Why I love Portland! The Metropolitan Youth Symphony

About MYS

Metropolitan Youth Symphony educates, develops and promotes young musicians.About MYS 2

MYS provides music education and performance opportunities for young musicians of all ages and levels of experience. Now in our 44th year, we enroll over 500 youth from the Portland Metro and SW Washington areas in 14 ensembles including orchestra, band, jazz, and percussion. New this season, we are offering an entry level String Orchestra on Saturdays in Hillsboro.  Additionally, MYS offers theory classes, a mid-winter chamber music program, and a one week summer chamber music camp, Portland Summer Ensembles.  Our commitment to access is foundational. MYS has a strong financial aid program that welcomes all students regardless of their financial circumstances, a tuition-free Beginning Strings program with classes on Saturday in Portland and after school in Hillsboro, and a school outreach program that performs 15 in-school concerts each season for over 5,000 students from under-served schools.

MYS Music Director Raul Gomez leads a team of professional conductors and instrumental coaches who work with our students each Saturday at Roseway Heights K-8 in NE Portland and Lincoln Street Elementary in Hillsboro.  We believe that quality music education taught in a supportive but challenging environment gives every student musician the opportunity to be successful.  MYS is one of the largest youth orchestra programs in the nation and one of only a handful offering a jazz program.

Lajos Balogh MYS FounderThe History of MYS

Metropolitan Youth Symphony was founded in 1974 by Maestro Lajos Balogh with 16 string players and the group grew quickly to 35 members by their first performance in 1975. MYS was founded on the belief that the study of music is an integral part of a childbecoming a well-rounded adult. Not only does music promote intellectual and aesthetic knowledge, it also builds leadership skills and creates a supportive, community environment.

Founded in response to the community’s need for musical enrichment, MYS has:

  • Contributed the musical development of over ten thousand musicians
  • Performed hundreds of youth concerts all over the northwest
  • Performed outreach concerts to thousands of students in under-served schools
  • Embarked on tours around the world
  • Awarded tuition assistance to every young musician in need
  • Developed volunteer support that incorporates more than 100 people in many different capacities
Posted on January 10, 2019 at 11:33 pm
Brian Johnson | Category: Architecture, Arts and Culture, Portland, Real Estate, Restaurants | Tagged , , , ,

