Month: September 2020

NE Glisan Bus Shelter Destroyed and Removed

An automobile destroyed another prominent Montavilla bus stop late last week. Friday, September 25th, crews removed the broken bus shelter along NE Glisan near 82nd Ave. The shelter served the number 19 Bus stop in front of the Montavilla Community Center.

Tia York, Public Information Officer for TriMet, confirmed the reason for its removal. “The bus shelter at NE 82nd and Glisan was struck by a vehicle over the weekend and damaged beyond repair.” York went on to say that TriMet does not currently have replacement shelters available to replace the damaged unit.

Photo by Weston Ruter

In a Reddit post, a potential eyewitness to the collision provides their account. “I was heading home with my 6 months old, and someone who was obviously drunk crashed into a bus stop, annihilated it, hit another car, almost hit me and my baby, and then continued to swerve and fly down Glisan like a maniac.”

This location is the second area bus shelter to be destroyed by an automobile. The bus shelter at the corner of 82nd and Burnside received similar damage earlier this summer. That bus shelter was also not replaced.

Photo by Weston Ruter

According to York, TriMet will replace this bus shelter as “soon as possible.” Although TriMet appreciates that the lack of a bus shelter inconveniences some riders, they ask for patience while replacing the damaged structures. York hints at a longer replacement timeline by encouraging riders to “bundle up and carry an umbrella as the rainy season approaches.”

In both incidents, the bus shelters were vacant. However, if this continues to be the site of future collisions, someone is bound to be injured. Perhaps it is time for PBOT to consider placing high-impact bollards near vulnerable pedestrian waiting areas. Hopefully, these types of incidents decrease and remain casualty free.

Image provided by Google Maps

Cellphone Tower Upgrade Second Attempt

The T-Mobile Cellphone Tower, located on the Public Storage property at 1621 NE 71st Ave, will receive an upgrade. Work proposed in permit application 20-194224 will encompass some of the work proposed in February of this year.

Permit 20-120469 issued to towers managed Crown Castle on March 4th. However, the online records for the old permit are no longer accessible. Now, 20-194224 seems to be the replacement permit for the project.

In this next iteration of the upgrades, workers will replace three antennas and three remote radio units. Remove three Remote Radio Units and three Tower Mounted Amplifier radios. One FXFC radio will relocate from the ground to the tower. Six lines will be replaced by one cable with pendant and j-box.

In the ground level equipment room, they will replace a small cabinet in the existing H-frame. Workers will install two new cabinets replacing the three existing ones and upgrade support equipment in those cabinets.

Hopefully, this second attempt at upgrades will be successful. These work delays seem to have been put to constructive use, reengineering the project to make even more meaningful upgrades.

BIKETOWN’s Electric Bike Eastside Expansion

The BIKETOWN bike-share program expanded into Montavilla this month, for the first time making bikes available for riders to rent in the area. With the program’s expansion, Portland is replacing the older bikes that first arrived in 2016. The new bicycles are all new pedal-assist electric bikes. These bikes will help average riders make the long trip downtown and back without an excessive amount of effort.

Previous to this expansion of the program, residents would only see the orange BIKETOWN bikes in Montavilla when someone had taken them out of their designated area. Now they can be seen all over the neighborhood, with a concentration around the Portland Community College campus.

The BIKETOWN website and the new BIKETOWN app (iPhone/Android) shows available bike locations near you. Additionally, thanks to a partnership with the ride-hailing app Lyft, riders can now rent e-bikes through the Lyft app. In addition to Lyft, the program sponsors are Nike, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), and Kaiser Permanente.

BIKETOWN begins rolling out the expanded service this month, starting with 500 of the new e-bikes. That fleet will grow the to 1,500 e-bikes over the coming weeks. The 1,000 older BIKETOWN bicycles from 2016 are being removed from service as the new e-bikes become available.

The expanded coverage and new pedal-assist electric bikes come at a cost. The program is increasing its fares at all levels, leading some to question the choice of going all-electric. Regardless of its long term pricing effects, this is a growth opportunity for Montavilla’s transportation options.

We live in a bike-friendly city, and BIKETOWN continues to make that mode of transportation more accessible to all rider. The next few weeks will have summer-like weather, making now a great time to try out the new bikes. 

Expanded travel area in orange. Map by Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Read Patricia Sanders’ The bicycle craze comes to Montavilla for a historical look at bicycles in Montavilla.

1894 Storefront for Lease

The storefrontmost recently occupied by H&R Block, is now for lease. Located at 8304 SE Stark Street, it offers 1,754 square feet of office or retail space. Although being the full width of the lot, it is a relatively small building.

