Independent-bookstore owner Chloe Eudaly's Nov. 8 election to the Portland City Council sent shockwaves through political circles.
The surprise upset against Commissioner Steve Novick will send ripples through the Portland cultural institution she ran, too. Eudaly plans to close her shop, Reading Frenzy, which she opened in 1995 and later moved to North Mississippi Avenue. It will shut its doors Jan. 1, at least for the time being.
To follow the city's rules that prohibit a commissioner from having an outside job or owning a business, Eudaly needed to sell or close before taking office.
Her announcement is below:
It’s been a good run, Portland. And who knows what the future may hold for Reading Frenzy, but for the time being the shop is going on hiatus effective 1/1/17.
The truth is it’s taken an extraordinary amount of work, along with support from friends and community members to keep it open off and on for the last several years. And I realized that it really cannot stand on its own two feet without me and well, it can’t have me anymore.
There is a chance it may reemerge in a new form later this year but that plan has not taken shape enough to share. Taking an idea and turning it into reality while getting to put my interests, talents, and skills to their best use remains one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
Without Reading Frenzy I don’t know how I would have earned a living without killing my spirit. I may have never been connected to some of the most important people in my life, to the beautiful, amazing, and vital work that made its way to our doorstep, or to the international arts and literary community I’ve been so lucky to be a small part of. It’s also highly unlikely I would have run for City Council and found my next calling and a greater use for those interests, talents, and skills at this point in my life.
I feel very lucky to have grown up in Portland when I did. The things my friends and I did back then would be nearly impossible to pull off today. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible community of artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, performers and other creative people for 30 years here.
The one common thread that we all had was affordable rent relative to wages. Now the balance is so far off kilter, I fear for our cultural landscape, for upcoming generations of artists, and for everyone in this city who is not comfortably middle class (psst, that’s most of us).
I’m excited to get down to business on City Council and work for a more equitable, inclusive, just, prosperous, and vibrant city for all of us. ❤️❤️❤️
Housekeeping: Don’t worry if you’re a vendor or consignor, we’re keeping the space for awhile and we’ll make sure you get your payments and returns. If you have a gift certificate, please come spend it this month. Finally, if you have a serious pitch email me, but I’m not looking for random advice. I have a team of trusted advisors and plenty of my own knowledge and experience. I know I’m making the best decision in the short term. I’m open to possibilities in the longterm.