Category: Community

2040 Portland Freight Plan

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) staff are in the midst of updating the City’s Freight Master Plan adopted by the Portland City Council in 2006. The 2040 Portland Freight Plan seeks to create a strategic road map for investing in urban freight infrastructure in Portland. This update allows the city to rebalance the commercial demands on the roads with the City’s Vision Zero and environmental goals. PBOT created a survey for Portlanders to help identify intersections, streets, curbs, bridges, ramps, and neighborhoods where people experience urban freight-related safety and mobility concerns.

Montavilla is a neighborhood surrounded and bisected by urban freight movement. The I84 and I205 freeways create its north and east borders, while 82nd Avenue, NE Glisan Street, SE Start/Washington Streets, and SE Division Street all carry substantial commercial traffic through the community. Businesses and residents in the neighborhood can provide unique perspectives to the survey, helping PBOT meet its goal of creating a safe, equitable, efficient, and sustainable urban freight system.

Participating in the PBOT survey is the public’s best opportunity to shape the next 20 years of freight activity in Portland. The results from the PBOT survey, along with extensive reports and analyses, will form the final Plan. Other guidance will come from the 2040Freight Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and multiple supporting documents developed throughout the planning process.


Title image courtesy of PBOT

Redwood’s New Owners

Last week, the founders of Redwood announced the restaurant’s sale to Brenda Dunn and long-time employee Chantel Chinco. Located at 7915 SE Stark Street, this well-reviewed dining destination opened in early 2013 and will continue with new but familiar management. Maintaining Redwood’s quality and dining experience is the core focus as staff train for their new roles during the next few months.

After nine years of growing Redwood into the celebrated business it is today, Susie Blue, Austin Putnam, and Jessie Hawkins believed it was the right time to find a new owner for the restaurant. However, they wanted to sell it to a person who would preserve the same environment and keep Redwood’s culture alive. In the Fall of 2021, the group spoke to their employee, Chantel Chinco, about taking over Redwood. “They approached me probably about mid-September and just let me know kind of where they were at and that they were looking to sell the restaurant,” explained Chinco.

Redwood’s sale to Chinco fit in many ways and was an easy choice for everyone. “I’ve been an employee at Redwood for about five years now, and so I have a really strong relationship with Susie and Jesse,” said Chinco. At the time of sale, Chinco worked in nearly every customer-facing position; server, bartender, and front-of-house manager. Consequently, she has extensive knowledge of the operation and existing customer relationships. Most importantly, the founders trust that Chinco will keep the restaurant on its successful path. 

After 20 years working in the service industry, Chantel Chinco feels owning Redwood is a natural career progression and the best opportunity to participate in a remarkable business. “It’s such an important part of the community and the kind of environment that Susie and Jesse built there you can feel the love in the restaurant, you can taste it in the food. It’s just something special, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Admiring Redwood’s existing culture and cuisine, Chinco and Dunn do not plan on changing much. “We’re going to keep our signature dishes. We’ve been working with Susie one on one to make sure that we can come as close to cooking her food as she does,” commented Chinco. Chef Susie Blue will stay on for a month to help train the kitchen staff. Like many restaurants, Redwood has struggled with staffing over the last two years. Most servers returned after they reopened from the pandemic closure. However, “back house has always been a struggle,” confessed Chinco. That is quickly changing as they train new cooks and expand the kitchen support. “Irene, who is our main prep cook, she does everything for us. She’s been with us for several years, and we just brought her daughter on for some back-of-house support as well. It’s a real family business,” Chinco remarked.

Chinco and Dunn are currently running Redwood with a focused schedule until they have a firm grasp on operations. “At this time, we just want to make sure that we get everybody properly trained for breakfast and lunch before we move on to bigger endeavors,” explained Chinco. “We would love to offer happy hour or dinner again at some point, but we do not want to compromise the quality and integrity that people have come to expect from Redwood by trying to do too many big things right off the bat.”

After staff are trained, and Redwood is back to a full schedule, the new owners will look at augmenting the menu with a few different items. “We want to keep the same Redwood that everybody loves and expects, but also introduce some of our own flavors and ideas,” Chinco explained. The pair hopes to offer a more comprehensive selection of fresh-baked pastries, weekday specials, and some dietary variety. “My partner Brenda is really excited about doing some more vegan and vegetarian options to make the menu a little bit more diverse,” added Chinco.

Changes at Redwood should be unnoticeable to the regulars but look for small additions over the year. Currently, they offer extended Brunch service from 9 AM to 3 PM Wednesday through Sunday with indoor and outdoor seating or takeout.


