Month: May 2021

Automotive Shop Expansion on 80th

Arthur’s Automotive & Upholstery is expanding their shop located at 104 NE 80th Ave. After eight years in this location, they have outgrown the existing space and must increase the building’s capacity or risk turning customers away. The new all-metal structure will double their available workspace, giving them room to grow.

Permit application 21-037713 seeks to add 3120 Square feet of floor space to the existing shop’s 2980 Square feet. The new building will sit just north of the original shop, abutting to the current structure. A roll-up door leading onto NE 80th Ave aligns with an existing driveway, currently providing access to the storage yard. The new building is 40 feet wide and 78 feet long and will occupy a large portion of the unbuilt property. The new shop space extends east past the existing buildings, allowing for two more roll-up doors on the building’s eastern half. Those doors face south onto a gated yard.

This project will allow a growing business to remain in the neighborhood and continue to serve the community. Staying in Montavilla while expanding their business is appreciated by owners Veille and Nicole Arthur. “We are so grateful to have received so many referrals from all the neighbors. They really have made us feel welcome here all this time.”

This new expansion follows a recent repainting of the building and other property enhancements. Look for construction at the site later this year and reach out to the shop at (503) 760 6466 or ArthursAutomotive@yahoo.com if you are interested in having them work on your vehicle.

New Life for a Classic Glisan Storefront

Hinterland Coffee Company is buying the building currently housing the business. Three months ago, owner Trinia Jean opened the storefront in a 1914 era building at 7112 NE Glisan Street. During the initial buildout process, it became apparent that future growth would require a substantial renovation. That level of investment is impractical as a renter. Purchasing the building became the only way forward to expand Hinterland’s business and realize the building’s potential.

The current property owner is interested in selling to Trinia Jean, and a downpayment is all that is needed to move forward. Having just opened the store and already investing in repairs to the building, Jean launched a Kickstarter campaign to gather the necessary funds. The $60,000 goal will cover most of the downpayment and allow the business to further transform the space into a “comfortable, inviting place for good folx to gather.”

With just over ten days to go in the campaign, Hinterland made the original goal and is now collecting additional funds. New rewards are available for backers, and the extra money could accelerate plans for the building. Jean is happy with the funding model she chose because people are receiving something for their support. Although it is possible to donate money to the cause, most backers are stocking up on coffee beans and unique apparel through backer rewards.

With the sale not yet complete, buildout plans are still in the pre-planning stage. Trinia Jean did not let herself look too far ahead as owning the building was still just a dream until this weekend. However, there are several next steps for the business. Permits to open the cafe are needed, and outdoor seating behind the shop will enable Hinterland to grow the coffee side of the operation. Coffee bean roasting and drink sales are on the path to take over the business’s income stream. Selling their collection of products that embody Jean’s “weird sense of humor” will always be part of Hinterland’s operation. It just has a narrow audience, according to Jean, “we’re not for everybody, and that’s OK.” In contrast, their coffee has broad appeal and the power to bring people together inside the shop. 

Online retail continues to be the engine of Hinterland’s success. The people who take joy in the company’s creations have expanded thanks to the internet. Now the popularity of the brand has outgrown the capacity of their backroom print shop. In their early years, screen-printing was the main business for Hinterland. They provided commercial printing services for other companies and their selection of clothing. Recently they stopped taking outside work and soon will move all screen printing work to a local company.

While the rough space inside the building worked for screen printing, it will not work well for retail and cafe service. When building ownership is secured, and screen printing relocates, Trinia Jean will transform the whole building into a comfortable retail space. These improvements will take a restorative approach instead of modernization. She respects the 100-year-old building and enjoys its classic characteristics. Work will eventually uncover some of the building’s original architecture and repair it to survive many more years of use.

Sanborn Map 1924

Trinia Jean has received a warm welcome to the neighborhood and general excitement for her efforts. This section of NE Glisan has grown sleepy over the years and has needed a revival. The residents appreciate the recent resurgence of activity. “Everyone is just excited to have some life in a space that didn’t have a lot of life initially,” explained Jean. With the funded Kickstarter campaign, people should start to see further enhancements to these shops and more lively activity around them.


Sebastiano’s in More Places

Sebastiano’s Sicilian Deli is venturing outside the four walls of its storefront at 411 SE 81st Ave. Starting this Friday night, the restaurant will open Aperitivo Sebastiano within a food cart located in the back parking lot behind the shop. This endeavor joins Sebastiano’s inaugural participation in the Montavilla Farmers Market last Sunday. Both new locations feature unique menu items and serve expanded tastes.

Many restaurants use food trucks to spread out to new locations, but co-owners of Sebastiano’s, Elise and Daniel Gold, are taking a different approach. Their food truck is parked behind the original restaurant, enhancing that location instead of transporting the business elsewhere. “Months ago, having no sense on where things would be at with covid, we came up with the idea of a food cart for summer. As a way to continue to grow but do it outside”, explained Daniel Gold. Traditionally, the deli serves the lunchtime crowd. By adding the food truck, customers can now enjoy a pre-dinner appetizer and drink on select nights. In Italy, an aperitivo is a pre-meal drink specifically meant to whet the appetite. This cultural tradition is the concept driving Aperitivo Sebastiano’s menu. Customers can start their night at the cart and then move on to dinner at another Montavilla eatery.

According to Gold, the food truck’s kitchen opens up a host of culinary options for the nighttime menu. “We’re pretty excited to be able to offer more types of food, essentially because now we have a full kitchen. We have fryers, we have a grill, we have four burners, more refrigeration, and the space for a cook to work safely.” The Golds optimized the restaurant’s existing food-prep for a deli operation, making the most out of limited space. Baking and pan-based cooking dominate that workflow as most menu items rely on cured protein ingredients.

