Month: January 2022

SE Mill Street Reconstruction at 76th

Update February 7th 2022 – Crews completed road resurfacing work at SE 76th Avenue and Mill Street.


Update February 1st 2022 – The road resurfacing work has extended across SE 76th Avenue, once again blocking traffic in all directions at the intersection.


Original Article January 31st, 2022

Today, road crews closed SE Mill Street at 76th Avenue to rebuild two small sections of the street. During the demolition work, signs detoured traffic in all directions around the blocked intersection. Workers reopened SE 76th Avenue to vehicles during the evening commute. However, Mill Street remains closed.

SE Mill Street looking north along SE 76th Avenue

Last year, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) constructed four curb ramps and rebuilt sidewalks at this location. This current work on Mill Street will repair the road surface, making it even and smooth for those on SE 76th using the pedestrian crossing. Expect several more days of repair work and the occasional disruption to traffic.

SE Mill Street Looking west from SE 76th Avenue

Thai street food pop-up Wednesday

Next Wednesday, Threshold Brewing & Blending will host a special one-night Thai street food pop-up event. The renowned traveling chef, Dream Kasestatad, will serve his creations from the taproom at 403 SE 79th Avenue on February 2nd from 4 PM until supplies run out. Kasestatad’s Pranom Pop-Up then moves over to Ruse Brewing on February 3rd and 4th before continuing its nationwide journey.

Kasestatad is an actor and director who recently created an autobiographically inspired pilot episode of The Noodle Man, available on Amazon Prime Video. As depicted in the screen version of his life, Kasestatad used his cooking pedigree to bridge the financial gap between acting work. What began as a side-hustle soon became recognized as the skillful work of a culinary artist. His traveling pop-up business continues four generations of family tradition sharing their Thai food with the community.

Meat and vegan option are available at Pranom Pop-Up. Threshold will also offer plenty of beverage options to pair with the meal. This special event will likely sell out early, so mark your calendars and swing by early.


Images courtesy Pranom Pop-Up

82nd Ave Jade District Property for Sale

Yesterday, a real estate listing for 2240 SE 82nd Avenue and 2320 SE 82nd Avenue joined two other on the market by the same seller. With this latest addition, Guild Investment Properties now has the entirety of the company’s stake in Montavilla available for purchase. The businesses at the location, Distinctive Sound and Mixteca Mexican Restaurant, should not be affected by the sale.

Located across 82nd Avenue from the Portland Community College, the property listing contains two adjoining parcels totaling 26,240 square feet with 232 feet of frontage on 82nd. The Flex at 2110 SE 82nd Avenue and the Pacific Plaza at SE 82nd and Division completed construction on this block within the last few years. Although both new buildings remain unoccupied, planners expect this section of the Jade District to grow in the next decade.

DJ Guild of Guild Investment Properties explained that these Montavilla properties, and others he is selling in Portland, have long-term tenants. The soonest lease expiration is two years away, making these properties suitable for investments holdings, opposed to rapid redevelopment. However, since most are zoned Commercial/Mixed Use 2 (CM2), Guild said they offer “outstanding density” opportunities if the new owner is interested in maximizing the property’s potential.

CM2 zones allow a wide range of commercial and residential uses. Development is intended to be pedestrian‐oriented, with a strong relationship between buildings and sidewalks. Structures in this zone will generally be up to four stories tall. However, the city allows larger projects with height and floor area ratio (FAR) bonuses. Guild noted that one of the 82nd Avenue lots for sale could hold up to 100 apartment units if the city granted all land use bonuses.

Selling these properties ends a decades-long investment in the area by DJ Guild. He began his tenure on 82nd Avenue in 1996, opening his automotive sales business in a former VW dealership at 333 SE 82nd Avenue. Guild first leased the location but later bought the property in 2008, marking a career shift from auto sales to real estate holdings. He focused on maintaining accessible rents for small businesses, which he says are underserved by recent construction seen throughout the city. Consequentially, Guild did not redevelop his holdings but instead added value to the existing buildings and kept those shops available to independent business owners.

Soon Guild will expand his operations towards building a new commercial property. He is transforming a 7.28 acre Vancouver Washington parcel into a 54 unit industrial business park. Again, he is focused on the ignored segments of the commercial real estate market, offering smaller and more affordable space than his competitors.

It is uncommon to see this many commercial properties available simultaneously on 82nd Avenue. Even if they all sell within the next few months, changes will take years to manifest at these locations. However, change in ownership brings the potential for new uses and further enhancements to the public space.

Owner Selling Two Large Properties on 82nd

Guild Investment Properties listed two of its Montavilla properties for sale this week. Each lot fronts 82nd Avenue and could support substantial redevelopment. Three businesses maintain leases at the locations and will continue occupancy in the event of a sale.

