Apartments Replacing Cinderblock House on SE 80th

The cinderblock home at 235 SE 80th Avenue is boarded up and fenced off, awaiting demolition. After crews remove the 1949-era single-family residence, the new property owners will construct a three-story apartment building. The new structure will support 11 units of housing. Eleay Properties bought the house in 2019 and started the permitting process to build the multifamily development. Tenants, who have occupied the property since its purchase, have moved out ahead of the impending work.

In addition to the new housing, the developer will plant a new street tree and construct a carriage walk – a small cement path in the furnishing zone that bridges the planted gap between the sidewalk and curb, allowing people to exit a vehicle without stepping on the grass. An Early Assistance application for the project scoped 12 units and seven parking spaces. However, the submitted permit application text does not mention parking and proposes one less apartment. Expect to see demolition occur in the early part of the year.


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Free TriMet Rides Feb 4th

In honor of civil rights icon Rosa Parks, TriMet operators will not collect bus fare on February 4th. In 2020, TriMet passed a resolution declaring Parks’ birthday as a day of remembrance across the public transportation system, including MAX, WES, and LIFT systems. Portland Streetcar and C-TRAN service are also offered without cost to riders this Saturday. Fare collection on all public transportation resumes on Sunday, February 5th, at 2 a.m.

Ticket machines will not allow ticket purchases on February 4th, and if you tap your Hop card or ticket that day, you will get a confirmation of valid fare but won’t be charged.

New Corners on NE 74th and Glisan

Update: Crews working with the City of Portland reconstructed a corner at NE 74th Avenue and NE Glisan Street this week. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) plans to improve sidewalk curb ramps on two other corners at this intersection later this month. Developers of new affordable housing in the area will reconstruct the southeast corner of this intersection as part of the redevelopment of that site.

Construction barricades temporarily blocked the main entryway for the Hour Glass Pub at 7401 NE Glisan Street during concrete work on the northeast corner. Electricians installed conduit and mounting posts for new pedestrian crossing signal poles to replace the units currently mounted on a wood utility pole. Crews also installed updated storm drains near the curb ramps on each street’s edge. These wastewater inlets will handle extreme rain events better, keeping the corners clear of standing water.

This work will bring the intersection into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and better manage stormwater that sometimes floods this area of NE Glisan Street. Expect work to continue on the two westward sidewalk corners over the next month.


Article originally published September 25th, 2022

City engineers plan to improve three sidewalk corners at NE 74th Avenue and NE Glisan Street. Construction at the adjacent affordable housing project will reconstruct the fourth corner of this intersection sometime next year. Although curb ramps already exist at this intersection, they no longer conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards and need updating.

The NE Glisan Street crossing at 74th Avenue serves a crucial role in pedestrian and bicycle transit. The next closest controlled intersection is nearly 2,000 feet away in either direction. Only a Rapid Flash Beacon (RFB) at NE 78th Avenue provides any other protected crossing in the immediate area, and vehicles often fail to yield to people using those signals. The recorded audio at that RFB acknowledges this fact in its message. “Please use caution. Vehicles may not stop.” Consequentially, many non-automotive travelers use the 74th Avenue crossing.

Northwest corner of NE 74th Avenue and NE Glisan Street

The curb reconstruction work will relocate some stormwater drains and expand the sidewalk by extending the corner further into the street. However, this will not incorporate the curb extensions that reduce pedestrian crossing distances and place the sidewalk zone at the outer edge of the parking lane, similar to what crews constructed at NE 79th Avenue. Although those infrastructure features would likely make the intersection even safer, extended sidewalks would interfere with a nearby TriMet stop by blocking the bus as it pulls away from the curb.

The sidewalk updates to NE Glisan Street at NE 74th Avenue will increase the utility of this crossing for pedestrians by providing flush curb ramps and reducing the flooding seen at these corners during heavy rain. Look for work to begin in the next few months and anticipate minor detours while crews are on site.

Northeast corner of NE 74th Avenue and NE Glisan Street

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Signaling Updates Begin on 82nd Ave

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) recently installed new speed reader signs on 82nd Avenue near McDaniel High School. These displays provide real-time feedback on how fast motorists travel and alert drivers to “Slow Down” when exceeding the speed limit. In addition to these visible updates, traffic engineers will soon upgrade signal control units at 18 intersections, allowing staff to dynamically adjust red light timing and reduce opportunities for drivers to speed through multiple crossings without stopping.