Daniel Gold believes that the Italian doughnuts will become a favorite item at the cart, and that is not something that they could have created without the complete kitchen out-back. The food truck’s fryer supports a focus on Sicilian street food, a cuisine that favors fried foods. Beyond sweets, the menu will offer Arancini (stuffed and fried risotto balls), Zeppole, and House-pulled fresh Mozzarella. As the summer progresses, the expanded kitchen will allow for experimentation in the menu. Vegetarian and Vegan options are prime areas that Gold wants to expand on.

Up to this point, Sebastiano’s has offered takeout only, except for reserved group events last summer. Now outdoor seating around the truck lets customers stop in and order food and drinks to enjoy onsite. They will serve wine by the glass, Spritz, Rosato (Italian rose wine), and some nonalcoholic cocktails. The tables will be open during Aperitivo Sebastiano’s hours of 3 PM through 6 PM on Friday and Saturday nights, with post Farmers Market service on Sundays from 2 PM to 5 PM. Customers can also order items to go and bring them over to Threshold Brewing and Montavilla Brew Works seating area.

The collaboration with other Montavilla businesses is core to Sebastiano’s operation. All beer sold there is from local breweries. Sourcing within the neighborhood for foods and beverages is essential to the Golds. That is what brought them to the Montavilla Farmers Market, first as buyers for their seasonal dishes and now as vendors.

Only one weekend in, the farmers market booth has already proven worthwhile for Daniel Gold. “We’re super excited and had an incredible first day at the Montavilla Farmers Market.” Just as with the food truck, some menu items are locations specific. Sebastiano’s staff bake Castelvetrano olive focaccia exclusivly for the farmers market. The market menu items feature favorite Sebastiano’s food like orange marmalade, sweet and savory brioche rolls, and a “tremendous amount” of Sicilian cookies. The Golds sold out within an hour and a half of opening at the market. They are going to double their efforts for next Sunday.

Elise and Daniel Gold

The farmers market project is pure fun for Golds. “It’s really a lovely end of our week to be outside and to be with our community and seeing a bunch of people that we now know,” said Daniel Gold. Sebastiano’s will keep a booth at the market at least through October. That coincides with the end of their food truck lease. At that point, they will reassess and see if customers enjoyed the expanded options.

The Golds started Sebastiano’s at the beginning of the pandemic. That challenge forced the couple to adjust their plans and create new ways of engaging customers. This summer, the Golds and their staff continue to push forward, with new ways to serve residents who are venturing out after an extended stay at home. Stop by behind the shop any post-work-week night for a pre-dinner visit, have lunch at the original shop on Thursday-Saturday, or wave hello at the farmers market. They would love to see you at any of their many places.

Amanda Morales at the Aperitivo Sebastiano window

Images courtesy of Sebastiano’s Sicilian Deli

UPDATED May 10th 2021 – adjusted hours listed in article to reflect a change and corrected spelling of menu item.

OnPoint Branch Opens

Last week, the OnPoint 67th & Glisan Branch opened inside the Fred Meyer Grocery store located at 6615 NE Glisan Street. Credit union staff are meeting with walk-in customers six days a week in the newly renovated bank branch, and a new OnPoint branded 24-hour ATM is active next to the grocery store’s south entrance.

OnPoint Community Credit Union is in the midst of the largest expansion in company history, opening twenty new branches located within Fred Meyer stores across Oregon and Southwest Washington. This location previously functioned as a Chase Bank location until late last year, and its departure limited local banking options. This new branch will likely entice residents to create new accounts with OnPoint as few other financial institutions are investing in neighborhood banking.

The location is open 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday through Friday and 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Saturdays.

Outside signage and OnPoint ATM

Fire Station 19 Saved in New Budget Proposal

Last December, Mayor Ted Wheeler instructed bureau directors to reduce budgets by five percent for the upcoming fiscal year to address a pending citywide deficit. The resulting budget proposal from Portland Fire & Rescue removed services that would impact Fire Station staffing and services. However, the Mayor’s proposed budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year now restores funding cuts that would have reduced service at Montavilla’s Fire Station 19.

The previously proposed service reduction in the 2021-2022 budget would have eliminated four Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV). Portland Fire & Rescue added the RRV units to some fire stations several years ago to reduce response time and lessen the need to send out four-person fire engine crews to none-fire emergencies. An RRV is an SUV-style truck containing a two-person team. They dispatch quickly to incidents and often resolve calls without the need for additional firefighting equipment. The program has reduced response time and lowered the operational costs for Portland Fire & Rescue.

Thursday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler unveiled his proposed funding plan for the next fiscal year. In the Portland Fire & Rescue budget’s summary, staff acknowledges the need to maintain emergency response service levels. “Funding is… restored for the Rapid Response Vehicle program, totaling $2,752,318 in ongoing General Fund resources. These resources will help ensure the stable provision of frontline Fire Bureau services – ensuring quick response times to fires and medical calls for service.”

Portland Fire & Rescue received substantial community support during the budget negotiation process. Although some cuts will occur in the bureau’s budget, none will reduce emergency responder staff. Some administrative positions, many of them currently vacant, are being eliminated. Some reductions are unavoidable as shortfalls in revenue over the previous year require a cutback in City spending. However, the Fire Bureau is receiving the financial support they need to continue their life-saving work.

The City Council will hold a public hearing on Wednesday from 6 PM to 8 PM and then have a final vote on the budget in June.