The same week that demolition crews finished tearing down the fire-damaged building at 408 SE 79th Ave, Portland Police apprehended the person they believe set that building ablaze. The early morning fire from April 19th consumed the two-story building that housed the Portland Garment Factory, forcing that business to close until they can relocate. The arrest of the accused arsonist should alleviate community concern over a repeated incident.
On June 9th, Portland Police took a 48-year-old woman into custody on charges of second-degree arson and reckless burning related to the April 19th incident. Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) said an executed search warrant yielded evidence connecting the suspect to the fire. According to a June 10th Willamette Week story, investigators received a tip from a community member who had witnessed the accused’s activity near the fire. In addition, that same witness identified the person in the surveillance video of the incident by her clothing and gait.
Although authorities have found a suspect in the incident, the damage caused by that fire is significant. Montavilla now has a vacant lot where a historic building once stood, and a business lost everything overnight. Fortunately, Portland Garment Factory will reopen in a new location, thanks in part to a GoFundMe campaign that collected over $118,000. Eventually, a new building will replace the one lost, and the damage suffered in the community will fade from memory. Until then, residents can consider the incident resolved and look to better events in the future.
UPDATE – Earlier today, the editor took this article offline while investigating a reported error. A reader said that the accused person was no longer a suspect and released. However, an official confirmed that the person arrested for this crime was released on pretrial supervision. The DA is proceeding with the grand jury.
Montavilla News will not publish the accused person’s name until convicted.
Yesterday, The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) reached an agreement to transfer jurisdictional responsibility of 82nd Ave by January 2022. This State Highway running through the geographic center of Portland is in poor condition and requires significant investments. The roadway’s deferred maintenance costs were the primary blocker to Portlands adoption of 82nd Ave into PBOT’s portfolio of streets. This new agreement establishes a price for those repairs and an outline for funding that work.
After years of negotiation, both parties assessed 82nd Avenue’s transfer cost at $185 million. Included in that sum are enhanced signals, lighting, ADA-compliant curb ramps, pavement repairs, and stormwater management. The total also contains money for urgent sidewalk and pedestrian crossing upgrades already approved last month. Three budgetary sources will provide the funds needed. A commitment from the legislature dedicated to fixing the most pressing safety and maintenance needs will supply $80 million. Another $70 million comes from an investment from ODOT and a $35 million commitment from PBOT.
This agreement is a significant achievement for a process that has taken over ten years to negotiate. It follows a deadly year for pedestrians crossing 82nd Ave. Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty has focused her recent effort on fixing this roadway and placing its responsibility into her department. “The pedestrian deaths that have occurred recently are unacceptable but preventable with proper investment in safety infrastructure improvements. Portland is ready to take ownership of 82nd but will need adequate State funding to get it into a state of good repair. I’m appreciative of ODOT and the Portland Metro area legislators that have agreed these deaths are unacceptable, and am hopeful we can get the State funding needed to bring change to one of the most important streets in our City.”
Legislative approval needs to be in place before this agreement can move forward. Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Oregon Representative Khanh Pham championed the deal between City and State. With their endorsement and growing support within the legislature, this plan seems likely to succeed.
Despite the substantial investment coming to 82nd Ave, work will only tackle projects ignored over years of neglect. To fully modernize the roadway, additional funds are required. That investment is far more likely to occur under PBOT’s ownership, making this jurisdictional transfer an essential first step to revitalizing the area served by 82nd Ave. Within a year, 82nd Ave could transform from a forgotten State Highway to a future community corridor of Portland.
Thanks to an increased budget in the upcoming fiscal year, Oregon Metro will expand the RID Patrol program to three times its current size. The RID Patrol program serves Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties with dumpsite cleaning services. The program was overwhelmed during the pandemic and has failed to catch up with the current demand. The program expansion is a substantial boost to their capacity with the potential to make a difference in the region-wide trash problem.
