NEW SALT: The Grain & Gristle crew has a massive project in the works in the Concordia neighborhood. The group has applied for a liquor license at what is currently a 5,800-square-foot office and warehouse at 5027 NE 42nd Ave., just a couple of blocks north of the Spare Room, under the name Old Salt. According to co-owner Alex Ganum, plans are still hazy but probably will include a bar, a market, a butcher and a baker (but no candlestick-maker), with notions of also setting up an afternoon farmers market. Which is to say, itâll basically be a porn store for neighborhood foodies. Ganum and his group hope Old Salt is operational by the end of March 2013.
CALLING FOR BACKUP: It sounds like the plot to a Step It Up sequel: Backspaceâthe last remaining Portland all-ages music venue that, after more than nine years in business, could conceivably be called a local institutionâmust raise $10,000 by early January or face eviction. According to owner Eric Robison, the clubâs landlord has continually raised the rent since buying the Old Town property in 2007. âWhen I moved into this neighborhood, it was the dark zone,â Robison says. âBut itâs come up around me, and the new owners canât believe theyâre not getting some mythical market rate.â (David Gold, an investor in the property, says Backspace has frequently been delinquent with its payments and that a potential tenant has expressed interest in the space.) The cost to stay open includes next monthâs rent, late fees owed to the property management company and music-licensing fees. Robison and booker Arya Imig are hoping to raise the money via an Indiegogo campaign and through three 12-hour benefit concerts on Dec. 23, 28 and 30.
LAUGHING AGAIN: A year ago, Scoop published predictions for 2012, which included the sale of Laughing Planet to the company formerly known as Philip Morris. Well, we were half right. Laughing Planet has been sold, but the new owners are a group led by the burrito sellerâs current CEO, Franz Spielvogel. No major changes are planned, though Laughing Planet is planning to expand with new locations and special seasonal offerings. Donât be shy about feedback. âPeople here really take ownership of their companies and they let us know when weâre doing it right and when we arenât, which is great,â Spielvogel says.
OUTPUT, INPUT: Local musician and Tu Fawning (and 31 Knots) co-founder Joe Haege is leaving Portland. Haege raffled off the belongings of his dead cat at a going-away party at Bunk Bar on Dec. 16 (the cat died while Haege was away on tour), and heâll be departing for Los Angeles within two weeks. Meanwhile, Portland mall-punk outfit Smoochknob will be reopening the long-defunct Viper Room at 720 SE Hawthorne Blvd. as a new space called the Analog Cafe; lead guitarist Javier Canteras will be handling the victuals.