Disclosure: The author of this article serves on an association board with Chantel Chinco.

USPS Collection Boxes Removed

Update – United States Postal Service (USPS) staff will return two recently removed mail collection boxes within the next week. USPS Strategic Communications Specialist, Ernie Swanson, explained that each collection box suffered extensive damage last month. A lack of suitable replacement boxes delayed the reinstallation of each unit. However, postal staff expects to return those locations to service by next week.

Swanson said the unit at 1208 SE 76TH Ave was again vandalized by persons attempting to steal mail from the blue collection box. USPS investigators could not identify the cause of damage to the collection box at 7937 SE Stark Street. Swanson commented that a vehicle likely struck the Stark Street box, but the Postal Service has no details on that incident.

The boxes are still missing from the USPS Locations map but should return when replacement boxes become available again. Keep an eye on the USPS website to see when they return to service. Until then, postal customers can use the two other Montavilla collection boxes at 7100 NE Glisan Street and 9100 SE Stark Street.

Update – January 10th, 2022. USPS crews replaced the boxes at 1208 SE 76TH Ave and 7937 SE Stark Street late last week. The returned units are not yet visible on the USPS Locations map.


Original article published December 31, 2021

As 2021 comes to a close, crews from the United States Postal Service (USPS) removed two of Montavilla’s mail collection boxes. Six months ago, postal staff similarly eliminated a mail-drop site on SE 92nd Avenue. Now only two blue mailboxes serve the neighborhood.

This summer, the number of USPS blue collection boxes in Montavilla dropped from five to four. In July of this year, postal employees removed the collection box at 1231 SE 92nd Ave, leaving a sizable gap in the neighborhood for outbound mail-drop locations. That removal was not the first disappearance of this collection box in 2021. In January, thieves broke into this box to steal mail and rendered it unusable. Crews replaced it a week later.

Removed Collection Box SE 76th and Salmon Dec 31st, 2021.

A few days before the end of the year, USPS staff removed the blue postal collection boxes from 1208 SE 76TH Ave and 7937 SE Stark Street. The unit on SE 76th Avenue in front of the St. Andrews Memory Care facility previously suffered damage due to vandals, being replaced twice in 2020.

USPS blue collection box on the northwest corner of SE 80th and Stark

Unlike the other two sites, the unit on the northwest corner of SE 80th and Stark Street did not suffer from abuse. Removal of that collection box surprised one reader who relied on that location to send outgoing mail and wrote to Montavilla News looking for information. A mail-drop in that general location has served Montavilla’s postal needs for over a century. In 1901, postal workers installed the first locked mailbox to collect outgoing mail on the northeast corner of Base Line Road (now SE Stark) and Hibbard Street (now SE 80th Ave). Since 1891, Montavilla town has had a Post Office, contract post office, or collection box within a few blocks of this corner. Now that this mailbox is gone, people will need to adjust their habits and find a new location.

Removed Collection Box SE 80th and Stark Dec 31st, 2021.

USPS’s collection box directory no longer lists the removed units and only displays two locations in Montavilla, indicating these are long-term changes. The reaming boxes at 7100 NE Glisan Street and 9100 SE Stark Street are further out from the center of Montavilla Town but easily accessible on major roads. Make a note of your new closest mail-drop and plan for a slightly longer journey to send out your letters.

USPS Blue Mailbox Map December 31st, 2021

Food Carts on the Move

Portland’s food carts tend to stay in one place, causing patrons to forget that they have wheels. However, these mobile kitchens can change locations, and at least two local carts are on the move early next year. Although these popular dining destinations are heading out of Montavilla, they are still a short trip away.

In an Oregonian interview released last week, Erica Montgomery revealed that Erica’s Soul Food would be moving from the space next to Henry’s Market at 803 SE 82nd Avenue. “Early next year, Montgomery plans to transport her truck to the courtyard next to Lottie & Zula’s, a New England style sandwich shop in the former Toro Bravo space at 120 N.E. Russell St.” The new location is just under six miles away, near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Erica’s Soul Food will share an outdoor dining space with Lottie & Zula’s at the new site. This move appears to be the next phase of a strengthening relationship between the two ventures. Lottie & Zula’s co-owner frequents Montgomery’s cart, admiring her cooking and work ethic. This year, both restaurants collaborated on a meatloaf sandwich sold as a fundraiser for Equitable Giving Circle. Later, Montgomery used the restaurant’s larger kitchen for a catering event when it exceeded the cart’s capacity. 