Most traffic signal equipment on 82nd Avenue is 20 years old and requires manual adjustments to change signal light timing. New traffic signal controllers utilize modern means for managing intersections by interconnecting the equipment with high-speed fiber optic communications. This technology permits PBOT systems to monitor performance remotely in real time and shorten the overall wait time for all people traveling through a crossing. Although vehicles may encounter more stops along 82nd Avenue after these adjustments, it should reduce wait times for pedestrians and cross traffic. Safety enhancements will come from PBOT’s implementation of pedestrian head-start signals at several locations throughout the corridor. That signal timing strategy improves the safety and visibility of pedestrians by giving people a walk signal several seconds before vehicle operators see a green light.

PBOT electrician installing a new traffic signal controller, NE 82nd Avenue. Image courtesy PBOT

These updates are just the beginning of a three-year critical update of 82nd Avenue’s infrastructure. They are part of an agreement reached by State and City officials while coordinating the former State highway’s transfer of ownership from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to PBOT. In Spring, PBOT will continue corridor-wide signal technology upgrades, with pedestrian and bicycle improvements. Plans include improvements to road signage and striping along the corridor. In the Summer, crews will begin construction on six new signalized pedestrian crossings and street lighting improvements along the seven-mile-long road. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will start an 82nd Avenue paving project in the Fall south of the city limits that partially extends into the City of Portland up to SE Faster Road.

PBOT’s Critical Fixes project will continue through 2026 and is the first stage of extensive investments in 82nd Avenue. These upgrades will deliver basic safety and maintenance repairs to the corridor. PBOT, Oregon Metro, and TriMet are developing plans for substantial changes to 82nd Avenue after 2026. Those projects are in the early planning phase but will continue the momentum of safety and shared priority for all modes of transportation along one of Portland’s busiest roadways.


Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the Building a Better 82nd Community Advisory Board and the 82nd Avenue Business Association Board.


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Deconstruction and Development on NE 91st

Exterior work is wrapping up on a pair of connected homes at 380 NE 91st Avenue and 384 NE 91st Avenue. Demolition crews are actively deconstructing the 1925-era single-family residence next door at 400 NE 91st Avenue. The developer of these related projects, FX Homes, will replace that structure with two single-story townhouses.

This multi-residence development sits across the street from Columbia Christian School and is adjacent to the educational institution’s accessory parking lot. Each dwelling under construction shares a fifteen-foot common wall, forming an “H” shaped duplex. The homes are on individual lots and can sell separately. Each 998-square-foot house has a covered front porch. The entryway leads into a living room with a gas fireplace. The “C” shaped kitchen sits behind that, with a dining nook in the portion of the home that pushes towards the neighboring connected house. A hallway leads past a pantry and laundry closet to the back of the home. The middle of the building has a ten-by-eleven-foot bedroom and a full bathroom. At the back of the houses, designers created the “Owners Suite” with an attached 3/4 bathroom.

380 NE 91st Ave and 384 NE 91st Ave nearing completion

Interior work on the buildings under construction should conclude in the next few months, with the homes hitting the market sometime this year. After workers remove the nearly 100-year-old house, crews will begin working on the next townhouses. When completed, four new residences will have replaced a single-family dwelling while blending into the scale of the neighborhood.

Original house at 400 NE 91st Ave mid-deconstruction

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Large Mixed-use Development on NE 102nd

Update (January 27th, 2023): In January, crews began clearing the overgrown fields of a new housing development at 811 NE 102nd Avenue. Wood chippers mulched felled trees while fence repair staff replaced broken barriers around the construction site. Recently, demolition crews removed an old dental clinic at 887 NE 102nd Avenue, the last remaining structure on the vast property.

The site will support a 200-unit mixed-use development. Six buildings along NE 102nd and NE Pacific Avenues will contain approximately 10,549 square feet of commercial space and 11,280 square feet of residential amenity area on the ground floors. Residential units are planned on the two floors above. The developer intends to include twelve multi-dwelling residential structures inside the housing complex accessed through a private road. Those buildings will provide one to three-bedroom units. All buildings will be three stories tall. The facility will provide 145 surface parking spaces in the site’s interior.


