Month: October 2021

Flipside Hats Opens November 1st

Flipside Hats officially reopens in its new location on Monday, November 1st. The apparel maker relocated operations to 7850 SE Stark Street from the 4400 block of SE Belmont Street this month, after an extensive renovation period. Many long nights went into the move, but staff have now settled into their new home and are ready to show off the company’s renowned product lines in the new showroom.

The owners of Flipside Hats bought the Montavilla building at the beginning of 2021. The decision to move to Stark Street stemmed from a desire to embed the business in the neighborhood, explained co-owner of Flipside hats Jacob Wollner. “We are a community business, and Montavilla is our home, our community.” Owning the building means they can safely put down deep roots as they further grow the company.

Until recently, staff would design, manufacture, and distribute the products from a single location. Before moving operations, Flipside Hats partnered with clothing producers to manufacture the company’s designs at different locations. Production remains local, with 90 percent of the product line made within the Portland Metro area. This new location supports the store and showroom upfront, with design, operations, and e-commerce fulfillment occurring in the back portion of the building.

Although not complete, the shop already emotes a mature retail experience. It features ample open space between intricate displays packed full of clothing accessories. Throughout the store, staff insert antique furniture and luggage into the layout, creating an antique aesthetic that softens the edge of the new construction. 

Although built-in 1946, the building received a substantial update this year. Crews completely replaced the storefront that previously served as an office. A modern aluminum and glass wall now extends the width of the building, offering expansive views of Stark Street. The extended height doors and taller windows pour sunlight onto the showroom floor. The natural finish of the reclaimed wood floor bounces that light around the room, creating a muted but rich illumination, even on a cloudy day. The owners removed the flat interior ceiling to reveal the barrel vault roof structure in a bold embrace of the building’s form. The curved wood planks show grey stains from their original use as forms for the building’s concrete walls. The rough finish overhead sets the tone for the function of this space. It is not only a place for retail but where creators design the next season’s products, just beyond the rolling barn door behind the cash wrap.

Flipside Hats’ store serves two roles for the business. It is principally a retail shop ready to provide customers with whatever new product the company offers, but it is also a showroom featuring the complete product line. Flipside Hats and their other brand, Hats for Healing, rotate product lines twice per year—retailers from all over the country stock their store shelves with selections from the Fall-Winter and Spring-Summer collections. This storefront allows buyers to view the company’s offerings in a retail presentation. Due to the variety in styles created here, very few retail chains sell the full assortment of products. This showroom is the one place that has all available items on display. Currently, all but 15 hat lines are out on the sales floor. Wollner expects to have the remaining hats out soon.

Starting Monday, the shop is open to the public from 9 AM to 4 PM weekdays and 11 AM to 6 PM on the Weekends. Staff plan to adjust store hours based on seasonal changes and customer feedback. They are excited to be open in Montavilla and ready to outfit you for the Winter weather or assist with your holiday shopping.

Power Network Upgrades on Stark

Yesterday, DJ’s Electrical employees installed an automatic high-voltage switch on power lines along SE Stark Street. This new equipment allows PGE to manage its power system remotely. As part of this project, workers upsized one utility pole and reworked power lines on SE Stark from 80th Ave to 76th Ave. This work will strengthen the local power supply against the upcoming winter storm season and allow PGE staff to restore power faster in an outage. During construction, traffic cones blocked one lane of traffic on Stark, enabling bucket trucks to work next to the power lines.

Workers replaced power line equipment at several locations in Montavilla town on October 27th. To support new heavy equipment, crews installed a replacement utility pole near the Montavilla Farmers Market. The removed street light pole supported service lines to a local business but otherwise did not connect with the power distribution lines above. In addition to supporting new high-voltage electric switches, the taller and thicker pole is comparable in size to others on the block, adding another support point for the power lines along Stark Street.

Linemen are installing Viper® “recloser” switches along Stark street. These units “detect and interrupt faults in the power line,” explained Jonathan Hutchison, a PGE’s Communications representative. These new network-connected units operate remotely without the need to dispatch technicians to the site when restoring power. Hutchison went on to say that the central management of reclosers is essential to fast power restoration after an incident. “The ability to operate remotely allows for power to be redirected quickly, which reduces the length of outages.”

