I Live Here: Justin Riordan

I Live Here: Justin Riordan

Name & Age: Justin M. Riordan, 37

Hometown: Boise, Idaho was where my clan landed, but really the west is our hometown. 

Current Neighborhood: Piedmont

How do you pay the rent and what is your slash? I am the Creative Director for the Spade and Archer Design Agency / dad / husband / dinner party planner.

What do you create? We create beautiful homes, thoughtfully conceived and gracefully executed.

How did you land in Portland? We were living in San Francisco when our financial crisis hit in 2006, about a year before everybody else. By a total stroke of luck and math, we knew we had about 18 months before it got “really bad”. We built a matrix of qualities we wanted in a place to live, vs. a place we would consider living. Of 18 cities from Sydney to London, Portland won, by one point.  We were here 12 months later and thankfully avoided the “really bad.”

What is the last book you read? “Matilda” with my son and “Lord of the Flies” for myself. I try to stick to the classics, because they are classic for a reason, right?

Name your favorite tattoo. I do not have any tattoos, but my promise to myself is that if I still want it on my 40th birthday, I will get an old English script tattoo across my belly that reads: “I know, right?!”

What was the last thing you ate at a food cart? The Cheesus from The Grilled Cheese Grill.

Oregonian, Willamette Week, or Mercury? Not so much, more like Martha Stewart Living, Elle Décor, House Beautiful and National Geographic.

What is your favorite bridge and why? I actually love all the bridges I think they each have very cool bits and pieces about them so I will list my favorite attribute of each bridge:

  • Sellwood is a little old lady, I fear I might break her hip if I ride her too hard.
  • Ross Island is the middle child, gets no respect.
  • Marquam reminds me of “True  Stories” when David Byrne said of freeways “They’re the cathedrals of our time.”  It is the ugliest bridge in town, yet somehow, I think in a century or so, humans will see beauty in it’s graceful sweep.
  • Hawthorne has the closest proximity of cars going in opposite directions in the center lanes and it produces the best adrenaline rush.
  • Morrison was the only way we knew how to get downtown when we first arrived. Whenever I go back over her, she reminds me of the promise this town holds.
  • Burnside has the tackiest lighting. I spent many an early morning biking past this bridge when it was still dark outside. On each side there are six or so colored lights.  They change the color every once in a while as if each time they think to themselves, “this is the one boys… these colors are gonna make this bridge look great!” Sadly, they never do.
  • Steel is most like me in that it is super old fashioned yet advanced for it’s time, first off, it is black, how cool is that? Secondly it has an elevator to go up and down with a little house on it. Thirdly it carries, cars, bikes, pedestrians, railroad and light rail. It is super versatile, also like me.
  • Broadway it is the same color as the Golden Gate Bridge and every time I see it I think of our fair sister city, San Francisco.
  • Fremont is by far the most elegant and simple, and freakishly tall, she is the supermodel that everybody is afraid to talk to at a party.
  • If Maleficent was a bridge, she would be St. Johns… creepy and beautiful is my favorite aesthetic.

Stumptown Coffee or _________? No thank you. I don’t do caffeine, as I already have enough energy to share.

Coast or Mountains? Variety is the spice of life.

Only in Portland moment? Our home sits on a triple lot. A third of the lot was sold off to finance the “fix and flip” done by the owner before us. We feared a big narrow long house would be built on the lot at any moment. However, we decided to take care of the empty lot as it was the right thing to do. One day we happened to meet the owner of the lot, who lives in Denver, CO. She was very sweet. A year or so later we received a letter from the Urban Farm Collective, a local non-profit start up, asking if they could farm the land and donate the food to homeless shelters. From that letter, the landowner agreed to donate the land, we agreed to donate the water and the Urban Farm Collective agreed to donate the plants and labor. As a result, the Urban Farm Collective now has a three year lease on the land, the owner of the lot has her land taken care of, homeless people are receiving, local organic fresh fruits and vegetables and we have a producing farm next door. Win, win, win, win.

A favorite local business? My favorite local business is a non-profit. The Community Warehouse provides furnishing for folks with section eight housing. In order to keep the operation going, they have an estate store that rivals any consignment shop in town and an ongoing garage sale the is awesome. Not to mention one of the funniest blogs I have ever read at estatestore.org. They do all of this with no religious affiliations, and manage to keep all their operations local. How much do we love them?!

Are you a car person or a bike person? I end up using cars and trucks more often. Ever try to move furniture on a bike? Mea culpa.

If you could change one thing about Portland, what would it be? We adopted our son (who is black) in 2004; one of the main reasons we moved here was for the diversity of the residents here. I do wish the rest of the city was as diverse as Piedmont.

And finally, where can we find you on the web? Spade-archer.com


I Live Here: Justin Riordan

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