Walking to Pip’s

Dear Liza,

Dry, grey skies

The New Year is upon us, and all the good intentions that come with new beginnings. We have had some unseasonably dry weather of late, so Grandpa Nelson and I took one of our long walks.

Beautiful old Franklin High School

We walked north through the lovely, historic Laurelhurst neighborhood, with its Craftsman style homes, century old maple trees, and complicated Christmas decorations. For a while, the bright overcast made everything look like it was being filmed in black and white.

We crossed the noisy Banfield Freeway and stopped for a snack and Cold Buster juice at Whole Foods, then continued north to one of my favorite streets in Portland: Kilckitat Street! Yes, this is the same street that Romona Quimby, the young heroine of Beverly Cleary’s stories, lived on. It still has the working class, family friendly feel it had back in the 1950s when the stories were written.

When we got to Pip’s Doughnuts and House made Chai, the first thing we noticed was that the bus stop in front of the shop had been destroyed. The metal bench and sign posts were literally laying in a heap on the curb. That looked like bad news.

Uh Oh….

Looking past that, we saw that the wall of the doughnut shop had been boarded up. More bad news.

More uh oh…

But looking just to the left, we saw the good news. A line of people out the door, happily waiting for fresh cooked Pip’s Doughnuts. All was well, after all.

All is well! Doughnuts!

It seems that during the night, a drunk driver had veered off the street and into the shop, breaking a window but missing the door, the supporting pillar, the equipment, and even the guitar hung on the wall. It could have been a disaster, but it was mostly an inconvenience to the owners.

More good news! People love Pip’s, and hundreds came by to make sure the business continued. They are the sort of ecologically- conscious, community- centeric business that help make Portland what it is.

We enjoyed way too many doughnuts, then headed back towards home.

Not so bad inside!
We love their ecological and social consciousness…
And their doughnuts!

Our short winter day made for a pretty sunset sky at not quite 4:00, and we got home in time for leftover chili and some British Baking Show before falling into an exhausted, happy sleep.

Good bye, Sun!


Grandma Judy

Friday Night In Woodlawn, Part 1

Too full!

Dear Liza,

Last night Grandpa Nelson had an evening of music planned, but first we needed to have dinner. He isn’t fussy about food, but gave us some ideas we hadn’t thought of.

Swiss Hibiscus is a Swiss restaurant up on NE 14th and their Online menu looked good! Onion soup, raclettes (bread with melted cheeeeese) and escargots all sounded like just the thing for this cold, almost-winter evening. But when we got there, we realized that we should have called for reservations. The tiny restaurant was booked up with no relief in sight. Sigh.

We were on Alberta Street, which is a main drag in the northeast, but places were filling up for dinner. The Tin Shed, which is more of a bar with food, was also full. Across the street was a highly decorated (seems a bit early for Christmas…) shop called Frock, but no food.

No Food!

We finally decided to make life easy and get a Lyft to our final destination, The Oregon Public House, and eat there. It wouldn’t be escargots or raclettes, but that was fine.

The Oregon Public House is a special place. Its motto is “Have a pint, change the world.” It is the only non-profit pub in the whole country. Let me explain.


You order drinks and food from the bar. Burgers, sandwiches, fries and sweet potato tots are the fare, all tasty and inexpensive. You pay and then decide which of the charities you want the profit from your meal to go to.

Food for Families, The Northeast Portland Tool Library, Keep Oregon Well, and Carpe Mundi, are just a few. There is even a Give-O-Meter, a small wooden counter fitted with beer steins and clear plastic tubes, that lets you donate cash to the different charities if you feel like it.


The pub itself is family friendly and lively, with small people making laps of the place accompanied by their patient parents, as well as hipper folks chatting at tables. All the employees were young and cheerful.

After dinner, we went upstairs for the second part of our adventure. I’ll tell you about that tomorrow!

Love, Grandma Judy