Community spends a day celebrating Naomis Organic Farm Supply

by: Eric Norberg While visitors listened to the live music, read the posted explanation of the lease issue, and visited the craft show vendors and livestock, others stepped into the store at Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply to tour the facility and learn more about what it offers.

About a year and a half ago, after the Les Schwab company bought a section of the property at S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard just north of Tacoma, the former location of Kasch's Nursery, the Bend-based company agreed to lease the western portion to Naomi Montacre and her husband to open Naomi's Organic Farm Supply.

As the many chicken coops and urban food crops around Inner Southeast Portland attest, the couple has been very successful with this business.

From the beginning the Les Schwab Company made it clear the lease was temporary, since it planned to build a tire center on the land, potentially with some additional retail space. Recently, the company gave Naomi's Organic notice that the lease would end on May 31, with the potential of extending through June and perhaps beyond, while plans were made for the tire center.

The possible move of Naomi's from this location to some other compatible space, perhaps in Clackamas County, has led to a considerable community movement to urge the Les Schwab Company to let Naomi's stay on the land, possibly as a permanent retail tenant adjacent to the planned tire center.

SMILE, the Sellwood and Westmoreland neighborhood association recently passed a resolution calling on the Schwab Company to consider that option, while making it clear that Schwab has every right to use their land as they see fit, and thanking the company for having leased to Naomi's in the first place.

A similar theme, complete with a community petition drive, was the center of a day-long celebration at Naomi's Farm Supply on Saturday, May 21. The 'Hip Happening' artist collective, normally based in the Westmoreland Masonic Lodge building, organized a craft bazaar, with some two dozen vendors, at the site that day - giving the event a festival feeling - while musicians serenaded those stopping by with live music, and visitors toured the store and met the livestock.

As this issue of THE BEE goes to press, the ultimate fate of Naomi's Farm Supply at its current location is uncertain, but there is no uncertainty about this new business having won the hearts of the neighborhood in which it is currently located. Naomi Montacre wrote in her May newsletter, 'We would love to purchase this land and keep building an interactive place for you. Your passion about this spot and about us is very meaningful.

'While there may be enough space for both [businesses], we do not yet know what Les Schwab will decide is best for their company.'

Another similar event is now planned at Naomi's for Saturday, June 25, 10 am to 6 pm, so evidently the store is expected still to be open there throughout June at least.