Original article published August 2nd, 2022

Tomorrow, Portland’s Bureau of Development Services (BDS) will conduct a Pre-Application Conference to discuss a mixed-use development at 811 NE 102nd Avenue. The developer’s proposal includes 199 housing units and approximately 22,000 square feet of ground floor commercial and residential amenity space. The eighteen proposed buildings at the site are up to three stores tall and offer a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom units. 

The development’s commercial spaces are concentrated along NE 102nd Avenue, wrapping around the corner of NE Pacific Street. Developers will locate residential amenity space along the remaining street frontage of NE Pacific Street. Perpendicular parking spaces line the private streets throughout the complex, hidden behind the mixed-use buildings along the property’s edge. 

Residents will access parking from NE 102nd Avenue. However, the project has a 32-foot-wide dedication on the property’s southern edge in alignment with NE Oregon Street. That indicates a forthcoming road extension connecting NE Oregon Street with NE 100th Avenue after the David Douglas School District redevelops its adjacent property to the west. That would allow additional vehicle access to the site.

This large project would trigger sidewalk improvements, creating a fifteen-foot-wide pedestrian zone along NE 102nd Avenue and NE Pacific Street. This project is within walking distance of the Gateway Transit center and across the street from Fred Meyer Grocery. Although this location has sufficient bus and Max service, the project includes 148 parking spaces.

This mixed-use project is in early development, and the design will likely change before the developers submit permit applications. However, this long-vacant lot could soon become the home for many people seeking housing in this area. Expect to hear more about this site in 2023 as plans begin to take shape.


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Mass Timber Affordable Housing on NE Glisan

Site work is underway for a new eight-story mixed-use building at NE 99th Avenue and Glisan Street. Designed by Access Architecture of Vancouver, WA, the building is named TimberView due to its predominantly wood-framed construction and scenic top-floor outdoor terrace. The mass timber structure will provide 105 affordable housing units with ground-floor commercial space.

Located in Portland’s Gateway District, this property occupies a 9,583-square-foot corner lot that once supported a single-family residence. Demolition crews deconstructed that house and detached garage in 2012. Heavy equipment recently leveled the ground, preparing the land for imminent construction. Additionally, workers removed some large trees from the property this week. However, several new street trees will surround the site after crews install the wider sidewalk as a part of this project.

TimberView building, rendering courtesy of Access Architecture

Developers working in the Gateway District create projects with larger urban-scale designs that emphasize public transportation and efficient use of land. The scale of the new structure will match the adjacent building on this block, all built within the last decade. The bar-shaped building will relocate the site’s entrance from NE Glisan to 540 NE 99th Avenue, in the center of the building. When completed, this mid-rise tower will offer a full range of apartments, from Studio to three-bedroom units.

Expect construction work to begin soon with cranes lifting cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor panels atop glue-laminated timber beams and columns. This type of construction can assemble faster than other projects using concrete. Vendors create many elements of the building’s structure off-site, facilitating a quick assembly at the property. When completed, this site will provide a healthy addition of affordable housing.


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Spencers Appliances Closing after 4 Decades

Spencer’s Appliances at 7115 NE Glisan Street will permanently close its doors on February 1st after forty years of serving the community. The new and used appliance store’s owner plans to retire, renting out the three commercial buildings on NE Glisan Street to the next generation of businesses. Several employees have formed a new company and will open their appliance repair store later in the year.

Eugene Spencer started Spencer’s Appliances with his son in the early1980s after retiring from the military as a refrigeration specialist. “I started with my father, Eugene, in 82. He was doing stuff out of his house because he retired from the Navy, and he just started tinkering around keeping himself busy,” remembered John Spencer. “I was working at a seed mill in Tangent, OR. I went to college for a couple of years, and college wasn’t for me. Then my dad called me and said you want a job? Come up here and work for me.”

Ben Schafer, the owner of Cash and Carry Appliances on NE Glisan, wanted to relocate his 30-year-old business to SE Hawthorne, allowing the Spencers to set up shop in an established location. “There was a pre-existing appliance business here, and the guy wanted to move to a bigger building. So we bought this building,” explained John Spencer. “This was a good location, and we had people walk in the first day and buy an appliance from us because it was an appliance business before.”

That early success gave the Spencers confidence, particularly John, who at 21 was new to the business. “I still remember going, ‘Holy crap,’ there’s people in here buying stuff. I didn’t know anything, and then we started fixing appliances and selling them. We eventually got a GE dealership. It just took off from there.” Said John Spencer. After growing the business together, the father and son team added an employee. “It just slowly but surely got busier and busier, and then we hired Wes.” Wes Swisher had also retired from the Navy and knew Eugene Spencer. According to John Spencer, Wes was instrumental in the growth of Spencer’s Appliances. The business continued to expand year after year, eventually employing 20 people.

