Sustainability is top of mind for many Oregonians these days, especially today’s Local to Know. She’s the co-founder of low-waste shop Way of Being and actually appreciates our sometimes-gloomy weather — as she puts it, it keeps us from taking the nice days for granted! She also brings the vision of protecting the environment and uplifting her surrounding community into her work at the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network. Without further ado, here’s more from Alex Gamboa Grand, businessperson, Beaumont-Wilkshire resident and rain appreciator extraordinaire. Take it away, Alex…
Who are you? What do you do?
Wax poetic for a minute and tell us: what brings you most alive about this city?
When I moved here in 2013, I immediately fell in love with each neighborhood and the ability of all of the individuals and businesses who inhabited those spaces to infuse intention and whimsy into the seemingly mundane. It’s a city with a voice and a tone and an energy all its own. It’s clear that it’s the product of individuals not afraid to be individuals and not a bunch of big, conventional players calling all the shots.
What’s your favorite Portland memory?
I always love when people come to visit my husband and me. They often come not expecting much except rain, and we spend the entire time giving them in-depth historical and cultural tours of the city and popping into our favorite spots. By the end, they often leave as enamored as we are.
If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Outside of the obvious stop above, share your other top three destinations for where you’d go on your perfect Portland day.
I love a day spent entirely in my own neighborhood,Beaumont-Wilshire! I’ll grab a breakfast or smoothie from Happy Day, shop at Pacific Holiday and Adorn, take a walk and flower gaze along Alameda Crest, and then end up at Tacovore for dinner and margs.
What’s your favorite local social media account to follow and why?
@pipsoriginal — the way they run their business and use their voice was definitely a source of inspiration for me as I started my own business. Plus I will never get sick of looking at those beautiful donuts. Also @jojo.pdx is a great follow because it’s just really entertaining.
If you could give one piece of advice to locals, what would it be?
Don’t forget to put your weirdness on display. I do feel slightly concerned that I don’t see as much Portland weird as I once did, but it’s always very reassuring when I do.
How does Portland help you do what you do/influence your work?
I am obsessed with how supportive everyone is of all things local and how collaborative the business community is. It feels like we all have each other’s backs, which is kind of an abundance mindset that keeps the good vibes flowing all around. I definitely try to apply this philosophy to our work at Way of Being and at OEN. The more we support others, give, and help connect people to the resources that can help them, the more they will come back to us. I truly believe that and have been in awe of how much good comes organically from contributing to this ecosystem in whatever way I can.
What are you looking forward to this year?
I mean, summer, obviously — not wearing layers and drinking on patios and in friends’ backyards.
What’s an unpopular opinion you have about the city?
Well, I really don’t think the rain and gloom are that bad. It’s easier for me to say because I don’t think it affects me as much as it does some people, but I feel like the weather usually changes enough throughout the day, and just getting a glimpse of sun here and there goes a long way for me. Plus, the magic of that first sunny, kind of warm day in a while is worth it to me. I’m from Southern California where it’s sunny all the dang time, and no one appreciates it. I have gratitude for all of it and thoroughly enjoy the novelty of seasons changing.
Interested in shopping at Way of Being and learning more about its mission? Want to connect with Alex? You can learn more at the Way of Being website, or follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and TikTok.
Know of a person or organization that we ought to feature? Send us an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Evergrey, Locals to Know,” and you could see their name in an upcoming newsletter!