Category: New Residence

Garage Demo on NE Multnomah Street

Demolition of a detached garage located on NE Multnomah Street near NE 70th Ave is proposed. Removal of this structure makes way for a property line split ahead of further development at this site. Provision Investments acquired this property in October of 2020.

The garage is currently part of the property at 1205 NE 70th Ave. Property line adjustment 20-214659 will split the lot, making a new property fronted on NE Multnomah Street. Permit application 20-223124 seeks to demolish the detached garage. This process is standard procedure ahead of developing a lot with infill housing.

NE Multnomah Street was previously an unimproved road. New asphalt covers this section of the roadway. However, the street has no sidewalks or curbs. The development of this corner lot has the potential to connect the existing sidewalk on NE 70th Ave with NE Multnomah Street. The developer also has the option to pay into Portland’s LTIC fund instead of creating a sidewalk.

The development of this property is a straightforward infill project with the lease impact on neighbors. The property already has two structures on it. Residential space will replace the garage, making for more effective use of land. Likely the existing 1928 era house will receive updates as part of the project, further enhancing this section of Montavilla.

Spacious House Construction on 72nd

UPDATED – Construction progress pictures added. Original Story from September 22nd, 2020


A new three-level house, located at 1430 NE 72nd Ave, is under construction. In what will likely become the largest house on the block, this five-bedroom house will have around 2,500 square feet of living space.

The driveway to this new home slopes down to a tuck-under garage. Inside, to the left of the garage is a hallway leading to the stairway up to the main floor. Off the hallway is a door to the lower level living area. Rooms on this floor have labels such as a recreation room, wet bar, and bedroom five. However, this area is essentially a separate one-bedroom apartment, with a private full bathroom, washer/dryer, and exterior entrance.

The main floor is several feet above the street-level, requiring a flight of stairs to get up to the covered front porch. The porch extends two-thirds the width of the house, stopping at the garage door. Inside the front door, there is an L shaped stairway leading upstairs. To the right is the Great Room with a fireplace on the south wall. In the back right corner of the room is a Dining area. Although it is not walled off, the Dining area has 6-inch by 6-inch posts defining the room’s corners. A box beam ceiling further defines the space. A substantial 10-foot wide sliding glass door opens from the Dining area onto a fourteen by ten foot raised back deck.

To the left of the Dining area is the Kitchen, arranged in an L shape. Creating the boundary to the Kitchen is a large island with bar seating. The half bathroom sits in the back right corner of the main floor. Enclosed by double glass doors, bedroom four is on the front left side of the main floor. It is ideal for a home office instead of a bedroom, but has a closet and counts towards bedrooms.

The top floor has two standard sized bedrooms on the left side. They share a full bathroom located at the top of the stairs. A laundry room is off to the right of the stairway. The master suite occupies the right half of the top floor. The bedroom portion is fourteen feet square and is topped by a tray ceiling. Beyond the bedroom is a double vanity on one side and soaking tub on the other. The ensuite area extends back further to include a toilet room, shower, and a large walk-in closet.

In some ways, this large modern craftsman home attempts to blend into the neighborhood through architecture. It features a hip-roof, decorative dormer window, and other attributes to match the neighborhood’s aesthetic. However, its size will make it a unique fixture on the street. It looks to be an impressive house with a high-end home buyer in mind.

Another Duplicate House

UPDATED – Construction progress pictures added. Article originally posted October 21st, 2020.


The new three-level house, located at 285 SE 90th Ave, is an exact duplicate of one at 1430 NE 72nd Ave. That house is also under construction with a similar completion date. Scot Harger owns both Properties, and Thogerson Designs created the blueprints for the homes.

These twin homes are the second set currently under construction in Montavilla. Many home buyers expect originality in architecture found in Portland’s older neighborhoods. However, reused blueprints are not uncommon in the region. This practice started over a hundred years ago with house kits from Sears Modern Homes. These identical structures are just the modern version of a long-standing tradition, saving costs by reusing construction documents. With these houses spread across the neighborhood, it will be difficult for anyone to notice the replication.

