Jun 02

Neighbor Featured On KQED’s “Perspectives”


If you are a KQED listener – which I believe by San Francsico law we are all required to be – you may have heard a perspective the other week by our neighbor Ren Volpe. Her perspective entitled, “Public Space Is…Public,” is a nice reminder to all of us in this increasingly congested city, that perhaps it’s time we all just chill the “F” out a bit.  Okay, so maybe she didn’t say it quite like that, but I think her message about coexisting in an increasingly tight space was well made and very apropos to the growing tension in this city.  Even here in the neighborhood that nobody knows about, new residents and businesses are moving in and with that comes less space to spread out.  While change such as freshly painted houses, park improvements and Breweries are welcome by most, the trade-off appears to be less street parking and more packed buses.  But as Ren suggests, living in an urban area is about sharing our common spaces and sometimes we all need a little reminder that the park, road, bus or sidewalk belongs to all of us.   I’ll try to remember that and remain cool next time I find myself sharing the sidewalk with someone else’s parked car.

You can read Ren’s thoughtful piece and listen to it in her own words at the KQED website: CLICK HERE

Hat tip to Elisa for recognizing our neighbor on the radio.


Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/06/neighbor-featured-kqeds-perspectives/

May 26

F.D.R. Brewery Opens (Softly) To A Crowd

Fresh new space on S.B.A, notice the hop style light fixtures.

Fresh new space on S.B.A, notice the hop style light fixtures.

To the delight of many eager neighbors, Ferment Drink Repeat swung open their taproom doors to a thirsty crowd yesterday. The “soft opening” was a huge milestone for the team behind the nanobrewery project, which started almost 2.5 years ago.  The community came out in droves to show support for the new business on San Bruno with a steady crowd and a full house up until closing.  While speaking with Shae, one of the owners, she mentioned several times how much the support of the Portola community has meant to them as they pushed through the long process of receiving approvals from the city.  Their appreciation for last nights successful opening was echoed on their Facebook page this morning:


What an AMAZING soft opening last night! We could not have asked to land in a better neighborhood than the Portola! The community support has been incredible. We are open tonight from 3-10! Let’s make this second night just as great!


The new brewery space at 2636 San Bruno Ave is still coming together and will be completed by the Grand Opening celebration on Saturday June 25th (mark your calendars).  Even in its current state though, the taproom is quite eye-catching with Hop inspired light fixtures, a stained wood bar and stylish bright orange metal stools.   The owners designed it with the intention of creating a space for the community to come together and share a drink.  There are large communal tables to gather around, outside food from San Bruno restaurants is allowed and encouraged and in true San Francisco fashion, dogs are welcome in the taproom.    Future plans do include board games for those wanting a little activity with their brew and events such as trivia nights and theme parties are in the cards.  Just on opening night alone, the communal vibe was apparent with so many new and longtime neighbors reconnecting and meeting for the first time.  It was very cool to see on San Bruno and to have a reason (finally!) to be on our neighborhood “main street” past 3p.m.

The custom built wood bar

The custom-built wood bar

With all my waxing on about community, let’s not forget the star of the night, the beer.  F.D.R. opened with four of their brews on tap; The San Bruno Saison, Ole Black, Orange is the New Black and the Inauguration Session IPA.  The last of which seemed to be a real crowd-pleaser with a lower alcohol content and a tamed hoppiness that is refreshing but not overpowering.  As one of the owners put it, “an IPA that you can drink all day.”  We tried all the brews (they offer a flight) and although I could be accused of being slightly biased, all the flavors were sophisticated and very well balanced.  I’d be surprised if they this doesn’t become an attraction for people outside the community, it’s that good which is very exciting to have here.  More brews will be coming as they ramp up production and there is talk of some non-alcoholic options on the way as well.

The stars of the night.

The stars of the night.

You can read more about the NanoBrewery concept and Simon’s in-depth reporting on his home brewing experience with supplies purchased in F.D.R.’s home brew supply shop.  Click here:  NanoBrewery  and Homebrewing

Current menu.  Two more will be added this weekend and there will be a total of 10 once they are fully up and running.

Current menu. Two more will be added this weekend and there will be a total of 10 once they are fully up and running.

Ferment Drink Repeat is “proudly located in San Francisco’s sunny Portola neighborhood” at 2636 San Bruno Ave.  Check out their website: Click here!