An employee of DJ’s Electrical working on this project said this team had installed similar equipment at many sites along Stark Street in the past month. As a power line professional, he is impressed with the new technology and its impact on power outage response time. Storm damage can break power lines or cause shorts that trigger an emergency shutoff of large sections in the electrical network. Crews historically had to drive out to the site and manually isolate the damaged area before power could return for most of the affected customers. This remotely controlled system will do the same isolation and re-energization work from the central office, letting linemen focus strictly on repairs.

PGE coverage map

Stark Street represents the north edge of PGE’s power grid in Montavilla, with Pacific Power operating service for the homes and businesses north of that street. Last winter’s ice storm caused prolonged outages in all areas of the city. With the current investment by PGE, they hope to reduce the impact caused by future storms on their customers. If your power outages seem shorter this season, it may be due to work taking place this Fall.

No Parking Zone Removed on Stark

Last weekthe Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) removed the No Parking zone on SE Stark Street across from SE 79th Ave. Crews installed the new signs several days before as part of the City’s effort to improve visibility at intersections. The decision to revert to one-hour parking in this area came about due to staff reevaluating the City’s criteria for visibility at “T” intersections.

Last week’s parking changes were unexpected for several business owners in the area, and the reversal seemed just as sudden. Jacob Wollner of Flipside Hats owns the building directly behind the now removed No Parking zone. He was excited to see pedestrian safety improvements on SE Stark Street but was not convinced that it was effective as implemented. “The signage placement [was] a little strange, centered not directly across on the 79th street right of way but to the west several feet.” Wollner went on to explain that visibility is not the only issue to solve on Stark “I’d say the bigger issue is the speed at which people are driving. So let’s focus on slowing down.”

Empty concrete anchors where the PBOT No Parking sign was previously mounted

Wollner and other people concerned with the No Parking zone’s placement did not have long to wait. PBOT staff quickly reconsidered this and other similar updates, adjusting their guidelines to provide a balanced approach to pedestrian safety. “As we implement our new vision clearance guidance, we have had to make a determination regarding how to treat T intersections. SE 79th/Stark is one such T intersection. While we initially started our effort by clearing the ‘back side’ of all T intersections, we have since fine-tuned our approach, and we now only clear the backsides of T intersections when there are curb ramps serving the crossing at the T intersection,” explained PBOT Communications Coordinator, Hannah Schafer.

For now, the one-hour parking will remain on the south side of Stark Street at 79th. However, Schafer said that that could change when PBOT reworks the Stark Street Crossing in this area.” Currently, there are no curb ramps serving the crossing across Stark at 79th, so per our revised approach, we are no longer clearing parking at the backside of that T until such time as curb ramps are provided in the future.” PBOT has not revealed any plans to install curb ramps here, and any updates are likely years away. For most drivers, this quick change went unnoticed, but it does indicate PBOT’s commitment to pedestrian safety while adapting to community feedback.

Max’s Auto Spa on SE 82nd Ave

In August, Max’s Auto Spa opened at 145 SE 82nd Ave in the former Trendsetters Truck and Auto location. The husband and wife team named the company after their son, intending to build a multigenerational business. They started this venture further south on 82nd Avenue in a shared space. In less than two years, they have managed to grow the operation to the point it needed a larger dedicated location.

At just three years old, Max comes to work with his parents regularly. Sitting at his table, he works on puzzles and greeting guests. For both his parents, creating a family-friendly business is one of the core values of their company. As a mother, co-owner Denise Lazatin wanted to build an inviting business for women with respectful staff who do not pressure or talk down to customers. For her, a key component is creating a clean and safe waiting room where families can stay clear of the vigorous scrubbing happening in the nearby work bays.

In addition to the interior enhancements, the building’s exterior received some attention. The small structure next to Hong Phat now features a white band of paint wrapping the building, contrasting the dark grey body color. Cleaning up the 1950s era building took time for the staff at Max’s Auto Spa, but the work is essential for the type of service they provide. The business owners know from experience the need for good hygiene within the building and inside the cars. Before starting this business, co-owner Curtis Crandall worked for eight years in the medical industry. First as a surgical tech and then with the quality control group in a hospital’s infectious disease department. That experience cleaning medical facilities and hospital equipment prepared Crandall for the deep cleaning service his business now offers. Staff clean all vehicles with hand tools for the best reach. There are no spinning bush tunnels to drive through at this location. Instead, they invest in quality extractors to clean deep into fabrics where mold can grow inside a vehicle.

The building last winter before Trendsetters moved out.

