Small Business Woes

Dear Liza,

One of the reasons we bought the house we did, here in the Southeast part of Portland, is because of the neighborhood. It is a nice mix of Victorian style homes and newer houses, full of big trees and rhododendron bushes, and just a few blocks away from fabulous Laurelhurst Park.

It is also close to dozens of bars, restaurants, and cool shops, and even a Korean grocery store. We love being able to walk less than a block for milk or eggs at H Mart.

But it is the little restaurants and the people who run them that make our Friday nights special. Pulled pork, shrimp with grits, a glass of wine while hanging with David at at the Hobnob. Watching scifi movies and having dessert with Mitch at The Nerd Out. Street tacos and chatting with Gilly at Ankeny Tap and Table. Making our own birthday pancakes at SlappyCakes. You know, the good times.

And it is exactly these small restaurants that are suffering during the shut down mandated by the corona virus. Keeping everyone safe and distant means the dining rooms have to close, and there just isn’t enough take-out business.

The only businesses close by that are doing well are H Mart and the smaller convenience stores like Plaid Pantry and Belmont Market, and pizza places like Baby Doll and Straight From New York Pizza, who are doing take out and even free delivery.

I am worried about a lot of things, lately. Staying healthy, and keeping Auntie Bridgett and Grandpa Nelson well. What this virus’s stay in our country will cost in jobs and retirement investments. Whether our Federal government, which doesn’t seem to have a good grasp on things, is going to make things better instead of worse.

But I am also worried about the survival of the small businesses that make our neighborhood special.

Love,

Grandma Judy

Answers to Questions

Dear Liza,

The Tree Farm

Do you know what my favorite thing is?
Learning stuff!

For months now, I have seen and photographed this interesting, tree covered blue building going up right beside the Morrison Bridge. I see it everytime I take the bus to downtown. I even walked right by it when we went under the bridge.

Well, there was a news story yesterday that helped answer lots of questions.

Profile, showing how close the Morrison Bridge is!

Q. Who is building it? The architect is Ben Carr.

Q. Does it have a name? The building is called The Tree Farm.

Q. What kind of trees are they? How will they be watered?
They called Strawberry Trees, though their scientific name is arbutus unedo. This kind of tree only gets to be ten feet high or so, and they are watered by individually controlled drip irrigation systems that allow for different watering needs depending on the side of the building, the floor of the building, and what the weather is like.

Q. How will the building support the trees as they get bigger? The framework of the building has been designed to support the extra 2,200 pounds that each tree is expected to weigh.

Old building, new building….

Q. Why was this building put here, in industrial Southeast Portland? This part of the city used to be factories and lumber mills. It is now warehouses and train yards, and has almost no trees at all. This building adds 56 trees, which will not only be pretty, but help clean the air and make habitats for birds. Also, when the people inside the building look out the window, they will look out over a canopy of trees instead of just freeways and rail yards.

Pretty neat, huh?

Love,

Grandma Judy