To everything, there is a season—but late last year, Portland’s music community was shaken to learn Turn! Turn! Turn!’s time might be up.
The lease was coming to an end at the Northeast Killingsworth Street bar and performance venue and it was facing a prospective Dec. 31 shutdown date. A beloved fixture for its friendliness to lesser-known and novice performers, social justice sensibilities, and glowy-eyed raccoon mascot, Turn’s closure announcement was met with major disappointment.
“People were really freaked out by the possibility of losing it,” says Kate Horn, a Turn regular who performs there with her band Pendejo.
At the 11th hour, the venue’s owners, Elizabeth Venable and Geoff Soule of the band Sad Horse, learned their lease might be renewable after all. (Turn! Turn! Turn! is located inside the Albina Arts Center building, which came under new ownership last year.)
The result: The venue’s owners announced Dec. 25 (yes, on Christmas) that there would be another year of community-focused music.
Venable called in some old-time Portland music scene friends, including Horn, to help Turn make its turnaround, asking them to share the load of behind-the-scenes duties that make the bar possible, such as finances, promotion and booking.
The venue was closed most of this month for “reorganizing,” the owners say. Their February reopening falls on Turn’s 10th anniversary. And just as they did for the original opening and the 2022 change of ownership, Sad Horse and Pendejo will take the stage Feb. 10 at a grand reopening Party, along with the band Fruited Planes (fronted by the bar’s original proprietor, Scott Derr).
Though its long-term prospects are unknown beyond the one-year lease extension, Turn will spend 2024 continuing to provide a haven for musical acts local and global, along with community offerings like sliding-scale acupuncture, drawing get-togethers, and music classes for adults with disabilities, Horn says.
“The outpouring of kind words and helping hands has been humbling,” the bar’s owners said in their December announcement. “This next year is sure to be an all-hands-on-deck affair, and we’re going to ask you all for your continued help and support.”