Opened at 319 SW Pine Street in 2011 — the “year of the bakery” — Blue Collar Baking has closed, and baker-owner Warren Becker writes the cause was a “rent increase greater than my age.” The crux of it seems to be a matter of Becker sticking to his guns.
“Every day, I’m faced with making decisions as to what is best for the shop, my staff, and me,” he writes. “Although the decision to close will disappoint many, the alternative, to remain open, isn’t realistic for a shop that prides itself on having reasonably priced bakery and coffee. And relocating would be a tough option in a city that has become incredibly expensive.”
Blue Collar Baking earned a reputation for its cookies, Bundt cakes, and working-person’s attitude. PoMo wrote in 2012, “As the son of two working-class, union member parents in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Becker has hard work, humility, and Main Street in his genes.” Becker also reportedly once paid for architectural drafts for his bakery in cookies.
Blue Collar Baking did go out in style: One of Portland’s beloved drag entertainers, Bolivia Carmichaels, hosted the celebration on the bakery’s last day, November 30, 2016.