Spreading across two blocks in Portland’s historic Central Eastside, the Redd on Salmon Street is an Ecotrust development designed to support local food enterprises, connect chefs, foodservice directors and entrepreneurs to independent farmers, ranchers and fishermen in the region, and help scale a robust food economy across the Pacific Northwest. The Redd is quickly becoming an integral part of an ecosystem of new ideas around food system reform — both a working hub for food entrepreneurs and a place for community to take part in shaping a new food economy.
As Redd East undergoes a transformation and Redd West hums with activity, we check in with two team members who have been essential in bringing new life to this bustling urban campus.
Creative convening space
We’ve long been passionate about food system reform — and saw a need to create a platform for collective impact, meaningful collaboration, and the critical conversations necessary to help make this vision a reality.
Opening in early 2019, Redd East is a community event space that will include a lofty main hall, cozy board room, collaborative kitchen, and outdoor plaza space. We hope it will be a catalyst for memorable celebrations and events that cultivate community, foster imagination, and offer an opportunity to be creative and color outside the lines.
“Ecotrust has a history of development of historical properties, while honoring their story and keeping the soul and character of the building intact. When you walk through the door in Redd East, you’ll immediately be drawn to the arresting metal stamping press, a clear nod to the building’s history of manufacturing” says Jeanne Kubal, our director of events. “It’s really exciting to see what is happening at Redd East, this amazing history kept and restored rather than stripped away.”
The Redd honors the neighborhood’s roots and serves as a platform for the community to take part in the evolution of this vibrant neighborhood and the good food movement.
“We believe in the power of convening, bringing people physically together to experience ideas, place, and each other, particularly in an age where we are doing so much virtually,” Jeanne says. “This space is really about people experiencing the amazing bounty of regional food, rich cultures, and the smart, innovative ideas that are happening all around it. And let’s not forget the fun! It’s going to be an ideal place to have a really good time.”
A working hub
Just across SE 8th Ave., Redd West is marking nearly two years in operation. Food businesses at the Redd are deeply committed to reforming our agricultural system to one that is regenerative, equitable, and delicious.
“Where we are trying to make the big shift happen is with our ‘Ag of the Middle’ type businesses who grow and produce farming, fishing, and ranching products,” says Emma Sharer, operations manager for the Redd. As a community of tenants has settled in and a rhythm has taken hold, new opportunities have emerged at Redd West.
“What’s been interesting to learn about this space is that we are not simply renting a warehouse, we are renting a last-mile logistics center for small to mid-size food companies,” Emma says. “It is a really great opportunity for consumer packaged good companies that are pushing their products out to a Portland market.”
More than the physical spaces, Emma has been focusing on the people who make Redd West buzz, beep, and hum each day.
“My next step at the Redd is take all of this information from clients and figure out what we can do to better support the tenant community. There are services that could be shared by all 100 companies — and counting — we have here,” Emma says.
“For instance, we are looking at a more formal onboarding process, so you can understand where to go for food safety guidance, for financial consulting, to see what kind of events are coming up, to know how much a pallet costs, and to find out how to get involved in the Green Wheels program. It would be a networking map to hand to people who come to the Redd.”
You don’t need a networking map to stay engaged at the Redd! Check out our new website, www.reddonsalmon.com, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. And keep an eye out for a kickoff event for Redd East in spring of 2019!