Category: Community

Free TriMet Rides Feb 4th

In honor of civil rights icon Rosa Parks, TriMet operators will not collect bus fare on February 4th. In 2020, TriMet passed a resolution declaring Parks’ birthday as a day of remembrance across the public transportation system, including MAX, WES, and LIFT systems. Portland Streetcar and C-TRAN service are also offered without cost to riders this Saturday. Fare collection on all public transportation resumes on Sunday, February 5th, at 2 a.m.

Ticket machines will not allow ticket purchases on February 4th, and if you tap your Hop card or ticket that day, you will get a confirmation of valid fare but won’t be charged.

Mass Timber Affordable Housing on NE Glisan

Site work is underway for a new eight-story mixed-use building at NE 99th Avenue and Glisan Street. Designed by Access Architecture of Vancouver, WA, the building is named TimberView due to its predominantly wood-framed construction and scenic top-floor outdoor terrace. The mass timber structure will provide 105 affordable housing units with ground-floor commercial space.

Located in Portland’s Gateway District, this property occupies a 9,583-square-foot corner lot that once supported a single-family residence. Demolition crews deconstructed that house and detached garage in 2012. Heavy equipment recently leveled the ground, preparing the land for imminent construction. Additionally, workers removed some large trees from the property this week. However, several new street trees will surround the site after crews install the wider sidewalk as a part of this project.

TimberView building, rendering courtesy of Access Architecture

Developers working in the Gateway District create projects with larger urban-scale designs that emphasize public transportation and efficient use of land. The scale of the new structure will match the adjacent building on this block, all built within the last decade. The bar-shaped building will relocate the site’s entrance from NE Glisan to 540 NE 99th Avenue, in the center of the building. When completed, this mid-rise tower will offer a full range of apartments, from Studio to three-bedroom units.

Expect construction work to begin soon with cranes lifting cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor panels atop glue-laminated timber beams and columns. This type of construction can assemble faster than other projects using concrete. Vendors create many elements of the building’s structure off-site, facilitating a quick assembly at the property. When completed, this site will provide a healthy addition of affordable housing.

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Summer Fires Potentially Linked to Mt Tabor Arson

Three individuals suspected of committing arson in Mt. Tabor park last summer face charges related to fires started in Montavilla. Sophie Peel’s Willamette Week article outlines a series of offenses revealed by the Multnomah County grand jury indictment of the accused. In some cases, these incidents caused significant damage and loss of property.

Together, the three 18-year-olds face 14 charges, including three counts of arson in the first degree, six counts of arson in the second degree, four counts of reckless burning, and one count of unlawful possession of a destructive device. However, the sole Montavilla resident in the group of defendants received the brunt of the blame. He stands accused of all 14 charges, while his purported accomplices face only two counts.

Shed fire at Harrison Park August 10th, 2022

An infographic in the Willamette Week article lists ten incidents, with seven in Montavilla. It includes a Creative Science School mattress and vegetation fire, a box truck fire at SE Hawthorne and SE 85th Avenue, a dumpster fire near 8827 SE Division Street, and a fire next to 8316 SE Taylor Street. Also among the more severe damage listed is a shed fire inside Harrison Park and an abandoned structure fire at 2336 SE 92nd Avenue. The article did not include the portable toilet fire at Harrison Park, as it appears not to be part of the indictment. However, some area residents believe the fire is related, having occurred around the same time as the shed fire.

Accessory structure fire at 2336 SE 92nd Avenue

According to a September 12th, 2022, statement by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s office, the accused individuals “each admitted to involvement in starting the fires” at Mt. Tabor Park during a Portland Police interview. These recent charges include only one criminal event from the initial questioning, with the majority of arson charges occurring in Montavilla. After the investigative focus on the three suspects, the number of malicious fires in the neighborhood dropped substantially, and residential angst about this issue subsided. This indictment should provide closure to several concerning incidents from last year.

