Month: December 2020

Vandalized USPS Mailbox Replaced

UPDATE – The replacement collection box is now missing. USPS representatives did not respond to inquiries regarding this most recent removal.


Original article from December 3rd, 2020

USPS installed a new collection box at the corner of SE 76th and SE Salmon Street. It replaces one removed due to vandalism earlier this week. On Monday, November 30th, USPS employees discovered damage to the lock mechanism on the mailbox. Staff determined that repairs were extensive and required replacement.

Ernie Swanson, Strategic Communications Specialist for USPS, explained the extent of the vandalism. “The lock on the box was damaged to the point that the box could not be opened.” The collection box was replaced a few days after being removed.

The new collection box is mounted a four feet over from its earlier location. The mounting bolts are exposed where the old box had stood, creating a potential trip hazard for pedestrians.

old mailbox mounting bolts

Located at 1208 SE 76th Ave, this is one of a handful of postal collection boxes in the Montavilla Neighborhood. After the national concern over mailbox removal, there was worry that this box was penalty removed. Swanson explained that all collection boxes serving Montavilla would remain in service.

Fortunately, the damage to the lock only caused the collection box to fail closed. Residents using mailboxes in the neighborhood can feel assured that box location and security remain intact. The replacement collection box on SE 76th Ave is ready to serve the neighborhood’s western edge once again.

Pho Kim’s 2021 Reopening

Vietnamese restaurant Phở Kim closed on June 1st after an early morning fire. Located at 2204 SE 82nd Ave, the building suffered damage to its roof near the mechanical systems. A new building permit indicates imminent repairs after months of delays and an early 2021 opening.

Yesterday, permit application 20-222762 started the review process for restoration work to the building’s roof. The minor fire damage appeared to be a quick repair based on outward appearances. The online message announcing the temporary closure indicated staff believed it was only a momentary disruption. “We hope we are able to resume service soon.” The next update announced December would be the likely opening date. However, the last update postponed that date.

With a building permit in process, there is a high likelihood that repairs will occur in early 2021. Pho Kim’s opening could take place months beyond the completion of work, but their online messaging demonstrates an eagerness to start cooking again. Watch the Phở Kim website for announcements regarding an opening date.

Mike Grady’s post fire drone footage from June 1st, 2020.

Consecutive updates from the Pho Kim website

TEMPORARY CLOSURE

UPDATE:

Unfortunately, there has been a delay in the repairs and we will sadly not be reopening in December. We thank you for being patient with us during these tricky times. We will keep you updated as we move forward.

Happy Holidays from our team at Pho Kim! 💛

We have recently received news that we should be reopening in December. Can’t wait to see you all then!

Dear Beloved Customers,

We are regretful to announce that Pho Kim had caught on fire the early morning of June 1st and will be undergoing repairs soon. Unfortunately, this means we will have to be closed temporarily until further notice. Thank you for your understanding. We hope we are able to resume service soon.

Sincerely,

Pho Kim Staff

New Curb Ramps Completed on 92nd

Construction on updated curb ramps along SE 92nd Ave is nearing completion. The project replaced existing ramps in three areas near the Creative Science School. These ramps provide crosswalk access for SE Main Street and SE 92nd Ave.

Although the intersection had existing ramps, they did not have modern accessibility features. The old corners used a center ramp design that sloped into traffic. Moving the ramps to the side and adding one for each crossing makes the ramps slope in the direction of travel. The older design required users to transition to the street level and then turn 45-degrees before crossing the street. On the west side of 92nd Ave, the sidewalk now slops down in the direction of travel along the sidewalk. This ramp design makes a level waiting area for the transition between the crosswalk and sidewalk. On the ramp edges, new yellow truncated domes complete the ADA upgrades.

Although the updates look minor to many, some users of this intersection will appreciate the safety these changes provide.

East side of SE 92nd Ave crossing Main SE Main Street.

Small sidewalk extension to widen path around signaling equipment blocking part of the pavement.

TriMet Tech Retrofit

TriMet recently installed a tablet-sized electronic screen into the bus shelter at NE 82nd Ave and E Burnside Street. Displaying regularly updated bus departure times, the solar-powered device is an upgrade to the older infrastructure at this stop. TriMet installed this 13-inch ePaper display as part of their digital information display project.

This bus shelter is one of forty-five locations currently deemed to have enough sunlight and ridership to be a successful launch location. Eighty-five TriMet stops will receive the digital displays this year. The transit focused Keep Oregon Moving Act provided funding for the project. TriMet prioritized heavily used bus stops in low-income communities for the initial distribution of these displays.

Solar-power allows for truly wireless displays that can attach to any bus shelter with enough sunlight. Internal batteries keep the screens updated and operational overnight. TriMet’s existing digital display technology required an electrical connection to the bus shelter. This new option will allow an even distribution of devices to areas that could not support it previously.

Most of the information presented on the digital information displays will mirror the data available on TriMet’s website. However, these always-on screens make the data available to all riders, regardless of their access to a smartphone. It also will present rider-alert information to people who might otherwise be unaware of disruptions to the schedule. The success of these displays will take time to determine. However, they represent a significant jump in bus shelter technology.

Another Duplicate House

UPDATED – Construction progress pictures added. Article originally posted October 21st, 2020.


The new three-level house, located at 285 SE 90th Ave, is an exact duplicate of one at 1430 NE 72nd Ave. That house is also under construction with a similar completion date. Scot Harger owns both Properties, and Thogerson Designs created the blueprints for the homes.

These twin homes are the second set currently under construction in Montavilla. Many home buyers expect originality in architecture found in Portland’s older neighborhoods. However, reused blueprints are not uncommon in the region. This practice started over a hundred years ago with house kits from Sears Modern Homes. These identical structures are just the modern version of a long-standing tradition, saving costs by reusing construction documents. With these houses spread across the neighborhood, it will be difficult for anyone to notice the replication.

