DB Dessert Company Closes Montavilla Location

This month, DB Dessert Company removed store signage at 6824 NE Glisan Street after recently closing its original Montavilla retail location. The bakery began its brick-and-mortar operations from this space in 2018. Since then, they have launched two new Portland locations that will remain open.

During its four years on NE Glisan, the dessert, pastry, and custom cake maker served a valued role in the community. DB Dessert Company quickly developed a positive reputation for made-to-order cakes and other sweet items. However, the brand’s popularity enticed founder Damala Badon to expand operations to other neighborhoods. As new locations opened, storefront hours at the Montavilla location sometimes became irregular.

Note displayed on DB Dessert Company’s 6824 NE Glisan Street door November 2021

Although predominantly a successful and safe space, on January 3rd, thieves broke into the Glisan Street location and vandalized the shop. That event did not deter Badon from reopening the shop to the public for an additional four months. Now the bakery is empty and clear of all DB Dessert Company branding. Customers are encouraged to visit the Alberta District location at 2624 NE Alberta Street or their Rockwood Location at 458 SE 185th, Suite 116.

Berrydale Park’s Skatepark Design Reveal June 29

Article first published June 24th, 2022.

On Wednesday, June 29th, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) staff will present the final design for the new Berrydale skatepark at an open house. Residents are invited to attend from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the southeast corner of Berrydale Park, at 9004 SE Taylor Street. At the event, PP&R will continue soliciting community feedback on new playground design options included in the Berrydale Park Improvement Project.

Image courtesy Portland of Parks & Recreation. Image does not represent the final design

Next week’s gathering is the third and final open house for the $3.75 million renovation project. The proposed budget doubled over the last year, with Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio increasing allocated funds to $3.0 million from an original $1.5 million budget. The bureau will source that money from System Development Charges (SDC) and not the City’s general budget. PP&R’s planned upgrades will significantly enhance the recreational amenities at the 66-year-old City park. The proposed upgrades will create a new skatepark facility, new pathways, new lighting, street improvements, and a new playground.

This open house is the last time the public can significantly influence the future appearance of the Berrydale Park Improvement Project. After a full year of community engagement, the project is now at the end of the design phase. Beginning in Fall 2022, City engineers will develop the construction documentation needed to secure permits and hire contractors. Construction crews will break ground on the project in the Spring of 2024, with the new park amenities opening in 2025.

Infill House on Burnside with Hidden Parking

Construction crews are wrapping up work on a two-story single-family residence at  7171 E Burnside Street. The sizable infill-home features four bedrooms and a single-car garage accessed from the back of the property. At the builder’s current pace, the new home could become available for purchase this fall.

Original article published February 18th, 2022

This week, construction crews prepared a new flag lot on E Burnside for a forthcoming single-family residence. Located at a recently created address of 7171 E Burnside Street, the two-story home will feature four bedrooms and a single-car garage. Unlike most infill-homes with the garage door dominating the front of the structure, designers of this house placed the attached garage behind the home.

Plans for the home show a 27-foot wide home extending back 42 feet. The front door sits between a half-bathroom and a ground-floor bedroom at the front of the house. The floor opens up to a living room and dining room from the entryway. The open floor-plan creates a long 33-foot by 16-foot room, ending in a kitchen at the rear of the house. A ductless fireplace with TV hookups above the mantel is at the center of the main floor. A door from the dining room leads to the single-car garage positioned at the northeast corner of the structure and setback nine feet from the northern edge of the home. This recessed placement allows a vehicle to make the 90 degrees turn from the ally into the parking space.

Up a flight of stairs, a ten-foot by ten-foot bedroom and a shared bathroom occupy the front of the second floor. A large family room and another ten-foot by ten-foot bedroom take up the center portion of this level. At the back of the house, a bedroom suite fills the remainder of the floor. Inside that room, a walk-in closet over half the size of the standard bedrooms sits to the right. The 16-foot by 12-foot main bedroom features a tray ceiling with a suspended fan. The ensuite has a shower, spa tub, toilet room, and dual vanity.

The project’s layout and design adhere to contemporary higher-end home construction standards. However, limitations created by the site’s location moved the project towards a classical arrangement. For many years, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has asked developers to place new driveways on side streets, reducing possible collisions on arterial roads like E Burnside. That directive influenced the need for a driveway entrance from NE 72nd Avenue. The Developers took additional space from the original property at 7 NE 72nd Avenue and created an alleyway leading to the rear of the new property.

