I and others in Portland are having angst about both losing neat places, and the risk of being priced out of what's left. It's nowhere near the nightmare a place like the San Francisco Bay Area currently has; but we still worry, probably irrationally, about whether we'd get to the same nightmare. Meanwhile, for several reasons, we're still losing stuff. Now I'm thinking of The Red Coach, a downtown restaurant from the 1960s to a few years ago — new owners did a hell of a job reviving it, I thought, when they made it into a burger bar called All Way. I went there a lot last year, and felt I was getting at least a taste of what people had loved about Red Coach. But then All Way closed, too. Shoot. Not for rent or redevelopment, so this is a different angst, but: a cool place, not there anymore.
Backspace ain't there anymore for rent-related reasons; it's another place I miss. It was a spacious and welcoming restaurant, bar, computer lounge, and art/performance space in Old Town, and it closed in 2013. That hit extra hard because we'd fought for it; I and others backed a fundraiser in 2012 to help the place out of a financial hole. The owners tried to move Backspace to East Portland; that hasn't happened yet. So it likely won't.
There's still a small victory, though. The Backspace rooms, empty for two-and-a-half years, will soon be home to an expanded Ground Kontrol, the retro-futuristic video arcade around the corner. Ground Kontrol is a good place, and is doing well, and is making sure it's not going anywhere. And thus, a neat piece of Portland is going to be neater. I was moved to tweet to Ground Kontrol, "Do the Backspace space proud."
We can't have everything we love(d) about Portland, but we can have this.