Portable toilet fire at Harrison Park Summer, 2022

Montavilla’s Hidden Pottery Studio

In the back of Clogs-N-More, behind a curtain in the stockroom, two pottery artists quietly create innovative porcelain pieces that sell to buyers across the country. Since August 2020, co-owners Jenn Gauer and Meghan Radick have made 7821 SE Stark Street the home of their business JaMpdx Ceramics. The studio space is the center for their hand-crafted creations, with clay splatter across the walls and racks of products in various stages of completion. Consequentially, the production space is closed to the public. Instead, they rely on the company website and select retail locations to display their one-of-a-kind products.

The partners bring their unique skills together in nearly every creation. Jenn’s “the potter, and I’m the decorator, so I do things like painting or built these flowers. I was a cake decorator, so this kind of decoration is done using cake decorating tools squeezed out of a bag, just like frosting,” explained Radick. This decorating technique is one of the standout characteristics of the designs. Gauer and Radick were the pioneers of this process, with limited competition in the marketplace. “People are trying it, but we think 12 years ago we were the first.” Said, Radick. A comparable technique called slip trailing is common, but potters using that method usually work with a much wetter material compared to what JaMpdx Ceramics uses. “That’s just like the Rose you would see on a cake, and it’s made exactly the same way and just stuck right on the pot. Most potters are not at that level of cake decorating to be able to transfer that skill.” Said Radick while pointing to some of her recent work awaiting shipment.

Yarn bowls

Other innovations produced in the studio come from necessity. Gauer and Radick are knitters and observed a need they could fill with their profession. “Where one of a few potters that specialize in these yarn bowls. A yarn bowl is a thing that has existed for years, but usually, there’s a cut out in the side of the bowl.” Remarked Radick while demonstrating the uniquely notched lid of their design. They constantly update the product lines and improve the colors and glazing used. They buy raw porcelain from a regional supplier, Clay Art, in Tacoma, WA. All the items are food safe, with most pieces rated for dishwashers or microwaves.

Old Pottery Fun kilns

This Stark Street store is not the first location for JaMpdx Ceramics. The pair initially started working together in Jenn Gauer’s basement. Only luck and a past work relationship brought this company to the historic downtown Montavilla area. “Well, I worked for Clogs-N-More for about 12 years, so when they saw this space, they saw the kilns in the backroom that were left here from Pottery Fun and called me,” explained Meghan Radick. “They called me and said, hey, you guys should come and take over this really well-priced space in this great neighborhood.” However, the timing for such a significant leap in operational expenses did not seem sound. “We were not ready to take over 1700 square feet of retail in a pandemic,” said Radick.

Fortunately for both companies, they were able to strike a deal to share the storefront, with JaMpdx Ceramics taking the back third of the space. They bought the leftover kilns and some shelving from Pottery Fun and moved operations out of the basement. “Being in the basement, it worked, but it’s nice for [Jenn] to have the work-life separation. And it’s been so nice to be able to open up a door and have fresh air come in.” Said, Radick.

This company continues a long tradition of makers taking root in Montavilla and creating exceptional products enjoyed across the nation. Although closed to walk-in customers, the pair feel part of the community and are happy they have this space. They can take special requests for color or design if they can sell the other 15 units they need to make in a production run. Visit them online at to see what they have and contact them with questions or requests.

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County Alternative Shelters Coming to SE 82nd Ave

In the second half of 2022, Multnomah County purchased two automotive sales lots in Montavilla along SE 82nd Avenue. At least one location will become an outdoor alternative shelter serving houseless Portlanders next year. The Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS) is currently selecting a service provider to offer continuous on-site support for the residents. County staff anticipates a summer 2023 opening for the first location near SE Stark Street. The second location near Harrison Park is in an early pre-planning phase and currently leased to a recreational vehicle (RV) sales company.

In August 2022, Multnomah County purchased the former RV sales lot at 333 SE 82nd Avenue and posted a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) on November 2nd. In response to the NOFA, organizations interested in managing the shelter submitted applications ahead of the November 21st deadline, and the County is actively reviewing those proposals. JOHS staff have yet to determine the type of alternative outdoor shelter planned for 333 SE 82nd Avenue. The site could support either a safe park site for non-RV passenger vehicles or a village-style shelter with small freestanding shed-style Pallet shelters

Residents are pre-selected for both types of alternative shelters. These sites will not support drop-in services, and site operators will discourage unsanctioned camping around the property. County staff point to another JOHS-funded shelter in the neighborhood as an example of what they intend to create at this site. Beacon Village opened its 10-pod village to residents earlier this year near NE Glisan Street and has successfully housed a small group of formerly unhoused people within a church parking lot.

