Urban Farming 101 for Portland Families

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Portlanders  love the outdoors and animals, and with COVID keeping us close to home many families have considered growing and raising animals and plants for fun, hope, and sustenance. New to gardening and want to grow fresh food for your family this summer? Here’s our handy guide to getting your very own urban farm up and running. Read on for all the details on digging in!

Choose your garden location

You don’t need a ton of space to grow a lot of food! Even a sunny balcony or patio can yield a surprising amount. Be sure to choose a location that allows for maximum sun, but a little shade during part of the day is nice during the summer months, to keep tender veggies from burning. For minimal to no outdoor space, try a kitchen herb box on a windowsill, or contact Portland Parks & Recreation to find out about a low-cost community garden plot in one of more than 30 community gardens all over the city. Have a little more space? Container gardening is a great choice for balconies, patios, rentals, and small spaces. If you have room for a raised bed, there are resources for building a simple box of your own, and Portland Edible Gardens will even build one for you! Maximize space by choosing unused areas like parking strips and grassy medians between driveways. A water-hogging lawn can be transformed into an in-ground garden with a little effort, yielding big results.

Prepare the Soil

Good food grows from the soil up! If you want to feed yourself well, you need to feed the soil first. Portland Nursery has a wealth of information available on their website to help you determine soil health. Metro Master Gardeners, of the OSU Master Garden Extension program, can also help, including soil test kits to figure out the presence of lead and other potentially harmful toxins. Smaller container gardens and raised beds can be topped with bagged potting soil available at local nurseries. For larger raised beds and in-ground gardens, local topsoil options for delivery and pickup include Foster Fuel and Deans. For a slower burn, try lasagne-style sheet mulching to suppress grass and weeds. Layer cardboard, manure, and straw directly over the grass, and wait a month or two to harness the power of earthworms and microbes to turn it all into fertile soil. You can add a layer of topsoil before planting.

Make a Plan

For small raised beds, Square Foot Gardening is a great beginner method with gratifying high-yield results. Choose from dozens of books on the method or browse the official website for resources, including affordable online courses from certified instructors. The OSU Extension program has a short guide on raised bed planting as well. No matter what method you choose, draw a sketch of your garden and mark out what plants you plan to grow. Different plants have different germination-to-harvest rates, meaning you can grow quick-growing veggies like radishes in between rows of slower-growing carrots. You'll also want to think about how much space each plant will require. A sketch will help you estimate space requirements, as well as think ahead to fall and winter crops. Check out Portland Nursery's handy planting calendar for fruits and veggies to learn more. Keep your sketches in a designated folder or notebook so you can refer back to it later. For multiple beds and single beds alike, succession planting will help you rotate your crops and reduce pest pressure in future seasons. Take advantage of online instructional videos like the ones at Portland Edible Gardens.



Decide on Irrigation

Before you get your plants in the ground, it's a good idea to think about how you'll water them. Hand-watering with a hose, bucket, or watering can is the simplest choice, appropriate for containers and single raised beds. For multiple raised beds and larger areas, consider a soaker hose that you can wind through plants. Connect one end to your hose and let it irrigate plants while you weed or harvest. Raised bed irrigation kits take automated watering to the next level. Add a timer to take the guesswork out of it. For in-ground gardens, you can  purchase irrigation supplies in bulk for more savings.


Now the fun part! Get those plants in the ground! You can purchase starts (young plants in small containers) for most vegetables, but some plants do better from seed, like carrots and radishes, because they don't like to be moved. You may choose to plant certain things from seed to save money, or experience the magic of watching a plant grow. Consider your timing as well. If you're just getting started in June, for example, you may want to pick up larger tomato starts to ensure you get to eat those tasty ripe fruits before summer wanes. Lay out your plant starts (or draw lines in the soil if planting seeds), following package directions for spacing and seed depth. If you need extra guidance on planting or any of the steps above, Growing Gardens offers virtual consulting to meet your level of experience.

Tend and Harvest

For best results, keep soil loose, moist, and weed-free throughout the growing season. Read up on individual crop preferences. Potatoes, for example, need to dry out at a certain point to keep tubers from rotting underground. Alliums like garlic and onions have similar needs. Plan ahead so you can easily block water to those crops while watering others, using goof plugs on irrigation lines. Watch for pest pressure and consult local experts if you're having trouble defending crops against slugs, caterpillars, or other pests. Many organic methods exist to preserve your harvest while respecting Mother Nature! The Master Gardeners at OSU Extension Programs have a well-established Ask an Expert process for fielding your questions about pest control and many other gardening solutions.

Chickens and Ducks

For even more of an urban farm experience, consider hosting your own flock! Portland allows for up to three backyard chickens or ducks without a permit, but roosters are prohibited. Buy chicks, pullets, and ducklings from established nurseries and hatcheries, who do their best to send you home with female birds. (Most offer a 90% sexing guarantee.) Due to recent high demand, you'll want to call ahead or email to join waiting lists. Naomi's Organic Farm Supply is nearing the end of their chick orders, but check the website for updates. They're also a great resource for hen and duck supplies! In Portland and Gresham, Burns Feed Store offers chicks from February through mid-August, and Woodburn's Pete's Hatchery will even mail your chicks to you!

