82nd Ave Culinary Event Kicks Off

Around the World in 82 dishes has returned after taking 2020 off. Starting tomorrow, the 82nd Avenue Business District will host a two-week-long celebration of dining diversity with an inclusive event featuring all food-related locations on and around 82nd Avenue. The event runs from October 23rd to November 7th, with an opportunity to win one of several $25 gift certificates by participating in the event’s social media contest.

To enter the contest, shop or eat at restaurants, food carts, and markets around 82nd Avenue during the contest dates. Then post about it on social media with the hashtag #82Dishes, including the location’s name and pictures from your visit. Event staff will select winners at random from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. People without social media access can participate by emailing a picture and location name to 82ndaveba@gmail.com.

The 82nd Avenue Business District extends from the Clackamas County line towards the Portland airport and features cooking styles from all over the planet. This annual event reminds Portlands of the culinary variety available to people along this street and encourages residents to explore the World in their own backyard. A list of eligible locations and other event information is available at the Around the World in 82 dishes website.


Disclosure: The author of this article servers on the 82nd Avenue Business Association board.

Construction Begins at Mt Tabor Park

This week, workers erected a construction fence around half of the Long Block in Mt Tabor Park. Located on SE Lincoln Street, the enclosed space will become a plant storage area. Nearby, crews will construct a new greenhouse along SE 64th Ave. These two small projects are part of a sizeable multi-phase development now underway.

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) staff started this work as part of the Mt Tabor Central Maintenance Yard Project, breaking ground on a decades-long effort to modernize the central maintenance facility at Mt Tabor Park. The facilities improvement project took form in 2014 with a patchwork of funding. However, planning began years before with the Mt Tabor Central Maintenance Yard & Nursery Master Plan, finalized in 2009. Pandemic closures and significant construction cost increases pushed back this project until now.

construction fences around the Long Block on SE Lincoln Street

The Mt Tabor Yard serves as a central dispatch for PP&R maintenance and nursery services across the city. Over 140 maintenance employees work from this location. Most of the project’s construction will occur within the existing yard’s boundaries. However, Phase 1 expands into park space that previously served the public. The Long Block is located from SE 60th to 64th Avenues, between SE Harrison and Lincoln Streets. This 600 foot-long flat grassy field, often a site for group athletic activities, is now half its original length and separated from other park amenities.

The public space lost is relatively minimal compared to the enhancements planned around the worksite. Portlanders will gain increased access to Mt Tabor Park via a new paved multimodal pathway connecting SE Division Street and SE 64th Avenue. The gravel east edge of SE 64th Ave between SE Sherman and SE Lincoln Streets will gain a new curb and sidewalk, fully connecting paved access to the park from Division Street. Around the site, PP&R will plant native landscaping with over 100 new trees. Plans also include a public art installation in partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC).

Work will progress over the next two years, with an expected completion date in the Summer of 2023. Users of this area of Mt Tabor Park should anticipate increased activity and some traffic disruption during the project’s construction. When completed, PP&R will be one step closer to having a modern maintenance facility to serve Portland’s numerous green spaces more efficiently.

PP&R illustration from the Mt Tabor Central Maintenance Yard & Nursery Master Plan

Curb Ramps on SE Mill and 76th

This week, road crews began the curb ramp installation project at SE Mill Street and 76th Ave. Workers have repositioned stormwater drains away from the new crossing paths. Next, wood forms will reshape these corners ahead of concrete work. This project expanded from its original scope to include all four corners at the intersection. Based on road markings, ramp alignment may shift north and south from some corners to account for Mill Street’s staggered crossing of 76th Ave. Expect occasional lane closures and daytime congestion on SE 76th Ave over the next several weeks.


Original article published on Febuary 25th, 2021

Two new curb ramps are coming to the intersection of SE Mill Street and 76th Ave. The improvements will provide an accessible crossing of SE 76th Ave, near Bridger School’s rear-entrance. Each corner will gain two ramps making crossing points perpendicular to the roads they cross.

No previous ramps exist on these corners. However, there is an older single ramp on the southeast corner. It is not included in this project and will remain unaltered. Mill Street does not align perfectly through the intersection, forcing one ramp’s placement further back from the corner.

The painted street markings, indicating the planned changes, only appeared this week. Actual work often follows months after surveyors mark the street. Expect to see some sidewalk closures and curbside barricades when crews begin the project later this year.

