(503) 823-4288 coalition@nwnw.org

Recover NW 23rd

An update from the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management on the NW 23rd recovery project


The Alphabet District is more resilient than ever before. For two months, you have united in the face of trauma, going above and beyond to help each other out. Generosity and good will are alive in your neighborhood, but there’s more to it.  You’re rebuilding, sharing lessons learned and taking steps to improve your community’s flexibility and durability. You’re strengthening business ties and relationships with neighbors. Next time you’re faced with trouble, you’ll be able to respond and recover more quickly because you are forging relationships that thicken community fibers.

WAYS TO CONNECT to the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management

Jonna Papaefthimiou, Recover NW23 Project Manager

Felicia Heaton, Recover NW23 Communications and Outreach


Art Work Rebels

Jason Kundell admits finding a new home for his tattoo studio, Art Work Rebels, has been tough. Despite strong recommendations from business partners and a letter of support from Mayor Charlie Hales, Justin says some property owners just don’t like the idea of having a tattoo studio in the mix and that made finding a new location harder. He warns other mom ‘n’ pop shops to be prepared – if something happens to your space, the insurance process is slower than you’d think. If it’s manageable, he urges small businesses to build a solid emergency fund because access to cash flow will be needed as the insurance company processes the claim.

Here’s some good news: it’s looking very likely that that studio will reopen in coming months in Downtown Portland. After they sign the lease on the property on SW Third Ave between Washington and Alder (conveniently close to Killer Burger!), it will take some time to build out the shop. In the meantime, Jason and the other artists who work with Art Work Rebels; are available by appointment. Find their contact info, updates on the relocation and rebuild and pick up some cool merch at www.artworkrebels.com.

Rich Earth Organic Skin Care Studio

Rich Earth, which was housed right above Moonstruck Chocolate, will be reopening in a new location on Jan. 3rd. Marna Herrington says she’s accepting appointments through www.richearthorganicspa.com. She’s also selling her products through the website – a great way to continue supporting the business until the new space opens at 1942 NW Kearney.

Like other business owners, Marna says the effort to recover has been very trying, but her heart has been warmed by the demonstrations of support by community members and fellow business operators in the neighborhood.

“If there’s a silver lining to this awful situation, it would be that,” she said, noting the Saturday of Giving fundraiser for businesses and employee affected by the explosion as one of many kind acts over the last few weeks.


A slice of puttanesca is in your future! Pizzicato will soon reopen in the same location on NW 23rd & Glisan, but with a fresh new look. The exact date hasn’t been identified. They’re waiting for some crucial supplies to arrive. In a quick email check-in with Pizzicato, CEO Felix Rippel wrote: “We have been a vital part of the NW 23rd community for over 20 years and we can’t wait to get back to serving all of our friends and neighbors. There is light at the end of the tunnel and we are running headlong towards it.”

William Temple House Thrift Store

To help improve visibility of William Temple Thrift Store, PBEM has been working with Loy Clark Pipeline and with city bureaus to provide some new signage. So far, a new A-frame sign has been ordered and placed near NW 23rd & Glisan. We’re also working with Restoration Hardware to add a sign to their construction zone that points to the shop.

Ritual Adornments

When your shop is full of millions of tiny glass beads, hundreds of precious stones and metals and antique wooden display cases, the cleanup isn’t easy. But owners Joel Mikkalson and CeCe Cummins are trudging on, working to clean and restore their goods as they consider next steps for the business. All materials are now out of the location which experienced severe water and smoke damage, and Joel says the property owner of the building expects the rebuild to take at least six to nine months.

Joel says he’s confident he’ll be back in business one way or another in coming months. If anyone knows of a small space in a high-traffic area available for temporary use, a “pop-up” location, he’d be interested in hearing more. Get updates and send inquiries to Ritual Adornments through their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RitualAdornmentsOfficial.