Fun Projects with Kids

To get your child interested in gardening, read Lois Ehlert's Planting a Rainbow, then plant a rainbow garden together. Choose a mix of vegetables and flowers in every color. Try red tomatoes, orange marigolds, yellow sunflowers, "Green Envy" zinnias (or any leafy green), blue bachelor's buttons, and purple kale. Planning and planting a pizza garden is another fun way to get kids invested in tending crops from seed to table. Or build a fun structure like a sunflower house and let kids sit under the impressive canopy come high summer.


Local Shops and Resources

The Portland Metro area is filled with nurseries, farm supply stores, and nonprofits ready to help you get growing. They're working hard during the pandemic to keep customers safe and supplied. So return the favor and buy local whenever possible! With a little planning and some patience, you can get everything you need locally to grow a great garden this year.

OSU Extension Master Gardener Program
Visit the website for your local extension office, and for more information on online events including free or low-cost classes in veggie gardening.

Online: extension.oregonstate.edu

Growing Gardens
3114 SE 50th Ave.
Online: growing-gardens.org

Portland Edible Gardens
Online: portlandediblegardens.com

Naomi's Organic Farm Supply
3454 SE Powell Blvd.
Online: naomisorganic.blogspot.com

Coronavirus specifics: The shop is closed to the public, but open for online orders. Email your order on any day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when staff closes orders. Emails sent after 5 pm Monday and before opening on Thursday will be deleted. This is to stay on top of orders!

Portland Nursery
5050 SE Stark St.
9000 SE Division St.
Online: portlandnursery.com

Tony's Garden Center
10300 SE Holgate Blvd
Online: tonysgarden.com

Coronavirus specifics: Store is open to the public. Wear a mask and observe social distancing guidelines. Taped markers throughout the nursery show appropriate distancing when waiting in line or browsing. Open Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Garden Fever
3433 NE 24th Ave.
Online: gardenfever.com

Coronavirus specifics: Open for paid order pickup Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Download and attach order forms online, and email. Staff will call to collect payment and explain pickup.

Burns Feed Store
29215 SE Orient Drive
Gresham, OR 97080
Online: burnsfeed.com

Pete's Hatchery
13148 NE Portland Rd.
Gervais OR 97026
Online: peteshatchery.com

Mt. Scott Fuel (soil)
6904 SE Foster Rd.
Online: mtscottfuel.com

Deans Residential (soil)
6400 SE 101st Ave.
Online: fineroutdoorliving.com

Wichita Feed and Hardware
6089 SE Johnson Creek Blvd.
Online: wichitafeedandhardware.com



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Parks for Kids & Pups You Can Visit Now

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What better summer combo than kids, dogs, and the great outdoors? While the pandemic may have put a damper on many favorite summer activities, our city’s public parks remain open and safe, with plenty of space for socially-distant exercise. Get your energetic small beings out for a romp in one of Portland’s many kid-friendly dog parks. Read on for the details on our faves!

Photo: Terricks Noah via Unsplash

New to dog parks? Take a moment to review the city’s rules for dogs in public parks and off-leash areas, and help keep parks safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Unfenced Off-Leash Areas


Sellwood Riverfront Park

Just beneath Sellwood Bridge and along the Willamette River, this park has an open grassy area officially designated for off-leash pooches to play (but locals know that dogs run the show along the sandy beach area as well.) Dogs who love to splash, swim, and fetch are happiest here. After playtime, snap on the leash again for a wander with your kiddo through the wooded trails that depart from the riverfront park.

SE Spokane St. & Oaks Pkwy.

Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Laurelhurst Park

With a duck pond and meandering trails through deep shade, this is the perfect oasis for a summertime run with kids and dogs. Keep your dog on-leash near the pond while your kid scopes out the baby ducks, geese, and maybe even a tadpole or two. The off-leash area abutting Oak Street is unfenced and large enough for letting Fido get his crazies out.

SE Cesár E. Chávez Blvd. & Oak St.
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Photo: Lents Park by Mark S. via yelp

Lents Park

This sprawling park in the unassuming outer Southeast neighborhood of Lents has a popular unfenced off-leash area, located right near the community garden. There are plenty of trees, squirrels, and other dogs to keep things interesting for playful pups. Bags and a water spigot are available. After running your dog, watch gardeners at work in the community garden. Ask politely to enter and walk respectfully through the paths to admire the lush gardens. Dogs must be leashed in the garden as well as uphill from the off-leash area, where a ½-mile wooded walking loop offers more room to wander with a wiggly little one. Check out Walker Stadium or play in the sun for a little bit before you head home.

SE 89th Ave. & Steele St.
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Fernhill Park

With plenty of room for your dog to run, this unfenced off-leash dog park is close to open areas for tennis, horseshoes and softball. Bring trustworthy dogs and kids who know to keep away from cars, as the off-leash area abuts a busy street.

NE 37th Ave. & Ainsworth St.

Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Photo: Donald Teel via Unsplash

Fenced Parks


Mt Tabor

The fenced dog park at the base of this beloved Southeast park (and dormant volcano!) is on an incline that dogs love running up and down. Let ‘em run, then leash up and hike up the winding trails with your little one. Bring a stroller or backpack for tiny hikers so you can take in the spectacular city views from the peak.

SE 60th Ave. & Salmon St.
Online: portlandoregon.gov


This city park in the Northeast offers a popular fenced-in dog park with water and a bag dispenser. It’s flat and well-shaded, making it a great option on hot days– and there’s even a separate area for smaller dogs. Trails, ball courts, and shaded open areas offer many options for outdoor play with your kiddo afterward.

NE 57th Ave. & Halsey St.

