Month: October 2021

Pedestrian Improvements on SE 88th

After six months, crews have returned to SE 88th Ave to complete the curb-ramp installation work. Like a project one block away at Morrison Street, this will construct four new corners on 88th Ave at Alder Street. Workers installed wood forms on the two northern corners and will soon pour new concrete. When completed, crews will next focus on the southern corners at this intersection.

Looking north on SE Alder Street at SE 88th Ave

Original article from April 26th, 2021

A cluster of curb-ramp installations is underway on SE 88th Ave. Crews are reconstructing eight corners along the roadway at the intersections of SE Morrison Street and SE Alder Street. The rebuilt corners feature expanded paved pedestrian waiting areas. Engineers are selectively replacing portions of the connecting sidewalks for better surface alignment. This project is part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) efforts to increase the network of accessible pedestrian infrastructure.

Two of the four completed corners at SE Morrison Street and SE 88th Ave

SE 88th Ave is one of the many paths to the Creative Science School and the Harrison Park School. Routs to public parks and schools top PBOT’s priority list when identifying infrastructure in need of an upgrade. As children return to in-person learning, these improvements will aid in a safe and comfortable commute.

Curb reconstruction markings on SE Alder Street at SE 88th Ave
Curb reconstruction markings on SE Alder Street at SE 88th Ave

Sushi Yummy & Chinese Restaurant

A new Asian eatery has opened up in the former Imperial House Chinese Restaurant building. Located at 1815 SE 82nd AveSushi Yummy & Chinese Restaurant continues a 20-year-long tradition of Chinese cuisine under the iconic Ah Fong Kitchen sign. However, this time the menu includes Japanese dishes.

Hints that this location was changing first operated in a Liquor Licence application from May 2021. Over the last few weeks, workers have moved quickly to update the space and change the signs. The transition from Imperial House to Sushi Yummy & Chinese Restaurant was smooth, with minimal downtime during the transformation. Many things have changed at the restaurant, but others have stayed the same. The last three businesses at this location have maintained the same phone number, and the building’s exterior has remained mostly the same over the years.

The owners have bifurcated the menu into separate sections. Customers dining in will receive a two-sided color card showing the assortment of Nigiri and Rolls available, along with the expected sushi side dishes. Separately, another two-sided menu features Chinese restaurant standards. This combination is less common in Portland, but in Hawaii, diners celebrate the mixture of the two complimentary cooking styles.

Customers can dine-in, order online for pickup, or call 503-774-0061. They are open Wednesday through Monday, 11 AM to 10 PM.

Montavilla Elections Tonight

Tonight, October 11th, the Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) will hold Board member elections. Three new candidates and two returning board members are running unopposed for open seats. Attendees at the online general meeting will receive a link to the ballot at the beginning of the meeting.

First-time candidate, Scott Simpson, is running for Land Use & Transportation Chair. Simpson hopes to make Montavilla a more walkable, bikeable, sustainable, safer, and inclusive place. Both Ben Weakley and Holly Wilkes are running for Member at Large positions. Weakley recently moved to Portland and currently works as a physical therapist. Wilkes is a Principal in the David Douglas School District.

Sarah Hartzel is the acting Treasurer and is seeking election to that position for a two-year term. Hartzel brought her extensive finance and accounting background to the board in May to fill a vacancy. Matt Moore is seeking another term as Outreach & Communications Chair. He intends to continue providing design support to MNA communications and assist in community engagement.

Candidate statements are on the Montavilla Neighborhood Association website. Southeast Uplift will create an online ballot and count votes. If possible, election results will be available by the 7:30 PM Board meeting. The upcoming General Meeting and the election is on October 11th at 6:30 PM. Details are available on the MNA calendar.


Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the NMA Board

The Barrier to Green Medians

SE Division Street is undergoing significant updates from 80th Ave towards 174th Ave. In addition to numerous safety enhancements, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will replace a continuous painted center turn-lane with a raised center median. Adding these dividers to busy streets provides substantial public benefit. They restrict left turn traffic to predictable places, protect crossing pedestrians, and provide space for added street trees. Perhaps more than the other benefits, community members enthusiastically awaited the expanded green spaces proposed for the center of this project. Unfortunately, PBOT is unable to provide most of the trees intended for SE Division Street.