Rose City Automotive, located at 1033 NE 82nd Avenue and Metro Courts at 1015 NE 82nd Avenue, share a 21,780 square foot lot. This mid-block property includes nearly 200 feet of access to NE 82nd Avenue and is three blocks from a Max station. Initially developed in 1960, the property caters to automotive businesses with a substantial parking lot for each building. The listed price is for this property $2,250,000.

Rose City Automotive located at 1033 NE 82nd Ave

Family Fun RV leases the half-block property at 333 SE 82nd Avenue. This lot spans 28,212 square feet and sits between McDonald’s and St Peter & Paul Episcopal Church. Currently configured for automotive sales, only a small office and maintenance building exists at the location. This property is one block from Montavilla Town and has street frontage on three sides. It is located in a pedestrian district and accessible by many transportation options. Also listed for $2,250,000, this property is ideal for redevelopment.

Family Fun RV at 333 SE 82nd Avenue. Image from Google Maps

Six months ago, a 14,250 square foot parking lot across the street from 333 SE 82nd Avenue sold to B&U Properties for $807,500. By comparison, Guild Investment Properties priced its offerings higher than a market rate for the land. However, as investments, both new listings have active leases and generate income without further development, making the sites more valuable.

Property listings do not guarantee a sale. Owners may attempt to sell an asset to establish an accurate market value for a property and decline offers. Regardless, this is a unique opportunity for a developer to evaluate the potential of two massive properties along 82nd Ave. Redevelopment at either location would significantly impact a transforming portion of Portland and help improve the streetscape. 


Update: Guild Investment Properties listed another two buildings for sale.

Monti’s Cafe Pauses Operation Until March

In a January 19th Instagram post, the owners of Monti’s Cafe announced they would close the cafe until sometime in March. The popular restaurant at 8600 SE Stark Street is struggling to keep adequate staffing levels and needs the time to regroup. The adjoining business, Monticello Antiques, remains open with regular hours.

During the pandemic, the cafe’s customers have witnessed many positive updates to Monti’s Cafe. In April of last year, construction work transformed a three-car parking lot into a fenced courtyard with many outdoor dining amenities. Unlike other temporary structures built throughout Portland, this investment was a permeant commitment to making customers comfortable. However, spending on business upgrades will not solve all COVID-19 related issues.

Monti’s Cafe owner Kelli Vinther explained that they are facing similar employee retention issues seen across the foodservice industry these last few years, along with other market forces brought about by current circumstances. “Like many restaurants in Portland, it’s the same issues. Staff shortage and this ongoing pandemic.” Instead of limping along understaffed, the cafe’s management wants to retool the shop and return with quality food and service in a little over a month. “We need time to put together a good team and make adjustments to our menu,” said Vinther.

Foodservice locations across the country face limited staff, unfilled positions, and increasing ingredient costs. Those constraints are further compounded by lower customer volume, making food preparation challenging to predict. Temporally closing a business reliant on repeat customers can seem drastic, but it is sometimes the best approach to maintaining quality service. Kelli Vinther knows Monti’s Cafe will return stronger in a few months after taking this break.

Pawnshop Closes on 82nd Ave

The pawn shop located at 933 NE 82nd Avenue closed its doors and boarded up the windows this month. The family-owned business has operated the shop along 82nd Avenue since buying the property in 1996. Before that, it was the motorcycle destination of the area.

Developers constructed the single-story storefront in 1961 for a Matchless Motorcycle dealership. During the next four decades, the location represented the great expansion of American motorcycle culture in the area. Matchless’s parent company, Associated Motor Cycles (AMC), filed for bankruptcy in 1966, and sometime after that, the business changed to Portland Motorcycles. Often featured in Cycle World magazine, the November 1977 issue described Portland Motorcycles as having an impressive selection of parts.

Matchless Motor Cycles dealership ad 1961, featuring a signpost from Portland Oregon.

“Portland Motorcycles has a parts inventory that dates back to 1968-’69. They service Moto Guzzi as well as Ducati and Suzuki. Mr. Hillis, owner of the shop, says the parts department is in 90 percent good shape 95 percent of the time and that the company has the largest parts inventory on the West Coast.”

In the 1980s, the location became better known as Portland Kawasaki and continued operation into the 1990s. The future use of the property is uncertain. However, the 4,590 square foot corner lot is suitable for mixed-use redevelopment. Look for changes at the property later this year.

