The Neighborhood

Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art is planting a new seed in what will soon become NW Portland’s next prime neighborhood.  A new New Seasons is being built a block away, with the intersection of NW 23rd Avenue and NW Thurman serving as a busy shopping  and dining neighborhood.   Like the Pearl District in its infancy, there is no name yet for this outer ring of NW Portland, but with the Conway real estate acres on the verge of major development, we anticipate that by opening together we will create a worthwhile reason to visit.   Even the popular Portland Streetcar has a stop
4 blocks away.

Within a block or two of the gallery is sushi, homemade pies, Italian, an Old Lompoc brewpub, American fare, southern and the splendid St. Jack’s French bistro for louche happy hours and sumptuous cocktails.

This area of the Northwest District — historically known as Slabtown, more recently dubbed NoLo (north of Lovejoy) by real estate agents — is an area of approximately 50 square blocks. In the 1880s working-class residents in part of Northwest Portland used slabs of cheap wood from sawmills as fuel for their fireplaces. Slabtown became a semi-derogatory term for the area by the rich, who could afford cordwood that was cut to size. Slabtown was a bustling working-class enclave whose residents included immigrants from Scandinavia, China, and Eastern Europe. They toiled at the nearby lumber mills, icehouses, docks and on the streetcars.

Today, the prominent ‘Slabtown’ sign at the corner of Northwest Lovejoy Street and 15th Avenue, a relic from the 1970s, is one of the only reminders of the term. The sign was the inspiration for the bar and music lounge of the same name, Slabtown, located at 1033 NW 16th Avenue and is famously known as the birthplace of the Portland band the Dandy Warhols.

Slabtown is labeled the “transition area” in city documents. It is changing, adding dozens of town houses and condominiums. Town houses and condos are replacing old industrial plants. A 25-town house development opened in 2006 on NW 20th Avenue and Pettygrove Street, with units priced around $500,000. The historic Lane-Miles Standish building, for 85 years home to a printing business at NW 19th Avenue and Raleigh Street, has been converted to a mix of office space and five levels of residences.

The combined Northwest District (aka Alphabet District, Nob Hill, or NW23rd) and Pearl Gallery map provides key information for Portland First Thursday gallery walkers. Galleries, public art, restaurants, coffeehouses, pubs & bakeries are clearly labeled on the map and in the index. Parking, mass transit, and key landmarks are shown. If your time is limited, you can see at a glance what blocks have the greatest density of galleries, bakeries, or restaurants. Click here to download the map.

The Space

Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art inhabits a perfectly designed small but accomodating gallery salon space.  Forming a large square, with no beams or obstructions of any kind, the gallery salon ceilings are 14’ tall. Five large, south-facing windows provide ambient light softened by translucent white pleated fabric shades.

Sharing the space in the back, is Murdoch Collections, a maze of art racks with over 1500 works of Northwest art from artists and estates over the past fifty years. There the thrill of discovery is encouraged, as there is something in the racks for everyone, of every stripe and hue and price point

Katayama Framing is next door, the Northwest’s premier wood-carved framing and installation resources.

The three of us started talking in the spring of 2014.  As we explored our areas of expertise and audience reach, we realized that we all shared a similar customer-focused mission: take care of your customers and they will pay a premium for the feeling of being taken care of with informed and attentive service.  Together we can provide a much wider spectrum of services to anyone with an interest in the visual arts, with three separate doors of entry:

  • Have your own work or art professionally framed

  • Choose from an extensive inventory of available artwork  

  • Build a world class collection of contemporary art

It’s a symbiotic thing: we work well together!