Adding trees between multiple lanes of opposing traffic has several advantages. Visually it reduces the width of a road and can help reduce speeds by changing the character of a street. Additionally, generations of road designers have valued the sunshade and wind-breaking benefits that median trees provide. Consequential, PBOT staff intended to incorporate large numbers of trees into the Division Street redesign. However, decades of city infrastructure buried underground derailed plans to add them to the center of the road. “We originally planned on adding trees in all of the center medians coming to SE Division. However, during the design phase, we learned that the majority of proposed tree locations would be in conflict with an underground major water transmission line and also sewer infrastructure in certain areas.” Explained John Brady, Communications Director with PBOT.

Image courtesy of PBOT

PBOT will not forgo all center medians trees on SE Division. In total, crews will plant twenty new trees in the middle of the road at locations that do not conflict with underground utility lines. Montavilla will have a small cluster of trees between SE 84th and 85th Avenues. Crews will start construction on that segment of median in the coming weeks.

SE Division looking west towards 82nd Ave

Because PBOT cannot provide the expected number of trees in this project, Brady said they are shifting that portion of the work out to neighboring streets. “Since we are not able to plant as many trees as originally planned on SE Division, we will be working with the City’s Urban Forestry division to fund a planting project on adjacent side streets north and south of SE Division.” That project will add over 200 street trees within the public right-of-way. Tree planting work will occur in 2022 and 2023. Brady concedes that this is a compromise to PBOT’s original vision. “We recognize this won’t have the same effect as adding trees directly on SE Division Street, but it will help with overall air quality, stormwater management, and combating the heat sink in this part of East Portland.”

The twenty new street trees on SE Division will not be alone forever. As properties redevelop along the roadway, the City will require the construction of wider sidewalks with street trees. This approach will take decades to achieve the same green-scape initially imagined for the busy street’s renovation. However, it is the best option available at the moment. Perhaps as City engineers plan new utility line projects, they will consider shifting infrastructure away from the center, allowing for future planting of greenery between the vast expanses of pavement.

Expect Traffic Congestion this Weekend

Starting this Friday at 10 PM, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will close most of I84 between I5 and I205. This closure will extend throughout the weekend, potentially diverting increased traffic through Montavilla as motorists find alternative routes. Residents should plan ahead and allow for extra travel time over the next three days. Additionally, use caution on neighborhood roads as overflow traffic could travel via uncommon routes.

The rare I84 closure is necessary to allow construction cranes to lift the long span of a new bridge into place. After more than a year of construction, the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Congressman Earl Blumenauer Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge is ready for the next phase of installation. Heavy-lift specialists will slowly maneuver the approximately 450,000 lb. and 400-foot-long bridge over Sullivan’s Gulch. Progress of the big lift project will be viewable online via a live web camera.

The closure begins tonight, Friday, October 8th, and continues until 5 AM Monday morning. Road crews will block all westbound I84 traffic starting at I205. In the other direction, crews will barricade I84 eastbound ramps from I5. The eastbound on-ramp from Northeast Grand Avenue is also closed. The on-ramp from Northeast 16th Avenue will periodically reopen to eastbound traffic during the weekend. However, drivers shouldn’t depend on its availability. On-ramps east of, and including Cesar Chavez Boulevard, will remain open.

Despite many public notices regarding the closure, some drivers are likely to be confused, creating traffic congestion around I84. If traveling this weekend, check TripCheck.com or mobile map apps for the latest conditions. Otherwise, this may be an excellent weekend to remain close to home or head out of town early.


I-84 eastbound

All I-84 eastbound lanes will close from I-5 to Cesar Chavez Boulevard, including:

  • The ramps to I-84 from northbound and southbound I-5.
  • The eastbound on-ramp from Northeast Grand Avenue, closing at 5 a.m. Friday.
  • The eastbound on-ramp from Northeast 16th Avenue, will periodically open.

The eastbound on-ramp from Cesar Chavez Boulevard will remain open. On-ramps east of Cesar Chavez Boulevard will also remain open.

I-84 westbound

All I-84 westbound lanes will close at Interstate 205 including:

  • The ramps from northbound and southbound I-205.
  • The on-ramp from Northeast Halsey Street, near 82nd Avenue.
  • The on-ramp from Northeast Glisan Street, near 58th Avenue
  • The on-ramp from Northeast Sandy Boulevard.
  • The on-ramp from Northeast 33rd Avenue.
  • The ramps to northbound and southbound I-5.

