Category: Business Closing

24 Hour Fitness Mall 205 Location Closing

On May 26th, Mall 205’s 24 Hour Fitness gym will close permanently, with current members transferring to the Hollywood location at 4224 NE Halsey Street. This closure is the second gym to cease operations in the area this year. The ample exercise space offered an indoor lap pool, steam room, sauna, basketball court, and the standard assortment of fitness equipment.

Representatives for 24 Hour Fitness did not provide a specific reason for the gym’s closure, saying only that it is “due to a combination of circumstances.” Like many in-person fitness locations, 24 Hour Fitness suffered financially during the mandatory pandemic closures and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 15th, 2020. Although the national chain recovered from that setback, emerging from bankruptcy in the same year, the company close over 100 locations as part of its restructuring plan. The Mall 205 location survived those cuts, but gyms have continued to suffer post-pandemic. Nearby Cascade Athletic Clubs closed its Montavilla location earlier this year, citing a slow recovery after reopening.

The fitness chain opened the soon-to-be shuttered location at 10052 SE Washington Street over two decades ago, occupying the southeast corner of the L-shaped building. Members access the exercise facility from the back parking lot. However, the location retained interior access prior to the recent mall reconfiguration. The shopping center failed to draw many customers to its interior corridors, and most stores relied on the outside doors for access when they could.

Site capture of from June 9th, 2002. Curtesy

In 2022, the Mall property sold to an investment group that ended leases with the interior tenants. The property’s new owners will renovate the building to support larger storefronts independently accessed from the parking lot. Recent building permit applications state that Hobby Lobby will open a location somewhere on the property between Target and Home Depot. Other national brands are expected to take space in the revitalized shopping complex, and the 24 Hour Fitness vacancy should help with that transformation.

The exercise location’s closure, regardless of the cause, will leave just one general-use gym in the area. MUV Fitness is less than 1,000 feet from the 24 Hour Fitness Mall 205 location. That business attracted some former Cascade Athletic Clubs members and could become a viable option for 24 Hour Fitness members. People uninterested in switching to 24 Hour Fitness Hollywood location will likely consider MUV Fitness or look to alternative venues like Mt. Tabor CrossFit at 8028 NE Glisan Street.

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True North Studios Closes

Kaiden Builds opened True North Studios just off NE Glisan Street in September 2019, offering a creative workspace to the community. The pandemic delayed early growth for the membership-based artistic hub at 455 NE 71st Avenue, and reliable funding never materialized. Consequentially, the space shut down permanently on April 30th. A fundraising campaign is underway to help cover the costs of terminating contracts and other debts.

Builds made the difficult decision to cease operations last month, giving members time to move out of the space. However, many artists have few options for a creative workspace. “Most of my members didn’t go to another community space. They went to their homes or another private space. A lot of people actually ended up leaving their craft for a moment or putting it on pause because all of their equipment ended up in storage,” explained Builds. “There’s nowhere that they can find space affordably to keep it operable. So all they can do is put it on pause, store it until they can find somewhere else.”

Builds spent the last 30 days donating or selling company-owned supplies and equipment. “A bunch of the lockers and cubbies went to Lewis and Clark College,” remarked Builds, explaining how they have tried to keep as many items in the community as possible. The experience has been challenging, leaving the True North Studios community questioning Portland’s reputation for supporting the arts. Kaiden Builds has yet to rule out attempting this type of creative-collaborative space again. However, they do not think it could exist in Portland, and it would require having a rent-free building to work from. The community workspace model is popular but not financially strong in the current market.

For Kaiden Builds, securing reliable funding is the most challenging aspect of running a creative space. The hard costs are constant, and membership fees alone do not cover the monthly obligations. “The rent is about $5,500 a month, and that’s $150.00 a day. I can’t get general operating expense help through any program that’s available right now,” said Builds. Although many grants favor nonprofits, Builds founded True North Studios as a for-profit company. However, they feel that was not the cause of the funding challenges. “I honestly don’t know if being a nonprofit would have helped me because my main hurdle is general operating expenses. A lot of the grants aren’t targeted for that,” explained Builds. “And we’ve had some people come back on our Instagram and say, ‘well, you just have to do kids programming,’ but if I put on kids programming, all that money has to go towards that program. So none of it can go to keeping the door open.”

