PDX Gay Guide: Downtown Portland

While the LGBT community is spread throughout the greater PDX area, the historical hot spot was the Stark Street Triangle where Burnside meets Stark Street. While no longer the center of the PDX queer universe, the Downtown Portland area, including the Pearl District and Old Town, are still thriving locations for Portland LGBT residents and visitors.

That Stark Street Triangle is still home to several popular nightspots, like ScandalsRed Cap Garage and Boxxes. Feeling a little worse for wear after a fun night out? Pick yourself up at Roxy, a 24-hour diner right around the corner that welcomes everyone but the closed-minded. And, some of you may remember Silverado for its go-go boys, but, don’t fret, they just moved down the street to SE Third.

Old Town, which sits just north of Burnside between Broadway and the riverfront, is now home to a thriving nightclub scene, anchored by Darcelle XV Showplace for the best drag shows in the Northwest and CC Slaughters for those hot, hot men. Feeling a bit more low-key? Drop into Fox and Hounds, a pub-like spot just around the corner. Hobo’s is a great queer restaurant in the neighborhood, and don’t forget Embers, one of the oldest queer bars in the west.

The Pearl District is known for its upscale shopping, sleek condos, and, of course, Powell’s City of Books. The Pearl has been a draw for the modern gay and lesbian seeking an upscale downtown lifestyle, with fine restaurants and culture all within walking distance.
Other popular spots in the Downtown region include the Farmer’s Market at Portland State University (also great for cruising for a date!), Jeld-Wen Park for Major League Soccer with the Portland TimbersVoodoo Doughnut, and the riverfront, which is home to Saturday Market and festivals all summer long.
The great thing about being Downtown is how central it is. Want to get away to any of the other Fabulous ‘Hoods of Portland and beyond? Just hop on the Max, grab a ZipCar or even just start walking and you will be there in no time at all.
And, if you really went to delve into the areas queer history, check into the new McMenamin’s Crystal Hotel, which was once the Club Portland bathhouse. Oh, I can only imagine what the renovation crews found during their work!

We openly acknowledge that these guides may not be comprehensive, and that neighborhoods evolve, so we encourage you to chime in. Let us know what is going on in your own GayBorhood!

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PDX Gay Guide: Portland Queer Film Festival

The annual Portland Queer Film Festival takes place October 2 – 8, 2015. The festival annually showcases feature, documentary and short films from all over the world that are made by, about or of interest to the lesbian, gay, bi, trans and questioning community.
Film is a dynamic medium with the power to educate, inspire, intrigue and bring people together. Now, Portland Queer Film Festival continues to bring thought-provoking and entertaining queer cinema to Portland.

All screenings takes place at Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave. Portland
Genreral Admission – $10
Opening Night – $15 film only. $20 film/party
Closing Night – $15 film only. $20 film/party
Full Festival Pass – $100 – PURCHASE HERE
Gains holder admission to all screenings and parties.
Not valid for Web Series 101 workshop.

OCTOBER 2 • 7:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by PETER GREENAWAY • 105 minutes • English
In 1931, at the height of his artistic powers, Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein travels to Mexico to shoot a new film to be titled Que Viva Mexico. Freshly rejected by Hollywood and under increasing pressure to return to Stalinist Russia, Eisenstein arrives at the city of Guanajuato. Chaperoned by his guide Palomino Cañedo, he vulnerably experiences the ties between Eros and Thanatos, sex and death, happy to create their effects in cinema, troubled to suffer them in life. Peter Greenaway’s film explores the mind of a creative genius facing the desires and fears of love, sex and death through ten passionate days that helped shape the rest of the career of one of the greatest masters of Cinema.

OCTOBER 3 • 2:30 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by AARON GREGORY AUSTIN • English
A work-in-progress by local filmmaker Aaron Austin. A screening of the first cut of a drama about a man looking back on his life regretting the mistakes he’s made.  In attendance director Aaron Gregory Austin and stars Adam Syron, Jon James, Geno Romo, Jon Branch.

OCTOBER 3 • 5:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by ERICA TREMBLAY • 91 minutes • English
In the Turn follows Crystal, a 10-year-old transgender girl growing up in rural Canada, as she navigates the difficult and complicated world that surrounds her. Tormented at school by teachers and peers alike, she faces daily assaults in the form of insults and physical altercations. The pain she endures at school takes a toll on not only her self-esteem, but also on the emotional stability of her family.

