Red and Black Cafe

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Red and Black Cafe
Red and Black Cafe logo.png
Restaurant information
EstablishedOctober 15, 2000 (2000-10-15)
ClosedMarch 24, 2015 (2015-03-24)
Current owner(s)Red and Black Coffee, Inc.
Food typeCoffee shop
Street address2138 SE Division St (2000–2008)
400 SE 12th Ave (2008–2015)
CountyMultnomah County
Postal/ZIP Code97214
CountryUnited States
Coordinates45°31′13″N 122°39′12″W / 45.5204°N 122.6534°W / 45.5204; -122.6534[dead link]

The Red and Black Cafe was a Wobblie, radical, safer space cafe[1] and worker-managed collective located in Portland, Oregon, United States. The cafe served an all-vegan menu and hosted community-based events, including local benefits, political teach-ins and anarchist infoshop-based classes.[2] The cafe also had wireless internet, fair trade organic coffee, organic wines and local microbrews.


The collective first opened at 2138 SE Division Street, in Portland's Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood, on October 15, 2000. It was originally opened as the Flying Saucer Cafe, which was purchased with loans from members in the community and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). In December 2007, the collective signed a lease at 400 SE 12th Avenue, in the Buckman neighborhood, and opened for business on January 11, 2008.

The Red and Black Cafe was a founding member of the Portland Alliance of Worker Collectives (PAWC) and a member of the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC). Red and Black became an IWW union "closed shop" in October 2009.[3][4] Effective January 1, 2015, the General Executive Board of the IWW revoked Cooperative Union Shop status.[citation needed] The cafe is highlighted in The Portland Red Guide, a guidebook on radical organizations and people in Portland written by Michael Munk.[5][6]

On March 24, 2015, the cafe announced plans to close indefinitely.[7]


On May 18, 2010, Red and Black collective member John Langley asked armed Portland Police Bureau Officer James Crooker to leave the cafe, telling him that he violated the "safer space" policies of the collective.[8] Various local and national media sources covered the incident including the Portland Mercury, The Oregonian, and CNN.[9] The situation prompted a boycott of the cafe and the creation of Facebook pages both for the boycott, and in support of the collective with "Boycott the Red and Black Cafe, Portland, OR" and "I'm not Boycotting the Red and Black Cafe, Portland OR". Subsequently, a press conference was held to address concerns over the decision to ask the officer to leave the premises.[10]

Following the controversy, the collective received both verbal and written threats of arson and other violence, but business also increased for the cafe.[11]

The cafe was in local news in 2014 when John Langley called 911, for a man who appeared to be having a heroin overdose, and asked the emergency dispatcher explicitly not to send the police. Langley said if they were to arrive they were not to be allowed inside the cafe.[12]


The Red and Black Cafe served vegetarian and vegan fare and helped Portland become one of PETA's Most Vegetarian- and Vegan-Friendly Cities in 2010.[13] The cafe purchased produce from Project Grow, an urban farming program that assists developmentally disabled adults.[14] The cafe's menu was predominantly wheat-free and organic.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Safer Space Policy". Red and Black Cafe. Archived from the original on February 15, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  2. ^ Mirk, Sarah (October 21, 2010). "Against All Odds, the Red & Black Cafe Survives 10 Years". Portland Mercury. Retrieved November 9, 2010.
  3. ^ "We are now an official IWW shop!". Red and Black Cafe. November 20, 2009. Archived from the original on January 5, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  4. ^ "Local Worker-Owned Restaurant Joins Historic Labor Union". Industrial Workers of the World. May 14, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  5. ^ "Interview with Michael Munk, Author of The Portland Red Guide". Monthly Review. May 13, 2011.
  6. ^ Munk, Michael. The Portland Red Guide: Sites & Stories of Our Radical Past (2nd ed.). Portland, Or.: Ooligan Press. p. 184. ISBN 978-1-932010-37-4.
  7. ^ "Red and Black Cafe announces closing after 15 years in Portland". The Oregonian. March 25, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  8. ^ "Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit". Portland Indymedia. June 4, 2010. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  9. ^ Humphrey, Wm. Steven (June 4, 2010). "Spurned Coffee Shop Cop Makes CNN". Portland Mercury. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  10. ^ Nakamura, Beth (June 7, 2010). "Red and Black Cafe press conference to address asking officer to leave". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  11. ^ Terry, Lynne (June 7, 2010). "Business at Red and Black Cafe in Southeast Portland increases after police officer turned away". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  12. ^ Doglass, Joe (May 16, 2014). "Co-owner of restaurant tells 911 not to send police". KATU. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  13. ^ "PETA Names Portland One of the Most Vegetarian- and Vegan-Friendly Cities". PETA. July 14, 2010.
  14. ^ Spitaleri, Ellen (December 13, 2010). "Project Grow creates new options for disabled". The Times.[dead link][dead link]
  15. ^ Murphy, Dean E. (November 4, 2004). "On the Avowed Left Coast, a Feeling of Being Left Out". The New York Times.

External links[edit]