Portland offers some support for small businesses. However, Builds says those programs did not apply to True North Studios. “The stuff that’s available through Prosper Portland and Venture Portland are all through [Tax Increment Finance] TIF districts, and we happen to be just outside of them.” True North Studios took out a $50,000 Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to keep the company running over the years. That outstanding debt and other termination costs are looming over the company as they close down the space. The fundraising campaign is an effort to offset those costs as much as possible.

Kaiden Builds is disappointed in how the city and regional government supports arts. However, they have not given up on True North Studios’ concept. It will take time to regroup from this setback and even longer to figure out where this idea can take root. “I would love to give back to the community again, but at this point, I’ve been running so dry and so thin that I have nothing left to give, and I have to spend some time recovering,” said Builds.

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Tub and Tan Building for Sale

On January 4th, Tub and Tan closed its doors after failing to resolve a conflict with the property management company Dinihanian LLC. On March 28th, Tub and Tan’s owner abandoned reopening plans and announced online that he could not continue operations under current conditions. Now, the building’s owners have the 5,000-square-foot property listed for sale. The adjacent 5,488-square-foot property behind the store contains a portion of the hot tub rooms and may also become available for purchase at a later date.

In 1940, C. Lews began construction on the building at 8028 SE Stark Street to house a tile store. In 1964, Executive Barber College opened in this location with upwards of 20 barber stations. It served several other businesses throughout the years before becoming a hot tubbing location in the 1990s. After nearly 30 years, it may soon see redevelopment for a new use. However, the real estate listing for the property indicates that functional sauna and hot tub equipment remain on-site for a potential turnkey business. Still, only some of the facility is for sale because the tubbing company spanned two properties. 8025 SE Washington Street, along with Tub and Tan, are owned by John Captain III. The SE Washington property contains the outdoor hot tub rooms for the now-closed business. In a Facebook comment, Captain mentioned trying to reopen from the other property, but later social media posts indicate a diminished interest in continuing the business.

This Stark Street storefront is located in Historic Down Town Montavilla, where commercial properties rarely change hands and tend to sell quickly. People interested in purchasing the building can contact Jason VanAbrams with Marcus & Millichap by calling 503-200-2027 or emailing the agent.

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NE 82nd Hotel Becomes Recuperative Care Site

Central City Concern (CCC) is relocating its Recuperative Care Program (RCP) to the former Comfort Inn at 8225 NE Wasco Street. From this new location, staff will provide ongoing medical and housing support for people recently discharged from the hospital but needing continued recovery assistance. Participants are referred directly from local hospitals, health plans, and outpatient providers, staying on the property for an average of four to six weeks.

CCC is purchasing the 66-unit former hotel to host the RCP program currently housed within the Blackburn Center at 122nd Avenue and E Burnside Street. That location often runs at its capacity of 51 participants. The program’s relocation to the NE 82nd Avenue building will allow it to expand to address the 25 to 35 patient referral waitlist. Beyond the added space, the new facility offers centrally located access to transportation through the adjacent Max station and the 72 Bus line. According to Jordan Wilhelms, director of CCC’s RCP program, many of their clients face mobility issues and need easy access to TriMet. “Having access to public transportation is critical to their recovery,” wrote Wilhelms in an email interview.

The RCP provides a critical service to recovering people who do not have access to post-treatment support. Medical respite care prevents recently discharged patients from relapsing and needing to be readmitted. Inadequate post-hospitalization care is a particular concern for unhoused individuals who do not have access to primary care or specialty outpatient care. CCC will provide on-site primary care and pharmacy support for RCP participants in the new building, so people staying on the property can have immediate access to those services. The health care and pharmacy services currently offered at Blackburn Center will remain at the E Burnside Street facility, while the soon-to-be vacated RCP space could help expand the supportive housing program offered in that building.