The driveway to this new home slopes down to a tuck-under garage. Inside the garage, to the left, is a hallway leading to the stairway up to the main floor. Off the hallway is a door to the lower level living area. Rooms on this floor have labels such as a recreation room, wet bar, and bedroom five. However, this area is essentially a separate one-bedroom apartment, with a private full bathroom, washer/dryer, and exterior entrance.

The main floor is several feet above the street-level, requiring a flight of stairs to get up to the covered front porch. The porch extends two-thirds the width of the house, stopping at the garage door. Inside the front door, there is an L-shaped stairway leading upstairs. To the right is the Great Room with a fireplace on the south wall. In the back right corner of the room is a Dining area. Although it is not walled off, the Dining area has 6-inch by 6-inch posts defining the room’s corners. A box beam ceiling further defines the space. A substantial 10-foot wide sliding glass door opens from the Dining area onto a fourteen by ten foot raised back deck.

To the left of the Dining area is the Kitchen, arranged in an L shape. Creating the boundary to the Kitchen is a large island with bar seating. The half bathroom sits in the back right corner of the main floor. Enclosed by double glass doors, bedroom four is on the front left side of the main floor. It is ideal for a home office instead of a bedroom, but has a closet and counts towards bedrooms.

The top floor has two standard sized bedrooms on the left side. They share a full bathroom located at the top of the stairs. A laundry room is off to the right of the stairway. The master suite occupies the right half of the top floor. The bedroom portion is fourteen feet square and topped by a tray ceiling. Beyond the bedroom is a double vanity on one side and soaking tub on the other. The ensuite area extends back further to include a toilet room, shower, and a large walk-in closet.

Unlike its duplicate, this home fronts on an unimproved road. It will be interesting to see if the builder creates sidewalks and a partial road around this corner lot. If not, it will be a useful experiment seeing if the difference between paved and unpaved roads will affect the home’s price.


New Home Joins Existing House

A proposed two-story home will join an existing single-story house on the property at 1316 NE 76th Ave. The 1923 era home will remain on the lot with the new structure. Future property line adjustments may occur to accommodate a sale.

Permit 20-219283 seeks to construct a new single-family house with an attached single-car garage. This property is adjacent to a recently completed infill home. Public Registry number 20-172721 confirmed the lot lines for Lot 14 and the south half of Lot 15. The northern half of Lot 15 contains the completed infill house at 1328 NE 76th Ave, while the southern half of Lot 15 is the proposed new building’s site.

In this neighborhood plan, each full lot is 50 feet wide. Construction on a half-width lot leaves little room for the house, often constraining a structure to 15-feet wide. Comfortable floor plans can exist in homes of that scale. However, the single-car garage will dominate the front of the house and push the interior activities to the property’s rear. The building will likely look similar to its northern neighbor, but there is an opportunity for a creative design of this skinny house to differentiate it from other split-lot homes.

Infill homes are a needed expansion for Portland’s constrained housing market. Another residence in this area will be a beneficial addition to the city and use undeveloped land without removing older buildings. Construction will likely begin in early 2021.

Single-Family House with Large ADU

UPDATE – Framing on the single-family house with ADU project at 342 NE 78th Ave is complete. Soon windows and siding will cover the building, making way for interior work.

UPDATE – Permit 20-140370 is approved. – September 14th, 2020


Original story from August 31st, 2020.

The single-family house with ADU project at 342 NE 78th Ave has started site grading ahead of construction. Unlike the conventional implementation of an Accessary Dwelling Unit (ADU), these two homes will be roughly equivalent in layout.

As required, the ADU is smaller than the main house with 650 square feet of floor space. The larger half of this structure is around 860 square feet. They connect along the ADU’s entire long edge, forming left and right halves to the building. Both are two stories tall with two bedrooms and no garage. Both residences’ entrance shares the same front porch located in front of the ADU on the left half.

