PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland already has a lock on great chefs and food. Now chefs will be able to access those products even faster. A new development called The Redd is being built as Portland's first food hub. It's named after the gravel nest where salmon lay their eggs, a redd.
It's a metaphor for the incubation of food businesses that will happen in two buildings on Southeast Salmon Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. The nonprofit Ecotrust bought the buildings a few years ago, and began development on The Redd.
The Foundry building on Southeast 7th Avenue and Salmon Street was built in 1918. Ironworkers poured metal there, and up until recently, an 8,000-pound press formed semi-truck bumpers.
It's been used as an event space, but by next summer, construction will be finished on this public portion of The Redd. Imagine meat and cheese counters, a restaurant or two, jam or honey makers selling their goods, with an eating area and green space to revitalize the industrial district. Upstairs, Ecotrust says they'll build a mezzanine with food-related business office space for lease. The metal press has been disabled, but will stay in place for historical character of the building.
Next door, construction is finishing up on the private business side of The Redd, informally being called The Marble building, because it was the home of Intrepid Marble and Granite for so many years. Instead of smaller farms delivering their products themselves all over town, wasting time and gas, they will drop it all off at The Redd, for restaurant and store delivery by Portland's B-Line Urban Bike Delivery. B-Line says it's about to nearly double its amount of electric-assisted cargo bikes, and hire 10 more riders and warehouse staff to handle the increase in business from The Redd.
They're known for delivering bread, even office supplies all over the city. Now, they'll be the exclusive and environmentally friendly way for many farmers who sign on here, to get their produce and meats to restaurants.
Construction is underway to turn The Marble building into a giant refrigerator and freezer where the food will be housed before delivery. The Redd will be that crucial, central place for the bikes to load up, and truly expand farms to hundreds more tables.
"It's important to us in a really rapidly escalating real estate market, that we're holding a patch of land," said The Redd's general manager, Sydney DeLuna of Ecotrust. "This place does matter to us and it does matter to us the industrial roots of the neighborhood, the produce row history of the neighborhood and being able to connect with that and hold onto that, and restore and rehabilitate that."
Commercial kitchens will also be available for lease, along with more food-related office space.
John Neumeister, owner of Cattail Creek Farms, raises lamb, cattle and ducks. His meat has become very popular with restaurants, and previously he was doing the twice weekly deliveries himself. Now, he's become of the one first farmers to sign on to The Redd to make one drop off, and save gas.
"Our farm is in Junction City. That's 110 miles away and for a small farm-based business and distributor such as ourselves, it's expensive for us to go back and forth like that," said Neumeister. "80 percent of our business is in Portland, and we needed to be here."