Despite its more modern appearance, a portion of this structure dates back to 1894. Original addressed as 2080 E Stark Street, before the renumbering of portland streets in the 1930s, it had a long history of poultry-related operations. Between 1910 and 1920, there were many advertisements for eggs and chicken for sale at this location. 

The property also housed a variety of people during the same period. A listing in The Oregon daily journal of March 12th, 1916, describes a furnished home for rent at this address. The advertisement describes it as a three-room house on a large lot along Base Line Road (the original name of Stark Street). Aside from the access to the streetcar nearby, the text highlights a chicken house on the property.

James Haddon had his residence listed at this property in the Morning Oregonian of July 3rd, 1918. In this obituary notice, Haddon’s mother died while staying with her son at this address.

Haddon may have been renting this location as opposed to owning it. There are many references to the Rothenberger family having resided in and around this property. H.R. Rothenberger sold shoes in Montavilla for most of the early 20th century. His shoe store, located at 2026 E Stark, appears in a shoe advertisement printed in The Sunday Oregonian January 26th, 1913.

Later, H.R. Rothenberger moved his shop to 1988 E Stark Street based on an advertisement in the Morning Oregonian June 9th, 1915. The ad for Martha Washington Comfort Shoes lists H.R. Rothenberger as a seller of those shoes at that new address. A later job listing posted in the Morning Oregonian of January 25th, 1919, confirmed that location as a shoe store. The text of the ad reads, “WANTED – A shoemaker 1988 East Stark.”

1988 East Stark Street also served as a home for H.R. Rothenberger and his wife, Helen Rothenberger. According to The Sunday Oregonian of March 7th, 1920, she died at that location. That obituary lists her as the mother of Max, Robert, Joseph, and Alma Rothenberger. She also had another daughter, only named as Mrs. Chester Stephens.

After Helen Rothenberger’s death, the family seems to have given up on the poultry business at 2080 East Stark. In the Morning Oregonian of April 14th, 1920, all the chicken farm items look to be up to sale under the heading of “Going to California.”

A few years before Helen Rothenberger’s death, her daughter-in-law suffered an injury in a well-publicized accident. The Oregon daily journal of July 18th, 1919, describes an automotive accident involving Mrs. Joseph Rothenberger of 2080 East Stark street. It seems that Joseph Rothenberger and his wife were living at the chicken farm.

The Morning Oregonian of July 18th, 1919, tells a better version of the accident with greater detail. Mrs. Joseph Rothenberger was riding with four other passengers in a truck crossing Johnson Creek. Although not over loaded, the bridge gave way under the vehicle, flipping the truck upside down. Passers-by stopped and rescued the trapped people stuck under the overturned wreckage. Badly bruised in the accident, Mrs. Rothenberger survived with the assistance of local physicians.

Documented activity and 8304 SE Stark Street (2080 East Stark street) trail off after the Rothenberger accident. However, the family’s occupation of the property seems to have continued. A plumbing permit from April 29th, 1948, lists Alma Rothanberger (likely a typo) as the property owner. She is the sister of Joseph Rothenberger and daughter of Helen and H.R. Rothenberger. That document describes a new addition to an old store building. Based on illustrations for the permit, that is likely the shopfront seen street side on Stark today.

A new tenant moving into 8304 SE Stark Street will be continuing in a 100-year-old history of Montavilla commerce. It is easy to forget the history of these buildings as they change occupants. However, recognizing the contributions of the past make for an enriching future.


Interested renters should contact the property owner Dennis Yost at 503-784-2827.

MNA’s 2020 Online Election

It is election season all over the country with many important positions up for a vote. That includes the often overlooked election for Montavilla’s neighborhood association. Unlike national and other Oregon elected positions, association board members do not appear on the standard mail-in ballot. Historically they are elected through in-person votes at board meetings.

As with neighborhood association meetings throughout Portland, COVID-19 forced most association’s board elections online this year. “All our neighborhoods have done online elections, so [Montavilla is] not the only neighborhood that has or will conduct elections in this manner.” Explained Mireaya Medina, SE Uplift‘s Communications & Small Grants Manager. Many elections have already taken place. “Nearly all 20 [SE] neighborhoods have already completed their 2020-21 Neighborhood Association Elections.”

The Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) can have eleven board member seats. The MNA website lists only eight active members. Montavilla community members wishing to join MNA do not have to run against any current board members. Candidates only need to be willing to participate in meetings and committees. SE Uplift offers resources for new board members. Reading through that information can further define what is required by serving on the board. 

