Category: New Business

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.

Excellent Cuisine Restaurant

A new bar and restaurant will soon open in the former Wong’s King Seafood location. A recent Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) liquor license reveals that Excellent Cuisine is opening at 8733 SE Division, Suite 101.

The King Plaza building prominently displays a new Excellent Cuisine sign, replacing the Wong’s King Seafood sign. Not too much information is available regarding the new establishment. The liquor license application paperwork shows a checkbox for “Video Lottery Machines” on site. The application was filed by Y & W Trading LLC with owners Yu Xiong Zhang and Wan Fang Kuang. The owners’ names are listed on the application but crossed out and replaced with the LLC.

In the coming months, expect to see more information on the cuisine type and an opening date. Based on current indoor dining restrictions, it’s likely to be a while before they open. However, many are already excited to see this location filled with another restaurant.

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

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

Clogs-N-More Opening Sept. 12th

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.

Last weekend, a preview sale took place, letting people look at the space ahead of the scheduled opening.

Store and Gas Station at NE 82nd and Glisan

A replacement convenience store and gas station’s site plan reveals an attractive property with many new public spaces. At a Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) meeting earlier in the year, the architect for this project presented his designs. The presentation included a Site Plan and Implementation Plan for the new Jacksons convenience store and gas station located at 515 NE 82nd Ave. As part of the development, MNA will help select a mosaic-tile art installation facing the intersection of NE 82nd Ave and NE Glisan Street.

The mosaic will be part of a new Pedestrian Plaza at the southeast corner of the property. This area will include a 100 square foot covered area, 8′ long benches, and trash receptacles. In addition to trees and other plantings, concrete pavers and low-level yard lighting will further cultivate a mini parklike feeling at the plaza. It will provide ample space for those using the 72 bus stop or waiting to cross the busy intersection.

This new gas station and store will occupy the current Shell Gas station site and a former Pizza Hut property. Earlier this year, both lots combined into a single property. The City of Portland is currently reviewing demolition permits for the existing gas station, convenience store, and Pizza Hut building. Their removal is necessary to make way for this new development.

Pedestrian access in this area will significantly improve as a result of this project. Sidewalks around the site will increase to meet the new width specified in the 2019 82nd Avenue Plan. Curb cuts for vehicle access will move away from the intersection, giving pedestrians defined areas where cars will travel through the sidewalk. Currently, a vehicle could cross the sidewalk at practically any point along the properties edge.

The new 4,452 square-foot connivance store is being constructed in the northern half property but close to the center. A new raised concrete walkway protects customers walking from Glisan Street to the store. It will run along the west side of the property and curve around to connect with NE 82nd Ave. Additionally, the walkway could help the walking public avoid all gas station traffic when traveling between Glisan and 82nd by safely cutting across the property.

Nine onsite spaces provide parking for the store, with one dedicated for accessible parking. Four parking spaces are positions on the south side of the building, and the remaining five are on the north side. The replacement fueling canopy and pumps are comparable in size to the existing station. Pumps will shift to the west by a few feet.

The site plan includes a significant number of trees around the parameter of the property. An esthetically pleasing change from the massive concrete lot that exists there today. This location will remain a car-centric establishment, but its many human-scale amenities help it blend into the area successfully. If built as proposed, this will be a positive example of the changing nature of 82nd Ave.

Artist Creative Space Off Glisan

True North Studios moved into 455 NE 71st Ave midway through 2019 and opened their doors in September. A year later and they have yet to host their grand opening. COVID-19 has delayed some of the celebratory plans, but they are open and accepting new members.

Run by owner Kaiden Boehm with Steph Szabo, True North Studios is self-described as a membership-based functional workspace, community center, creative incubator, and classroom. It serves as a co-working space for artists and creative people. Unlike their quiet and clean counterpart, this creative space gets messy and loud by design.

Shared tables are on wheels for custom arrangement.

True North Studios currently offers two levels of membership. All full members receive a keycard granting 24-hour access to the building and use of the shared workspaces and supplies. Beyond shared access, there are twelve rentable work unites that provide 50 square feet of dedicated space. Each personal area is customizable by the renter to suit their needs. This membership level is ideal for small businesses or studios wanting to move out of a home setup and into a dedicated space. There are eight units on the mezzanine level and four on the ground floor. Two reserved workspaces on the first level are for artists with specific mobility needs. The building and restrooms are ADA compliant.

Upper mezzanine’s rentable work spaces.

All levels of membership have access to the kitchen and the shared adjustable work tables throughout the building. A screen printing station and exposure room are available. The computer printing and scanning lab is upstairs next to the lounge space. Some general supplies are available as part of the membership fee. People without a rented area have access to bin storage options for the material they bring in.

Share member supplies and tools cart.

True North Studios is the iteration of an idea that started as Magnetic North back in 2012. When priced out of their former location at 20th and Belmont, Boehm began making plans to relocate further out from the central city. “rent got really expensive, and we kind of hit a capacity where we couldn’t continue paying.”

Members screen printing station

With access to good transit options and located closer to where artists live, Montavilla became a natural choice to move the existing community from Magnetic North. Boehm sees cost-effective locations for the creative community as a diminishing resource. “We keep losing all of our affordable art spaces in town.” The relocation was the only alliterative to closing down, and portland would have lost another artistic community space to the wave of development seen over the last two decades.