2040 Portland Freight Plan

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) staff are in the midst of updating the City’s Freight Master Plan adopted by the Portland City Council in 2006. The 2040 Portland Freight Plan seeks to create a strategic road map for investing in urban freight infrastructure in Portland. This update allows the city to rebalance the commercial demands on the roads with the City’s Vision Zero and environmental goals. PBOT created a survey for Portlanders to help identify intersections, streets, curbs, bridges, ramps, and neighborhoods where people experience urban freight-related safety and mobility concerns.

Montavilla is a neighborhood surrounded and bisected by urban freight movement. The I84 and I205 freeways create its north and east borders, while 82nd Avenue, NE Glisan Street, SE Start/Washington Streets, and SE Division Street all carry substantial commercial traffic through the community. Businesses and residents in the neighborhood can provide unique perspectives to the survey, helping PBOT meet its goal of creating a safe, equitable, efficient, and sustainable urban freight system.

Participating in the PBOT survey is the public’s best opportunity to shape the next 20 years of freight activity in Portland. The results from the PBOT survey, along with extensive reports and analyses, will form the final Plan. Other guidance will come from the 2040Freight Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and multiple supporting documents developed throughout the planning process.


Title image courtesy of PBOT

Redwood’s New Owners

Last week, the founders of Redwood announced the restaurant’s sale to Brenda Dunn and long-time employee Chantel Chinco. Located at 7915 SE Stark Street, this well-reviewed dining destination opened in early 2013 and will continue with new but familiar management. Maintaining Redwood’s quality and dining experience is the core focus as staff train for their new roles during the next few months.

After nine years of growing Redwood into the celebrated business it is today, Susie Blue, Austin Putnam, and Jessie Hawkins believed it was the right time to find a new owner for the restaurant. However, they wanted to sell it to a person who would preserve the same environment and keep Redwood’s culture alive. In the Fall of 2021, the group spoke to their employee, Chantel Chinco, about taking over Redwood. “They approached me probably about mid-September and just let me know kind of where they were at and that they were looking to sell the restaurant,” explained Chinco.

Redwood’s sale to Chinco fit in many ways and was an easy choice for everyone. “I’ve been an employee at Redwood for about five years now, and so I have a really strong relationship with Susie and Jesse,” said Chinco. At the time of sale, Chinco worked in nearly every customer-facing position; server, bartender, and front-of-house manager. Consequently, she has extensive knowledge of the operation and existing customer relationships. Most importantly, the founders trust that Chinco will keep the restaurant on its successful path. 

After 20 years working in the service industry, Chantel Chinco feels owning Redwood is a natural career progression and the best opportunity to participate in a remarkable business. “It’s such an important part of the community and the kind of environment that Susie and Jesse built there you can feel the love in the restaurant, you can taste it in the food. It’s just something special, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Admiring Redwood’s existing culture and cuisine, Chinco and Dunn do not plan on changing much. “We’re going to keep our signature dishes. We’ve been working with Susie one on one to make sure that we can come as close to cooking her food as she does,” commented Chinco. Chef Susie Blue will stay on for a month to help train the kitchen staff. Like many restaurants, Redwood has struggled with staffing over the last two years. Most servers returned after they reopened from the pandemic closure. However, “back house has always been a struggle,” confessed Chinco. That is quickly changing as they train new cooks and expand the kitchen support. “Irene, who is our main prep cook, she does everything for us. She’s been with us for several years, and we just brought her daughter on for some back-of-house support as well. It’s a real family business,” Chinco remarked.

Chinco and Dunn are currently running Redwood with a focused schedule until they have a firm grasp on operations. “At this time, we just want to make sure that we get everybody properly trained for breakfast and lunch before we move on to bigger endeavors,” explained Chinco. “We would love to offer happy hour or dinner again at some point, but we do not want to compromise the quality and integrity that people have come to expect from Redwood by trying to do too many big things right off the bat.”

After staff are trained, and Redwood is back to a full schedule, the new owners will look at augmenting the menu with a few different items. “We want to keep the same Redwood that everybody loves and expects, but also introduce some of our own flavors and ideas,” Chinco explained. The pair hopes to offer a more comprehensive selection of fresh-baked pastries, weekday specials, and some dietary variety. “My partner Brenda is really excited about doing some more vegan and vegetarian options to make the menu a little bit more diverse,” added Chinco.

Changes at Redwood should be unnoticeable to the regulars but look for small additions over the year. Currently, they offer extended Brunch service from 9 AM to 3 PM Wednesday through Sunday with indoor and outdoor seating or takeout.


Disclosure: The author of this article serves on an association board with Chantel Chinco.

Cactus closes on Stark Street, New Business Opening

On December 31st, Cactus Vintage & Consignment staff packed up the shop located at 7910 SE Stark Street. The store opened in this space in February of 2015 as the combined effort of three friends bringing their separate businesses together. At the end of the lease, the last remaining owner opted to end the store’s seven-year span and focus on family and a simplified worklife.

