Month: December 2021

Futura Coffee Roasters Opening on NE Glisan

Update – January 30th 2022: Futura Coffee Roasters officially opened this weekend. The cafe hours are 7 AM to 5 PM weekdays, with weekend service from 8 AM to to 1 PM.


Next month, Futura Coffee Roasters will open at 7201 NE Glisan Street in the former Fillmore space. The creators of this new coffee producer and cafe believe sustainability is the future for the industry and have woven that value into every aspect of their business.

Futura Coffee Roasters is the vision of CJ Speelman and a group of coffee professionals who share a common perspective. For ten years, Speelman honed his skills in the industry, first working at the counter as a Barista and eventually creating the roasting company Tanager Coffee Roasters. Speelman owns The Arbor Lodge coffee shop in North Portland, making this NE Glisan location his second store. His partners in this new venture bring many years of retail coffee experience and respect for the art and delicate science of good coffee.

The group behind the cafe feels that flavor and brewing are only part of a perfect cup of coffee. Speelman explains that a simple morning ritual like drinking coffee can impact the environment. “As a company, Futura Coffee Roasters see regenerative agriculture, the rehabilitation of soil and increasing of biodiversity among many things, as one of the key forces in combating climate change.” The company is committed to building relationships with farmers and sourcing coffee as ethically and sustainably as possible. Additionally, food items on the menu include a mix of locally sourced pastries and bagels.

Since August, crews have reworked the corner coffee shop into a new space. The team took the same approach to the renovation as they have with their menu, making for a slightly prolonged process. “We took a lot of time making sure that we used as much sustainable materials as possible, from handmade tiles and eco-friendly wall plaster to fixtures and furniture. Because of these commitments to sustainability alongside the supply chain issues, it has taken a bit longer than we had hoped,” said Speelman.

Although the cafe will no longer resemble Fillmore, Speelman recognizes its role in the community and wants to welcome back those regular customers. “I have been a big fan of Fillmore and the special connection they had with the neighborhood. We hope to capture that same spirit and add our own unique vibe. I am extremely excited to share the space with the neighborhood. It is looking incredible and will look and feel like a whole new space.”

Expect Futura Coffee Roasters to launch midway through January, opening daily from 7 AM to 5 PM. Follow the cafe’s Instagram for updates and to learn more about the treats that will soon become available on NE Glisan.

Food Carts on the Move

Portland’s food carts tend to stay in one place, causing patrons to forget that they have wheels. However, these mobile kitchens can change locations, and at least two local carts are on the move early next year. Although these popular dining destinations are heading out of Montavilla, they are still a short trip away.

In an Oregonian interview released last week, Erica Montgomery revealed that Erica’s Soul Food would be moving from the space next to Henry’s Market at 803 SE 82nd Avenue. “Early next year, Montgomery plans to transport her truck to the courtyard next to Lottie & Zula’s, a New England style sandwich shop in the former Toro Bravo space at 120 N.E. Russell St.” The new location is just under six miles away, near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Erica’s Soul Food will share an outdoor dining space with Lottie & Zula’s at the new site. This move appears to be the next phase of a strengthening relationship between the two ventures. Lottie & Zula’s co-owner frequents Montgomery’s cart, admiring her cooking and work ethic. This year, both restaurants collaborated on a meatloaf sandwich sold as a fundraiser for Equitable Giving Circle. Later, Montgomery used the restaurant’s larger kitchen for a catering event when it exceeded the cart’s capacity. 

Just down 82nd Ave from Erica’s, La Taquiza Vegana is leaving the food cart pod at 8220 NE Davis Street. As one of the original carts from The Yard at Montavilla’s opening this summer, its time in the area was short-lived. Devyn Marie, Co-Owner and Operations Manager for La Taquiza Vegana, explained that they only planned to stay in the old location for five months. “The Yard was always just a temporary spot for us while we waited for our permanent location to be completed.” They are relocating to a new food cart pod at 2216 SE 50th Ave. Although the owners appreciated the community in the neighborhood, Marie said the team wanted to work closer to the city center. “We really enjoyed being a part of the Montavilla neighborhood for the short time we were there. The location is just too far out for us as we like to be more centrally located.”