Since 2005, CCC has grown the RCP and often stands as an example to other communities facing similar issues. “We were early adopters of the medical respite care service and are routinely visited by governmental and organizational representatives from cities all over the country looking to replicate the model. Our service is built around connecting participants with appropriate health care, helping stabilize health conditions, and accessing much-needed housing support,” explained Wilhelms. They provide around-the-clock support for clients and a place for medical providers to refer patients experiencing homelessness and needing additional care to recover from an acute or chronic condition.

Sheltered people often accomplish post-hospital care at home with the assistance of their personal support network, but that option is not available to everyone. RCP partners OHSU, Providence, and Health Share rely on this program to discharge at-risk patients to a safe and supportive environment where they can receive continued care. Programs like RCP can save money and keep hospital beds open. With the RCP option, people do not need to extend their hospital stay solely because they have no medically sound place to go when released. The CCC is engaging neighborhood and business associations in conversations regarding this site, and people can direct questions to the senior director of public affairs with the CCC, Juliana Lukasik, at

Disclosure: The author of this article servers on the boards of the 82nd Avenue Business Association and Montavilla Neighborhood Association.

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Ghosted by Ghost Kitchens

In the summer of 2021, REEF Technology expanded its network of mobile ghost kitchens across Portland, adding one cluster in Montavilla along SE 82nd Avenue. The Miami-based company bet big on delivery-only food service, a decision that seemed prophetic during the pandemic. However, that early success did not last and was particularly unsustainable in Portland. Now all locations are closed, with most former sites cleared of the brand’s equipment. Only one ghost kitchen cart remains at 1133 SE 82nd Avenue. It is locked up, and the website that once solicited new clients is offline.

REEF site at 1133 SE 82nd Avenue in 2021

As reported by Sophie Peel in the Willamette Week, REEF Technology recently ceased most, if not all, operations in Portland. Several years ago, the company’s business model was seen as the future of food service thanks to the popularity of app-based delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, and Postmates. The company leveraged a nationwide network of parking lots into delivery service hubs that offered low rent and easy access. Each food cart ghost kitchen could prepare food under various brands, cutting labor costs and flooding delivery apps with an onslaught of culinary options. The December 26th cover story in the Willamette Week detailed the troubled Portland rollout by REEF Technology. That article noted that many large brands had recently severed ties with the ghost kitchen prover, including Jack in the Box, Burger King, and Popeyes. 

Ghost kitchens were not an invention of REEF Technology, nor are they likely to disappear entirely from the landscape of American dining due to this recent setback. A detailed analysis of this model will one day explain the rapid rise and fall of REEF Technology’s Neighborhood Kitchens brand. However, for now, most Portlanders selecting food for delivery will find they come from a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

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The Growing Urban Core on E Burnside

A cluster of four-story apartment buildings is transforming E Burnside Street west of SE 60th Avenue. In a former 7-Eleven’s footprint, crews recently completed work on the second building at the Burnie apartment complex. One street over, Tabor Flats PDX has a 78-unit apartment building under construction. This month, permit applications revealed another 78-unit building will soon sit between the other two projects, replacing The Jag Shop at 5710 E Burnside Street. This rapid redevelopment indicates what is economically viable in Commercial Mixed Use 2 (CM2) zoning just 20 blocks from Montavilla.

Rendering of 5734 E Burnside Street. Image courtesy FoslerArchitecture

In January 2023, the specialty automotive repair shop announced its closure after nearly 28 years. Now Fosler Architecture is working with the new property owners to design the four-story multi-family building replacing The Jag Shop. The proposed project will include a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units. Each residence will have a stacked laundry facility and utilizes an efficient floor plan. When completed, the building will have a new address of 5734 E Burnside Street.

