This section was produced in collaboration with Flossin Media, a black-owned media, marketing and event company that specializes in inspirational, motivational and educational messaging.
Portland is home to a small but thriving African American community. Here are some of the organizations, arts, history, media, sports and clubs, restaurants and nightlife that serve this vibrant group.
The Soul District: The Heart of the African American Community
The historic heart of Portland’s African American community is the “Soul District” of inner North and Northeast Portland, deemed the “Soul of Portland” in the 1990s as much because of its courage to sustain as for its cultural vibrancy. In this creative center, Portland’s African American community has fostered business development, artistic expression, multicultural preservation and community advocacy.
This is where you will find civic institutions such as the Urban League of Portland, Self Enhancement Inc., the Black United Fund, the Portland African American Leadership Forum, the Coalition of Black Men Portland and the Prince Hall Masons, as well as barbershops, salons, African American food cart pods, African groceries, music, arts and culture. We invite you to get your soul on!
Explore Oregon’s African American history on one of several tours through Portland. Learn more about the city from the perspective of its Chinese, Japanese, African American, Jewish and LGBT communities on a Know Your City Cultural Tour.
Take a stroll through Portland, guided by tales of freed African American slaves, on a Portland Pioneers of Portland Walking Tour, and attend a lecture by Oregon Black Pioneers, a non-profit group that gives interactive presentations on the state’s rich African American heritage at schools, libraries and historical sites throughout Oregon. Visitors and locals alike can also check out the Black Resource Collection at the North Portland Library.
Take a tour of our “Walls of Pride,” a collection of murals and public art in North and Northeast Portland created by local painters and sculptors, then view multicultural art exhibits, dance and performance at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. Visit the Alberta Arts District to explore local music, food and art. Alberta Street is home to a popular gallery walk and street fair called Last Thursday, which is held the last Thursday of every month (and is particularly popular during the summer months).
Sports & Adventure Clubs
Want to become a runner but aren’t sure how? Meet up with Black Girls Run, a local running group that connects women and girls of all levels of experience looking to be more active and lead healthier lifestyles.
Leisure Hour Golf, a multicultural organization with a focus on involving the African American community, hosts events for golfers of all backgrounds and skill levels at Portland’s many excellent golf courses.
Fishing, hunting, skiing, hiking — no trip to Portland is complete unless you experience some of the outdoor adventures the city has to offer. Connect with these great African American-run organizations for guided opportunities to bask in the beautiful outdoors. Hike a peak with the African American Outdoor Association, snag a salmon with Soul River or bag a buck with the African American Hunting Association.
Food and Drink
Located atop a hill in northeast Portland’s Hollywood district, Clyde’s Prime Rib Restaurant & Bar features an elegant dining room –think red velvet booths and a roaring fireplace – and live jazz, R&B and blues in the bar. Date night dining is perfect at Olive or Twist, a martini lounge in Portland’s trendy Pearl District.
Established in the 1990s by Ethiopian immigrant Alem Gebrehiwot, Queen of Sheba is one of the oldest African restaurants in the city. Check out their amazing platters of food that delight vegan and non-vegan diners alike, including homemade ginger juice, thyme tea or spicy chai. For more African cooking, visit Horn of Africa, which serves up traditional dishes from Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and the Middle East at the Portland Saturday Market. Amalfi’s Restaurant and Mercato, headed by its 3rd generation owner, serves up Italian trattoria cuisine including pizza, cocktails, beers and wine.
Experience the taste of the Soul District by visiting food cart pods featuring a variety of authentic ethnic food. Find the famously huge and spicy Southern-style wings and salty Jojo’s at Alberta Street Market.
Meet the first known black winemaker in Oregon at Abbey Creek Vineyards, where Bertony Faustin brings “the soil to the glass” at his North Plains winery.
At Po’Shines Café de la Soul in North Portland’s Kenton neighborhood, community and comfort food go hand in hand.
Enjoy flavorful dishes from Ethiopia, Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire and beyond at these local eateries.
Satisfy those comfort food cravings at these women-led restaurants and food carts.
Since 1921, Billy Webb’s Elks Lodge has served the African American community as a YWCA, a USO club and a safe haven for those fleeing the Vanport floods in the 1940s.
Hip-hop, reggae and African dance hall: Portland’s young-adult dance scene is a kaleidoscope of trendy modern venues such as Trio Club and Barrel Room and small “juke-joints” scattered throughout the city. Check out Tube Bar or Black Book in Old Town Chinatown for great hip-hop or the Local Lounge (on the first Saturday of each month) or Sengatera (every Friday) for the hottest in African Dancehall, reggae, zouk and hip-hop tunes spun by DJs from Africa.
Take a deep dive into the past, present and future of Portland's hip-hop scene with our expert guide to the best performers, showcases, stores and more.
A new generation of artists is attracting more light to the Portland R&B scene than ever before.
Y.G.B. aims to create healing spaces for Black and Brown Portlanders.
Black-owned Green Cab and Green Shuttle provide taxicabs, airport shuttles, group tours, senior transportation and delivery services.
- KBOO 90.7 – An eclectic mix of hip-hop, politics, Afrobeat and more
- JAM’N 107.5 – Party hits and throwback jams
- KMHD 89.1 – Jazz
- KOPB 91.5 – Oregon Public Broadcasting
- LIVE 95.5 – Hip-hop and top 40