OCTOBER 3 • 7:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Various directors • English
Collection of episodes from popular web series. Filmmakers Kieran Turner, Rick Coop, Tina Ward and Wes Hurley in attendance.
Frustrated LGBT filmmakers faced with fewer and fewer funding and distribution options have turned to the internet as a means to bring their stories to a wider audience, and the opportunities (along with budgets and production value) have grown in leaps and bounds in a very short time.
The internet has become the best place to find diverse, well rounded portrayals of LGBT characters. The web series featured below are the best and brightest the internet has to offer in diverse LGBT storytelling. Watch a sampling of these massively popular series, then join the creators and stars as they share their insights and stories behind the scenes and advise aspiring creators on their own projects one-on-one.
Featuring episodes of Wallflowers, Where the Bears Are, Producing Juliet, Capitol Hill, The Transgender Project and Kelsey.

OCTOBER 3 • 9:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by ANDREW NACKMAN • 86 minutes • English
A comedy about a car mechanic in a small, working class town who comes out of the closet to his unsuspecting, blue-collar best friends. Twenty-four year old Adam (Evan Todd), is an attractive yet mysteriously single garage mechanic in rural New York. Adam has decided that he will unveil the secret to his singlehood and come out to his best friends. Adam has always fit in with his friends perfectly — that is until he becomes the odd man out thanks to the revelation of his sexuality. Thus begins the awkward post-coming out dance of Adam still trying to be one of the bros while his friends try to undertand and suport him.

So you want to make a web series? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Episodic web programming is still in its infancy, but is expanding at a head-spinning rate. It’s not enough to just go out and make a show, there are several steps you need to take to make sure your creation doesn’t get lost in the sea of content. No matter what stage of planning or production you’re in, get the answers to your questions from those who’ve done it! These content creators have made some of the most popular and lauded web series of recent years. Come hear their success stories, offer group advice, and then meet with them one-on-one for more intensive guidance.
Workshop topics include:
For beginners:

  • Practice your pitch! Every series starts with a great idea. What’s yours?
  • How to make your series stand out among the pack
  • Scheduling/budgeting
  • Advice on crowdfunding
  • Paperwork 101. How to deal with SAG, insurance, permits, etc.

For those who’ve already started out on the path…What’s next?

  • How to market your series & garner an audience
  • What’s the best platform for your series
  • Web Festivals
  • Branding

OCTOBER 4 • 3:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by HILLEVI LOVEN • 75 minutes • English
Executive produced by LGBTQ supporter Susan Sarandon and shot by first-time filmmaker Hillevi Loven, Deep Run is a powerful verité portrait of trans life in rural North Carolina. Exiled by her family and rejected by an ex, 17-year-old Spazz has no one to lean on for support. But when Spazz falls in love again and summons up the courage to become Cole, a strong-willed trans man, his candid humor and steadfast, all-inclusive Christian beliefs counter the bigotry he experiences daily. This exquisite documentary reveals rebirth and courage within America’s deeply conservative Bible Belt.

OCTOBER 4 • 5:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by ERIC SCHAEFFER • 95 minutes • English
Boy Meets Girl is a poignant, sexy, romantic coming of age comedy about three twenty year-olds living in Kentucky. Robby (Michael
Welch, Twilight) and his best friend since childhood, Ricky (Michelle Hendley), a gorgeous transgender girl, have never dated. Lamenting the lack of eligible bachelors, Ricky considers dating a girl. In walks Francesca (Alex Turshen), a beautiful young debutante waiting for
her Marine fiance to return from the war. Ricky and Francesca strike up a friendship, and maybe a little more, which forces Robby to face his true feelings for Ricky. This is a sex/human positive modern fable and identification with its story crosses all gender and sexual orientation lines.

OCTOBER 4 • 7:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by MICHELLE EHLEN • 90 minutes • English
When Jamie finds out her girlfriend Jill has spent time exploring BDSM, her insecurities about falling behind in the bedroom push her to propose that they start going to underground clubs. Jamie decides to use the pseudonym Sally so she can stay anonymous but still look like she’s using her real name, which apparently she thinks makes her look cool. Identifying as the butch one in a traditional butch/femme couple, “Sally” assumes she will take the dominant role in their escapades, with Jill as her submissive, but Jill has ideas of her own.
Director and star Michelle Ehlen in attendance.