The driveway to this new home slopes down to a tuck-under garage. Inside the garage, to the left, 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 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.

Unlike its duplicate, this home fronts on an unimproved road. It will be interesting to see if the builder creates sidewalks and a partial road around this corner lot. If not, it will be a useful experiment seeing if the difference between paved and unpaved roads will affect the home’s price.


Glisan Chase Bank Closed

The Chase Bank, located at 6615 NE Glisan Street, has closed. Situated inside the Fred Meyer grocery store, this branch was one of the last banks providing teller services to the neighborhood. A US Bank branch also closed on Glisan street last October.

The permanence of the branch closure is not confirmed. However, this location disappeared from the Portland branch locater page on Chase’s website. The Chase logo over the bank entrance is now gone, and the space is empty of all furniture. Last week crews removed the built-in teller windows and countertop.

Currently, Fred Meyer appears to have inventory items stored inside the space on pallets. Both Fred Meyer and Chase declined to respond to inquiries regarding this location. A remodel may be planned, but indications point to Chase Bank removing this branch from the area. Being valuable space near the entrance, Fred Meyer will likely repurpose this room sometime in 2021.

Food Cart Pod Underway

With approved permits expected by the year’s end, Montavilla’s newest food destination could open by Spring. The Yard At Montavilla began development over a year ago. Now, after a long wait for approval, the developers expect to break ground by mid-January.

Located at 8220 NE Davis Street, the future food cart pod is across 82nd Ave from Vestal Elementary. When completed, the site will host 17 food carts. Owners Jeffrey and Kevin Dennis have leased six of those spaces already. One of those signed vendors is Scout Beer, a veteran of beer cart operations. In 2009 Scout started as a cart vendor. A few years ago, Scout Beer opened The Lot @ Scout, a food cart pod on SE Division.

The Dennis brothers faced an unexpected wait as the pandemic slowed the permitting process. The project only recently started to gain momentum. “We just found out last week that our on-site permits were approved and are moving through the pre-issuance department at the city,” explained Jeffrey Dennis. The construction process will be relatively fast. Dennis predicts that the project will take three or four months to complete after work begins.

Montavilla lost a cluster of food carts with the demolition of Beets Auto BodyThe Yard At Montavilla is a welcomed return of food carts for local foodies and the many people working in the area. The Dennis brothers share that enthusiasm. “We’re very excited to be bringing this to the Montavilla neighborhood, providing a space for 17 other small businesses to operate and thrive.” Look for work to begin in the new year and watch the business’s website for updates on carts joining the pod.

Division Street Building Rehab

Early Assistance request 20-217421 seeks to revitalize the single-story commercial building at 8827 SE Division Street. The application indicates the building will house two offices. Currently boarded up, the building now has a heavy coating of graffiti.

The 1949 era wood-frame building was purchased in mid-2017 by Jian Zhuang Ma and Ximei Huang. The owners have a history of creating restaurants. However, this looks to be an investment project. It is early in the development process, and uses for the building could change.

The building will be renovated inside and out, with some of the structure demolished. The building’s front will receive new entryways for each of the two office units. Further modernization will come from upgrades to power systems thought the building. Two new restrooms will bring the building’s total to three.

New parking and landscaping will accommodate onsite stormwater management. The project description mentions Public Works Permits (PWP) for both SE 89th Ave and SE Division Street, indicating new sidewalks and curbs could be part of this development. In this area, SE 89th Ave does not currently have sidewalks on the street’s west side.

This site is adjacent to the proposed Kimberly Apartments. If all planned buildings advance to construction, SE 89th Ave will become a more vibrant and urban street. With luck, both projects will move forward in 2021 and enhance this section of SE Division.

NE 80th Curb Ramp Construction

UPDATE – Concrete is poured and finished on two of the three sidewalk ramps being built.

West side of NE 80th, ramp construction and sidewalk repair.

Northwest corner of NE 80th Ave and NE Couch Street.

Original story from December 13th , 2020

Curb ramp construction is underway at the intersection of NE Couch Street on NE 80th Ave. For the better part of a year, painted marks on the street outlined the project’s footprint. Recently crews chipped away sidewalks to set new concrete forms.

The improved sidewalks and curb ramps are overdue to this section of SE 80th Ave. Most sidewalks on this street are from 1915. The roadwork further positions 80th Ave as a future Greenway in Portlands network of bike and pedestrian-friendly streets. However, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is performing these repairs as part of a general modernization effort. At this intersection, “the existing curb ramps [are] reconstructed to meet current ADA standards as part of our ongoing updates to curb ramps across the city,” explained Hannah Schafer, Capital Projects, Assets, and Maintenance Communications Coordinator for PBOT.

PBOT crews will likely need a dry day to pour new ramps and curbs. However, the project should complete in the next few weeks, making this area more useful for all Portlanders traveling along the roadway.

West side of NE 80th, ramp construction and sidewalk repair.

Northwest corner of NE 80th Ave and NE Couch Street.

Cell Tower Upgrade Along I205

Permit application 20-222655 is under review for a wireless tower located at 2248 SE 92nd Ave. The site, situated in the parking lot of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, is adjacent to the I205 Multi-use Path. Work will provide upgraded radio and transmission equipment.

The project will add three antennas and three remote radio units to the tower. One FXFB radio will be decommissioned. Within the ground-level shelter, equipment upgrades will take place inside existing cabinets. Running up the tower, workers will install two new cables with pendants and j-boxes.

Crown Castle maintains this tower and is the applicant on the permit. These upgrades will provide increased service at this point in the cellphone network.