Category Archives: journalism

Neighborhood Notes: Saving seeds, selling e-books

Did you know you can hand-pollinate plants with a paintbrush? Did you know that you can read e-books and support a neighborhood book store at the same time? True facts! These are things I learned when writing two new pieces for NeighborhoodNotes.com, my favorite hyper-local news site.

As of this morning, you can read this piece about small, independent booksellers who are testing the waters as online merchants and e-booksellers. I had a great time getting to know the owners of Portland’s Broadway Books, St. Johns Booksellers and Microcosm Publishing while diving into the economic and even political issues that have arisen with changes in the publishing industry. My research for this piece harkened back to the Brave New World session on publishing that I attended last year at Wordstock. Honestly, I don’t think the option of indie book stores selling e-books came up at that panel less than a year ago, so I hope this is a sign of new positive options for the industry.

For all you gardeners and locavores, check out this piece on seed saving. I’ve always wondered why anyone would do such a thing when seed packets are so cheap at big-box stores, but it turns out that seed saving can contribute mightily to the biodiversity of a region, or even a neighborhood. And if you’re looking for new ways to dig in to gardening, this story includes advice and workshop dates from experts at Portland’s Independence Gardens, Handmade Gardens, Portland Nursery and Herb’n Wisdom.

Each of these pieces was featured on The Oregonian‘s website, thanks to Neighborhood Notes’ partnership with the Oregonian News Network. The ONN (not to be confused with the Onion News Network) is a hyper-local news stream from several Portland news outlets and blogs, and it’s a good model of the collaboration and web-based innovation that’s helping journalism move forward.

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Neighborhood Notes: 12 new Portland spots to check out

If the last few months are any indication, Portland might be getting a brand-new bird-themed business every 30 days. Aviary opened last month, Little Bird (cousin of Le Pigeon) opened in December, and Branch and Birdie home decor opened in November. All that is great with me. But it proves that “Portlandia” is right about this city and our obsession with putting birds on things. And you know what? I really like bird graphics and I can’t get over it.

All birds aside, my friends at NeighborhoodNotes.com got word of 12 businesses opening in Portland in January. There are plentiful new dining options, including Guild Public House, Sizzle Pie, Girasole Pizza Co. and Panera Cares Community Cafe (a pay-what-you-want shop!). There are also new options for locally made vodka, custom guitars, bicycles and spa pampering.

Here’s a bit of the story…

Listen, Portland people. I don’t ever want to hear any of you complaining about not having anything to eat (accessibility issues aside, natch). Because this city cranks out piles of fanciful food options. Every. Single. Month. That is pretty remarkable. This month your new options include craft vodka, double-decker and vegan pizzas, locally-sourced menus, and, as always, meals and atmosphere with Euro-influence. Not to mention new options for bad-ass bicycles, guitars and spa treatments. Now go forth and live it up!

Click here to read the rest of the story!

Neighborhood Notes: Fashion trucks give business a new spin

I just published a story at NeighborhoodNotes.com about people in Portland who fix up old trailers and buses and turn them into  vintage and resale clothing boutiques. Can we say “most-super-fun-story-subject-in-forever”?

(Full disclosure: I have been a vintage clothing collector since coming of age in the thrift store-laden 1990s. Here’s a photo of me the 1920s dress I bought with one of my first-ever paychecks.)

Thanks to Lodekka, Wanderlust, Showvroom, Heather Zinger and NeighborhoodNotes.com for their collaboration on this piece. Now go read it and check out the photos!

Neighborhood Notes: 15 new ways to live it up in Portland

Interstate Lanes in North Portland (not new, but plenty of good fun)

“Despite a slow economy, holiday distractions and plain old cold, we got word of entrepreneurs opening 15 new Portland businesses in December. So if you’re looking for new ways to enrich la vida local in 2011, you now have the option to try the sister bistro of Le Pigeon, two expansive indoor play spaces, and a gardening shop that sells taxidermied animals in costume. (Watch for the general Francophile theme this month—it’s pretty lovely.) Here’s to our community’s small business owners and new things in the new year!”

Check out the list and the rest of the story at NeighborhoodNotes.com!

Neighborhood Notes: New reasons to love Portland

Forgive the attempt at gangster language, but Southeast Portland is blowin’ up, yo! That quadrant of our fair city is home to four of the 17 new businesses we got word of in the last month—with even more indie biz goodness in the works. It boasts a board game shop, a gallery and artists’ hub, and a drool-worthy Italian deli, while the rest of town now offers more art and craft fun, a donation-based yoga studio and a vintage store housed in a camper. Did I mention last month that I love living here? Because I love it even more now.

It’s that time again. Time to take stock of some Portland entrepreneurs who are striking out and hoping to make a living and make a contribution to this city. My new business piece was published by the good folks at NeighborhoodNotes.com today and you can read it right here. Oh yeah.

PS: This photo is from the interior of Beulahland on SE 28th around 1 a.m. after a good round of true Japanese-style karaoke at VoiceBox.

Neighborhood Notes: 17 new ways to enjoy PDX this autumn

“Want to float in a tank of salt water in a locally made, retro bathing suit? Want to be part of Portland’s Hamburger Mary’s revival? Want to drink dozens of ciders, watch sports in fun pubs and park your bike on top of a specialty grocery store? As of this fall, you can do all that and more in Portland. Within the last month we got word of nearly 20 places that opened up shop in Portland, and we know these are just part of the picture in this bustling city that never tires of finding ways to entertain, renovate, intoxicate, and stuff the belly.”

Writing about Portland’s new businesses for NeighborhoodNotes.com is a huge treat for me. You know why? I get to find out about all the new ways to fill my weekends. And then I get to tell everyone about them. And then (hopefully) awesome small business owners get new customers, and everyone has an awesome time. Awesome!

I promise my vocabulary is better than this post indicates. Read the rest of the article at NeighborhoodNotes.com.

Portland’s artisan economy: Author Q&A with Heying

“We know, we know. Portlanders love bicycles and microbrews. Portlanders love all things artisan. Portland loves Portland, and the city is making a name for itself in the world.

But does that mean anything apart from providing unique options for an afternoon out?

It means plenty, according to Charles Heying, the author and editor of Brew to Bikes: Portland’s Artisan Economy. Heying is an associate professor of urban studies and planning at Portland State University, and his book posits that Portlanders’ way of working and spending money is reflective of a larger economic trend—one that brings liberals and conservatives together in support of local, and often small, businesses in order to enhance their own quality of life. …”

This week NeighborhoodNotes.com published my interview with the above-mentioned author and editor Charles Heying, whose book I was connected to this summer through my work with the student staff of Ooligan Press at Portland State University.

The more I dig into this book and Heying’s research, the more I am fascinated by this approach to boosting the economy. Can we really pull everyone up by supporting the little guy and pursuing quality over quantity? We shall hope, and we shall see.

Here is a link to my interview, along with a couple of other recent stories mentioning Heying: