Category: Construction

Another Duplicate House

The new three-level house, located at 285 SE 90th Ave, is an exact duplicate of one at 1430 NE 72nd Ave. That house is also under construction with a similar completion date. Scot Harger owns both Properties, and Thogerson Designs created the blueprints for the homes.

These twin homes are the second set currently under construction in Montavilla. Many home buyers expect originality in architecture found in Portland’s older neighborhoods. However, reused blueprints are not uncommon in the region. This practice started over a hundred years ago with house kits from Sears Modern Homes. These identical structures are just the modern version of a long-standing tradition, saving costs by reusing construction documents. With these houses spread across the neighborhood, it will be difficult for anyone to notice the replication.

The driveway to this new home slopes down to a tuck-under garage. Inside the garage, to the left, is a hallway leading to the stairway up to the main floor. Off the hallway is a door to the lower level living area. Rooms on this floor have labels such as a recreation room, wet bar, and bedroom five. However, this area is essentially a separate one-bedroom apartment, with a private full bathroom, washer/dryer, and exterior entrance.

The main floor is several feet above the street-level, requiring a flight of stairs to get up to the covered front porch. The porch extends two-thirds the width of the house, stopping at the garage door. Inside the front door, there is an L-shaped stairway leading upstairs. To the right is the Great Room with a fireplace on the south wall. In the back right corner of the room is a Dining area. Although it is not walled off, the Dining area has 6-inch by 6-inch posts defining the room’s corners. A box beam ceiling further defines the space. A substantial 10-foot wide sliding glass door opens from the Dining area onto a fourteen by ten foot raised back deck.

To the left of the Dining area is the Kitchen, arranged in an L shape. Creating the boundary to the Kitchen is a large island with bar seating. The half bathroom sits in the back right corner of the main floor. Enclosed by double glass doors, bedroom four is on the front left side of the main floor. It is ideal for a home office instead of a bedroom, but has a closet and counts towards bedrooms.

The top floor has two standard sized bedrooms on the left side. They share a full bathroom located at the top of the stairs. A laundry room is off to the right of the stairway. The master suite occupies the right half of the top floor. The bedroom portion is fourteen feet square and topped by a tray ceiling. Beyond the bedroom is a double vanity on one side and soaking tub on the other. The ensuite area extends back further to include a toilet room, shower, and a large walk-in closet.

Unlike its duplicate, this home fronts on an unimproved road. It will be interesting to see if the builder creates sidewalks and a partial road around this corner lot. If not, it will be a useful experiment seeing if the difference between paved and unpaved roads will affect the home’s price.

Church Parking Lot Upgrade

Enhancements to SE 80th Ave’s paving and sidewalks have encouraged improvements to private property along that road. The Slavic Church Emmanuel has undergone an upgrade project to its parking lot, creating a new entrance onto SE 80th Ave. The new fence, gate, and lighting are nearing completion.

At the beginning of this year, SE 80th Ave received a complete overhaul from Bridger School to the Portland Community College’s southeast campus. For the first time on the section of the road sidewalks line the street. Additionally, a modern roadway now replaces the once deteriorated driving surface. Located at 2025 SE 82nd Ave, the church occupies a large lot that pushes back to SE 80th Ave. However, many drivers often avoided this section of the SE 80th due to its poor condition. Consequentially the church did not have access to the parking lot on that street.

Road construction cut into some of the church property on its western edge. Overgrown hedges and a small fence needed removal for the project, leaving the back parking lot exposed. The Slavic Church Emmanuel took the opportunity to install a black chainlink fence along the new roadway and created a curb cut leading to SE 80th Ave. Soon vehicles will have access to SE 80th Ave, in addition to the main entrance on SE 82nd Ave.

Beyond the parking lot’s border improvements, the asphalt parking surface has expanded. This weekend crews were at work spreading the oily rock several feet west. Now cars can drive right up to the back fence line. In perhaps the most useful upgrade, permit number 20-179802 will add “New parking lot lighting.”

These upgrades should make the parking lot safer and more accessible for members of the church. Additionally, this transformation to SE 80th Ave’s frontage will enhance the appearance of the street. The new parking lot light further illuminates the road, and the clean fence line makes the area look more active.

