Located in the shadow of Paul Bunyan, Kenton may feel sleepy on certain days of the week when the antique and resale shops are shuttered, but there’s always plenty of activity within this North Portland neighborhood that feels like you’ve stepped into a small, tight-knit community where neighbors know each others’ names.
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Built to celebrate the Oregon Centennial in 1959, Kenton’s towering concrete and metal Paul Bunyan statue has become a symbol of the neighborhood and was even added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Originally slated for demolition following the Centennial Exposition, state officials ultimately decided to allow the 31-foot sculpture remain standing, and over the years, it was relocated 50 feet to a new plaza when TriMet needed to make room for a new MAX line. And although there’s no Babe, TriMet also commissioned bench-sized imprints of the Blue Ox’s feet at the base of the statue.
Paul Bunyan statue, corner of North Interstate Avenue and North Denver Avenue across from the North Denver Avenue light rail station
share not only their space but also their manpower and talents. Packed with salvaged and recycled curiosities, Salvage Works offers vintage building materials and custom, handmade furniture while Boys’ Fort peddles everything from bowties to lighting fixtures to oil can and voltage meter robots by Dean Freiman of Tin Bones Manufacturing, and Solabee Flowers brightens up the place with botanicals and floral arrangements. If all that sounds just uniquely lovely, don’t miss the grotesque display of decapitated Cabbage Patch and Chucky-esque doll head planters by Tim Brock, which make good reuse of discarded (and mutilated) children’s toys.
Salvage Works, 2030 N Willis Blvd., 503.285.2555
Solabee Flowers, 8315 N Denver Ave., 503.307.2758
Boys' Fort, 2030 N Willis Blvd., 503.886.9077
Find three more things to do in Kenton on Neighborhood Notes.