Category: History

Tabor Volvo Service on Glisan

Upgrades are underway at the Volvo service shop located at 6901 NE Glisan Street. Alamo Automotive has operated from this location for 20 years. With the former owner Mitch Wilson’s retirement, the new owner is busy putting his mark on the business.

Rebranded as Tabor Volvo Service, Brandon Cox has taken the reins of the repair shop where he honed his skills. Cox worked at this location for ten years before setting out for other opportunities in 2016. Cox remained in contact with Wilson over the years and had an open offer to take over the business when the time came. This year Wilson announced his retirement, taking Cox up on his offer to buy the business. “I’ve always loved cars, and my dream was to own a shop someday. So as they say, I’m now livin’ the dream,” remarked Cox.

Brandon Cox has a great deal of admiration for Mitch Wilson’s legacy but admits there are areas he can improve the shop. “Mitch was kind of a Volvo God in this area. Gave great deals to customers, but also was cleanliness challenged,” explained Cox. Over the years, many older Volvos have sat on the property in various states of disrepair. Cox is trying to remove one or two cars from the parking lot per week.

“Our plans are to get all the wrecked cars out of the lot and replace the old worn out chain fence with a nicer looking rod iron style. Clean up the lot and do some minor landscaping. Enough to make an inviting look to the place.” Explained Cox.

Longtime employee, Dennis Dillon, has remained on staff through the transition. Dillon is the uncle of Brandon Cox’s childhood friend and helped introduce Cox to the world of Volvo repair. Cox grew up close-by, attending Rose city park elementary, Roseway heights middle school, Grant high school, and PCC. 

Similar Texaco on NE Ainsworth & Union, 1937. Image courtesy of City of Portland Archives

Beyond being a recognizable landmark on NE Glisan, Tabor Volvo Service is home to a piece of automotive history. Opening in 1925 as a Texaco Gas station, the property features a unique Pueblo Revival service station with an arched entrance canopy. Around 1958, it became a Union Oil gas station. There are very few of these Pueblo-style gas stations left. Originally a Pueblo-style lubrication and tire station was in the back right corner of the lot. As with the reaming building, it was a flat-roofed stucco structure with projecting beams.

Tabor Volvo Service is open Monday through Thursday, 8:30-5:30, and Friday 8:30-2:00. They have recently expanded their service offerings to include all vintages of Volvo cars, including new models. Reach them at 503-408-1079 or their website to schedule an appointment. Watch for the site to continue to improve and bring by your Volvo when it needs servicing.

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

1894 Storefront for Lease

The storefrontmost recently occupied by H&R Block, is now for lease. Located at 8304 SE Stark Street, it offers 1,754 square feet of office or retail space. Although being the full width of the lot, it is a relatively small building.

Despite its more modern appearance, a portion of this structure dates back to 1894. Original addressed as 2080 E Stark Street, before the renumbering of portland streets in the 1930s, it had a long history of poultry-related operations. Between 1910 and 1920, there were many advertisements for eggs and chicken for sale at this location. 

The property also housed a variety of people during the same period. A listing in The Oregon daily journal of March 12th, 1916, describes a furnished home for rent at this address. The advertisement describes it as a three-room house on a large lot along Base Line Road (the original name of Stark Street). Aside from the access to the streetcar nearby, the text highlights a chicken house on the property.

James Haddon had his residence listed at this property in the Morning Oregonian of July 3rd, 1918. In this obituary notice, Haddon’s mother died while staying with her son at this address.

Haddon may have been renting this location as opposed to owning it. There are many references to the Rothenberger family having resided in and around this property. H.R. Rothenberger sold shoes in Montavilla for most of the early 20th century. His shoe store, located at 2026 E Stark, appears in a shoe advertisement printed in The Sunday Oregonian January 26th, 1913.

Later, H.R. Rothenberger moved his shop to 1988 E Stark Street based on an advertisement in the Morning Oregonian June 9th, 1915. The ad for Martha Washington Comfort Shoes lists H.R. Rothenberger as a seller of those shoes at that new address. A later job listing posted in the Morning Oregonian of January 25th, 1919, confirmed that location as a shoe store. The text of the ad reads, “WANTED – A shoemaker 1988 East Stark.”

1988 East Stark Street also served as a home for H.R. Rothenberger and his wife, Helen Rothenberger. According to The Sunday Oregonian of March 7th, 1920, she died at that location. That obituary lists her as the mother of Max, Robert, Joseph, and Alma Rothenberger. She also had another daughter, only named as Mrs. Chester Stephens.