Mon:  Closed

Tues:  3:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Homebrew Shop Closes at 7:00 pm)

Wed :  3:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Homebrew Shop Closes at 7:00 pm)

Thu:  3:00 pm – 10:00 pm (Homebrew Shop Closes at 7:00 pm)

Fri:  1:00 pm – 10:00 pm (Homebrew Shop Closes at 7:00 pm)

Sat:  10:00 am – 10:00 pm (Homebrew Shop Closes at 7:00 pm)

Sun:  Noon – 6:00 pm


Portola neighbors catching up over drinks.

Portola neighbors catching up over drinks.




Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/05/f-d-r-brewery-opens-softly-crowd/

May 18

Help McLaren Park Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser This Saturday

Help McLaren Park


Over the past month we have had a number of well attended and successful community events here in the Portola. This Saturday (5/21) there will be an opportunity to support the good work of another group that is making a positive difference in our neighborhood. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. the folks at Help McLaren Park will be hosting their annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser at the Louis Sutter Clubhouse next to the duck pond. This year’s fundraiser is in support of the kid’s concert that the group is putting on this summer at Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in the park.

Over the years, Help McLaren Park has been instrumental in the upkeep and growth of McLaren Park.  Taking on projects such as the installation of  the community boards throughout the park, lobbing the city for park funding, created the beautiful snake mosaic at the duck pond as well as an upcoming refurbishment of the Shelly Drive Picnic Area. You can learn more about the group and sign up for their email newsletters on their website: Help McLaren Park

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/05/help-mclaren-park-pancake-breakfast-fundraiser-saturday/

May 11

Plant A Tree & Tell City Hall To Maintain It!

Listen to the Lorax

Listen to the Lorax

If you would like to help add a little much-needed greenery to the Portola, Friends of the Urban Forest will be planting trees in the neighborhood on June 25th.  The cost is highly subsidized for our neighborhood at only $75 per tree which includes everything from the permits, concrete removal, the tree and several years of pruning.   Act quickly though, the forms are due in two week on Tuesday May 24th (date extended).  You can sign up easily & learn more on the F.U.F. website and no payment is due until after the tree has been planted:  SIGN UP & LEARN MORE. Kyle at F.U.F. is available to answer any questions, he can be reached at [email protected] or (415)-268-0788.  If you don’t make this planting, please still sign up and wait for the next.  The more sign ups they get, the sooner we will have another planting.

With that all said, street trees aren’t loved by everyone in this city and despite F.U.F’s efforts, trees in S.F. are on the decline.  Tree related maintenance and liability such as sidewalk issues and pruning are an understandable deterrent to street trees.  To remedy this issue, F.U.F. has introduced new legislation that would put all street tree maintenance and tree related problems such as sidewalk cracking back on the city to maintain and repair.  Their hope is that by taking this burden off homeowners and giving it back to the city (where it belongs), citizens will be more likely to support this vital environmental & community resource.  You can sign the petition to have the initiative added to the November ballot here:  TELL THE CITY TO MAINTAIN THE TREES

I’ll now step down from my soapbox.



Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/05/plant-tree-tell-city-hall-maintain/

May 03

Portography: Sunset In The Portola District

I took these photos of the beautiful sunset and fog starting to creep over Twin Peaks late Sunday afternoon. They got a good reaction on our Facebook page (where we often post small tidbits that don’t require a whole post) so I figured I should share them here as well.  Being in SF’s sunbelt and the fantastic views are just two more of the characteristics that I love most about this neighborhood.

Sun setting over the rows of pastel homes in the Portola

Sun setting over the rows of pastel homes in the Portola

Setting sun over the roofs of the Portola District

Setting sun over the roofs of the Portola District

View of the fog gobbling up Sutro Tower taken from the Portola

View of the fog gobbling up Sutro Tower taken from the Portola

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/05/portography-sunset-portola-district/

Apr 29

Portola Art Fest Was A Big Success From What I Can Remember

Frame Art Studio & the Portola District all done up for a party!

Frame Art Studio & the Portola District all done up for a party!

Saturday night was the opening reception for the 3rd in a continuing series of semi-annual Portola Art Gallery Pop-Up nights. This time around the event was called “Portola Art Fest” and unlike past events, this one runs all week.