The existing two cleanup crews will expand to six teams sometime after the new budget goes into effect on July 1st. Increased funding will cover additional vehicles, staff, and administrative support for the expanded teams. RID Patrol serves the community in multiple ways. Beyond cleaning dumped items across the region, positions in the program often go to people who have seen challenges finding employment. “These additional crews will be staffed by those who traditionally have barriers to employment. Through this program, we are supporting justice outcomes and uplifting our community for those who traditionally have difficulty finding stable and good jobs,” explained Kimberlee Ables, Public Information Officer with Metro.
Adding the new crews will not have immediate results. The RID Patrol program is facing a substantial backlog of illegal dumpsites. A complete listing of reported sites is available online and shows the Herculean task Metro staff need to address. Ables estimates it will be over a year before crews handle the current demand for cleanups. “In prior years, we have maintained a three-day response time and anticipate it will take 12 to 18 months to get back to that level of service.”
Within this round of funding, Metro allocated money to continue a Metro bag program for campsites and providing garbage service to the houseless community. With these efforts, Metro is perusing programs that will provide relief to everyone living in the region. Other programs will have to address the root cause of dumping and litter, but this expansion should improve livability throughout the Metro region.
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) recently created a Berrydale Park Skatepark Project page, featuring information about the proposed new amenities and a tentative schedule for community involvement with the planning process. The first community engagement meeting will occur this summer and is the best opportunity for residents to shape this development.
Funding for the new skatepark will come from System Development Charges (SDC) and not the City’s general budget, currently in negation. These enhancements are made possible thanks in part to voters approving Measure 26-213 last year. With additional funding, the park may gain improved pathways, updated playground equipment, and new site furnishings. Those furnishings could include lighting, drinking fountains, benches, trash cans, and signage.
When announced last month, there was substantial community interest in this project. PP&R quickly mobilized a Community Engagement Coordinator to lead this part of the development and start the outreach process. Below is the rough schedule for project milestones, of which the first four involve public communication. For the firm date of this summer’s listening session, keep an eye on the Berrydale Park Skatepark Project page and make time to express your vision for the park’s future.
Community Meeting 1 (Summer 2021) – Primarily a listening session. What’s important to the community?
Community Meeting 2 (Fall 2021) – Present skate park and park improvement design options based on what we heard in the first meeting.
Community Meeting 3 – (Winter 2022) – Refinements to designs we heard during meeting #2. We aim to cultivate community support.
Community Meeting 4 (TBD) – (If necessary)
Conceptual Design and Analysis – August 2021 to January 2022
Construction Documentation – February 2022 to June 2022
Hinterland Coffee Company is buying the building currently housing the business. Three months ago, owner Trinia Jean opened the storefront in a 1914 era building at 7112 NE Glisan Street. During the initial buildout process, it became apparent that future growth would require a substantial renovation. That level of investment is impractical as a renter. Purchasing the building became the only way forward to expand Hinterland’s business and realize the building’s potential.
The current property owner is interested in selling to Trinia Jean, and a downpayment is all that is needed to move forward. Having just opened the store and already investing in repairs to the building, Jean launched a Kickstarter campaignto gather the necessary funds. The $60,000 goal will cover most of the downpayment and allow the business to further transform the space into a “comfortable, inviting place for good folx to gather.”
With just over ten days to go in the campaign, Hinterland made the original goal and is now collecting additional funds. New rewards are available for backers, and the extra money could accelerate plans for the building. Jean is happy with the funding model she chose because people are receiving something for their support. Although it is possible to donate money to the cause, most backers are stocking up on coffee beans and unique apparel through backer rewards.
With the sale not yet complete, buildout plans are still in the pre-planning stage. Trinia Jean did not let herself look too far ahead as owning the building was still just a dream until this weekend. However, there are several next steps for the business. Permits to open the cafe are needed, and outdoor seating behind the shop will enable Hinterland to grow the coffee side of the operation. Coffee bean roasting and drink sales are on the path to take over the business’s income stream. Selling their collection of products that embody Jean’s “weird sense of humor” will always be part of Hinterland’s operation. It just has a narrow audience, according to Jean, “we’re not for everybody, and that’s OK.” In contrast, their coffee has broad appeal and the power to bring people together inside the shop.
