Jade district tour preview, q&a with todd struble

Jade District Tour
Looking forward to the weekend? We hope your plans include Know Your City’s Jade District tour! This Saturday, August 23rd, we kick-off the first of our two walking tour of SE 82nd Ave –home to East Portland’s Asian immigrant communities – when we’ll visit restaurants, business, community leaders and more. We’ll meet downtown at Union Station, talk about Portland’s historic Chinatown and head out to SE 82nd/Division by MAX with Todd Struble, Jade District Manager at Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO). There only 40 spots on this tour and it will likely sell out so we recommend getting your tickets ahead of time.

Todd answered some questions for us via email, so we could give you some background on APANO, the Jade District and the stops on the tour.

Todd Struble 1

Todd Struble, Jade District Manager, APANO

Q: Hi Todd! Tell us a little bit about what you do at APANO.

A: I have worked for APANO for 3 months now, taking over from the previous Jade District Manager, Stanley Moy, whose family has owned a business, King’s Bakery, in the district for decades. I manage the Jade District Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative (NPI), an area that the City of Portland and the Portland Development Commission has identified as an area ripe for economic development, but also at risk for gentrification and displacement of the communities that currently reside in the area. Day to day, my duties include being out in the community and getting feedback from the local residents and business owners. I also help implement improvements in the District, including helping businesses with technical assistance by connecting them with partners that provide advice and resources free of charge to businesses. I report to the Jade District Steering Committee, a group of local volunteer leaders in the community, before implementing neighborhood projects, such as the Jade District Night Market.

Q: How long have you been in Portland?

A: I’ve lived in Portland for the last 8 years, except for a short stint in Seattle, where we didn’t last a year before we missed Portland and moved back! I have lived in Southwest Portland when I went to law school, and then Sellwood. Now I live in Woodstock, within biking distance to the Jade District and greatly enjoy riding through Southeast Portland to get to and from the Jade District.

Q: What are some of the changes you’ve seen in the neighborhood?

A: We have noticed the development of the District with the Asian Pacific Islander communities relocating from Old Town Chinatown as a result of gentrification and getting priced out of the neighborhood, as well as other communities of color moving farther east. Recently, PCC’s development has brought a renewed interest in the area and brought opportunity for continuing education and access to opportunities in East Portland. We’ve also seen the development of bicycle lanes and additional crossings on SE Division, making the area safer for bicycles and pedestrians, though there is definitely room for additional investments in transportation features.​

Q: What are some of the highlights we’ll see on the Jade District tour?

A: Guests will visit local businesses and meet with some of the community leaders that serve on the Jade District Steering Committee and are key players in influencing the direction of the Jade District, including Rosaline Hui, the owner of Portland Chinese Times, who has been instrumental in gathering vendors and performers for the Night Market; and Vong, the owner of Thai Fresh, an authentic Thai restaurant. We will also meet with the Dean of PCC Southeast, Craig Kolins, and several other local community leaders. Tour participants will be surprised to learn that over 40 languages are represented in the Jade District, and that it’s the most diverse census tract in Multnomah County. In addition to the API communities, the Jade District is home to a strong Hispanic communities, Slavic communities and Somali communities.

Thanks, Todd! We’re all looking forward to the tour. There are still limited tickets left, but you’ll want to get yours now as there may or may not be day of tickets available! 

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This weekend: Free Walking Tours! Singing Tour is Back!

It’s still summer, Portland!  All the action you’re looking for this weekend is in Ankeny Alley at the Know Your City kiosk: Free walking tours, and we’re bringing back a favorite walking tour – Sing A Song of Portland!

Just in time for MusicFest NW, KYC’s Sing A Song of Portland walking tour returns this weekend, Sunday, August 17th. If you’re bummed at yourself for missing it before, join Know Your City’s troubadour Lukas Borsten for the return of our sing-a-long walking tour, Sing A Song of Portland! Check out Lukas in the preview video below.