Becoming a candidate for the board is relatively straight forward. It starts at the next MNA meeting, scheduled for October 12th. Candidates will self-nominate and speak about their areas of interest for community development. This weekend Louise Hoff, MNA Chair, will post notices around Montavilla encouraging participation in the October meeting. Even if you are not interested in assisting in the MNA, attend this meeting to support issues you care about in the community. It will be held on zoom, and people can signup to receive a link at the MNA website. Chairperson Hoff explained that after people speak at the October meeting, “the Board will vote on a roster and SE Uplift will create a ballot which will be available online” at the website montavillapdx.org.

Voting will open at the beginning of November, with the results announced at the November 9th MNA meeting. Outside the historically large turnout in 2017, participation in the MNA elections does not see large turnouts. However, with meetings and the election now held online, this is an easy year to participate. 

Our Not so Fresh Fresh-air

The smoke has mostly cleared out of the air in Montavilla, but it is not entirely safe to breathe. Greg Bourget, with Portland Clean Air, attended the September 14th Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) meeting to deliver that message. Portland Clean Air is seeking MNA participation with the organization.

Bourget attended the meeting to inform the MNA board of hazardous air quality issues in the area and ask that an MNA representative be made available to coordinate with Portland Clean Air. Thirty-nine other Portland Neighborhood Associations have appointed a liaison to work with the project, according to Bourget. The primary purpose of this formal communication channel is to keep Montavilla residents informed.

“Currently Multnomah is ranked by the EPA in the worst 1.3% of counties in the US for diesel particulate, the worst airborne carcinogen according to State of California risk assessments.” Explained Bourget. He went on by referencing The State of California’s report on diesel particulate. It says that “Diesel engine emissions are believed to be responsible for about 70% of California’s estimated known cancer risk attributable to toxic air contaminants.” 

Montavilla residents should take particular concern, according to Bourget. “Montavilla is unusually affected by diesel particulate, even by Portland standards, due to proximity to I-84 and I-205.”

Beyond sharing information, Bourget hopes Montavilla will help apply pressure to the leading polluters in the area. “Four Associations have written five negotiation letters to some of the most dangerous industrial air polluters in Portland. Montavilla’s endorsement of these letters is requested. Montavilla might consider participating in the negotiation with unfiltered diesel fleets, considering your [neighborhood’s] exposure.”

The MNA agreed to give this matter further consideration and find a willing representative to work with Portland Clean Air. Board members expressed a desire to have Greg Bourget back at a future date to further present information.

Portland Clean Air will release two reports in the coming days to help the community take proactive steps towards cleaner air. One will focus on effective home air filtration. The other report will address air quality monitoring. By educating the public and assisting residents in measuring their environment, Bourget wants people to become more involved. “We invite residents to learn more and consider helping with a campaign focused on the largest Portland area [polluter,] unfiltered diesel fleets.”

Air quality has been on everyone’s mind these last few weeks due to the dangerous wildfire smoke. Portland Clean Air hopes now is an excellent time to have you think about the unseen dangers in the air that exist year-round. Additional research into Portland Clean Air’s information is needed. However, the project hopes to get Portlanders investigating the issues and ultimately supporting some pollution reform.

Spacious House Construction on 72nd

A new three-level house, located at 1430 NE 72nd Ave, is under construction. In what will likely become the largest house on the block, this five-bedroom house will have around 2,500 square feet of living space.

The driveway to this new home slopes down to a tuck-under garage. Inside, to the left of the garage is a hallway leading to the stairway up to the main floor. Off the hallway is a door to the lower level living area. Rooms on this floor have labels such as a recreation room, wet bar, and bedroom five. However, this area is essentially a separate one-bedroom apartment, with a private full bathroom, washer/dryer, and exterior entrance.

The main floor is several feet above the street-level, requiring a flight of stairs to get up to the covered front porch. The porch extends two-thirds the width of the house, stopping at the garage door. Inside the front door, there is an L shaped stairway leading upstairs. To the right is the Great Room with a fireplace on the south wall. In the back right corner of the room is a Dining area. Although it is not walled off, the Dining area has 6-inch by 6-inch posts defining the room’s corners. A box beam ceiling further defines the space. A substantial 10-foot wide sliding glass door opens from the Dining area onto a fourteen by ten foot raised back deck.

To the left of the Dining area is the Kitchen, arranged in an L shape. Creating the boundary to the Kitchen is a large island with bar seating. The half bathroom sits in the back right corner of the main floor. Enclosed by double glass doors, bedroom four is on the front left side of the main floor. It is ideal for a home office instead of a bedroom, but has a closet and counts towards bedrooms.