The Tabor Flats PDX development, across SE 57th Avenue from The Jag Shop, is owned by the same entity behind the Burnie. The group’s newest apartment building broke ground at 8 SE 56th Avenue soon after the other development wrapped up just 700 feet away. Studio 3 Architecture designed both projects for The Mark R Madden Revocable Living Trust. Consequentially, Studio 3 Architecture has set the aesthetic for buildings in this area of E Burnside Street and will make a lasting mark on the street.

The Jag Shop at 5710 E Burnside Street

These mass housing projects are possible because of the CM2 zoning on this section of E Burnside Street. It incentives medium-scale commercial mixed-use development in population centers and corridors, particularly in areas well served by frequent public transit. City planners expect buildings in this zone to be up to four stories tall, but until recently, very few developers in this area have built to that scale. If these 70-plus unit apartment buildings continue to meet the housing gap for a considerable percentage of the population, builders will continue their work towards the east. CM2 zoning exists across many sections of Montavilla, including 82nd Avenue and E Burnside Street. Only two projects in Montavilla have proposed housing density equal to what is happening in the adjacent neighborhoods. It is only a matter of time before more properties in Montavilla attract development projects that deliver over 60 apartments in a single structure.

Zoning map centered on 5710 E Burnside from Portland Maps

Retraction: A previous version of this article stated that the former owner of The Jag Shop was involved in the project. He is not involved in the apartment development. Montavilla News regrets this error.

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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Cascade Athletic Clubs Closing on Stark Street

On January 31st, Cascade Athletic Clubs will close their Montavilla location at 9260 SE Stark Street. After nearly 36 years in this prominent storefront near Mall 205, the multi-location fitness company has opted not to renew its lease. Existing customers can transition to the Gresham location starting in February.

Cascade’s Portland location opened on Stark Street in August 1987, just ten years after the original Gresham facility began serving the health-conscious community. Scott Dobson, manager of the Montavilla location, said his facility is the only fully leased gym within the organization. The family-owned fitness company bought the Gresham property in 1977 and is part owner of their Vancouver, WA, facility. Consequentially, closing the Portland location is the most sensible place to cut back costs after a challenging few years. “The Pandemic closed our doors twice for months, and we never recovered, ” explained Dobson. Closing this location allows the company to refocus on the other two sites. Dobson and many of his staff will relocate to one of the other locations. However, it will be quite an adjustment for the team after many years of working in the neighborhood. “I have loved the 34 years working in Montavilla. I am doing my best to run a great club until February 1st, help my staff transition to other locations, and help give my membership the information they need to choose a new club.” Said Dobson.

This change will also complicate operations for Cascade 205 Physical Therapy, an embedded business that uses Cascade Athletic Clubs’ equipment as part of its rehabilitation program. John McAllister, Clinic Director at Cascade 205 Physical Therapy, said they intend to remain at that location but are still working on details. “At this point, we are planning to stay in the building to continue to serve patients in the neighborhood. We are working to have a full assortment of exercise equipment in our space. If we are not able to stay in this location long term with a new anchor business, we will move very nearby to continue to serve patients in Montavilla and inner SE Portland.” Said McAllister.

Scott Dobson acknowledges this is disappointing news for its members, some of whom have decades of experience going to this gym. “It is definitely sad, but I am concentrating on finishing December and January strong and taking care of our members and staff.” The Montavilla location will remain in operation for another month. They are open Monday through Thursday from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. on weekends.

Update February 4th, 2023: Cascade Athletic Clubs’ 9260 SE Stark Street location is boarded up awaiting a new tenant. Interested groups should contact Hanna Realty at 503-774-8893 or

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Massive I84 and 82nd Ave Property for Sale

An acre of Commercial Mixed Use real estate at 1411 NE 82nd Avenue recently became available on Montavilla’s northern edge. The lot, adjacent to Interstate 84, is the current home to Eastern Cathay restaurant and is the former birthplace of the Elmer’s Pancake House franchise.

