Last month, we examined the history of Vanport and its lasting influence on modern-day Portland. Today, we’re placing another piece of that puzzle — the Albina District, which spans north + northeast neighborhoods from Eliot to Piedmont, and was once its own city.
We spoke with Portland State University’s Dr. Darrell Millner, an expert on African Americans in the western movement, to help us grasp what Albina represents, most notably, as the historic heart of our city’s Black community.
The story starts on the other side of the river, where Union Station and the booming railroad industry, along with bustling restaurants + hotels, drew Black workers to what we now think of as Old Town. “But as the river became tamed with the bridges, and as the Black community became larger, then it jumped the Willamette River,” Dr. Millner said.
Despite redlining + other racist practices that restricted where they could live, Black Portlanders established a community in Albina in the physical sense, where they could own a home, earn a living, and foster a shared culture.
“Many people who came to Oregon were both anti-slavery and anti-Black. If you have to define Oregon’s pioneer roots, that’s probably the best way to do it,” Dr. Millner explained. “They were against slavery, not necessarily because of what it did to the slave, but because of the competition that represented for whites who had to work for a living.”
Under the guise of “urban renewal,” Portland’s ruling political and civic elite began to dismantle Albina — despite the best efforts of grassroots organizations — claiming the area was “blighted” to encourage landlords to evict tenants. Homes were demolished to make way for the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Interstate 5, and the expansion of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. Discrimintation led to decay, ultimately giving way to gentrification in the 1990s.
Bangerz Comedy | Thurs., June 16 | 8 p.m. | Neighbors Taproom, 1306 E. Burnside St. | Free | Laugh along to this standup showcase hosted by Bjorn RG and Eliza Butler.
Tabletop Thursday | Thurs., June 16 | 6-9 p.m. | The 4th Wall PDX, 1445 SE Hawthorne Blvd. | Free | It’s playtime, so take your pick from all the classic board games. 🎲
The Phoenix Ten Minute Play Festival | Fri., June 17-Sat., June 25 | 7 p.m. | Clinton Street Theater | $10 | Monkey With a Hat On’s 28th installment showcases new plays written, directed + performed by Portland artists.
PDX Parent Family Festival | Sat., June 18 | 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Oaks Amusement Park | Free | Bring the kids for a day of fun performances + games, plus meet Lightning McQueen and Cruz from Pixar’s “Cars 3.” ⚡
It’s a Hootenanny! | Sat., June 18 | 11 a.m.-12 a.m. | White Eagle Saloon & Hotel, 836 N. Russell St. | $15 | Rock-n-roll all day with killer shows, brats, and a specially brewed beer. 🎸
Portland Pride Waterfront Festival | Sat., June 18-Sun., June 19 | Times vary | Tom McCall Waterfront Park | $8 donation encouraged | Support community organizations and businesses in person for the first time since 2019, when 65,000+ people attended. 🏳️🌈
Juneteenth Oregon Celebration | Sat., June 18 | 11 a.m.-6 p.m. | Lillis Albina Park, N. Flint Ave. + N. Russell St. | Free | On the 50th anniversary of when Portland recognized the holiday, join the city in celebrating African American freedom, education + achievement with a variety of food, entertainment, and vendors.
National Drink Up Week is July 25-31. | Photo by PDXtoday
Raise your glasses. This toast is dedicated to Portland’s beverage industry, from morning iced lattes to afternoon power smoothies and evening specialty cocktails. We appreciate what makes our local drink scene unique.
And to kick off our National Drink Up Week, July 25-31, we want to partner with local coffee shops, wineries, bars, restaurants, distilleries + more to shine a spotlight on our local beverage tastemakers. Find out more below.
In a 17-3 vote, the Portland Charter Commission approved putting proposed city charter amendments on the November ballot. If passed by voters this fall, the city’s government would undergo significant changes, like increasing the number of city council members to 12, implementing ranked-choice voting, and hiring a professional city administrator. 🗳️ (OPB)
Washington Park’s World Forestry Center has reopened its Discovery Museum, which was closed due to the pandemic. Highlights include the new Future of the Forest Community Engagement exhibit, which explores the threats to our forests and innovative solutions for those problems. 🌲 (KOIN)
The best way to stay sharp is to keep walking. Just ask Nolina, the Oregon Zoo’s elderly porcupine, who enjoys morning strolls to visit different enclosures. Not bad for a spiky senior citizen, who turns 18 next week — African crested porcupines rarely make it past 15 in the wild.
Portland came in at No. 21 in a recent report from real estate firm CBRE on the US life sciences labor markets. Factors in this distinction include the “significant growth of researchers, well-educated labor force, density of talent, recent spike in venture capital funding, and income relative to cost of living.”🔬 (Portland Business Journal)
Well, this bites. Hair of the Dog Brewery is shuttering its taproom in Southeast Portland after a 29-year run, which saw it pioneer barrel-aged beers and gain global renown. Sun., June 26 will be its last day of business, though founder Alan Sprints plans to continue collaborating with other breweries. 🍺 (The Oregonian/Oregon Live)
Astoria’s waterfront Buoy Beer Company, a popular brewery + tourist destination for Portlanders, will be
closed indefinitely following a partial collapse of its roof. The reason for the warehouse-style building’s cave in remains unclear, but thankfully, nobody was injured. (Willamette Week)
Officials have closed Willamette Cove — the eastern bank of the river upstream from Cathedral Park — to collect samples and conduct an environmental clean up of the water and land in the area, once used for milling lumber and ship repair. The closure runs through Mon., Sept. 5. (KOIN)
Gresham Fire and Emergency Services + Corbett Fire will host an informative water safety event today at 10 a.m. in Dabney State Recreation Area. Its goal is to reduce drownings on the Sandy River — there will be lifejackets to borrow, and demonstrations of equipment that can help save lives. 💧
IOTAS, a Portland company that offers people living in apartments the same smart home features available to those living in houses, was recently purchased by home security giant ADT. The startup partners with property managers to attract tenants by offering the ability to control lights, thermostats, locks, and more wireless features. 💡 (The Oregonian/Oregon Live)
“The balance sheets of these companies are strong enough that they should be able to
withstand this downturn,” said University of Portland finance professor Brian Adams, in response to concerns over how a bear market might affect
Oregon’s recent IPOs — filed by companies like Vacasa, Dutch Bros, Absci +
NuScale Power. (Portland Business Journal)
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Portland nonprofit Word Is Bond was founded in 2017 “to rewrite the narrative between young Black men and law enforcement through leadership development, critical dialogue, and education,” but since then, it’s grown to incorporate career exploration, Black history + storytelling for men ages 16-21.
This week, staff + current ambassadors delivered leadership toolkits — including a Malcom X biography, an Ancestry.com DNA kit, chess set, journal, and more — to 20 new ambassadors, who will soon be a vital part of the organization’s programs, like Rising Leaders, Word Up, and In My Shoes.
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Served on a bed of rice, lentils + crispy onions | Photo by @benmcbeephoto
Editor’s pick: Looking for a restaurant to celebrate a birthday, promotion, or other big occasion? Head to Shalom Y’all at 117 SE Taylor St #101, where the tasty Mediterranean dishes are served family style. My choice — the baharat chicken kebab — was tender and juicy on the inside with a perfect char.
Missed yesterday’s newsletter? We gave an insider look at Vancouver Waterfront’s new AC Hotel.
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