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Columbia Art & Drafting

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Art Supplies, Arts & Crafts Supplies, Drafting Equipment & Supplies

1515 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214


Today: 9:00 am - 6:30 pm

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18 Reviews
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Provided by Citysearch
I went here with my roommate who had to

I went here with my roommate who had to pick up supplies for a drafting class. As a store employee helped her, I wondered around the store looking at things. An older female employee kept on following me around. She would stand at the end of every aisle I went to and just stare at me, and not even offer to help me or anything, just stare at me. She obviously thought that I was there to steal something. I have never been treated like that by a store employee since I was 15. That;s more than 14 years ago. I do not steal, and I am abhorred by the way I was treated. I will never go to this sore for art supplies ever again because I do not shop at stores where I am treated like a potential shoplifter rather than a potential customer. Worst customer service ever.

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Provided by Citysearch
Lost my business

I won't be going back. I have to give them one star but really I give the zip. It's a very large and complete store but the people who run it could care less about you as a customer and treat you like crap. I purhcased some mounting board and when I got it home I realized I needed a different thickness brought it back with my receipt and wanted an exchange and they wouldn't allow an exchange they said it was ""damaged"" which it probably was when I bought it. Once they have your cash their through with you.

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marina gregg


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Rita is horrifying

I have NEVER in my life had such rude, trashy service from anyone, ever. The way this person (I guess) treated me was beyond belief! She told me that tempera paint means 'temporary' which is completely wrong. Look it up and see for yourself. Yes, these are not the paints made with actual egg but paint this on a porous surface and you tell me if it can be removed. She is so ignorant and disgusting that I will never go back. Plus, I don't like art store employees to walk around scratching their fat asses.

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Bobbie N.


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This place was really good, until it turned REALLY BAD. I will never shop there again, and will tell everyone I can about my experiences there. I was burned 4 times by them. 1st BURN: Discount coupon seemed like a disguised bait and switch--nearly everything was already on sale so it applied to very little. 2nd BURN: Called to make sure they had what I needed in stock (a 2-part item) and was told they did. Drove from Vancouver only to find they don't even sell part of what I was told was in stock. 3rd BURN: Tried to return some foam core. Told not returnable--read the receipt. Read receipt to find many items are non returnable, including any items on sale, no exceptions! 4th BURN: Bought substitute (see BURN #2) and checkout gal told me it was returnable if not opened. Wrong. One part of it was "on sale," therefore only partly returnable.PROS: Good selectionCONS: Virtual "All Sales Final" Policy, Inaccurate Phone and Counter Info, Discount Coupon gave feeling of Bait & Switch Scheme

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Provided by Citysearch
Really good, until it is REALLY BAD!

This place is really good, until it is REALLY BAD, and it's this last part that has me vowing to shop anywhere else but there in the future. BURN #1: Took a nice % off coupon I received of theirs to use, and while I knew before going that it only applied to regularly priced items, I was stunned to find very little that wasn't already on sale. Outcome: WASTED TRIP and a distinct feeling of having succumbed to a cleverly disguised bait and switch. BURN #2: Called ahead to make sure they had the prepackaged metal frame set sizes of 20"" and 26"" that I needed and was told they had them in stock. Drove from Vancouver only to find that they don't even stock the 26"" lengths, every other size but not that one. Outcome: Bought a more expensive wood frame set and 7 sheets of foam core but asked at checkout if the frame was returnable if it didn't suit my picture. They said yes, if not opened. BURN #3: Drove back over to return the frame set and the 7 sheets of unopened foam core 3 days later (turned out I had forgot the frames) and was told that foam core was not returnable because they would have already ordered in new replacement stock and that there'd be no room for the returned foam core, and that it said ""no foam core"" on my sales slip. So I read my sales slip: ""All returns must have a receipt and be within 15 days. No Returns or Exchanges on Sale Items, Books, Easels, Pens, Markers, Papers, Boards, Spray Cans, Lamps, Portfolios, Presentation Cases, Projectors, Lightboxes, Special Orders, Used Items - No Exceptions."" They are entitled to whatever kind of ""Return Policy"" they want, but as stated, it leaves very little that can be returned. I think paints are always ""on sale."" It's safer to think of their return policy as ""No Returns or Exchanges - No Exceptions."" When I got back and checked the frames that I had forgotten, the price sticker on the 20"" set looked like the regular price, but the 26"" set had a sale price sticker on it. I'm dreading the thought that this means they are not going to refund my money despite what I was told when I purchased them. ""No Exceptions,"" right? But I shall try anyway and will probably be writing about BURN #4 here shortly.

