Dr. Zack Porter Creator of Contemporary Bend, Oregon

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Photo by Lalove Benedict

Dr. Zack Porter knows a thing or two about working with his hands. As a dentist at Skyline Dental, he uses them to build healthy and beautiful smiles. After hours, he uses them to turn wood and metal into beautiful pieces of furniture. Sold under the moniker, Contemporary Bend, Dr. Porter’s furniture is constructed with the same care and attention to detail he’s shown as a Bend dentist for the last six years.

Dr. Porter, who lives in Bend with his wife, 10 month old daughter and two energetic rescue dogs, inherited both skills from his father. Dr. Porter’s dad was an orthodontist in Roseburg, Oregon, who happened to have a nice shop. While strictly a hobby for his dad, Dr. Porter wanted building to be one of his careers.

With building in mind, Dr. Porter moved to Bend after graduating from Oregon State in 1999 to start a framing and siding business. A few years later, Dr. Porter left construction to attend Marquette University School of Dentistry to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a dentist.

After graduating from dental school and meeting his wife, Dr. Porter returned to Bend to begin his work with Skyline Dental. For him, returning to Central Oregon to start a family was a no-brainer.

“We love the outdoor lifestyle,” Dr. Porter adds. “You can’t beat the scenery, community, small town feel and of course, the skiing. I originally fell in love with Bend as a kid when my family came to ski at Mt. Bachelor. Every summer during high school I worked at the Roseburg lumber mill to save up money so I could move to Bend and ski race a year with MBSEF before starting college at Oregon State. Luckily, it wasn’t too hard to convince my wife to move here from Wisconsin.”

While Dr. Porter commutes from his NW Bend home to skyline Dental’s NE Fourth Street location, he is lucky enough to build furniture at his home. His wife has allowed him to convert the garage to a metal welding shop and the basement to a woodworking shop. In addition to building furniture, Dr. Porter is also in the process of remodeling their West Hills home.

While both dentistry and furniture building rely heavily on hand skills, precision and creativity, Dr. Porter stresses that’s where the similarities end.

“In furniture, I work with metal and wood,” he explains. “I dictate completely how the materials form and function. In dentistry, I work with teeth, but more importantly, I work with people and everybody is different. I have to ask myself ‘what would I do if this patient were my wife, daughter, brother etc.’ I love that about dentistry.”

In furniture building, Dr. Porter prefers to work with contemporary combinations of metal and wood. This industrial, yet timeless style allows him to merge two of his passions: welding and woodworking. He calls this genre “Rustic Modern” and so far it’s been a big hit in Bend.

“Metal and wood, when kept up, will last a very long time” says Dr. Porter. “Plus, I love the look of natural wood. Right now I am into Sapelli, Ediman and Oregon Walnut. When properly sealed, you can really appreciate the grain.”

The pieces can be categorized into four collections based on the design and structure of the metal. The Eclipse Collection features recycled steel with circular design. The Kickstand Collection involves a cantilever “kickstand” design for support. The Ibeam Collection utilizes a center “I beam” for strength and long span stability. Finally, the Swivel Series allows two tables to “swivel” into one.

“Look on the website or come visit my shop,” Dr. Porter encourages. “The pieces pretty much name themselves.” And he’s right.

In addition to his dentist-by-day, furniture-builder-by-night persona, Dr. Porter believes in giving back to the community. For the past five years, he has been a volunteer coach with the MBSEF FreerideSki program. He provides free dentistry to MBSEF kids and Kemple Clinic. In July he donated a coffee table to the KIDS Center’s Cork and Barrel silent auction.

Dr. Porter’s future goals for Contemporary Bend include an increase in marketing and trying to find more time to work on the pieces. “Finding time has been my biggest challenge,” he says. “I love building furniture, but enjoying life with my family and being the best dentist I can be take priority.”

Contemporary Bend

www.contemporarybend.com

CEO: Dr. Zack Porter

Employees: 1

Year Est.: 2012

Products: High-end steel and wood based furniture

Hot News: Dentist by day, Dr. Porter uses his other skills to create functional works of art.

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Bend-based freelance writer Gregg Morris honed his wit in suburban Michigan and his gift for the written word at Michigan State University. When not writing, Gregg can be found riding his bike, earning his turns, or playing guitar alongside his wife and daughter.

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