Category: Construction

Utility Pole Severed by Auto Collision

Yesterday, Pacific Power crews closed one lane of traffic as they replaced a damaged utility pole at 232 NE 82nd Avenue. A vehicle collided with the pole in the early morning hours of December 20th, snapping the wooden pole free at the sidewalk and cracking it in half.

Photo by Weston Ruter

Pacific Power received notice of the damage at 6:44 AM. The incident affected electrical service to a single customer, and crews restored service soon after 10:00 AM. An area resident noted on Facebook that a similar incident demolished the same utility pole in 2015. Tom Gauntt, Spokesman at Pacific Power, did not have records extending back to that prior incident but noted that 82nd Avenue utility poles often suffer similar vehicle collisions.

Within 12 hours of its reported damage, crews replaced the utility pole, restoring power to a single city streetlight on the west side of 82nd Avenue. The linemen minimized the disruption to commuters, only closing the outermost northbound lane of 82nd Avenue. Unfortunately, due to its location at the entrance to Wendy’s Restaurant and within inches of the curb, this price of infrastructure may suffer the same collision again. Fortunately, the wood utility pole is relatively easy to replace, and this junction point serves just one customer.


Title photo and other image as noted by Weston Ruter. All others, copyright Montavilla News.

Curb Ramps on SE Mill and 76th

This week, cement masons completed the curb ramp installation project at SE Mill Street and 76th Ave. After providing additional time for the new sidewalks and curbs to cure, crews will remove wood forms and patch asphalt along the road’s edge. Ten months after the first painted street markings appeared at the intersection, the City has fulfilled its promise of bringing accessible crossings to this school zone. 


Article update published on December 5th, 2021

Road crews recently completed the western half of the curb ramp installation project at SE Mill Street and 76th Ave. Workers repositioned stormwater drains away from the crossing paths and poured new concrete corners with ADA-compliant ramps. Now, work continues across the street on the eastern curb ramps at the corners and one mid-block location. Mill Street does not align through the intersection, forcing a ramp’s placement further back from the corner. Expect continued lane closures and daytime congestion on SE 76th Ave over the next several weeks.


Article update published on October 20th, 2021

This week, road crews began the curb ramp installation project at SE Mill Street and 76th Ave. Workers have repositioned stormwater drains away from the new crossing paths. Next, wood forms will reshape these corners ahead of concrete work. This project expanded from its original scope to include all four corners at the intersection. Based on road markings, ramp alignment may shift north and south from some corners to account for Mill Street’s staggered crossing of 76th Ave. Expect occasional lane closures and daytime congestion on SE 76th Ave over the next several weeks.


Original article published on Febuary 25th, 2021

Two new curb ramps are coming to the intersection of SE Mill Street and 76th Ave. The improvements will provide an accessible crossing of SE 76th Ave, near Bridger School’s rear-entrance. Each corner will gain two ramps making crossing points perpendicular to the roads they cross.

No previous ramps exist on these corners. However, there is an older single ramp on the southeast corner. It is not included in this project and will remain unaltered. Mill Street does not align perfectly through the intersection, forcing one ramp’s placement further back from the corner.

The painted street markings, indicating the planned changes, only appeared this week. Actual work often follows months after surveyors mark the street. Expect to see some sidewalk closures and curbside barricades when crews begin the project later this year.

Southwest corner

Northeast corner

Expanded Sidewalk by Yard at Montavilla

This week, crews installed the final segments of the fence surrounding the Yard at Montavilla. The food cart pod at 8220 NE Davis Street opened in July but maintained construction fencing around the property until this recent work began. The new barrier opens up two new pedestrian entry points along 82nd Avenue and eventually will accommodate wider paved sidewalks.

The black spear-top metal fence wraps the Yard at Montavilla on NE Davis Street and 82nd Avenue. The new boundary for the food cart pod provides a 15-foot setback from the curb on 82nd Avenue. Next year, the five-foot-wide sidewalk will expand to encompass the area now covered in gravel, creating a vastly larger walkway. “The Sidewalk will continue all the way up to our new fence. So it will be a very wide Pedestrian Zone sidewalk right there,” explained Kevin Dennis, co-owner of the Yard at Montavilla. 