Southwest corner

Northeast corner

New Townhouses on Burnside

Demolition crews are actively deconstructing the single-family residence at 7424 E Burnside Street. When the property is clear of the 1949 era single-story home, work will begin on three new townhomes at this site. Another detached residential building will remain on the west portion of the property. Consequentially, crews will cap shared utilities near the old foundation instead of at the sidewalk, maintaining services at the other structure during construction.


Original article published on September 20th, 2021

East Burnside Street could gain three new Townhouses just west of SE 75th Ave. Developers plan to raze a 70-year-old signal family dwelling at 7424 E Burnside Street, clearing the way for three new homes. An existing accessory building will remain on the property.

Work on the project could begin next month. On October 6th, the thirty-five-day demolition hold will elapse for the existing single-story building. Once cleared, the property will be ready for further development.

Permits submitted last Friday seek to build a trio of two-story townhouses on the lot. New residents of these homes will rely on street parking and other transportation options. The limited space on the lot does not allow for the construction of garages. In 2018, the property owners constructed an accessory structure on the western edge of the lot. That building will remain, adding a 4th unit to the property.

This proposed development is possible thanks to zoning changes made this summer by the Residential Infill Project (RIP). Portland planners believe these changes will create smaller homes that are more affordable for residents. Regardless of the final price of each townhouse, the lot will soon have space for two extra families. Many supporters of RIP hopped that buildings would be added to properties and not cause excessive demolition. However, as with this project, creating housing density will require the sacrifice of some older buildings. Expect to see demolition crews at the site later in the year.

No Parking Zones on SE Stark

Sunday morning, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) staff converted several one-hour and two-hour street parking spaces into No Parking zones. Crews installed new signs on poles along the south side of Stark Street in two sections. The new car-free curb areas align with 78th Ave and 79th Ave. These changes are part of the City’s effort to improve visibility at intersections.

SE 78th and 79th Avenues do not continue straight across Stark Street. Southbound 79th ends at this intersection and does not return to the city street grid until after SE Division Street. SE 78th Ave continues south beyond Stark Street but shifts 70 feet east. Both T-intersections had previously allowed parking across from the ending street, creating a problematic crossing point for pedestrians. With the south side of the road full of parked vehicles, people crossing southbound at those intersections would have difficulty finding a path to the sidewalk between parked cars. A greater danger occurred when northbound pedestrians would enter traffic lanes from behind parked vehicles a the intersection, surprising motorists driving on Stark.

The expanded curbside visibility will make 78th and 79th more appealing for pedestrians to cross. However, the City does not intend to increase crossing infrastructure at these locations. “There are no plans to install marked crosswalks at this time, but Oregon law states that every intersection is a crosswalk,” said Hannah Schafer, a Communications Coordinator with PBOT.

No Parking zone in front of 7850 SE Stark

Although these changes are positive safety improvements, several businesses now have reduced access to curbside parking near their business. Parking along SE Stark Street can become limited at times, particularly with many spaces used for outdoor dining. Some business owners and customers are likely to be disappointed with these changes. However, according to Schafer, removing parking to improve visibility is a national best practice and needed on a busy commercial street like Stark. “Neighborhood business districts are some of the busiest places for pedestrian activity. People love to walk from shop to shop… We want them to feel safe as they walk or use a mobility device.”

The No Parking zones are already in effect. Expect to see more people crossing Stark at 78th and 79th Avenues as they discover the safety created by removing parked cars from the intersection’s edges.


Portland Maps image showing approximate no parking zones

Developer Selected for NE Glisan Affordable Housing Project

This week, Portland Housing Bureau staff selected the development team for a low-income housing project at NE 74th Ave and Glisan Street. The winning proposal will transform the 1.65-acre property at 432 NE 74th Ave into a pair of multistory apartment buildings. Despite the current tenant’s efforts to secure a place in the new development, City staff did not select a proposal that included that group.

On October 12th, Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) released a progress update for nine Housing Bond funded projects. In 2018 voters approved a 652.8 million affordable housing bond to address the housing crises in the Portland Metro area. The Glisan Street project will receive $19.9 million of that funding, representing one-third of the overall project cost. The housing complex will consist of two buildings, one with 41 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and the other providing 96 units of family housing.