Photo: Another Beliver via Flickr 

Chimney Park

This large 5-acre off-leash area is off the beaten path and completely fenced, though it’s a low-enough fence that truly motivated dogs might be able to get out. Large shade trees keep active canines cool, with a water spigot inside the dog park. Bring your own poop bags. There’s a pedestrian bridge connecting Chimney Park to nearby Pier Park, so pack a lunch and explore with your little one. Both parks tend to be less crowded than other popular parks close to the city center.

9360 N. Columbia Blvd.
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Brentwood Park

Just next to Joseph Lane School, this small fenced dog park has a bag dispenser. Bring water for your thirsty pooch! A great option for puppies and dogs who are still learning to listen. Bring wheels and scoot around on the tennis court or walk along the paths afterward (with puppy leashed, of course.)

SE 60th Ave. & Duke St.
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Gabriel Park 

Under large shade trees, this popular 2-acre dog park has picnic tables and benches where your kiddo can color or read while doggy plays. Afterward, leash up and take a walk through the park’s trails.

SW 45th Ave. & Vermont St.
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

-Melissa Poulin


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10 Local Father’s Day Gifts to Wow Dad

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Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday, June 21. Do you know what you’re doing to celebrate the special dads in your life? Now is a great time to order a gift from a local small business! Read on for some of our favorite local ways to make Dad smile this Father’s Day.

Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash

Bayside Putter Cover from Seamus Golf

Is your guy into golf? Set him up with a sweet cover for putter, driver, or fairway, in a retro Bayside print, a Saved by the Bell-themed collection in collaboration with Bad Birdie. Seamus Golf has loads of other high-end golf tools and accessories to choose from, including golf bags, ball marks, towels, and bag tags. They’ve also been devoting labor and materials to a mask-making operation for frontline workers, having sewn and delivered over 15,000 masks to healthcare heroes. Now that’s worth supporting. Order your Father’s Day gift early to allow 7-10 business days for delivery. $85

Seamus Golf
9640 SW Sunshine Court, Suite 600
Beaverton, OR 97005
Online: seamusgolf.com

Photo via Portland Razor Co.

Straight Razor or Shaving Upgrade from Portland Razor Co.

If the dad in your life likes a clean shave, invest in a high-quality straight razor and strop for him. Portland Razor Co. offers hand-crafted straight razors that can be sharpened on a leather strop, for the most precise shave around. Best part? These razors are handmade in Portland and built to last a lifetime. Here are some awesome reasons to consider straight shaving. If a straight blade isn’t your thing, consider the ultimate self-care upgrade, with a pre-shave conditioner and aftershave tonic. Free shipping is available for online orders over $25, while brick & mortar retail locations are closed until further notice. Made-to-order items ship in 2-4 weeks, so while you may not get your razor in time for the official day, it’ll be well worth the wait! Razors start at $249; Strops start at $100.

Portland Razor Co.
Online: portlandrazorco.com

Photo via Orox Leather

Leather Tray in Mahogany from Orox Leather

Help him keep his keys, phone, and wallet in one handy location with this beautiful handmade leather accessory tray with copper rivet details. Orox Leather is a Portland gem, an artisan business that started in a garage, working the street-fair circuit, before growing into an established, respected brick-and-mortar retail business. They’ve been producing high-quality leather goods (bags, journals, briefcases, and aprons, to name just a few) in their downtown workshop since 2012, and descend from four generations of leather makers, beginning in Oaxaca, Mexico. (“Orox” is a combination Oaxaca and Oregon.) Orders can be placed online, shipping is free and complimentary monogramming is available as well. Orders must be received by June 12th for guaranteed delivery in time for Father’s Day. $70.

Orox Leather
450 NW Couch St.
Online: oroxleather.com

Photo via Stumptown

Coffee Subscription from Stumptown Coffee or Heart Roasters

Give the gift that keeps on giving, with a subscription to a local coffee roaster. Stumptown and Heart are two of our favorites. Stumptown delivers freshly-roasted whole beans to your doorstep every two weeks. Choose your roast, quantity, and subscription duration, then sit back and wait for the beans to roll in. Easy as that. Heart Roasters allows you to choose a weekly, every two weeks, or monthly delivery, in addition to selecting blend and quantity. Subscriptions are billed automatically and can be canceled or put on hold any time. Starting at $16

Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Online: stumptowncoffee.com

Heart Roasters
Online: heartroasters.com

Photo via Pip’s Original

T-Shirt + Community Chai from Pip’s Original

Get him a sweet shirt and support Portland’s beloved Pip’s Original Doughnuts, a local staple known for its focus on community and generosity. Hats, T-shirts, mugs, and other merchandise are available in a limited supply online. To take advantage of no-contact store pick-up, pair your purchase with a bottle of Community Chai concentrate (5 flavors to choose from!), cold brew, or a hand-packed pint of old fashioned ice cream in a variety of Pip’s signature chai and doughnut flavors. Order by Mon 8 a.m. until sold out for Weds. pick-up between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Order by Thurs. 8 a.m. until sold out for Sat. pickup between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 10% of sales go to support a local food service business! This place is amazing.

Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai
4759 NE Fremont (closed)
Online: pipsoriginal.com

Photo via Hand Forge

Hand-forged Steel Bottle Opener from Hand Forge

Never be let down by your bottle opener again. This built-tough steel bottle opener is forged from super strong steel right here in Portland, and individually tested to ensure a perfect fit. Choose from a range of styles, like the classic model with copper rivet, or enameled steel in a range of primary colors. (There’s also the “beer nut,” a bottle-opener forged from a hex nut. How cool is that?) Each comes packaged in a hand-stamped muslin bag. Beautiful, affordable, durable, and local. Hand Forge has been making quality steel goods for individuals and local businesses since 2009. Order by June 15 to receive by Father’s Day, with $4 shipping. Pair that puppy with a 22 of something local and hoppy and you’re golden. $36
Hand Forge
2014 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Online: handforgemetal.com

Council Tools Flying Fox Hatchet from Portland Axe Throwing

Okay, this is about as badass as it gets. For the Portland Dad set, getting together to throw axes is the new bowling. Since we can’t gather right now at any number of local breweries with axe-throwing lanes, get a refresher on the newest craze and then hook your guy up with his own throwing axe to practice (safely please!) at home. Portland Axe Throwing sells this solid hatchet from Council Tools, with a 16″ curved hickory handle. It’s the best throwing hatchet available, used in Portland Axe Throwing lanes, and made in the USA. Local delivery to Multnomah County available (select when checking out); otherwise order by June 18. $49.50

Portland Axe Throwing
Online: portlandaxethrowing.net

Photo via the Silver Julep

Craft Cocktail Mix Delivery from The Silver Julep

This adorable mobile bar caterer, housed in a sleek Airstream trailer, is getting creative during trying times: craft cocktail mixes for delivery and pickup. Give Dad a beautiful bottle of Silver Julep mix! Just add liquor to make your own craft cocktail at home. With a menu that rotates weekly, they’ve got mouth-watering blends like Rosemary and Ginger Whiskey Sours, Strawberry Mojitos, and Grilled Grapefruit and Mint Palomas. Even better? For the month of June, a portion of sales will benefit the Equitable Giving Circle and Don’t Shoot Portland. Visit the website for a fresh menu, which changes every Sunday, then text or email your order. Local Delivery is $10 within a 5-mile radius of their Sellwood location. Or choose free curbside pickup in Sellwood: Tuesday or Friday 3-5 p.m. $15-$25.

The Silver Julep
Online: thesilverjulep.com
Instagram: @silverjulep

Sausage Fest Sampler Box from Olympia Provisions 

Order this impressive fresh sausage pack and set Dad up for a day (or three) of grilling! Comes with OP branded koozies for cold refreshments while hanging out by the grill. Olympia Provisions is Oregon’s first USDA-approved salumeria and has been keeping Portlanders salivating since 2009 with their naturally-crafted cured meats and charcuterie. $80

Olympia Provisions
Online: olympiaprovisions.com

Stick On Wallet from Woolly Made

This minimalist handmade leather wallet adheres to your man’s cellphone, so he can duck into the store with just his two most essential cards. Laser cut, hand sewn and hand finished to order in Portland, the Stick On Wallet is perfect for the dad on the go. Allow 3-7 business days to ship. $32

Woolly Made

Online: woollymade.com


-Melissa Poulin

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Like the rest of us, Portland’s awesome summer camp hosts have had to adapt to the changing dynamics of life during a pandemic. Some are offering online versions of their programming, some are rolling out abbreviated day programs that adhere to social distancing guidelines, and others have chosen to postpone programs until next summer. Whether you’re looking for a traditional camp experience for your child, or hoping your camper can join in virtually, there’s a good chance there’s an option for you. Here’s the latest on current offerings!

Photo courtesy Portland Audubon Society

Portland Audubon Society

Register now for full-day adventures for kids in grades 1-12. Your camper can try out birding, wildcrafting, art outdoors, archery, or hiking. Portland Audubon is planning to run camps on schedule, while adjusting in real time to follow changing guidelines for COVID-19. Campers will be notified of any changes four weeks prior to the start of camp.

Camp runs from 8:30-3:30 p.m.; aftercare available from 3:45-5:45 p.m. Space for camp and Aftercare is limited to 10 campers. Price range: $325-$725. Pick-up and drop-off locations vary depending on camp.

5151 NW Cornell Rd.
Online: audubonportland.org

Photo via Trackers Earth

Trackers Earth

Survival skills and preparedness have never been more relevant. Join Trackers Earth Portland for outdoor, small group adventures and online programming. Small group adventures include Wilderness Survival, Photo Camp, Paintball, Learn to Bike, and Blacksmithing, plus so much more. Their Spark Channel offers small-group interactive webinars kids can participate in from home. Learn homesteading, survival skills, martial arts, and more. Offerings are for kids ages pre-K-12.

Day camps run 7:30-3:30, with after care available. Pricing starts as low as $5 for online camps, up to $395 for day camps. Locations throughout Portland.

4617 SE Milwaukie Ave.
Online: trackerspdx.com

Photo courtesy of Avid4Adventure

Avid 4 Adventure

In response to the pandemic, this outdoor education and leadership organization is offering small adventures, camp-at-home options, and online camps for kids in pre-K-7th grade. As of press time, they plan to offer their overnight expeditions as scheduled. Small Group Adventures meet at local outdoor recreation areas in Portland, and are week-long action-packed day camps for groups of 4-5 children. Many are now sold out, but check for availability. Camp At Home brings an instructor directly to you for a week of navigation, shelter building, outdoor cooking, wildlife education, Leave No Trace, emergency response and preparedness, and more. You have the option to meet instructors at local hiking and biking trails, or in the safety of your own neighborhood. Online camps are an affordable, interactive choice your kids can participate in from home.