After Helen Rothenberger’s death, the family seems to have given up on the poultry business at 2080 East Stark. In the Morning Oregonian of April 14th, 1920, all the chicken farm items look to be up to sale under the heading of “Going to California.”

A few years before Helen Rothenberger’s death, her daughter-in-law suffered an injury in a well-publicized accident. The Oregon daily journal of July 18th, 1919, describes an automotive accident involving Mrs. Joseph Rothenberger of 2080 East Stark street. It seems that Joseph Rothenberger and his wife were living at the chicken farm.

The Morning Oregonian of July 18th, 1919, tells a better version of the accident with greater detail. Mrs. Joseph Rothenberger was riding with four other passengers in a truck crossing Johnson Creek. Although not over loaded, the bridge gave way under the vehicle, flipping the truck upside down. Passers-by stopped and rescued the trapped people stuck under the overturned wreckage. Badly bruised in the accident, Mrs. Rothenberger survived with the assistance of local physicians.

Documented activity and 8304 SE Stark Street (2080 East Stark street) trail off after the Rothenberger accident. However, the family’s occupation of the property seems to have continued. A plumbing permit from April 29th, 1948, lists Alma Rothanberger (likely a typo) as the property owner. She is the sister of Joseph Rothenberger and daughter of Helen and H.R. Rothenberger. That document describes a new addition to an old store building. Based on illustrations for the permit, that is likely the shopfront seen street side on Stark today.

A new tenant moving into 8304 SE Stark Street will be continuing in a 100-year-old history of Montavilla commerce. It is easy to forget the history of these buildings as they change occupants. However, recognizing the contributions of the past make for an enriching future.

Interested renters should contact the property owner Dennis Yost at 503-784-2827.

1911 Storefront for Lease

A handwritten sign in the window of 6900 NE Glisan Street advertises that the storefront is for lease. This corner building is looking for its next business to house, just as it has for over 100 years. First built in 1911 for W. Heinen, the structure’s design created a store on the first floor and a dwelling above.

Originally built with an address of 1780 E Glisan Street, it most commonly was addressed as 1772 E Glisan Street. The address 1776 E Glisan also was associated with this location before it finally moving to the new address system used today.

Many groceries have occupied this location in its first fifty years, although most names are no longer know. Newspaper advertisements and articles have preserved some of that history, as well as plumbing records.

Kaia and Inga Casperson at confectionery 69th and Glisan. Courtesy Kevin Dorney

1915 – Casperson & Jensen Confectionery, served Celro-Kola for 5-cents at their soda fountain. Morning Oregonian, May 22, 1915, and The Oregon daily journal, April 05, 1915.

1922 – Charles Ingram of White Front grocery reported taking a counterfeit $20 bill from a woman trying to use it for 30-cents of groceries. Morning Oregonian, April 05, 1922.

1958 – Historic Plumbing Permit lists the business name as Hill Crest Grocery.

Kaia and Inga Casperson at confectionery 69th and Glisan. Courtesy Kevin Dorney

As a central business in the community, it served as an election polling location for many elections.

1914 – Listed it as an Election Polling Place The Oregon daily journal, May 14, 1914.

1919 – Listed it as an Election Polling Place The Oregon daily journal, November 11, 1919.

1920 – Listed it as an Election Polling Place. The Sunday OregonianOctober 31, 1920.

The century of service has been tough on this building, and it could use some updates. However, it has stood many tests of time and is ready for the next great business to open its doors at this location. People interested in continuing the long tradition of community retail at this address should email

UPDATED – Added photos from Kevin Dorney’s collection showing Kaia and Inga Casperson at their confectionery. Pictures are undated.

Town Storefront for Sale

7850 SE Stark Street is listed for sale by its owner, who operates Electronic Claims Services from this location. Property listings for Stark Street storefronts are uncommon, particularly in buildings centrally located in Montavilla Town.

Constructed in 1946, it was home to bicycle stores for much of its early life. First as Lawrence H. Hook’s Hook Cycle Shop, and later as Mt. Tabor Schwinn Cyclery. This trend lasted until the mid-1980s. In 1998 the current owners bought the building for their business.

This building is one of the old holdouts from a darker time on SE Stark Street. In the 1990s, many storefronts in the area converted to office space, and very few buildings were inviting to pedestrians. With 20 years of curtains drawn and staff entered from the parking lot in the back of the building, it has looked more like a wall than a storefront. Electronic Claims Services is a good neighbor and a Montavilla East Tabor Business Association member. However, their business is exclusively online, and this space is more effective as a retail or food-related establishment.

