The storefront, most 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.