Author: Jacob Loeb

My family and I moved to Montavilla in 2005, firmly planting our roots in the neighborhood. Before writing for the Montavilla News, I wrote Apple Computer focused articles for PowerMax and the Mac Store.

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

PDX Cookie Co Embracing the Neighborhood

PDX Cookie Co opened in Montavilla on March 7th of 2020, one week before the pandemic closed the storefront to the public. The confectionary maker is now looking to reimagine the local shopping experience with later hours and a new sit-down experience. After years of depending on website orders, the shop’s owner wants to reconnect with neighborhood customers and complement the activities of other Stark Street businesses.

Starting February 1st, PDX Cookie Co will open indoor seating again at the 7919 SE Stark Street shop. Eva Smith, the owner of PDX Cookie Co, sees this as a new beginning. “Given that we were only really able to ‘open’ for a week, we’re considering this a fresh start.” Indoor seating will consist of bar and booth-style seating, with expanded options becoming available as more people start staying to enjoy their treats at the shop. Smith will expand the in-store offerings with water, milk, and iced coffee options to complement the dessert items. Edible cookie dough served in scoops or cones will return to the menu, and thanks to customer demand, the staff will dish out ice cream treats to customers. “Since this past summer, we’ve always stocked the top 6 Tillamook flavors, so we’ll be able to serve the late-night munchie ice cream cravings. Our cookie ice cream sundaes were a huge hit this past summer, so we’re hoping to see an increase of those in the PM crowd, after a drink from Redwood or a movie at The Academy,” remarked Smith. 

When the new seating area opens, the store hours will shift to an evening schedule. Starting next month, the store will open daily from 4 PM to 10 PM. Smith explained the adjustment would better align with the community. “Changing our hours of operation was something that just seemed to make sense. Montavilla is much more lively in the evenings, and the bulk of our neighbors are bars, diners, theaters, etc.” Although they would not fault anyone for eating their cookies for breakfast, they know dessert is mostly a nighttime dish. Staff observed that the shop is typically quiet from 10 AM to 2 PM, with activity picking up around 3 PM, right as they began cleaning up.

The shift in-store hours will let employees focus on each part of the business separately. Previously, due to limited staff, bakers and online order fulfillment employees would jump to the front counter to assist customers during the day. A situation that “led to a few burned flavors and missed timers.” said Smith. “So we figured it would make more sense to have our online-team work during the day uninterrupted and be able to take up the whole space and then switch full attention to the local crowd in the PM. It’ll give us more opportunity to focus on the local customers since we’re still new to the majority of them.”

Rebalancing the customer base between online and local is happening at a crucial time. Smith credits the strength of the online store with sustaining the company these last few years. “The pandemic was an interesting turn of events as it took our surroundings from a line wrapped around the block on our grand opening to a complete ghost town the following week. Thankfully, a ton of people started ordering cookies online, and the tag #QuarentineCookies became a thing for the year. Our online presence saved us without a doubt.” However, that online intensity has faded and is now further complicated by social media blocks on the company’s accounts. “Unfortunately, Instagram started shadow-banning our account, deleting numerous posts, and threatening to remove our account in the past few months,” said Smith. Being unable to contact anyone at the social media company, the staff can only guess it is related to their joke slogan “come get baked” and “edible cookie dough” product name. Smith thinks they flagged the business’ posts as potentially illegal drug sales. The company never uses THC or CBD ingredients, but the terminology possibly triggered automated keyword filters.

Ultimately, Smith accepts the change and wants to grow the neighborhood shop to its full potential. “It’s been extremely stressful amidst all the other chaos of the year, but it was one of the main factors that spurred us to change the hours of operation. So even though it was frustrating to be punished for something we didn’t do, I think it’ll end up working out for the best.” PDX Cookie Co will rely less on other companies’ platforms and build more direct relationships with customers by creating a weekly email newsletter and strengthening face-to-face interactions.

After nearly two years, PDX Cookie Co is back on track to becoming the dessert destination on SE Stark Street. Smith is excited to develop experiences that bring people into the shop. Soon visitors can participate in a March Madness event to select a new signature flavor or collect free birthday cookies, among other promotions. Eva Smith enjoyed the community support over the last few years and has high expectations for seeing people in the shop again. “I absolutely love being in the Montavilla neighborhood. I’m hoping 2022 can return somewhat to normalcy or whatever that is nowadays.”

Futura Coffee Roasters Opening on NE Glisan

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.