Category: Business Relocating

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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AYCO Secures Dream Center on SE 82nd

The African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO) moved into the group’s Dream Center at 2110 SE 82nd Avenue in January 2023. This new location is the first permanent space for the 501c3 nonprofit organization. It moved from a temporary office on NE Glisan Street, where two affordable housing units will soon break ground, prompting their relocation after only two years. As the first long-term occupants of this modern building on SE 82nd Avenue, the youth-focused group has plans to build out the unfinished space but still needs further funding to implement those changes. However, investing in the culturally specific community center is already expanding services for an often overlooked segment of Portland’s population.

Executive Director Jamal Dar founded AYCO in 2009 with an emphasis on athletics and mentoring. Thanks to the helpful staff and donors, he continues to grow the organization to support entire families and the wider community. This new building is the next significant leap for the organization, which already serves thousands. “AYCO serves over 25,000 community members every year, with youth development, skill building, environmental education, workforce development, mentorship, and leadership. We serve over 11,000 students every year,” recounts Dar. His group partners with six school districts with 575 students enrolled in its after-school program. In-school staff called Cultural Navigators are available to students in the participating districts. They offer educational support and mentoring with an understanding of the challenges faced by immigrant and refugee youth.

Jamal Dar at the new AYCO Dream Center

Jamal Dar explained that serving the children alone is not enough to build success for students. The family’s situation influences a child’s future. This realization is why AYCO expanded to support parents, providing them with tools to participate in the education process. “We’re dealing with a multi-generational model where our children will grow up here in the culture, creating a barrier between them and their parents,” said Dar. In some cases, the child acts as the family translator and can take advantage of the situation to filter out the negative aspects of their behavior at school. AYCO informs parents of their right to receive translation services from the school and helps them interface with educators successfully. Dar also emphasized the cultural difference in American education, explaining that many African communities will not require parents to participate in school matters. However, in Oregon’s schools, parental involvement is an ingredient for academic success.

When AYCO moved into the NE Glisan Street location two years ago, it provided a needed boost in facilities, helping expand their support services. Similarly, this latest relocation will also help grow the organization. However, the move was faster than Jamal Dar had planned. When they took the short-term lease from Metro in 2021, Dar hoped redevelopment plans would include AYCO in the new affordable housing project as part of the ground floor programming. Ultimately, Metro did not select the development proposal that included AYCO as a service provider at the site, forcing them to relocate permanently ahead of the building’s demolition. Fortunately, several funding sources materialized to secure a new space. However, not all funds were available in time, prompting the need for a bridge loan to help AYCO buy 2110 SE 82nd Avenue. The nonprofit community development organization Craft3 stepped in to fill that financial gap, which Dar hopes to repay later this year.

Draft plan for 2110 SE 82nd Avenue’s fist floor

As the AYCO staff complete the acquisition phase of the Dream Center’s development, they must consider how to shape the raw space into the community center that they envisioned. Working with an architectural firm, they’ve crafted a draft proposal for the interior configuration. Dar has those building plans displayed on the back wall of the 82nd Avenue building, letting visitors imagine where the new walls will land in the open room. It features an ample event space at the front of the building allowing for organization lead gatherings and rentable space for personal celebrations. Plans call for segmenting the reaming two-thirds of the building to serve specific programs. 

Ahlam Osman, the Youth Environmental & Workforce Development Coordinator at AYCO, explained that this transformation will take years. “So we have the outer shell built, but they’re going to continue building it, building walls and making it into an actual center. That’s going to take about two years for it to be complete.” Osman described how each area would enhance the organization’s offerings. “We’re going to have an adult daycare—a space for the elders in our community to come together and drink tea. Just having a space where they can relax and connect is important for our community. We like to talk and discuss,” said Osman. “We’re also going to have a childcare area, that’s a huge need in our community, and we currently don’t have any childcare facilities that’s culturally specific.” The plans have designated rooms for homework assistance and training classrooms. AYCO leadership envisions an organization that can serve pan-African youth from kindergarten to college. They’ve also planned space for a media room to foster podcast productions, giving voice to their community.

Osman appreciates the new space’s potential and how it benefits the African immigrant and refugee population. They can expand beyond the established youth programs, educating adults on navigating all the systems of American society. Recently they hosted a discussion about renter’s rights. “Our communities are [mostly] renters, not homeowners. So a lot of them want to learn more about what their tenant rights are and how to talk to their landlords because their landlords are not receptive to the issues that they bring up,” explained Osman. Much of this information is available from other sources but not as accessible to everyone. “There’s a lot of Somalis who live in this county and who live in this neighborhood. I don’t really see there being options for translated materials,” remarked Osman.

According to Osman, that barrier to information extends into political participation. “We’re definitely not as engaged [as others], and I think a huge reason for that is because of a lack of education. They all know what the problems are and what the issues are. They just aren’t aware of how to solve those issues on a structural level. Not understanding the system, and the language barrier, are all contributors to the lack of civic engagement. I also feel like our elected officials and local politicians don’t do a great job coming to our community and meeting us where we’re at. I just think there’s a huge disconnect between our local politicians and our community,” said Osman.

Part of the disconnect comes from a structural difference in how this community communicates. “We collect data differently than the way it’s traditionally collected through surveys. We as an organization collect qualitative data through storytelling, dialogue, and conversation,” explained Osman. This approach is a culturally specific method for imparting experience and often clashes with established techniques used to quickly harness data and normalize it to appear on a chart. “It’s really hard to capture quantitative data, and that’s usually what’s being asked for,” said Osman.

Although information-gathering approaches differ, pan-Afican community members face similar income and living expenses issues as many Portlanders. “Housing is huge and the main issue that gets brought up. We do a lot of wrap-around support and assistance, but it’s not really sustainable because there are a lot of underlying issues like a lack of employment. It’s really hard for the elders in our community to even find jobs because of the language barrier. You have to know fluent English to get a job, or they’re being mistreated and abused by their employers because they don’t know English, and they get taken advantage of,” explained Osman.

As with other population groups in the area facing rising housing costs, the African immigrant and refugee community must move further east. That can further isolate children as they relocate away from services. “Transportation is a huge barrier for our youth, they have to ask their parents for rides, but their parents work. We used to have a van, but it got stolen. We’re also trying to encourage our students to take the bus, but safety is a huge issue. A lot of our youth are black and Muslim and just don’t feel safe taking it,” said Osman. Jamal Dar reiterated that sentiment, saying the 2017 stabbing on the MAX train was a significant moment for his community. That attack began as a verbal anti-Muslim assault on two black teenagers, ending with two dead and one person critically injured. That incident still makes some Muslims hesitant to ride TriMet. This new center is closer to the people they serve and on a busy bus line. However, several changes are needed to make this center more accessible by public transportation. AYCO staff are looking forward to TriMet improvements to bus safety and a greater acceptance of headwear worn by some Muslim women. Osman also hopes to see a permanent student free-ride program for Portland Public and David Douglas School Districts. 

Ahlam Osman began working with AYCO seven months ago while studying community development at Portland State University. She is excited to work in this position within her chosen field. “My job is very much tied to what I’m studying and what I want to do in the future after I graduate,” said Osman. “I lived in Portland my whole life. I’ve never felt like I had a place to call home outside of my actual home. I never imagined us having our own Community Center. So I’m really excited to see this building fully built because it makes me want to stay here in Portland.” AYCO is still searching for funding and volunteer support. People interested in helping develop the program and donating to this group can find more information on the organization’s website.

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Injury Attorney Moves Practice to Montavilla

An injury attorney recently moved his law practice into the former Hand Therapy Specialists building at 300 SE 80th AvenueChristopher T. Hill purchased the building last December and relocated his offices from Downtown Portland into this single-story building. The property only required new interior paint and carpets to host this business, but future upgrades will create additional private office space for prospective tenants.

