After seeing a unique craigslist post for a space a bit out of her price range, Summer Killingsworth decided to go with her gut and set up a viewing. Summer and her friend were originally looking for a place to live, but after meeting Patrick Triato, the owner of the recently purchased building, a business idea formed. Today Union/Pine houses some of the most clever events in their SE industrial neighborhood and is getting busier every day. With the Portland Flea setting up camp every month, and other locals acknowledging the gorgeous raw space, Union/Pine went from a hangout for friends to one of Portland’s premier venues. Check out their monthly dinner series, Association for a dose of inspiration, great food and even better company.
E+E: So you went to view an apartment and came out with a business, a boyfriend and a home? This really happens?Summer Killingsworth: I just had such a good feeling about the place and knew I had to see it. When my girlfriend and I met Patrick he basically said, I don’t know what it is going to be. Within minutes we were like, Let’s start a business. Our first meeting was two hours long and we went from there. The details took a while, but the idea was there from the beginning.E+E: What did the both of you do before Union/Pine?SK: Patrick is a product design engineer and has a background in construction, and he had renovated a warehouse space back in Cleveland. I worked in Los Angeles for years as a set decorator and also spent years in the music industry doing event production, so it was kind of the perfect fit. It happened so organically.
E+E: Where did the name Union/Pine come from?SK: We were on a road trip, had just been camping and we were trying to think of a name that meant community and collaborating with friends or a type of commune, and we came up with “union.” It worked because it is always going to be a kind of a playhouse for our friend to showcase their work and a place where they could build and feel inspired. “Pine” came in because we needed something that wasn’t too specific in case it expands to other areas, or whatever may come down the line. After going through a stream of words that fit with Union, we decided on the most simple, since the building is on Pine Street. As soon as it came out, 'Union Pine', it felt perfect.
E+E: What brought you to Portland in the first place?SK: What brought me here was basically my gut instinct. In LA I was having a hard time getting through the day without getting frustrated. Whether it was the traffic, the weather, the people – that just isn’t me, I’m not a negative person. It felt a bit toxic to stay there, so I came here to visit and fell in love. It was a dream. It’s so beautiful and the people are so nice.
I just love how much people collaborate together. People actually follow through on their words and share their knowledge and talents. They don’t compete, they celebrate each other.E+E: The space looks absolutely beautiful. We’re assuming it didn’t just come this good looking.SK: It has certainly been a labor of love. One of the biggest projects we have taken on is lowering the floor. We had friends over last summer to help strip all the wood off, cut down the supports, and lay the wood back on. That was a nightmare.
As people came to us to do events and it got bigger and bigger, we got to the point where we thought we can’t half-ass this. Patrick and I are both really hard workers and firm believers that things that are worth doing are worth doing well. There is always something to do. We go to Home Depot like twelve times a day.E+E: What does the future hold for Union/Pine?SK: We are super excited about the Portland Flea. We wanted to do more pop-ups and the vision of the Flea is so great. These amazing vendors come in, set up and not one of them has stuff that you don’t want to purchase. We have really enjoyed doing First Fridays as well. It helps market our business and we get to hang out with friends at the same time.
Union/Pine525 SE Pine St.Portland, OR 97214Photo Credit: Summer Killingsworth