PCC’s Draft Twenty Year Facilities Plan

This week, Portland Community College (PCC) released the latest draft of its district-wide Facilities Plan. The proposal covers all four PCC campuses, including the Montavilla location at the northwest corner of SE Division Street and 82nd Avenue. Details are available at the Facilities Planning Online Open House website until October 22nd.

The current Southeast Campus opened 20 years ago in a repurposed grocery store at 2305 SE 82nd Ave. Infrastructure investments over the years have expanded the campus to include new education-focused buildings. However, as the student population increases, there is a need to replace outdated facilities and construct new spaces. PCC leadership believes they can efficiently accommodate the next two decades of growth by developing a comprehensive expansion plan. The second phase of that work is concluding at the end of this year.

Over the last year, PCC representatives collected feedback from students, faculty, staff, and PCC neighbors about the physical environment at each campus. The researchers combined this qualitative input with data on student enrollment, regional demographics, and market trends to create development concepts that accommodate the next 10 to 20 years of college growth.

The Open House presentation outlines five primary developments recommended for the Southeast Campus. PCC intends to add a new wing to Mt.Scott Hall along SE 82nd Ave. The former single-story grocery store building, designated as Mt. Tabor Hall, will be replaced with a more efficient three-story structure featuring a greater connection to public spaces. PCC would build a new gym and childcare facility roughly located on the land currently housing the Community Hall Annex building. This new building will extend the active campus further west. The large parking lot spanning PCC’s portion of SE 77th Ave could become the location for affordable housing.

Additionally, planners are considering an expansion of the campus by acquiring the land currently owned by Bank of the West at 8135 SE Division Street. The bank’s 9,888 square foot property could become the primary entrance to campus, reinforcing PCC’s goal of using campus edges to connect with the community.

The space between buildings received as much attention within the proposal as the structures themselves. Planners prioritized peaceful outdoor areas in the campus core, providing an antidote to the commotion caused by the school’s location at an intersection of two busy streets. The proposal includes safe and interconnecting pathways that traverse flexible-use green spaces while connecting the neighborhood through the campus.

The facilities planning review process is nearing completion. A short survey accompanies the Facilities Planning Online Open House presentation. Neighbors should review draft concepts for each PCC campus and provide comments before the October 22nd deadline. Answers to these last questions will further refine the plan ahead of its completion. The finalized Facilities Plan will be publicly available in December.


Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Southeast Campus opened 40 years ago in its current location. The campus relocated to this space 20 years ago after existing at another site for 20 years before that move.

Large Glisan Property for Sale

The owners of a three warehouse property in Montavilla have listed it for sale. The roughly “T” shaped property has entrances on NE 74th Ave, NE 73rd Ave, and NE Glisan Street. County records show this property last sold to its current owners less than a year ago, in November 2020.

Located at 521 NE 74th Ave, 530 NE 73rd Ave, and 7323 NE Glisan Street, each building has an address on different streets. The 14,622 square feet of warehouse space fills most of the 22,420 square-foot lot. Rose City Mustang leases 9,622 square feet of the northern two buildings. The NE Glisan Street building most recently housed TriTech Bikes and is currently vacant.

521 NE 74th Ave

Groups interested in purchasing this property should contact George Slevin with Kidder Mathews real estate at george.slevin@kidder.com or 503-313-5011

530 NE 73rd Ave

Park Picnic Shelter Demolished

Last week, demolition crews removed the picnic shelter and wading pool at Montavilla Park. Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) decommissioned both structures years ago due to health and safety concerns. This recent work clears the way for constructing a new open-air building of similar size. Construction crews expect to begin that project later this Fall

Funds for removal and reconstruction of the picnic shelter only recently became available, thanks to voters approving Measure 26-213 last November. City staff granted permits for this project in October of 2020, but pandemic-related restraints pushed back the project. Even with new levy funds secured earlier this year, PP&R could not schedule work immediately due to the substantial backlog of other work ahead of this one. However, now that work had begun, the site should transform quickly.

