Alberta Neighborhood
Image by Ian Poellet under Creative Commons License.

Oregon, Portland Guide (A): Alberta Neighborhood

One of the city’s areas of urban renewal, Alberta – also called the Alberta Arts District – is definitely on it’s way to becoming one of the hippest places in town. A number of great restaurants, bars, coffee houses, art galleries and other attractions populate this street within a small area. Alberta is known as one of the dog-friendliest places in the city, with a dog daycare, dog wash, and several restaurants welcoming man’s best friend.
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Alberta Neighborhood
Guide Location: USA » Portland
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 3.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: St. Andrews Catholic Church   The Green Microgym   Tin Shed   Talisman Gallery   Alberta Co-op Grocery   Green Bean Books   Mash Tun Brewery   Onda Arte Latina   Cup & Saucer Café   Kennedy School  
Author: Jim Reynoldson
Author Bio: Jim Reynoldson is an avid traveler and writer who grew up on Oregon. He enjoys hiking, camping and sightseeing throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
1
St. Andrews Catholic Church

1) St. Andrews Catholic Church

Founded by Irish Immigrants, St. Andrews was dedicated in 1908. The original building served as a chapel, parish hall, and a school. After burning down in 1920, the current building was reconstructed in the French Gothic style and rededicated in 1929. Welcoming German immigrants escaping Nazi rule in the 1930s, African-Americans moving to the area to work in the nearby shipyards, and Hispanic immigrants, St. Andrews grew as a congregation committed to diversity and social justice. The church continues to preach a progressive message of tolerance today, active in the community supporting gay rights, racial harmony, environmental stewardship, and social justice. Motivated by faith and compassion, the congregation will welcome you warmly should you choose to stop by for a service.
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The Green Microgym

2) The Green Microgym

The Green Microgym is a very unique health club in that it harnesses energy from the workouts of the members to help power the building itself. In what may be the only facility of its kind in the world, the retrofitted fitness equipment in the 3000 square foot gym is plugged into the power grid of what Fitness Magazine calls “America’s best eco-friendly gym”. While there are membership fees, each hour of time spent on the electricity-generating equipment earns the user $1 credit toward food, drinks, clothing and merchandise in the “Burn and Earn” program. An accessible interface even allows members to track the overall amount of power being generated, giving people more to feel good about beyond their own improved fitness.
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Tin Shed

3) Tin Shed

While the inside is a bit cramped, the dog-friendly covered outdoor patio is roomier and offers heaters and a large fireplace for cold days. The staff is friendly and unpretentious, the atmosphere is laid-back, and the food definitely satisfies. The comfort-food breakfasts are outstanding and the restaurant offers many options for vegans. A schedule of live music, art shows and movie nights are offered at the Tin Shed, and the restaurant is part of a collection of dog-centered businesses in the area (Portlanders LOVE their dogs!) – offering a dog menu, bowls of water and a wait staff accustomed to stepping over lounging pooches on the covered patio.
Image by Christopher under Creative Commons License.
4
Talisman Gallery

4) Talisman Gallery

The Talisman Gallery is a diverse art cooperative highlighting the work of a number of local artists – both well established and unknown. Opened in 1999, the gallery displays works of painting, sculpture, and multi-media, among other styles. An annual juried exhibition by the Talisman Gallery makes it a focus to expose audiences to the work of aspiring artists previously unknown. In addition, a number of resident artists display works at the gallery on an ongoing basis. If you happen to be in town on the last Thursday of each month, the Talisman Gallery and a number of other venues along Alberta participate in a monthly “Last Thursday” open house and art walk from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
5
Alberta Co-op Grocery