Here’s how to earn your PDX indie-rock street cred: Time-travel with Know Your City through downtown Portland, visiting sites of historical and cultural significance in our city’s music history. Hear how Voodoo Doughnuts’ Tres Shannon started the infamous all ages X-Ray Cafe, learn all the words to the Kingsmen’s Louie, Louie (even the dirty ones!), discover the history of Portland’s jazz scene, and more.

If you’ve enjoyed this tour before – come back and bring your friends! Friends in town for MusicFestNW? Sing your hearts out pre-Haim with us! Impress your late summer visitors this Sunday, August 17th, 1PM – 3PM. Tickets are just $10!! We’ll leave from the KYC Kiosk on SW 2nd/Ankeny. Tickets and more details here.

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Free tours + earlier hours = more tours, more summer fun! We want to make the most of our Portland summer, so we’ve updated the KYC kiosk hours and now offer FREE walking tours.
Here are the details:
The Kiosk - We’ll be in Ankeny Alley this Thursday - Sunday 12pm – 6pm. Next week look for the kiosk Thursday & Friday from 10am-2pm and Saturday & Sunday 12pm – 5pm.  

The Walking Tours - we wanted to offer our tours more often and make them as accessible as possible, to everyone! Our Multicultural Portlandand DIY PDX walking tours are now offered free and by donation. Don’t forget, the kiosk also sells KYC publications, T-shirts, tote-bags, plus publications and artwork made by our friends – Portland gifts that tourists and locals will adore. For more info on tours and hours, check out our new tours webpageRSVP online! Find out more and book your tour today.

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Get the dirt on Portland’s environmental issues! Dirty Side of Portland tour Aug 2-3

dirty side of portland
Have you signed up for the Dirty Side of Portland bus tour, next Saturday and Sunday, August 2-3? This 3-hour tour will shed new light on health and equity issues in Portland. It’s essential for any recent transplant or long-time resident – we’re talking about the livability of our city!

Portland usually prides itself in being a city with thoughtful planning. We try to pay attention to neighborhood development projects that encourage local sustainability and promote environmentally conscious building and businesses. But not all neighborhoods are treated equally when it comes to cleaning up past environmental hazards. 

We started with a list of questions we’re hoping this tour will help answer (bring some of your own questions, too!):

  • How much attention do policy-makers pay to polluted properties in low-income areas and communities of color?
  • Portland’s identity has always included a healthy relationship to the Willamette River: Bridgetown, City of Bridges are a couple of our nicknames. But how healthy is our river?
  • What do we know about Superfund sites and Brownfield sites in our city?
dirty side of portland tour

Contractors at the Arkema cleanup site dig an underground wall meant to prevent contaminated groundwater from leaking into the Willamette River (courtesy Department of Environmental Quality)

Each tour, we’ll visit the same sites important to telling the story of Portland’s environmental history and have guest speakers along the way.*

  • Jeri Williams - Neighborhood Program Coordinator, Office of Neighborhood Involvement and long term Environmental Justice Advocate
  • Rich Muza – EPA Superfund Project Manager
  • Jim Robinson - Portland Harbor Community Advisory Group
  • Kevin Parret –  DEQ Clean up and leaking underground Storage Tanks Manger
  • Lore Wintergreen - East Portland Action plan Advocate with the Office of Neighborhood involvement
  • Lori Boisen/ Kem Marks - Division Midway Alliance
  • Rich Muza - EPA Superfund Project Manager
  • Keith Johnson - DEQ Clean and Site manager
  • Cassie Cohen - Executive Director of Groundwork Portland
  • Will Bennett - Emerson Garden Site Coordinator
  • Right 2 Survive Representative 
  • Groundwork Portland Green Team Representative 

*note: not all speakers are available both days.

Along the way, we’ll visit the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, a brownfield in East Portland and take a break and visit the Emerson Street Garden and learn about its previous life as a residence, an empty lot and finally a garden.

The Dirty Side of Portland tours happen only once – Saturday, August 2, 11am-2pm or Sunday, August 3, 1pm-4pm. Tickets are still available and offered at a sliding scale. Get your tickets now.

