The Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA) started a nine-week long contest this week. Its goal is to support local businesses by encouraging residents to patronize shops in the area. Dubbed Bingo, this program enters contestants into a weekly drawing for one $100 gift card.
METBA will post a list of business locations on their website for the current contest period. New lists post to the site at the beginning of the week. Participants need to make a purchase or complete a task at four businesses on that list. Emailing proof of participation or purchase to email@example.com will enter participants in that week’s drawing. Then the gift card is awarded to a selected contestant each week, providing nine chances to win.
Due to its cancellation this year, local businesses missed out on the community exposure they receive from the Montavilla Street Fair. This Bingo event is an opportunity to explore local businesses and provide support during a challenging time. Participants will even have a chance to win something for their efforts. The first week’s activities are already underway, ending this Sunday.
It is election season all over the country with many important positions up for a vote. That includes the often overlooked election for Montavilla’s neighborhood association. Unlike national and other Oregon elected positions, association board members do not appear on the standard mail-in ballot. Historically they are elected through in-person votes at board meetings.
As with neighborhood association meetings throughout Portland, COVID-19 forced most association’s board elections online this year. “All our neighborhoods have done online elections, so [Montavilla is] not the only neighborhood that has or will conduct elections in this manner.” Explained Mireaya Medina, SE Uplift‘s Communications & Small Grants Manager. Many elections have already taken place. “Nearly all 20 [SE] neighborhoods have already completed their 2020-21 Neighborhood Association Elections.”
The Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) can have eleven board member seats. The MNA website lists only eight active members. Montavilla community members wishing to join MNA do not have to run against any current board members. Candidates only need to be willing to participate in meetings and committees. SE Uplift offers resources for new board members. Reading through that information can further define what is required by serving on the board.
Becoming a candidate for the board is relatively straight forward. It starts at the next MNA meeting, scheduled for October 12th. Candidates will self-nominate and speak about their areas of interest for community development. This weekend Louise Hoff, MNA Chair, will post notices around Montavilla encouraging participation in the October meeting. Even if you are not interested in assisting in the MNA, attend this meeting to support issues you care about in the community. It will be held on zoom, and people can signup to receive a link at the MNA website. Chairperson Hoff explained that after people speak at the October meeting, “the Board will vote on a roster and SE Uplift will create a ballot which will be available online” at the website montavillapdx.org.
Voting will open at the beginning of November, with the results announced at the November 9th MNA meeting. Outside the historically large turnout in 2017, participation in the MNA elections does not see large turnouts. However, with meetings and the election now held online, this is an easy year to participate.
The smoke has mostly cleared out of the air in Montavilla, but it is not entirely safe to breathe. Greg Bourget, with Portland Clean Air, attended the September 14th Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) meeting to deliver that message. Portland Clean Air is seeking MNA participation with the organization.
Bourget attended the meeting to inform the MNA board of hazardous air quality issues in the area and ask that an MNA representative be made available to coordinate with Portland Clean Air. Thirty-nine other Portland Neighborhood Associations have appointed a liaison to work with the project, according to Bourget. The primary purpose of this formal communication channel is to keep Montavilla residents informed.
“Currently Multnomah is ranked by the EPA in the worst 1.3% of counties in the US for diesel particulate, the worst airborne carcinogen according to State of California risk assessments.” Explained Bourget. He went on by referencing The State of California’s report on diesel particulate. It says that “Diesel engine emissions are believed to be responsible for about 70% of California’s estimated known cancer risk attributable to toxic air contaminants.”
Montavilla residents should take particular concern, according to Bourget. “Montavilla is unusually affected by diesel particulate, even by Portland standards, due to proximity to I-84 and I-205.”
Beyond sharing information, Bourget hopes Montavilla will help apply pressure to the leading polluters in the area. “Four Associations have written five negotiation letters to some of the most dangerous industrial air polluters in Portland. Montavilla’s endorsement of these letters is requested. Montavilla might consider participating in the negotiation with unfiltered diesel fleets, considering your [neighborhood’s] exposure.”
The MNA agreed to give this matter further consideration and find a willing representative to work with Portland Clean Air. Board members expressed a desire to have Greg Bourget back at a future date to further present information.
Portland Clean Air will release two reports in the coming days to help the community take proactive steps towards cleaner air. One will focus on effective home air filtration. The other report will address air quality monitoring. By educating the public and assisting residents in measuring their environment, Bourget wants people to become more involved. “We invite residents to learn more and consider helping with a campaign focused on the largest Portland area [polluter,] unfiltered diesel fleets.”
