Month: March 2020

Infill Home with Good Layout

The new infill residence at 1328 NE 76th Ave will complete construction soon. Building on split lots poses many challenges. It’s challenging to create a functional floor plan in such a long structure. At just 15 feet wide, any architect would find challenges in creating a comfortable home. This single family residence dose does many things well to make use of the limited width inside.

At the front of the main floor is a single car garage. Set back eight feet from the front of the house is the entryway. This setback has the advantage of reducing hallway length from the front door to the rest of the house. Just before reaching the great room is a small 1/2 bath, tucked under the U-shaped stairs. The bathroom is small enough to wash hands while seated but demonstrates the height of spatial efficiency. Just beyond the U-shaped stairs is the great room with a gas fireplace. Above the fireplace are hookups for a wall-mounted TV. The kitchen and dining area occupy the back of the first floor. A sliding glass door leads out to the back yard.

The master bedroom fills the front of the second floor. The ensuite contains a double vanity, separate shower, and soaking tub. Across from the ensuite is a double-wide closet. The ensuite wall and the closet doors form a ten-foot-long hallway to the master bedroom door. Having the hallway in the room gives the bedroom an extra level of privacy, even if the door is open.

At the top of the stairs is a shallow linen closet. The hallway stretches down the right side of the building, ending in a full bathroom, taking up the second floor’s right back corner. The left side, of the rear portion of the level, is split between two bedrooms and a laundry room. The Laundry room is between two standard bedrooms and backed against the closets for each bedroom.

The development is by Wilde Properties, who is a specialized builder of infill homes in Portland. For an infill house, they appear to have created a pleasant residence. Considering the constraints, they have done well packing in a fair amount of home into a small package. 

House Nestled Between

In what could be called a cozy infill, 947 NE 74th Ave is wrapping up exterior work. This new single family residence, by Ernie Jette Construction Co., is built on a lot split from 925 NE 74th Ave.

The slender house has been creative in its layout. Having the single car garage upfront, occupies a great deal of floorspace. The remainder of the first floor is occupied by a kitchen, 1/2 bath, and great room dining area combination. When entering the house, you must walk down a long hallway and turn 90 degrees to the left. You walk into the kitchen that takes up a good portion of the middle of the first floor. Across from the kitchen, hugging the right wall, is a 1/2 bath that is just as wide as the halway. The bathroom is tucked under part of the stairs and forms the wall at the end of the entry hallway.

The great room has a sliding glass door in the back to gain access to the yard. There is plenty of light in the back half of the house with many windows. The side windows in the great room push out an extra foot, giving slightly more floor space.

Upstairs are three bedrooms. In the front is a standard bedroom that spans the width of the house. Behind it is a smaller second bedroom. It is missing near four feet in width, to accommodate the hallway to the front bedroom. Behind that is a shared full bathroom. Across the hall from the bathroom is a laundry closet. At the rear of the second floor is the master bedroom with a 3/4 ensuite. The ensuite is has a double vanity and is larger than the shared bathroom.

When designing the exterior of the house, they have taken care to adopt some design elements of the neighboring houses. They implement a hip roofline like the house to the right and shingle accents like the house to the left. A benefit of being close to the other houses, and fronted on the same plane, the length of the house will be obscured. For being so close the other houses, they have done a decent job of blending in.

NE 80th Townhouses

Back in the North edge of Montavilla, evolves modern townhouses. Swift Development LLC has been busy at work creating four residences at 990 NE 80Th Ave. Each structure has two units, each building turned to front on different streets. They share a common aesthetic of black corrugated metal cladding. The fronts are framed vertical planks on the first floor, with lap siding above.

The two units, fronted on NE 80th, have a shared front deck spanning the width of the structure. Inside, the unit are laid out in a mirror of each other. The Main floor is wide open with the Kitchen centered on the long exterior wall. In the middle of the room is a kitchen island containing a sink and dishwasher. The stairs up to the second floor push out the sides of the building, leaving the main room a perfect rectangle and creating interesting exterior shapes on the building.

The second floor has two standard bedrooms in the back that share a full bathroom. There is a laundry closet across from the bathroom. The master bedroom takes up the front portion of the second floor. It has a 3/4 ensuite with a pocket door.

Around the corner, and on the same lot, are 8012 NE Holladay Street and 8016 NE Holladay Street. These units have a single car garage and rise to three stories tall. Again each unit is a mirror of the other. The first floor has a garage and 3/4 bathroom. The back portion of the 1st floor has a media room with a sliding glass door leading to a small yard. This structure also has the stairs protruding from the side of the building, preserving interior space and creating shape to the building’s exterior.

The second floor is an open floor plan with the Kitchen centered on the long exterior wall. Center in the room is a kitchen island containing a sink and dishwasher, in the same layout as the other building. There is a full width deck off the back of the second floor. It is covered by the third floor of the building.

Just like the other building, the top floor has two standard bedrooms in the back that share a full bathroom. There is a laundry closet across from the bathroom. The master bedroom takes up the front portion of the second floor. It has a 3/4 ensuite with a pocket door.

