Staff Spotlight: District Manager, Jeff Lynott

Jeff began his tenure working at Venture Portland in March of 2018 and has filled a few different roles during his time at the organization, but currently embraces his role as District Manager to the Foster District with wild enthusiasm. When not walking the streets and meeting with the fantastic businesses of his district, Jeff enjoys gardening, camping and hiking, and if he won the lottery tomorrow he would travel, and then travel some more! Honest, loyal, and imaginative would be three words he would use to describe himself, and we are inclined to agree. Jeff lives with his wife Sydney of 14 years and his 8-year-old daughter, Maddie.

What makes you a Portlander?

I’ve been in Portland since 2005. I suppose residency isn’t the only thing that makes me a Portlander, though. I’d say my desire to participate in community-building and promote a culture of walkable neighborhoods is a Portland characteristic. As well, my love for biking, gardening, diverse food, and progressivism probably makes me a Portlander.

What area in Portland are you most fond of and why?

I have a love affair with my own neighborhood, Foster-Powell. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s full of character, a strong community, and a very walkable business district on SE Foster Rd.

In your opinion, what “puts Portland on the map?”       

I would’ve answered this question differently 10-15 years ago. One thing has remained the same, though: Portland has great access to outdoor recreation. Whether it’s a drive to the Gorge, the mountains, or the coast — all less than 90 minutes away — there’s ample opportunity to get out in nature. Even without leaving town, easy access to the waterfront, Forest Park, and Mt. Tabor all make for a city that seems more integrated with the natural environment.

What makes Portland small businesses so unique?

My initial thought is that small businesses seem more prevalent in Portland. I feel like Portland’s small businesses play a larger role in how and where locals shop, eat, and drink. This is in comparison to other cities, where chain stores and larger franchises dominate the economy a little more. I’d also like to think that Portland’s small businesses have been somewhat empowered by this culture, and therefore we see more diversity and within the community–business owners may be more willing to take a leap of faith and follow their dreams for an otherwise unique and unproven business model.

What is your favorite thing about shopping local?

There’s a local option for everything. In my own community, I love supporting businesses that contribute to a walkable and inclusive district, and therefore make the community more vibrant and sustainable.

What is your favorite nature spot in Portland and why?               

Tanner Springs in the Pearl District is a special spot for me. I love the native landscaping and diverse mix of grassy areas, taller trees, shorter shrubs, and pathways. The trickle of the creek traversing it, and pond anchoring the east end makes it that much more special. It integrates well with its urban surroundings but has its own ecosystem. Perfect for relaxing with a book and coffee from one of the nearby cafes.

Portland is such an outdoor adventure place – where do you go for outdoor adventures?      

Ooh, adventures! Much of my adventuring these days has to be kid friendly. That doesn’t stop us, though. Walking along the waterfront, exploring food carts, hiking Mt. Tabor, and stumbling upon an outdoor concert or performance is quite common.

If you were to host a visitor and had to take them to 4 different spots in the city, where would you go?

First, I’d take them to Mt. Tabor for a view of the city. From there, we’d probably venture to 26th and Clinton to eat & drink at that adjacent open plaza, and perhaps shop on nearby Division St. I think a walk along the East bank Esplanade would be near the top of the list, too, as well as showing off my own neighborhood–eating, drinking, and shopping on Foster.

There are 6 CII districts that Venture Portland Supports – do you have a favorite spot in any district? What makes it a favorite?

I feel like a broken record here: Foster is definitely my favorite, though I’m biased. I’m a big fan of the emerging retail scene: Foster Outdoor, Wild Mountain Wax, Larkspur, and Higher Self. Nothing beats a happy hour and soaking in Foster vibes on sunny day, though; for that, I’d get a snack and cocktail from Bar Carlo.