The top floor has two standard sized bedrooms on the left side. They share a full bathroom located at the top of the stairs. A laundry room is off to the right of the stairway. The master suite occupies the right half of the top floor. The bedroom portion is fourteen feet square and is topped by a tray ceiling. Beyond the bedroom is a double vanity on one side and soaking tub on the other. The ensuite area extends back further to include a toilet room, shower, and a large walk-in closet.

In some ways, this large modern craftsman home attempts to blend into the neighborhood through architecture. It features a hip-roof, decorative dormer window, and other attributes to match the neighborhood’s aesthetic. However, its size will make it a unique fixture on the street. It looks to be an impressive house with a high-end home buyer in mind.

Pacific Plaza Ready for Tenants

Pacific Plaza anchors the busy intersection of 82nd Ave and SE Division. The new retail building finished construction this week and is now seeking tenants. This building represents a significant advancement in the area’s redevelopment, as it transforms into a pedestrian-centric commercial corridor.

The retail location, clad in dark brick, features a towering central entryway of glass and metal. Both design elements draw the attention of people passing through the intersection. The building owners, CSS Properties, choose the material and color pallet for this building carefully. CSS Properties “had a really clear idea about the materiality. They are big fans of masonry and this dark-colored brick that they chose… They had a vision about the two street-facing elevations. Break up the massing somewhat with the parapet line.” Said Nathan Junkert, Project Manager with Scott Edwards Architecture. They knew it would be highly visible and wanted to attract people into the structure.

Part of drawing people into the building starts with creating an open area in front of the building. “We carved out a little bit of space around the bus shelter and main entry to respect that public-facing side of the building.” Said Junkert. Extra space at the corner not only makes the intersection safer for pedestrians but creates a comfortable location for people to transition between the building and street.

Pacific Plaza’s use of a double hight center hallway is a distinctive feature for a multi-tenant retail building of this size. Tenants can utilize both the interior and exterior entryways for their business. Having an indoor promenade in addition to street-side storefronts will expand foot traffic opportunities for shops and restaurants in the building. The hallway connects two enlarged entrances on either side of the structure and bisects the building, creating a north and south half.

Currently, the hallway and utility room are the only completed interior spaces within the building. There are no shared restrooms for the property; each tenant will need to create their own facilities. Both halves of the building are continuous, from front to back, and only crushed rock lines the floor. The retail space is left unfinished to allow future tenants the flexibility in creating their store’s layout. Plumbing for water and sewer extends into each perspective space. Electrical service also is stubbed into the building, connecting to each retail location from the meter-bank outside. The structure has entryways to support up to 14 individual retail establishments. However, tenants will likely occupy larger storefront sections and reduce the building’s overall number of shops.

According to Alexi Meuwissen, Director of Marketing and Business Development with Scott Edwards Architecture, CSS Properties are actively seeking specific prospects. “The owners do not have any tenants secured yet, but they are targeting the following: Starbucks, Subway, Verizon, FedEx, and physical therapy.” Building designers envisioned food service as a potential use for this site. “Grease interceptors are already installed. It’s well-prepped for restaurants.” Said General Contractor Jef Krohn with Joseph Hughes Construction (JHC).

It is easy to envision restaurants in this location because of its history of housing eateries. This site had previously been the decade-long home to the Hung Far Low restaurant. Over its history, this corner lot supported a hundred years of successful business in Portland. That constant occupation and redevelopment complicated construction when digging drywells for the project. “When we did dig this thing up, there was so much stuff underneath this building that had been here for hundreds of years.” Said Krohn.

Further complicating the construction of the building was its proximity to the building at 8245 SE Division Street. That structure is within 14 inches of Pacific Plaza’s east wall. Being so close to the building prevented them from installing brick veneer from the outside of the building. That restriction required switching building materials from a standard steel frame structure to a structural brick wall on that side of the building. “We had to lay all the brick from the inside,” explained Krohn. Scott Edwards Architecture had to adjust the plans as the project was underway. “We had to think on our feet,” described Junkert. The outward appearance is indistinguishable between the two types of wall construction. However, it was an example of the unseen challenges they faced.

Another difficulty for the project came from COVID-19. This project completed in just over seven months, despite being in the middle of a pandemic. During the crisis, steel suppliers shut down, forcing builders to seek out new sources. Workplace safety policies frequently changed during the project, creating delays from adjusting to safety rules and sourcing different protective equipment.

