paradise City (champagne with elder flower and bitters).
Besides motorcycle repair and libations, Alex and Gabriel want to focus on education and events. They teach classes on motorcycle maintenance and electrical work, sell parts and jackets and are starting to offer themed parties. On Valentine’s Day they projected a movie on the wall, served heart shaped pizza and had a tattoo artist giving Valentine themed tattoos. Another event was a makers market with crafts for sale by local crafters and artists.
The next event is a restaurant pop up on March 15. The event is called Atomic Pickles and they will be serving spicy food items.
Legion currently hosts a women’s motorcycle group and offer a women specific motorcycle maintenance class. They also hope to bring in veterans who are looking for a different career path such as working in a bar or working on bikes.
It is important to Alex and Gabriel to support local nonprofits. They particularly focus on homeless services for homeless veterans and will soon offer a motorcycle tour of all the affordable housing facilities in the city. Also, they will be offering classes like earthquake preparedness, first aid, and CPR.
The Legion bar space can be rented for events. For pricing and availability email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-954-1546.
Starting any new business can be both frustratingly challenging and pleasantly surprising. Alex and Gabriel say that the permitting process for food service was particularly challenging because there is not one specific place that the requirements can be found. However, the biggest surprise was how welcoming the neighborhood has been and how active the neighborhood is. Many residents have come by and said how glad they are that Legion is here and what great neighbors they have been so far. Keeping the noise down at night and respecting the neighbors is important to the motorcycle company owners.
So when looking for a place to spend an afternoon or evening, waiting for a table at a nearby restaurant, or want to explore the world of motorcycle maintenance, stop by Legion Motorcycle Company and join your neighbors in welcoming Alex and Gabriel to Eliot. I know I’m glad they chose our neighborhood to make their dream a reality.
Legion Motorcycle Co.
2145 NE MLK Jr Blvd
Wednesday – Sunday 10 am-8 pm
Tuesday – Saturday 10 am-6 pm