The loss of these two neighborhood carts will likely disappoint some customers, particularly area vegans. La Taquiza Vegana only serves vegan foods. Erica’s Soul Food offers an extensive vegan menu and standard options. The other vegan food cart located at the Yard, Little Ethiopia Eatery, closed down permanently last October. With these two carts’ departure, there are very few vegan cart options in the area.

The exciting part of food cart culture is the constant change in options. People create new dining experiences, and customers rarely have the chance to become bored with the selections. Although these moves may disrupt some customer behavior, dedicated patrons will seek them out. Look for something new to arrive at the soon-to-be-vacant cart locations and visit some old friends when they settle in their new homes. 

Barrett Hair Design Closes on Glisan

Barrett Hair Design recently closed its location at 6826 NE Glisan Street. Having opened in October 2018, the multi-station salon offered full-service hair styling, cuts, and coloring to residents for several years. The shop shut down after the owner could not secure continued occupancy from the landlord.

Clay Barrett Ahle moved to Portland from California in 1998, working as a Hairstylist at several salons before opening Barrett Hair Design. For Ahle, this most recent experience, and changes in Portland, have dissuaded him from attempting to reopen at a new location in the City. “I will not open another shop in Portland. In fact, I am looking at relocating elsewhere in the United States,” explained Ahle over a text message. He indicated that the local culture and economics have moved in an intolerable direction for his comfort. “This is not my Portland, so I will be leaving. It’s become the California I was trying to escape.”

The storefront is currently vacant, and broom swept. The property is not yet listed for lease but may soon become available. Keep an eye on 6826 NE Glisan Street for new activity from a future tenant.

Utility Pole Severed by Auto Collision

Yesterday, Pacific Power crews closed one lane of traffic as they replaced a damaged utility pole at 232 NE 82nd Avenue. A vehicle collided with the pole in the early morning hours of December 20th, snapping the wooden pole free at the sidewalk and cracking it in half.

Photo by Weston Ruter

Pacific Power received notice of the damage at 6:44 AM. The incident affected electrical service to a single customer, and crews restored service soon after 10:00 AM. An area resident noted on Facebook that a similar incident demolished the same utility pole in 2015. Tom Gauntt, Spokesman at Pacific Power, did not have records extending back to that prior incident but noted that 82nd Avenue utility poles often suffer similar vehicle collisions.

Within 12 hours of its reported damage, crews replaced the utility pole, restoring power to a single city streetlight on the west side of 82nd Avenue. The linemen minimized the disruption to commuters, only closing the outermost northbound lane of 82nd Avenue. Unfortunately, due to its location at the entrance to Wendy’s Restaurant and within inches of the curb, this price of infrastructure may suffer the same collision again. Fortunately, the wood utility pole is relatively easy to replace, and this junction point serves just one customer.


Title photo and other image as noted by Weston Ruter. All others, copyright Montavilla News.

Curb Ramps on SE Mill and 76th

This week, cement masons completed the curb ramp installation project at SE Mill Street and 76th Ave. After providing additional time for the new sidewalks and curbs to cure, crews will remove wood forms and patch asphalt along the road’s edge. Ten months after the first painted street markings appeared at the intersection, the City has fulfilled its promise of bringing accessible crossings to this school zone. 


Article update published on December 5th, 2021

Road crews recently completed the western half of the curb ramp installation project at SE Mill Street and 76th Ave. Workers repositioned stormwater drains away from the crossing paths and poured new concrete corners with ADA-compliant ramps. Now, work continues across the street on the eastern curb ramps at the corners and one mid-block location. Mill Street does not align through the intersection, forcing a ramp’s placement further back from the corner. Expect continued lane closures and daytime congestion on SE 76th Ave over the next several weeks.