Regardless of challenges, the project team is pleased with the timely delivery and quality of what they have created. Buildings replaced as part of 82nd Ave’s revitalization can create some public concern. There is an understanding that new structures are shaping the maturing character along the street. Junkert expressed his desire that the building’s placement and design will complement the neighborhood. “We are hopeful that occupying the corner and building out the street frontage will have a positive effect on 82nd and the Jade District in general.”

More people are living near this section of town, and not just driving to it. The building is a successful compromise between 82nd Avenue’s history as a car-centric street and its future as a pedestrian-friendly community space. Pacific Plaza has a healthy amount of onsite parking, accessible from 82nd Ave and SE 83rd Ave. Despite parking availability, this building focusses on pedestrians. Every side of this development has large windows and entrances to the property. It will have activity in all directions and encourage people to travel through and around the building.

Rendering courtesy of Scott|Edwards Architecture.

CSS Properties had ideas of what type of businesses would fit here when the project begin. However, COVID-19 has shifted those expectations towards a greater variety of possible occupants. They are willing to work with any interested tenant and are devoted to making the building suitable for prospective businesses.

Pacific Plaza represents an accelerated transformation of both 82nd Ave and SE Division. This area once had only business lining the street, and they catered to automobile access. With the opening of the Orchards of 82nd apartment building at this intersection, the area is firmly a community of residents and businesses. The shops of Pacific Plaza should expect local customers to travel on foot and create an establishment serving those customers’ needs. They have an opportunity to further transform these cross streets in a positive direction by providing services for both residents and visitors.


Pacific Plaza is located at 2464 SE 82nd Ave

Mt Tabor Villas Opens to Residents

The twelve unit apartment building at 475 NE 74th Ave has completed construction and is now ready to rent. Named Mt Tabor Villas, this near Glisan Street building sits behind the Candle Light Restaurant. It features many high-end finishes that should attract renters to the area.

Project owner, John Olson, took over this development from another group that had started work on it a few years previous. Progress on the project stalled after the building permits were approved and eventually they sold to Olson. Taking on a project at this phase restricted the ability to alter the project significantly. However, he made his mark on the building by installing quality materials and fixtures. Throughout the apartment, wide door molding and base trim outline the rooms. Bathroom vanities are wall-hung, with linear tile mosaic backsplashes. Kitchens feature stainless steel appliances and subway tile extending from countertop to cabinetry. 

There is no carpet installed anywhere in the building. Instead, Olson selected woodgrain composite planks. Not only are they ecstatically pleasing and durable, but it also allows for most tenants to avoid charges after moving out. The material used for this project holds up well to daily use and requires minimal cleaning between renters. “Everyone wants their deposit back, so our job is to help make that happen.” Said Kaslynn Brewer, Property Manager with Edge Management, who represents this building.

The apartment building does not offer onsite parking and 74th Ave has limited parking on one side of the street. However, the building is well situated for bus and bike commuters. The TriMet 19 bus line runs along Glisan with stops nearby. A secure bike room on the first floor has direct outside access to the side yard, where bike commuters can safely enter the building away from the street. A second door from the bike room leads into the interior hallway.

Side yard provides bike room access from the street.

These apartments are different than most found in Montavilla. Apartments in the area are older and don’t offer secure building entry and convenient bike storage. Mt Tabor Villas is the first in what may soon become a wave of modern apartment buildings coming to the neighborhood. Future developments will likely continue on NE Glisan with Metro’s redevelopment of the TBN site

Move-in dates for Mt Tabor Villas start in October. Expect to see the building full of people in the coming months, making Glisan a bit more lively.



The front stairwell is full of natural light and offers nice views.


UPDATEAn earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that 74th Ave had parking on both sides of the street. Parking is prohibited on the east side of 74th Ave.

Garage Demo Leads to Lot Sale

A demolition permit at 8115 SE Yamhill Street makes way for a property split and sale. Permit number 20-188105 seeks to remove the attached garage connected by a breezeway to the 1917 house at this location.

Work is underway at the recently purchased home on Yamhill Street. Glacier Properties LLC bought this double-wide property in July of this year. Lot Confirmation 20-180814 started the process of splitting the property into two separate lots. The garage straddles the future property line between them and needs removal to facilitate separation.

The newly created empty lot is already for sale with a list price of $275,000. A note in the 40-foot by 100-foot lot’s listing states that “Garage demolition [is] in process.”

This undeveloped, standard-sized lot should attract mostly developers. However, a home buyer looking to build something custom could make use of this property. Double-lot sales followed by immediate property splits are becoming more common in Montavilla this year. This example on Yamhill Street is the fifth one in recent months. Look for the new property to be sold and developed soon.