This business’s move out of the City Center was years in the making, driven by Hill’s desire for a practice closet to his South Tabor home and to provide a more convenient location. “I wanted to move my office to the East Side for a while. That was partly to shorten my commute, and so clients can avoid the hassle of going downtown for a meeting,” said Hill. The search for a property spanned the East Side. However, the SE 80th Avenue location best fits the law office’s needs with an affordable price and space to support income from leasing offices to other legal service providers. Its proximity to the Historic Montavilla Town also appealed to Hill, who frequents the shops in the area. “I’m happy to be in the neighborhood. Montavilla has always seemed like a neighborhood with a sense of place and a unique identity,” remarked Hill.

Interior 300 SE 80th Ave with new paint and carpet, image courtesy Christopher T. Hill

Although initially built as a medical office in 1948, this is not the first law office at this location, according to Hill. “I discovered through the purchase process that a friend of mine, Kathleen O’Brien, who’s also a lawyer, had the building.” O’Brien sold the building to the owners of Hand Therapy Specialists in 2002, who worked from the building for nearly 20 years before selling the business and building.

Christopher T. Hill specializes in injury law with the aid of a paralegal. “I work on injury and insurance cases. That’s mostly car crashes. I’m a plaintiff’s side lawyer. I represent the folks who were injured and typically work on a contingent fee,” explained Hill. “I would not wish the need for my services on anybody, but bad things do happen, and I help people get compensation for bad stuff that happened to them. I help a lot of people out with solutions that they don’t necessarily see with injury claims, getting the medical bills, lost wages, or the property damage paid.”

Christopher T. Hill, image courtesy Christopher T. Hill

Hill does not take on other types of legal work. Instead, he has focused the last 20 years of his career on injury law. He feels that makes him a skilled advocate for his clients during a uniquely challenging time in their lives. “I work to understand how injuries affect people and why it’s important to them, and that’s just to make sure that I can authentically communicate those impacts to judges, juries, adjusters, and whoever needs to know.”

After construction crews create the additional office space, Hill expects to rent to other attorneys with different areas of expertise. Until then, he can help direct people to the appropriate legal council if he is not the best person to assist. Look for new signs advertising the law office in the coming months, and if you have a legal need, reach out to Christopher T. Hill through the website or by calling 503-227-4330.

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Endure Vintage Furnishings on SE Stark

Last weekend, Endure vintage furniture opened at its new location in Downtown Montavilla. The store moved to 7848 SE Stark Street after relocating from a temporary space on E Burnside Street. The mid-century modern focused furniture store joins a handful of other shops selling classic items on SE Stark Street.

Endure began as a pop-up shop in late 2022, and its success kept the doors open. A steady interest in the store’s collection prompted the owners to relocate to a permeant storefront with more space. Although this business’ name is relatively new, co-owner Brandon Laws has eight years of experience selling furniture online and operates other vintage enterprises outside of Oregon.

During their location search, Laws and his partner, Stephanie Trimble, considered one space near a collection of vintage shops on SE Hawthorne Boulevard. However, they ultimately chose to take the storefront next door to Flipside Hats in that recently remodeled building. “The space itself is beautiful and has light and really good windows. I just kind of fell in love with the space,” explained Laws. “It just seems like Montavilla is in a better position of its arc. People are moving east in our city, and I feel like Montavilla’s time is just around the corner.” Said Laws. He recognizes the neighborhood is already an established Portland destination but feels there is plenty of room to mature, particularly around the growing number of Vintage shops clustering together on the main street.

SE Stark Street has featured antique shops for decades, but the number of shops has increased dramatically over the last three years. In this competitive market, Endure sets itself apart from the other shops by focusing on a particular era of furniture. “Though a handful of vintage shops have opened on that little stretch of Stark Street, we have a little bit different flavor of inventory than the other ones,” said Laws. “We’re a little bit more strictly mid-century modern than most folks. We focus on case goods, so credenzas dressers and things that are shaped like boxes.”

Article images courtesy Endure

The bulk of inventory comes from the 1950s through the 1960s, and store staff refinish most pieces, restoring them to their original condition. Laws and Trimble feel that those years were the best era for American-made home goods. “We’re drawn to things that are really well crafted. We focus on a time period where there was a lot of bounty in the United States, and there were actually big-name designers designing pieces of furniture, which stopped happening in the US after a certain amount of time,” explained Laws. During that time, people invested more of their income towards quality furniture made with hardwoods and other durable materials. 