The deconstructed picnic shelter’s “H” configuration will be replaced by an 86-foot by 28-foot reticular covering. The new structure will feature a metal roof and have exposed wood rafters. Open gable ends, and a 23-foot high cathedral ceiling will provide ample natural light into the shelter. A stark contrast to the dark low-slung building now demolished. When completed, the area around the new structure will contain more green space and less pavement.

Plan detail courtesy City of Portland

Expect to see construction crews onsite in the following months building the replacement picnic shelter. If PP&R can keep to their schedule, users of the park will have covered space available during the cold and damp winter season.


Photos in this article by Weston Ruter

Road Safety Enhanced on 82nd and Beyond

Earlier this year, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) approved $3.35 million worth of safety projects along 82nd Ave. While ODOT crews worked on some of those improvements near SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) staff were busy installing new stop signs six blocks away. Both projects are a response to years of automobile collisions and unsafe pedestrian crossings in the area.

Work is complete at the pedestrian island on SE 82nd Ave at SE Hawthorne Blvd. Previously, the half-island created a raised curb in the center lane blocking southbound traffic from colliding with a crossing person paused in the middle lane. ODOT crews have now added a similarly raised concrete pad to protect the pedestrian from northbound vehicles. The expanded center island also blocks left turns by drivers traveling east on SE Hawthorne Blvd. Before traffic engineers updated this intersection, a left-turning car could strike someone on the center island or crossing the northbound lanes of 82nd Ave. A new Right Turn Only sign is posted on the intersection’s southwest corner, alerting drivers to the recently installed obstruction.

New “Right Turn Only” sign at SE Hawthorne Blvd heading east

ODOT crews closed several nearby crosswalks to divert pedestrians crossing 82nd Ave towards the new safer crossing point. A few feet away from the enhanced crosswalk, staff installed an electronic speed sign. ODOT is installing these yellow “your Speed” displays at several spots along 82nd Ave. They are SpeedCheck® brand signs made by Carmanah Technologies. Using radar, they indicate the current speed of the closest vehicle and present a “Slow Down” message for people traveling over the posted speed limit.

SpeedCheck® sign showing true speed to southbound drivers on SE 82nd Ave

Nearby ODOT’s project, PBOT addressed two neighborhood streets that have needed updates for years. Crews installed four new stop signs at the intersections of SE Salmon and SE Taylor Streets along 78th Ave. Previously both intersections were uncontrolled and had no stop signs in any direction. Now divers must stop when heading north-south on SE 78th Ave at SE Salmon Street. Additionally, cars driving east-west on SE Taylor Street will now need to stop at SE 78th Ave.

New eastbound stop sign at SE 78th Ave and SE Taylor Street

One resident explained that they have tried for over 20 years to have these stops signs installed by PBOT. During just the last twelve months, he counted seven accidents occurring in front of his home. One incident destroyed his 100-year-old Walnut Tree. He and his neighbors continuously pushed the issue with Portland City officials. For three months, the group called the City to report their concern. They had almost lost hope. However, their persistence paid off, and they now have the stop signs they have wanted for years.

New northbound stop sign at SE Salmon Street and SE 78th Ave

Collisions and traffic fatalities have significantly increased over the last two years, but Portland has many areas that have seen decades of hazardous conditions. Although slower than many residents would like, transportation officials are now working to address those high-risk areas and make a safer neighborhood for everyone.

New southbound stop sign at SE Salmon Street and SE 78th Ave

Damaged Hydrant Repaired on SE 80th

Shiny new bolts now secure the fire hydrant to its lower standpipe at SE 80th Ave and E Burnside Street. It had been damaged in a vehicle collision a week ago, rendering it inoperable. Residents reported the damage in the early hours of September 24th. Broken parts of the vehicle were still on the road and sidewalk. By noon, City of Portland Water Bureau staff moved the dislodged fire hydrant back to its curbside pad and placed a traffic barricade over the open pipe.

Fortunately, this vehicular collision did not cause a fountain of water. Portland uses dry barrel hydrants designed to separate upon impact without releasing water. The hydrant’s collar will slip off the lower standpipe with lateral pressure, and the internal operating stem features a breakable coupling. That design prevents damage to the water valve that is located underground. 

This fire hydrant is operational again with only minor repairs. Likely, the vehicle that impacted it will require significantly more work.

Post collision damage Friday September 24th, 2021