According to Dennis, the 82nd Avenue sidewalk expansion work will start Spring of 2022. Crews will add a new ADA ramp at the corner and paint fresh crosswalk markings as part of the project. Along with other landscaping, the Yard at Montavilla’s owners planted three street trees near the new fence, evenly spaced along the NE 82nd Avenue property line. Together, the expanded walkway and trees create a model sidewalk under the new Civic Corridor guidelines.

In May 2019, the Portland City Council unanimously adopted the 82nd Avenue Plan, creating a Civic Corridor on 82nd Avenue. The document outlines expanded right-of-way dedication and frontage improvements, with sidewalks that range from 12 feet to 15 feet. Pedestrian District’s call for fifteen feet or wider walkways. They must also maintain a clear Pedestrian Through Zone of eight feet. This property is outside the Montavilla Pedestrian District, ending at E Burnside street. Properties on 82nd Avenue outside Pedestrian Districts only need to provide a 12-foot wide sidewalk and a Pedestrian Through Zone of six feet. The additional pavement added to this project beyond the requirements is supportive of the most pedestrian-friendly city designs. It should create a comfortable place for people to gather as they transition into the food cart pod without blocking pedestrians walking through the area.

As the weather warms, look for road crews working on the new larger sidewalk. Until then, the extra space is already accessible, and asphalt paths through the two new gates make it easier to drop in and grab a meal from a Yard at Montavilla cart.

New Glisan Sidewalk Removes On-Site Parking

Update The sidewalk reconstruction is now complete, with cars parked along the new curb. The work fulfills a Portland mandated change, explains Alex Ianos, the property owner. “The city wanted me to close the driveway due to the safety of people backing up into Glisan.” 

City staff did not require the parking lot’s removal during last year’s renovations. However, recent tenant improvements for the upcoming Isamini Bar allowed Portland to apply new parking design standards at the site. “A bar is opening in the small space close to the pool hall, and that permit triggered the sidewalk work,” said Ianos.

Completed sidewalk

Original article published November 19th, 2021

This week, crews reconstructed a section of sidewalk at 7909 NE Glisan Street. The building’s new owner redeveloped the property in 2020, replacing much of the sidewalk on the corner and creating extended curbs for shorter street crossings. The new mid-block pedestrian space removes a curb cut for onsite parking and adds two additional street tree cutouts, reconnecting the block’s tree line.

This redesigned sidewalk will abandon the current four-car parking lot in front of the single-story portion of the building. However, at least three more curbside parking spaces are now available for public parking on the block. The former parking slab may become outdoor seating for a future tenant or become a shared outdoor space for the building.

The nose-in parking used at this site can be hazardous for drivers and pedestrians. It creates a long section of sidewalk where cars could cross with reduced visibility. Additionally, cars have to back out into heavy traffic on NE Glisan when leaving. This sidewalk reconstruction will bring more trees to NE Glisan and should deliver enhanced safety. Look for a better walking experience at this location soon.

Concrete forms establishing three street tree cut outs

Glisan’s New Approach to Outdoor Seating

This month, Blank Slate Bar created unique outdoor seating on NE Glisan. Unlike other covered dining spaces constructed in curbside parking spaces, this open-walled shelter spans the entire width of the sidewalk, covering the whole pedestrian space. Its design is in response to concerns around customer seating adjacent to heavy traffic.

Over the last 18 months, bars and restaurants have relied on outdoor seating to serve customers safely during the pandemic. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) expanded those spaces through special free permits, accommodating a variety of seating configurations for the service industry. Most businesses in Montavilla chose to create Parking Plazas to serve guests. That style of outdoor seating converts space previously used for curbside parking into expanded sidewalk seating while maintaining adequate space for pedestrians. As the need for outdoor seating persisted, more substantial wood structures replaced temporary configurations. Most gained covered roofs and sidewalls.

This image and cover image by Weston Ruter

Regardless of the structure’s build quality, Parking Plazas have customers seated next to moving traffic with only a thin wood divider protecting people from passing vehicles. On slower streets, that is less of an issue. However, seating placed on SE Stark Street can feel dangerously close to fast-moving trucks and cars.