OCTOBER 4 • 9:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by PAT MILLS • 80 minutes • English
Hailed as a “GRADE A” comedy by the Los Angeles Times and a Critic’s Pick by The New York Times, Guidance is a riotous comedy that follows former child actor, David Gold, as he makes one bad decision after another. Recently unemployed and with nothing left to lose, he fakes his resume and gets a job as a high school guidance counselor. Quickly winning over the students with his bad behavior, David forms a friendship with Jabrielle, a teenage outcast and they hit the road as an unlikely pair of outlaws on the run. At once a touching comedy that reveals the inner child in us all, GUIDANCE is filled with fast-paced comedic timing, witty dialogue and a winning performance from writer/director/actor Pat Mills.

OCTOBER 5 • 7:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by MAUREEN BRADLEY • 77 minutes • English
When transgender Adam helps his baby-crazy ex-girlfriend Miriam artificially inseminate, they wind up in bed together— and they both get pregnant. Now Adam must reconcile his identity and gender with his biological reality, grapple with his feelings for Miriam, and try to figure out what it means to be a man.

OCTOBER 5 • 9:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by JIM CHUCHU • 61 minutes • English subtitles
Stories of Our Lives is a Kenyan film, created by the members of
The Nest Collective, a Nairobi-based arts collective. The film is an anthology of five short films dramatizing true stories of LGBT life
in Kenya.

OCTOBER 6 • 7:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by CATHERINE STEWART  • 76 minutes • English
The changing landscape of post-Apartheid South African politics and lifestyles is portrayed through two central relationships a successful black real estate woman who is cheating on her white wife, and their bohemian daughter dating a gender non-confirming woman in the Khayalitsha township.

OCTOBER 6 • 9:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by ROBERT CAMINA  • 96 minutes • English
Forty years ago, on June 24, 1973, a gay bar in New Orleans called the Upstairs Lounge was fire bombed, resulting in the largest gay mass murder in U.S. history. Despite that, few people know about the tragedy. Thirty-two people were killed and some bodies were never identified because their families were ashamed that the victims were gay. No one was ever charged with the crime. Robert Camina’s full length film aims to tell the story primarily through emotional interviews of survivors, families of victims and key players involved with the aftermath.

OCTOBER 7 • 7:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by Peter Sollett • 103 minutes • English

Diagnosed with terminal cancer, decorated New Jersey Detective Lt. Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) wishes to leave her pension benefits to domestic partner Stacie Andree (Ellen Page). Denied by local county officials, Laurel receives help from hard-nosed colleague Dane Wells (Michael Shannon) and activist Steven Goldstein (Steve Carell). Together, they unite to rally fellow police officers and ordinary citizens to support the couple’s fight for equality.

OCTOBER 7 • 9:15 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by JOEY KUHN • 89 minutes • English
On Manhattan’s gilded Upper East Side, a young painter, Charlie, finds the man of his dreams in an older pianist from across the globe. If only Charlie weren’t secretly in love with his own manipulative best friend, Sebastian, who is embroiled in a financial scandal. In the wake of Sebastian’s notoriety, their tight-knit group of friends must confront the new realities of adulthood.

OCTOBER 8 • 7:00 PM • CINEMA 21
Directed by MALCOLM INGRAM • 99 minutes • English
Out to Win is a documentary feature that examines the lives of queer athletes. The film features sports icons like Jason Collins, Brittney Griner, Billie Jean King, John Amaechi, Martina Navratilova, Billy Bean, David Kopay, Billy Bean, Conner Mertens (photo below) and many amazing journalists, activists, emerging young athletes, fans and sports professionals about their experiences and the past and present state of things for professional gay and lesbian athletes.
Conner Merten, Billy Bean and director Malcolm Ingram in attendance.

PDX Gay Guide: LGBT Portland Sports and Recreation

Located only a few hours from the beach, the mountains and the high desert, Portland is a sports and wilderness lover’s fantasy come true. In addition to regional outdoors offerings, Portland offers a wide range of hiking, biking and water sports within city limits.
LGBTQ visitors can partake in exciting sports and activities with the following groups:
Portland is also the home of women’s football teams the Shockwave and the Fighting Fillies and the Portland Thorns FC professional women’s soccer team, which plays at Providence Park downtown.