1818 SE 82nd Avenue

The second County-owned site is located less than a mile south of 333 SE 82nd Avenue at 1818 SE 82nd Avenue. The corner lot has access to SE Mill Street and is a block away from Harrison Park. Currently, the County is leasing the property back to its former owner. Recently acquired in December 2022, JOHS has yet to determine this site’s ultimate use, and Multnomah County staff cannot say when planning for this site will begin.

Outdoor alternative shelters are most commonly associated with a City lead collaboration between Portland and JOHS known as Safe Rest Villages. However, both County-owned sites are not being developed as part of that program. Jenka Soderberg, the program communications coordinator for JOHS, explained the primary difference between the two programs. “The Safe Rest Villages program was created apart from existing shelter efforts, with the City funding construction, though it does work with the Joint Office around contracting and other support.” These sites on SE 82nd Avenue will join the County’s existing alternative shelter program that began five years ago. “The Joint Office already funds and operates other alternative shelter sites and has done so since the Kenton Women’s Village first opened in 2017. Other shelters in that category include St. Johns Village, Beacon Village PDX, and WeShine’s Parkrose Village.” Said Soderberg.

The vacant half-block property near historic downtown Montavilla received new black chain-link fencing around its perimeter this December, supplanting the construction fencing that has protected the site since its sale. Over the next few months, construction crews will upgrade facilities at the site, creating resident amenities that include personal property storage, trash service, showers, restrooms, laundry, kitchen space, and social services. 

Image of 333 SE 82nd Avenue from Portland Maps

The County considers 333 SE 82nd Avenue temporary accommodations. With people staying only as long as it takes to transition into permanent housing or permanent supportive housing programs. However, according to Soderberg, the site will remain a temporary shelter location for the foreseeable future. “The plan is to operate a long-term shelter at the site, but like all programs, budgets must be approved by the County Board and City Council annually, and we would always want to ensure we’re able to evaluate the success of the program.”

During the first half of 2023, program staff will coordinate meetings, working with neighbors and area businesses to create a Good Neighbor Agreement. Through alternative shelters like the ones proposed for Montavilla, the County intends to initiate positive changes for villagers and neighbors currently experiencing unsanctioned camping. By creating a safe sleeping space for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, program managers hope to build an environment that allows villagers to be part of the surrounding neighborhood. Employees will professionally manage the site at all hours of every day. People working with residents will provide support to address basic needs, including hygiene services, case management, and housing navigation. Residents will receive access to treatment for unmet behavioral health needs.

Neighbors within a half-mile radius of the site should receive a postcard in the mail informing them about this planned site use. JOHS will update the community when they decide on a program model and contract with a shelter operator. The village could open and accept participants as soon as workers complete construction. Still, that timeline depends on the shelter style selection and how soon site management can prepare staff. JOHS will provide updates to community organizations as those milestones come closer.

333 SE 82nd Avenue

Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the boards of the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association, 82nd Avenue Business Association, and Montavilla Neighborhood Association. During that work, he drafted the Good Neighbor Agreement with Beacon Village and will likely participate in future community outreach for these Multnomah County initiatives.

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Free TriMet Rides on New Year’s Eve

As revelers head out to celebrate the close of 2022, Trimet once again offers riders fare-free transportation. Starting at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, all bus, MAX, and Portland Streetcar trips are free. Extended late-night MAX service runs until 2 a.m., allowing people to safely return from the night’s celebrations.

TriMet is bringing back free rides on New Year’s Eve in partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation. Most MAX Lines run until 2 a.m. MAX Blue, Green, Orange, and Yellow lines will provide extended service, running approximately every 30 minutes. MAX Red Line trains will run on weekday schedules, with the last Red Line train leaving from Pioneer Square South to Portland International Airport (PDX) at 12:42 a.m. Shuttle buses carrying riders between Gateway Transit Center and PDX will run after train service ends as needed and until approximately 3:30 a.m.