Just down 82nd Ave from Erica’s, La Taquiza Vegana is leaving the food cart pod at 8220 NE Davis Street. As one of the original carts from The Yard at Montavilla’s opening this summer, its time in the area was short-lived. Devyn Marie, Co-Owner and Operations Manager for La Taquiza Vegana, explained that they only planned to stay in the old location for five months. “The Yard was always just a temporary spot for us while we waited for our permanent location to be completed.” They are relocating to a new food cart pod at 2216 SE 50th Ave. Although the owners appreciated the community in the neighborhood, Marie said the team wanted to work closer to the city center. “We really enjoyed being a part of the Montavilla neighborhood for the short time we were there. The location is just too far out for us as we like to be more centrally located.”

The loss of these two neighborhood carts will likely disappoint some customers, particularly area vegans. La Taquiza Vegana only serves vegan foods. Erica’s Soul Food offers an extensive vegan menu and standard options. The other vegan food cart located at the Yard, Little Ethiopia Eatery, closed down permanently last October. With these two carts’ departure, there are very few vegan cart options in the area.

The exciting part of food cart culture is the constant change in options. People create new dining experiences, and customers rarely have the chance to become bored with the selections. Although these moves may disrupt some customer behavior, dedicated patrons will seek them out. Look for something new to arrive at the soon-to-be-vacant cart locations and visit some old friends when they settle in their new homes. 

Metro Approved New District Map

Metro Council approved a new district map this week with only minor adjustments. Metro reevaluates its district borders every ten years in response to updated national censuses data. The map must maintain a balanced distribution of residents between the six elected Metro Council districts. Although Metro considered some dramatic changes, the approved map largely resembles the district map of the past decade.

For residents of Montavilla, there is no change to Metro Distract representation. Residents of that neighborhood are still served by the vacant seat for District 6. On October 15th, Metro Councilor Bob Stacey stepped down after serving nine years on the council. The Metro Council is in the process of selecting Stacey’s successor. The applicant chosen to serve on the Metro Council will hold the position through January 2nd, 2023. Next year, voters will elect a new Metro District Councilor for the reaming two years of Bob Stacey’s term.

The new district boundaries take effect immediately. Metro is currently accepting applications for the District 6 vacancy. To submit their applications, people interested in the position have until the close of business on January 3rd, 2022.

Pediatric Occupational Therapy on E Burnside

Next February, Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy will open a new outpatient rehabilitation clinic for children at 8028 E Burnside Street. This new pediatric healthcare location is the creation of two experienced occupational therapists, Diedra Pine and Maureen Benedict-Lee. A year after launch, the practice intends to add speech therapy, physical therapy, and mental health services. Currently, crews are making minor alterations to accommodate the mix of open activity space and private session rooms.

Before joining forces, Pine and Benedict-Lee had private practices working out of Groundplay Therapy Works, a pediatric occupational therapy clinic in the Hollywood neighborhood. In that facility, therapists run their own business but collaborate when appropriate and share referrals. However, each practitioner is financially independent, limiting the growth potential within that environment.

At Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy, the staff offers a wide range of youth-focused services. They currently see patients seeking help with motor development, communication, social-emotional learning, and sensory processing skills. Patients include children with autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing difficulties, motor delays, and difficulties with executive functioning. Future services will expand the group’s offerings even further but accommodating that range of services requires a unique location.

Unlike standard medical offices, the rehabilitation clinic needs communal space and private rooms. “We work with children in occupational therapy, which involves swinging and climbing and moving in a big open space,” explained Maureen Benedict-Lee. That requirement had Pine and Benedict-Lee looking at mostly warehouse locations that did not meet the clinic’s needs. When the pair looked at the location on E Burnside, it instantly felt fitting for their needs. “This space is so incredible for our vision… Warehouses aren’t super finished and nice, so this [location is the] perfect combination of a big open warehouse-type space, and then there are back offices,” said Benedict-Lee.

Although the former Transitions Project building mostly fits the clinic’s requirements, some alterations are needed. The front of the building is one continuous space that previously had a demising wall separating the location into two suites. The therapists leased the whole building but will replace the divider to create two activity spaces at the front. They will also construct a waiting area near the parking lot entrance in the back. Benedict-Lee explained that the office doors leading to Burnside Street would remain locked and only serve as emergency exits. Most activity at the site will occur towards the back of the building at the entrance adjacent to the parking lot. Some window-covering improvements will happen, but the clinic needs to maintain patient privacy. “the blinds aren’t sustainable for the work we do, so we’re taking all the blinds off, but we [provide] healthcare for children, so are our plan is to do frosted windows,” explained Benedict-Lee.