Online retail continues to be the engine of Hinterland’s success. The people who take joy in the company’s creations have expanded thanks to the internet. Now the popularity of the brand has outgrown the capacity of their backroom print shop. In their early years, screen-printing was the main business for Hinterland. They provided commercial printing services for other companies and their selection of clothing. Recently they stopped taking outside work and soon will move all screen printing work to a local company.
While the rough space inside the building worked for screen printing, it will not work well for retail and cafe service. When building ownership is secured, and screen printing relocates, Trinia Jean will transform the whole building into a comfortable retail space. These improvements will take a restorative approach instead of modernization. She respects the 100-year-old building and enjoys its classic characteristics. Work will eventually uncover some of the building’s original architecture and repair it to survive many more years of use.
Trinia Jean has received a warm welcome to the neighborhood and general excitement for her efforts. This section of NE Glisan has grown sleepy over the years and has needed a revival. The residents appreciate the recent resurgence of activity. “Everyone is just excited to have some life in a space that didn’t have a lot of life initially,” explained Jean. With the funded Kickstarter campaign, people should start to see further enhancements to these shops and more lively activity around them.
Sebastiano’s Sicilian Deli is venturing outside the four walls of its storefront at 411 SE 81st Ave. Starting this Friday night,therestaurantwill open Aperitivo Sebastiano within a food cart located in the back parking lot behind the shop. This endeavor joins Sebastiano’s inaugural participation in the Montavilla Farmers Market last Sunday. Both new locations feature unique menu items and serve expanded tastes.
Many restaurants use food trucks to spread out to new locations, but co-owners of Sebastiano’s, Elise and Daniel Gold, are taking a different approach. Their food truck is parked behind the original restaurant, enhancing that location instead of transporting the business elsewhere. “Months ago, having no sense on where things would be at with covid, we came up with the idea of a food cart for summer. As a way to continue to grow but do it outside”, explained Daniel Gold. Traditionally, the deli serves the lunchtime crowd. By adding the food truck, customers can now enjoy a pre-dinner appetizer and drink on select nights. In Italy, an aperitivo is a pre-meal drink specifically meant to whet the appetite. This cultural tradition is the concept driving Aperitivo Sebastiano’s menu. Customers can start their night at the cart and then move on to dinner at another Montavilla eatery.
According to Gold, the food truck’s kitchen opens up a host of culinary options for the nighttime menu. “We’re pretty excited to be able to offer more types of food, essentially because now we have a full kitchen. We have fryers, we have a grill, we have four burners, more refrigeration, and the space for a cook to work safely.” The Golds optimized the restaurant’s existing food-prep for a deli operation, making the most out of limited space. Baking and pan-based cooking dominate that workflow as most menu items rely on cured protein ingredients.
Daniel Gold believes that the Italian doughnuts will become a favorite item at the cart, and that is not something that they could have created without the complete kitchen out-back. The food truck’s fryer supports a focus on Sicilian street food, a cuisine that favors fried foods. Beyond sweets, the menu will offer Arancini (stuffed and fried risotto balls), Zeppole, and House-pulled fresh Mozzarella. As the summer progresses, the expanded kitchen will allow for experimentation in the menu. Vegetarian and Vegan options are prime areas that Gold wants to expand on.
Up to this point, Sebastiano’s has offered takeout only, except for reserved group events last summer. Now outdoor seating around the truck lets customers stop in and order food and drinks to enjoy onsite. They will serve wine by the glass, Spritz, Rosato (Italian rose wine), and some nonalcoholic cocktails. The tables will be open during Aperitivo Sebastiano’s hours of 3 PM through 6 PM on Friday and Saturday nights, with post Farmers Market service on Sundays from 2 PM to 5 PM. Customers can also order items to go and bring them over to Threshold Brewing and Montavilla Brew Works seating area.
The collaboration with other Montavilla businesses is core to Sebastiano’s operation. All beer sold there is from local breweries. Sourcing within the neighborhood for foods and beverages is essential to the Golds. That is what brought them to the Montavilla Farmers Market, first as buyers for their seasonal dishes and now as vendors.