Not much luck getting in touch with Dosha’s spokespeople, but during a recent hair appointment at Dosha Hawthorne, PBEM’s Felicia Heaton learned that many of the stylists who worked at the Northwest Portland location are currently working at other Dosha sites. Book an appointment here.

Demolition on the Dosha building continues. Building owner Bob Sacks tells PBEM the building will be rebuilt to look almost identical to the original building design by Allied Works Architecture. An entirely new design will be done for the property on the northeast corner of the intersection of NW 23rd & Glisan. It will also be designed by Allied Works, a highly respected firm with offices in Portland and New York. Visit their website to learn more about some of their recent projects, including the Schnitzer Center for Art and Design at the Pacific NW College of Art. Wow!

Fetch Eyewear

Fetch Eyewear has moved into a new location under Will Leather Goods on NW 23rd between Johnson and Kearney. If you’re new to Fetch and an animal lover, you’ll be happy to know that 100% of the business’s proceeds support animal rescue. Visit the shop or check out their stylish frames online.


Getting around:

  • A crosswalk signal at NW 23rd & Glisan was malfunctioning. PBEM worked with PBOT to get it fixed.
  • If you observe other ongoing traffic safety concerns, please report them at 503.823.SAFE (7233).

Site cleanup: The demolition of the explosion site is expected to wrap up around Jan. 15. The frame of the Dosha building will remain in use. A redesigned building is slated for the corner of NW 23rd & Glisan. More info to come as plans develop.

Incident investigation: The Oregon Public Utility Commission investigation into the incident continues. Kevin Hennessy, head of natural gas safety for the PUC says he expects the investigation to be complete by the end of January, if not sooner.

Traffic woes:  Hopefully, by the time you read this, the abandoned cars will be removed from right-of-ways after our snow event. If you observe traffic safety concerns related to the weather or to ongoing work in the area, please report them at 503-823-SAFE (7233) or online.

  • PBEM continues to work with Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to improve pedestrian access and safety on Glisan, since that the current coned-off walkway isn’t great.
  • Bremik Construction, working on the Restoration Hardware Gallery project, has been granted a half-day lane closure on NW Glisan immediately east of 23rd to move ahead on construction on the southeast corner of that intersection. PBOT’s Holiday Moratorium Committee is allowing the limited closure from 7 to 11 a.m. on one day only: Tuesday, Dec. 20. The allowance requires the company to keep a pedestrian walkway in place on Glisan and keep the drop-off area for the William Temple Thrift Store clear. Any apparent violations of this limited lane closure agreement should be reported to PBOT by calling 503-823-SAFE (7233).

Explosion site clean-up: Heads up! Interstate Restoration is continuing work on the site of the explosion. Some of the cleanup requires more asbestos removal which could lead to a week-long street closure on NW 23rd at Glisan. Interstate is working with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to identify how much space they’ll need to do their work safely and with PBOT to identify the most practical way to get the work done with as little impact to surrounding businesses and residents as possible. We’ll let you know more details as they become available.

All that racket! PBEM has been working with the Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement to address concerns about ongoing construction/demo noise outside of permitted work times. A few complaints have been received and investigated. Interstate Restoration, doing the demolition on the Dosha building, has been sent a warning letter to let them know they will be subject to fines and ongoing enforcement action if they violate the terms of their permits.

If you hear construction going on outside of the regular work times (7 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday), it is very important to document the time and date of the work, describing the type of sound you’re hearing. The more evidence the City has, the easier it is for our code enforcers to do the necessary work to stop the violations. Use the form here to file a noise complaint.

That fence: The final design of the wrap for the fence around the reconstruction/demolition zone on NW 23rd and Glisan is almost done. The designer will be sending a proof to the businesses to be featured in the design soon. Not long now!

Take care: Sometimes it takes a little while to realize how an event has impacted you.  And the holidays can be a tough time for anyone. If you are feeling down, help is available. Multnomah County’s mental health services, including counselling and referrals, can be accessed any time by calling 503.988.4888.  You don’t need to have insurance, and you don’t need to be in crisis to ask for help.