Downtown Portland kicks off holiday wonderland

Downtown Portland kicks off holiday wonderland

New businesses, ugly sweaters and PDX Pop-Up Shops draw customers for the shopping season


Media Contacts: Angie Galimanis, 503-799-8091, [email protected]

PORTLAND, Ore (Nov. 11, 2016) - Today, Portland city and business leaders gathered in festive sweaters to kick off the 2016 holiday shopping season. This year’s holiday campaign theme is “Downtown Holiday Wonderland.” Visitors downtown will see old favorites, including area sculptures dressed in colorful, custom knit “ugly sweater” attire, also known as “yarn bombing,” and new entrepreneurs participating in the PDX Pop-Up Shop program.
“Downtown Portland is an amazing destination year-round, but there’s nothing quite like it during the holiday season,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “Downtown remains the top location for new businesses to open their doors in our city and many new businesses opening this year are small local food purveyors, further strengthening Portland’s reputation as a foodie destination. The unique mix of restaurants, local and national retailers, and cultural attractions found downtown make it the perfect holiday destination to enjoy the season.”
Noteworthy new openings this year include Pine Street Market, the new food hall featuring 10 restaurant outposts; Vitaly Paley’s latest restaurant Headwaters at the Heathman Hotel; and Superbite by the owners of Ox. New openings in Old Town include Kiriko Made, modern clothes made from vintage fabrics from Japan, and Hello from Portland, filled with incredible gifts produced by local artists. Established retail favorites are expanding offerings for downtown customers this year. Boys Fort, a former PDX Pop-Up Shop and now a permanent store, is helping other local entrepreneurs by hosting its own pop up shops this season: Beyond the Fort features local brands Adelina, Amara, Menagerie, and Frock.
“There’s something magical about downtown Portland during the holidays,” said Downtown Retail Council (DRC) co-chair Courtney Posey, general manager of Nordstrom. “With 35 new restaurants and retailers opening this year, we can’t wait to share all that’s new with Portlanders and visitors alike,” said Heidi Franz, regional manager of Nordstrom Rack and DRC co-chair.
Throughout the season, visitors are encouraged to don their holiday wear while shopping, sampling seasonal menu items and more. Through November and December, retail events and promotions will be updated regularly at and social media accounts. Be on the lookout for an all new holiday campaign entitled “Downtown Portland Wonderland” featuring art by local designer Dan Stiles, a participant of the 2015 version of the PDX Pop-Up Shop program.

Monumental Attire
Iconic Portland statues will be yarn bombed with handmade holiday-inspired sweaters. Upcoming installations will take place between Fifth Avenue and Broadway, and along Yamhill and Morrison Streets. Look for favorite holiday attire on the following statues, “Allow Me” (man with umbrella), “Animals in Pools” (seals, deer, otters, beavers and ducks) and “Kvinneakt” (nude woman). There will be wardrobe changes on special days throughout the season. Many local celebrities will don a version of Allow Me’s sweater and share with their social media fans to benefit Blanchet House. Local Instagram celebrities, the Gay Beards, will kick off the downtown holiday season with a special beard yarn bomb to be unveiled on Instagram on November 11.
PDX Pop-Up Shops
PDX Pop-Up Shops are back this year, turning Portland’s vacant retail space into temporary destinations for local designers and artists to “set up shop” for the season. The shops are open November 11 through December 24, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5 p.m., at 606 SW 9th Avenue. The 2016 PDX Pop-Up Shops include:
  • Faith Hats offers reclaimed luxury cashmere sweaters, as well as cashmere hats and scarves, hand made locally from 100 percent recycled materials. The shop will also feature a new collaboration with Swiss brand Tallis, combining hand dyed cashmere and ethically sourced fur.
  • Via Raiz is a concept store dedicated to modern Mexican craftsmanship. It showcases the work of contemporary designers who are reinterpreting traditional Mexican craft in jewelry, textiles and homewares - bridging the divide between ancestral craft and modern design.
  • Blanchet House of Hospitality located in Old Town offers food, shelter and aid to all those in need of a safe place to be nourished and restored. Blanchet Farm in Carlton works with men in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction; as a part of their rehabilitation, men are trained in woodworking, constructing high quality Adirondack chairs, picnic table benches and other custom wood products.
  • Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) assists small businesses with economic opportunities through empowerment, education and entrepreneurship. MESO's diverse entrepreneurs will host a collective shop with their handmade, natural, one-of-a-kind products.
The program has been a launch pad for permanent shops, such as Crafty Wonderland, Boys Fort and Bridge and Burn. Project partners include the Portland Business Alliance, Clean & Safe District, and Portland Development Commission.
Free Parking Sundays
This year, shoppers will once again receive a special gift: Free parking in SmartPark garages all day on Sunday, December 4, 11 and 18. Between noon and 5 p.m., show your parking ticket at the customer service kiosk in Pioneer Place (lower level near Gap) or Director Park (SW Park and Yamhill). Eligible drivers will receive a $5 parking voucher to cover the day’s cost of parking.
Holiday Lighting
Every year, the Clean & Safe District lights more than 750 trees in a 63-block area in the retail core to provide a festive atmosphere. Holiday lighting flips the “on” switch on November 1 and continues in the retail core though early March. Tree trunks on Yamhill and Morrison have enhanced lighting in November and December bringing an even more festive environment to our retail signature streets. On Yamhill and Morrison streets between Fifth and Sixth Avenue, look for a special installation of snowflakes lighting up the night skies. This year it will be snowing all season long around Pioneer Courthouse.
Pioneer Courthouse Square Holiday Events
Celebrating more than 30 years, Portland’s Living Room is the place to be this holiday season to enjoy free family-friendly holiday events and activities.  The season begins with the Stimson Lumber Tree Arrival on November 10. The Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 25 at 5:30 p.m. and will include a joyful community sing-a-long of holiday songs.
Other events include Portland Saturday Market’s Artisan Festival that will feature unique, locally made gifts from woodworking and art to jewelry and handbags from December 6 - 9.  The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition presented by Portland Mall Management, Inc., is a fun and festive event that will bring caroling groups of all ages to the heart of downtown on Friday, December 9 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.  Prizes will be awarded to the top caroling groups along with a grand prize of $1,000.  The 26th Annual Tuba Christmas Concert presented by SmartPark will be on Saturday, December 10 at 1:30 p.m.  Once again downtown will pulse with the melodic sounds of big brass as over 275 tubas play perform a medley of seasonal songs in unison during this free performance.
Pioneer Courthouse Square will once again feature performances by local school, art and dance groups providing festive entertainment throughout the holiday season.  A complete list of holiday events and performances taking place at Pioneer Courthouse Square can be found by visiting
For more information on these campaigns and other downtown happenings, visit, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To participate in the conversation and follow the campaign on social media, use #downtownpdx, #UglySweaterPDX and #PDXPopUpShops.