By 1984, the appliance shop outgrew the original storefront at 7123 NE Glisan, so they constructed the current showroom next door. In 2000, the company completed a new warehouse building at the corner of NE 71st Avenue and Glisan Street. Both newer buildings support apartments on a second floor above the commercial space, creating six units. The Spencers eventually bought the land one block east, building the Glisan Plaza at 7201 NE Glisan Street.

Twenty years ago, Eugene Spencer stepped away from the appliance business, leaving John in charge. “He was a great boss. We worked six days a week for 20 years, and then he retired,” recalls John Spencer. In 2012, Wes Swisher also retired. Both are healthy and enjoying their time away from work. Around the time Swisher left, John Spencer became concerned about Glisan Street. Car thieves have repeatedly stolen his service vehicles, and miscreants often vandalized the buildings. In 2019, a driver collided with his store and fled the scene. John Spencer enjoys the new families that have moved to the neighborhood and the business taking root around his shop but seeing the negative shift along his street is disappointing. “I think it is the worst I’ve seen it, the crime that you see walking up and down the street.” Said, Spencer. The shift in public safety and labor issue stemming from the pandemic have encouraged John Spencer to retire from the business. After searching for a buyer interested in running the store for seven months, he and his family decided it was better to shut down the company.

John Spencer will miss the daily interactions that have made his career enjoyable. “It’s all about the people. I just like meeting neighbors and talking to people. It was my social time. You go into people’s homes and learn things from their experiences in life. 90% of the people you deal with are just beautiful, down-to-earth people.” Spencer will also miss solving problems for customers. He takes pride in fixing someones vexing appliance problem and seeing the relief it gives people.

John Spencer is happy with the company his family built in Montavilla and the impact they have made on the lives of those who worked there. “It kept my family fed, and I think I’ve created a lot of jobs. I’ve got ex-employees that still do appliance stuff. There’s people that have found a career because they walked in the door one day looking for a job,” explained Spencer. “It’s been a wild ride.”


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NE Glisan Commercial Complex for Sale

The owners of a three-building complex at 8101 NE Glisan Street have listed the property for sale. The 33,750-square-foot lot contains two warehouses and a single-story office building. Currently, the site is home to Exteriors Design, a full-service general contractor specializing in exterior cladding, and Modern Northwest, a specialty home builder. The land is zoned Commercial Employment (CE) for medium-scale retail and office developments and could support buildings up to 4 stories tall.

The large corner lot is adjacent to the new gas station under constriction along NE 82nd Avenue. The site previously housed Leif’s auto collision repair center. In 2018, Modern Northwest purchased the location and updated the office building. The warehouses are insulated and powered, allowing for a wide range of manufacturing or protected storage. The parameter of the complex is completely fenced and well-protected. Ample parking surrounds each building, and rollup doors provide direct vehicle access.

With an asking price of $2,999,900, the property may take some time to find an interested buyer. Additionally, the real estate listing shows all three buildings as fully leased, so even after a sale, it could be years before any changes occur at this location. This article will update when this property finds a buyer.

Stormwater Pond at AutoZone

Stormwater management work is underway in the parking lot of the AutoZone Auto Parts store at 1710 SE 82nd Avenue. Heavy equipment is currently digging a 4,210 cubic-foot water retention pond in an undeveloped northeast corner of the property. It will connect with two existing drywells under the parking lot to alleviate ponding during intense rainfall events. A six-foot-tall black vinyl-coated chainlink barrier will surround the open-air water collection pit. Landscapers will plant additional trees and shrubs to obscure the fence from view.

This site features a large concrete parking lot that collects a substantial amount of rainwater. According to the permit applications, this owner-initiated project intends to resolve a ponding issue that sometimes occurs in the site’s parking area and maximize onsite disposal of storm runoff. The voluntary stormwater management upgrade will increase the efficiency of the site’s two existing drywells, constructed in 2011. Crews will also install one new catch basin to help remove water from the parking surface. This work will not reduce parking spaces for the retail store. However, throughout the project, crews may restrict access to portions of the parking lot. The auto parts store will remain open during construction.

MV News illustrations on Portland Maps image

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