Crowdfunding aims to save Portland’s oldest bookstore

Multnomah County

Cameron's Books & Magazines, in operation since 1938, must vacate current spot by Dec. 1.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A crowdfunding campaign is underway as Cameron’s Books and Magazines, Portland’s oldest bookstore, faces closure after its owner was not given the opportunity to renew his lease from building owners.

Jeff Frase, the bookstore’s third owner, said he has until Dec. 1 to vacate and was only notified about that about a month ago.

Cameron’s Books and Magazines, which has been located at 336 S.W. 3rd Ave. since the early 1960s, began operating in 1938. Frase bought the store in 1989.

The building has recently changed ownership, Frase said. Previously, the building’s upstairs was the location of the Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant, the owners of which also owned the building. It was bought by the owners of the Golden Dragon Exotic Club above the bookstore.

“And when they took over, they had to give all the tenants a year’s grace period of the same rent. So that’s expiring and instead of making me an offer to see whether I can stay or not…they just evicted me. Refused to renew the lease, I guess. Either way it works out the same.” He added that the notice to vacate was “out of the blue.”

“I just kept expecting to hear from them about what was going to happen at the end of October and never heard from them,” Frase said.

Frase, 67, began working for the store’s second owner, Fred Goetz, in the early 80s.

Crystal Zingsheim, a store employee, started a crowdfunding campaign that aims to raise $30,000 by Nov. 7 in order for her to take over as the fourth owner and relocate the store.

Either way, Frase said he’s planning on selling as much inventory as possible and will retire as owner.

“I get a lot of well wishes and hopefully people contribute and come in and buy a book or two. Because we have to downsize, too.”

The Kickstarter Campaign website stated that the funds will also help to preserve the store’s collection of rare literature.

Organizers are currently seeking help finding options for relocation and any interested parties should contact printpushers@cameronsbooks.com or 503.288.2391.

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