Portland Maps image of 7171 E Burnside

Before WWII, most homes hid parking behind the house. It was not until the 1950s that most new homes placed the garage prominently at the front of a residence. Over the decades, the width of a house’s garage door signaled the homeowner’s prosperity. That valuation has recently decreased with changing perceptions status symbols.

Although vehicle storage is no longer a key sign of wealth, many new infill homes still offer attached garages, often requiring two-thirds the width of a home. This layout pushes living space to the back of the building, sometimes isolating occupants from the activities in the community. Although this building’s design may not have intently looked to the pre-war designs of American architecture, the benefit of placing the parking at the rear should create a more attractive building and perhaps encourage other builders to reconsider a vehicle’s place in the home.

Remembering Errol Carlson

On June 17th, Errol Carlson passed away while staying near his family in Washington State. One year ago, on June 18th, Carlson’s partner Mel Hafsos passed away after a brief illness. Mel Hafsos and Errol Carlson owned Taylor Court Grocery on SE 80th Avenue for 25 years. During that time, the pair lived together in a nearby house and ran their neighborhood store together, rarely taking time off.

After Hafsos’ death, Carlson resided in the Courtyard at Mt Tabor senior living facility. Nearly a year later, he relocated to Kennewick, Washington. After recently purchasing the store and house, its new owners intend to repurpose the historic grocery into another family-owned business.

Last summer, Mel and Errol’s family recognized the neighborhood’s support and admiration for the pair in a letter to the community. Last summer, pandemic-related concerns restricted communal gatherings to honor Mel Hafsos’ life. Now the family would like to have a joint service for both men. Skyline Memorial Funeral Home will host a memorial for Mel Hafsos and Errol Carlson on Thursday, June 30th, at 11:00 am. Graveside interment will occur at 1:00 pm.

Update: A previous version of this story inaccurately stated they lived next-door to the shop.

Paving of Unimproved NE Everett Street

Within the next twelve months, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) plans to transform a one-block section of NE Everett Street. Crews will pave the road surface and add sidewalks to the unimproved gravel street from NE 76th Avenue to NE 78th Avenue. Improvements to this road will fill a gap in the street grid, providing a multimodal east-west connector to the new 70’s Greenway and Vestal School.

When construction begins, road crews will create a twenty-eight-foot wide paved street with a travel lane in each direction and two seven-foot wide parking lanes along each side. Contractors will build seven-foot wide curb-tight sidewalks on both sides of the street. Other nearby streets contain plantable curb strips between the sidewalk and the roadway. However, existing adjacent homes will prevent a wider pedestrian zone on this block. 

NE Everett new road design between NE 76th and 78th Avenues. Courtesy PBOT

This section of NE Everett is part of the original Mount Tabor Villa Addition platted in 1889. This section of roadway has resisted change for 133 years, unlike neighboring streets that modernized ahead of Portland’s annexation of Montavilla in 1906. Consequentially, the City never adopted this block into PBOT’s street maintenance inventory, requiring adjacent property owners to repair the road surface during those years.

This work on NE Everett Street is funded as part of the 70’s Greenway project. Traditionally, road improvements to privately maintained streets occurred through a Local Improvement District (LID) project. That would require funding from all property owners with frontage along the street. According to Hannah SchaferInterim Director of Communications for PBOT, the four lots affected by this road construction will not need to pay for the work. “The project is Federally funded, so the property owners don’t have to contribute,” explained Schafer.

NE Everett looking west from NE 78th Avenue

Although the street improvements will add value to the properties, residents will need to adjust their usage along the road’s edge. Parking alignments will need to change, and some fences will likely need to move. However, the initial disruption will make way for better infrastructure, allowing people walking and biking in the area to travel safely. Additionally, a paved street will reduce vehicle damage caused by the gravel road, and driving within the neighborhood will become more predictable. Look for project updates later this year after PBOT selects the contractor for this work.

Staff Needed for Public Pool Reopening

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) intends to open all seven outdoor pools on June 22nd, including the Montavilla Outdoor Pool at 8219 NE Glisan Street. They will join the four year-round indoor pools already open to the public. Due to ongoing recruitment and hiring struggles, PP&R will only offer aquatics classes at outdoor pools this summer. Based on data from the parks department, this focus will best meet expected demand with reduced staff.