The search for mid-century modern furniture takes a nationwide hunt by a group of enthusiasts. “I have a few friends that pick for me out in the Midwest and East Coast. We travel the country and load up the biggest truck we can get,” said Laws. They then transport those items to a warehouse or other storage locations to be cleaned up and made ready for a new home. On average, Laws and Trimble only display ten percent of the available inventory in the shop. Consequentially, they often have access to the particular item a customer wants. “We’re pretty good at finding things for people,” remarked Laws.

Article images courtesy Endure

Endure’s inventory is not restricted to vintage furniture. Stephanie Trimble has collected an assortment of vintage dresses over the last 15 years. The store will rotate through the 1000 peace collection, which covers styles from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. They will also have a selection of new handmade items and works from Pacific Northwest artists, rounding out the store’s offerings.

Endure is open Friday through Monday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with extended weekend hours starting at noon. These limited hours will expand after they hire an employee later this year. Expect a rotating collection of mid-century modern furniture alongside other vintage items on display, and stop in to make special requests for that particular piece you are seeking.

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Unicorn Jiu Jitsu Relocates on SE Stark

Since opening in May 2019, Unicorn Jiu Jitsu has increased membership, outgrowing its original training gym at 8502 SE Stark Street. Now they are relocating seven blocks down Stark Street to a newly updated space that will better suit their needs. Next month, the jiu-jitsu academy will move from its current location to 9220 SE Stark Street, taking advantage of the new storefront’s expanded training room and parking.

When starting the business, Unicorn Jiu Jitsu co-owner Hillary VanOrnum knew it would be a special place to train. Her position as the head coach instantly made the gym unique, and with the help of her family, they created a safe place where everyone feels comfortable in class. “There’s not any other gym in Portland, Oregon, that a woman is a head coach, and we have a pretty diverse membership. There are some classes where the majority of the class is women, and that’s pretty unusual in Brazilian jiu-jitsu,” explained Hillary VanOrnum. “A lot of gyms you walk in, and there’s one or two women on the mats, but in our gym, it’s often fifty-fifty.” 

Hillary VanOrnum is Oregon’s second female black belt and places well in competitions, having won world championships. As a paralegal for a major communications company during weekdays, she schedules her classes in the evenings and Saturdays. However, eight other instructors teach at Unicorn Jiu Jitsu, including her co-owners, husband Brian, and brother Andrew Wright. Classes range from all levels of adult training to popular kids programs for ages 6 to 9 or 10 to 13. “The majority of our classes are what we would call fundamental so that they’re geared towards those just starting out their journey. It takes some people ten years to get to their black belt,” said Co-owner and Assistant Head Coach Brian VanOrnum. For the advanced members, “we have our competition class where that class is geared specifically towards those looking to compete. We don’t do a whole lot of teaching techniques in that sort of class. It’s just your opportunity to come to get some conditioning work.” 

Image courtesy of Unicorn Jiu Jitsu

The current location served its purpose for three years, but Brian VanOrnum explained that the configuration no longer meets their needs. “We’ve experienced quite a bit of growth over the past year, and we’ve simply outgrown the space.” Additionally, “our training space is just a very small fraction of what our total square footage is, and you know honestly that that needs to be reversed. The training portion of our space should be the majority of what the space is.”

With the constraints of the existing gym and their lease coming to an end, the owners began looking for a new location earlier this year. However, they wanted to retain all their current students. “There’s always that fear of moving a considerable distance away and losing a big portion of your membership,” said Brian VanOrnum. So when a space became available next to Stark Street Pizza Company, the group jumped on it. 

