Month: February 2022

Academy Switches to First-Run Films

Next month, the Academy Theater at 7818 SE Stark Street will switch to showing first-run films after sixteen years as a second-run venue. Consequentially, the owners plan to raise ticket prices. The business partners feel this transition better positions the theater for post-pandemic success and stability.

The transition begins on March 4th with The Batman by Warner Bros. Pictures. On that night, tickets will cost $9 for adults and $6.50 for seniors or children. Food and beverage offerings will remain the same with beer, wine, and pizza from Flying Pie Pizzeria.

Owners Heyward Stewart, Julie Stewart, and Ty Dupuis moved to first-run films in response to market trends. Over the last few years, movies have increasingly transitioned to early in-home distribution, eating up the demand for second-run showings on the big screen. Recently, many studios have agreed to a 45-day theatrical release window for new films as a concession to theater operators. Although shorter than the old 90 windows, it offers movie houses the opportunity to present unique entertainment to patrons and draw people back into communal viewing.

Movie theaters suffered more than most businesses during the pandemic. They faced prolonged shutdowns and did not have alliterative revenue sources to lean on. After reopening, moviegoers were hesitant to return to the theaters while infection rates climbed. New online streaming options allowed people to stay home, further slowing the industry’s recovery. However, signs point to a turnaround industry-wide, with a strong rebound for theaters showing big-budget first-run films. The fate of second-run theaters is unknown, making the Academy’s shift necessary for the theater’s continued operation.

The Academy Theater opened in 1948, serving a welcomed role in the community until closing in the mid-1970s. After its resurrection in 2006, it quickly became an icon of Montavilla. Theaters need visitors, and the owners hope this change will bring people back. Keep an eye on the theater marquee for new first-run titles and consider spending an evening at the Academy. 

Updated Crossings at NE 92nd Pl and Glisan

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) plans to reconstruct two sidewalk corners and add curb ramps on NE Glisan Street at NE 92nd Place. In conjunction with a similar project to the south, this work prioritizes 92nd Place as a multi-modal connector between NE Glisan and E Burnside. Crews will expand the pedestrian zone by constructing a curb extension at the southeast corner and improving stormwater control with new street drain inlets. Across the T intersection, on the north edge of NE Glisan, workers will add two new curb ramps in alignment with the corners on the south side of the street.

NE 92nd Place Crosswalk

Degraded sidewalks along this portion of NE Glisan Street often force pedestrians to cross flooded intersections with substandard ADA ramps. Both corners rebuilt during this project will add new stormwater inlets to NE 92nd Place and install a larger grated drain along NE Glisan’s sidewalk to the east. Last year, crews moved lines and equipment off a utility pole on the southeast corner, placing them onto a new pole installed five feet to the south. Workers will remove the now unused utility pole during construction, making for a clear pedestrian path on the sidewalk.

NE 92nd Place ends at NE Glisan in a T intersection. Consequentially, designers placed curb ramps on the north edge of Glisan mid-block. The TriMet 19 bus line currently stops within a few feet of where PBOT intends to install the new curb ramps. A TriMet spokesperson explained that PBOT staff have not communicated with the transit organization about this project. As of yet, they have no plans to close the stop during construction or relocate the stop outside the crosswalk zone. However, Trimet expects to coordinate with PBOT before construction begins.

North edge of NE Glisan Street

Enhancing pedestrian crossings at this location is essential to making this area more accessible to those not traveling by car. Over a year ago, PBOT released an East Portland Arterial Streets Strategy for NE Glisan Street spanning 82nd to 102nd Avenues. If approved and funded, this plan could add protected bike lanes that would provide a buffer to pedestrians from adjacent traffic. Along with the improvements planned for this intersection, a bike lane buffer will make NE Glisan a more enjoyable place to walk. Look for work on this project to begin sometime later this year.

Curb extension markings at the southeast corner

New Corners at NE 92nd Pl and Burnside

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) plans to reconstruct curb ramps at NE 92nd Place and E Burnside Street. Crews will expand the pedestrian zone by constructing a curb extension at the northeast corner. Across the T intersection, on the south edge of E Burnside, workers will add a new curb ramp in alignment with the eastern crossing.

This sidewalk work will add safety infrastructure for both pedestrians and motorists. East Burnside allows drivers to travel from 82nd Avenue to 99th without stopping. Parked vehicles along E Burnside often obstruct intersection markers, giving the illusion of one continuous thoroughfare. The parking design creates a situation where drivers fail to observe pedestrians and cars attempting to enter the roadway. Curb extensions allow people to wait for a break in traffic beyond the edge of the parking lane and within sight of all vehicle operators. Additionally, the visible sidewalk extending beyond the parked cars will signal drivers that an intersection exists ahead where they may need to yield to others.

Image from the PEDSAFE guide produced for the US Highway Administration

Designers of the curb extension also expanded the stormwater management at the corner, adding a collection grate in two places. After reconstruction is complete, rainwater from NE 92nd Place will have a dedicated collection point separate from the other one along E Burnside Street. This intersection exists at a low point in the road, creating the potential for minor flooding. Many of the improvements in this project should eliminate issues with standing water on the road.

Northwest corner at NE 92nd Pl and Burnside

Expect to see crews working at this intersection in the coming months, with detours for pedestrians expected during construction. After work concludes, residents should see a safer junction with a more comfortable pedestrian crossing point on what has become a well-used street.

Northeast corner at NE 92nd Pl and Burnside

Infill House on Burnside with Hidden Parking

This week, construction crews prepared a new flag lot on E Burnside for a forthcoming single-family residence. Located at a recently created address of 7171 E Burnside Street, the two-story home will feature four bedrooms and a single-car garage. Unlike most infill-homes with the garage door dominating the front of the structure, designers of this house placed the attached garage behind the home.

Plans for the home show a 27-foot wide home extending back 42 feet. The front door sits between a half-bathroom and a ground-floor bedroom at the front of the house. The floor opens up to a living room and dining room from the entryway. The open floor-plan creates a long 33-foot by 16-foot room, ending in a kitchen at the rear of the house. A ductless fireplace with TV hookups above the mantel is at the center of the main floor. A door from the dining room leads to the single-car garage positioned at the northeast corner of the structure and setback nine feet from the northern edge of the home. This recessed placement allows a vehicle to make the 90 degrees turn from the ally into the parking space.

Up a flight of stairs, a ten-foot by ten-foot bedroom and a shared bathroom occupy the front of the second floor. A large family room and another ten-foot by ten-foot bedroom take up the center portion of this level. At the back of the house, a bedroom suite fills the remainder of the floor. Inside that room, a walk-in closet over half the size of the standard bedrooms sits to the right. The 16-foot by 12-foot main bedroom features a tray ceiling with a suspended fan. The ensuite has a shower, spa tub, toilet room, and dual vanity.

The project’s layout and design adhere to contemporary higher-end home construction standards. However, limitations created by the site’s location moved the project towards a classical arrangement. For many years, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has asked developers to place new driveways on side streets, reducing possible collisions on arterial roads like E Burnside. That directive influenced the need for a driveway entrance from NE 72nd Avenue. The Developers took additional space from the original property at 7 NE 72nd Avenue and created an alleyway leading to the rear of the new property.

Portland Maps image of 7171 E Burnside

Before WWII, most homes hid parking behind the house. It was not until the 1950s that most new homes placed the garage prominently at the front of a residence. Over the decades, the width of a house’s garage door signaled the homeowner’s prosperity. That valuation has recently decreased with changing perceptions status symbols.

Although vehicle storage is no longer a key sign of wealth, many new infill homes still offer attached garages, often requiring two-thirds the width of a home. This layout pushes living space to the back of the building, sometimes isolating occupants from the activities in the community. Although this building’s design may not have intently looked to the pre-war designs of American architecture, the benefit of placing the parking at the rear should create a more attractive building and perhaps encourage other builders to reconsider a vehicle’s place in the home.

9 Unit Building Planned for SE Clay

Last April, Provision Investments purchased a 35-foot wide lot located east of 8406 SE Clay Street. The new owner intends to construct a three-story-tall structure containing nine residences. The new multifamily building will feature a communal bike room and internal trash facilities.

The project’s site contains one small shed but is otherwise undeveloped. Permit application 22-110546 did not mention onsite parking. However, at just 3,500 square feet, there is likely insufficient space to support automobile storage and nine residences. A significant number of driveways and poor pavement connotations limit curbside parking in this area. This segment of SE Clay street is an under-improved road with no sidewalks or curbs.