This building makes bold choices for what is mostly a traditional area of Portland. It is obvious and stunning. Were most houses around it are single family homes, this project offers density and a bit of affordable elegance. More developments are aviding blending in and opt for standing out. While some could desire a bit of uniformity in surrounding properties this type of standout building creates character and depth to the streetscape.

Off Glisan Apartments

475 NE 74th Ave is soon to be the newest apartment building in Montavilla. The 3 Story, twelve (12) unit apartment building is directly behind the Candlelight Restaurant and Lounge, and across from the former Trinity Broadcasting Network building.

It is outwardly understated in appearance but will feature a unique entryway. On the right side of the entrance alcove will be a sing door that leads to a long hallway, zigzagging back, providing access to the apartments. Just off the front portion of the hallway is the stairwell that runs up the Northeast corner of the building. If this was the extent of the entryway it would seem a bit constrained, although adequate. However to the left of the entry door is large glass windows that will show off a Display Wall, set two and half feet back from the window. This feature is more common in retail spaces and is interesting to see in an apartment building this size. There is not room enough for a lobby so it gives a grand entrance look without the loss of space.

On the first floor, Unit 1, is a modest one bedroom apartment. Unit 2 however has a dedicated den and storage room, in addition to its one bedroom. Units 3 and 4 are two bedroom units of similar size. The remaining space on the first floor is occupied by an indoor trash room.

Floors two and three share a similar layout as the first floor. However, without a trash room taking up space, the back two units are slightly larger. Each unit has its own washer and dryer stack and one full sized bathroom. This apartment building offers a variety of layouts and should attract a range of tenants to the area.

The property is owned Afoofoo 2 LLC, but unlike some developments, Afoofoo is not the likely name for this building. It seems to be the name used by the developer for many projects and the property could be sold once completed.

No rental listings have been released yet and it is unknow what rates can be expected. We will post that information here when it becomes available.

Two Homes on One Lot

A year ago 713 NE 93rd Ave sold to Chalet Homes LLC when the lot was split off of 723 NE 93rd Ave. The new lot bumps out in the back, making both lots stubby L shaped. With 713 NE 93rd Ave wider in the back it can accommodating two houses on one property.

Both structures will have three floors. The front structure (Unit A) will have a single car garage, half bath, and bedroom on the first floor. The second floor has an open floorplan with the kitchen in the back and the great room in the front. Accessed from the great room, off the front of the house, will be a deck spanning the whole width of the house. There is also a half bath off the side of the kitchen. The top floor has two standard bedrooms and a 3/4 bathroom, at the front of the house. A small master bedroom is located at the back with an ensuite.

The back structure (Unit B) has its kitchen and great room room on the first floor. Similar to the front house, there is a half bath off to the left of the kitchen. The second floor contains two bedrooms and one full sized bathroom. The entire third floor is the master bedroom. It has an ensuite slightly larger than the bathroom on the second floor. There is also a walk in closet at the back and a small second closet at the front of the room.

Unlike many duplex opportunities, this arrangement provides a buffer by not sharing a commonwall. Both single family homes are small but creative in their use of space. This property could be a good rental investment, offering two houses worth of income on one property. Alternatively, this would also be ideal for a young family looking to get into a new home and have a built in income stream with a second unit. The number of stairs in these houses would not make it ideal for a multigenerational home, as some duplexes can be.

US Foods Buys Smart Foodservice

US Foods has acquired Smart Foodservice and all their 70 stores. Smart Foodservice recently opened up a Montavilla location between SE Stark and SE Washington Street on 82nd Ave. It replaced the Chinese Village that was demolished in the summer of 2018. Smart Foodservice Warehouse Stores, formerly known as Cash&Carry Smart Foodservice, is headquartered in the greater Portland area. US Foods is the second-largest foodservice distributor, providing food to restaurant and foodservice operators.

While our neighborhood Smart Foodservice caters to small restaurants and food trucks, it has been a useful grocery resource for local residents. We reached out to Sara Matheu, Director of Media Relations of US Foods, for comment about this acquisition. We have also reached out to Smart Foodservice media relation department. As of yet they have not responded to requests for information on what changes are coming to our location .

Smart Foodservice will likely combine with US Foods’ CHEF’STORE stores, in organization if not also in name. CHEF’STORE implements a cash and carry model, similarly selling to small restaurants and the public. In a provided quote from US Foods chairman and CEO Pietro Satriano. “With an established footprint and a consistent record of profitable growth, Smart Foodservice will complement our CHEF’STORE cash and carry model and provide a platform to significantly accelerate our presence in this attractive, growing channel.”

Even if Smart Foodservice rebrands, this location should continue to serve the needs of local restaurants and residents alike.

Event Space on Glisan

A music focused event space is opening at 8014 NE Glisan Street. The location’s name, Natural Dizaztr, is now painted across the glass storefront. However, very little promotional material is available for the business. The companies website is not yet live and only shows an under construction message. Located next door to Montavilla Saloon, it is another in a growing number of new businesses filling out NE Glisan.