Only one weekend in, the farmers market booth has already proven worthwhile for Daniel Gold. “We’re super excited and had an incredible first day at the Montavilla Farmers Market.” Just as with the food truck, some menu items are locations specific. Sebastiano’s staff bake Castelvetrano olive focaccia exclusivly for the farmers market. The market menu items feature favorite Sebastiano’s food like orange marmalade, sweet and savory brioche rolls, and a “tremendous amount” of Sicilian cookies. The Golds sold out within an hour and a half of opening at the market. They are going to double their efforts for next Sunday.
The farmers market project is pure fun for Golds. “It’s really a lovely end of our week to be outside and to be with our community and seeing a bunch of people that we now know,” said Daniel Gold. Sebastiano’s will keep a booth at the market at least through October. That coincides with the end of their food truck lease. At that point, they will reassess and see if customers enjoyed the expanded options.
The Golds started Sebastiano’s at the beginning of the pandemic. That challenge forced the couple to adjust their plans and create new ways of engaging customers. This summer, the Golds and their staff continue to push forward, with new ways to serve residents who are venturing out after an extended stay at home. Stop by behind the shop any post-work-week night for a pre-dinner visit, have lunch at the original shop on Thursday-Saturday, or wave hello at the farmers market. They would love to see you at any of their many places.
Images courtesy of Sebastiano’s Sicilian Deli
UPDATED May 10th 2021 – adjusted hours listed in article to reflect a change and corrected spelling of menu item.
Last December, Mayor Ted Wheeler instructed bureau directors to reduce budgets by five percent for the upcoming fiscal year to address a pending citywide deficit. The resulting budget proposal from Portland Fire & Rescue removed services that would impact Fire Station staffing and services. However, the Mayor’s proposed budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year now restores funding cuts that would have reduced service at Montavilla’s Fire Station 19.
The previously proposed service reduction in the 2021-2022 budget would have eliminated four Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV). Portland Fire & Rescue added the RRV units to some fire stations several years ago to reduce response time and lessen the need to send out four-person fire engine crews to none-fire emergencies. An RRV is an SUV-style truck containing a two-person team. They dispatch quickly to incidents and often resolve calls without the need for additional firefighting equipment. The program has reduced response time and lowered the operational costs for Portland Fire & Rescue.
Thursday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler unveiled his proposed funding plan for the next fiscal year. In the Portland Fire & Rescue budget’s summary, staff acknowledges the need to maintain emergency response service levels. “Funding is… restored for the Rapid Response Vehicle program, totaling $2,752,318 in ongoing General Fund resources. These resources will help ensure the stable provision of frontline Fire Bureau services – ensuring quick response times to fires and medical calls for service.”
Portland Fire & Rescue received substantial community support during the budget negotiation process. Although some cuts will occur in the bureau’s budget, none will reduce emergency responder staff. Some administrative positions, many of them currently vacant, are being eliminated. Some reductions are unavoidable as shortfalls in revenue over the previous year require a cutback in City spending. However, the Fire Bureau is receiving the financial support they need to continue their life-saving work.
The City Council will hold a public hearing on Wednesday from 6 PM to 8 PM and then have a final vote on the budget in June.
This summer, Multnomah University will begin work on a new athletics field that will host competitive men’s and women’s soccer matches. The project will create a regulation-sized synthetic turf soccer field with lights and a scoreboard. Beyond hosting games, the enhancements will support expanded student fitness and recreation opportunities.
Matches at the new field will be open to the public, and the University encourages neighborhood attendance. “We would love for community members to attend the games,” remarked Multnomah University representative Gina Berquist. Located at 8435 NE Glisan Street, the athletics field is accessible from NE Glisan Street, NE 87th Ave, and NE Pacific Street. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the upcoming fall schedule is unconfirmed and contingent on future guidance. The University’s Athletics site will post the fall soccer schedule when confirmed with other Cascade Collegiate Conference members.
