What Problems? Downtown Stores Tell a New Tale of Summer Fun

Portland businesses would like your foot traffic and kind words. Two event series, West End Wednesdays and Explore Ankeny, hope to lure in customers and promote Downtown shops on Wednesdays and weekends.

By Dalila Brent June 28, 2023

Downtown businesses would like you to please ditch that narrative about Portland's crime, homelessness, and protests, thank you very much, and focus on their glorious offerings. 

In an effort to generate foot traffic and spur a new narrative, two downtown Portland business collectives are banding together to bring customers to Rose City’s food and retail scene

Ankeny Alley 
You’ve likely noticed the sidewalks decorated with paint on SW Ankeny between Second and Third Avenue. The artwork is the first offering of Explore Ankeny, a festival series of weekend events planned every couple weeks through Labor Day, including July 4th weekend and Pride (July 14–16). Celebrations will feature live music and vendors, supported by businesses including Angelina’s Greek Gyros, Solstice Bar, and Xin Ding Dumpling House. Business owners hope to "encourage locals and tourists to return to downtown Portland and re-vitalize the struggling downtown economy now that the pandemic and protests have faded into history."

West End Wednesdays
Head a few blocks west, to where two dozen business have formed a similar collective called West End Wednesdays, spearheaded by the creative agency Industry. On the last Wednesday of each month, from 4–7 p.m., customers will find drinks, DJs, discounts—such as martinis and $2 oysters—at Multnomah Whiskey Library, freebies at Kiriko, music and libations at Kissing Booth, and a one-time-only menu at Bamboo Sushi. Spots like Ace Hotel, Frances May, and Courier Coffee are also in the mix to celebrate culture, art, and community west of Burnside. 

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