For those who spent the night at their party destination, New Year’s Day service on TriMet buses, MAX, and Portland Streetcar will operate on regular Sunday schedules. WES Commuter Rail will not be in service, and TriMet customer support staff will have the day off. Even if public transportation is not in your plan, remember you are not stuck driving your vehicle home if you have partied too hard. Everyone deserves a safe start to 2023, and TriMet hopes they can help make that happen with this free-ride program.

Image courtesy TriMet

Public Trash Cans Coming to NE Portland

The next wave of public trash cans will hit Portland’s streets early in 2023 as new receptacles arrive from the manufacturer. A year ago, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) installed trash cans throughout SE Portland, including parts of Montavilla. Now city staff are preparing for the NE expansion and need the public’s help in determining the placement of those rubbish containers. People can take the online survey now but must submit their entries by Monday, December 19th.

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 BPS will have added 150 new City-provided and serviced trash cans to NE Portland, bringing the total available receptacles in the quadrant to 215.

Trash can delivery, image courtesy BPS

Each 65-gallon trash can stands 4.5 feet tall and has a three-by-three-foot footprint. On narrow sidewalks, BPS will deploy a smaller 35-gallon can. Many units have a side attachment for beverage bottles, making them accessible to community members looking to collect the deposit. The City intends to contract with a woman or minority-owned trash hauler to empty the containers twice a week.

When suggesting locations for the new cans, BPS staff remind participants that trash cans must reside on public sidewalks and cannot be placed in parking lots or other private property. They also want to prioritize natural gathering spaces near businesses, schools, and intersections.

BPS map showing potential trash can placement

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82nd Ave Site Planning Listening Session

This Thursday, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) will host a site planning and community listening session for two future housing projects on 82nd Avenue. This collaborative meeting will feature conversations regarding the former Canton Grill site at 2610 SE 82nd Avenue and the addition of housing to Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church at 247 SE 82nd Avenue. The in-person gathering has limited space and requires registration ahead of attendance. For those unable to attend, a survey is available in EnglishChineseVietnamese, and Spanish.

After two years of vacancy, the site’s owners accepted APANO’s offer to purchase the former Canton Grill property last month. That historic eatery features a car-centric design with a parking lot that is four times bigger than the building’s footprint. That underutilized space has the potential to support density housing above additional commercial storefronts. Although APANO has a history of working on affordable housing projects, this site could host housing options for various income levels.

Since 2020, Saints Peter & Paul leadership has pursued opportunities to reuse church property to reflect the values of their congregation and the wider community. Recently they selected affordable housing developer ROSE Community Development to lead the enhancement of the faith organization’s site. They intend to provide homes, community, and services for underserved people. Beyond just housing, they envision transforming the 28,000-square-foot half-block into a community hub in alignment with the transformation of 82nd Avenue.

The December 15th session will explore the use of two sites by listening to the public’s ideas for how they should redevelop these spaces and collectively create two new community hubs. The event will run from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Orchards of 82nd building at 8188 SE Division Street. Participation in the Thursday evening session and survey will help both developments meet their shared goals of making 82nd Avenue safer, greener, and more accessible.

Site Planning Survey

Update – December 14th, 2022, 2:40 p.m.: A previous version of this article indicated that APANO purchased the Canton Grill site. It has been updated to reflect that APANO’s offer to purchase 2610 SE 82nd Avenue was accepted. We regret the error. 

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Montavilla Tree lighting

Last night people gathered in the Public Street Plazas on SE 79th Avenue and Stark Street to officially light the holiday tree. This event is part of a month-long celebration in Montavilla known as WinterFest. Coordinators paused this annual event over the last few years due to the pandemic. However, just like the Montavilla Street Fair, the WinterFest has returned in 2022.

Tree lighting, Image by Weston Ruter

Many shops and organizations are hosting giving opportunities to spread joy this season. Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church is hosting a Montavilla Collective fundraiser on December 10th at 247 SE 82nd Avenue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The money gathered by the art sale and silent auction will help support the evolving community of unsheltered and sheltered neighbors committed to improving community through collaboration and creativity. During the fundraiser, people can make holiday cards, visit with neighbors, and donate art supplies. Montavilla Brew Works is accepting donations of warm clothing items in partnership with Cultivate Initiatives. They can receive hats, gloves, coats, sweatshirts, pants, and socks through December. Items collected support marginalized and underserved people in the Portland area and beyond. Check the METBA Calendar for a complete listing of other charitable activities this season.