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know your city kiosk is complete! (video); join us for tours this weekend

BIG NEWS: construction on the Know Your City kiosk is complete!! Pending inspection from the City of Portland later this week, we should be good to go for opening the kiosk to the public this Thursday! Seeing as how this has been a few years in the making, we are so excited and thankful for everyone who has contributed to making this possible – especially our 150 Kickstarter backers!

The construction process ran into some delays given the kiosk’s weight and bulk. But Oscar Camarena from Simple Bicycle Company would not give up and persevered in coming up with a solution to the making the structure mobile. Watch a short video of Oscar test riding the kiosk below.

Our kiosk will be located in Ankeny Alley – between Voodoo Doughnuts and Saturday Market, and we’ll be open for business Thursday-Sundays 12PM-6PM, with tours departing daily at 3:30PM. At the kiosk, you’ll be able to purchase tour tickets, all Know Your City publications, plus a great collection of Portland-related gifts and books. You can view all our kiosk offerings and more over at our brand new Shopify Store – check it out!

Our tours have already started and been receiving great feedback from group tours we recently did for University of Oregon, David Douglas High School and a handful of out of towners. If you haven’t done so, please head on over to our slick new tours page – which has tons of great photos and information about our daily tour offerings. Visit our kiosk this weekend and sign up to take the following tours:

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Kyle Curtis, KYC tour guide for the DIY PDX tour, with a group of recent tour attendees

We’ve been out in Ankeny Alley the past couple weekends getting a jump start before our grand opening. In the process, we’ve been documenting the alley and some of the many colorful characters that frequent it through a steady Instagram feed. Check out some of the best of the often hilarious pics after the jump…

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Sing your heart out, Portland! Sing A Song of Portland tour this Sunday


In case you haven’t heard we’re doing 2 sing-along walking tours of Portland music history  THIS SUNDAY– July 20th!

This weekend, join Know Your City and Portland music historian and superfan Sam Murray as we learn about the musical history of the Rose City. We’re thrilled to have Sam, who created the Sing A Song of Portland tour last year, here in town – all the way from University of Cardiff, Wales! – leading the tours this weekend. We’ll pass out lyric sheets and at each stop we’ll sing some of the songs that helped shape Portland’s music scene – right on the street where the music and history was made. We will be accompanied on the tour and in song by our troubador, local musician Lukas Borsten. Read more about the details of the tour here on our Sing A Song of Portland page.

We’re offering the tour twice, 11am and 3pm both tours leaving from SW 2nd Ankeny. After the tour you can head over to the east side and enjoy PDX Pop Now! music fest.  Check out their Sunday schedule on their website.

Don’t forget, tickets are FREE! But, we need you to RSVP at Eventbrite. Here’s a playlist we made of all the songs so you can practice at home.

And  check out Lukas in our short video teaser for this weekend’s tour created by Adam Willumsen and Brighthouse Films for last year’s tour:

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Renter’s Rights publication winner announced: Becky Hawkins

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Know Your City and Community Alliance of Tenants announce the recipient of our Renter’s Rights comic: illustrator Becky Hawkins. The publication will be a 20-page comic book, printed in both English and Spanish. Renters will be able to use the book as a reference to understand the process of eviction, how some evictions are unfair, and what to do if it happens to them.

Our jury was overwhelmed with the quality and talent in our submissions. Unfortunately, we could only choose one candidate for the job. We thank everyone for their interest!

We’re excited to work with Becky, a longtime cartoonist whose comics depict real-life situations, usually drawn from her own life. “This project brings together several different topics that I’m passionate about, and requires artistic strengths that I have been honing for a decade…” said Hawkins, “…If you give me the chance, I would very much enjoy collaborating with KYC and CAT”.

We are now looking for volunteers to help in drafting the script of the comic. If you are interested in volunteering, please send a note to Justin Buri at justin@oregoncat.org. He’d love to hear from you. The comic is slated for an October release.

More info on Renter’s Rights in the video below. View more samples from Becky after the jump…

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