Although the open space is best for working with younger kids, they work with all ages, from toddlers to high school-aged children. “My business partner and I both enjoy working with older children,” said Benedict-Lee. “Space for those older kids is something that we wanted to have in the new clinic. Where we were at previously, you would walk into a really big gym space, and the desks are all pretty small, so it wasn’t as inviting if you’re in an older teen or young adult.” The new space on E Burnside has many private rooms for older patients and other treatments.

Over eight years, Pine and Benedict-Lee established relationships with patients and professional institutions. Those connections will follow the pair to this new business. “We definitely have a client base, and we have connections with pediatricians and schools and other providers, so that will continue,” said Benedict-Lee. However, Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy has the capacity for many more clients. Maureen Benedict-Lee lives in the Montavilla neighborhood and likes the idea of supporting the children in the area. “I’m really excited about being a resource here and would love the community to access us and use our services.” She explained that there are not many other clinics offering similar services in this area, and this location worked out perfectly to fill the gap.

The Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy team expects to grow to six occupational therapists, with three speech therapists. They also see a need to add a part-time mental health provider to the staff. That level of expansion will likely occur after their first year in this new location. However, they are building out the facility to meet those growth goals. Benedict-Lee explained that only half the space would open by February 1st due to anticipated construction delays. They hope the remainder of the work will be completed in March but acknowledge that even minor renovation work is experiencing months of delays.

Look for construction activity to increase over the next few months as crews prepare the space for the clinic staff. The building should be fully operational by spring, with plenty of patients and their parents accessing Whole Circle Pediatric Therapy’s resources. Parents interested in knowing more can visit the company website or Facebook page, and staff are reachable by calling 503-502-7515 or sending an email to info@wholecircletherapy.com.

First in Wave of Public Trash Cans

Late last week, Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) installed the first in a wave of many new public trash cans coming to Montavilla. Crews will place cans on public sidewalks near businesses, schools, and intersections. Contracted trash collectors, paid by the City, will empty the new waste receptacles twice a week.

In 2016, the Portland City Council authorized an expansion of the public trash program through a tax on the solid waste commercial tonnage fee. By June 2017, Portland’s Jade District received new waste receptacles as part of a pilot program. In 2020, East Portland neighborhoods began receiving new trash cans. By 2023 the City will have added over 700 new public trash cans throughout Portland.

Located on the southeast corner of SE 80th Avenue and Stark Street, this newest colorful trash can features a bottle and can sidecar. People are encouraged to place recyclable items in the side compartment instead of the trash ports, making it accessible for deposit collectors to recover the discarded drink containers. Waste can placement was partially determined by a survey conducted by BPS in April. In total, the City will add 182 new public trash cans throughout Southeast Portland. Next year, the same process will repeat for Northeast Portland. BPS is currently running a Public Trash Can placement survey for the next round of clan placement. Public comment will remain open through January 2022, with trash can deployment in Spring.

Map courtesy of BPS

Public trash cans will not solve all the City’s litter problems. However, a substantial portion of trash collects near bus stops and other gathering places that may soon have a trash receptacle to discard those items. This rollout is an encouraging move forward in Portland’s effort to provide sanitation services to its residents. Look for more trash cans coming to local streets over the next few months and help shape future placement by participating in the NE Portland Survey.

Driver Shortage Forces Reduced Bus Service

Starting January 9th, TriMet will reduce service on 20 bus lines due to a historic operator shortage. Two of the affected lines will have an impact on Montavilla riders. Bus line 77 (Broadway/Halsey) and bus line 15 (Belmont/NW 23rd) will see a 9% reduction in service, similar to the April 2020 temporary reductions in response to the pandemic.

Last week, TriMet announced the need for a temporary reduction in service, citing staffing shortages and a lack of applicants as the cause. In the announcement, TriMet staff expressed the organization’s regret in taking these measures. “We apologize to our riders as we would much rather be expanding service, but by taking this step, we increase the schedule reliability, so riders experience less canceled or late buses.” They explain that employee attrition exceeded the number of qualified applicants for open positions over the last year. They do not expect that to change before it impacts system reliability.

By making strategic reductions to service, TriMet hopes to maintain a reliable transit system focused on sustaining service in areas with high concentrations of people with low incomes and communities of color. They will maintain service levels for all routes providing connections to schools, health care providers, and service centers.