The listing agent, Adrian Chu of Specialty Real Estate Group, is positioning this property as a “developer’s dream.” The parcel sits at the intersection of a freeway, 82nd Avenue, NE Halsey, and the TriMet MAX Light Rail system. The site is underdeveloped, with only a single 4,500-square-foot restaurant building at its center, surrounded by more parking than guests could fill. If redeveloped, residents could quickly travel to any destination from this location with numerous transportation options, and retail on the ground floor would have access to hundreds of daily commuters.

Courtesy Danna brothers and Midcounty Memo

This site was born out of the I-84 expansion, having been leveled during the widening of Sullivan’s Gulch. The 1950’s era civil engineering project required the demolition of the McCarthy & Danna Food Center that had formerly occupied the land over the freeway where NE Halsey connected to NE 82nd Avenue. The store’s operator, Salvatore “Sam” G. Danna, intended to rebuild the grocery store on the remaining property not taken by the freeway project. However, a restaurateur suggested a different use for the vacant lot. In 1960, Danna constructed the first Elmer’s Colonial House of Pancakes restaurant on this site for Walt and Dorothy Elmer. Opening in 1961, this breakfast-focused restaurant began what would become a Northwest business empire spanning multiple states. However, this location closed after the customer base shifted to other areas.

Sanborn Map 1924 showing McCarthy & Danna Food Center location

In October 2008, Rong Liang Mei bought the property and restaurant. Having already started two successful restaurants, the new owner quickly converted this location to Eastern Cathay. The business is available as part of a sale or will shut down after the deal finalizes. At $3 million, this property may stay on the market for a while. However, its size and location make it a tempting acquisition for a developer or government buyer.

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191 Apartments Proposed on SE Division

The new owners of a large warehouse at 8301 SE Division Street recently proposed a transformation to the 30,000-square-foot property. Last month, Diamond Plaza LLC applied for Early Assistance with the creation of 191 apartment units over 4,390 square feet of ground-floor retail space. A veteran of similar projects, Hoff Construction Group, will manage the site’s development.

Only 50 feet of the property exists on SE Division Street. Most site access occurs along SE 83rd Avenue. The lot is in a Commercial Mixed Use 2 (CM2) zone with a Centers Main Street (m) overlay. That will allow buildings with four stories, except in locations where bonuses allow up to five levels. The M overly requires active ground floor commercial uses with windows and a minimum building footprint covering a large portion of the site. This overlay also limits certain auto-oriented uses and favors compact, walkable design.

Image from Portland Maps

Division Street has seen many recent high-density mixed-use development in the last decade. However, few of those projects extend east past 82nd Avenue. In 2019, Hoff Construction Group completed a similarly sized complex to what designers proposed at SE 83rd and Division. That project at 2595 SE 50th Avenue created the Division Street Station apartment building with a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units. If both developments are indeed comparable, it could indicate a significant change for this section of East Portland, with the influx of new residents helping fill retail vacancies in adjacent properties like the Pacific Plaza.

Tran’s Auto Body last occupied the green 8,999 square-foot warehouse now at the site. That automotive services company recently ceased operation after two decades. Upon closing the business, Quy Tran sold the SE Division Street property to Diamond Plaza LLC. The Mt. Hood Building Supply company was one of the original tenants of this 1970-built structure, using the large metal building for lumber storage. Its early uses shaped the utilitarian design of the site, and subsequent businesses did not alter it much over the years.

This location’s current configuration reflects an industrial past that now seems out of place next to Portland Community College and the pedestrian-scale retail developments along the street. Converting this location to housing aligns with the efforts of Jade District leaders and other community groups working in this area. Most people should welcome the new mixed-use building if it is approved. 

The current proposal is only in the Early Assistance phase of development. Details of the project will likely change before the owners apply for building permits. However, any significant construction on this site will improve SE 83rd Avenue. That street only has 230 feet of sidewalk along its western edge. Work at this property will create 360 feet of new sidewalk and replace pavement on its eastern side of the roadway, improving the utility of this currently dead-end street. Expect further updates regarding this project in 2023 as designers refine their plans for this transformative redevelopment.

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