Category: Infrastructure

EV Charging Coming to Glisan Fred Meyer

A recent permit application reveals that the Fred Meyer grocery store on NE Glisan Street plans to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The proposed project would create four charging stations along the parking lot’s southern edge. Fred Meyer stores frequently offer Blink branded EV charges. 

Permit application 21-002507 seeks to install the four EV charging stations and supporting infrastructure at 6615 NE Glisan Street. In addition to the car chargers, concrete pads and bollards will protect the new equipment. Installation of a nearby utility vault will contain the substantial electricity connections needed to operate the chargers. The project area may also receive decorative screening to obscure the hardware from street view.

When completed, this Fred Meyer store will join three other public locations offering recharging service in the Montavilla area. Those locations are:

Drivers of electric vehicles will welcome the expanded availability of EV charging stations in the neighborhood. When visiting businesses on NE Glisan, they can soon charge their electric car and feel confident they have the energy to get back on the road. EV charging stations will be just one more feature to attract customers to NE Glisan and help grow businesses in the area.

Another Postal Collection Box Vandalized

Over the weekend, vandals forcibly opened a USPS mail collection box located at 1231 SE 92nd Ave. This postal dropbox is the second location in Montavilla to see this type of destruction. It is unknown if the perpetrators successfully stole mail in this latest incident.

At the end of 2020, miscreants targeted the collection box at the corner of SE 76th and Salmon Street, similar to this weekend’s assault. Twice postal staff have replaced that unit on SE 76th, with the most recent replacement delayed by weeks. A new collection box on the corner SE 92nd Ave and Hawthorne Street could also require weeks before installation. With luck, USPS staff will remove the damaged unit soon and begin work on acquiring its replacement. Until then, residents can locate other collection boxes available in the neighborhood with the list below.

Lower Speeds on NE Glisan

This week crews posted new speed limit signs along NE Glisan Street east of 82nd Ave. Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) reduced the speed on this heavily traveled roadway as part of Portland’s Vision Zero goal. A program established to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. The change follows a year full of collisions in this area.

The recent speed limit adjustments made to NE Glisan from 82nd Ave to 122nd Ave creates continuity along the roadway. “With this change in place, NE Glisan Street now has a consistent 30 mph speed limit across most of Portland.” Explained Hannah Schafer, a Communications and Public Involvement representative with PBOT.

Although only reduced by five mph, a reduction from 35 mph to 30 mph can substantially decrease crash fatalities. According to Schafer, “speed is a factor in nearly half of deadly crashes that occur in Portland. Lower speeds result in fewer crashes. When crashes occur, lower speeds make it more likely that people will survive.”

The speed limit reduction joins other efforts by PBOT to improve safety on NE Glisan. Earlier this year, pedestrian crossing lights near Multnomah University joined other similar lights on this road. Reduced speed limits may help calm traffic. However, speeding on this road between I205 and 82nd Ave is a constant issue, regardless of the posted limit. With luck, this change and other PBOT initiatives will improve safety for all users of NE Glisan.

Continued work on NE 80th Curb Ramps

The corner reconstruction of NE Couch Street and NE 80th Ave is nearing completion. The work underway is the final portion of a project designed to improve curb ramps at this intersection. Construction on this last section is technically challenging, requiring the relocation of a stormwater catch basin.

The catch basin’s previous location placed it inside the extended footprint for the new sidewalk corner. Crews first had to reposition the catch basin along the NE Couch Street before laying concrete forms.

Children heavily use this stretch of sidewalk on their way to the back entrance for Vestal School. Improvements to this intersection ensure all pedestrians have a safe path down this road. Work should complete on this project over the next week, depending on weather conditions.

Second Postal Collection Box Replaced

Not long after being replaced late last year, the USPS collection box at the corner of SE 76th and Salmon Street went missing again. First removed after vandals damaged the unit on November 30th, postal crews installed a replacement box within a week. However, by December 23rd, the new collection box again went missing from the sidewalk. Yesterday the blue icon returned to its previous position on the corner.

An unauthorized attempt to open the collection box caused the first removal. Ernie Swanson, Strategic Communications Specialist for USPS, detailed the vandalism. “The lock on the box was damaged to the point that the box could not be opened.” 

Repeated inquiries regarding the second removal went unanswered. Comments about this matter from a United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) representative expressed that “to protect the integrity of investigations [USPIS does] not provide details of the existence or progress of ongoing investigations.”

With the Postal collection box now returned, residents no longer need to walk to SE Stark Street and 80th, where the next closest collection box resides. With luck, the collection box will now remain at this location uninterrupted.

Missing collection box in late December, 2020.

First replacement collection box in early December, 2020.

Repaving NE Pacific Street

Tomorrow, roadwork begins that will disrupt local traffic on NE Pacific Street east of 82nd Ave. Crews will resurface parts of the roadway to repair damage caused by open trench sewer work. That work began in November of 2020 and is near complete.

This recent work is part of an extensive sewer repair and modernization effort in the area. The Montavilla North Sewer Repair is nearly complete, having started on July 12 of 2018. Parking along the street is prohibited from the 12th through the 15th. The roadway will likely be inaccessible by car for much of that construction window.

Open trench activity required the demolition of sidewalk segments and some driveways. Repair of the roadside walkway happened in the prior weeks. This road resurfacing may not be a complete replacement of the worn street, but it should be a welcomed improvement above and below the road surface. When finished, residents should enjoy the refreshed infrastructure on their block.

NE Pacific Street before repaving
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Sidewalk Changes at SE 85th and Division

This week, construction crews are working on a portion of SE Division Street as part of the Division Transit Project. Currently, reconstruction of the northwest corner of SE Divisions Street and 85th Ave is underway. The work will remove a none compliment driveway curb cut and create new ADA curb ramps.

