EV Charging Coming to Glisan Fred Meyer

A recent permit application reveals that the Fred Meyer grocery store on NE Glisan Street plans to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The proposed project would create four charging stations along the parking lot’s southern edge. Fred Meyer stores frequently offer Blink branded EV charges. 

Permit application 21-002507 seeks to install the four EV charging stations and supporting infrastructure at 6615 NE Glisan Street. In addition to the car chargers, concrete pads and bollards will protect the new equipment. Installation of a nearby utility vault will contain the substantial electricity connections needed to operate the chargers. The project area may also receive decorative screening to obscure the hardware from street view.

When completed, this Fred Meyer store will join three other public locations offering recharging service in the Montavilla area. Those locations are:

Drivers of electric vehicles will welcome the expanded availability of EV charging stations in the neighborhood. When visiting businesses on NE Glisan, they can soon charge their electric car and feel confident they have the energy to get back on the road. EV charging stations will be just one more feature to attract customers to NE Glisan and help grow businesses in the area.

AYCO Opens Center at TBN site

African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO) recently relocated to Montavilla on NE Glisan. Located at 432 NE 74th Ave, the group offers support services and youth mentoring for the African immigrant and refugee community. The expanded space obtained through this move allows their programs to grow, even while social distancing during COVID-19 restrictions.

Executive Director Jamal Dar founded AYCO in 2009 with an emphasis on athletics and mentoring. Over its first decade, the organization expanded its offerings to include health and education services. Added support for families continued the programs’ growth trajectory, supporting parents and people caring for special needs children.

AYCO seeks to strengthen a sense of cultural identity within the immigrant community while facilitating integration. Like the community they support, many of the team at AYCO immigrated from East Africa. Staff leverage that personal experience to guide newly arriving families adapting to this country. Their youth programs develop academic and team-building skills in a culturally familiar environment. Health services provide assistance navigating healthcare and disability resources, understanding the language and culture of those seeking support.

In 2015 AYCO opened its first location at 1390 SE 122nd Ave. That space allowed the organization to expand the services offered substantially. However, with increased community need, that location became too small. The building on NE Glisan offers the room need to grow the organization further. The new Center’s increased footprint will feature a gym to help the children embrace athletics beyond soccer and basketball. The new location also allows for a clinic to support children of all ages and abilities.

AYCO leased part of the single-story building from Metro, which acquired the site from Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). The previous owners used the building as a TV studio and broadcasting facility before selling the property in late 2019. Metro plans to develop the site two years from now and sought short term tenants. “The building where AYCO is leasing space will eventually be demolished, and the new housing that will be built in its place will prioritize families and households with very low incomes.” Said Constantino Khalaf, Senior Communications Specialist with Metro.

Metro happily made space in the building available for AYCO, reducing the rent to support the group’s efforts. “We’re excited that such a great, community-serving organization can use the space during these early stages rather than let it sit vacant.” Explained Khalaf.

Regardless of the short-term lease on the space, Dar looks forward to the site’s pending development. He intends to become a tenant within the new development’s commercial area when completed. NE Glisan Street is close to the community AYCO servers, and Dar feels it will be an ideal home for his organization.

When the pandemic’s risk has subsided, Dar hopes to interact with the Montavilla community more. Until then, his organization plans to continue to their outward community engagement through support for the hungry and unsheltered. Look for the location to become more lively with youth activities over the coming months, and visit the AYCO website if you want to know more about the organization.

Another Postal Collection Box Vandalized

Over the weekend, vandals forcibly opened a USPS mail collection box located at 1231 SE 92nd Ave. This postal dropbox is the second location in Montavilla to see this type of destruction. It is unknown if the perpetrators successfully stole mail in this latest incident.

At the end of 2020, miscreants targeted the collection box at the corner of SE 76th and Salmon Street, similar to this weekend’s assault. Twice postal staff have replaced that unit on SE 76th, with the most recent replacement delayed by weeks. A new collection box on the corner SE 92nd Ave and Hawthorne Street could also require weeks before installation. With luck, USPS staff will remove the damaged unit soon and begin work on acquiring its replacement. Until then, residents can locate other collection boxes available in the neighborhood with the list below.

Support Montavilla’s Core

Montavilla’s Stark Street cycles through times of flourishing community and empty obscurity. It could be hard to remember what the street looked like 20 years ago by walking it today. However vibrant the town is now, the area was deep in a down cycle two decades previous. Fortunes started to change for the neighborhood thanks in part to businesses betting on the community’s resurgence.

Bipartisan Cafe is one of the earliest businesses to see the regrowth potential. For 17 years, the cafe stood as the cornerstone of foodservice prosperity in the area. It is a safe place for residents to gather and meet with friends.

Now, after years of supporting the neighborhood, the Bipartisan Cafe needs support from the community. They are seeking donations to bridge the gap caused by COVID-19’s economic impact. The Help keep the Bipartisan Cafe open campaign on GoFundMe details the full explanation for their fundraising efforts. If you can afford it, consider visiting the GoFundMe page and keep the core of Montavilla on an upward cycle.


Disclosure – The author of this article serves on the Montavilla Neighborhood Association Board with Peter Emerson, one of the owners of Bipartisan Cafe.

Lower Speeds on NE Glisan

This week crews posted new speed limit signs along NE Glisan Street east of 82nd Ave. Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) reduced the speed on this heavily traveled roadway as part of Portland’s Vision Zero goal. A program established to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. The change follows a year full of collisions in this area.