Curtis Crandall is a former member of the US armed forces. That experience created a deep respect for the uniformed members of the community. He knows those professions consume a considerable amount of time, preventing some people from giving their vehicles a deep cleaning. Additionally, he knows public service professions aren’t the highest paying job in our society. For that reason, Max’s Auto Spa offers a 1% discount for each year of service. This discount extends to active or former US armed forces members, police officers, firefighters, and healthcare workers.

Max’s Auto Spa is scheduling appointments now, and customers can reach them at their website or by calling (503) 444-1100. They work Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5:30 PM.

82nd Ave Culinary Event Kicks Off

Around the World in 82 dishes has returned after taking 2020 off. Starting tomorrow, the 82nd Avenue Business District will host a two-week-long celebration of dining diversity with an inclusive event featuring all food-related locations on and around 82nd Avenue. The event runs from October 23rd to November 7th, with an opportunity to win one of several $25 gift certificates by participating in the event’s social media contest.

To enter the contest, shop or eat at restaurants, food carts, and markets around 82nd Avenue during the contest dates. Then post about it on social media with the hashtag #82Dishes, including the location’s name and pictures from your visit. Event staff will select winners at random from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. People without social media access can participate by emailing a picture and location name to 82ndaveba@gmail.com.

The 82nd Avenue Business District extends from the Clackamas County line towards the Portland airport and features cooking styles from all over the planet. This annual event reminds Portlands of the culinary variety available to people along this street and encourages residents to explore the World in their own backyard. A list of eligible locations and other event information is available at the Around the World in 82 dishes website.


Disclosure: The author of this article servers on the 82nd Avenue Business Association board.

Construction Begins at Mt Tabor Park

This week, workers erected a construction fence around half of the Long Block in Mt Tabor Park. Located on SE Lincoln Street, the enclosed space will become a plant storage area. Nearby, crews will construct a new greenhouse along SE 64th Ave. These two small projects are part of a sizeable multi-phase development now underway.

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) staff started this work as part of the Mt Tabor Central Maintenance Yard Project, breaking ground on a decades-long effort to modernize the central maintenance facility at Mt Tabor Park. The facilities improvement project took form in 2014 with a patchwork of funding. However, planning began years before with the Mt Tabor Central Maintenance Yard & Nursery Master Plan, finalized in 2009. Pandemic closures and significant construction cost increases pushed back this project until now.

construction fences around the Long Block on SE Lincoln Street

The Mt Tabor Yard serves as a central dispatch for PP&R maintenance and nursery services across the city. Over 140 maintenance employees work from this location. Most of the project’s construction will occur within the existing yard’s boundaries. However, Phase 1 expands into park space that previously served the public. The Long Block is located from SE 60th to 64th Avenues, between SE Harrison and Lincoln Streets. This 600 foot-long flat grassy field, often a site for group athletic activities, is now half its original length and separated from other park amenities.

The public space lost is relatively minimal compared to the enhancements planned around the worksite. Portlanders will gain increased access to Mt Tabor Park via a new paved multimodal pathway connecting SE Division Street and SE 64th Avenue. The gravel east edge of SE 64th Ave between SE Sherman and SE Lincoln Streets will gain a new curb and sidewalk, fully connecting paved access to the park from Division Street. Around the site, PP&R will plant native landscaping with over 100 new trees. Plans also include a public art installation in partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC).

Work will progress over the next two years, with an expected completion date in the Summer of 2023. Users of this area of Mt Tabor Park should anticipate increased activity and some traffic disruption during the project’s construction. When completed, PP&R will be one step closer to having a modern maintenance facility to serve Portland’s numerous green spaces more efficiently.

PP&R illustration from the Mt Tabor Central Maintenance Yard & Nursery Master Plan

No Parking Zones on SE Stark

Update: Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) removed the No Parking zone on SE Stark Street across from SE 79th Ave. READ MORE

Sunday morning, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) staff converted several one-hour and two-hour street parking spaces into No Parking zones. Crews installed new signs on poles along the south side of Stark Street in two sections. The new car-free curb areas align with 78th Ave and 79th Ave. These changes are part of the City’s effort to improve visibility at intersections.

SE 78th and 79th Avenues do not continue straight across Stark Street. Southbound 79th ends at this intersection and does not return to the city street grid until after SE Division Street. SE 78th Ave continues south beyond Stark Street but shifts 70 feet east. Both T-intersections had previously allowed parking across from the ending street, creating a problematic crossing point for pedestrians. With the south side of the road full of parked vehicles, people crossing southbound at those intersections would have difficulty finding a path to the sidewalk between parked cars. A greater danger occurred when northbound pedestrians would enter traffic lanes from behind parked vehicles a the intersection, surprising motorists driving on Stark.