Registration for this summer’s classes and pool activities begins on Monday, June 27th. People are encouraged to signup online at the PP&R website. However, in-person or phone registration is still available. Spaces could fill up soon after registration opens. Staff members will have a waitlist for those who could not secure their preferred offering. Information about classes and other pool activities is available on the PP&R website.

As part of the Parks Local Option Levy, people of color, seniors, teens, households experiencing poverty, immigrants and refugees, and people living with disabilities will have early access to registration. June 20th, eligible community members can inquire about early registration through the Customer Service Center at 503-823-2525. PP&R provides information on the advanced registration process to local community organizations that share those resources with their community members. Interested organizations can email parks.recreation@portlandoregon.gov to register as partners or to learn more.

For the general public seeking classes, registration for programs running from July 25th through September 4th start on June 27th at 12:30 p.m. Registration for September 5th through October 2nd sessions occur on August 8th at 12:30 p.m. Staffing shortages could prolong the registration process over the phone or at a PP&R facility. Parks staff recommend online registration for the best experience.

The reduction in applicants for open Portland Parks department positions mirrors a nationwide employment trend. In a survey by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), 88% of park and recreation agencies indicated they are not fully staffed for lifeguards this summer season. PP&R is actively recruiting staff for the summer. They offer lifeguard certification, swim instructor training, and water fitness instructor training classes year-round to prepare and train staff. People interested in joining the park’s team should view employment opportunities and apply online.

The staffing shortages will limit some instructor-led activities at Portland’s four indoor pools. However, Montavilla’s only aquatic recreation site should run at full capacity this year. Although the Montavilla pool is only rain-filled at the moment, it will spring to life by the month’s end. Then the community can return for another summer filled with pool activities.

SE 82nd and Mill Property For Sale

This week, the owner of 1818 SE 82nd Avenue listed the 0.77-acre property for sale. Currently the home of Portland RV, the auto sales lot, sits at the southeast corner of SE 82nd Avenue and Mill Street. The adjacent intersection recently received updated traffic control lights, new sidewalk corners, and improved multimodal access to Bridger School through the SE 80th and Mill LID.

SE 82nd Avenue and Mill Street 1934. Portland Archives

A 3,768 square-foot 1964-era sales office with an attached five-bay maintenance shop is the only structure on the site. The property is completely fenced and paved. A new owner of this location will have over 400 feet of street frontage split along SE Mill Street and SE 82nd Avenue. The property can easily remain an automotive sales location or serve some other commercial use. However, its proximity to two public schools, a city park, and the Portland Community College Southeast campus would make it an ideal location for mixed residential and business development.

Groups interested in purchasing the property should contact Joe Kappler with Macadam Forbes at 503-972-7294 or joek@macadamforbes.com. More information on the site is available within the real estate flyer.

Ali-Zane Collectable Apparel and Shoes on NE Glisan

Last month, Ali-Zane opened at 7521 NE Glisan Street, offering sought-after pre-owned clothing and shoes. Owner Ali Sheikh sells a wide selection of collectible jerseys, hats, fashion accessories, and shoes. Although this shop is a new venture for Sheikh, he has over 15 years of experience selling collectible and vintage items online. Sheikh attributes the quality of the store’s inventory to his teenage son, Gio. Over the last nine years, the pair have worked together to build a collection of valuable used items, and Gio has developed a knack for finding quality vintage items.

Although heavily stocked with sports-related merchandise, the store will rotate in new items weekly and introduce more everyday vintage clothing. The store does not buy from the public but will trade sneakers under the right conditions. Most of the stores’ inventory comes from abandoned storage lockers and thrift-store marketplaces.

Ali Sheikh’s son Gio working behind the counter

As more than just a vintage storefront, the shop offers new unique items. The shop sells “exotic” snacks and drinks that are hard to find in the Portland area. Equipment in the back rook allows the staff to make custom jerseys or shirts with same-day delivery. The store is currently expanding its offerings of new, hard-to-find shoes, and later this summer, Gio intends to begin selling Pokémon cards alongside other collectible game items.

Sheikh lives down the street from this store and was happy to find affordable retail space in his neighborhood. He expressed excitement for the store’s location and the public’s strong interest in the shop’s offerings. Located next door to Kingdom Kuts, foot traffic from their customers has already driven sales. Before officially opening, people were peaking into the shop and making offers on items.

