Washman Remodel Improves Facility and Sidewalks

Washman Car Wash in Montavilla will soon undergo a remodel designed to enhance the neighborhood’s walkability and expand the facility to meet demand. The auto spa company recently submitted a permit application to construct 31 new vacuum stations on the west side of the property. This expansion onto previously unused land allows for the decommissioning of thirteen vacuum units along NE 82nd Avenue, reducing the need for cars to cross the sidewalk for much of the block. Construction crews will also repair the worn sidewalk on NE 81st and 82nd Avenues.

Over the last 20 years, Washman purchased the adjacent lots west of its property at 315 NE 82nd Avenue. The cleared land has served as employee parking and storage in recent years. Now they will construct a new vacuum center on that undeveloped land and shift site operations west, away from the heavy traffic on NE 82nd Avenue and NE Glisan Street. The expanded area will eliminate the current congestion experienced on the property’s eastern edge, solving a long-standing annoyance for pedestrians walking around the business.

Blue lines indicate site for new vacuum stations. Image from Portland Maps

The Washman Car Wash is a busy location located on the corner of two well-traveled roads. Consequently, cars trying to enter or leave the property must do so quickly to match the flow of traffic. Cars tend to ignore the marked curb cuts and drive over the sidewalk to enter the business wherever space is available. Vehicles use alternative entry points so frequently that the sidewalk’s edge has deteriorated along most of the property’s frontage. This behavior creates a dangerous condition where drivers and pedestrians mix in unpredictable places, frustrating both parties. Washman’s location next door to Vestal Elementary School and kitty-corner to the Montavilla Park Community Center further intensifies this problem.

The need to improve the pedestrian realm around the site is a key part of Washman’s goals for this project. Although vehicles will still drive along the 82nd Avenue edge of the building to enter the car wash, removing the vacuums will provide extra space for the cars to queue up. The fence along the eastern property line will extend north, limiting vehicle access to only one curb cut on NE 82nd Avenue. Further adjustments will impose a right-turn-only limit on cars exiting onto NE Glisan Street. David Tarlow, Chief Financial Officer of Washman, explained that these changes should improve the conditions around this location, focusing on student wellbeing. “We believe this will result in less traffic near the school than there is now, and the SE 82nd sidewalk that borders our site will be less congested and safer with the removal of the vacuums.”

The permit calls for clearing some trees on the property near where crews will install the vacuum units. The project includes landscaping along the property’s west edge and paving the gravel areas. Permits for large commercial projects can take six to eighteen months for City staff to approve. Expect to see construction begin in 2023 unless there are unexpected delays. When this work is complete, the site should be safer for pedestrians and more convenient for customers to navigate.

Gravel employee parking lot to be paved and used for vacuum stations