Article update published on October 20th, 2021

This week, road crews began the curb ramp installation project at SE Mill Street and 76th Ave. Workers have repositioned stormwater drains away from the new crossing paths. Next, wood forms will reshape these corners ahead of concrete work. This project expanded from its original scope to include all four corners at the intersection. Based on road markings, ramp alignment may shift north and south from some corners to account for Mill Street’s staggered crossing of 76th Ave. Expect occasional lane closures and daytime congestion on SE 76th Ave over the next several weeks.


Original article published on Febuary 25th, 2021

Two new curb ramps are coming to the intersection of SE Mill Street and 76th Ave. The improvements will provide an accessible crossing of SE 76th Ave, near Bridger School’s rear-entrance. Each corner will gain two ramps making crossing points perpendicular to the roads they cross.

No previous ramps exist on these corners. However, there is an older single ramp on the southeast corner. It is not included in this project and will remain unaltered. Mill Street does not align perfectly through the intersection, forcing one ramp’s placement further back from the corner.

The painted street markings, indicating the planned changes, only appeared this week. Actual work often follows months after surveyors mark the street. Expect to see some sidewalk closures and curbside barricades when crews begin the project later this year.

Southwest corner

Northeast corner

Metro Approved New District Map

Metro Council approved a new district map this week with only minor adjustments. Metro reevaluates its district borders every ten years in response to updated national censuses data. The map must maintain a balanced distribution of residents between the six elected Metro Council districts. Although Metro considered some dramatic changes, the approved map largely resembles the district map of the past decade.

For residents of Montavilla, there is no change to Metro Distract representation. Residents of that neighborhood are still served by the vacant seat for District 6. On October 15th, Metro Councilor Bob Stacey stepped down after serving nine years on the council. The Metro Council is in the process of selecting Stacey’s successor. The applicant chosen to serve on the Metro Council will hold the position through January 2nd, 2023. Next year, voters will elect a new Metro District Councilor for the reaming two years of Bob Stacey’s term.

The new district boundaries take effect immediately. Metro is currently accepting applications for the District 6 vacancy. To submit their applications, people interested in the position have until the close of business on January 3rd, 2022.

Pediatric Occupational Therapy on E Burnside

Next February, Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy will open a new outpatient rehabilitation clinic for children at 8028 E Burnside Street. This new pediatric healthcare location is the creation of two experienced occupational therapists, Diedra Pine and Maureen Benedict-Lee. A year after launch, the practice intends to add speech therapy, physical therapy, and mental health services. Currently, crews are making minor alterations to accommodate the mix of open activity space and private session rooms.

Before joining forces, Pine and Benedict-Lee had private practices working out of Groundplay Therapy Works, a pediatric occupational therapy clinic in the Hollywood neighborhood. In that facility, therapists run their own business but collaborate when appropriate and share referrals. However, each practitioner is financially independent, limiting the growth potential within that environment.

At Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy, the staff offers a wide range of youth-focused services. They currently see patients seeking help with motor development, communication, social-emotional learning, and sensory processing skills. Patients include children with autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing difficulties, motor delays, and difficulties with executive functioning. Future services will expand the group’s offerings even further but accommodating that range of services requires a unique location.

Unlike standard medical offices, the rehabilitation clinic needs communal space and private rooms. “We work with children in occupational therapy, which involves swinging and climbing and moving in a big open space,” explained Maureen Benedict-Lee. That requirement had Pine and Benedict-Lee looking at mostly warehouse locations that did not meet the clinic’s needs. When the pair looked at the location on E Burnside, it instantly felt fitting for their needs. “This space is so incredible for our vision… Warehouses aren’t super finished and nice, so this [location is the] perfect combination of a big open warehouse-type space, and then there are back offices,” said Benedict-Lee.