Over the last few months, crews have reworked the pizza shop adjacent storefront, removing its retail past. The building’s owner added new drywall to the demising wall for enhanced fire protection and reconstructed the ceiling. Soon the bare concrete floor will have a softer wood base to support the practice mats covering most of the ground. Carpet tiles will define the front lobby area, with a vinyl plank walkway leading back to the restrooms. The gym’s interior paint will retain its gray color palette from the old location. However, an accent wall painted in an “intense teal” color adds pop and definition to the open space.

Image courtesy of Unicorn Jiu Jitsu

Unicorn Jiu Jitsu hopes to have classes in the new location by January 2nd, with the full move completed by the end of the month. The expanded space will allow the group to continue offering all the same classes while also supporting gatherings and events. Hillary VanOrnum wanted to host activities for organizations she endorses but needed sufficient gathering space. As an organization dedicated to building and strengthening the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community for women, Girls in Gis fits perfectly with Unicorn Jiu Jitsu’s goals. Soon, the Montavilla gym will have the space to host that group’s events. 

Until the move, scheduled classes will continue at the old spaces. Look for signs and buildout progress at the new location towards the end of the month, and contact the gym if you want to take classes in what they call a “safe placed for violence.”

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Low-Carbon Architecture Firm Opens Glisan Office

After a multi-year renovation of the Art Deco office at 7631 NE Glisan StreetHarka Architecture has fully relocated to its new home. Renovation work on this compact building rescued a Montavilla architectural icon and created a functional showpiece for low-carbon construction. Harka’s founder, Patrick Donaldson, purchased this property for his architectural firm in 2019 after his sublease ended. The onset of the pandemic disrupted the plans for a quick remodel and removed the pressure to move offices as commercial space became abundant. Over the last two years, the project’s scope shifted to a methodical renovation incorporating various environmentally healthy building techniques representing the core of what Harka offers its clients.

Donaldson, who lives in the area and sometimes commutes past this building, did not envision buying this property. Even as he searched for new office space, the for sale sign in the window almost went ignored. However, something about this distinct structure captured his attention. “I kept driving, and then maybe four blocks later, I turned around and came back and wrote down the number,” Explained Donaldson. Even then, he was unsure but decided to investigate the space further. “Looking around, it turns out the shipping container that’s back here, the guy who owned it was in there, and I’m pretty sure that had I not walked up at that moment and him being there, I don’t think I would have gotten it.” The seller admitted to ignoring calls to buy the property unless the person tried at least three or four times. “That’s a strange way to way to go about things, but he was in there, and so I actually made a kind of a physical connection with him. So we ended up negotiating, and I purchased it.” Said Donaldson.

Harka Architecture‘s conference room featuring a moss wall inspired by Portland topography

Once crews began the renovation project, Donaldson and his team realized they would need to take it down to the studs and reshape the building. “I never really intended to do what we did, and then once I started kind of working on it… you start to pull the string, and you know how it goes,” remarked Donaldson. He always intended to incorporate sustainability and low-carbon designs that reduce toxicity. However, each project bumped into the constraints of the 1940 construction, and they had to make significant changes. “We made the building taller because it had a two-by-four roof [and] didn’t have a parapet, so it wouldn’t waterproof well. With a two-by-four ceiling, we’d be forced to use foam insulation, which has high embodied carbon and is filled with fire retardants.” To avoid that, they built a roof with two-by-six lumber and 14-inch engineered trusses that accommodated 13 inches of cellulose insulation. The process also changed the building’s outward appearance. “It gave it more of an overhang in the back, and then again, it’s 18 inches taller, so it has a little bit more of a profile than it had before,” said Donaldson.

With the first substantial upgrade underway, it became apparent that the building needed additional work, and keeping to the budget was already a lost cause. “We should upgrade here, we should upgrade there, and then it was like we should just make an example of this, right?” remembered Donaldson. From that point on, he and his team set out to incorporate all types of low-carbon and recycled materials into the project with the goal of making a usable showcase featuring what Harka offers its clients. “We tried to use edgier products to test them out, and so right when you walked in at the entry, there’s a little window in the ceiling that shows off the hemp [wool insulation],” explained Donaldson as he pointed to details through the space. In many places, they repurposed lumber, even salvaging lath from the walls for the paneling in the bathroom.