Compared to Stark Street, NE Glisan traffic is more hazardous. That reality caused Kierre Van De Veere, the Blank Slate Bark’s owner, to consider design alternatives for their outdoor seating. “We chose not to do parking space seating due to the busy nature of Glisan. So we worked with PBOT and our design team to come up with this option.” In this configuration, customers on Glisan have a parking lane buffer between vehicles and the tables.

Blank Slate Bar’s covered seating area features a transparent corrugated shed roof that extends from the front of the building to the curb and runs the entire width of the bar’s shopfront. The arrangement allows for two-person seating against the windows and larger group seating close to the curb. Pedestrians can walk through the center area in an arcade-style passageway between the tables. 

In addition to its unique placement, crews constructed the shelter out of large timbers. The result is a structure that seems permanent and intentional. People seem to appreciate the design used at Blank Slate Bar, according to Van De Veere. “We have gotten an overwhelmingly positive response from our customers and neighbors, who are always supporting us in any way they can.”

Regardless of the design, Van De Veere appreciates the impact of open-air seating on places like hers. “These outdoor spaces are a lifeline to small businesses.” The new seating is available just in time for winter and built to last for many years to come. Blank Slate Bar is located at 7201 NE Glisan Street Suite C and is open Tuesday through Saturday.

Picnic Shelter’s Funding on Hold

Last month, crews removed the aging picnic shelter at Montavilla Park and prepared the ground for new grass turf. Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) planned on replacing the structure with a modern 2,000 square foot open-walled shelter. However, a department-wide budgetary shortfall will postpone that work.

Preceding the demolition work, PP&R updated the Montavilla Park Picnic Shelter project webpage announcing the pending deconstruction of the structure while noting the lack of funds for its replacement. Park staff will plant grass seed on the worksite and open the space for general public use in the interim.

PP&R Public Information Officer, Mark Ross, confirmed the project’s indefinite delay. However, he emphasized that staff would continue to look for opportunities to revive this project in future budgets.

Proposed Montavilla Park Picnic Shelter, currently on hold.

Currently, PP&R has a $450 million backlog in unfunded major maintenance needs across the Parks system. Years of budget cuts and an ineffective funding structure reduced the Department’s ability to address needed repairs. “Portland Parks & Recreation has long been underfunded and has an aging but beloved parks system,” explained Ross. “PP&R is focusing our efforts on addressing the most critical repairs and identified service gaps, with equity at the forefront.”

To address the Parks department’s structural funding gaps identified in the 2019 budget process, PP&R staff worked with Portland City Council to develop the Sustainable Future Initiative. It included the directive to seek alternative funding sources to align operations with community expectations while not increasing the City’s budget. In November of 2020, voters approved a 5-year local option levy to maintain neighborhood parks, improve access and safety, provide equitable recreation programs, and proactively care for its natural areas and urban forest.

Levy funds saved many programs jeopardized by the monetary shortfall and kept park services available across the City. However, those funds had no impact on the maintenance backlog. “The Parks Local Option Levy is an operating levy, not a bond for capital projects,” explains Ross. Consequently, many projects are on hold, waiting for funding from other sources. With little money for these projects, PP&R must select projects based on specific criteria that address the most significant need. “These projects are ranked for equity, likelihood of failure, and consequence of failure,” said Ross.

With Montavilla’s decaying shelter demolished and no longer a danger, the project’s position could slip back in the queue based on the PP&R priorities. However, the project is not canceled and remains active. Funding for this project could arrive through several sources at any time. Until then, residents should not anticipate seeing significant changes at Montavilla Park, aside from the construction fences coming down and a little extra grass to enjoy.

Twelve Townhomes on SE 86th

Last month, the new owners of 416 SE 86th Ave submitted building permits for twelve Townhouses located one house north of SE Stark Street. The property is twelve feet short of a double-wide lot and currently hosts a 1947 era single-family residence. Montavilla 86 LLC bought the property in July of this year.