The expanded curbside visibility will make 78th and 79th more appealing for pedestrians to cross. However, the City does not intend to increase crossing infrastructure at these locations. “There are no plans to install marked crosswalks at this time, but Oregon law states that every intersection is a crosswalk,” said Hannah Schafer, a Communications Coordinator with PBOT.

No Parking zone in front of 7850 SE Stark

Although these changes are positive safety improvements, several businesses now have reduced access to curbside parking near their business. Parking along SE Stark Street can become limited at times, particularly with many spaces used for outdoor dining. Some business owners and customers are likely to be disappointed with these changes. However, according to Schafer, removing parking to improve visibility is a national best practice and needed on a busy commercial street like Stark. “Neighborhood business districts are some of the busiest places for pedestrian activity. People love to walk from shop to shop… We want them to feel safe as they walk or use a mobility device.”

The No Parking zones are already in effect. Expect to see more people crossing Stark at 78th and 79th Avenues as they discover the safety created by removing parked cars from the intersection’s edges.


Portland Maps image showing approximate no parking zones

Developer Selected for NE Glisan Affordable Housing Project

This week, Portland Housing Bureau staff selected the development team for a low-income housing project at NE 74th Ave and Glisan Street. The winning proposal will transform the 1.65-acre property at 432 NE 74th Ave into a pair of multistory apartment buildings. Despite the current tenant’s efforts to secure a place in the new development, City staff did not select a proposal that included that group.

On October 12th, Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) released a progress update for nine Housing Bond funded projects. In 2018 voters approved a 652.8 million affordable housing bond to address the housing crises in the Portland Metro area. The Glisan Street project will receive $19.9 million of that funding, representing one-third of the overall project cost. The housing complex will consist of two buildings, one with 41 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and the other providing 96 units of family housing.

Three experienced low-income housing groups are joining forces to sponsor this development. Related Northwest is the primary sponsor for the project, while the two other groups will provide assistance for residents when construction completes. Catholic Charities will provide case management and services to PSH tenants. Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) will provide resident services at the family housing property.

The PHB project website provides new details regarding attributes planned for the development. Amenities at NE 74th and Glisan include a community room with kitchen, laundry room, playground, picnic area, community garden, bike parking, onsite parking, and a multicultural preschool. The project team is also partnering with Mercy Corps NW to promote small business classes and offer two retail incubator spaces and a café in the ground-floor commercial space. Now that this proposal is secured, project designers will craft the final plans for the site ahead of the building permit submittal.

African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO) currently leases space in the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) studio now owned by Metro. The nonprofit serves East African immigrant and refugee youth. Within a few years, crews will demolish the facility to make way for the 137 new affordable homes coming to this site. AYCO Executive Director Jamal Dar lead an effort to stay at this location, working with REACH Community Development, Sera Architects, Colas Construction, Community Vision, and El Programa Hispano on an alternate plan for the site. In a statement from AYCO, the organizations expressed disappointment in the decision and say they are facing displacement from the community it serves.

AYCO site plan not selected by PHB

In a prepared statement regarding AYCO, Metro representatives expressed appreciation for the early partnership between the two organizations. “They have been a wonderful partner in our early phase community engagement for the new affordable housing to be built on this site, helping us to reach and engage with immigrants, people of color, people with low incomes, and people with limited English proficiency.” However, that early cooperative work and preexisting lease did not guarantee that the AYCO would secure a space in the new project. “Metro has been clear with AYCO, throughout the process of temporary leasing and community engagement, that the project/developer selection process would be a competitive one. We understand they have hoped and worked hard toward being able to build their Dream Center as part of the development of this site. Unfortunately, the proposal they were a part of was not selected.”

The Portland Housing Bureau received five proposals, each comprised of different developers and community support organizations. Jamal Dar and his team have over a year to secure a new home for the nonprofit. Ideally, they will find space in the area, near the community they have served for years. Metro looks forward to possible collaborations with AYCO in the future and will celebrate with them once their Dream Center comes to fruition.

Image courtesy PHB

The subsequent phases of development at the site will center around creating construction plans and securing building permits. Until demolition begins, AYCO will continue to operate out of the old broadcast facility. Changes at the site are over a year away, but the affordable housing these new apartments will provide could not arrive soon enough. Keep an eye on the PHB website for updates on the project and expect the site to house residents by the Summer of 2024.

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.