Camps run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Costs are $99/week for online camps; $1250 for Camp at Home, which includes registration for up to 4 kids. Register in May with code ONLINE10 to participate in online camps for just $10!

Online: avid4.com

Photo courtesy Coding with Kids

Coding with Kids

Join this nationally-recognized organization for online coding camps for kids ages 5-18! These live online courses are interactive and designed for small groups of kids, with a maximum of 8 students per instructor. Little ones can check out My First Computer Skills and Little Coders, while older kids can enjoy Photo Editing, Minecraft, Roblox, and more. Check the website for tech and software requirements, which vary by camp.

Camps run a little over two hours per day, and run 5 days per week. Several start-times available for each camp. Costs start at $199. (Little Coders is $99 and 1 hour.)

Online: codingwithkids.com

Photo courtesy Portland Children’s Museum

Portland Children’s Museum

At Portland Children’s Museum, registration is currently open for full-day Museum Summer Camps in July and August for children ages 4-10. Let the FUN shine in with weekly themes including Clay Inventors, Mystery Explorers, and Cosmic Detectives. Your happy camper will soak up creative adventure while combining art with science and nature—in both indoor and outdoor Museum exhibits.

Following state guidelines, the Museum plans to operate camps this summer with extra precautions to ensure your child’s safety, including a limited number of campers and a lower camper-to-counselor ratio. Participants will be contacted in the event that camps cannot be held for the week(s) they have registered.

Camps run 8:30 a.m.–3 p.m.; aftercare available 3-5:30 p.m. Cost is $305 per week.

4015 SW Canyon Rd.

Photo courtesy Pedalheads

Pedalheads Bike

This national hub of bike education offers half and full day camps for kids as young as 2, all the way to 12, who want to ride bikes this summer! Your kid will go from training wheels to two wheels in these fun learn-to-bike camps. Concerned about COVID? They’re going above and beyond to insure a safe camp experience for your biker this summer. They’re working hard to adapt programming to meet or exceed safety guidelines, including using equipment or barriers to support distancing requirements, keeping class sizes small and separated from other groups, and upping handwashing and cleaning procedures. Plus, they offer a no-hassle cancellation policy.

Locations in Portland, Beaverton, and Lake Oswego. Half-day camps 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. Full-day camps 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Before and after care available. Pricing is from $259-$455.

Online: pedalheads.com/bike/oregon

Photo courtesy of OES

Oregon Episcopal School

For kids ages 4 to 18, Oregon Episcopal School is offering online camps and in-person camps. Campers can choose from culinary arts, Jiu Jitsu, movie making, and more. Virtual camps are available for the first two weeks (Jun. 22-Jul. 2), while OES is exploring options for in-person camps for the remainder of the summer (Jul. 6-Aug. 22).

Check the website for updated offerings and pricing.

6300 SW Nicol Rd.
Online: oes.edu/summer

Need more ideas? Check out our full summer camp guide!

-Melissa Poulin


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Show the mother in your life how much you care, and support her favorite local business at the same time! This Mother’s Day, take your pick from our carefully-selected list of offerings from the best of Portland’s talented artists, makers, coffee roasters, and chocolate makers. Read on to learn more!

Flowers from Sellwood Flower Co

Flowers are the ultimate Mother’s Day gift, and this small Sellwood shop is offering curbside pickup and delivery on their carefully-crafted arrangements. Browse the online shop for bunches of roses and tulips, and add on a box of French macarons or Moonstruck chocolate for the ultimate gift. $55 and up.

8215 SE 13th Ave.
Online: sellwoodflowerco.com

Assorted Woodblock Chocolate Bars

If flowers aren’t her thing, treat Mom to an assortment of 10 bars of Woodblock Chocolate! The floral packaging is as beautiful as the bars are delicious. $40

Online: woodblockchocolate.com

Photo courtesy of With Love from PDX

Gardening Gift Box

Does the mother in your life have a green thumb? Treat her to this gift box from With Love from PDX, which includes a smock available in two colors, three packages of seeds, and a garden journal from a local printing press. Or take your pick from a variety of other box sets featuring Portland-made items. Note that products only ship on Fridays, so plan ahead! $75

Online: withlovefrompdx.com

Camamu Roses, Chocolate, and Jasmine Gift Set 

The Unrepentant Rose soap from fave local soap-maker Camamu is just about the prettiest soap you can buy. Take it up a notch by adding Jasmine Vetiver and Chocolicious soaps in a lovely gift box. As affordable as they are gentle, Camamu soaps are safe for the whole family. Stock up and bring your order to $40, and Camamu will pay it forward by giving you a free bar of soap to share with someone in need. Free domestic shipping. $22

Online: camamusoap.com

Photo courtesy of Altar

Canyon Wrap Dress from Altar

A ¾ sleeve wrap dress is almost universally flattering, and this locally-made version is divine, in a soft modal knit. Altar prides itself on high-quality handmade apparel and also stocks a mean apothecary. Check out the Apothecary Discovery Box, $100, for another great Mother’s Day option. Place your order by May 2 to receive it in time for Mother’s Day. Free shipping! $120

Online: altarpdx.com

Satellite Necklace from Allie B. Studios

Give mom a symbol of classic beauty with this lightweight necklace, featuring a bronze satellite orbiting a sterling sliver moon. Pair it with matching earrings, or browse the catalog for something else you think the mama in your life will love. Beloved local artist Allie B.’s jewelry combines classic elegance with modern lines, and proves that statement pieces don’t have to be intimidating. $45

Online: alliebstudios.com

Photo courtesy Bridge Nine Candle Co.