The recent speed limit adjustments made to NE Glisan from 82nd Ave to 122nd Ave creates continuity along the roadway. “With this change in place, NE Glisan Street now has a consistent 30 mph speed limit across most of Portland.” Explained Hannah Schafer, a Communications and Public Involvement representative with PBOT.

Although only reduced by five mph, a reduction from 35 mph to 30 mph can substantially decrease crash fatalities. According to Schafer, “speed is a factor in nearly half of deadly crashes that occur in Portland. Lower speeds result in fewer crashes. When crashes occur, lower speeds make it more likely that people will survive.”

The speed limit reduction joins other efforts by PBOT to improve safety on NE Glisan. Earlier this year, pedestrian crossing lights near Multnomah University joined other similar lights on this road. Reduced speed limits may help calm traffic. However, speeding on this road between I205 and 82nd Ave is a constant issue, regardless of the posted limit. With luck, this change and other PBOT initiatives will improve safety for all users of NE Glisan.

Continued work on NE 80th Curb Ramps

The corner reconstruction of NE Couch Street and NE 80th Ave is nearing completion. The work underway is the final portion of a project designed to improve curb ramps at this intersection. Construction on this last section is technically challenging, requiring the relocation of a stormwater catch basin.

The catch basin’s previous location placed it inside the extended footprint for the new sidewalk corner. Crews first had to reposition the catch basin along the NE Couch Street before laying concrete forms.

Children heavily use this stretch of sidewalk on their way to the back entrance for Vestal School. Improvements to this intersection ensure all pedestrians have a safe path down this road. Work should complete on this project over the next week, depending on weather conditions.

Fire Damage Repair on Main

Crews are at work replacing the fire-damaged roof of a one-story apartment complex on SE Main Street. The fire from April 2nd last year rendered two units unusable. Once new roofing protects the space below, interior work on the apartments will restore the building to its former condition.

The fire started in the early morning of April 2nd, 2020. Crews responded quickly and contained the fire to just two units. First responders transported one resident to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Damage from the fire displaced four residents.

The apartment, located at 8019-8039 SE Main Street, remained tarp-covered for the better part of a year. Approved last December, permit 20-186335 seeks to repair structural damage to the roof and replace damaged sheetrock in the two units. “Fire damage repair at units 8029 and 8031, replace (14) roof rafters, roof sheathing, roofing, and interior sheetrock.”

Restoration of these 1960 era apartments will return two more one-bedroom units to the Montavilla area. The lesser damaged residence at 8031 SE Main Street is already available to rent ahead of project completion. Expect to see exterior work conclude by the end of the month.

Tarp covered units before work began
Second day of roofing work

Second Postal Collection Box Replaced

Not long after being replaced late last year, the USPS collection box at the corner of SE 76th and Salmon Street went missing again. First removed after vandals damaged the unit on November 30th, postal crews installed a replacement box within a week. However, by December 23rd, the new collection box again went missing from the sidewalk. Yesterday the blue icon returned to its previous position on the corner.

An unauthorized attempt to open the collection box caused the first removal. Ernie Swanson, Strategic Communications Specialist for USPS, detailed the vandalism. “The lock on the box was damaged to the point that the box could not be opened.” 

Repeated inquiries regarding the second removal went unanswered. Comments about this matter from a United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) representative expressed that “to protect the integrity of investigations [USPIS does] not provide details of the existence or progress of ongoing investigations.”

With the Postal collection box now returned, residents no longer need to walk to SE Stark Street and 80th, where the next closest collection box resides. With luck, the collection box will now remain at this location uninterrupted.

Missing collection box in late December, 2020.

First replacement collection box in early December, 2020.

Rebuilding Fire Damaged Home on SE Stephens

Repairs to the single-story house at 8923 SE Stephens Street are underway after suffering severe fire damage. The 1953 era home caught fire two years ago and has reminded boarded up until this month. Fire damaged material is now removed, and work to restore the structure is waiting on permit approvals.

At 2:28 AM on January 13th, 2019, a fire started in the home’s kitchen area. The one occupant escaped the flames and smoke coming from the residence with minor injuries. First responders transported that person to a local hospital for treatment. According to the Portland Fire and Rescue report, crews had the fire under control by 2:48 AM. That report estimated damage to the home at $200,000.

Yesterday, repair crews submitted permit 21-002341 after removing siding, windows, and interior wall coverings the previous week. Work proposed in this permit application will only replace the windows and siding of the building. Other permits for electrical and plumbing will come at a later date.

Based on current plans, the building will be rebuilt with the same footprint and internal layout as it previously had. With the structure stripped down to the studs, the interior will be completely new. After a long time, nearby residents are happy to see this house restored to its former appearance and show signs of life again.

Repaving NE Pacific Street

Tomorrow, roadwork begins that will disrupt local traffic on NE Pacific Street east of 82nd Ave. Crews will resurface parts of the roadway to repair damage caused by open trench sewer work. That work began in November of 2020 and is near complete.

This recent work is part of an extensive sewer repair and modernization effort in the area. The Montavilla North Sewer Repair is nearly complete, having started on July 12 of 2018. Parking along the street is prohibited from the 12th through the 15th. The roadway will likely be inaccessible by car for much of that construction window.

Open trench activity required the demolition of sidewalk segments and some driveways. Repair of the roadside walkway happened in the prior weeks. This road resurfacing may not be a complete replacement of the worn street, but it should be a welcomed improvement above and below the road surface. When finished, residents should enjoy the refreshed infrastructure on their block.

NE Pacific Street before repaving
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