By James Bash
For the Hollywood Star News
with photos by Jane Perkins
The Kerns neighborhood dates back to the 1850s when the area’s first homesteader, William Kerns, wielded axes and saws to clear his 320-acre Donation Land Claim. Kerns earned a living making wood shingles and shakes, which he sold. It has been recorded that Kerns could “hew a sill or beam with the greatest precision and with amazing speed.” By 1855, Kerns was elected by the local school district as its school director, and he led the effort to purchase land for Washington High School.
Spanning parts of inner Northeast and Southeast Portland, the Kerns neighborhood is bounded on the west side by the Willamette River and extends along the Lloyd District and Sullivan’s Gulch to the north, Laurelhurst to the east, and Buckman and Sunnyside to the south. So you could say that Kerns is surrounded, but in a good way!
Running right through the middle of Kerns is Sandy Boulevard, which actually follows a path that was used by Native Americans to travel from the Willamette River to the Sandy River. Sandy Boulevard continues to be one of the main thoroughfares funneling traffic into and out of the city’s core.
Landmarks for the Kerns neighborhood include Benson Polytechnic High School, da Vinci Arts Middle School, Sunshine Dairy, United States Bakery aka Franz Bakery, Pepsi Beverages Company, and KATU. The neighborhood is also acclaimed for its numerous eating and drinking establishments, and it has some lesser known businesses, such as the Bond Organ Builders, which makes and refurbishes real pipe organs, and the headquarters for the Oregon Children’s Theatre.
Kerns is noted for its mixture of commercial buildings, condos, rental housing, and single family residences. But there are still plenty of trees in Kerns. According to the 2014 Kerns Neighborhood Street Tree Inventory, the neighborhood has 3,140 trees representing 91 different types.
The Kerns Neighborhood Association meets on the third Wednesday of the month (except August and September) at 6 pm at the Pacific Crest Community School. Folks who live in Kerns should consider getting involved and advocate for their neighborhood.
24th and Meatballs
Considered the best meatball bistro in the city, 24th and Meatballs has established a fan base that relishes the classic Italian, spicy pork, and chicken selections. There is also a vegan non-meatball that has become a hit. Whether in sandwich form, or served with polenta, pasta, garlic bread, or a tasty salad, owner Adam Burger and crew know what comfort food is all about. Address: 2341 NE Glisan St. Phone: 971-512-0007. Web: 24thandmeatballs.com. Don’t miss: There’s a ball of the day! Also most items are available as gluten-free.
Although it might be quite unorthodox in other cities, Church is a bar with a mission that fits secular Portland quite well. A sign at the front of the establishment exhorts patrons to “Eat. Drink. Repent.” Decorated with lots of loosely themed knickknacks and a menu of southern fare, Church offers a wide variety of libations to wash away your sins. Afterwards you can tell your friends that you have been to Church. Address: 2600 NE Sandy Blvd. Phone: 503-206-8962. Web: churchbarpdx.wpengine.com. Don’t miss: Take time to visit the photo booth, dressed up like a confessional.
Sweet or savory, Pie Spot has just the right item for your pie hole. The Pie Spot began by selling its confections at farmers market and events with the specialty of creating pies that fit your hand. So no fork or knife is necessary. The sweet mini-pies may include flavors like brown butter pecan, s’more, or lemon vanilla bean. The savory pies range from chicken pot pie and breakfast quiche to vegan and gluten-free pot pies. Operated by Jessica Woods, Pie Spot is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Address: 532 NE 24th Ave. Phone: 503-913-5103. Web: pie-spot.com. Don’t miss: You should try the hog in a quilt! That’s pork/apple sausage and cheddar cheese wrapped in pie pastry and served with stone ground mustard.
When you step into the Everyday Music store for the first time, you’ll be amazed at the sheer number of CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records on display. Open until 10 pm seven days a week, Everyday Music has over 100,000 CDs that cover all genres of music. The store also has plenty of used inventory, and you can bring your used CDs, DVDs, and records, which the store will buy for cash. The staff will make house calls for large vinyl collections that are over 500 records. Address: 1931 NE Sandy Blvd. Phone: 503-239-7610. Web: everydaymusic.com. Don’t miss: The store has listening stations where you can sample any title that is in stock.
Five Stride Skate Shop
Because roller skating is a hot trend in Portland, there is now a store that is devoted to outfitting roller skaters with the latest and greatest gear. Believe it or not, the store is an expansion from New York City. It has a full selection of products for those who are getting started with the basics of roller skating to those who are competing in a roller derby league. The store is staffed by roller derby veterans. Address: 2229 NE Sandy Blvd. Phone: 503-265-8170. Web: fivestrideskateshop.com. Don’t miss: New models will be available in January.
If you are looking for a new mattress and want to support local mattress manufacturers, then you’ve got to stop in at Mattress Lot. Founded by Michael and Mary Ruth Hanna in 2010, Mattress Lot offers over 60 different types of mattresses – even ones for organic cribs. The store gives back to the neighborhood in many ways, including scholarships for promising students. Address: 2406 NE Sandy Blvd. Phone: 503-896-1072. Web: mattresslot.com. Don’t miss: Pedal-powered delivery service for nearby buyers.
Tails & Trotters
Slated to re-open in February after an electrical fire last year, Tails & Trotters is inspired by regional ham delicacies of Europe that use only salt and time to cure and offers the finest in hazelnut-finished pork. Owner Aaron Silverman features an award-winning line of products that rival the quality found in Spain and Italy. Address: 525 NE 24th Ave. Phone: 503-680-7697. Web: tailsandtrotters.com.
CrossFit Torque Strength
With a focus on personalized programs, CrossFit Torque Strength fitness studio will provide the right program for you. Led by coach Mandy Weaver, CrossFit Torque Strength has a strong staff that is committed to help you improve in strength, agility, and flexibility for your day-to-day tasks. No matter what age or level of skill, the individualized programs will get you to your goals without injury. Instruction ranges from yoga to boxing. Address: 1811 NE Sandy Blvd. Phone: 503-507-7398. Web: torque-gym.com. Don’t miss: Check out the exercise videos on their Facebook page.
Started by Don Horn in 1989, Triangle Productions is the oldest LBGTQ-identified theater in the Northwest. Now in its 28th season, the company has a full slate of shows that will challenge and entertain, including world premieres. It produced Tonya and Nancy: The Rock Opera to much acclaim, including mentions in Entertainment Tonight, CNN, ESPN, and the BBC. Address: 1785 NE Sandy Blvd. Phone: 503-239-5919. Web: trianglepro.org. Don’t miss: You can rent the mainstage or the Board Room Cabaret for your special event.