Air quality has been on everyone’s mind these last few weeks due to the dangerous wildfire smoke. Portland Clean Air hopes now is an excellent time to have you think about the unseen dangers in the air that exist year-round. Additional research into Portland Clean Air’s information is needed. However, the project hopes to get Portlanders investigating the issues and ultimately supporting some pollution reform.
Below is a survey regarding public trash can placement in Montavilla. It is being conducted in cooperation with the Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA). The trash can expansion program will use many factors when selecting locations, including input from MNA. Public input through MNA will help direct can placement to areas that need them. Thanks for your contribution.
A tree limb has fallen across SE 70th Ave, blocking traffic and cutting power for local residents. As high winds continue in the Portland area, a large branch has blown loose, bringing down power lines and striking the house at 6934 E Burnside Street. Crews are on-site, removing the tree and working to restore power.
Located on the SE 70th Ave side of the corner house at 7004 E Burnside Street, The tree is planted between the sidewalk and curb. Although the lost limb is large, damage to surrounding property seems to be minimal. The power lines took most of the impact and held the branch back from fully impacting the house at 6934 E Burnside Street.
Clogs-N-More will celebrate its grand opening this Saturday on September 12th. The Montavilla location is the second East Portland store for the company. It joins an established Westmoreland location and replaces the recently closed Hawthorne storefront.
Starting on the 12th, they will open from 11 AM to 4 PM. The store will be open Thursday through Sunday each week, with the possibility of adding Mondays as business increases.
Located at 7821 SE Stark Street, the Montavilla Clogs-N-More is an outlet store with many items priced at a discount. They welcome everyone to visit this weekend and view their new retail location in Montavilla town. Please wear a mask if you stop by and know that they will have occupancy limits.
This weekend marked the opening of Montavilla’s newest food hall. A hand-painted sign hangs over the doors of Rocket Empire Machine, announcing the location to the passersby. Inside are five new destinations for hungry and thirsty customers.
Located at 6935 NE Glisan Street, this highly anticipated opening attracted interest around Montavilla and beyond. Each unique location brings something special to Montavilla’s food scene, and together they continue the economic buildup on NE Glisan.
Gigantic BrewingRobot Room is Gigantic Brewing Company’s new taproom, in addition to their other location at 5224 SE 26th Ave.
The Pie Spot is also a second location for Jessica Woods, expanding the reach of the beloved local bakery and coffee bar at 521 NE 24th Ave.
Tierra Del Sol is the none mobile second location for Amalia Sierra’s Oaxacan and Mexican food cart.
In the future, this new food hall will offer outdoor seating shared between the five businesses. For now, each location will only offer takeout until restrictions change, and the outdoor accommodations become available. With the first days of operation behind them, all of these locations should be ready to earn the repeated patronage of the Montavilla residents.
Construction is now complete on the much-anticipated restaurant taking over the former Country Cat location. This past weekend, Lazy Susan staff officially started dinner service, representing the diner’s official opening.
Kayla Morrell, of Lazy Susan, described the opening weekend as successful. “We’ve seen a fair amount of turnout for our first weekend of full-service dining, and hope that continues as word gets out in the neighborhood.”
Dinner service is available from 4 PM to 9 PM, Friday through Sunday. They expect to add Thursday dinner in the near future, as business ramps up. Lazy Susan will also begin opening for brunch on Sundays and Mondays. However, the exact time and date for brunch service are yet to be determined.
Lazy Susan’s dining area and bar are ready to accept customers, having been carefully worked on for months. However, indoor seating will remain closed. “While the situation with COVID continues, we plan to remain in a takeout and outdoor-dining only format.” Said Morrell.
The restaurant’s interior expresses both cozy and open feelings. Woodwork surrounds the interior on all surfaces and creates compartments within the space. However, the areas’ division is represented on the outer edges, making the core of the room open and expansive. Wood dominates all corners of Lazy Susan, but the variety of stains and finishes prevent it from feeling excessive. Recessed lighting and ornamental light-fixtures illuminate all the compartments, further creating defined space without walls. The contoured paneling of the ceiling and wood floors will reduce sound reflection, creating a comfortable volume, once the room is packed full of people. For now, customers will have to view the detailed woodwork and creative lighting through the windows.
The kitchen is updated to support the charcoal centric menu. Some eliminate are a holdover from the Country Cat. Two under-counter refrigerators and the six-burner range are original. The custom charcoal grill is all new and sits center stage in the open kitchen. Future customers will be able to sit kitchen-side to watch the seasonal creations sizzling.