New Park Picnic Shelter in 2021

Pre-construction work passed another milestone last week for the new picnic shelter at Montavilla Park. Demolition of the old shelter and wading pool will make way for the updated picnic space.

“Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) staff are making good progress in planning and have secured the needed permits. PP&R will be moving the design forward to be ready for bidding, likely in 2021.” Said Mark Ross, a Media Relations representative with Portland Parks & Recreation.

Issued October 7th, Permit 20-160791 outlines the creation of a “new picnic shelter and expansion of asphalt drive north of structure.” This summer, Portland issued two demolition permits for the old shelter and wading pool. PP&R will not replace the former wading pool.

Budgetary constraints on PP&R could challenge the construction of projects like the new picnic shelter. However, Ross believes that funding will be available for this project when construction starts in 2021. “At that time, we hope for the necessary amount of project funding and staff capacity.”

On the ballot this year is Measure 26-213. It seeks to create a five-year tax levy that would provide PP&R with approximately $48 million each year. Funding from Measure 26-213 taxes would not necessarily pay for this upgrade to Montavilla Park but could ensure that additional citywide cuts do not dramatically affect the PP&R budget. Budget cuts could push this project to a later date.

Outdoor spaces are more important than ever when we look at our long-term recovery from COVID-19. Creating usable, safe spaces in the fresh air will help in the immediate future. Additionally, investing in long term improvements to our parks will secure their viability if economic circumstances cause future budgetary shortfalls. With luck, Montavilla residents will be enjoying a new picnic shelter in the warmer months of 2021.

Old shelter and decommissioned wading pool. Image courtesy of Google Maps

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Curb Ramp Work at SE 91st and Burnside

UPDATE – New curb ramps are under construction at SE 91st Ave and E Burnside Frontage Road. The old curbs and sidewalk are now removed. The ground is prepared with crushed rock for reconstruction. The next phase will see forms laid and soon after pouring of concrete.


Original Story published September 3rd

New curb ramps are coming to SE 91st Ave and E Burnside Frontage Road. The corners are marked with cut lines and construction markings ahead of curb reconstruction.

Hannah Schafer, with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), commented that this intersection is “having the existing curb ramps reconstructed to meet current ADA standards as part of our ongoing updates to curb ramps across the city.”

This stretch of roadway has long been neglected, with one curb recessed to near road-surface level. Sidewalks are only present on Burnside Frontage Road, and PBOT has no plans to expand them along SE 91st Ave during this project.

A historically separated two-block portion of E Burnside runs parallel to the current path of E Burnside. Often listed as E Burnside Frontage Road, it was created when Burnside became a major road for traveling east. City engineers straightened the road to make Burnside continuous, leaving this section of Burnside wider. Later, Burnside was made a standard width creating this short frontage road. The 1928 Sanborn map illustrates the 12 block tract of land that shifted the streets off the standard grid.

Digital Sanborn Maps 1928

This article will be updated when construction begins.

Art Deco Restoration

Construction is underway at the small Art Deco building located at 7631 NE Glisan Street. Restoration plans for this building started back at the beginning of 2020, but past permit issues caused work delays.

Constructed in 1940 as a dentist’s office, it’s the loan example of Art Deco architecture in the area. “The original owner was Herbert E. Craner, a Portland dentist, who practiced in this building for many years. When he died in 1957, his son Eugene took over the business.” Recounted Patricia Sanders, a local Montavilla historian.

Patrick Donaldson, the building’s owner, discover its dental history and found records of what Eugene Craner later did with the property. “His son, [Eugene], is the one that filled out the building application in 1983 to turn it into Montavilla Quality Pizza – a take-out pizza joint,” said Donaldson.

It turned out that the 1983 permit was the most recent one filed with the city before Donaldson started work. “That, in fact, was the last permit legally pulled on the space, despite the number of businesses that have occupied the building. I am still wrangling with the city to get a permit approved based on this old use.” Explained Donaldson, speaking a few months back.

Donaldson bought the building to become the new home of his architecture firm Harka Architecture. To accommodate his business, much of the interior and the entire roof will need rebuilding. The exterior walls are now extended up by a few feet, allowing space to install wood I-beams that will support a new roof.

