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Rose City-landia

July 12, 2012
Vespa Portland

There's no more skate park at Vespa Portland! (Orin O'Neill photos)

It had been too long since I was last in Portland. I must say, I miss it so, and if only the Portland job market weren’t so crappy, I’d go back in a heartbeat. The relocation to Bellingham happened two years ago (!) and as you might expect, things have changed a bit.

Remember Jantzen Beach Center, the ghost mall? The signs at the entrance emphasize that “All Stores Are Open.”


Well, the ones that aren’t being torn down, anyway. Hey, they had to do something, though the idea of cheap artists’ space doesn’t seem to be part of the plan.

Hollywood Tan

Retail activity in the Hollywood District seems to be picking up. This building, which once housed a business called Hollywood Tan, has lost its colorful facade.

In fact, it got the rather dull brownbeigegray exterior paint job at least a year ago. But it now houses not one, but two small businesses.

Not Hollywood Tan

There’s a bookstore and something else I couldn’t identify positively. Empty storefronts are depressing, and this one was empty for quite a long time.

The Pagoda

The Pagoda had been slated to become a KeyBank branch even before I landed in Portland almost three years ago. The place got its name because it actually had a pagoda on the roof when it was still a Chinese restaurant. Portland still seems to have a lot more Chinese restaurants than Seattle, and more per capita than Bellingham.


The transformation has finally taken place. Geez, BEIGE?? Well, the Hollywood Theatre (the neighborhood’s namesake) is only a short walk away.

C.A. Wells building

Happily, the C.A. Wells building has remained its colorful self.

I was very happy to see the skate park gone from Vespa Portland (lead pic), now also known as Classic Scooters. New owners Paul and Maggy have Ural motorcycles sharing the floor with Vespa/Piaggio, Genuine Scooters and SYM. Paul said sales have picked up, and that lots of folks from the nearby Uptown and Pearl District neighborhoods have replaced their cars with scooters, Buddys in particular.

The living room

Pablo is selling the crash pad, and has it all spruced up for the lookie-loos. I wish I could buy it from him. Maybe I should go buy a Lotto ticket. Favicon


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