Category: Community

Another Postal Collection Box Vandalized

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

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

Support Montavilla’s Core

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

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

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


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

Lower Speeds on NE Glisan

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

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

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

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

Fire on SE 76th Near Burnside

Portland Fire and Rescue extinguished a fire inside a duplex on SE 76th Ave. Crews had the fire under control by 11:33 AM today. Only a single room inside the back unit caught fire, and no injuries occurred.

The impacted duplex is located at 18 SE 76th Ave and accessed from a narrow driveway. Fire department vehicles parked on both SE 76th Ave and E Burnside Street. At least four fire engines and three support vehicles responded to the fire. Crews containing the fire broke a second-story window, adding to the smoke, fire, and water damage.

This duplex is adjacent to a two-story apartment building. The fast action from fire crews limited damage to the structure and surrounding buildings.

Vandalized USPS Mailbox Replaced

UPDATE – The replacement collection box is now missing. USPS representatives did not respond to inquiries regarding this most recent removal.


Original article from December 3rd, 2020

USPS installed a new collection box at the corner of SE 76th and SE Salmon Street. It replaces one removed due to vandalism earlier this week. On Monday, November 30th, USPS employees discovered damage to the lock mechanism on the mailbox. Staff determined that repairs were extensive and required replacement.

Ernie Swanson, Strategic Communications Specialist for USPS, explained the extent of the vandalism. “The lock on the box was damaged to the point that the box could not be opened.” The collection box was replaced a few days after being removed.

The new collection box is mounted a four feet over from its earlier location. The mounting bolts are exposed where the old box had stood, creating a potential trip hazard for pedestrians.

old mailbox mounting bolts

Located at 1208 SE 76th Ave, this is one of a handful of postal collection boxes in the Montavilla Neighborhood. After the national concern over mailbox removal, there was worry that this box was penalty removed. Swanson explained that all collection boxes serving Montavilla would remain in service.

Fortunately, the damage to the lock only caused the collection box to fail closed. Residents using mailboxes in the neighborhood can feel assured that box location and security remain intact. The replacement collection box on SE 76th Ave is ready to serve the neighborhood’s western edge once again.

Portland Red Portable Toilets

Like the rest of Portland, Montavilla received red portable toilets this winter. Portland City officials designated their placement on sidewalks and curbside parking spaces. These distinctively red portable toilets are part of a city-wide effort to handle public sanitation issues. Although this current round of public restrooms is COVID-19 related, Portland has a history of trying to address toilet availability.

September of this year, the City of Portland identified the lack of toilets for our unhoused population as a critical issue. With COVID-19 and the related economic impacts, Portland is facing expanding public sanitation concerns. COVID-19 has closed or reduced capacity at traditional shelter locations and the economic downturn is inflating the number of unsheltered citizens in our area.

Despite the program’s goal to provide unhoused people with access to clean toilets, placement occurs outside active camps. Sometimes located in areas without a camp in sight. According to a Portland press release regarding the portable toilets, “locations are selected using real-time data about homeless encampments, interviews with people living in encampments, input from City staff, an audit of existing bathroom access and an assessment of human waste in the area.”

Placement of these temporary public restrooms does not always seem obvious. However, the city believes these red toilets will improve neighborhood livability and make a difficult situation more tolerable. Units provided by the city are visible on a city maintained map. Some residents have voiced concern over these sanitation units’ placement, particularly when near homes and away from known camps.

Admittedly this is a short-term solution. Portland is only leasing these units, and the long-term commitment to the program is unknown. Currently, Montavilla only has four red toilets, and all are near I-205.

  • SE Division near I-205 Multi-use Path
  • SE 89th and Main
  • SE 94th and Stark
  • NE 94th and Glisan

No matter the length of the sanitation program, there is a possibility that data from the red portable toilet program could influence an expanded deployment of Portland Loos in the city. Starting in 2008, Portland began deploying rugged public toilets to reduce human waste on the streets. Developed through the cooperation of City agencies and Madden Fabrication, the Portland Loo’s design provides universally accessible bathrooms with a minimized potential for misuse. There are 22 in the city, with the closest one located inside Ventura Park at 460 SE 113th Ave. Each unit’s cost is prohibitive to mass deployment, but they offer a long-term solution with a pleasing outward appearance.

Although the sight of red portable toilets along the road can be unsightly, the alternative to not having facilities available is worse for the community. Portland will likely extend this program past the COVID-19 emergency, as a version of this program was already underway before the pandemic. Having Public restrooms has been a mostly positive influence for other parts of Portland. For Montavilla, this too could be an enhancement to our area and keep our streets a little cleaner.