Resilience Candle from Bridge Nine

As part of their #makeitbrighter campaign, Bridge Nine Candle Co. will donate $5 from every Resilience candle order to the COVID-19 relief efforts of the Oregon Food Bank. With notes of fresh cut grass, teak wood, ferns and tuberose, this candle’s uplifting fragrance and bright flame will remind moms of their own resilience. Or check out some of the amazing gift sets they’ve put together for Mother’s Day, each 25% off. Free shipping for orders over $75. To get your items in time for Mother’s Day, place your order by May 5. You can even include a note at checkout and Bridge Nine will tuck a handwritten note in with your gift! $22

Online: bridgeninecandleco.com

Sleeveless “Phoebe” Dress from Union Rose

Help the mother in your life get ready for warm weather with this pretty (and pretty local) dress. The Phoebe dress is the store’s most popular style. Support Union Rose, a woman-owned apparel shop featuring apparel handmade by Portland artisans. With standard and plus sizes, free shipping, and 20% off orders over $100, you really can’t go wrong. $144.

Online: unionrosepdx.com

Photo courtesy of Wolf Ceramics

Sunrise Mug by Wolf Ceramics

Got an outdoorsy mama? Brighten her morning with a beautiful handmade mug in a cheerful palette. Wolf Ceramics is continuing to donate 10% of every purchase to different organizations supporting those whose livelihoods have been affected by COVID-19. These handmade mugs are ready to ship, and available for pickup at the studio. For shipping, orders are packaged every Thursday and shipped on Fridays, so plan ahead to have your mug in hand for Mother’s Day. $56

Online: wolfceramics.com

Heart Coffee Subscription 

Caffeine is a mom’s best friend, and Heart Coffee roasts some of the most delicious beans in Portland. Sign Mom up for a weekly, biweekly, or monthly shipment of locally-roasted coffee. Yum! $16-$37

Online: heartroasters.com

Photo of Apothecary Discovery Box courtesy of Altar

Other ideas

Visit Portland Made for a host of other ideas to help you bring Mom some joy while contributing to the survival of our amazing local artists and retailers. Consider a gift certificate to your favorite shops. Check Float for a comprehensive list of local businesses in need of support, with direct links to GoFundMe and gift card order pages. The promise of a future sauna session at Loyly, or a haircut at Vacation Club might be just the thing to perk her up and show her you care.

-Melissa Poulin


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How to Support Local Businesses while Social-Distancing

How Your Favorite Family Businesses are Responding to the Pandemic

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Earth Day is on the horizon, and many families are feeling more gratitude than ever for the beauty of the natural world. With state parks closed and many trails overcrowded due to the pandemic, it’s time to get creative about getting kids into nature and instilling the values of environmental stewardship and respect. Read on for the ultimate Earth Day guide for Portland families.


Spending most of your time indoors? You can still connect to Mother Earth using your imagination (and maybe a bit of hot glue.) See what you can make with an empty Amazon box, or braid a set of garlands using old t-shirts! You can make beautiful mobiles using watercolors and egg cartons, or put together portraits of adorable little leaf creatures using natural materials from the backyard. When in doubt, raid the recycling bin and break out the low-heat glue gun! Let your kiddo make his own little village, spaceship, or firehouse using empty milk cartons and cereal boxes. You’ll be teaching your child to reuse and upcycle, all while keeping them busy for a few hours.

See our handy guide for even more crafty ways to celebrate Earth Day!


Though many popular area Earth Day events are likely to be canceled this year, you can still make a small gesture of love for the earth that makes a big impact on your kids. With a handful of wildflower seeds and a muffin tin, you can make seed bombs to give and use. Grow some hope by starting some seeds indoors in a mason jar, so you can watch the roots and shoots emerge. Support wildlife by creating a bee and bird bath, setting up a nurse log for fungi and insects, or protecting birds from window strikes. Visit Portland’s Backyard Habitat Certification website to learn more. Start a worm bin indoors, or commit to collecting kitchen scraps for the city’s composting program. Learn about and participate in this year’s Earth Hour, a project of the Portland Audubon society aimed at reducing light pollution. Or go all out and take action during International Dark Sky Week, April 19-26 this year.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash


Nothing says family time quite like movie night! Spread out a picnic blanket in the living room, pop some popcorn, and tune in to an earthy film. Check your favorite streaming service for a film on animals, like March of the Penguins, Monkey Kingdom, or Winged Migration. Watch “Earth from Above: Biodiversity” on Amazon Prime for a bird-eye view of some of earth’s most incredible places. Online, you can watch “Losing the Dark,” a short film about the impact of light pollution on animals and human health. For kids with shorter attention spans, search the free PBS Kids app for “A Nature Hike with Daniel Tiger.”

When you can’t visit in person, consider taking a virtual tour of some of Portland’s beautiful natural areas. Start with a virtual tour of the roses at the Oregon Garden, then head to the Portland Japanese Gardens, where interactive 360-degree photos let you explore the garden during different seasons. Check your favorite natural area’s website for additional virtual tour resources, and if you’re able, consider making a small donation to support them during closures. (Speaking of the Internet, why not switch search engines for the month and help Mama Earth while you surf? Ecosia is a search engine that helps plant trees.)