Natural Dizaztr’s Instagram displays the message “Happening soon; private dance parties, retail events, and children’s dance parties!” However, it looks as if the first events have already happened.

Posted in the windows of Natural Dizaztr are promotional flyers for an album “Nihilism Is Real.” Based on tags for the location on Instagram, the album’s creators recently had events there. A special album was created at one of those events, titled Live Nihilism At The Natural Dizaztr, and is available online.

Natural Dizaztr LLC is rather new, only just registered February 25th 2020. The company’s registration list Hazel Cox and Richard Madden as the principal owners of the LLC. It is possible Richard Madden is the legal name of Dee Madden, the performer of the first events.

It would be interesting to know more about Natural Dizaztr and how the space can be booked. In an email to the companies only posted contact,, we reached out to the owners for more information. As of yet we have not received a reply. However we look forward to bring you more information on this business when it becomes available.

Windy Farmers Market Open

The opening weekend of the 2020 Montavilla Farmers Market was a cold and windy one. Vendors could all be seen holding onto their canopies while trying to assist customers. The number of booths and customers were smaller usual, although it is early in the season for many crops.

The cold weather brough an unexpected March snow the day before and high winds made the day feel colder than it was. There was also, perhaps, a greater gap between people moving about as some practice “Social Distancing.” However, most people could be seen visibly excited for this Montavilla tradition to start up again.

The future of the Montavilla Farmers Market has been a concern for some residents, as the properties around it transform. Adam Stein represents the Susan J Witt Revocable Trust, who owns the property. The Trust also owns the property on either side of the farmers market, the property that once housed Beets Auto Body and the former veterinary clinic building. Stein, speaking by email, said that the farmers market will continue to have access to its space through the end of 2020.

“We have a year to year agreement w/ MFM, hosting them through 2020. A decision on 2021 is unlikely before the Fall.” Said Stein. When asked about expanding the Farmers Market to the now vacant space to the West, Stein said it was a possibility. However, he had not yet proposed it to the operators of Montavilla Farmers Market.

Adam Stein is no stranger to Old Town Montavilla. His company ARS Property Investments I, LLC owns 7805 SE Stark, the current home of Montavilla Brew Works. Stein and the owner of the trust are both local residents and express an interest in supporting our neighborhood.

Such a large lot on a prominent street, will likely attract a future development project. Fortunately we have community members making the decisions regarding the property. It should be exciting to see what develops there in the coming years.

Erica’s Soul Food Review

Tucked in the back of a micro shopping complex on SE 82nd Ave, is a new Montavilla dining destination. Erica’s Soul Food opened at the beginning of 2020 and it can be easy to miss if you are not looking for it. It is located in a food cart attached to the back half of the Henry’s Market building at 803 SE 82nd Ave, adjacent to Growler’s Taproom. Growler’s Taproom shares a covered patio with Erica’s Soul Food, offering a good mix of drink and food options at one table.

My wife and I are a difficult pair to accommodate at restaurants. I eat Vegan and my wife eats everything but does not like Vegan only food. Fortunately Erica’s Soul Food offers a wide range of sides that are all Vegan. They were able to make an impressive plate of sides into a filling meal.

The food is an appropriate amount of spicy for soul food. Hot sauce is not needed, the heat is cooked in. All the flavors were surprising and vibrant, while being true to the dishes origin. The Vegan Mac & Cheese turned the plate of sides into a full meal and begged to be completely devoured.

My wife spent a decade of her formative years in the South. So she was excited to find a soul food spot so close to home and not over priced. She too found it spicy and good. Although she would not call it southern soul food, it is definitely a good spot. She lamented the lack of Fried Green Tomatoes on the menu but there is plenty of other dishes to try and I suspect my wife will work her way through them all.

We both will be returning soon, friends in tow. Erica’s Soul Food has a strong Instagram presence and orders can be delivered by GrubHub. Best of all, it is walking distance for many in Montavilla. I highly recommend you give them a visit.

Maryah Loeb at Ericas
Photo shows Maryah Loeb excitedly noting Vegan options.

Last Drop Bar Replacing Stein Haus

Based on a tip from our eagle eyed reader, Andi Bernard, it looks like the Stein Haus property will be transformed into a new bar called Last Drop.

The text of permit 2019-253142-000-00-RS is scoped to “demolish single family residence with basement to be filled” at 2366 SE 82nd Ave. The demolition permit was suggestive that the whole site would be cleared. However, now that the plans are available for public review, the underlined note on the documents leaves no doubt, “This Bar Building to Remain.

This is exciting news for those lamenting the death of old Portland bar culture. One icon of that time will be saved. The next question is what will the Last Drop become.

Oregon Liquor Control Commission received a license request for the Last Drop, late last year. The company requesting the license is CT Royalty Inc., formed one year ago on March 29th 2019. The president and chief agent of that company is Kent K Chan. Very little information, beyond that, is available at this time

More information should be coming soon, as the Stein Haus building will need a great deal of work to return to service as a bar and possible restaurant. This will be a property to watch, as signs of life for this once written off building return.