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Things to Do: Your Guide to Portland Gay Scene

Portland, Oregon is a very gay friendly city, very warm and very welcoming to everyone.  There is no specific gay ghetto, and the gay and gay-friendly establishments are everywhere, so just look around!  NW 23rd Avenue is a very nice area, similar in feel to some San Francisco neighborhoods blended together.

The Burnside Triangle is an area in Downtown Portland. It is centered around SW Stark St. and comprises a triangular set of city blocks. It is arguably Portland’s most visible gay neighborhood and Greek thoroughfare.
Bounded by SW Alder St., SW 14th Ave., W Burnside St., and SW Broadway, the district contains a combination of gay and gay-friendly businesses such as independent shops, restaurants, housing, and social services. It has been a meeting place for Portland’s LGBT community since the turn of the 20th century.

Hawthorne is the “queen” of the many funky and gay-sensible neighborhoods on Portland’s slightly sprawling East Side.  It has a long reputation as the center of Portland’s lesbian scene, but Hawthorne is quite popular with anyone who has an alternative, progressive bent, and many parts of Portland (especially on the East Side) have a discernible lesbian presence.  Hawthorne Boulevard is fairly interesting, but for a few dull pockets, for about 45 blocks, from roughly S.E. 10th Avenue clear out to Mt. Tabor Park, at S.E. 55th Avenue. It’s also near and parallel to some other engaging East Side commercial strips, such as Belmont to the north, and Division/Clinton to the south.  Among the many popular businesses in the neighborhood worth checking out include the lesbian club The Egyptian Room (it’s on nearby Division Street but very close), gay-popular Palio Cafe (within walking distance, in nearby Ladd’s Addition), the McMenamins Bagdad Pub and adjacent McMenamins Bagdad Theater, Bread and Ink Cafe, the Cup & Saucer Cafe, Vincente’s Pizza, and the Hawthorne branch of Powell’s Books.

On the West End of downtown Portland, just off of West Burnside Street, Southwest Stark Street holds one of the city’s small gay entertainment epicenters. Along here you’ll find a number of gay bars and gay-friendly restaurants, including the long-running gay bar Scandals;  a landmark gay entertainment complex, Boxxes; the Roxy Diner; the Ace Hotel; and Stumptown Coffee.

Boxxes (1035 SW Stark St., 503-226-4171), as well as a restaurant and lounge called the Fish Grotto, is an always-hopping spot that takes up half of a city block along Stark Street, just across from the gay-popular Ace Hotel.  Boxxes is a brightly lighted space with cozy lounge chairs, tall cocktail tables, and a smaller dance floor. Theme nights and drag shows keep things interesting, and the crowd is among the most varied of any gay hangout in the city – it’s really an all-ages, mixed-gender bunch. If you hit this place on an off night, it can be a little quiet, but for the most part, this gay party playground offers plenty of fun throughout the week.

One of Portland’s many great attributes is its first-rate, cheap public mass transit.  Portland’s Light Rail is part of the city’s comprehensive TriMet system, which also includes an extensive network of buses as well as the handy Portland Streetcar, which connects the South Waterfront to Northwest Portland via downtown and the Pearl District. MAX is a cheap and easy way to get from Portland’s airport into downtown for a little more than $2 – there are three lines covering several parts of town.

Probably the most remarkable thing about TriMet is that all of its various modes of transport are free, both to residents and visitors, inside downtown’s central Fareless Square.
Visitors and Locals get together for Northwest Pride every June.  Portland is full of pride every day, and is a must “go to” when visiting the Pacific Northwest.

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Best Gay Bars in Portland

Where can a gay man act like a gay man? Well, pretty much anywhere nowadays. Yes, baby, we’ve come a long way. But there was a time when gays felt most at home in bars, specifically gay bars.
For decades gay bars were fun—and  necessary—for men who wanted to hang out with other men, but with the mainstreaming of queer culture many believe they have outlived their usefulness.  
Grindr, Scruff and other hook-up-friendly social apps just might make them obsolete. Now, most gay hook-ups happen online. And then there is the hard-earned truth that same-sex marriage is sanctioned by the state. The mainstreaming of queer culture could mean that gay bars might go the way of lava lamps, pet rocks and VCRs.
Still others will argue that men will always need a place where they can still dance their asses off whether they are wearing gold lamé short shorts and a rainbow-hued headband or Levi’s and a tight wife-beater. And drink. Yes, gay bars are still a great place to get a cocktail. Maybe two.
Perhaps that’s why we still have our share of cool men-centric watering holes that service our gay brethren. We’ve ranked these Portland bars in order of outrageousness. They are here. They are queer.
And they would love you to come in and get your gay on. Here is a list of the Top 12 Gay Bars in Portland.