A nice fully-stocked store if you don't mind a virtually ""no return/no exchange policy,"" that you can't believe what they say on the phone, what they say at the check-out counter, or what the coupon offer is really offering. If I could just remember all these things going in, maybe I wouldn't feel so BURNED going out. I'm glad some people have done okay with them. I just haven't.

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Provided by Citysearch
best I've seen in town...

I'm only in Portland a few times a year and I always visit this store. Of course it depends on what kind of art you but they do have an overall good selection.

For me it's the paper/pads; it 's hard to find Aqua bee and other heavy weight paper/100 lb pads where I'm from, as I write this, super deluxe pads are 2 for 1! compare online prices -you cannot beat this deal.

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Provided by Citysearch
Wonderful experience

I'm just starting out in art, and went here to buy some painting and charcoal supplies. I found the selection to be so amazing that I could have easily spent hours in the store (actually, I think I did!), yet still organized enough for someone who needs to get in and out in a hurry. The staff members were all very friendly and helpful, and even took the time to answer some questions I had about paper for acrylic painting *while I was already checking out*! I learned so many new things just from that short conversation, and I can definitely say that I will be returning here as my experiences in art grow. I'm so glad to have found it.

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Provided by Citysearch
what its good for

Columbia has the best price of brushes and the largest selection of the art stores in portland. it also has more craft like material, an amazing selection of specialty papers and craft kits. There is a student discount too, ask for it before hand and you''ll avoid the mad eye. Great staff who is helpful but will leave you alone to browse until you find what you need/want.

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Provided by Citysearch
Saving time is saving money

Columbia Art has come a long way. They have been in the SE area for at least 30 years, but it
was when they took over the Lyman Slack building that they really offered just about
everything for the professional or budding artist. If you compare what they offer to Art
Media, Michael's or Utrecht, it averages out. I have never had a problem with staff, and
I don't feel like I am ever pulling them away from something 'more important'. Rita is
especially helpful, and I have sent many new painters to her so that they buy the proper
start-up supplies. I think it's evident that some of the writers have reviewed staff and
store based only on their personal agendas. Give some credit to a local family who has
done a good job of building their business.

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Provided by Citysearch
Ok store

Columbia Art & Drafting Supply definitely has its pluses and minuses. Overall, its a good art store and I think all the comments will be honored and hopefully something good will come out of it.

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Provided by Citysearch
Lost my business

I always thought this place was the most expensive art store in town but I went there because its had decent stock and its easy access parking. There is only about 2 sales people there, that are really helpful. The owners are the least helpful of them all. There was a an item that was not put in my bag when i went home and checked the receipt, sure enough I paid for it. So, I went back to tell them my $3.51 marker was not in the bag and they said to check my car (which I did before running back to the store - 3 times). I checked my car extremely, thoroughly and it was not there. When I explained this, they just said sorry we always put things left on the counter in a box for the customers to return and get it. What I think is that it was never put in the box. So, reinforces the attitude that all customers are out to screw small businesses and that the customer is never right. With this experience, I was totally turned off and will go out of my way to visit Art Media or Utrecht. Its just too bad.

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Provided by Citysearch
Columbia Art

I shopped at Columbia Art long before the present owners arrived. My experience then was barely ""OK."" The new owners' hard work and business acumen has created a wonderful and amazing 1 stop shopping experience , especially for artists living on the east side of the river. Before they took over, we were limited to art supplies by catalog or the misery of traveling long distances in Portland's traffic only to find the item needed was not available.
Some items may seem a bit higher but they are very fair in discounting for students, and considering traffic and gas prices, some higher priced items are still affordable. And as important to me, is the congeniality and knowledge of their store clerks. The owners are especially eager to please of course. In addition, ""Rita"" is clearly an important asset in knowledge and helpfulness. I appreciate that she never leaves me wondering whether or not I have made the best choice! She has helped me ""work out"" solutions in detail. Also, their framer Justin, who is rather new, already has displayed knowledge and patience in helping me find a solution for framing needs.
It is also well to note that the owners of Columbia Art care about our community and are generous participants, particularly when and where the Arts need support.
I appreciate the opportunity to comment. Thank you!