By tearing into the building, Donaldson’s team discovered pieces of the building’s history. It began as a dentist’s office for Herbert E. Craner, who practiced in this building for seventeen years. When he died in 1957, his son Eugene took over the business. The floors bore the marks of the heavy dental equipment once bolted down. However, the bolt holes suggested that the detail chairs were placed in the front windows, confounding the crew until they received a guest. “Some woman out [front] was taking pictures. She ended up being the daughter-in-law of Craner, who are the original [owners], and her husband grew up in here in that little side room.” Craner’s daughter-in-law described the office as configured similar to a barber’s shop, with people receiving treatment in front of the passing public looking in the front windows. “You had the chair right in the window, and people watched you get your teeth worked on. That was a thing to show off the skills of the dentist,” remarked Donaldson with surprise.

Plumbing permit found in the wall during renovations

Later in the building’s life, it housed a pizza restaurant that contributed layers of grease and hid patched-over window openings. “I believe the original building was all plywood, and then at some point, they plastered the bottom three quarters with stucco. Actually, there’s two layers of stucco on it because I think when they turned it into a pizza shop, they covered up a bunch of windows. Then they ended up just putting another layer of stucco over everything,” described Donaldson. The top portion of the building features new stucco separated by three aluminum bands wrapping around the top of the building. The old wall cladding remains in place, but that poses a problem. Creating an efficient low-carbon building involves sealing air leakage and insulating the structure to reduce energy usage. However, in this building, the outside walls were already in place. So the vapor sealing and insulation needed to occur on the interior side of the walls. First, they used an AeroBarrier treatment to plug holes in the existing walls. “They come in, and they pressurize the interior of the space, and they start spraying a non-toxic rubber cement. It goes and finds all the holes and fills them up,” explained Donaldson. “Then we put dense pack cellulose in there. That’s all fluffy, so you put netting on the wall, and then you put a hose in there, and you pack it in there tight.” They then finished the insulation work with GUTEX, a carbon-negative wood fiberboard. Once again, the product behind the wall is on display through a glass window. This time the glass doubles as a whiteboard in the conference room.

Back wall showing GUTEX wood fiberboard behind the siding

According to Donaldson, contractors often use the wood fiberboard on the exterior of a building. “It’s designed to be actually on the outside of a building. It would go on the outside over the plywood before you put your siding on. We put it on the inside here because we had the stucco. So it’s everywhere on all these walls except this back wall which didn’t have stucco on it. The back wall also functions as a demonstration of the siding product. Instead of having overlapping cladding, the exterior boards have constant gaps. This installation shows off the GUTEX product and proves that it is protecting the structure and that the siding is just a rain screen.

Not all products chosen for the project proved effective. The magnesium oxide panels used in place of traditional drywall did not hold up well, and cracks at the seams are showing in some areas. Donaldson will not recommend the product to clients. Instead, lightweight sheetrock is a better choice, with half the carbon impact as traditional gypsum board. Suggesting products and educating clients on low-carbon/low-toxin living makes Harka Architecture a unique firm. Donaldson foresaw a need for environmentally conscious buildings and believed that carbon impact would be the best measure for that work. As the discipline became more formal, tools have developed to help architects select products and features in buildings that make a substantial impact when reducing carbon. 

Patrick Donaldson by one of his gates made from repurposed material

Donaldson’s team uses data and product knowledge to refocus people’s good intentions toward activities that substantially make a difference in the environment. Every product used in construction has the potential to generate substantial amounts of embodied carbon, the amount of carbon-producing energy consumed during manufacturing. Some foam sealing products use so much electricity in production that they will never prevent the same energy leakage in a home they consumed during creation. Donaldson explained how understanding the entire life cycle of a product can substantially alter the carbon reduction equations people make. “Everyone is worried about plastics and recycling. Forget about that your steak is wrapped in plastic. It’s the steak that’s the problem, not the plastic.”

Harka Architecture works on various residential and commercial projects as well as consulting on low-carbon approaches to living and building. They assist with upgrades to existing structures and new construction. Interested developers or homeowners should contact Harka Architecture for more information.