Literal "Garage Band"

Literal “Garage Band”

The opening party Saturday night was attended by over 100 guests, there were performances by four bands (Louie Myles, Coastal Strangers, Bum Wagler, Los Peregrinos Cosmicos) and featured the work of 14 local artists. Every wall of the studio was packed with art but the owners of the space got creative and expanded to the outside courtyard by the bar – where everyone seemed to congregate anyway. The garage/stage, turned glowing red oddly patriotic musical bordello, seemed to be the hit of the night. The musical mixture of everything from Cuban style Salsa to Blue Grass slowed traffic to a crawl on Silliman and even pulled neighbors from their houses to come join the growing party. The lights finally shut off around 10 pm to my own personal dismay at the time (I may have had one too many).

Portola District Art Fest

The Portola Neighborhood Association co-sponsored the event with FrameArt Studio & Arthur Koch Photography. Given the success of this event, plans are already in the works to make the event more annual rather than semi-annual. In the meantime though, the art created by your Portola neighbors will be on display through Saturday 4/30 (yes, tomorrow. Better late than never on this post I guess) at Frame Art Gallery, 150 Silliman Street. Hours are 11-5.

Portola District Art Fest

One of the bands is even using our little make-shift stage for promo material now!

One of the bands is even using our little make-shift stage for promo material now!

Come visit Lisa, Arthur and the pinata, that didn't survive the opening night, at the studio.  See the artwork through this Saturday (4/30).

Come visit Lisa, Arthur and the pinata, that didn’t survive the opening night, at the studio. See the artwork through this Saturday (4/30).

Bonus Video of Los Peregrinos Cosmicos:

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/04/portola-art-fest-opening-night-recap-week-long-show/

Apr 22

Goings On About The Portola

Quick Post about some cool events this weekend here our little corner of town.

Tonight is the “What’s Growing On” festival at Burrows Pocket Park. There will be the usual festival activities; face painting, music, giveaways and a bike powered Karaoke machine. But the coolest and most Portola part of the event is the neighborhood produce exchange. Bring whatever you are currently growing (legally) and trade with your neighbors.

More information on the flyer:
What's Growing On Portola

Tomorrow night, Saturday 4/23, is the opening of the Portola Art Fest. There will be 10 local artists featuring a selection of their work, four live bands and refreshments. The Youth Art Exchange advanced photography students will also be showing a preview of their current project, photographs taken around the Portola representing the people, landscape and built environment. If you can’t make the opening event, the work will be on display at FrameArt Gallery through Saturday 4/30.

More information on the flyer:

Portola Art Fest

Finally, we have an ongoing event. Lisa Magruder, one of the artists behind the new FrameArt Studio, is hosting art classes for all ages at their Studio. The classes range from children to adults (which feature wine as an added bonus). More below in her flyers:


Class flyersf2

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/04/goings-on-about-the-portola/

Apr 13

PortolART: Support the Goettingen Cascades Stairway Transformation

Many of us are familiar with the 16th Avenue Tile Stair project but now it’s Portola’s turn to create something unique with our stairway.  A group of neighbors called the Goettingen Neighborhood Group, or G.N.G. for short, is currently fundraising to bring their creation to life. When complete, the idea is to create an art installation that will shimmer and even glow with the help electroluminescent paint and tile. The glass and ceramic waterway will “flow” down the hillside through the lush garden that the group has spent years cultivating at the intersection of Dwight & Goettingen.

Goettingen Cascades

Rendering of Goettingen Cascades by Portola artist Phillip Hua


The Cascades aren’t a done deal yet though.  The G.N.G. needs the community’s support reaching their financial goals in order to make this concept a reality.  There are two ways that we can all help:


  1. They are currently pursuing funding through a grant with the Parks Alliance in an online voting contest.  Please visit the website and vote and then email your friends and neighbors the link.  Vote Here:  VOTE
  2. The G.N.G. will be holding their annual Plant Sale this Saturday April 16th.  They will have a wide selection of plants for sale, booths with other local green related groups and a bouncy house for the kids…and maybe the adults.  More information on the beautiful poster below.


G.N.G. Plant Sale

G.N.G. Plant Sale

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2016/04/portolart-goettigen-cascades-a-new-art-project-coming-to-the-portola/

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