5) Alberta Co-op Grocery

The Alberta Co-op Grocery is one of the many examples of progressive food projects in the city. With a focus on sustainable, organic, and local products, this cooperatively owned grocer was founded in 1997. The purchasing choices of the Alberta Co-op also address concerns such as fair trade practices, genetic modification, ethical workplaces, treatment of animals, environmental impacts of food and packaging, and producer independence. The co-op also offers a wealth of useful information, like gardening tips, recipes, and health-related articles. Anyone is welcome to join the Alberta Co-op for a $180 fee, and membership includes product discounts, voting rights in major decisions, and even discounts at a number of sister organizations in the area. Membership is not required in order to shop.
6
Green Bean Books

6) Green Bean Books

Green Bean Books is a kid-friendly independent bookstore in the Alberta arts district, with an interactive vibe and a nice outdoor area for reading or playing. The interior has comfortable furniture for reading and an assortment of coin-operated vending machines, props, and toys to keep kids entertained. The bookstore buys and trades books, as well – and offers an array of classes and workshops for kids and adults alike. Classes in art, bookmaking, and performance are taught – and story time readings are offered in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and sign language as well as English. While Green Bean does have some adult books, it’s an especially great place to find gifts for kids.
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Mash Tun Brewery

7) Mash Tun Brewery

Founded by Christian Bravard in 2005, the Mash Tun Brewpub is serious about sustainability. The pub is powered by 100% renewable energy in Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program. Local, organic ingredients are used in food and drinks. Used oil from fryers is donated to become fuel. Used grains are even donated to local farmers after the brewing process as livestock feed. The pub’s name comes from a type of vat used in brewing to mix grains and water to produce a starchy liquid called wort – which then is boiled with hops to make beer. Mash Tun brews its beers in small vats, without filtration or pasteurization, and it goes directly from the tanks to the patrons’ glass. The commitment to natural ingredients comes through in the food, as well, with a menu of good food – including several options for vegans.
8
Onda Arte Latina

8) Onda Arte Latina

The Onda Gallery specializes in Latin American artwork. A variety of painting styles are represented, in addition to sculpture using cement, metal, and glass. Onda not only displays works from its own resident artists, but it also offers an array of services and classes to aspiring artists from the community. Also unique is Onda’s art rental program, allowing art-lovers to rent works for a business setting or the home. This enables potential buyers to try the art in a space before buying – and if a decision to purchase is made, Onda offers 70% credit of the rental fee toward the purchase.
9
Cup & Saucer Café

9) Cup & Saucer Café

Cup and Sauce is a nondescript but comfortable coffee house a few blocks off of Alberta on Killingsworth Street. Celebrating their 20th anniversary and three locations, Cup and Saucer demonstrates a focus on sustainability. No hormones or antibiotics are used in the food, and only cage-free eggs are served. The coffee house also practices composting, purchasing of organic and local products, and support for clean wind energy. A good sized food menu is available, along tasty, hot coffee - the city’s other ubiquitous beverage (microbrews being the other). Tasty treats, like the apple blackberry coffee cake, make for a great companion to a cup of joe.
Image by Amy Gahran under Creative Commons License.
10
Kennedy School

10) Kennedy School

This is the epitome of the McMenimans’ restoration of historic places into multipurpose neighborhood centerpieces. An elementary school dating back to 1915 and abandoned in 1975, the Kennedy School was expertly renovated in 1997 to save it from the wrecking ball. Classrooms became uniquely themed guestrooms (complete with chalkboards), and the maze-like structure houses a movie theater, several bars (including a very tiny cigar and whiskey room), a beautiful outdoor soaking pool and courtyard, and loads of artistic charm. In what used to be the girls’ restroom, the fermentation tanks of the onsite brewery pump out some of the city’s tastiest beers. With a respect for the building’s past, much of the artwork in the hallways consist of historic photographs of the kids and teachers who once roamed the property. To complete the tour, simply walk one block south from the Kennedy School’s front entrance to Killingsworth, then walk seven blocks west to the Tri-Met bus stop at 27th and Killingsworth. The Tri-Met #9 bus will take you all the way back into downtown.
Image by Ian Poellet under Creative Commons License.