Why I love Portland! Mission Theater

Walking down NW Glisan Street at 17th offers few hints about the intriguing past of the Mission Theater. The building’s straightforward, brick construction and fortress-like entryway make it appear more like an armory than a theater. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Mission was not originally built as a theater or playhouse, but as a church. For over 40 years it was the religious and social center of Portland’s humble and devout Swedish Mission Covenant congregation. Later, the space served as a very busy labor meeting hall. The remarkable transformation from church to union hall, and from union hall to Oregon’s first theater pub is a colorful story that stretches back more than a century. This building, now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was dedicated by the Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant Church of Portland on February 18, 1912. The Swedish Mission constructed it to replace a more traditional woodframed church that had stood here for a decade before. The congregation—at the time numbering more than 200—had outgrown the limited space of
the old wooden church and desired a larger, more accommodating structure. The new abernacle,
today’s Mission Theater, was intentionally styled as a commercial space. Designed by a few of the parish members, it was felt that a utilitarian plan would make the church more marketable should they continue to grow and find a need to vacate. Indeed, the Mission Covenant of Portland had grown steadily and quickly since its beginnings. Formed in 1887 by a half-dozen Swedish immigrants, the church group outgrew their rented downtown meeting spaces almost immediately. By 1891 they were searching for a suitable place of their own, and they purchased
the lot at NW 17th and Glisan. Later that same year, the Swedish Mission constructed their original wooden church. The supreme activity of the church was missionary work, a responsibility reserved for only those who felt a special calling. Over the years, missions were sponsored all over the world, most notably in the Alaskan Yukon, Africa and China. For 41 years, the Swedish Tabernacle played a pivotal role in the lives of many SwedishAmericans throughout Portland, and the church was the pride and joy of their community. Sundays were elaborate affairs: Sunday school, morning services, choir, food in the basement and an evening
evangelistic service. The services, given in Swedish until the 1940s, typically attracted 500 to 700 people. But the Mission was much more than just a place for Sunday gatherings. Everyday life and socializing was encouraged as a way to provide a sense of fellowship and belonging. Periodically, young members traveled to the county poor farm (now McMenamins Edgefield) to present programs for the less fortunate. The Tabitha Ladies Society organized social services and
supported missionaries abroad. The Covenant Women’s Society and the Young People’s Society
were very active in the community. Churchsponsored baseball games and sit-down dinners
always brought large crowds. Music was a vital component of the Swedish Church, and the most
popular social activity was the teenage choir. It was this combination of religious tradition and
community cohesiveness that made the Swedish Tabernacle such a special place for its members. Given the strong devotion to their church work and indeed their church, why did the
congregation abandon their spiritual center in 1954? This time the neighborhood was the issue
rather than space. The area had become more industrial, parking was next to impossible and
concern developed for the safety of women and children who walked to the church alone. For their new site, the Church chose a spot at NE 45th and E. •1624 NW Glisan, Portland, OR, 97209. mcmenamins.com• (Courtesy First Covenant) Burnside where they continue to worship today. The new tenants at 17th and Glisan were dockworkers, a spirited but less pious group than the church members. The transfer from evangelical church to longshoreman meeting hall brought some jarring adjustments: religious symbols were pulled down, pews and pulpit emoved, the floor overlaid with linoleum. To be sure, the old Tabernacle was suddenly introduced to words and notions never before uttered within its walls. Still, therei were some
things that remained very much the same. Like its previous occupants, the union workers brought a strong sense of community and activism to the hall. During the Longshoremen’s
occupancy, the building was busier than ever before, used for union business, regular meetings and conducting daily hiring. Local No. 8 held monthly meetings every second Wednesday of the month. The union suspended all work on the waterfront on these nights to allow every longshoreman the chance to attend. Hiring took place at the hall twice a day, once for the day shift and again for the night, and scores of union members congregated here to view the hiring board and wait for their new assignments. The building was particularly significant during the 1971 Longshoremen’s strike. The coastwide strike was the longest and arguably the most successful dock strike in U.S. history, and, for local No. 8, this place was at the core of its
success. During the strike the main floor became a clearinghouse of information, directing workers where to picket and keeping them updated on the daily progress of negotiations. The basement was used to store and distribute dry foods to the many striking workers. It was during this turbulent time that the controversial president and founder of the Union, Harry Bridges, and the vice president, Bill Chester, came here to the hall to speak with the workers. In 1982, Local No. 8 moved out of the old church building, after which the place became a storage warehouse called the Columbia River Building. Late in 1986 or early ’87, a local acting
troupe called the Heart Theater reintroduced art and entertainment to the place (this time with no religious associations). While this noble endeavor fell short of its mark, closing its doors after only about a year, the notion proved a great one and paved the way for its next incarnation.
In June 1987, McMenamins debuted its Mission Theater and Pub, an establishment that
preached the merits of watching movies and drinking beer. Despite its inspired calling, the
Mission Theater was far from an instant success. The film festivals that were intended to carry the venue—the Bogart Extravaganza, for example— were busts. Nobody came. So the concept was retooled and the Mission began showing secondrun movies for cheap. “Cheap” struck a chord with some and the Mission, once again, began to fill with people. The Mission now embodies all of its previous forms. The blurring of the secular and the sacred is a recurring theme throughout its history, and in the fall of 2003 a community church began
holding their Sunday services here. The theater recalls the art of the short-lived acting company
and the pub evokes the longshoremen’s pastimes. The building also houses McMenamins’ company headquarters and functions as a hiring hall of sorts. Although McMenamins’ spirited message is quite different from the Mission’s original occupants, we encourage you to spend time at the beautifully preserved church and reconnect with the spirit that resides within.

Posted on January 3, 2019 at 5:57 pm
Brian Johnson | Category: Portland

Why I love Portland! Green Zebra Grocery


We love great food
Who doesn’t? And at Green Zebra that’s where it all starts. We carefully source the best local and organic food around, and we stock it right alongside everyday staples. Our in-store kitchens craft hot and delicious grab-and-go meals made from scratch, as well as custom and signature sandwiches. We have a full-service coffee bar, hot breakfasts, and tasty pastries delivered everyday from local bakeries. Our beer and cider is 100% Oregon; our wines are thoughtfully selected and all under $20 a bottle. We pack all that into a small, convenient layout that makes it easy to get in and out fast.

We love community
Our small-footprint lets us serve communities where big stores can’t fit. We get to know our neighbors, and we take pride in supporting a thriving community:
• Every month we donate money, food, and service to nonprofits within two miles of our stores.
• We offer discounts to shoppers who bike or walk to the stores and to shoppers who bring their own bags or coffee cup.
• We support our local economy by sourcing from local growers and makers.
• We further support our local economy and our staff by paying higher than minimum wage salaries.

