It's become tradition: After a 2009 Downtown Retail Strategy Task Force report made the many vacant storefronts in downtown Portland a priority, a number of cooperative efforts made by a concert of organizations (Portland Business Alliance, Portland Development Commission, the Downtown Marketing Initiative, City of Portland, etc.), the PDX Pop-Up shop project was launched. Each year for the holiday season, a number of empty retail spaces are temporarily filled with retail endeavors that are largely focused on locally produced goods. It keeps downtown looking activated, and is an awesome opportunity for small retailers who may not otherwise be able to get a foothold in the pedestrian-heavy shopping core. Meanwhile the owners of the vacant spaces have the benefit of their properties being showcased, with the end game being, of course, to find permanent retail tenants.

This year there are four pop-ups, all set to open their doors, along with the mayor's annual short ceremony, on Thursday, November 8 at 10:30 am. If you got out to see them last year, you surely remember Boys' Fort, which took up a large swathe of the downtown Galleria's first floor and filled it with a magical mishmash of everything from home decor to small accessories and fine art, under the thematic umbrella that everything be aimed at "boys." Boys' Fort, which has since been carrying on in a shared space in N Portland, is making its triumphant return this year at 614 SW 11th.

A very handsome bit of wall from last years Boys Fort pop-up.
  • A very handsome bit of wall from last year's Boys' Fort pop-up.

Exciting new additions to the program include the previously mentioned Wolf’s Apothecary (902 SW Morrison), a combination of locally made beauty and health products and vintage and modern home goods headed up by city herbalist Jewelie Randall (who also owns Flora).
The two other shops will retain an apparel focus, with Monica Cullen and Ben Hermel’s Emit (535 SW 6th), offering “bold, distinctive women’s apparel and accessories.” As the name would suggest, Enchanted Alpaca (902 SW Morrison) will specialized in apparel made with alpaca and other natural fabrics, with good for men, women, children, and babies. One more thing that’s sure to be an even bigger hit than visiting Santa at the mall: They’re promising to host live alpacas at the store every weekend (!).