Next week the store will transition to an extended summer schedule of 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Gio will be off from school and spending more time with his father at the store. Ali Sheikh encourages people to drop by often. New items are constantly rotating in with recently acquired pieces and back-stock inventory. The shop will soon have a website to promote and sell its most desirable items. However, an in-person visit will expose a shopper to the best selection.

Westbound I-84 Closures in June

Starting June 22nd, TriMet crews will close a segment of westbound Interstate 84 overnight to support work on the A Better Red project underway near the Gateway Transit Center. Each night the roadway will close to vehicles from 10 p.m. and reopen at 4 a.m. The evening work will continue through June 30th, with a full weekend closure from the 24th to the 27th. People driving west on I-84 are advised to take southbound Interstate 205 as an alternate route. Drivers can merge back onto I-84 past the Gateway area.

Rendering of the new Red Line bridge crossing I-84. Image courtesy TriMet

The two-mile closures of I-84 west, near I-205, will facilitate further construction of a new MAX light rail bridge. During the weekend shutdown, crews will drill a 102-foot-deep shaft next to I-84, providing access to a stable anchor point for the bridge’s foundation. The column constructed on the new foundation is a critical support structure for the 500-foot span. Two construction cranes and other heavy equipment are already on-site and positioned to aid workers with their activities planned for the end of the month.

Once completed, the bridge will add another set of tracks to carry MAX Red Line trains through the Gateway area, helping to alleviate bottlenecks and improve reliability across the MAX system. A new multi-use path leading to the Gateway Green Park is planned for the bridge, alongside the new tracks. This added access route will make the park more accessible to a variety of users and increase amenities in the space.

Multi-use path leading to the Gateway Green Park. Image courtesy TriMet

People interested in knowing more about TriMet’s A Better Red project can attend the June 13th Montavilla Neighborhood Association meeting at 6:30 p.m. At that event, Trimet’s Community Affairs Coordinator, Libby Winter, will present information regarding the light rail project and related construction closures. Additionally, people can subscribe to email updates regarding the project at trimet.org/betterred.

TriMet encourages motorists to plan an alternate route in advance of the work and expect traffic to be heavier than usual during the closures. Transit staff do not anticipate bus and MAX service disruption during this work. As the dates get closer, users of this section of westbound I-84 should check the TriMet project website for updates and changes.

Weekday overnight closures

  • 10 p.m. Wednesday June, 22 to 4 a.m. Thursday, June 23.
  • 10 p.m. Thursday June, 23 to 4 a.m. Friday June, 24.
  • 10 p.m. Monday June 27 to 4 a.m. Tuesday June 28.
  • 10 p.m. Tuesday June 28 to 4 a.m. Wednesday June 29.
  • 10 p.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday June 30.

Weekend closures

  • 10 p.m. Friday, June 24 to 4 a.m. Monday, June 27

Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the Montavilla Neighborhood Association Board.

SE Washington I-205 Overpass Work

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is installing a new protective screening and new bridge railings on the SE Washington Street bridge over Interstate 205. Bridge screens are protective fences that improve safety on highways by preventing fallen and thrown objects from hitting vehicles passing below. This work is part of a larger project that includes installing new protective screening on twelve bridges over ODOT highways in the Portland area and new railings on four of the twelve bridges.

Crews began work in April and have completed work on SE Washington Street’s southern bridge railing. They removed the see-through three-bar steel bridge railing and replaced it with a solid concrete barrier topped with a single see-through steel rail. Work has now shifted to the other side of the street. Crews are actively replacing the railing on the northern portion of the overpass. Then workers will begin attaching screens extending several feet above the barrier on both sides of the overpass.

Crews will block one traffic lane adjacent to the work area during construction. Planners expect work to continue for two months and reduce automotive throughput to three lanes from four. ODOT cautions that the project schedule is subject to change. However, work is currently on schedule.

The twin overpass on SE Stark Street is not one of the twelve bridges selected for ODOT improvements at this time. However, it utilizes the older design that State transportation engineers are now replacing. Future funding will likely pay for upgrades to the SE Stark Street overpass, similar to what crews are installing on SE Washington Street.

Although these changes will have minimal impact on users of the overpass, future upgrades coming to the SE Stark Washington Streets couplet will improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. Look for this current work to continue into summer and use caution while driving on SE Washington. Expect more road work next year along both SE Stark and Washington Streets.

Completed south side bridge railing