At 88 feet wide by 111 feet deep, this lot is not quite the width of other similar developments in the area. Accommodating twelve units will require an innovative configuration. However, the Montavilla Courtyard Condominium project seven blocks away at 7707 SE Alder Street created such a development. That housing complex accommodates twelve townhouse-style units split between two structures. The architect used a staggered townhouse depth to create a layered front alignment. It maximized window space for the middle homes and carved out a shared courtyard in the center of the site. The result obscures the actual unit count and creates unit diversity between neighbors.

Image from Google Maps

Documents revealing the proposed design for SE 86th Ave are not yet available for review. Design Creativity could make the project an appealing addition to the neighborhood. The property sits on the divide-line between commercial buildings and residential streets. Each townhouse will stand two stories tall, and developers have not proposed any onsite parking for this development.

The Montavilla Courtyard Condominium

Many projects like this have submitted building permits over the last 18 months, but very few have broken ground. High building material costs and labor shortages have hurt the construction industry. Work on this project is likely over a year away and could change between now and then. Portland needs more housing, and smaller homes are what people can afford in the current market. Hopefully, this project will use creative design to minimize the appearance of density while providing twelve times the housing currently available at this address.


Assigned addresses for the new homes replacing 416 SE 86th Ave: 370 SE 86th Ave, 372 SE 86th Ave, 374 SE 86th Ave, 376 SE 86th Ave, 378 SE 86th Ave, 380 SE 86th Ave, 384 SE 86th Ave, 386 SE 86th Ave, 388 SE 86th Ave, 390 SE 86th Ave, 392 SE 86th Ave, and 394 SE 86th Ave

Construction Begins at Mt Tabor Park

This week, workers erected a construction fence around half of the Long Block in Mt Tabor Park. Located on SE Lincoln Street, the enclosed space will become a plant storage area. Nearby, crews will construct a new greenhouse along SE 64th Ave. These two small projects are part of a sizeable multi-phase development now underway.

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) staff started this work as part of the Mt Tabor Central Maintenance Yard Project, breaking ground on a decades-long effort to modernize the central maintenance facility at Mt Tabor Park. The facilities improvement project took form in 2014 with a patchwork of funding. However, planning began years before with the Mt Tabor Central Maintenance Yard & Nursery Master Plan, finalized in 2009. Pandemic closures and significant construction cost increases pushed back this project until now.

construction fences around the Long Block on SE Lincoln Street

The Mt Tabor Yard serves as a central dispatch for PP&R maintenance and nursery services across the city. Over 140 maintenance employees work from this location. Most of the project’s construction will occur within the existing yard’s boundaries. However, Phase 1 expands into park space that previously served the public. The Long Block is located from SE 60th to 64th Avenues, between SE Harrison and Lincoln Streets. This 600 foot-long flat grassy field, often a site for group athletic activities, is now half its original length and separated from other park amenities.

The public space lost is relatively minimal compared to the enhancements planned around the worksite. Portlanders will gain increased access to Mt Tabor Park via a new paved multimodal pathway connecting SE Division Street and SE 64th Avenue. The gravel east edge of SE 64th Ave between SE Sherman and SE Lincoln Streets will gain a new curb and sidewalk, fully connecting paved access to the park from Division Street. Around the site, PP&R will plant native landscaping with over 100 new trees. Plans also include a public art installation in partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC).

Work will progress over the next two years, with an expected completion date in the Summer of 2023. Users of this area of Mt Tabor Park should anticipate increased activity and some traffic disruption during the project’s construction. When completed, PP&R will be one step closer to having a modern maintenance facility to serve Portland’s numerous green spaces more efficiently.

PP&R illustration from the Mt Tabor Central Maintenance Yard & Nursery Master Plan

New Townhouses on Burnside

Demolition crews are actively deconstructing the single-family residence at 7424 E Burnside Street. When the property is clear of the 1949 era single-story home, work will begin on three new townhomes at this site. Another detached residential building will remain on the west portion of the property. Consequentially, crews will cap shared utilities near the old foundation instead of at the sidewalk, maintaining services at the other structure during construction.


Original article published on September 20th, 2021

East Burnside Street could gain three new Townhouses just west of SE 75th Ave. Developers plan to raze a 70-year-old signal family dwelling at 7424 E Burnside Street, clearing the way for three new homes. An existing accessory building will remain on the property.