A recent permit for the project will add an accessible ramp to the building and change occupancy classification from F1 to B. With the addition of the ramp and the new higher walls, the building’s appearance will vary slightly from its original form. However, much of its character seems to be intact.

This project differs from other similar updates on the street. It’s a restoration of a distinct architectural style performed by an architect for an architectural firm’s office. Acting as both a showpiece of architectural style and a classic building’s rehabilitation, much of its final look will be a statement about the new occupants and their respect for history.


Cover Image by Weston Ruter

Duplicate Infill Houses

Under construction at 8014 SE Madison Street, the new three-bedroom house shares the exact layout as another recently completed house in Montavilla. 1328 NE 76th Ave by Wilde Properties completed construction at the beginning of the year. Both houses use the same plan set provided by Thogerson Designs.

The listing for 1328 NE 76th Ave contains some interior images. However, it is likely that Capital Builders LLC, the developer of 8014 SE Madison Street, will use different finishes in this project. Exterior cladding may also utilize other materials and colors.

As with the other house, a single car garage occupies eleven feet of the fifteen-foot wide home. Set back eight feet from the front of the house is the entryway. This setback has the advantage of reducing hallway length from the front door to the rest of the house and provides a covered porch. Inside the front door, a four-foot-wide hallway leads back to the center of the house. Just before reaching the great room is a small 1/2 bath, tucked under the U-shaped stairs. The bathroom is small enough you could wash your hands while seated but has adequate headroom. The Great Room with a gas fireplace is beyond the U-shaped stairs. Above the fireplace are hookups for a wall-mounted TV. The kitchen and dining area occupy the back of the first floor. A sliding glass door leads out to the back yard.

The master bedroom fills the front of the second floor. The ensuite contains a double vanity, separate shower, and soaking tub. Across from the ensuite is a double-wide closet. The ensuite wall and the closet doors form a ten-foot long hallway to the master bedroom door. Having the hallway in the room gives the bedroom an extra level of privacy, even if the door is open.

At the top of the stairs is a shallow linen closet. The hallway stretches down the right side of the building, ending in a full bathroom, taking up the second floor’s right back corner. The left side, of the rear portion of the level, is split between two bedrooms and a laundry room. The Laundry room is between two standard bedrooms and backed against the closets for each bedroom.

Reusing blueprints is not uncommon in this type of construction. Considering that there are few successful designs for a narrow lot, there are bound to be replication and reuse. Having two different builders construct a house from the same plans will be interesting to observe. Each one should put a unique spin on design, highlighting how substantially finishes can change a home’s appearance.

NE Glisan Bus Shelter Destroyed and Removed

An automobile destroyed another prominent Montavilla bus stop late last week. Friday, September 25th, crews removed the broken bus shelter along NE Glisan near 82nd Ave. The shelter served the number 19 Bus stop in front of the Montavilla Community Center.

Tia York, Public Information Officer for TriMet, confirmed the reason for its removal. “The bus shelter at NE 82nd and Glisan was struck by a vehicle over the weekend and damaged beyond repair.” York went on to say that TriMet does not currently have replacement shelters available to replace the damaged unit.

Photo by Weston Ruter

In a Reddit post, a potential eyewitness to the collision provides their account. “I was heading home with my 6 months old, and someone who was obviously drunk crashed into a bus stop, annihilated it, hit another car, almost hit me and my baby, and then continued to swerve and fly down Glisan like a maniac.”

This location is the second area bus shelter to be destroyed by an automobile. The bus shelter at the corner of 82nd and Burnside received similar damage earlier this summer. That bus shelter was also not replaced.

Photo by Weston Ruter

According to York, TriMet will replace this bus shelter as “soon as possible.” Although TriMet appreciates that the lack of a bus shelter inconveniences some riders, they ask for patience while replacing the damaged structures. York hints at a longer replacement timeline by encouraging riders to “bundle up and carry an umbrella as the rainy season approaches.”

In both incidents, the bus shelters were vacant. However, if this continues to be the site of future collisions, someone is bound to be injured. Perhaps it is time for PBOT to consider placing high-impact bollards near vulnerable pedestrian waiting areas. Hopefully, these types of incidents decrease and remain casualty free.

