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Neighborhood baker creates pastries, helps troubled youth

"His Bakery"
by: David F. Ashton,  “Jack the Baker” says he creates his delicious baked goods in small quantities, using the highest quality ingredients.

Folks in Inner Southeast Portland don't have to travel far to find an excellent 'made-from-scratch' bakery.

After enjoying his breads and pastries for years, we decided to meet the man 'in the dough' who runs 'His Bakery' on S.E. 72nd Avenue, just south of Woodstock Boulevard.

'The best part about being a baker,' said Richard 'Jack' Robeson III with a wide smile, 'is being able to eat the leftovers. I take pleasure in making things people enjoy. I really like seeing the smile on their faces when they eat something that I've baked.'

Jack and his family keep busy. We talk as he pulls out trays of his 'Original Good and Ugly' cookie. It's made of roasted seeds, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame, with no refined sugar. Some varieties also have chocolate chips or cranberries and apricots baked in them.

Jack, a father of three, has been in business for 12 years. He learned the baking trade at Clark College, and worked at Elephant's Delicatessen and Broadway Bakery.

'We started the business here to provide products of value,' Jack told us as he mixed a batch of dough.

'But more importantly,' he added, 'during the summer, we bring in junior high school kids - some of whom who are having trouble in school or at home. They spend the summer with us, and I teach them the trade.'

He paused while he washes batter off his hands, then adds, 'I'm a baker to earn my living, but helping young people is a mission. I get to share my love of baking.'

Long-time customers might say Jack is most famous for his 'home made' pies. 'There aren't a lot of bakeries in Portland that make a good, 'homemade' pie like we do,' Jack beamed. 'Our cakes are becoming very popular, as are our cinnamon rolls, Marionberry muffins, and oat bran cookies.'

His Bakery, 6011 S.E. 72nd Avenue, is open from 7 am to 6 pm, Tuesday through Friday, and 8 am till 1 pm on Saturdays. They're closed Sundays and Mondays.