For a year, construction on the Division Transit Project has progressed towards an expected fall 2022 completion date. Work on this project will provide fast travel time to the city center and create safer conditions for none motorists using these streets. It is a massive project that will transform a critical transportation artery in the city.

In rebuilding the sidewalk near SE 85th Ave, crews temporarily deconstructed a section of Master Kong‘s parking lot. The portion of the restaurant’s driveway that leads onto SE Division Street is now permanently removed and replaced with a level sidewalk. TriMet representative Roberta Altstadt explained that the removed curb cut was mostly unused. “There was a curb cutout to Division just a few feet from this corner, but it appears to be too small for a car or a legal driveway.”

Image curtesy of TriMet. Full Plans are available at the Open House site.

Across SE 85th Ave on the north side of SE Division, another driveway’s removal will accommodate a new bus platform. “A bus station platform will go in at the site of the current Line 2 bus stop. The bus station platform is roughly 70 feet. The project will rebuild the sidewalk at that location. It will mean closing one driveway and improving another that is approximately 40-50 feet away.” said Altstadt.

Some local business people are concerned about the changes. Losing access to SE Division could impact the traditional flow of customer access. Altstadt expressed that this “project will not completely eliminate any property’s access to a public right of way.” Additionally, “TriMet has already been in contact with the property owner there, and are working through negations with them.”

Improvements to NE Glisan Street are needed, as many pedestrian spaces are in poor condition. Better transit through this part of Montavilla will only improve conditions for the people who work and live near this roadway. Many density housing projects proposed near this busy street have limited parking, requiring public transportation improvements. Unrequested changes to existing properties can be disconcerting for the owners of those locations. However, the roadway enhancements will likely increase property value and bring more people to SE Division Street businesses.

With this project just 40% completed, many more changes are in process for SE Division Street. The adjustment period will not be without conflict. However, changes have a high likelihood of creating a safer and more functional area for everyone traveling to and through this section of Portland.

The northwest corner of SE Divisions Street and 85th Ave before changes.
The northwest corner of SE Divisions Street and 85th Ave after changes.

Vandalized USPS Mailbox Replaced

UPDATE – The replacement collection box is now missing. USPS representatives did not respond to inquiries regarding this most recent removal.


Original article from December 3rd, 2020

USPS installed a new collection box at the corner of SE 76th and SE Salmon Street. It replaces one removed due to vandalism earlier this week. On Monday, November 30th, USPS employees discovered damage to the lock mechanism on the mailbox. Staff determined that repairs were extensive and required replacement.

Ernie Swanson, Strategic Communications Specialist for USPS, explained the extent of the vandalism. “The lock on the box was damaged to the point that the box could not be opened.” The collection box was replaced a few days after being removed.

The new collection box is mounted a four feet over from its earlier location. The mounting bolts are exposed where the old box had stood, creating a potential trip hazard for pedestrians.

old mailbox mounting bolts

Located at 1208 SE 76th Ave, this is one of a handful of postal collection boxes in the Montavilla Neighborhood. After the national concern over mailbox removal, there was worry that this box was penalty removed. Swanson explained that all collection boxes serving Montavilla would remain in service.

Fortunately, the damage to the lock only caused the collection box to fail closed. Residents using mailboxes in the neighborhood can feel assured that box location and security remain intact. The replacement collection box on SE 76th Ave is ready to serve the neighborhood’s western edge once again.

New Curb Ramps Completed on 92nd

Construction on updated curb ramps along SE 92nd Ave is nearing completion. The project replaced existing ramps in three areas near the Creative Science School. These ramps provide crosswalk access for SE Main Street and SE 92nd Ave.

Although the intersection had existing ramps, they did not have modern accessibility features. The old corners used a center ramp design that sloped into traffic. Moving the ramps to the side and adding one for each crossing makes the ramps slope in the direction of travel. The older design required users to transition to the street level and then turn 45-degrees before crossing the street. On the west side of 92nd Ave, the sidewalk now slops down in the direction of travel along the sidewalk. This ramp design makes a level waiting area for the transition between the crosswalk and sidewalk. On the ramp edges, new yellow truncated domes complete the ADA upgrades.

Although the updates look minor to many, some users of this intersection will appreciate the safety these changes provide.

East side of SE 92nd Ave crossing Main SE Main Street.

Small sidewalk extension to widen path around signaling equipment blocking part of the pavement.

TriMet Tech Retrofit

TriMet recently installed a tablet-sized electronic screen into the bus shelter at NE 82nd Ave and E Burnside Street. Displaying regularly updated bus departure times, the solar-powered device is an upgrade to the older infrastructure at this stop. TriMet installed this 13-inch ePaper display as part of their digital information display project.

This bus shelter is one of forty-five locations currently deemed to have enough sunlight and ridership to be a successful launch location. Eighty-five TriMet stops will receive the digital displays this year. The transit focused Keep Oregon Moving Act provided funding for the project. TriMet prioritized heavily used bus stops in low-income communities for the initial distribution of these displays.

Solar-power allows for truly wireless displays that can attach to any bus shelter with enough sunlight. Internal batteries keep the screens updated and operational overnight. TriMet’s existing digital display technology required an electrical connection to the bus shelter. This new option will allow an even distribution of devices to areas that could not support it previously.

Most of the information presented on the digital information displays will mirror the data available on TriMet’s website. However, these always-on screens make the data available to all riders, regardless of their access to a smartphone. It also will present rider-alert information to people who might otherwise be unaware of disruptions to the schedule. The success of these displays will take time to determine. However, they represent a significant jump in bus shelter technology.