On the neighborhood’s north side, NE Glisan has a holiday celebration on December 17th called Winter Wassail. People are invited to come and join the holiday mood with carolers and lights all along the bustling street. Montavilla business district businesses on Glisan Street will host a festive walkabout from 4 to 8 p.m. that night. Shops and restaurants will remain open for last-minute holiday shopping, seasonal beverages, and snacks.

Yesterday’s evening festivities followed a handful of seasonal celebrations and charity events that started on December 1st. WinterFest is presented by the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA) as a way to unify all the holiday activities within the business district. People are encouraged to see the lights and shop window decorations in the Historic Downtown Montavilla area and along NE Glisan. Printed WinterFest 2022 posters are up in windows throughout Montavilla to help people discover what is happening next.

Tree lighting video by Weston Ruter

As the first snow of winter falls on Sunday afternoon, this is an ideal opportunity to walk the streets of Montavilla and enjoy the holiday decorations or duck into someplace warm for drinks and a meal. Check  #montavillawinterfest on Instagram and the METBA Calendar for the most up-to-date listing of events and promotions.

Disclosure: The author if this article serves on the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA) board.

Two Montavilla Adjacent Libraries Closing for Expansion

Multnomah County will close the Midland and Holgate Libraries for renovations this month. Construction at these sites will temporarily reduce nearby public library options for Montavilla residents for over a year. County planners expect both projects to complete in the middle of 2024. Until then, people can utilize the three remaining libraries within 3-miles of the neighborhood or take transportation to one of the many other locations.

The Midland Library at 805 SE 122nd Avenue will close on December 23, 2022, and reopen in the summer of 2024. Crews will renovate and expand the 23,871-square-foot building, adding 6,000 square feet to support increased usage. The completed project will incorporate more gathering spaces and activities, with dedicated areas for children and young adults. These updates will provide more room for community use, faster internet, and updated technology.

Midland Library’s new and expanded features will include:

  • Outdoor interactive children’s play area.
  • Large play and learning space for children and families.
  • Dedicated teen room with space for technology, homework and creative expression.
  • Updated technology and internet.
  • Outdoor plaza for community members to relax and connect.
  • New art that represents the community.
  • A Gathering Circle for community conversation. 

Demolition crews will remove the existing Holgate Library building at 7905 SE Holgate Blvd. The County constructed the 6,060-square-foot single-story building in 1971. Construction workers will build a new two-story building, triple the size of the current space, for a total of 21,000 square feet. This branch will become one of the largest libraries in Multnomah County. Holgate Library will temporarily close for construction starting on December 5, 2022. If construction timelines hold to the schedule, this all-new Library building will reopen in the spring of 2024. 

Draft plans for Holgate Library from an April 2022 Presentation. Courtesy Multnomah County

Holgate Library’s new and expanded features will include:

  • Large play and learning space for children and families.
  • Dedicated teen room with space for technology, homework and creative expression.
  • Multiple flexible programming and meeting rooms.
  • Updated technology and internet.
  • Outdoor plaza for community members to relax and connect. 
  • New art that represents the community.
  • Solar panels to help offset energy use.

Draft renderings for Holgate Library from an April 2022 Presentation. Courtesy Multnomah County

These two ambitious projects are part of Multnomah County’s work to expand and modernize these public spaces, helping the library change and grow alongside the community. Holgate and Midland libraries are among the first branches to undergo dramatic rebuilding and expansion in the mid-county. In spring 2023, construction will begin at Albina and North Portland libraries, temporarily closing those locations. These libraries are the first set of eight total building projects funded through the 2020 library bond, including the construction of a new East County Library. Montavilla residents looking for the next nearest public Library can use Belmont Library at 1038 SE Cesar Estrada Chavez Blvd., Gregory Heights Library at 7921 NE Sandy Blvd., or Hollywood Library at 4040 NE Tillamook Street.

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