Category: Community

Berrydale Park’s Skatepark Design Reveal June 29

Article first published June 24th, 2022.

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

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

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

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

Remembering Errol Carlson

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

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

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



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

Staff Needed for Public Pool Reopening

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

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

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

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

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

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

PPS SE School Rebalancing Plan Approved

Starting in Fall 2023, many Montavilla schools will shift enrollment criteria as part of the SE Enrollment & Program Balancing intuitive. The approved plan adjusts school attendance boundaries, relocates language immersion programs, and redefines grade levels served at each location. Although potentially disruptive, these changes intend to create predictable enrollment within these schools and better serve a changing community demographic. Vestal is the only neighborhood School unaffected by these changes.

On May 24th, the Portland Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the Deputy Superintendent’s recommendations. That proposal resulted from a multi-year planning process by the Southeast Guiding Coalition and community members. Harrison Park will convert to a middle school at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year, and its Kindergarten through 5th Grade students will move into the Clark campus on SE 92nd Avenue, which currently houses Creative Science School. The Harrison Park Chinese Immersion program will also relocate to Clark for younger students. Children will feed into Harrison Park Middle School from Vestal and Atkinson attendance areas.

PPS SEGC – FLO- Overview Map

PPS will relocate the Creative Science School from the Clark campus to Bridger at 7910 SE Market Street. Those students will join the neighborhood program at the school, creating an additional curriculum strand and helping stabilize enrollment. The Spanish Immersion program currently at Bridger will relocate to Lent Elementary School at 5105 SE 97th Avenue. Bridger staff created a Powerpoint presentation outlining the expected adjustments to the school and providing greater context to why these changes were necessary.

PPS staff will send parents information about the rebalancing in early June. Over the next year, a detailed migration plan will provide a roadmap to the new school boundaries and school options. PPS will work to accommodate families during the transition. In some cases, allowing families already enrolled to choose when to transition to a new school. Parents and guardians should receive information about options and what these changes mean for their students within the coming months.

Residents Invited to May 26th Vestal Event

Later this month, Montavilla’s Vestal Elementary School will host its annual Social Justice Night. Starting at 4:30 p.m. on May 26th, Students and professional artists will showcase their work featuring collaborative artistic creations focused on community diversity and family identity. These themes represent two of Vestal’s five pillars of social justice. Organizers anticipate that this evening full of art, food, music, and community will strengthen the school’s role as a hub within this diverse neighborhood.

Funded in 2022 by a Metro’s Community Placemaking grant, with collaboration from PSU’s Artist as Citizen Initiative and arts nonprofit Montavilla Jazz, Vestal Elementary expects to expand programming for the yearly event. A welcoming dinner will occur before the performance at The Yard food carts, located directly across from the school, with complimentary meals coordinated with support from Samira Mohamed, owner of Mira’s East African Cuisine.

Before the event, the Artist as Citizen Initiative will lead PSU Capstone students and Vestal 4th graders in projects designed to build artistic skills in storytelling, interviewing, and creativity. All works center on community diversity and family identity, using information gathered in interviews with fellow students and community members. The artists will display their student-led social justice exhibits at the May event.

Located outdoors on the playground and inside the gymnasium at 161 NE 82nd Avenue, the Social Justice Night will include performances by renowned jazz musicians, including Grammy award-winning trombonist Denzel Mendoza. He is joined by Machado Mijiga, saxophonist Mary-Sue Tobin, and other performers and educators from the community.

For those who can not attend in person, PSU students will create a multipart podcast documentary featuring themes from the evening. PSU’s Sonic Arts and Music Production (SAMP) students and Friends of Noise will utilize field recordings captured during the creative phase of the project and at the May 26th event. Montavilla Jazz will distribute the podcast on montavillajazz.org, in addition to broadcasts on local radio stations.

Vestal community members, partners, and neighborhood residents are all invited to attend. Come hungry for food, music, and artistic expression.

Car Collides with McDonald’s Again

Last night, a vehicle jumped the curb and collided with the McDonald’s restaurant at 8149 SE Stark Street. Portland Police received the hit and run report at 9:43 p.m. A KOIN 6 News report indicates the driver “was doing donuts” before crashing into the building.

Remnants of the TriMet-owned bench

The car missed a number 72 bus shelter along SE 82nd Avenue and avoided a nearby City trash can. However, the vehicle destroyed a TriMet-owned bench before traveling through the building’s wall. Tables and an interior support column prevented the car from crossing more than a few feet into the store. According to a McDonald’s employee, no staff working that night suffered injuries due to this incident.

Inside McDonald’s showing damaged column and sheared off table posts

A similar crash occurred at this same restaurant last year. As with that incident, Police identified unsafe driving as the cause of the wreck. Damage created by yesterday’s event appears to be less significant than the 2021 collision. However, the building will require extensive repairs. Expect to see crews mending the building within the next few months.

82nd Ave Now 100 Percent Portland

Yesterday, Portland City Council voted unanimously to adopt 82nd Avenue into the City’s network of streets. This jurisdictional transfer moves seven miles of State Highway 213, from NE Killingsworth Street to SE Clatsop Street, into the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) control. Additionally, the ordinance accepts $80 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for necessary improvements on 82nd Avenue.

Yesterday’s vote completes years of community initiatives and governmental negotiations regarding the future of this neglected highway. Years of differed maintenance and insufficient investment by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) left the roadway in poor condition, even as the north to south connector became the busiest street in the City.