Image provided by Google Maps

Cellphone Tower Upgrade Second Attempt

The T-Mobile Cellphone Tower, located on the Public Storage property at 1621 NE 71st Ave, will receive an upgrade. Work proposed in permit application 20-194224 will encompass some of the work proposed in February of this year.

Permit 20-120469 issued to towers managed Crown Castle on March 4th. However, the online records for the old permit are no longer accessible. Now, 20-194224 seems to be the replacement permit for the project.

In this next iteration of the upgrades, workers will replace three antennas and three remote radio units. Remove three Remote Radio Units and three Tower Mounted Amplifier radios. One FXFC radio will relocate from the ground to the tower. Six lines will be replaced by one cable with pendant and j-box.

In the ground level equipment room, they will replace a small cabinet in the existing H-frame. Workers will install two new cabinets replacing the three existing ones and upgrade support equipment in those cabinets.

Hopefully, this second attempt at upgrades will be successful. These work delays seem to have been put to constructive use, reengineering the project to make even more meaningful upgrades.

Spacious House Construction on 72nd

A new three-level house, located at 1430 NE 72nd Ave, is under construction. In what will likely become the largest house on the block, this five-bedroom house will have around 2,500 square feet of living space.

The driveway to this new home slopes down to a tuck-under garage. Inside, to the left of the garage is a hallway leading to the stairway up to the main floor. Off the hallway is a door to the lower level living area. Rooms on this floor have labels such as a recreation room, wet bar, and bedroom five. However, this area is essentially a separate one-bedroom apartment, with a private full bathroom, washer/dryer, and exterior entrance.

The main floor is several feet above the street-level, requiring a flight of stairs to get up to the covered front porch. The porch extends two-thirds the width of the house, stopping at the garage door. Inside the front door, there is an L shaped stairway leading upstairs. To the right is the Great Room with a fireplace on the south wall. In the back right corner of the room is a Dining area. Although it is not walled off, the Dining area has 6-inch by 6-inch posts defining the room’s corners. A box beam ceiling further defines the space. A substantial 10-foot wide sliding glass door opens from the Dining area onto a fourteen by ten foot raised back deck.

To the left of the Dining area is the Kitchen, arranged in an L shape. Creating the boundary to the Kitchen is a large island with bar seating. The half bathroom sits in the back right corner of the main floor. Enclosed by double glass doors, bedroom four is on the front left side of the main floor. It is ideal for a home office instead of a bedroom, but has a closet and counts towards bedrooms.

The top floor has two standard sized bedrooms on the left side. They share a full bathroom located at the top of the stairs. A laundry room is off to the right of the stairway. The master suite occupies the right half of the top floor. The bedroom portion is fourteen feet square and is topped by a tray ceiling. Beyond the bedroom is a double vanity on one side and soaking tub on the other. The ensuite area extends back further to include a toilet room, shower, and a large walk-in closet.

In some ways, this large modern craftsman home attempts to blend into the neighborhood through architecture. It features a hip-roof, decorative dormer window, and other attributes to match the neighborhood’s aesthetic. However, its size will make it a unique fixture on the street. It looks to be an impressive house with a high-end home buyer in mind.

Pacific Plaza Ready for Tenants

Pacific Plaza anchors the busy intersection of 82nd Ave and SE Division. The new retail building finished construction this week and is now seeking tenants. This building represents a significant advancement in the area’s redevelopment, as it transforms into a pedestrian-centric commercial corridor.

The retail location, clad in dark brick, features a towering central entryway of glass and metal. Both design elements draw the attention of people passing through the intersection. The building owners, CSS Properties, choose the material and color pallet for this building carefully. CSS Properties “had a really clear idea about the materiality. They are big fans of masonry and this dark-colored brick that they chose… They had a vision about the two street-facing elevations. Break up the massing somewhat with the parapet line.” Said Nathan Junkert, Project Manager with Scott Edwards Architecture. They knew it would be highly visible and wanted to attract people into the structure.

Part of drawing people into the building starts with creating an open area in front of the building. “We carved out a little bit of space around the bus shelter and main entry to respect that public-facing side of the building.” Said Junkert. Extra space at the corner not only makes the intersection safer for pedestrians but creates a comfortable location for people to transition between the building and street.

