May 19, 2010
On Saturday, May 22, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Kenton neighborhood will sponsor its first annual street fair, a celebration of the diverse communities that comprise this historic area, its local history and future achievements. The family-focused event is the culmination of several months of work on streetscape and business district amenities, and represents a re-energized collaboration within the Kenton business community.
Jessie Burke, owner of Kenton’s Posies Café and one of the primary movers behind the street fair, is excited about the energy that went into planning the event. “I’m so proud of what our neighborhood can do when we work together for the greater good of the community,” she said. “Our neighborhood is really fun and we think the street fair will be a great expression of that positive community feeling.”
The fair will include more than 70 vendors, live music, food carts, a coaster car exhibition, a car and bike show, and a variety of games and activities for all ages. Events will take place on N. Denver Avenue, which will be closed between N. Watts Street and N. Willis Boulevard. People are encouraged to use public transit; visit www.trimet.org for schedule information.
Schedule of Events
The Fair kicks off at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony at the South Stage near N. Schofield St., one of three entertainment venues running throughout the day. Music starts on all three stages (South Stage, near N. Schofield St.; Middle Stage, on N. Kilpatrick St.; and North Stage, near N. McClellan St.) at 11:30 a.m. Twenty bands in all will perform, with Portland-based percussion ensemble The Lions of Batucada closing the Fair from 5-6 p.m. on the North Stage.
Mackins Auto Body will sponsor a car and bike show, with proceeds to benefit the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation. A coaster car race will take place along Denver Avenue, and Portland International Raceway has volunteered crews to help teams and individuals build their own cars for the race.
Businesses new to Kenton
In the past year a number of businesses have started up in the neighborhood, including:
- Homebrew Exchange, 1907 N. Kilpatrick: a home brew supply and gift store
- Jasmine Photography, 2133 N. Willis: wedding and portrait photography.
- Kenton Antiques and Collectibles (under new ownership), 8112 N. Denver Avenue:
- Olivine Design Studio & Art Gallery, 2121 N. Willis: nature-friendly landscape and interior design.
- Portland Chiropractic, 8418 N. Brandon: chiropractic and naturopathic care.
- Posies Café, 8208 N. Denver: a coffee shop offering pastries, sandwiches and wraps
- Queens Mab, 1920 N. Kilpatrick: children’s clothing store, new and consignment.
- Stella Barbershop, 2133 N. Willis: a hip barbershop for men and women.
The Kenton Streetscape and other recent projects
The first phase of streetscape improvements was completed in March 2010 along the four-and-one-half block stretch of N. Denver Avenue from North Interstate Avenue to North Watts Street. The completed makeover includes widened sidewalks with patterned accents, new street trees, street level pedestrian lighting, carved stone benches, storm-water treatment planters, and public art.
The street will be repaved with concrete as Phase II of the project. Denver Avenue will be closed between Interstate and Watts for about six weeks to accommodate construction of the new distinctive concrete surface. Temporary traffic detours will be in place during the closure and the sidewalks will remain open.
The Portland Development Commission (PDC) is funding both phases of this $2.85 million overhaul of the street and adjacent sidewalks. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) manages construction.
The new North Portland branch of the Multnomah County Library held its grand opening on March 13 at 8226 N. Denver. The Kenton Library building, originally Cyril S. Kenyon Hardware, was constructed in 1951. The building was redesigned by architects Hennebery Eddy, and expanded to 6,000 square feet for the library, which features a barrel ceiling, one wall made of reused wood from the original building, and art glass meeting room doors by local artist Marlene Bauer.
The Kenton Neighborhood Association received funding through the PDC Community Livability Grant Program to spruce up the now historically recognized Paul Bunyan statue. The $13,317 grant funding was used to refurbish the statue and protect it from graffiti damage. Paul was built in 1959 for Oregon’s Centennial Celebration and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. He stands at the intersection of Denver and Interstate Avenues and serves as the gateway to the business district.