Downtime with Barry Cain

Live, work, play with the president of Gramor Development.

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Live, work, play with the president of Gramor Development

What I’m reading

Because a friend suggested it, and derided me for not having read it before, I’m currently reading Watership Down. I’ve really enjoyed it. I also love The Inner Game of Tennis. It’s a great book for anyone, including non-tennis players.


I’m not a big app downloader. I do like Pandora and Spotify and Uber. Does a Kindle qualify as a gadget?

No place like…

That’s a tough question. I suppose it depends on what time of year. I love Carmel, Black Butte and Lopez Island in the San Juans.

What I’m playing

Tennis. I just took it up seven years ago or so. We have so much fun, and I feel so lucky to be able to run around and compete.

Vacation memories

A trip to Maui. We made plans at the last minute and were lucky enough to get a VRBO house we didn’t deserve right on the beach. Hard to beat that.

Where I’m eating

Five Spice Seafood and Wine Bar, of course, and not just because I own it! If not there, I really enjoy Bar Mingo and Ristorante Roma.

Last supper

It was at Hero Sushi in our new Kruse Village in Lake Oswego. There were three of us and we asked them to bring us what they suggested. Unbelievable sushi! And now so close to home!

Who is your business role model and why?

Bob Beaupre, who originally taught me the business. Bob was a hardworking, honest and caring person who knew how to make things happen when it didn’t look like it was possible, and he was a great example for me. Also, Steve Oliva, who founded Hi-School Pharmacy and has been my partner in a number of our most important projects. Steve is a walking history book. He doesn’t forget a thing and is as smart as anyone I’ve been involved with, but he’s always more concerned with the interests of those around him than the economics.

Where would you like to see your company in five years?

I’d like to see my sons and some of my younger employees being able to take advantage of the reputation and experience we’ve incurred, without my help.

What motivates you to come to work every day?

We have this large project in Vancouver [The Waterfront Vancouver] that we got into 10 years ago. It’s an amazing and transformative development. Finally, early next year, we’re going to start construction on new, south-facing residential, office and restaurant buildings and a beautiful new Waterfront Park on the Columbia River.

The Waterfront’s most interesting feature

The Columbia River. It’s the most significant natural feature in the Vancouver-Portland area. It’s majestic and beautiful, and very few people who live here take the opportunity to appreciate it.

Most surprising business challenge

How unpredictable changes in the economy are, and how drastic they can be. Certainly it’s typical for people who have been in the business longer to be more conservative, because they have experienced the ups and downs that they had no control of and didn’t cause. But it’s hard to understand it if you don’t live it.

Are developers destroying historic Portland?

It’s not simple to be on one side or the other on this one. Developers who care to enhance the communities they are working in should be concerned with keeping the original character of areas. That means perhaps renovating some buildings at a higher cost than building new. But at the same time, new construction techniques, and designs and lifestyles, demand forward thinking. We have to be willing to acknowledge that new Portland can be better.