When we first moved in to SE Portland, about 24 years ago, Food4Less had it’s grand opening. They closed last week. There was nothing exceptional about the discount grocery on 82nd and Powell, but it contained a lot of memories for my brother and I. Where else could you go to get a steak at 2 AM? And end up running into your stoner friends from middle school, laughing about the pig testicles in the meat cooler? Once we tried to film a short film about buying food but we ended up getting really angry at each other and fighting about the creative process. The store had it’s virtues; it was cheap, accessible, the produce was pretty fresh and came from some local sources. But there was a reason Food4Less wouldn’t fit in with the new Portland that is emerging. Organic produce didn’t exist, it had an unfinished warehouse flavor, and hardly seemed like a nice place to work. The head managers often came to Subway when I worked there. They were kind of rude and didn’t tip.
Despite it’s flaws, Food4Less was part of the neighborhood. You couldn’t find fancy sushi plates, but you could get energy drinks imported directly from Ukraine. There were at least two isles where english was hard to find. Neighborhoods change. I just hope that the residents who can remember when Food4Less first opened will have a voice in that change.