Like many Portland neighborhoods, St. Johns has seen a lot of change over the past few years – and if you ask a local, not all of it is good. But you cannot deny Portland’s “little country town” is booming, and new businesses, restaurants, and collectives are popping up that honor the St. Johns tradition of keeping community close. Quite a few Scouts are residents and fans of NoPo, and we’d love to share some of our new favorite spots in the neighborhood:
St. Johns Clay Collective: Lindsay Fryback recognized the need for a local clay collective after testing the waters on a St. Johns Facebook group – the response being an emphatic “Yes!”. Within months, the St. Johns Clay Collective was born, offering “classes, open studio times, public firings, gallery & membership spaces with full studio access”, providing new and existing NoPo potters with resources that had been sorely missing, at affordable rates. Lindsay hopes to host fundraising events and charitable projects as the business evolves, with a focus on kids camps and after school projects. The Clay Collective is now up and running.
Two Stroke Coffee Co.: Newly opened in late February, 2016, Two Stroke is a cafe with a difference. Equal parts coffee shop, bar, and motorcycle shop (including retro refurbs of pre-loved parts and gear), they not only serve beer and brew their own blends, but carry products from renowned Portland companies, such as Fleur de Lis bakery and Jasmine Pearl teas. Co-owners Seth & Stephanie Ciferri are visible local entrepreneurs, hosting pop-up sushi dinners and encouraging small businesses to set up in St. Johns (Nourishment food cart stops by every Sunday to serve brunch to hungry locals). It’s obvious that Two Stroke has a vision, loves St. Johns, and is not afraid to put the pedal to the metal.
Marrow PDX: More than just an art gallery, Marrow PDX focuses on youth-centric issues of discrimination and cultural divides that contribute to a destructive social environment. Founder and Program Director of Marrow PDX, Daylynn Lambi, says, “What Marrow aims to give the youth in this community is an understanding of the power of their voice, and a toolkit of how to make their realities visible. Part of the issue with growing and changing communities is that too often new voices overpower pre-existing ones, when there should be collaboration. We want to empower young people to really understand how these conversations can happen, and how to assert themselves into the visible narrative of their community (and also to understand when to step back and let others be heard).”
What do we think about St. Johns? Scout co-owner, Portland native, and longtime St. Johns resident, Alia Marie Hazen, has “always liked the close proximity to downtown,” and loves the “beach town feel” of her home neighborhood. “It’s a peninsula, so it’s more of a destination than a pass-through, which creates a sense of community.”
P.S. Alia will always remain loyal to Tienda Santa Cruz. “It’s everything.”