82nd Ave Mural Guidance Meeting

A new mural is coming to the corner of 82nd Ave and NE Glisan as part of the Jacksons’ gas station redevelopment. Hector H. Hernandez will create the public artwork in the ceramic-tile mosaic style. However, community participation in guiding the mural project is needed.

Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) will host an online meeting to solicit public input regarding the art installation. The discussion is held via Zoom this Monday evening, November 30th, at 6:30 PM. Those unable to attend or who want to contribute in multiple ways can call 503-660-8659 or fill out an online form to provide written feedback. Callers leaving a voicemail should limit calls to 3 minutes.

Regardless of how community members choose to contribute to the project, MNA asks people first to visit the Land Use and Transportation page and read about the project and its chosen theme. As this project will be a visible marker of the neighborhood, it must reflect the diverse nature of Montavilla. Participation in this project will help all residents make a lasting mark on the local culture and its public perception.

Zoom Meeting signup link: https://forms.gle/iK9c6EokzMCs9rBv6


Main image is a recent painted mural by artist Hector H. Hernandez

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

Police Calm Stark Street Traffic

A parked Portland Police van showed commuters on SE Stark Street their vehicle’s speed. Parked in front of Mr. Plywood, the van is near the corner of 78th Ave. The police vehicle contains equipment to capture vehicle speed and display it on a reader-board cut into the driver side rear door.

Thursday morning, vehicles slowed as they noticed the police van and the reported speed of traffic. Stark and Washington street cut through the center of Montavilla town, and vehicle speed continues to be a hazard for people trying to cross those busy streets.

It is unknown if this police effort will have lasting effects on reducing speeders along this roadway. However, the police presence indicates that speeding is a concern in the area that Portland would like to address.

New Greenway Survey

Dubbed the 70s Greenway, Portland’s newest bicycle and pedestrian path will run through Montavilla. Before finalizing plans, PBOT needs input from residents to help shape the project’s design. The Greenway will travel parallel to 82nd Ave, but contrary to its name, for the vast majority of its path through Montavilla will run on 80th Avenue.

PBOT’s survey regarding the 70s Greenway design is open to surrounding residents and people who travel through the area. Portland Neighborhood Greenways prioritize human-powered transportation. Adjustments to roads accommodate safe bicycle traffic, consistent sidewalks encourage walking, and improved ramps accommodate everyone. Intersections along the path often receive new signaling and road markings to support stress-free crossing.

Halsey locations for intersection adjustments. Image courtesy of PBOT

Thanks to improvements made on SE 80th this summer, some new segments of the 70’s Greenway already exist. Future Montavilla upgrades from this project will center around the safe crossing of busy streets and significant adjustments to NE Halsey Street.

Proposed Halsey configuration . Image courtesy of PBOT

NE Halsey Street could lose a car lane in each direction. In the Proposal, a protected bike lane on each side of the road will replace those removed lanes. Additionally, a center turn lane will run down the middle of the roadway. The intersection at 68th Ave receives improved bike and pedestrian crossings. A small roundabout at NE 80th Ave will help deal with a notoriously confusing intersection right before the NE Halsey Street Bridge over I84.

Intersection at 68th Ave. Image courtesy of PBOT
Roundabout at 80th Ave. Image courtesy of PBOT

The proposed project’s full scope is viewable at PBOT’s website and BikePortland’s article about these projects. Participation in the survey will help PBOT make informed choices to improve the bike and pedestrian access within our neighborhood while keeping it functional for everyone else.

MNA Board Elections

UPDATE: Both candidates received sufficient votes to win their respective race. They now join the existing board members. Taylor Wells received 43 votes and Jacob Loeb received 42 votes.


Original post from November 9th, 2020

Tonight at 6:30 PM, the Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) will hold its 2020 board member election. The ballot link will become available this evening on the MNA website and remain available for 24 hours. Two candidates are running unopposed for open positions.

Only MNA members are eligible to vote in the election. However, membership is simple to obtain and free to all residents and business people in Montavilla. To become a member, you must attend a general meeting and affirm your wish to become a member. Membership is for a three-year term, and there is no limit to the number of terms a member can retain membership.

If you are not a member, you can join tonight. The Meeting is held online via Zoom. People interested in becoming a MNA member can find the meeting signup link on the MNA calendar webpage.


Montavilla News does not endorse individual candidates or ballot measures

Disclosure: The author of this article is one of the candidates.