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Maintain Yourself PDX Expands

Maintain Yourself PDX will relocate from a 200-square-foot office above the Bipartisan Cafe to a ground-floor storefront off SE Stark Street. In December, the therapeutic massage provider is taking over Montavilla Community Acupuncture‘s former space at 7925 SE Stark Street. The larger multi-room office will allow the business to grow its client base and hire more massage therapists.

Diane Barker worked for an established massage provider in NW Portland for seven years before branching out on her own. Being a Montavilla resident wanting to work closer to home, she opened Maintain Yourself PDX at 422 SE 79th Avenue, suite 203. In less than two years, the business grew beyond the confines of the current location, prompting this move.

The vacancy on SE Stark came at just the right time, and the space is practically move-in ready for the business. “Things already set up,” said Barker. “Since it was an acupuncture place before, it’s pretty much set up for massage at that point.” Currently, plans for the space focus on painting walls and a few other updates. Barker also appreciates the new location’s ground-level entrance. “One of the big things I’m excited about is not having stairs for people to come up. Being able to walk right off the street is going to be fantastic because a lot of folks have chronic knee issues or back problems.”

Image courtesy Maintain Yourself PDX

Beyond accessibility, street access will help facilitate exposure for the business and allow drop-in clients once a week. The storefront’s large front room is an ideal place for Maintain Yourself PDX staff to offer chair massages for casual clients. Sessions can last less than an hour and focus on just one area needing treatment.

Diane Barker intends to hire more staff soon, eventually having five massage therapists working at this new location. “I have one other person that I just brought on, and I’m actively hiring at the moment for the other positions,” explained Barker. The new space will become available in November, giving the Maintain Yourself PDX crew just a month to prepare everything for the move. All the work will happen while continuing to see clients at the original office.

The Stark Street location should open on December 3rd. Expect to see updates inside the office during November. Follow the Maintain Yourself PDX website and Instagram for updates.

Image courtesy Maintain Yourself PDX

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Community Acupuncture Leaving Stark

After fifteen years on SE Stark Street, Montavilla Community Acupuncture will relocate to a new office. Owner Mia Neuse recently completed renovations to an accessory building at 212 SE 79th Avenue and will move her practice to that space starting November 1st. Until that date, clients can continue to visit the location at 7925 SE Stark Street.

Neuse opened the Stark Street location with John Blank, bringing their individual practices together and creating an affordable treatment system for those without insurance coverage. Both practitioners treated insured people privately and helped the uninsured or underinsured in the community room, taking walk-ins when space was available. Blank retired from the business eight years ago. In 2015, Julie Koroch joined Montavilla Community Acupuncture. She continues to work from this location. However, Koroch will relocate her practice to another office after the move.

Montavilla Community Acupuncture’s transition will require some changes to the business. The new building is nearly one-third the size of the current storefront and located in a residential area. As a single practitioner in a home-based setting, Mia Neuse expects to see fewer people. Currently, fifteen to twenty people walk through the door each day, but that should slim down to around eight. Clients can schedule treatments Tuesday through Friday. Drop-in care was suspended during the pandemic and will not return.

Transformation of 212 SE 79th Avenue. Image curtesy of Montavilla Community Acupuncture

Moving after so many years is difficult for this longtime staple of downtown Montavilla. “I love my current office, and there are many things about it that I’m going to really miss,” remarked Neuse. “But I thought it would be nice being nestled in a pretty backyard and have less traffic noise going by.” Montavilla Community Acupuncture will continue to offer the same services with the same commitment to making acupuncture accessible, regardless of insurance coverage.

After completing the interior, work will begin on the grounds around the new location. Clients will walk through an open driveway gate down the newly constructed path that will take them to the blue single-story building in the back. Neuse will apply a Japanese garden design surrounding the walkway, using native Pacific Northwest plants. The goal is to make the space calming and inviting.

Neuse was committed to remaining in the neighborhood when deciding to change locations. “I’ve been living in this community for over 20 years and working in this community going on 15… I really appreciate Montavilla. It’s my home.” Look for the move to begin at the end of this month and expect to see a new business taking over the vacant storefront on Stark Street in the coming months.