Three experienced low-income housing groups are joining forces to sponsor this development. Related Northwest is the primary sponsor for the project, while the two other groups will provide assistance for residents when construction completes. Catholic Charities will provide case management and services to PSH tenants. Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) will provide resident services at the family housing property.

The PHB project website provides new details regarding attributes planned for the development. Amenities at NE 74th and Glisan include a community room with kitchen, laundry room, playground, picnic area, community garden, bike parking, onsite parking, and a multicultural preschool. The project team is also partnering with Mercy Corps NW to promote small business classes and offer two retail incubator spaces and a café in the ground-floor commercial space. Now that this proposal is secured, project designers will craft the final plans for the site ahead of the building permit submittal.

African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO) currently leases space in the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) studio now owned by Metro. The nonprofit serves East African immigrant and refugee youth. Within a few years, crews will demolish the facility to make way for the 137 new affordable homes coming to this site. AYCO Executive Director Jamal Dar lead an effort to stay at this location, working with REACH Community Development, Sera Architects, Colas Construction, Community Vision, and El Programa Hispano on an alternate plan for the site. In a statement from AYCO, the organizations expressed disappointment in the decision and say they are facing displacement from the community it serves.

AYCO site plan not selected by PHB

In a prepared statement regarding AYCO, Metro representatives expressed appreciation for the early partnership between the two organizations. “They have been a wonderful partner in our early phase community engagement for the new affordable housing to be built on this site, helping us to reach and engage with immigrants, people of color, people with low incomes, and people with limited English proficiency.” However, that early cooperative work and preexisting lease did not guarantee that the AYCO would secure a space in the new project. “Metro has been clear with AYCO, throughout the process of temporary leasing and community engagement, that the project/developer selection process would be a competitive one. We understand they have hoped and worked hard toward being able to build their Dream Center as part of the development of this site. Unfortunately, the proposal they were a part of was not selected.”

The Portland Housing Bureau received five proposals, each comprised of different developers and community support organizations. Jamal Dar and his team have over a year to secure a new home for the nonprofit. Ideally, they will find space in the area, near the community they have served for years. Metro looks forward to possible collaborations with AYCO in the future and will celebrate with them once their Dream Center comes to fruition.

Image courtesy PHB

The subsequent phases of development at the site will center around creating construction plans and securing building permits. Until demolition begins, AYCO will continue to operate out of the old broadcast facility. Changes at the site are over a year away, but the affordable housing these new apartments will provide could not arrive soon enough. Keep an eye on the PHB website for updates on the project and expect the site to house residents by the Summer of 2024.

Pedestrian Improvements on SE 88th

After six months, crews have returned to SE 88th Ave to complete the curb-ramp installation work. Like a project one block away at Morrison Street, this will construct four new corners on 88th Ave at Alder Street. Workers installed wood forms on the two northern corners and will soon pour new concrete. When completed, crews will next focus on the southern corners at this intersection.

Looking north on SE Alder Street at SE 88th Ave

Original article from April 26th, 2021

A cluster of curb-ramp installations is underway on SE 88th Ave. Crews are reconstructing eight corners along the roadway at the intersections of SE Morrison Street and SE Alder Street. The rebuilt corners feature expanded paved pedestrian waiting areas. Engineers are selectively replacing portions of the connecting sidewalks for better surface alignment. This project is part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) efforts to increase the network of accessible pedestrian infrastructure.

Two of the four completed corners at SE Morrison Street and SE 88th Ave

SE 88th Ave is one of the many paths to the Creative Science School and the Harrison Park School. Routs to public parks and schools top PBOT’s priority list when identifying infrastructure in need of an upgrade. As children return to in-person learning, these improvements will aid in a safe and comfortable commute.

Curb reconstruction markings on SE Alder Street at SE 88th Ave
Curb reconstruction markings on SE Alder Street at SE 88th Ave

Sushi Yummy & Chinese Restaurant

A new Asian eatery has opened up in the former Imperial House Chinese Restaurant building. Located at 1815 SE 82nd AveSushi Yummy & Chinese Restaurant continues a 20-year-long tradition of Chinese cuisine under the iconic Ah Fong Kitchen sign. However, this time the menu includes Japanese dishes.

Hints that this location was changing first operated in a Liquor Licence application from May 2021. Over the last few weeks, workers have moved quickly to update the space and change the signs. The transition from Imperial House to Sushi Yummy & Chinese Restaurant was smooth, with minimal downtime during the transformation. Many things have changed at the restaurant, but others have stayed the same. The last three businesses at this location have maintained the same phone number, and the building’s exterior has remained mostly the same over the years.