SE Clay Street from 84th Ave

In the last few decades, developers added several new single-family homes along this street without installing sidewalks or curbs in front of their properties. Smaller developments in Portland can pay the Local Transportation Infrastructure Charge (LTIC) instead of building sidewalks. It prevents short segments of unconnected pedestrian paths and focuses developer money towards whole street improvements. In June 2020, Portland City Council expanded LTIC to cover multifamily buildings containing up to four units. This Clay Street project is over the limit and will likely need to create 35 feet of sidewalk and repair the roadway directly in front of the property.

Portland Maps view of lot

Although this development may seem removed from transit options, it is just one block away from bus options on 82nd Avenue and near the bike-friendly SE Mill Street. Residents of these apartments may find the under-built infrastructure challenging. However, the project offers additional housing options that will meet the needs of some Portlanders looking for homes.

PBOT Daylighting Corners on NE Glisan

Early this morning, crews from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) installed new no parking signs near the northeast and southwest corners of NE Glisan Street. The changes are part of a citywide vision clearance program designed to improve safety at uncontrolled intersections on Portland’s crash-prone streets. Bureau staff concentrated on blocks 6800 through 7300, with more work expected further east at a later date.

PBOT graphic showing parking spaces removed

The process of removing obstructions at an intersection is often referred to as “Daylighting.” Vehicles parked on Portland streets can block sightlines, making crossings hazardous. By setting on-street vehicle parking away from corners, cars executing right turns have improved visibility of pedestrians entering the crosswalk. In most cases, PBOT only needs to remove one parking space per block to achieve the required 20-foot setback and attain enhanced sightlines at an intersection.

PBOT staff installing No Parking sign

Although PBOT typically implements vision clearance on streets during paving and capital projects, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty secured funding to accelerate these changes on High Crash Network streets. Many Montavilla streets bear that designation, including 82nd Avenue, E Burnside, SE Division Street, NE Glisan Street, NE Halsey Street, and SE Stark Street. Expect to see similar vision clearance work applied to parking on those streets by the end of June 2022.

The loss of parking may create a hardship for those visiting these areas. However, PBOT is attempting to maximize safety while reserving minimum curbside space. The improved visibility at these corners will save lives and cut down on collisions caused by an obstructed view while making right turns. Expect more No Parking sign installation work over the next few months.

PBOT staff operating vehicle with auger attachment

Arthur’s Automotive Opens Second Location

At the end of 2021, Arthur’s Automotive opened a second Montavilla location at 8804 SE Stark Street. The four-bay repair shop was the former location for J & S Automotive Repair. Now, new paint covers the 1960’s era cinder block building matching the company color scheme. This location is a mile from their original shop at 104 NE 80th Avenue and speaks more to the need for space than a regional expansion.

The shop’s owners submitted plans to expand the repair center on NE 80th Avenue in May of 2021. After eight years in this location, they had outgrown the existing space and needed to increase the building’s capacity or risk turning customers away. The addition would double their available workspace, giving them an extra 3,120 square feet of floor area. After nine months, the permits for the new all-metal structure sit in Under Review status with the city.

The new SE Stark Street location offers Arthur’s Automotive an instant 2,240 square feet of workspace on a highly utilized street. Unlike the somewhat hidden NE 80th building, the new space should generate more exposure for the auto shop. It is unknown if the owners still plan on expanding the original location. This added store did provide the expansion space the business needed. However, if the company continues to grow, it will require more shop space than the two sites offer.

Both locations are open from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM Monday through Friday. To schedule service, contact the NE 80th shop at (503) 760 6466 or the SE Stark location at (503) 517-0950. Alternatively, you can contact them online at the company’s website or by email at ArthursAutomotive@yahoo.com.

BoneJax Furnishings on SE Stark

Next month, Shari and Todd Cerreta will open BoneJax home furnishings and curiosities at 8040 SE Stark Street. The store features used furniture, sculptural lighting, and eventually pieces from local artists. Over the years, the owners transformed their shared hobby into a successful vendor business for furniture stores. Now they are opening a shop dedicated to their home decor curations.

The new shop replaces the former CrossFit Montavilla gym in the historic Montavilla business district. BoneJax’s owners are excited to find ample space available in an area they know well. “Oh my God, we just love that little strip. It’s a neighborhood we’ve been going to for many years, and we just love it. We can’t believe our good luck in actually finding a place on that strip,” said Todd Cerreta. Shari Cerreta believes Montavilla will become a destination for vintage furniture and similar items. In their frequent visits to the area, they’ve observed the growth in thrift stores and antique shops opening along SE Stark Street and feel BoneJax is complementary to that trend. “We appreciate all kinds of furniture, and we just want to be able to bring all of those styles together in a really fun kind of eclectic way,” said Shari Cerreta. Todd Cerreta added that “eventually we’ll probably do a couple of new pieces of furniture here and there, but we just really like older stuff and how it works together.”