Cactus began when Adrienne Seely of Autopilot Empires Jewelry joined John Healy of Cactus Records and Sonya Petroff of Yours Vintage in a combined store. The partners sold a unique combination of goods from the space and became a frequented shop along Stark Street for three years. John Healy and Adrienne Seely left the business at the end of 2017. Sonya Petroff managed the shop for the remaining four years on her own while maintaining a second job at Trader Joe’s.

The lease on the storefront expired at the end of 2021. Changes in Petroff’s life and general issues over the last few years made continuing to run the store less appealing. “I had quite a load, and with Covid and the rise of crime decided to call it quits. I’m grateful to have reached my goal of paying off my debts and now concentrate on one sustainable job only and raising my nephew,” explained Petroff. 

Although her years of working in the neighborhood are ending, Petroff maintains a fondness for the community. “I love Montavilla and hope to keep some of my connections and, of course, visit as well.” The 900 square foot 1928 storefront will soon become home to another business. Donald Hanna of the Real Estate company Hanna Network represents the building and confirmed that the storefront is unavailable. “We already have a new tenant for it. I can’t reveal yet, but I think the community with be very happy,” said Hanna.

Look for 7910 SE Stark Street to become active as the new shop owners work to create a space fitting for their business.

USPS Collection Boxes Removed

Update – United States Postal Service (USPS) staff will return two recently removed mail collection boxes within the next week. USPS Strategic Communications Specialist, Ernie Swanson, explained that each collection box suffered extensive damage last month. A lack of suitable replacement boxes delayed the reinstallation of each unit. However, postal staff expects to return those locations to service by next week.

Swanson said the unit at 1208 SE 76TH Ave was again vandalized by persons attempting to steal mail from the blue collection box. USPS investigators could not identify the cause of damage to the collection box at 7937 SE Stark Street. Swanson commented that a vehicle likely struck the Stark Street box, but the Postal Service has no details on that incident.

The boxes are still missing from the USPS Locations map but should return when replacement boxes become available again. Keep an eye on the USPS website to see when they return to service. Until then, postal customers can use the two other Montavilla collection boxes at 7100 NE Glisan Street and 9100 SE Stark Street.

Update – January 10th, 2022. USPS crews replaced the boxes at 1208 SE 76TH Ave and 7937 SE Stark Street late last week. The returned units are not yet visible on the USPS Locations map.


Original article published December 31, 2021

As 2021 comes to a close, crews from the United States Postal Service (USPS) removed two of Montavilla’s mail collection boxes. Six months ago, postal staff similarly eliminated a mail-drop site on SE 92nd Avenue. Now only two blue mailboxes serve the neighborhood.

This summer, the number of USPS blue collection boxes in Montavilla dropped from five to four. In July of this year, postal employees removed the collection box at 1231 SE 92nd Ave, leaving a sizable gap in the neighborhood for outbound mail-drop locations. That removal was not the first disappearance of this collection box in 2021. In January, thieves broke into this box to steal mail and rendered it unusable. Crews replaced it a week later.

Removed Collection Box SE 76th and Salmon Dec 31st, 2021.

A few days before the end of the year, USPS staff removed the blue postal collection boxes from 1208 SE 76TH Ave and 7937 SE Stark Street. The unit on SE 76th Avenue in front of the St. Andrews Memory Care facility previously suffered damage due to vandals, being replaced twice in 2020.

USPS blue collection box on the northwest corner of SE 80th and Stark

Unlike the other two sites, the unit on the northwest corner of SE 80th and Stark Street did not suffer from abuse. Removal of that collection box surprised one reader who relied on that location to send outgoing mail and wrote to Montavilla News looking for information. A mail-drop in that general location has served Montavilla’s postal needs for over a century. In 1901, postal workers installed the first locked mailbox to collect outgoing mail on the northeast corner of Base Line Road (now SE Stark) and Hibbard Street (now SE 80th Ave). Since 1891, Montavilla town has had a Post Office, contract post office, or collection box within a few blocks of this corner. Now that this mailbox is gone, people will need to adjust their habits and find a new location.

Removed Collection Box SE 80th and Stark Dec 31st, 2021.

USPS’s collection box directory no longer lists the removed units and only displays two locations in Montavilla, indicating these are long-term changes. The reaming boxes at 7100 NE Glisan Street and 9100 SE Stark Street are further out from the center of Montavilla Town but easily accessible on major roads. Make a note of your new closest mail-drop and plan for a slightly longer journey to send out your letters.

USPS Blue Mailbox Map December 31st, 2021