Need more inspo? Check this list of Eco-Friendly Films.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


Take advantage of the many online resources for audiobooks and e-books made available for free during the pandemic. Inspire kids with the story of young climate activist Greta Thunberg, with Greta and the Giants, by Zoe Tucker, or Our House is on Fire, by Jeanette Winter. Tall, Tall Tree, by Anthony D. Frederick, teaches kids to count while learning about giant redwood trees, while the touching Oliver: The Second Tallest Living Thing on Earth, by Josh Crute, imparts an important lesson about comparison and friendships in the context of the world’s largest trees, in Sequoia National Forest. Song of the Wild: A First Book of Animals, by Nicola Davies, is a colorful book of poems about the animal kingdom for younger children, and Animals by the Numbers, by Steve Jenkins, will satisfy older readers’ appetites for interesting animal facts.

Photo by Mabel Amber via Pixabay


Pull on some gloves and mask, and grab a garbage bag, and pick up trash in your neighborhood. Practice social distancing and safety: kids can use their keen eyes to spot garbage, while adults handle disposal. Visit the Friends of Trees website to learn more about planting trees, then order one from the Arbor Day Foundation and hold a tree-planting ceremony in your yard, or in a large pot. If tree-planting isn’t possible for you, you can find a nearby tree and practice “tree meditation:” science says just 5 minutes of staring at a tree reduces the body’s stress response! (This works even if you can’t get to an actual tree; the brain does the same thing with a photograph.) With area trails currently inundated with visitors, stay informed on current pandemic guidelines, and make a responsible choice before embarking on a hike further from home. The Forest Park Conservancy maintains an updated blog on safe hiking practices in response to COVID-19, including a map of the park’s 19 different access points, in case your favorite trailhead is overrun. Or consider taking a nature walk closer to home: see how many different colors and shapes you can find in the natural world, and record them with drawings in a small notebook. Here are more ideas for observing neighborhood plants and wildlife with kids.

Even more ideas:

Easy Ideas to Help You Go Green

8 Useful Ways to Upcycle Your Scrap Paper

50 Ways Families can Save the Planet

-Melissa Poulin


15 Awesome Toys Portland Stores Deliver to Families

10 Facebook Groups Keeping Portland Parents Connected

How Your Favorite Family Businesses are Responding to the Pandemic


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Want some good news for a change? Some of Portland’s most beloved local artists and small shops are finding inspiring ways to stay connected, support the community, and stay in business during the global pandemic. And they’re feeling the love in return! When social distancing is getting us down, it’s good to know our favorite shops and circles are still out there. Read on to learn how to connect with and support them, so we can all gather together again when the crisis lifts.

Photo: via Hammer and Jacks.

Hammer + Jacks

In response to the pandemic and out of concern for the most vulnerable among us, the most compassionate thing we can do as a community is give each other some space. But what do you do when your business is a community space?

So much more than a toystore, Hammer and Jacks’ adorable indoor playspace has become a vital community hub in the Foster-Powell neighborhood over the past four years. From lactation support groups and kindie music concerts, to storytimes in Spanish and birthday parties, there’s always been something happening. Until now.

“It’s been a complete 180,” Owner Jillian Sevick says. “To go from being a gathering space to figuring out how to stay connected while doing [social distancing.] But there has [also] been an amazing outpouring of community.”

Even before Kate Brown officially ordered businesses to close under the shelter-in-place order, Hammer and Jacks closed their doors and began doing curbside pickup and home delivery only. Things got quiet around the store, with neighbors picking up bundles of toys outside the store, holding their kids up so they could wave at “the toystore lady” through the storefront window. A week later, after a lot of conversation, they began discouraging people from coming to the shop and switched to no-contact porch deliveries only, opting not to overload the postal system with non-essential business.

For now, the orders are still coming and the family-run business is still making free deliveries. Sevick is grateful for the opportunity to support Portland families in a safe way. She says the community has really shown that they care, and that she wants to cry every time she hears that customers want to support small businesses, and not just Amazon.

An added bright spot? Many H+J customers have opted to include balloons with their toy delivery. Sevick recalls delivering a rainbow of balloons to one house, where a child was feeling a little sad about her “virtual birthday party. After dropping off the package, Sevick received a text with a video of the girl spinning and dancing in the balloons.

“It took her from feeling glum about having a birthday party under quarantine, to lighting up when she saw the balloons,” Sevick says. “So yes it’s nice to feel the community behind us and have a sense that we can still go on. And at the same time, for me it’s an emotional boost to still be able to do this work, and support families under quarantine.”

Hammer and Jacks
6416 SE Foster Rd.
Portland, OR 97206

Order online: hammerandjacks.com

Photo: via Red Yarn Productions.

Red Yarn

A Red Yarn show is about more than just the music. It’s about the friendships made between kids and parents alike, and the way the community gathers to sing together even during hard times. The Portland performer is known for his warm personality, lively puppetry, and lyrics that manage to combine folk style and fun with political awareness and responsiveness.

At a time when many families in Portland and elsewhere are grappling with major upheaval, music remains a salve. Though Red Yarn can’t perform as usual under the stay-at-home order, he’s begun reuniting with fans during livestream performances.

“My first few Facebook Live shows were pretty rough with lots of technical issues, but a few tech-savvy parents generously reached out, gave me some pointers, and now I have a decent little system going in my living room,” says Red Yarn, aka Andy Furgeson. “I’ve always been wary of technology taking the place of ‘real’ human connection, but I’ve been amazed how engaging and connecting these livestream shows have felt.”