The sale of this building is an excellent opportunity to activate the front of the building with large windows and a public-oriented business. It is between the theater building and Thatcher’s Lounge. SE 79th Ave ends right at its door, making it one of the most visible structures on the block. Commercial real-estate moves slowly, but soon enough, something interesting should arrive at this location.

Interested buyers should contact Nathan Drake with Marcus & Millichap.

Nathan Drake
(503) 200-2046

1890 Cornerstone Building Revived

The transformation of 7901 NE Glisan Street from a neglected structure, to an impressive multi-use building, is nearing completion. Constructed in 1890, it has been updated many times. However, this most recent project seeks to rebuild and unify the building like never before. With exterior construction nearing completion, the owner expects to be ready for tenants by early September.

This project had challenges from the onset. Over the years many updates to the building were not done to acceptable construction standards. Often the work had been done without permits. Building owner and contractor, Alex Ianos, had to first resolve all these old issue with the city. Only after those issues were resolved, could he begin the real project of reviving this neglected building. With the help of his architect, John MacKinnon, Ianos was able to get over the initial hurdles with the city and focus on the renovation.

In an email with Montavilla News, John MacKinnon of NW Architecture & Design PC, described his design process. The “major challenge for me as architect, was bringing a sense of design clarity and coherence to the initial building through the design process.” MacKinnon explained the building “just evolved,” in ad hoc additions over the years. “The existing building was haphazard in style, incongruous and visually it looked that way. So, when I began the design process, my primary goal was to work with the existing building structural skeleton, modifying the building forms and bring coherence to the overall design as much as possible. Alex and I worked closely together on the design. We are both pleased with the final outcome. The design on both the interior and exterior has a Scandinavian sense to it.”

The building is arranged as a mixed use building with 5 commercial spaces on the first floor and apartments on the second floor. MacKinnon designed the second floor as four one bedroom residential units, each with it’s own cantilevered bay off the living area. Those bays project from the second story and add detail to the exterior, making the building more interesting along all sides.

Siting on a prominent corner for 130 years, this building has housed many businesses. The original address would have been on Villa Ave but its number has been lost to time. When records begin for this building, 1973 E Glisan Street was its address. Finally changing to its current address in 1933 thanks to Portland’s renumbering project. Early history of the building is harder to find, however in 1911 a mortician from Vancouver Washington moved his mortuary practice to the building. W H Hamilton operated Hamilton undertaking Co. out of this location for eight years. Mr. Hamilton was an active member in the Montavilla community. In a 1916 article he is listed as the President of the Montavilla Board of Trade. A later article, in 1918, referenced Hamilton as a Nobel Grand of the Villa Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) number 124.

In 1919, the funeral business changed from Hamilton undertaking Co. to R. W. Gable & Co. They operated out of this location for years before relocating to NE 80th in 1928. Later changing their name to Gable Funeral Parlor and working from the NE 80th location until just a few years ago.

Later the building was owned by Dr. Charles (Chas) B Zeebuyth. It is not obvious if the property ever served as his office but is listed as his official address in 1922. Dr. Zeebuyth, like Hamilton, was heavily involved in Montavilla’s community and business. He owned the building well into the 1930s.

In the following decades, it held different businesses. In the 1940s, it was listed as a bakery. In the 1950s it was a photo shop and then in the 1960s it was a barber shop. Many more businesses came and went from that location and each took a little more life out of the building. Before the latest purchase, it looked like it could be demolished instead of saved.

Fortunately Alex Ianos liked the corner lot and thought the building could be transformed once more. In a email to Montavilla News, Ianos expressed how please he has been with the progress on the building. He went on to write that “numerous people stop by the property and ask about leasing space.” He doesn’t plan to sign any tenants until the buildout has completed, but conversations are in process. There is a good chance a Pool Hall business will return to the space. Thanh Billiards was located in the 7909 NE Glisan space, prior to construction. Ianos mentioned he has been in talks with a coffee shop owner about taking a space and has engaged in early conversations with Little Big Burger.

Very few buildings from the 1800s still exist in Montavilla. Although a true restoration of 7901 NE Glisan Street was not possible, seeing it reworked and stabilized is a great service to Montavilla history. This location will be alive again with businesses and residents, pushing ever closer to its 200th year.

New Business in Historic Building

KB Cabinets has opened a new showroom in the historic building located at 206 NE 80th Ave. This new location represents an expansion of a 40-year-old family business. Carol Swanson-Petterson and her husband, Ross Petterson, operate KB Cabinets in the Bay Area of California. KB Cabinets’ new Portland location is being run by their daughter in-law, Maria Petterson.