1. Eagle Portland

The one. The only. The Eagle Portland. Where every night seems to be “naked pool night” even the clothing-optional billiards night is scheduled for Thursdays. You are just as like to see grannies hitting the slots in here as you are a trucker in leather chaps and not much else. Bear-friendly porn is on nearly every screen so watching the big game here might not be a good option. Big game hunting? Well, that can be arranged. (835 N Lombard St., www.eagleportland.com)

2. Silverado

Strippers in a sinfully dark room. How much more gay can it get? Well, it does. And everybody pays the four-dollar cover to come into this den of decadence. (318 SW 3rd Ave., www.silveradopdx.com)

3. C.C. Slaughter’s

Old school disco with an adjacent lounge. Every Sunday Bolivia Carmichael and a parade of drag-istas lip synch for their lives – ok, maybe just for smallish crowds – at Superstar Divas. (219 NW Davis St., ccslaughterspdx.com)

4. Scandal’s

This always evolving entertainment hub features First Thursday art shows, block parties, trivia nights, karaoke and so much more. Think of it as your one-stop shop for all things gay and fabulous. (1125 SW Stark St., scandalspdx.com)

5. Crush

Woody and his gang pour stiff drinks and throw outrageous dance parties for the boys, the girls, the bis – the just about anybodies – at this Southeast queer-centric space that hosts just as many political fundraisers as it does disco-tied dance nights. Think of it as the Studio 54 that you actually can get into on a Saturday night. (1400 SE Morrison St., crushbar.weebly.com)

6. Local Lounge

Although it says it’s not just for the gay community (and what really isn’t anymore?) the Local makes sure to attract a diverse crowd who mix it up on both the smallish dance floor and at the bar. (3536 NE MLK Blvd., local-lounge.com)

7. Joq’s Tavern

This Northeast neighborhood joint is just your average blue-collar tavern. Nothing special. And people wouldn’t want it any other way. (2512 NE Broadway, Google Plus site)

8. Embers Avenue

This old-school nightclub is where many of the cities top drag queens first got their footing in six-inch heels. Embers attracts a lot more straight than it did in the 80’s and 90’s but it still has one of the biggest dance floors in town. It recently went up for sale, so it’s hard to say how long this place will be around before we have to say goodbye. (110 NW Broadway, www.theembersavenue.com)

9. Casey’s

This recently relocated men’s bar used to have everyone scratching their heads over how the stayed open in Old Town. Now that it’s more centrally located in the meat of the city, there’s a good chance this will be the one bar that actually might stay open in this seemingly cursed space. (412 SW 4th Ave., caseyspdx.net)

10. Hobo’s

Thomas Lauderdale once tickled the ivories at this Old Town piano bar. This restaurant and lounge is a must-see for those who like their martinis and men on the neat side. (120 NW 3rd Ave., www.hobospdx.com)

11. The Fox & Hound

This little charmer is a good pre- or post-function gathering spot where people come to sit down and carry on actual conversation.  It’s not much, but it has an incredibly loyal group of regulars. Think of it as a queer Cheers. (217 NW 2nd Ave., www.foxandhound.com)

12. Starky’s

Starky’s is for those who remember that brunch is best served on Sunday with a Bloody Mary. This true original is more restaurant than bar but that doesn’t stop people from coming here for some of the stiffest drinks in town. (2913 SE Stark St., www.starkys.com)

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Pride Portland: Parade and Festival Information

Pride Portland ― Parade Theme: “one world one love one family”

Event Detail pages

Forms & Downloads


  • No registrations will be accepted after June 10, 2015
  • Registrations are not allowed on the day of the event


Festival Registration ONLY
  • Non-profit, Non-vendor $60.00
  • Non-profit, vendor $105.00
  • Non-vendor $80.00
  • Merchandise vendor $130.00
  • F&B vendor with Portland FSL $160.00
  • F&B vendor w/out Portland FSL $230.00
Parade Registration Only
  • Non-profit group with float $90.00
  • Non-profit group with vehicle $70.00
  • Non-profit walking group $50.00
  • Group with float $100.00
  • Group with vehicle $75.00
  • Walking group $60.00

Original post from Pride Portland: