Month: March 2022

Glisan and 74th Affordable Housing Meeting

We All Rise and Related Northwest invite residents and business owners to a public meeting regarding the Glisan and 74th Affordable Housing project. The in-person and online event will take place on April 14th at 6:30 PM. The developer hopes to attain a building permit by the end of 2022, with construction beginning soon after. The City has a website for those interested in following the project’s progress, and the developer produced a one-page fact sheet that includes information about the upcoming meeting. This public forum is the best opportunity for the community to ask questions and voice opinions about this development.

By early 2023, demolition crews will remove the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) building at 432 NE 74th Ave. Before that time, the current short-term tenants, African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO) and Portland Indigenous Marketplace, must relocate into new facilities. Once crews clear the site, the developer will begin constructing 137 units of affordable housing split between two four-story buildings.

Early rendering of 7450 NE Glisan

Housing at the site will serve families and individuals earning 30% and 60% of Area Median Income (AMI). The site will contain a wide assortment of apartments ranging from studio to four-bedroom units. The smaller structure at the northwest corner of the site offers 41 units of Permanent Supportive Housing reserved for the formerly homeless or people at risk of homelessness. The large “U” shaped building will contain the remaining 96 units intended to serve families. Homes will range in floorspace from 400 square feet to 1,200 square feet, with rents ranging from $507 to $1,616 per month.

Affordable housing is just one part of the support system built into this project. Wrap-around services delivered by Catholic Charities and culturally specific family services through Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) place residents on a path to financial stability and success. Ground floor commercial space on NE Glisan Street will offer a Café with Commercial Kitchen, offering residents culinary and barista training opportunities. Other storefronts in the building support small business incubator spaces.

Glisan and 74th Affordable Housing project’s site plan

The development will provide several community-facing amenities intended to blend the complex into the neighborhood. Developers plan for a Community Garden at the south end of the site, acting as a buffer between the new tall building and the block’s existing single-family homes. The courtyard spaces will include a playground, outdoor grill, picnic seating areas, and a walking path running throughout the property. Onsite parking for residents is included on the main level with access from NE 75th and 74th Avenues, alleviating pressures on local street parking.

Highland Christian Center will host the April public meeting in their Fellowship Hall located at 7600 NE Glisan Street. People planning on attending in person or remotely are encouraged to review the fact sheet before the event. Look for project designs to finalize later this year, with significant construction beginning in 2023.

New Curb Ramps at NE 84th and Pacific

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will install new ADA compliant curb ramps at NE 84th Avenue and Pacific Street. The T intersection lacks updated pedestrian infrastructure, with current street corners in poor condition. Due to the enhanced 82nd Avenue signalized crossing onto NE Pacific Street, the City is prioritizing this roadway as a preferred pedestrian path. These improvements will make it a universally accessible route for people not traveling by car.

Northwest corner at NE 84th Avenue and Pacific Street

This intersection is adjacent to Multnomah University‘s Ambassador Housing and the school’s new soccer field site. Both neighborhood amenities attract considerable foot traffic beyond what is attributed to local residents, making this update of significant use to the community. Although PBOT staff recently painted the pavement detailing the ramp designs, a project like this can take months before work begins. Look for minor pedestrian detours while construction is underway.

South ramp location on NE Pacific Street at 84th Avenue

Mall 205 Sells to Investment Group

Update – Last night, the Willamette Week published an article revealing that Mall 205’s new owners intend to renovate the interior shopping space and asked tenants to move out by the end of the month. Target and Home Depot, having already closed off their stores from the Mall portion of the building, should not suffer any disruption by this change. Many other small tenants are scrambling to find new retail locations, with some moving to Lloyd Center. Renovation plans are not yet known. However, the article references a plan to divide the traditional mall space between two new tenants.


Original article published February 1st, 2022

Last month, Gerrity Group sold Mall 205 at 10100 SE Washington Street to Rhino Investments Group. The Business Tribune reported on the $43.2 million sale, noting the new owners will consider redevelopment opportunities for the property. Target Cooperation maintains its ownership of the attached Target store building and the adjacent parking lot.

This purchase is the buyer’s second commercial property acquisition in Portland. Last summer, Rhino Investments Group bought the shopping complex Powell Villa located at 3510-3544 SE 122nd Avenue. Both retail properties are of a similar age with high occupancy rates. Although somewhat popular during their first few decades, each shopping center has declined due to competition from newer retail destinations.

Mall 205 opened in September 1970 and maintained consistent operation until the turn of the century, when it began losing big-name stores. At that point, the mall refreshed its anchors with Home Depot and Target. In July 2014, Gerrity Group bought the property for $76.5 million. That purchase price included the Plaza 205 development across SE 96th Avenue from Mall 205.

1996 Plan for Mall 205 showing shops at the time

Despite the new high-traffic anchor stores, shops inside the mall struggled to find success, with Bed Bath & Beyond recently closing its doors. Rhino Investments Group’s involvement in Mall 205 could induce the improvements this location has needed for years. The new owners likely plan new developments at the site to increase the property’s value and generate a return on their investment. That work should create a better shopping environment and a more appealing complex.

New Home with ADU on Multnomah

The unique two-household development at 6975 NE Multnomah Street is nearing completion. The new structure replaces a detached garage that previously belonged to 1205 NE 70th Avenue before the developer divided the lot. Listed as a house with an attached Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), it splits 1500 square feet into an east and west half. 

Both units share a front porch, with the main house accessed off a side door to the west. Entering the primary home leads through an “L” shaped kitchen into a living room. A half bathroom sits tight to the shared center wall at the back corner of the main level. Two bedrooms on the second story divide the floor, with the larger one taking up the front. The smaller back bedroom is next to a three-quarters shared bathroom and stacked laundry closet.

The ADU unit on the east side has the living room at the front and a compact kitchen at the back of the home. The half bathroom is positioned in a mirror image to the one on the other side of the dividing wall. On the ADU’s second floor, Two bedrooms take a position at the front and back of the level. A full bathroom and stacked laundry closet occupy the reaming space on the upper floor. The blueprints for the building show both ADU bedroom closets as having 3′ 2″ raised floors. This configuration removes the closets from the floor area calculation and safely places the project’s total habitable space below the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) maximum for this project.

Designers of this home took steps to make the home’s exterior visually interesting. It employs a skillion and lean-to roof with several window projections. The gabled porch roof pushes forward towards the sidewalk slightly, providing depth to the entryway. This design hides the building’s boxy footprint and makes the small two-family home seem larger. Expect to see this property listed for sale within the next few months.

Affordable Housing at PCC SE Campus

At the end of 2021, Portland Community College (PCC) applied to the City of Portland for Early Assistance on a housing project located at 7705 SE Division Street. That process helps developers submit building permit applications that successfully meet City standards. The proposed development would construct approximately 100 affordable apartments within a single four-story building at a maximum height of 45′. Planners expect to provide around 30 surface parking spaces for the residents.

PCC acquired the property from the German American Society in May of 2010. Kaiser Permanente maintained a lease for the one-story building on the site until 2014. Midway through 2015, PCC began the process of demolishing the building and adding vehicle stalls to the existing parking lot. The area currently serves as auxiliary parking for the college and extended green space for the campus.

Image from Google Maps 2014

Last year, PCC staff worked to develop a twenty-year facilities plan for the educational institution’s properties. During that evaluation, PCC determined that portions of the school grounds should support low-income affordable housing. Instead of student-only dormitories, they opted to focus on attainable housing open to the public. From internal surveys of students, PCC staff learned that housing insecurity is a significant concern. They also observed that students often spread their education out over many years with inconsistent enrollment. Consequentially, PCC determined that tying housing programs to school affiliation would not help alleviate the housing insecurities among the student population. Instead, they feel creating more affordable housing inventory would provide better results.

Image from Google Maps 2015

Human Solutions and Bora Architects+Interiors are assisting PCC with early-stage planning. Efforts to design the building will begin next year. However, preliminary work masses the building towards SE Division Street with a green buffer zone along SE 77th Avenue. Designers are considering stepping down the building on SE Sherman Street to help blend in with the residential scale of that street. Apartments should range in size from studio units to three-bedroom family residences.

For the next twelve months, developers will continue to work with the community and design a housing project that serves residents, PCC, and the surrounding community. Final plans should materialize during the Summer of 2023, with construction following in Fall 2023. Interested community members should keep an eye out for future engagement opportunities.


Article cover image from Portland Maps

Harrison Park School Remodel

This week, Portland Public Schools (PPS) released an Invitation to Bid for Harrison Park’s conversion into a Middle School. Staff submitted building Permit applications for updates to the 70-year-old education facility. Work will change interior and exterior elements of the property as it removes features constructed during its elementary school past.

Outside the school building at 2225 SE 87th Avenue, PPS plans to construct a new freestanding trash enclosure and a covered bike parking shelter. Improvements to the front entrance include new landscaping and possible hardscape changes. Other exterior work will replace sidewalks and driveways around the property.

Inside the soon-to-be Middle School, crews will perform minor demolition while remaking the school’s main entry and office area. The updates to the Cafeteria will better accommodate the older student’s needs during their mealtime. Workers will refresh ceilings, flooring, plumbing, and electrical systems throughout the facility. In a separate permit application, PPS proposes to update the school’s heating and AC ventilation systems. Restrooms will become more ADA compliant, and some bathroom facilities will convert to single-user gender-neutral spaces. Crews will create a dance studio by installing a wood floor, sound system, mirrors and replacing the partition system with a permanent wall.

This renovation work accommodates phase 2 of the current Enrollment & Program Balancing efforts within PPS’s southeast schools. In the current plans, Harrison Park will convert from a K-8 school to a middle school, and its Kindergarten through 5th Grade students will move into the Clark campus on SE 92nd Avenue, which currently houses Creative Science School.

Contractors will perform these building upgrades without closing the school for additional days, making for a tight summer construction timeline. School staff prepared a comprehensive list of planned updates occurring during the multi-phase renovation project. Look for exterior work to begin when City staff approve permits and increased activity at the site during the summer months.

La Osita PDX Opening in Taylor Ct Grocery Building

Last Thursday, Elizabeth Guerrero and David Doyle finalized their purchase of the historic Taylor Court Grocery property. The pair own the La Osita PDX food cart located on 122nd Avenue near Market street. After renovating their newly acquired storefront at 1135 SE 80th Avenue, they will sell the cart and relocate their Mexican restaurant and coffee house to the Montavilla location.

La Osita PDX opened in a small food cart in January of 2018 after Guerrero and Doyle noticed a lack of a good breakfast location near their home in east Portland. The partners bought the cart from a friend and found space on 122nd in the parking lot of the Plaza 122 building. Combining a shared food service background and recipes inspired by Elizabeth Guerrero’s Mexican heritage, the partners brought Coffee and their unique brunch/lunch menu to an underserved area.

At first, the parking lot space was ill-equipped for carts, and they had to run their operation from a generator secured in a nearby cage. The location received strong community support, and business picked up throughout the year. However, before making their first anniversary, someone stole the generator and shut down the business. Fortunately, the building owners saw the value in the cart’s continued operation and allowed the installation of a dedicated electrical hookup.

Original cart Image courtesy La Osita PDX 

Business continued to grow, and they eventually upgraded to a larger cart. Unfortunately, the theft of critical equipment continued, prompting the group to consider a more permanent solution and give up the cart life. “Being a cart in Portland is kind of a bummer. You’re really exposed, and people think nothing of just stealing whatever they can off your cart that’s critical to opening up your store each day,” explained David Doyle.

Doyle expressed that remaining in their current community was a primary goal for the move. “A lot of the businesses on [122nd Avenue] come for lunch, and that’s a big part of the business.” However, searching for a suitable small brick-and-mortar location near the cart proved challenging for Guerrero and Doyle. An expanded search surfaced the Taylor Court Grocery, and they instantly saw the potential in the 100-year-old retail space. Although three miles from the original location, they hope customers will follow them to SE 80th Avenue.

In December, Guerrero and Doyle applied for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan and worked through the challenging process of acquiring the Montavilla property. The deal includes both the storefront and single-family home on a shared lot. To make the finances work, the new owners will need to rent out the house on the property. They are considering many options, including a childcare facility.

The grocery store building will require substantial renovations to transition into a restaurant. It will start with some sizeable deferred maintenance projects. “The storefront, we just wanna get it stable,” said Doyle. “We don’t know the extent of damage, but it looks like the roof needs a repair or replacement.” Once crews repair the outer shell, work will focus on the inside of the building. Contractors will add a commercial kitchen to the back of the building and an ADA-compliant bathroom. The new owners expect a large number of customers will take their meals to go. Consequentially, they will use a counter-service layout for the restaurant with customer seating upfront.

Guerrero and Doyle plan to refresh the street-facing appearance of the storefront but maintain the historic appearance, including the Taylor Ct Grocery sign. “We love that sign. It almost feels like a shame to cover up the Taylor Court grocery part of it, but we’re thinking we’re going to refinish it,” said Doyle. After repairing and weatherizing the sign, they will repaint it with the restaurant’s name but maintain its original shape.

Image courtesy La Osita PDX 

La Osita PDX offers an extensive menu from the cart, and the team does not feel they are missing many options. However, staff will grow the selection slightly after the move while keeping all of the favorite to-go friendly dishes. Guerrero plans to add Aguas Frescas and horchata to the drink offerings, with traditional Mexican pastries to balance out the savory options. Elizabeth Guerrero and her sister Maria Guerrero run the restaurant, with Maria playing a critical component in kitchen operations. They both are thrilled to move out of the cart and into the larger space. With the number of customers they serve and the size of the menu, space was always the constraining factor for La Osita PDX.

Much like the previous owners of Taylor Court Grocery, Mel Hafsos and Errol Carlson, La Osita PDX is a family business wanting to serve the community. Look for construction to begin within the next few months and check for updates on the company’s Instagram page. Until the restaurant opens later this year, Elizabeth Guerrero and David Doyle encourage you to visit the cart on 122nd Avenue to explore the menu.

SE 82nd and Division Bus Stop Rebuild

Update – Crews have partially completed the bus stop reconstruction on SE Division Street at SE 82nd Avenue. Their progress reveals a design change for this station that will route bike riders behind the bus shelter instead of keeping bikes on the roadway. In this design, pedestrians will need to cross the raised bike lane to enter the bus platform.

Project documents from 2019 indicated that this location would implement a Pedestrian Bypass Station design, but work completed to date suggests workers are creating an Island Station. Consequently, crews are relocating the crosswalk signal currently in the middle of the future bicycle path. Despite this station’s changes, designers have maintained the sidewalk cutout to support replacement street trees near the bank building.

The final design will become apparent within the next few weeks as concrete work completes. As one of the last stations constructed in the Division Transit Project, it signals the imminent arrival of faster bus service. Look for TriMet FX™ (Frequent Express) service to begin in September 2022.


Original article published March 5th, 2022

This week, crews working on the Division Transit Project closed off traffic lanes on 82nd Avenue and SE Division Street as they demolished the intersection’s northwest corner. Workers removed two trees, a Trimet number 2 bus stop, and the drive-through exit driveway at Bank of the West. Soon TriMet will construct a new rapid bus station at this site and plant two new trees behind the bus shelter.

Bank of the West has two entry points to the financial institution’s parking lot, one on SE 82nd Avenue and another on SE Division Street. When the bank reworks their parking lot, drive-through ATM users will turn left, head back into the parking lot, and use either of the two remaining exits. Previously, users of the drive-through ATM could turn right and drive out onto Division through a third exit-only driveway. The longer articulated busses used in the Division Transit Project require more curbside space. Consequently, TriMet shifted the bus platform further west, blocking the drive-through exit path.

TriMet design plan for Division Transit Project. X marks removed trees and O indicates added trees.

This corner has ample sidewalk area, allowing TriMet to use its Pedestrian Bypass Station design. In that platform configuration, people walking past the stop have clear space to travel behind the waiting bus riders at the shelter. Additionally, this design allows bicyclists to ride past a parked bus in a separate lane to the left of the stop.

TriMet Pedestrian Bypass Station design

This latest TriMet work is one of the few reaming reconfigurations needed before the Division Transit Project begins service. Some limited use of the new bus stops will start in April, with full rapid bus service commencing later this year. A temporary number 2 bus stop is located less than 300 feet to the west form the construction site. Use cautions near this intersection and expect some delays over the next month.

