Just past the Gresham border, behind Wok's Up bar on 175th Avenue and Stark Street, there is a marvelously impossible thing: a standing sandy beach party that looks like it got airlifted from Venice Beach with all the people intact. It is invisible from the street—and many who live blocks away don't even know it's there.
The sand pit is stocked with five regulation volleyball courts and the feeling that spring break lasts forever, with a tournament somehow always in progress. On weekends, the courts have serious bumping and spiking action, hosting sun-browned volleyball bums with 2 percent body fat and bathing suits that cover about the same percentage of their bodies, not to mention that peculiar breed of well-defined abs only attainable by a lifetime of leaping for righteous stuffs. The sidelines, meanwhile, are a chill lawn-chair city—one guy even pitched a tent—the vibe heartily encouraged by $20 margarita pitchers.
Who built this strange inland beach, we wonder? "Some crazy man," says the bartender at Wok's Up, which owns the courts and charges $6 a day for their use.
The "crazy man" turns out to be Darren Chu, the bartender's husband, with whom she owns the bar. Twelve years ago, he built the beach armed with nothing but a dream and a whole lot of sand.
"He must really like volleyball," we muse.
"He likes to drink, is the way I'd put it," his wife, Ying, says cheerfully. "Volleyball is a wonderful sport. There's always a sideout, you're always switching sides. There's always time to drink."