Although the former Transitions Project building mostly fits the clinic’s requirements, some alterations are needed. The front of the building is one continuous space that previously had a demising wall separating the location into two suites. The therapists leased the whole building but will replace the divider to create two activity spaces at the front. They will also construct a waiting area near the parking lot entrance in the back. Benedict-Lee explained that the office doors leading to Burnside Street would remain locked and only serve as emergency exits. Most activity at the site will occur towards the back of the building at the entrance adjacent to the parking lot. Some window-covering improvements will happen, but the clinic needs to maintain patient privacy. “the blinds aren’t sustainable for the work we do, so we’re taking all the blinds off, but we [provide] healthcare for children, so are our plan is to do frosted windows,” explained Benedict-Lee.

Although the open space is best for working with younger kids, they work with all ages, from toddlers to high school-aged children. “My business partner and I both enjoy working with older children,” said Benedict-Lee. “Space for those older kids is something that we wanted to have in the new clinic. Where we were at previously, you would walk into a really big gym space, and the desks are all pretty small, so it wasn’t as inviting if you’re in an older teen or young adult.” The new space on E Burnside has many private rooms for older patients and other treatments.

Over eight years, Pine and Benedict-Lee established relationships with patients and professional institutions. Those connections will follow the pair to this new business. “We definitely have a client base, and we have connections with pediatricians and schools and other providers, so that will continue,” said Benedict-Lee. However, Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy has the capacity for many more clients. Maureen Benedict-Lee lives in the Montavilla neighborhood and likes the idea of supporting the children in the area. “I’m really excited about being a resource here and would love the community to access us and use our services.” She explained that there are not many other clinics offering similar services in this area, and this location worked out perfectly to fill the gap.

The Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy team expects to grow to six occupational therapists, with three speech therapists. They also see a need to add a part-time mental health provider to the staff. That level of expansion will likely occur after their first year in this new location. However, they are building out the facility to meet those growth goals. Benedict-Lee explained that only half the space would open by February 1st due to anticipated construction delays. They hope the remainder of the work will be completed in March but acknowledge that even minor renovation work is experiencing months of delays.

Look for construction activity to increase over the next few months as crews prepare the space for the clinic staff. The building should be fully operational by spring, with plenty of patients and their parents accessing Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy’s resources. Parents interested in knowing more can visit the company website or Facebook page, and staff are reachable by calling 503-502-7515 or sending an email to info@wholecircletherapy.com.

First in Wave of Public Trash Cans

Late last week, Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) installed the first in a wave of many new public trash cans coming to Montavilla. Crews will place cans on public sidewalks near businesses, schools, and intersections. Contracted trash collectors, paid by the City, will empty the new waste receptacles twice a week.

In 2016, the Portland City Council authorized an expansion of the public trash program through a tax on the solid waste commercial tonnage fee. By June 2017, Portland’s Jade District received new waste receptacles as part of a pilot program. In 2020, East Portland neighborhoods began receiving new trash cans. By 2023 the City will have added over 700 new public trash cans throughout Portland.

Located on the southeast corner of SE 80th Avenue and Stark Street, this newest colorful trash can features a bottle and can sidecar. People are encouraged to place recyclable items in the side compartment instead of the trash ports, making it accessible for deposit collectors to recover the discarded drink containers. Waste can placement was partially determined by a survey conducted by BPS in April. In total, the City will add 182 new public trash cans throughout Southeast Portland. Next year, the same process will repeat for Northeast Portland. BPS is currently running a Public Trash Can placement survey for the next round of clan placement. Public comment will remain open through January 2022, with trash can deployment in Spring.

Map courtesy of BPS

Public trash cans will not solve all the City’s litter problems. However, a substantial portion of trash collects near bus stops and other gathering places that may soon have a trash receptacle to discard those items. This rollout is an encouraging move forward in Portland’s effort to provide sanitation services to its residents. Look for more trash cans coming to local streets over the next few months and help shape future placement by participating in the NE Portland Survey.