Infill House on SE 88th Ave

Framing work is underway on a new single-family residence between SE Stark and Washington streets on SE 88th Avenue. Two years ago, the new owners of 8739 SE Washington Street split the lot and requested permission to demolish the detached single-car garage. With that site preparation completed, crews recently began foundation work for the two-story house.

Located at 555 SE 88th Avenue, the new building features three bedrooms with two and a half bathrooms. Designers placed an efficient kitchen at the front of the house, with a combined living room and dining room occupying the back of the first floor. The architect centered a guest half-bath on the main level and placed the attached single-car garage to the south of the living space. A small covered back patio behind the garage allows for some outdoor seating.

On the home’s second floor, an Owner’s Suite spans the back third of the level. It has a vaulted ceiling, walk-in closet, dual vanity, and separate toilet room. Two standard bedrooms split the front of the house with a laundry room and full bathroom, filling the remainder of the second-story.

The square footprint of this infill home should look natural when complete. It reuses the existing driveway that once served the detached garage, and the house faces a different street than the original 1947 era building on the lot. Those design choices should blend the structure into the neighborhood’s esthetic without appearing cluttered. Look for construction to continue through summer with an eventual real estate listing sometime this year.

Federal Funds to Support SE Stark-Washington Improvements

Portland City Council voted Wednesday to accept approximately $17 million in federal grants distributed by Metro through the Regional Flexible Funding Allocation program. One of the four new capital projects funded will impact Montavilla on the SE Stark Washington couplet. Portland will spend $11.4 million on the project, improving road conditions for all modes of travel between SE 92nd and 109th avenues.

The road work spans a busy section of the paired streets that crossover I205 and connects Montavilla to the Gateway Regional Center. Some of the planned improvements include new transit islands and bus lanes, protected bike lanes, improved pedestrian crossings at existing signals, a new pedestrian crossing at SE 105th Avenue, new ADA curb ramps, and street lighting. Work will also resurface or repair pavement. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) believes this work will counter the historic auto-oriented street design at this location and reduce crashes in the area. Montavilla will receive only a tiny portion of the total improvements planned. However, the project will improve conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation users traveling the neighborhood. 

SE Washington Street at I205 south on-ramp

PBOT has not yet created the final plans for this project. However, the proposal contains several illustrations demonstrating a rough outline of possible changes. During the project’s design phase, City engineers will likely need to adjust the placement and scale of these improvements. However, staff based the budget on including these features in the approximate locations indicated in the documents submitted to City Council.

PBOT illustrated view of street improvements

When completed, residents will see SE Stark street gaining protected bike lanes continuing west across the I205 overpass and ending at SE 92nd Avenue. Bike lane crossings and crosswalks will receive fresh high-visibility paint. Curbside parking will move further out into the street, allowing bikes to travel against the road’s edge behind a wide buffer of parked cars. Consequentially, the number 15 TriMet bus stop in front of Motel 6 will move onto a new transit island in line with the parked cars. This stop currently has a temporary bus platform that PBOT installed during the pandemic. Unlike the current design, the new island will allow bicycles to pass behind the bus stop and away from traffic.

Motel 6 number 15 bus stop and temporary platform

On Montavilla’s section of SE Washington Street, most work will focus on pavement repairs and some lane reconfiguration. PBOT intends to add a dedicated right turn lane for people merging onto I205 south. Crews will reconstruct and enlarge the corner adjacent to the turn lane to support pedestrians and bicycles. The new bike lane on SE Washington Street will place riders onto the sidewalk to cross at a more visible location.

Workers will install new bike signals with dedicated signage and upgrade the existing pedestrian signals. Drivers turning onto I205’s south on-ramp will have a new turn-only light with a “NO TURN ON RED” sign. Signalized intersections will receive new Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) equipment to manage traffic flow intelligently throughout the day.

Road improvements like this can take years to materialize after funding. Portland prioritized this project in the Growing Transit Communities Plan, adopted in 2017. Design work and property owner engagements will come in the next year. However, securing $5,332,000 in grant money for this work should move this project forward at an increased pace. Look for updates on the project in the coming year.

SE Stark Street showing current bike lane moving to the curbside