Pacific Plaza’s use of a double hight center hallway is a distinctive feature for a multi-tenant retail building of this size. Tenants can utilize both the interior and exterior entryways for their business. Having an indoor promenade in addition to street-side storefronts will expand foot traffic opportunities for shops and restaurants in the building. The hallway connects two enlarged entrances on either side of the structure and bisects the building, creating a north and south half.

Currently, the hallway and utility room are the only completed interior spaces within the building. There are no shared restrooms for the property; each tenant will need to create their own facilities. Both halves of the building are continuous, from front to back, and only crushed rock lines the floor. The retail space is left unfinished to allow future tenants the flexibility in creating their store’s layout. Plumbing for water and sewer extends into each perspective space. Electrical service also is stubbed into the building, connecting to each retail location from the meter-bank outside. The structure has entryways to support up to 14 individual retail establishments. However, tenants will likely occupy larger storefront sections and reduce the building’s overall number of shops.

According to Alexi Meuwissen, Director of Marketing and Business Development with Scott Edwards Architecture, CSS Properties are actively seeking specific prospects. “The owners do not have any tenants secured yet, but they are targeting the following: Starbucks, Subway, Verizon, FedEx, and physical therapy.” Building designers envisioned food service as a potential use for this site. “Grease interceptors are already installed. It’s well-prepped for restaurants.” Said General Contractor Jef Krohn with Joseph Hughes Construction (JHC).

It is easy to envision restaurants in this location because of its history of housing eateries. This site had previously been the decade-long home to the Hung Far Low restaurant. Over its history, this corner lot supported a hundred years of successful business in Portland. That constant occupation and redevelopment complicated construction when digging drywells for the project. “When we did dig this thing up, there was so much stuff underneath this building that had been here for hundreds of years.” Said Krohn.

Further complicating the construction of the building was its proximity to the building at 8245 SE Division Street. That structure is within 14 inches of Pacific Plaza’s east wall. Being so close to the building prevented them from installing brick veneer from the outside of the building. That restriction required switching building materials from a standard steel frame structure to a structural brick wall on that side of the building. “We had to lay all the brick from the inside,” explained Krohn. Scott Edwards Architecture had to adjust the plans as the project was underway. “We had to think on our feet,” described Junkert. The outward appearance is indistinguishable between the two types of wall construction. However, it was an example of the unseen challenges they faced.

Another difficulty for the project came from COVID-19. This project completed in just over seven months, despite being in the middle of a pandemic. During the crisis, steel suppliers shut down, forcing builders to seek out new sources. Workplace safety policies frequently changed during the project, creating delays from adjusting to safety rules and sourcing different protective equipment.

Regardless of challenges, the project team is pleased with the timely delivery and quality of what they have created. Buildings replaced as part of 82nd Ave’s revitalization can create some public concern. There is an understanding that new structures are shaping the maturing character along the street. Junkert expressed his desire that the building’s placement and design will complement the neighborhood. “We are hopeful that occupying the corner and building out the street frontage will have a positive effect on 82nd and the Jade District in general.”

More people are living near this section of town, and not just driving to it. The building is a successful compromise between 82nd Avenue’s history as a car-centric street and its future as a pedestrian-friendly community space. Pacific Plaza has a healthy amount of onsite parking, accessible from 82nd Ave and SE 83rd Ave. Despite parking availability, this building focusses on pedestrians. Every side of this development has large windows and entrances to the property. It will have activity in all directions and encourage people to travel through and around the building.

Rendering courtesy of Scott|Edwards Architecture.

CSS Properties had ideas of what type of businesses would fit here when the project begin. However, COVID-19 has shifted those expectations towards a greater variety of possible occupants. They are willing to work with any interested tenant and are devoted to making the building suitable for prospective businesses.

Pacific Plaza represents an accelerated transformation of both 82nd Ave and SE Division. This area once had only business lining the street, and they catered to automobile access. With the opening of the Orchards of 82nd apartment building at this intersection, the area is firmly a community of residents and businesses. The shops of Pacific Plaza should expect local customers to travel on foot and create an establishment serving those customers’ needs. They have an opportunity to further transform these cross streets in a positive direction by providing services for both residents and visitors.


Pacific Plaza is located at 2464 SE 82nd Ave