One surprising result of the virtual concerts is reaching more introverted kids, who might not be as likely to get up and dance at his in-person shows. Three times a week he broadcasts to living rooms everywhere via Facebook Live, during times he would have been doing his weekly shows at Taborspace, Village Ballroom, and Mississippi Pizza (all of which are amazing businesses, Furgeson points out, that deserve our support right now.)

This concern for others is central for Furgeson and characteristic of Red Yarn shows. While there are several ways that families can donate to support Red Yarn’s livestream performances during the pandemic, Furgeson stresses that he wants everyone to tune in, whether or not they are in a position to donate.

“I would especially like to invite parents who have been laid off or who are facing a major loss of income due to the Coronavirus crisis to tune in guilt- and donation-free,” he says. “So many people are hurting right now, and will continue to be hurt by the economic and health impacts of this crisis. I know a lot of artists and small business owners or employees who can’t shift their model so easily, and I’m trying to do what I can to spread the love.”

Though connecting virtually is different, he says it’s wonderful to witness artists, community-leaders and activists use technology to help others make it through a scary time.

Check out Red Tricycle’s largest, most comprehensive virtual events calendar of family-friendly activities  to find more virtual events.

Red Yarn Livestream Performances
Monday and Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Thursday at 4 p.m.
Online: facebook.com/redyarn
Stream music for free at redyarn.bandcamp.com
Watch music videos at youtube.com/redyarnfilms.

Photo: via Mimosa Studios

Mimosa Studios

Talk about going above and beyond for your customers. When the shelter-in-place order hit Portland, Mimosa Studios Owner Austin Raglione had to think fast. How could they continue offering the experience of their full-service ceramic painting studio to families cooped up at home?

“We’d offered take home painting kits in the past, for parties and gatherings, so it was a model we already had in place,” Raglione says. “It’s been popular [since the order], and I think a lot of people who don’t know about it would love it. It’s a tough road for a lot of kids and families stuck at home, and this is a great craft to bond over together.”

Raglione remembers doing crafts with her mother when she was growing up, and she loves being able to make people happy by helping them create memories during a tough time. The Take Home Painting Kits ($20-$30) come with all the ceramics, paint, brushes, and instructions needed to paint right at home. The kits are delivered to Portland-area homes, along with free pick-up for finished works, to be taken to the studio for firing. Once Mimosa Studios is able to reopen to the public, customers can pick up their work, fired and ready for display or use in the home.

The kits are easy to order online, and they offer 10% off for families who have lost employment due to the crisis. You can choose from unpainted ceramic mugs, garden pots and gnomes, magical figurines, or bowls. If there’s a specific figure or item you’re looking for, you can call during business hours and staff will help find the right item to pack up for you. All materials are sanitized before delivery, and the paint is washable, so it’s safe to set up at the kitchen table.

After nearly 20 years in business, Raglione says Mimosa Studios has always been about building community, and that’s what she wants to focus on now, too. Before the pandemic, she enjoyed seeing people connect at the family-style table in their small studio. Now, closing the studio doors is the best choice she can make for the community, even though it’s hard.

“We want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” she says. “If people can support small businesses to whatever extent they’re able, that’s going to help everyone.”

Mimosa Studios
1718 NE Alberta St.
503-288-0770 (Wed. and Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.)
Delivery on Mon., Wed., and Sat. (free)
Order Online: mimosastudios.com

 Photo: via Green Bean Books.

Green Bean Books

For many of its devoted customers, the temporary shuttering of the whimsical red-painted children’s bookstore in the beloved Alberta Arts District came as a blow– one in a long string of necessary closures in response to the pandemic. Beyond the hand-picked selection of children’s books and the big green reading couch at the center of the store, there was the community of families that met weekly for multilingual story-times, craft sessions, and music circles. How could they carry that warmth and connection into the unexpected shift to social distancing?

“The hardest part for us has been getting our online ordering up and running,” says Owner Jennifer Green. “We have always prided ourselves on being an experience store: one in which you really have to go into our store in order to feel the magic. Now all that is not possible, so we are figuring out an online book ordering system.”

While they work on creating an easy-to-use online ordering system, the small team of booksellers is available daily by phone for book recommendations and ordering. With the ability to order just about any book through their distributors, including adult books, they encourage customers to pick up the phone and purchase a book. Clean and safe curbside pick-up is available, along with free porch delivery for homes on the east side of the river and reasonably close to the store.

“Customers have been so kind and concerned and we really feel embraced by our strong community of readers!” she reflects. “It has felt like one big group hug some days! (And) we will need continued support to get through this.”

One way to do that is to purchase a gift certificate for future use, which can be mailed or kept at the store for phone orders or once doors open again. Consider purchasing an audiobook through partner Libro.fm, with all sales supporting Green Bean Books. Already have enough books to last you through the crisis? Order a surprise bundle to be delivered to a friend in need of a little cheer, or purchase a stack of books to be delivered to the Children’s Book Bank, a  nonprofit working to distribute books to kids in need in the Portland area.

Green Bean Books
1600 NE Alberta Street
503-954-2354 (daily from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.)
Online: greenbeanbookspdx.com

Call during business hours to place an order, and check back for online ordering!

-Melissa Poulin


10 Facebook Groups Keeping Portland Parents Connected

How to Support Local Businesses while Social-Distancing