Lazy Susan occupies the corner shopfront in the historic Dickson Drugs building, located at 7937 SE Stark Street. The second weekend of dinner service starts tonight at 4 PM.
Renowned Portland firm, Osmose Design, created Lazy Susan’s distinctive look.
Weeks before the official statewide shutdown, PDX Cookie Co opened their Montavilla store at 7919 SE Stark Street. Just as the shop became popular, people were ordered to stay home. Despite that challenge, the Cookie shop has seen success. With an established online business, they have managed to thrive during the pandemic. Now, as people are venturing out again, they are expanding store hours.
The opening day of the confectionery saw lines wrapping around the block. PDX Cookie Co was the first of what was to be many new eateries coming to Montavilla town in early 2020. Instead, COVID-19 changed plans all over Portland, and nearly overnight customers disappeared. The owner of PDX Cookie Co, Nisha Chitale, described the two extremes as jarring. “We had an awesome opening weekend followed by months of a ghost town.” Chitale considers PDX Cookie Co fortunate to have opened before the virus ramped up. Otherwise, they may have had to postpone the opening indefinitely, as many others were forced to do.
PDX Cookie Co was launching their first storefront, but they were already a successful online business. “Luckily, we started online, and it has always been our primary business,” explained Chitale. Even as walk-in customers diminished, PDX Cookie Co kept their storefront open throughout the closure, from 10 AM to 4 PM Friday-Sunday. The doors were open, but most people stayed home. Stuck at home, customers needed the comfort of cookies more than before and continued to buy. New local interest, driven by the successful opening, only added to online orders. Chitale was caught off guard by continued customer support online. “[I was] shocked and beyond grateful to have had our business boom during the quarantine.”
The growth in business was a relief for PDX Cookie Co employees as well. “Our employees are all close friends who continued to work during the quarantine. They were laid off from their other jobs, so this was able to keep food on their table,” explained Chitale. At the store, they enacted measures to protect staff and customers. Screening people for symptoms before coming in and social distancing in the building. “For extra precaution we also temporarily discontinued our edible cookie dough cones so there was less chance of any contamination.”
As the restrictions have gradually lifted in Multnomah County, PDX Cookie Co extended store hours for the summer. They are now open Friday through Wednesday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Edible cookie dough cones have now returned to the menu, joining cookie ice cream Sundaes. Indoor seating continues to be closed, but drop-in customers are welcome.
Online orders continue to outpace walk-in customers, but Nisha Chitale enjoys having the storefront. “My favorite things about having the brick and mortar location is being able to make goodies that don’t have to ship and getting to meet all of the Montavilla residents. Both business owners and nearby families are some of the kindest and most welcoming people I’ve ever met.”
The storefront is a unique benefit from Montavilla residents. Online inventory of new items can be exhausted within 5-10 minutes of being released. Chitale sees many customers excited to find menu items available at the storefront that sold out online. Chitale commented that the retail location has a better selection compared to the online store.
With demand as high as it has been, they may have outgrown this location. Chitale is still evaluating future moves. Ideally, PDX Cookie Co would expand in this location or move production and online order fulfillment to a commercial kitchen. Regardless of how they manage expansion, Chitale hopes to remain in this neighborhood that has treated this business so well.
As Montavilla restaurants and bars continue to reopen, Parking Plazas are now appearing on SE Stark Street. Businesses are converting parking spaces to extensions of their regular indoor seating.
Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) offers Healthy Businesses permits, enabling the closure of curbside parking and streets. These spaces allow business to distance customers from one-another, without sacrificing too much seating. Plazas like these are part of the PBOT Safe Streets Initiative and the hope is it will be a safer way to visit local businesses.
Vino Veritas, at 7835 SE Stark Street, was the first along Stark Street to open their Parking Plaza. Vino Veritas is a wine bar with a select offering of food items. Between 4PM and 9:30PM, the Parking Plaza is decorated with colorful umbrellas. They provide shade over a handful of tables, that are placed within the wine barrel parameter.
Redwood restaurant will open their Parking Plaza Wednesday, June 24th. This is the first day since the COVID-19 closure, that Redwood has opened for dine in and take out. Redwoods’ Parking Plaza is the most elaborate in Montavilla to date. They have constructed a double sided Shadow Box fence around the area, where others have just used rope or chain. Redwood is located at 7915 SE Stark Street.
Each business is using Parking Plaza in a method that matched their business. Threshold Brewing & Blending has their own take on a Parking Plazas, just around the corner from these two. While the weather is nice, these should be a good aid to deal with the challenges of reopening. Patrons can already be spotted making use of these outdoor venues, to the relief of many business owners.
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