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Shoppers stop at the typing station outside Oblation, a card shop in the Pearl District.

Shoppers stop at the typing station outside Oblation, a card shop in the Pearl District.

Where to shop, eat and drink in Portland’s Pearl District

Beards, bikes, “Portlandia.” Portland is known for many things. But, arguably, its three best attributes are its beer, artisan shopping and restaurants.

Venture into the Pearl District for easy access to all three. Once home to warehouses and light industry, the area’s low-slung brick buildings are now filled with hip boutiques, up-and-coming restaurants and the state’s brewing heavy-hitters. Here’s where to go.

Stop at Oblation for its sweet and irreverent stationary, as well as a counter of refurbished vintage typewriters for sale (there’s even a typing station outside — SO “Portlandia”).

 
 In their store, the Rich couple offer custom work and hard-to-find paper goods sourced from around the world.

 In their store, the Rich couple offer custom work and hard-to-find paper goods sourced from around the world.

From a warehouse in Portland’s Pearl District, a husband-and-wife team, Jennifer and Ron Rich, oversee a multidimensional creative enterprise.

Jennifer and Ron Rich are time travelers, of sorts. Their Portland shop, Oblation Papers & Press, is a treasure trove for all things paper. Hanging from 8-foot-tall towers are around 100 different types of paper, including exotic lokta sheets from Nepal, ornate Florentine papers and fine stock from the Amalfi Coast—many of which are made using traditional methods. Stationery, custom letterpress suites and greeting cards line the walls, and their on-site paper mill produces around 75 pounds of recycled paper each week. The once run-down Pearl District warehouse is very much alive with rhythmical click-clacks of the machines. “Sometimes customers ask if there is a person taking a bath in the back,” says Jennifer. “But it’s just our paper mill making splashing sounds as it runs a sheet through the water.”

While most people sip mai tais on their honeymoon, the couple spent their first month as newlyweds blending plants and grasses into paper pulp—that was more than 25 years ago. Since then, the couple have moved beyond do-it-yourself experimentation and now travel the world, sourcing products and learning new techniques. Just last year, they ventured to a 16th-century paper mill in Prague and later imported its handmade paper and decorative boxes to sell in their boutique.

 
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Best-Sellers in Portland, Oregon

The shopping culture in Portland, Oregon, is all about local and independent. The result is a creative mix of boutiques and shops, music venues, wellness practitioners, restaurants and coffee shops, bars, breweries and more. Tourists and Portlanders flock to the downtown neighborhoods for a true taste of Rose City culture.

Oblation Papers & Press has been in business for 25 years, the last 16 of which have been at the present location in the Pearl District of Northwest Portland. With 25 employees, owners Ron and Jennifer Rich run a bustling old-world paper boutique that includes a letterpress print shop and retail store.

Specializing in 100 percent reclaimed cotton letterpress printed social announcements, handmade in their urban paper mill, Oblation papers also offers Italian correspondence cards, French wax seals, fine fountain pens, hand-bound guest books, photo albums, journals, designer office supplies and a selection of handmade and local artist greeting cards. They also offer a wholesale product line.

Over the past few years, they have expanded their single card and boxed greetings to include their signature French Lit. Series, the Botanicals line, the Flourish Greetings printed on handmade paper as well as a line of monograms and Christmas cards. They are also the home of Hat Wig Glove, a humorous line created by owner Ron Rich.

 
 
Oblation Papers & Press co-owner Ron Rich (second from left) talks with Cindy Bilotti (second from right), who, with her son, Ben, bought a refurbished Czechoslovakian Consul typewriter during the northwest Portland store's "type-in" on Sunday, recognizing International Typewriter Day. (Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian)

Oblation Papers & Press co-owner Ron Rich (second from left) talks with Cindy Bilotti (second from right), who, with her son, Ben, bought a refurbished Czechoslovakian Consul typewriter during the northwest Portland store's "type-in" on Sunday, recognizing International Typewriter Day. (Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian)

Old-fashioned writing machines get new respect on International Typewriter Day

In an age of e-mail and laptop computers, there's still a place in the world for the manual typewriter -- at least in the world of Arthur Springer, who owns eight of them, and uses one of them every single day.

"Who wants a typewriter these days?" he said. "Some people do. I used to have more of them, but it was getting to be a bit much."