Nov 1, 2023 - Things to Do

Best Portland Day Ever: Storyteller Vin Shambry

Photo illustration collage of Vin Shambry surrounded by abstract shapes and the Portland, Oregon sign.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Vin Shambry.

Vin Shambry is busy.

The longtime Portland actor, writer, and community activist divides his time between Alberta House — the Masonic temple turned church turned community event space where he is artistic director — and a multitude of professional projects.

  • Right now he's in distribution talks for his coming movie, "Outdoor School," based on a story he first told for The Moth — about his experience as a homeless kid spending a week at Oregon's educational camp for sixth graders.
  • He's writing a new play about York, the enslaved man who explored the West with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

Vin's perfect Portland day starts early — like all his days.

⏰ "There is no sleeping in," Shambry says. First, he says it kind of feels like a waste of time, and second — he's got two kids who get up early.

🧘🏾 Yoga is part of his morning routine, and on a best day, he hits the pool at the Matt Dishman Community Center.

  • "I swim laps in the slow lane, and I'm proud of it."

🥑 Proud Mary Cafe and coffee roaster on NE Alberta is his breakfast go-to, and he usually orders the avo toast.

  • "That's my spot," Shambry says. "I'm vegetarian and their vegetables taste like meat to me."

🎒 After dropping off his kids, Shambry's best day would include a hike in Forest Park with his Bernedoodle — and then back to the gym.

👟 "I just love to run. It's like my favorite thing. I love to run on the treadmill. It's really forgiving and I feel like I'm flying."

  • And no headphones. He loves being in one big room with lots of people working out. "I like the soundscape of it all."

🍌 For lunch, he heads back to Proud Mary, this time for a smoothie. Then — fit and fueled — it's creative time.

🎭 You might find him at Alberta House, collaborating with a playwright "unearthing" her life story, or writing his own performance poetry.

🎨 To unwind in the evening, Shambry heads to a studio in his basement and pulls out his paints — something that's both relaxing and exciting for him.

  • "Even if I need calmness or stillness, sometimes just looking at a blank canvas. I know exactly what I want to paint."
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