Screen printing exposure room and chemical work station.

COVID-19 has had its impact on True North Studios. The events and classes they planned on offering to increase membership have not been possible. A dedicated classroom that was supposed to provide courses for artists remains unused. The community and support cultivated in facilities like this are difficult with social distancing measures.

Even though they cannot offer all the benefits they had imagined for this business, the core function of membership is there; creative people, working their craft in an environment with other talented individuals. Now is a critical time for new members to join this group. They need to replace members who have had to leave and fill the spaces that had yet to rent out before the pandemic. Participation now will ensure that the future benefits of membership will be there as normalcy returns.

Tenant’s rented screen printing space.

Boehm has plans in the works to not only reward members but also drive their success. True North Studios is building a program to offer the assistance of an expert craftsperson. Not everyone has a full range of skills for an entire project. Boehm envisions facilitating paid sessions for skilled people to assist on projects, providing an added revenue source for artists.

Instructing artists on building their work into a business is another method of helping them remain successful. Boehm wants to “bring in resources for artists themselves so that they can… make their craft into a sustainable career.” When the classroom can open, True North Studios will offer instruction on the business side of art. Boehm has seen fellow artists struggle with keeping their business running. “There’s a lot to do when you’re running your own business.” That is the type of support a community workspace can provide.

In a time when creative spaces get sacrificed for work from home or homeschool environments, finding a new dedicated location is essential. True North Studios offers a well-equipped facility for artists to work in a place designed for what they do. Now is an ideal time to invest in your craft and find an escape from home, right in the neighborhood. Contact True North Studios to find out what membership level will work best for your needs.

True North Studios front door, just off NE Glisan.

Wood shop for guided use.

Computer lab with printing and scanning facilities.

Shared work space on mezzanine.

Harashay Opening on Stark Street

Harashay is the creation of owner Renee Greif. It is the latest evolution of her 30-year hairdressing career. Inspired by a spiritual awakening, Greif is offering a beauty experience deeper than hair and skin. Located at 7819 SE Stark Street, Harashay will provide a range of body and mind wellness services.

Greif was working at a salon in NE Portland when COVID-19 shut down that business. Already possessing an inclination to find her own space, this seemed to be ideal circumstances for branching out and creating something new. Having taken a reiki certification class recently, she imagined hair and reiki would form the core of the new location. That idea soon expanded to include many other offerings, and the scope of Harashay continues to grow.

Harashay will additionally offer stretch mediation, parties, and classes based around different instructors and communities. The recently cleared and graveled yard behind the shop will host Red Tent Gatherings and other outdoor events.

As the business grows, Greif intends to bring on more hairdressers, expanding to three hair stations. However, the immediate goal is to set the proper environment for the shop. Although “hair will be cut” at this location, said Greif, this is not a salon. It will be a place less worried about schedules and more concerned with how the customer feels about themselves. “Harashay is a place you come to relax and have fun. Where time doesn’t exist, and you do not want to look at your phone.” Said Greif.

Renee Greif at the front counter of Harashay

Beyond services, Greif intends to bring in independent makers to provide items for sale. “I want to have other people selling products here… a place to sell their wares.” Some products may also be packaged and sold under the Harashay name when the product creators don’t have an existing brand. For hair and skincare, Harashay will have some conventional brands. They will use Kevin Murphy hair products and the Dermalogica skincare line.

The official opening date is not firm but should be in a few weeks, depending on the business license’s finalization. They will have some COVID-19 restrictions to work around, but Greif is anticipating a gradual development of the business. Much of the furniture is on wheels and will move and shift as Harashay takes form.

Look for the paper to come down from the windows soon and keep an eye on their website for more information on this unique addition to Montavilla town.

Clogs-N-More Outlet Coming to Stark

Shoe retailer Clogs-N-More is opening an outlet store in Montavilla. They are currently renovating the former Pottery Fun space at 7821 SE Stark Street, with an anticipated opening in September.

Clogs-N-More operates a few locations in the Portland area. Last May, they had to close their Hawthorne location after 20 years on that street. Many of their regular customers live in Montavilla, and moving to the other side of Mt. Tabor was a logical choice, according to Julia with Clogs-N-More.

The back portion of the shopfront will house a separate business, providing made-to-order pottery. That business is making use of the former Pottery Fun infrastructure but will not be open to the public initially.

Julia commented that Montavilla has some of the feeling Hawthorne had two decades ago and is happy to join the neighborhood. They had initially wanted the former Collective Agency space next door, however that space rented quickly. Fortunately the pottery company wanted to share their space, allowing Clogs-N-More to move into the building.

All the new businesses taking hold in recently vacated spaces is a good sign for Stark Street. Short term vacancy is an indication that Montavilla has maintained its reputation as a supportive location for small businesses. 

Opening dates for Clogs-N-More should become public next month and look for construction to start soon. When open, they will use the old Hawthorne location’s phone number 503-770-0842. Until then, they have an online store with free delivery in Portland.

Food Hall Opening Weekend

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 Brewing Robot 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.
  • Alleamin African Kitchen, by Khadro Abdi, is back in the neighborhood offering African fare.
  • Sea and River Sushi offers sushi and Burmese curries from first-time restauranteur Sonder Sin. Phone: 503-208-3956

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.

Original photo from Opening day