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Family Fun RV Moves Out of Portland

This month, Family Fun RV closed its location at 333 SE 82nd Avenue after relocating the last reaming inventory to the new lot in St. Helens, Oregon. Construction fencing now surrounds the former vehicle sales establishment. Last year this company closed its other Portland location at 1027 SE 82nd Avenue to focus efforts oping a larger facility along Columbia River Highway.

Since 2017, Family Fun RV sold new and used recreation vehicles from the 82nd Avenue location. Although suffering recent thefts at the site and navigating challenging conditions on surrounding streets, this business’s relocation stemmed from the imminent sale of the property. The owner of this 28,212 square foot car lot listed it for sale at the beginning of 2022, along with many other properties in the area. Information regarding the pending sales of the site is not yet known. However, Family Fun RV staff indicated in a phone call last month that they would only close the 82nd Avenue location after being informed of an offer on the property. 

Family Fun RV at 333 SE 82nd Avenue from January 2022. Image from Google Maps

Family Fun RV’s new sales lot is substantially larger than the old Portland location, giving the woman-owned business the space to grow operations. Whoever buys the now-vacant 82nd Avenue location will gain a propionate property near downtown Montavilla. The half-block site has street frontages on three sides, making it highly accessible for many concurrent uses. Although it could easily host another automotive business, it is an ideal location for a mixed retail and housing project.

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Mia and More Opening on SE 82nd

Update – December 15th, 2022: Mia and More is open, read about it here.

Later this year, the Mia and More restaurant will relocate from its original Beaverton shop to 326 SE 82nd Avenue. The store’s menu features fresh-pressed sugarcane juice, milk tea, fruit smoothies, and Vietnamese street food. Located in the Annex building near SE Stark Street, the retail space previously housed Las Tres Flores and All-Ways Warm fireplace store. Remodeling crews are now waiting on permit approvals before they begin transforming the space.

The Mia and More brand originated in Kent, Washington, several years ago. The owners license the name to other independent store operators across the country and supply licensees with sugarcane sourced from trusted farms in Vietnam. The Beaverton location was the first Mia and More in Oregon. Local restaurant owner Michelle Tran wanted to open her Mia and More location in Portland. However, an existing commercial lease in Beaverton allowed Tran to test the market before committing to a dedicated space.

Image courtesy of Mia and More

Tran is no stranger to Portland eateries, having owned The House of Ramen on SW Columbia Street for many years. However, with a 22-year-long career in the medical industry, Tran wanted to expand her food service work to include more fresh and natural products. The Mia and More brand had built a reputation for high-quality ingredients that appealed to her. “We blend the sugarcane juice with real fruit instead of powder. The only powder that we use with the taro powder, chocolate, and matcha, those are the ones we can’t help,” explained Tran.

Mia and More Beaverton Store, pressing sugarcane. Image courtesy of Mia and More

After a short time in Beaverton, Tran began looking for a location closer to her most active customers and a community with an appreciation for the menu items. “So when we were in Beaverton, people had to drive all the way from Portland, Vancouver, Salem to get to the Beaverton location. We chose the Montavilla area because it’s quite packed with Vietnamese population right there.” Said Tran. Designers started work on the new location in March, but City permitting delays stalled construction. Tran could not staff both sites simultaneously and had intended to close the original restaurant around the time of opening the SE Portland spot. However, construction delays have pushed the opening date past August, and it is still uncertain when renovations will be complete. The old location is now closed, leaving customers eager for the Montavilla restaurant to open.

Image courtesy of Mia and More

Michelle Tran explained that the new storefront is smaller than her old location. Consequentially, the staff will need to cut down the menu some. However, the popular drink offerings will remain the central focus of the store. Look for an update within the next few months announcing the official opening date for Mia and More on SE 82nd Avenue.

Las Tres Flores has relocated down the street to 24 SE 82nd Avenue, inside the Santa Cruz Bakery and Taqueria. 

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