TriMet’s number 72 bus line on 82nd Avenue boasts the highest ridership of any route in the public transit system. More than 20,000 vehicle trips occur per day on the road. Due to the deteriorating conditions and traffic volume, 82nd Avenue experiences some of the highest crash rates in Portland. Over the next few years, PBOT intends to use the initial funding to improve safety for pedestrians and drivers alike.

Already identified projects for 82nd Avenue will begin soon, now that this legislative milestone has passed. PBOT will deliver new lighting, safer pedestrian crossings, pavement repair, and sidewalk accessibility upgrades. In some cases, large sections of the road surface will need reconstruction. Most of the curbside lanes of the highway lack a concrete base layer. The original construction of OR213 supported just one travel lane in each direction with a shared center turning lane. Engineers designed the outer edges of the road for parking, not the heavy demands of traffic. 

Projects funded by yesterday’s approved ordinance only represent the beginning of upgrades expected in the area. Around 2026, ODOT will deliver a second payment to Portland, totaling $70 million. Along with the City’s pledged $35 million, this second $105 million wave of investment will enact more safety and livability improvement along 82nd Avenue. Community and business engagement around those future projects will ramp up over the next few years.

The City of Portland created a website for residents and business owners to track the new Building a Better 82nd initiative. Look for opportunities to contribute to the planning of 82nd Avenue through online and in-person community forums, focus groups, and surveys. PBOT will also partner with existing community organizations to guide future projects and coordinate with the people affected by the coming changes to the streetscape.

Berrydale Park Open House April 13th

Update: Images from the presentation are available below and the survey link is now online.


Original article published April 8th, 2022.

Next Wednesday, Portland Parks & Recreations (PP&R) will host the second open house for the Berrydale Park Improvement Project. The $3.75 million projects will significantly enhance park amenities and ensure the space remains relevant to Portlanders of all ages. The proposed upgrades will create a new skatepark facility, new pathways, new lighting, street improvements, and a new playground.

The project’s budget doubled over the last year, with Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio increasing allocated funds to $3.0 million from an original $1.5 million budget. The bureau will source that money from System Development Charges (SDC) and not the City’s general budget. Frontage improvement work is paid for through the PP&R Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition program. It will allocate $650K to address ADA access for the park. PP&R’s maintenance fund will cover new playground equipment costing $100k.

The additional funding ensures the construction of a new skateboarding area, plus items identified by the community as priorities during the July 2021 public engagement session. Now PP&R staff want to present design options for the new park amenities. The public can participate in two ways. Designers are hosting an in-person event at Berrydale Park near SE 92nd Avenue and Salmon Street on April 13 from 4 PM until 6 PM. People unable to join the open house can view visuals from the live event and complete a brief survey online. The survey will remain open through Sunday, April 24.

Residents who participate in next week’s community engagement will help PP&R shape the future of Berrydale Park. The updates planned will draw in new park users and wake up the somewhat sleepy public space on SE 92nd Avenue. The outdoor event on the 13th will occur regardless of the weather, and forecasts call for rain. Plan to dress accordingly or watch the Berrydale Park Improvement Project website for the online presentation and survey.

Image from Google Maps

Easter Weekend in Montavilla

After a Monday snowstorm, the forecast calls for a comparatively dry and warm Easter Sunday in Montavilla. Several local businesses will celebrate spring with weekend events intended to bring people out of their homes and into the community.

The season-themed market, Zuckercreme, is leaning into the holiday with a Montavilla easter egg hunt this Sunday. The shop will open early at 9 a.m. to host the event. The coordinators ask participants to check in with store staff at 414 SE 81st Ave before embarking on the hunt. If the snow earlier this week caused you to forget about the spring celebration, Zuckercreme has you covered. They are open today and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., selling basket stuffers and the ability to order special pastry boxes for the holiday.

Threshold Brewing & Blending will host a beer launch party this Saturday, April 16th, from 12 noon until 5 p.m. In cooperation with Pup Passport, the neighborhood brewery will donate 5% of the beer and passport sales proceeds to the Oregon Humane Society (OHS). This event centers around the launch of Threshold’s Good Dog Guava, a new guava passion fruit gose beer. The event features BBQ from the local Heartbreaker PDX pop-up. Stop by the taproom at 403 SE 79th Avenue to try the new brew, enter the raffle for special prizes, or pick up OHS pet adoption information. Dogs are welcome.

Despite the recent resurgence of winter, it is the season to head outside and into the neighborhood. However, for those hoping to stay in, Montavilla has many sweet shops, including PDX Cookie Co and DB Dessert Company offering Easter-themed confectionaries to take home. Hopefully, one of these businesses, or other famed neighborhood shops, can make a memorable start to the warmer season for you and your family.

April Snow and Power Outages

As of 10 AM this morning, snow continues to fall on Montavilla, adding to the inches accumulated overnight. Tree branches loaded with flowers and new leaves sag heavy under the unexpected snow, some snapping from the increased weight. Power is out for several blocks, with Pacific Power reporting 2417 customers without electricity in the neighborhood. Portland General Electric (PGE) also reports scattered outages in the area.

With Portland Public Schools closing for the day, many families can be seen walking the neighborhood taking in a rare spring snow day. Warmer than freezing temperatures have kept the streets and sidewalks mostly clear of snow and ice. However, transportation authorities advise caution when traveling through the slush. Weather reports indicate the snow will transition to rain later in the day, around noon.

Update: As of 1 PM, Pacific Power reports all customers have power service restored in Montavilla.