PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There are hundreds of coffee shops in Portland. But perhaps none is more unique than a coffee shop at the Downtown Transit Mall that not only serves coffee but offers a piece of Portland history.
Near the corner of SW 5th and Salmon, Ryan Jie Jiang is living his dream of owning his own coffee shop, Less and More — less mystery, more coffee. It’s inside the last 1970s style glass-enclosed, bronze appointed bus shelter on the transit mall.
“I didn’t know until I start selling coffee and a lot of customers telling me that, ‘Oh, I have memories here. I used to catch the bus with my grandmother,'” Jiang told KOIN 6 News. “It was like the ’70’s, and I feel a little grateful to have someone’s memories and remind them of their childhood.”
Before 2007, most all bus shelters in Portland looked like the Less and More coffee shop — and many included a pay phone. But when the transit mall was rebuilt between 2007 and 2009 to accommodate buses and the MAX, the old bus shelters were replaced by the modern versions currently in use.
Tad Savinar, a design consultant for TriMet, came up with the idea to preserve one and turn it into a coffee shop. It’s had different owners over the years.
“As you can see it’s a great, classic bus station, one and only left in Portland,” said Jiang, who took it over in the fall of 2021. “Every day, we see more and more customers.”
They come for the fresh roasted coffee and signature drinks like Tiramisu Latte.
At Less and More, the coffee comes with a bonus of nostalgia.
The bronze and other materials from the old bus shelters were recycled. But you can still see the oval outlines of those old shelters in the bricks throughout the transit mall.