I Live Here: Chad Rea

I Live Here: Chad Rea

Name & Age: Chad Rea, 40

Hometown: El Paso/Pittsburgh

Current Neighborhood: Creston-Kenilworth

How do you pay the rent and what is your slash? I am a freelance copywriter/creative director, career and business advisor, commercial voiceover artist, and a serial entrepreneur. My slash: improv actor.

What do you create? I mostly develop product and marketing ideas for brands, including many brands of my own. My company, ecopop, recently launched dabball, our iPhone/iPad app that promotes emerging artists through mobile gaming. Next on the list is Stumptown Secondary School, a line of men’s neckties made from overstock graphic t-shirts. My list is mighty long.

How did you land in Portland? About four years ago, my family went on a cruise (ugh) to Alaska (ooh) where I felt a special connection to nature, something I hadn’t really felt in any of the nine cities I’ve lived in. A year later, around the same time I launched ecopop, I got a recruitment call from Wieden+Kennedy with an invitation to “just come up and see” if I wanted to move here. Two weeks later, my dog, Star, and I traded in our high-priced tans for two-for-one trees. The W+K gig was short-lived but it brought me to Ptown. I can’t really imagine ecopop, a company that merges ecology with pop culture, or myself for that matter, being anywhere else.

What is the last book you read? I’ve listened to about three audiobooks since then—all non-fiction, but the last one I actually read was The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Miguel Ruiz. The agreements are: Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best. The how and why explained in this book has had a profound effect on my life. Highly recommended reading. Or listening.

Name your favorite tattoo. I’d say the awesome Sigma Phi Tasmanian Devil on my lower back, if I had one, but since I don’t, probably the somewhat cryptic symbols on my forearm that commemorate my summit of Kilimanjaro on 10:10:10. (As if I need something to remind me of that epic near-death experience.)

What was the last thing you ate at a food cart? More like I inhaled a deliciously deep-fried chocolaty, peanutty pie from Whiffies. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t gluten-free, like the naturopath ordered, but some food carts are just too damn irresistible.

Oregonian, Willamette Week, or Mercury? The Mercury for the music calendar and, uh, sometimes Lovelab.

What is your favorite bridge and why? The Burnside Bridge, because the world-class skatepark that lives underneath it was built by a handful of mavericks without the city’s permission. To me, this kind of punk rock, do-it-yourself mentality symbolizes Portland’s creative culture. “Just do it.”

Stumptown Coffee or _________? I am a sucker for Stumptown, but mainly if I brew it myself. It’s all part of my wake-up-and-read-the-iPad ritual. If I accidentally run out of beans or I am traveling and have to get another brand, colors appear faded and music just seems dull. Weird, huh?

Coast or Mountains? Mountains. If I’m gonna walk along the beach, I wanna be wearing shorts and sunscreen and be able to jump in the water without getting hypothermia. Sorry, NW Coast. I still love you, just not year-round.

Only in Portland moment? As much as I eat at Por Que No? and Nuestra Cocina, I’ve been on a never-ending quest for a stellar Cal- or Tex- Mex restaurant here. I’ve heard Hillsburrito is the place to go but it’s funny to me how many people feel that driving even 20 minutes to another quadrant is too far. An equal amount of Portlanders, however, would gladly ride out there on their bike.

A favorite local business? Land is a retail store and art gallery on Mississippi. They also sell their curated wares online at buyolympia.com and have their fulfillment warehouse in the back. They even sport a food cart (Wolf & Bear) in their parking lot, which works out nicely for gallery openings. They are a favorite not only because I dig their shiznaz, but also because I love their hybrid business model and how they’ve maximized their space. Perhaps not as novel as say a bar/record store or a coffee/flooring shop, but smart and inspired nonetheless.

Are you a car person or a bike person? A car person with a bike rack. Of course, since I work from home I rarely drive. If fact, I only put about 5000 miles/year on my car. Unfortunately, I’m a big baby when it comes to biking in the rain.

If you could change one thing about Portland, what would it be? One thing that puzzles me about Portland is the general speed of business or lack of hustle. When I first moved here, it felt like I was stepping off one of those moving walkways at the airport. My lifestyle brain thinks, “Okay, I get it. Life doesn’t have to move so fast. Slow down. Smell the Stumptown. Perhaps even retire like the song on Portlandia says.” My business brain, however, is like “C’mon, all you makers. Chop, chop. You’re awesome but don’t you want to be awesomer?!” Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for balance and I completely embrace the slower pace of life here. Generally speaking, however, it’s my work experience, specifically with the creative class and supporting businesses, that feels a tad too sleepy for its own good. Or, perhaps I’m a tad too driven for mine.

And finally, where can we find you on the web? www.chadrea.com and www.ecopop.com, www.facebook.com/ecopop, @ecopop

I Live Here: Chad Rea

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