And we’re on a mission
Green Zebra Grocery is on a mission to increase access to healthy food. The brainchild of grocery vet Lisa Sedlar, Green Zebra opened it’s first store in Portland’s Kenton neighborhood in 2013. Since then, the company has worked with nearly 100 local nonprofits to support the community, and has brought a selection of locally sourced, delicious food to more Portlanders. Green Zebra opened its second store in the Lloyd District in April 2016, and our Portland State University Store opened in February 2017. Our next store, on SE Division in Portland is scheduled to open in early 2019.

Posted on December 14, 2018 at 11:59 pm
Brian Johnson | Category: Portland | Tagged , , ,

Why I love Portland! Signal Station Pizza


PHONE 503-286-2257
St Johns’ favorite pizza: Dine-in or take out

Hello! We are an independent, family-owned business operated since 2006 by local Portlanders Tim and Kristi. We do our best to provide customers with an amazing pizza at an amazing value and hope you enjoy dining here as much as we enjoy serving you!

We serve pizza you can feel good about, simple, natural, delicious. Pizza that helps you feel great about yourself, your family and the community around you.

You see, we make our pizzas with the good stuff. All natural ingredients, fresh-made dough, homemade sauces, whole-milk mozzarella and locally sourced produce whenever possible.

We promise to have a (dough) ball making your pizza. We promise not to take ourselves too seriously and we promise to be stewards of our environment, our local communities and the world around us.

Our menu offers artisan pizzas, calzones, sub sandwiches and salads. Fresh, local ingredients are used whenever possible such as Shepard’s grain organic flour. We make our dough and sauce fresh daily.  We use only whole-milk mozzarella cheese as we strongly believe it makes a better pizza. Our pies are available all day by the slice or as a whole pizzas. We pride ourselves on serving a delicious pizzas at a fair price. Our goals are to provide both a quality product and and friendly service. We also serve sodas, beer by the bottle and on-tap,  and a fine selection wines by the glass or bottle. Please use the form below to send us any comments or questions. Deliveries are available upon request for larger orders. Please contact us as we are happy to cater your office parties with advanced notice. We are a great spot for small birthday and team parties. Thank you for your patronage!

Monday 11-9:00
Tuesday 11-9
Wednesday 11-9
Thursday 11-9
Friday 11-9:30
Friday 11-9:30
Sunday 12-8

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 3:46 pm
Brian Johnson | Category: Restaurants, Uncategorized

Why I love Portland!

Image result for Pictures of the Cathedral Bridge

The St. Johns Bridge is a steel suspension bridge that spans the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, United States, between the Cathedral Park Neighborhood in North Portland and the Linnton and Northwest Industrial neighborhoods in Northwest Portland. It carries the U.S. Route 30 Bypass. It is the only suspension bridge in the Willamette Valley and one of three public highway suspension bridges in Oregon.

The bridge has a 1,207-foot (368 m) center span and a total length of 2,067 feet (630 m). It is the tallest bridge in Portland, with two 400-foot-tall (120 m) towers and a 205-foot (62 m) navigational clearance. The adjacent park and neighborhood of Cathedral Park are named after the Gothic Cathedral-like appearance of the bridge towers.

Designed by internationally renowned engineer David B. Steinman (1886–1960) and Holton D. Robinson, of New York, the St. Johns was the longest suspension-type bridge west of the Mississippi River at the time of construction. It is the only major highway suspension bridge in the Willamette Valley and one of only three major highway suspension bridges in Oregon.

Posted on November 14, 2018 at 11:56 pm
Brian Johnson | Category: Architecture, Portland

Real Estate tip of the week #1. Give your home a deep cleaning!

TIP #1.

Give your home a deep cleaning!!

Give your home a deep cleaning! First impressions mean a lot. So don’t let foul smells, dirty floors or dusty surfaces make a bad one on a potential buyer. Before listing your home (and throughout the selling process), give your home a deep clean. This means cleaning toilets, wiping down surfaces, mopping floors, cleaning rugs and scrubbing bathrooms. Consider calling in the professionals to ensure that your place is in pristine condition. I recommend local house cleaning company W+M Cleaning www.waysandmeanscleaning.com 503-917-5060

Love that feeling of a fresh clean home? Your time is highly valuable. Stop losing it (forever) to dirty dust bunnies.



Our clients—busy moms, dads, and professionals—sure do love coming home to that fresh clean feeling. They rely on Ways + Means Cleaning to enjoy more free time with friends and family, doing the things they love.

We offer eco-friendly cleaning, using products that have no harsh chemicals so they are safe for your family and pets. Not only do we bring all of the essentials, we also bring a professional-grade steam cleaner to ensure your floors are fresh and clean. We are licensed and bonded for your peace of mind.

Posted on November 13, 2018 at 10:05 pm
Brian Johnson | Category: Real Estate | Tagged