The shop will house a wide assortment of furnishings and curiosities for the home, going beyond the fashionable mid-century modern to include contemporary and traditional styles. “We have a lot of neat fun things that we like,” commented Todd Cerreta while exclaiming the value of their eclectic blend of furniture, lighting, and decor. He explained that there are few rules to what they offer other than the item’s quality. “We will have a gorgeous leather Chesterfield, or we’ll have a deco era vanity or something older. Then we’ll have a brand new locally made peace.”

The couple will make minor alterations to the storefront, opting to let their products shape the space. “The way we’re viewing the interior is kind of how we view our business. We like taking things that exist already and kind of emphasizing things about them that we like. Whether it’s the cement floors that we love there and the basic structure, and then we’re just going to add more color,” said Todd Cerreta.

Shari Cerreta expressed how special they feel to open this store after many years in the industry. “We’ve been involved in doing this for a very long time, and so we’re just really excited to be able to figure out a way to do something that we love doing.”

They plan to open in mid-March. Watch the store’s Instagram site for insight into what they will have in stock and for announcements regarding an opening date.

SE 80th Avenue and Mill Street LID

Wednesday, PBOT staff presented to Portland City Council the final SE 80th Ave and Mill Street Local Improvement District (LID) report. All council members hailed the project as an intergovernmental success story that created significant improvements for people using these roads and sidewalks. Below the streets, the project replaced water pipes, enlarged sewer lines, and added stormwater management to the area that lacked modern infrastructure. Council will vote next week to accept LID assessments owed by property owners and authorize deferred payments for some properties.

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty introduced the report as the head of The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), thanking Commissioner Mingus Mapps for his support from the Water Bureau and Bureau of Environmental Services (BES). The project’s inception predates both Commissioner’s time on the Council. However, staff at their bureaus invested years and considerable effort to transform this part of the neighborhood.

City staff first identified the need for road improvements in this area during the mayoral administration of Fred Peterson in the 1950s. Securing funding for these updates took decades to source, partially due to the project’s scope. Construction required cooperation from three city bureaus and funding support from Portland Public Schools. Commissioner Hardesty recognized the substantial contribution of the late Commissioner Nick Fish, who was instrumental in selling the idea of performing all upgrades simultaneously, saving ratepayers the costs incurred by performing each project independently.

The Local Improvement District Administrator with PBOT, Andrew Aebi, explained why the community benefited from this combined infrastructure project. “This really was a triple win not just for PBOT and BES but also for the water Bureau as well. We didn’t have stormwater facilities in this area. We had an undersized sanitary sewer pipe with sewage occasionally backing up into people’s basements, and we also had an undersized galvanized water main in the area that was not big enough or of the proper pipe type.”

The PBOT presentation included a short video outlining the previous conditions of SE 80th and Mill Streets. As the primary path to school, this street failed to provide the access that Portlander’s expect. Families walking to Bridger Elementary often arrived with wet shoes due to vast pools of muddy water flooding the street. The curb-less roads allowed parked cars to occupy the entirety of the street’s edge, forcing pedestrians to mix with traffic. Conditions for residents and students required a solution more significant than anyone property owner could take on alone.

When property owners agree to share infrastructure improvements costs, they can form a Local Improvement District (LID). They are most commonly used to improve unpaved streets but can include a variety of infrastructure enhancements above or below ground. The City manages the design and construction of the project and finances the work for up to 20 years, with the first payment due after the project is complete.

The SE 80th Avene and Mill Street LDI cost Portland $3,811,886. A large portion is paid for by the City, including money from PBOT’s System Development Charge and General Transportation Revenue, with other funding from the Bureau of Environmental Services. Property owners in the LID will pay the remaining $1,385,378.35. PBOT will offer owners of single-family residences a five-year loan, allowing them to pay down their portion of the LID obligation over time.

The SE 80th Ave and Mill Street LID improvements are transformative for the area. A dark and muddy street is now a clean and walkable space where children can commute to school without soaked footwear. Thanks to the improved road surface, bikes will soon use the new 70s Greenway on this section of SE 80th Avenue. Contributions from property owners, three City bureaus, and years of work from City staff has created infrastructure that all of Portland can now enjoy.