The school hopes to wrap up the permitting process soon, allowing the completion of work by the end of summer and ahead of the upcoming season. When completed, this new field will provide residents with an opportunity to watch a favorite Portland sport played in the neighborhood. Keep an eye on gomulions.com for updates on the schedule and support the athletes by attending the games.
Cascade Collegiate Conference Schools
University of British Columbia Bushnell University Corban University Eastern Oregon University The Evergreen State College The College of Idaho Lewis-Clark State College
Multnomah University Northwest University Oregon Institute of Technology Southern Oregon University Walla Walla University Warner Pacific University
UPDATE – Portland Parks & Recreation created a Berrydale Park Skatepark Project page, featuring information about the proposed new amenities and a tentative schedule for community involvement with the planning process.
Yesterday Portland Parks & Recreation announced substantial investments in several neighborhood parks throughout the city. As part of that proposal, Montavilla’s Berrydale Park will gain a new skateboarding area with potentially more enhancements planned around the project. The new skatepark will join eight others in the Portland Parks system.
Last week, Early Assistance application 21-038776 outlined the potential upgrades coming to Berrydale Park beyond the approved skatepark. Mark Ross with Portland Parks & Recreation explained that the skateboarding area is the primary addition to the park, but other improvements could soon follow. “In the future, contingent on available funding, additional park amenities may include improved access, new site furnishings such as lighting, drinking fountains, benches, trash cans, and signage.”
With a total project budget of two million dollars ($2M), this work represents the most significant investment at this park within recent memory. Commissioner Carmen Rubio allocated one and a half million dollars ($1.5M) in System Development Charges (SDC) to this project, adding to the existing five-hundred-thousand dollars ($500K) in SDC funding. The added funds now allow for project planning to begin and ensures the completion of the skateboarding area.
Improvement to Portland parks is in line with city-wide efforts to curb a trend of violence and crime growing within the city. At a recent neighborhood meeting, Commissioner Mingus Mapps explained how after-school activities and the return of community programs outweigh increased policing in his plans to reduce crime. “If you are out doing something constructive, then you are not out doing something destructive.” Commissioner Mapps’ plan does not directly rely on park resources. However, these long-term investments by Parks & Recreation will create constructive outlets for the community, reinforcing other programs aimed at changing behavior.
The Berrydale Park project is scheduled to complete construction sometime in spring 2024. Within the coming months and years, Parks & Recreation staff will create proposed designs and engage with the community around this project. Look for opportunities to get involved when that phase of planning begins.
UPDATE – The new fence is complete and currently protecting the Portland City Blessing Church property. Over the past two months, crews installed a black metal picket fence with two rolling gates and one swing door gate. Church staff hope this barrier will curb the dumping of abandoned vehicles and trash on their property.
Update posted February 11th, 2021.
UPDATE – Metal picket fence material now sits behind the church awaiting insulation. Unlike other styles used on the property, this project will not use a chain-link fence. That design choice will likely improve the outward appearance of the barrier. The pending winter storm may delay further work until next week.
Original article posted February 10th, 2021.
Yesterday, crews began installing a new fence and several gates around the Portland City Blessing Church on NE Glisan. The expanded fence line will wrap around the full front entrance and close-off the parking lot. Much of the new barrier runs along the property line on NE 78th Ave.
Located at 450 NE 78th Ave, the church occupies a corner lot with parking access on NE Glisan Street and NE 78th Ave. The new fence joins an existing gate and six-foot-tall galvanized chain-link fence installed along NE Glisan. Based on post mounting holes, a swing-door gate in front of the ADA will be the primary entrance. A potential of two roll-door gates could provide occasional access to the main steps and parking lot entrance.
Barriers along sidewalks are controversial. Fences protect the property from the passive intruder and discourage the uninvited. However, it can be unfriendly to others using the street. It signals some hostility to the public realm on a building’s frontage and makes the sidewalk more challenging to navigate. Hopefully, the new fence will employ an attractive design and complement the building without detracting from the communal spaces.
Neighborhood news site focused on buildings and changing businesses