The owners have bifurcated the menu into separate sections. Customers dining in will receive a two-sided color card showing the assortment of Nigiri and Rolls available, along with the expected sushi side dishes. Separately, another two-sided menu features Chinese restaurant standards. This combination is less common in Portland, but in Hawaii, diners celebrate the mixture of the two complimentary cooking styles.

Customers can dine-in, order online for pickup, or call 503-774-0061. They are open Wednesday through Monday, 11 AM to 10 PM.

Montavilla Elections Tonight

Tonight, October 11th, the Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) will hold Board member elections. Three new candidates and two returning board members are running unopposed for open seats. Attendees at the online general meeting will receive a link to the ballot at the beginning of the meeting.

First-time candidate, Scott Simpson, is running for Land Use & Transportation Chair. Simpson hopes to make Montavilla a more walkable, bikeable, sustainable, safer, and inclusive place. Both Ben Weakley and Holly Wilkes are running for Member at Large positions. Weakley recently moved to Portland and currently works as a physical therapist. Wilkes is a Principal in the David Douglas School District.

Sarah Hartzel is the acting Treasurer and is seeking election to that position for a two-year term. Hartzel brought her extensive finance and accounting background to the board in May to fill a vacancy. Matt Moore is seeking another term as Outreach & Communications Chair. He intends to continue providing design support to MNA communications and assist in community engagement.

Candidate statements are on the Montavilla Neighborhood Association website. Southeast Uplift will create an online ballot and count votes. If possible, election results will be available by the 7:30 PM Board meeting. The upcoming General Meeting and the election is on October 11th at 6:30 PM. Details are available on the MNA calendar.


Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the NMA Board

The Barrier to Green Medians

SE Division Street is undergoing significant updates from 80th Ave towards 174th Ave. In addition to numerous safety enhancements, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will replace a continuous painted center turn-lane with a raised center median. Adding these dividers to busy streets provides substantial public benefit. They restrict left turn traffic to predictable places, protect crossing pedestrians, and provide space for added street trees. Perhaps more than the other benefits, community members enthusiastically awaited the expanded green spaces proposed for the center of this project. Unfortunately, PBOT is unable to provide most of the trees intended for SE Division Street.

Adding trees between multiple lanes of opposing traffic has several advantages. Visually it reduces the width of a road and can help reduce speeds by changing the character of a street. Additionally, generations of road designers have valued the sunshade and wind-breaking benefits that median trees provide. Consequential, PBOT staff intended to incorporate large numbers of trees into the Division Street redesign. However, decades of city infrastructure buried underground derailed plans to add them to the center of the road. “We originally planned on adding trees in all of the center medians coming to SE Division. However, during the design phase, we learned that the majority of proposed tree locations would be in conflict with an underground major water transmission line and also sewer infrastructure in certain areas.” Explained John Brady, Communications Director with PBOT.

Image courtesy of PBOT

PBOT will not forgo all center medians trees on SE Division. In total, crews will plant twenty new trees in the middle of the road at locations that do not conflict with underground utility lines. Montavilla will have a small cluster of trees between SE 84th and 85th Avenues. Crews will start construction on that segment of median in the coming weeks.

SE Division looking west towards 82nd Ave

Because PBOT cannot provide the expected number of trees in this project, Brady said they are shifting that portion of the work out to neighboring streets. “Since we are not able to plant as many trees as originally planned on SE Division, we will be working with the City’s Urban Forestry division to fund a planting project on adjacent side streets north and south of SE Division.” That project will add over 200 street trees within the public right-of-way. Tree planting work will occur in 2022 and 2023. Brady concedes that this is a compromise to PBOT’s original vision. “We recognize this won’t have the same effect as adding trees directly on SE Division Street, but it will help with overall air quality, stormwater management, and combating the heat sink in this part of East Portland.”

The twenty new street trees on SE Division will not be alone forever. As properties redevelop along the roadway, the City will require the construction of wider sidewalks with street trees. This approach will take decades to achieve the same green-scape initially imagined for the busy street’s renovation. However, it is the best option available at the moment. Perhaps as City engineers plan new utility line projects, they will consider shifting infrastructure away from the center, allowing for future planting of greenery between the vast expanses of pavement.