Local coffee shop to unveil new artwork of historical photos

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Origins Coffee, Tea and Desserts will unveil seven newly reproduced and enlarged photos of the old Multnomah County Fairgrounds, as a nod to the history of the land now occupied by Gresham Town Fair. The artwork will become a permanent display at the coffee shop.

It wasn’t that long ago that horses and wagons sat idle where cars now rest in the parking lot at Gresham Town Fair.

For more than 60 years, the property was Mecca for Multnomah County fair-goers, who for 10 days enjoyed a carnival atmosphere featuring live entertainment, food, games and agricultural exhibits from local farmers and 4-H groups.

Today, sitting on what was once the fairgrounds’ race track is Origins Coffee, Tea and Desserts, formerly Coffee’s On. The shop's owners, Adam and Maria Reid, plan to acknowledge the property’s significance to the community with newly reproduced historical photos of the fairgrounds during its heyday.

The artwork, which will be permanently displayed in the store, will be unveiled Friday, Aug. 15, at the coffee and tea house. The event also coincides with the Reids’ formal announcement of the name change to their cafe.

“What is Origins?” Adam asked. “It’s the celebration of where we came from and who we are. That’s why we chose the name, because it acknowledges the celebration of our coffees, our teas and chocolates and our place in the community.”

The Reids spent nearly six months pouring through old photos of the fairgrounds at the Gresham History Museum. The couple eventually chose seven images, which were reproduced on canvas and range in size from 6 by 5 feet to 2 by 3 feet. They depict the fairgrounds’ main gates in 1910 and again in the 1950s, along with the race track, an ice cream vendor and others.

“Out of all the things we’ve done, this is the one I’m most excited about,” Adam said. “I like things that have personality, identity and are unique. One of the biggest values is community and this is our identity — where we came from. This is our community.”

Displaying Gresham’s pictorial history on the walls of a business isn’t something new, Adam acknowledges. It’s not unusual to see photos of Main Avenue during the city’s infancy in other local restaurants and cafes, he said, but pictures of the fairgrounds are few and far between.

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Adam Reid (center), owner of Origins Coffee, Tea and Desserts and baristas Aurora Graven (left) and Hunter Abel will host the showcase event Friday, Aug. 15. “That was what was exciting to me — showcasing something that was different from the views of Main Avenue,” Adam said. “When I started telling some of our older customers about our idea, they got all teary-eyed. They remember the fairgrounds. But there’s a whole group of younger people who have no idea the history of this property.”

The showcase evening will be held from 5-7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15, at Origins Coffee, Tea and Desserts, 600 N.W. Eastman Parkway. Attendees will have the chance to sample the cafe’s products, enjoy live entertainment and of course, take a peek at Gresham’s past.

“For us to realize that our coffee shop sits where the race track was is mind-blowing,” Adam said. “But this is all about the origins, this land.”

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