Changes are restricted to weekday bus service, with most lines following pre-pandemic service levels on Saturdays. Other reductions to weekend bus, MAX, and WES service made in April 2020 remain in effect. Buses will arrive at 15 minutes intervals during the busiest travel times on designated Frequent Service Lines.

TriMet cannot say when service levels will return to normal as it is dependent on filling open positions. However, they increased bus operator starting pay to $21.36 per hour and provided a $2,500 hiring bonus to incentivize new applicants. Riders are encouraged to visit trimet.org after January 8th to see how the service reductions will affect their trip.

Public Support Needed for NE Glisan Businesses

Several NE Glisan businesses seek community support to keep their doors open in a challenging economy. Mudd Works Roastery at 6922 NE Glisan Street started a GoFundMe campaign last month to bridge the gap caused by revenue shortfalls. After health issues and nearly two years of limited operations during the pandemic, the coffee house needs an infusion of money to make it another season. Hinterland at 7112 NE Glisan Street is also looking to make up for slower sales. Instead of fundraising, they created the Forever Feral 2022 Calendar to bolster income.

Mudd Works Roastery’s GoFundMe efforts began at the start of November. Winter is a notoriously slow season for the coffee company, and without the cash reserves from the previous months, continuing operations will be challenging. 

I am not one to ask for help too often but my life recently changed as I contracted COVID-19 for the second time. Luckily, I have some very great friends who have stepped up to keep things going while I focus on getting better. Mudd Works has been getting by for the last year and a half. But with the colder months and the ever-present COVID-19, we are suffering financially. This is the time of year where we typically see a drop in sales. But with people going out less and spending less due to the pandemic, sales are down. With sales going down in the past year and our expenses rising, it’s been a struggle. Despite it all, we’ve managed to stay open half days at one of our locations to provide fuel for our loyal patrons. Our issue in the simplest of terms is a lack of capital and customers. we thought a GoFundMe appeal seemed like the best option to raise money, share our story, and connect with those who care about small businesses. I know I’m not alone in this story of struggle. I’m sure I will be one of the many voices this season experiencing a similar situation. It’s not lost on me that so many in my industry and folks at home are only just getting by financially. Making this a lot harder to ask for help. I ask this, give until it feels good. That giving may look like a donation or it may be a reposting to your social media pages or even kind words of support. Any and all forms of giving have an impact. Donations will be used for rent and utilities, labor costs and inventory for coffee roasting and the bakery/cafe.

Mudd Works Roastery’s GoFundMe campaign page

The Hinterland Forever Feral 2022 Calendar celebrities the spirit of the store’s brand in pictures. The content of the calendar may not suit everyone’s style. However, they have many other products that can express the same powerful messages the company is known for. Of course, there is always coffee for sale at Hinterland, and every purchase helps.

The first (annual?) Hinterland calendar is here and it’s wild. This print run is super limited (it’s almost 2022 after all!). Grab one for yourself, share with your friends via social media: it all helps! I have to be honest with you all: while we’re having fun and making the best of things these days…shit is wildly tenuous with us and other small businesses. This holiday season will be a make-or-break for many small businesses and I hope you think of us when you’re sourcing coffee or cozies (or in this case saucy calendars). If you value what Hinterland brings to your lives–and what we bring the towns our brick and mortars reside in–please continue to support us. This calendar is probably not ideal for youngsters–but you decide. All photographs were taken by Kait Di Angeles in Portland, OR.

Hinterland December 1st email newsletter

Other restaurants on the street have also started less public GoFundMe campaigns, looking for customer assistance while circumstances force limited operation. The neighborhood businesses seeking support all recognize that they are not alone. Almost any small business in Montavilla needs more customers this season. However, these businesses are looking for extra consideration from the community and would be grateful for the added income to survive a difficult time.

Apartment Fire on Burnside

Just before noon today, Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) responded to a fire in the Hartzog & Bristol Apartments at 9205 E Burnside Street. The fire started inside a second-story unit with limited spread to other residences. The two-alarm fire is now under control.

Observers noticed smoke coming from the roof of an apartment in the complex and notified 911 around 11:46 AM on November 16th. By 12:04 PM, fire crews closed NE 92nd Place from E Burnside to NE Everett. No injuries from the fire were reported. Crews are cleaning up now, and some residents have already returned to their apartments in the affected building. The quick response of PF&R limited the fire’s spread and minimized property loss.