Work on the project could begin next month. On October 6th, the thirty-five-day demolition hold will elapse for the existing single-story building. Once cleared, the property will be ready for further development.

Permits submitted last Friday seek to build a trio of two-story townhouses on the lot. New residents of these homes will rely on street parking and other transportation options. The limited space on the lot does not allow for the construction of garages. In 2018, the property owners constructed an accessory structure on the western edge of the lot. That building will remain, adding a 4th unit to the property.

This proposed development is possible thanks to zoning changes made this summer by the Residential Infill Project (RIP). Portland planners believe these changes will create smaller homes that are more affordable for residents. Regardless of the final price of each townhouse, the lot will soon have space for two extra families. Many supporters of RIP hopped that buildings would be added to properties and not cause excessive demolition. However, as with this project, creating housing density will require the sacrifice of some older buildings. Expect to see demolition crews at the site later in the year.

Developer Selected for NE Glisan Affordable Housing Project

This week, Portland Housing Bureau staff selected the development team for a low-income housing project at NE 74th Ave and Glisan Street. The winning proposal will transform the 1.65-acre property at 432 NE 74th Ave into a pair of multistory apartment buildings. Despite the current tenant’s efforts to secure a place in the new development, City staff did not select a proposal that included that group.

On October 12th, Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) released a progress update for nine Housing Bond funded projects. In 2018 voters approved a 652.8 million affordable housing bond to address the housing crises in the Portland Metro area. The Glisan Street project will receive $19.9 million of that funding, representing one-third of the overall project cost. The housing complex will consist of two buildings, one with 41 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and the other providing 96 units of family housing.

Three experienced low-income housing groups are joining forces to sponsor this development. Related Northwest is the primary sponsor for the project, while the two other groups will provide assistance for residents when construction completes. Catholic Charities will provide case management and services to PSH tenants. Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) will provide resident services at the family housing property.

The PHB project website provides new details regarding attributes planned for the development. Amenities at NE 74th and Glisan include a community room with kitchen, laundry room, playground, picnic area, community garden, bike parking, onsite parking, and a multicultural preschool. The project team is also partnering with Mercy Corps NW to promote small business classes and offer two retail incubator spaces and a café in the ground-floor commercial space. Now that this proposal is secured, project designers will craft the final plans for the site ahead of the building permit submittal.

African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO) currently leases space in the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) studio now owned by Metro. The nonprofit serves East African immigrant and refugee youth. Within a few years, crews will demolish the facility to make way for the 137 new affordable homes coming to this site. AYCO Executive Director Jamal Dar lead an effort to stay at this location, working with REACH Community Development, Sera Architects, Colas Construction, Community Vision, and El Programa Hispano on an alternate plan for the site. In a statement from AYCO, the organizations expressed disappointment in the decision and say they are facing displacement from the community it serves.

AYCO site plan not selected by PHB

In a prepared statement regarding AYCO, Metro representatives expressed appreciation for the early partnership between the two organizations. “They have been a wonderful partner in our early phase community engagement for the new affordable housing to be built on this site, helping us to reach and engage with immigrants, people of color, people with low incomes, and people with limited English proficiency.” However, that early cooperative work and preexisting lease did not guarantee that the AYCO would secure a space in the new project. “Metro has been clear with AYCO, throughout the process of temporary leasing and community engagement, that the project/developer selection process would be a competitive one. We understand they have hoped and worked hard toward being able to build their Dream Center as part of the development of this site. Unfortunately, the proposal they were a part of was not selected.”

The Portland Housing Bureau received five proposals, each comprised of different developers and community support organizations. Jamal Dar and his team have over a year to secure a new home for the nonprofit. Ideally, they will find space in the area, near the community they have served for years. Metro looks forward to possible collaborations with AYCO in the future and will celebrate with them once their Dream Center comes to fruition.

Image courtesy PHB

The subsequent phases of development at the site will center around creating construction plans and securing building permits. Until demolition begins, AYCO will continue to operate out of the old broadcast facility. Changes at the site are over a year away, but the affordable housing these new apartments will provide could not arrive soon enough. Keep an eye on the PHB website for updates on the project and expect the site to house residents by the Summer of 2024.