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Provided by Citysearch
Great Selection & Student Discounts!

I've been in this store a few times to buy supplies for, of all things, sewing classes. This store has an excellent selection of drafting supplies from compasses to rulers of all kinds. It's a bit out of my way, since I live in Beaverton, but I like it SO much better than Art Media on Cedar Hills Blvd that I'm willing to make the drive. I've had excellent service every time I've been in, and had NO trouble communicating with any of the staff. The prices did shock me at first, but when I shopped around, they were pretty competitive, especially compared to some sewing professionals' websites (on which you must pay shipping, so any price difference is negated by s&h and wait time for product). Another bonus is the student discount (either 10 or 20%, I can't remember). And that is easy to get also. All you have to do is show a current class syllabus. No runaround about it. I'd definitely recommend them if you have something soecific in mind.

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Provided by Citysearch
High quality Service and knowledgeable staff!

Gosh, my experience with the woman, Rita by name(not Medusa), in the paper department to be quite different from another review in this list. I found her to be exceptional in service, and really knowledgeable about not only paper, but just about every thing I have ever wanted to buy there. I am a regular customer there, and have found Tao and Bang-Tram, the owners, (who by the way are NOT Chinese, but Vietnamese) to be delightful people and totally conversant in English. The store is a full service art supply store. Yes, it is more expensive than some other places in Portland, but I don't have time to shop. I am a professional, and I need service and product. I don't want to spend my time running around town to save $1.00 or so on various items. I love shopping here. If you are a watercolor artist, be sure to talk to Tanya. She knows so much about watercolor. I learn something every single time I go here to shop.

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Provided by Citysearch
Great Selection but WAY overpriced.

Columbia stocks tons of great products and has some nice and knowledgeable people on the sales floor to help you out but I have found if you ask anyone at the register for help, they don't always speak English or know anything about art supplies.

My biggest problem with Columbia is the price of almost everything! Their prices are much higher than my favorite place in town and possibly the world, Utrecht's. I needed a 36"" metal ruler and looked at Columbia first and was so put off by the price I went to Utrecht's and found it for a third of the price.

Columbia does have sales on items that brings them down to the normal price of other art supply places... but basically I only go to Columbia as a last result if the other places in town are out of what I want. They do, however, get some extra points for carrying M. Graham watercolors and gouache...

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Provided by Citysearch
Good paper selection

This is a well-stocked art supply store; in particular, they have an impressive selection of papers for drafting, drawing, watercolor, graphic work, etc.

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Provided by Citysearch
great store, but expen$ive!

This art supply store has everything you need from gum erasers to fixative, but don't expect a bargain here. I found a 20x30 basic canvas to be 20 bucks here! The same size and grade canvas at a competitors store in the Pearl was only $11.00. I stlll shop here for little things like charcoal, pencils, and erasers, but better deals can be had elsewhere!

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Provided by Citysearch
great selection, decent prices

This store has almost everything you'd need for whatever you're into-- paints, lino cut, screen printing, bookbinding, rubberstamps, canvas, art paper, frames. They have supplies for the casual hobbyist as well as more serious things like easels, frame for stretching canvas, and nice brushes. Prices aren't bad, cheaper than Utrecht, but not exactly a bargain. The store is alot bigger and more well stocked than it appears from the name or the storefront.

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Extra Phones

Phone: 503-231-1274

Fax: 503-231-1274

TollFree: 800-547-9750

Regular Hours
Mon - Fri:
Sat - SunClosed
Art Supplies, Arts & Crafts Supplies, Drafting Equipment & Supplies
  • Art Supplies
Payment Options
Kerns, Southeast Uplift

Columbia Art & Drafting Supply

Other Email

Other Information

Parking: Free

Bike Parking: Yes

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

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