bumper crop!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  The best part of my work at Leftbank is crossing paths with innovative, inspired and inspiring people.  Everyday.  The Leftbank community is a steadily growing and delightful assembly of Portlanders, and August brought us a bumper crop. more

welcome, neighbors!

You might not know Lloyd TMA (Transportation Management Association), but you’d sure know it if they weren’t there doing what they do. In their own words, they’re “an action-oriented association working with businesses and public agencies in the Lloyd District to improve access and mobility…” TMA’s work to support biking and carpooling, parking management, and alternative work hour programs undoubtedly impacts everyone in the district. Whether living there, spending an afternoon, or passing through on a commute, everyone in the Lloyd District benefits from the work and the vision of TMA.

With the Café open and the building busy all the time now, Leftbank’s doors are open for conversation and connection. Last week a group of TMA board members gathered at Leftbank for just that. I planned to give them a tour of the building, but we started in the brewery and as a group we never made it anywhere else. This was likely due to Alex’s usual generosity with his time and his beer. After some sampling, we headed back up to the Café where the lure of good food in a comfy spot kept everyone around the table all afternoon. No matter. We were happy to have our neighbors over, and I expect I’ll have plenty of opportunities to show them through the building some other time.

coffee break idea

a great way to casually and organically discover more about Leftbank is to check out the new Points of Interests signs hanging around the building.

these signs were developed by Leftbank’s own andy powell of gallopowell studio to highlight several particularly sign-worthy spots around the building. they will most likely become a permanent installation (after tweaks to make them more permanent).

for guidance, you can go to the Directional Signage – the floor plan signs that are mounted on pieces of wood (from the Leftbank renovation!) and hanging in front of the tile walls on each floor (see pic above). the Points of Interest are marked by asterisks on these signs.

and, if you want more of the jazz history of the building, check this out.

enjoy the tour!

steel never tasted so good

I recently talked to Hans, Leftbank’s superintendent, and he told me a fabulous story of steel recycling that i want to share…

All of the steel removed from Leftbank during the renovation – all 6-8 tons of it – was recycled by D&R Salvage, a husband and wife team. The husband – Ronny – is a recovering drug addict, which no doubt affects the way he lives and works.

Dring their time with Leftbank, Ronny and his wife would pull up to the building in their truck and load it up with steel to sell. They kept only as much money from the steel as they needed to live, using the rest of the money to make meals that they drove around in their truck and handed out to Portland’s homeless.

Hans told me that they recycled every possible piece of steel from the building, right down to the wire backing of the lathe and plaster that they would beat until all the plaster was removed.

This is another example of how present and thoughtful the people working here have been during the process of creating Leftbank. At the risk of sounding sugary, it’s really an honor to be here. This experience has reminded me several times to stop for a minute, take a breath, and figure out the best way to get something done that puts people first…

tropical salvage

I found my way to joining this Leftbank team by accident, or maybe fate – a story too long for a blog post.  Never before had my work world been about property development.  And no one was more surprised than I was to find myself here.  What I have always done is work with a deep sense of purpose, and that’s why this surprising position ended up feeling like the perfect fit.

People don’t typically think of commercial property as a mission-driven thing.  Caring about sustainability, positive change and real relationship is unexpected coming from a development team.  But beyond the thrill of being part of a team that does focus on all these things, working to build community around Leftbank introduces me time and again to people doing the most innovative and inspiring work in our fair city.

Leftbank led me to cross paths with Tim O’Brien and Kevin Havice of Tropical Salvage recently.  After 20 minutes of talking with them, I knew that I wanted to have some of their incredible furniture at Leftbank, and that everyone should hear their story.  From an unassuming shop in SE Portland, these folks do work that is sustainable, ethical, and real.  I urge you to explore it for yourself.  The wood they salvage has such spirit, that you must see and touch it to understand.

Look for their work in the common areas at Leftbank.  The Hive will be filled with fine desks that they’ve crafted.  Below is a bit about them in their own words.  Go to the website, go visit their shop.

“Old Wood. New Use. Positive Change. We salvage tropical hardwoods in Indonesia and use them to build quality, hand-made, solid wood furniture. The salvaged wood beautifully expresses its history. The effects of nails, seasoning cracks, bore holes, wild-growth grain figure and mineral accumulation are evident in many products. They are a wonderful testament to the wood’s historical richness and new eco-positive life. And it comes at an exceptional value; you may not find a better price on solid wood furniture, anywhere.

“100 percent of our wood is salvaged; none of it comes from standing trees. We are a Fair Trade company. Tropical Salvage brings good, steady jobs to an area in North Central Java where unemployment and underemployment affects nearly half of the population who is eligible to work. Part of our mission is to demonstrate to people that industry and markets can provide equivalent (or superior) goods and services, at comparable (or lower) prices, while having a positive social and environmental impact; and, therefore, to have people demand this in the market. Tropical Salvage is a partner in, and contributes funds to, the Jepara Forest Conservancy (JFC), a non-profit organization in North Central Java. The JFC is restoring natural tropical forest ecosystems; creating sustainable livelihoods in organic agriculture; and educating people about primary tropical forests.”

Oregon Manifest manifested at Leftbank

This past weekend The leftbank Project buildings played host to custom bike designers, their ardent fans, and more than a few roving bike gangs. The Greenroom saw some of the best bike manufactures in the country gather together to show off their wares. Wherever attendees and vendors weren’t busy admiring bikes they were admiring the many charms of the Greenroom. On Saturday night the guys and gals at Rapha threw one righteous bike shindig, complete with a cyclocross race, beer, and of course, waffles.

Here’s what Bicycling Magazine thought:

Portland Busts Out with its OWN Hand built Show

“The first-ever Oregon Manifest drew more than 3,500 people together at Portland’s Leftbank Project for a three day celebration of the Pacific  Northwest’s vibrant multi-faceted cycling culture. It was the most complete gathering of the city’s many cycling subcultures I’ve seen under one roof. Cigarette smoking messengers, lycra-clad roadies, DIY freak-bikers, half crazed cyclocross racers and completely crazed Zoo Bombers all came together for a weekend to rub tattooed elbows, drink copious amounts of beer, and celebrate their respective cults. Needless to say .. it was a damn good party….”read more