Expanded Sidewalk by Yard at Montavilla

This week, crews installed the final segments of the fence surrounding the Yard at Montavilla. The food cart pod at 8220 NE Davis Street opened in July but maintained construction fencing around the property until this recent work began. The new barrier opens up two new pedestrian entry points along 82nd Avenue and eventually will accommodate wider paved sidewalks.

The black spear-top metal fence wraps the Yard at Montavilla on NE Davis Street and 82nd Avenue. The new boundary for the food cart pod provides a 15-foot setback from the curb on 82nd Avenue. Next year, the five-foot-wide sidewalk will expand to encompass the area now covered in gravel, creating a vastly larger walkway. “The Sidewalk will continue all the way up to our new fence. So it will be a very wide Pedestrian Zone sidewalk right there,” explained Kevin Dennis, co-owner of the Yard at Montavilla. 

According to Dennis, the 82nd Avenue sidewalk expansion work will start Spring of 2022. Crews will add a new ADA ramp at the corner and paint fresh crosswalk markings as part of the project. Along with other landscaping, the Yard at Montavilla’s owners planted three street trees near the new fence, evenly spaced along the NE 82nd Avenue property line. Together, the expanded walkway and trees create a model sidewalk under the new Civic Corridor guidelines.

In May 2019, the Portland City Council unanimously adopted the 82nd Avenue Plan, creating a Civic Corridor on 82nd Avenue. The document outlines expanded right-of-way dedication and frontage improvements, with sidewalks that range from 12 feet to 15 feet. Pedestrian District’s call for fifteen feet or wider walkways. They must also maintain a clear Pedestrian Through Zone of eight feet. This property is outside the Montavilla Pedestrian District, ending at E Burnside street. Properties on 82nd Avenue outside Pedestrian Districts only need to provide a 12-foot wide sidewalk and a Pedestrian Through Zone of six feet. The additional pavement added to this project beyond the requirements is supportive of the most pedestrian-friendly city designs. It should create a comfortable place for people to gather as they transition into the food cart pod without blocking pedestrians walking through the area.

As the weather warms, look for road crews working on the new larger sidewalk. Until then, the extra space is already accessible, and asphalt paths through the two new gates make it easier to drop in and grab a meal from a Yard at Montavilla cart.

Moto PDX Cafe Opens on Stark

This week, Moto PDX Cafe opened at 8826 SE Stark Street after months of preparation. The cafe celebrities the culture, art, and spectacle of performance motorcycle racing. Inside the bright white storefront, owner Brendan Jones creates a living room atmosphere with a wide variety of seating options conducive to intimate conversations or communal discussions around the cafe’s theme.

At one end of Moto PDX, couches surround a TV playing classic motorcycle races. Performance bikes and attire separate seating and add color to the white interior. Artwork placed on display throughout the cafe highlight artists who use motorcycle racing as their muse. Lining the back wall, coolers featuring beers, wines, and other chilled beverages glow with LED light.

Jones is building out the full menu during the winter but currently offers many variations on the panini sandwich. Staff prepare espresso and other coffee drinks at an art-wrapped counter upfront. Employees at the cafe are motorcycle riders and enthusiasts, making this a destination for riders and race fans to talk about their passion.

This winter, Jones will organically shape the cafe to meet his customer’s expectations. Previously he created The Big Legrowlski in downtown Portland. What started as a growler shop eventually grew into a live music venue, proving to Jones that adapting to customer needs is what makes enduring communal spaces. Using what he learned from The Big Legrowlski, Jones will take time with the early days of Moto PDX and not over program the cafe. Because of that approach, customers should stop in and see what they like and make requests.

With time, Moto PDX Cafe will grow around its customers into a gathering space for the community. They are open 7 AM to 7 PM Monday through Thursday, with extended operating hours of 7 AM to 10 PM on Friday and Saturday. There is parking in a private lot in front of the cafe where it is safe to leave your motorcycle… or car if you have to drive that day.