KB Cabinets sells cabinetry and offers design services for custom kitchens and bathrooms. “It’s a comprehensive process. ” Said Maria Petterson, in an interview at the newly completed showroom. KB Cabinets will work with an architect or the homeowner to create a plan for the space. A key goal is to use design to create flow within the function of the space. Some projects could begin and end with the design work. However, many projects have KB Cabinets staff onsite through the process checking in deliveries and marking hardware placement on the cabinetry. They see the process as more than sales and design. By working with the client’s contractor, they can deliver a finished room that matches the customer’s goal.

Carol Swanson-Petterson is a NKBA Certified Kitchen Designer® (CKD). She travels to the region frequently to ensure that the Portland projects receive the same attention as her California clients. The new showroom features many varieties of cabinetry with different construction types and integrated organizers. Currently they have just the one kitchen style on display, but will soon add display cabinetry that features modern design.

Effective Kitchen and bathroom design depends on custom cabinetry that fits into a remodel exactly as called for. KB Cabinets works with a variety of cabinet makers to deliver a custom fit solution. The challenge with older homes is navigating spatial constraints. “It can be more of a puzzle than a blank canvas,” said Maria Petterson. They take care to consider the original influences of the home, while honoring what the client wants for the space.

Portland’s many older homes and a renovation culture was an attraction for opening here, explained Maria Petterson. Additionally, family ties to Portland also a factor in this decision. Carol Swanson-Petterson and Ross Petterson have two children. Both children started families and made homes in Portland. That shifted the family center to the region, and as the family business grew, Portland was the logical location.

When choosing a showroom, KB Cabinets was looking for a property to own outwrite. They wanted to make a long term investment in the business. After seeing the property on NE 80th, Montavilla became the only choice. “This gem came on the market and we all instantly fell in love with it. It was definitely a project.” Said Maria Petterson. “We did the best we could to honor the history of the building.”

Built in 1904 on what was once Hibbard Street, 206 NE 80th Ave is a prime example of western False Front commercial construction. A building style that has an artificially large squared front facade, hiding a pitched roof. The Montavilla Streetcar once ran along 80th Ave from NE Glisan to SE Stark. At the time of the streetcar, 80th was active with businesses. Consequently little storefronts, like this one, can still be seen along 80th. After annexation to Portland, this part of Hibbard Street became East 80th Street North. The building’s street number was originally 66 but a 1933 renumbering effort in Portland, changed it to 206. Patricia Sanders, a Montavilla historian, researched the history of the 1904 building. “According to Dianne Dickson, [of] Dickson Drug Store, this used to be a candy store; this would presumably be late 1940s to late 1950s. In the 1930 Portland City Directory, the property is listed as vacant. In the 1943 Portland City Directory, it is listed as a grocery store owned or managed by Axel V. Anderson.“ Wrote Sanders. Most recently, the building had been the office of A New Dimension In Denture Services.

Details about the storefront before 1930 are less definitive. Researcher with Montavilla News, Crossett Freilinger, has found some hints. In a photograph from the Oregon Historical Society (OHS), men pose inside a delivery wagon labeled G.W. Farrier Wood Co. The wagon is parked in front of, what looks to be, the building at 206 NE 80th. The Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from 1909, shows that building labeled as “Plumbing.” A Montavilla plumber by the name of G.W. Farrier was involved in a 1905 lawsuit over an unpaid bill. His name on the wagon and the maps Plumbing designation, lending credibility that the OHS image was featuring 206 NE 80th Ave. This also affirms the store once functioned as a plumbers office or store. Details of the lawsuit appeared in the Morning Oregonian‘s October 25th 1905 issue, just a year after the building was constructed. A 1914 article in the Morning Oregonian, list G.W. Farrier as owning a Montavilla woodyard. That should set the date of the OHS image around 1914 and would suggest that G.W. Farrier transitioned his business towards other building supplies, beyond plumbing.

Image courtesy of Oregon Historical Society Research Library

With such a long history of housing Montavilla businesses, it is fitting that this building has been saved and will continue as a business location. KB Cabinets had hoped for a more public opening following the remodel but the pandemic canceled those plans. The showroom is open by appointment only, however they would welcome visits if they have the shades open and are not with another client. Because they will not keep regular hours, appointments remain the best way to work with KB Cabinets. Maria Petterson said they are considering a small opening event in the summer, if it feels like they can do it safely.

Kitchens and bathrooms are some of the most heavily used rooms in a home. Consequently, when those rooms are old or poorly configured, the negative effects become a big concern. Montavilla now has a local option to recreate the kitchen or bathroom you have always wanted but were unsure how to achieve.