The ADU’s front door opens to the living room and kitchen. There is an L-Shaped stairway to the right, leading to the second floor. The kitchen area lines the back wall and has a sliding glass door to the left. To the right of the kitchen is a half bath and storage closet tucked under the stairs. The second floor in the ADU has two bedrooms, a laundry closet, and a full bathroom. The frontmost bedroom has a walk-in closet.

The primary home’s front door is on the right side of the porch. Inside the door, there is a straight stairway to the left leading up to the second floor. Ahead there is an L-shaped kitchen area. Walking through the kitchen leads to the open living space with a sliding glass door at the rear. To the left of the living room is a half bath and storage closet under the stairs. On the second floor, there are two bedrooms. A shared 3/4 bathroom, laundry closet, and linen closet occupy the remainder of the second floor. As with the ADU, the front bedroom has a walk-in closet.

Having both units this similar is an uncommon choice and could indicate intent for all units to rent. Homebuyers looking for an ADU often desire the added revenue from renting the unit. Sometimes ADUs allow multi-generation families to live together with autonomy. In both cases, the ADU has been much smaller than the primary residence and often only one level. This novel design’s popularity and function will be interesting to follow and could represent a shift in housing density in the future.

342 NE 75th Finished and Sold

The house at 342 NE 75th Ave is complete and now pending sale. This infill home started principle construction five months ago and kept to a consistent work schedule.

Promotional pictures of the completed home show white walls and countertops to match the exterior paint color. Lightly stained hardwood floors extend through the open floor-plan’s main level. Many modern and bright finishes are used throughout the house.

At 1,796 square-feet on a standard lot, the property has a sizable and open back yard. It is located close to NE Glisan Street, across from the form TBN site.

Although somewhat modern in its appearance, this house matches the street’s character. The home’s proportions are at scale with the neighboring houses, and it seems well spaced between the other buildings. Based on its quick sale and final appearance, this seems to be a successful infill project.

Design Evolution

Six years ago, the apartments at 7706 & 7718 SE Washington Street went before the Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) for design review. The building designer described the process as challenging and laments some of the changes made to address neighborhood concerns.

There were very few multi-story apartments proposed for Montavilla in 2014. The designer of the project, Kym Nguyen of Concept Design and Associates LLC, recalled a great deal of opposition from the community. “They were strongly against it as I think this was the only [project with] multiple units proposed in that area. They said it would ruin the neighborhood.”

In preparation for the apartment’s design review, the Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) posted the project’s images and descriptions on their Facebook page. Lew Scholl was the Land Use and Transportation Chair for MNA in 2014. In correspondence with Nguyen, Scholl shared some community criticism the project received on Facebook. Comments centered around the roofline and lack of on-site parking.

Much of Facebook criticism echoed through public commentary at the October 2014 MNA meeting. “It was a very interesting meeting process, some very rude [people] and some being cautious [with] what they were saying,” described Nguyen. Lew Scholl did not recall the MNA meeting as being highly critical of the project. “There were no highly controversial issues about what was proposed… Some comments were posted on the MNA Facebook Group about parking that she brought up with the owners, but she was not able (nor required) to provide on-site parking. The development met the city’s zoning code, and no variances were requested.”

The commentary offered at the meeting advanced the project towards a publicly acceptable design. However, not all changes desired by neighboring residents were possible. “The zoning at this site back then is R1, which limited the height, along with the setback and building plan. It was challenging on the design to have parking on-site, so I recommended to have two levels and only two parking [spaces] available at the rear of the site.” Explained Nguyen.

Criticism of the roofline and zoning height restrictions forced Nguyen to choose a more conventional hip roof for the final design. She felt it was an unfortunate compromise. The high peak created by a modern one side shed roof allowed for a vaulted ceiling on the second floor. Taller walls could bring more light into the living space by accommodating larger windows. Nguyen imagined those elements would have enhanced the perceived beauty felt by the occupants. There were also practical advantages to the original roof design. Rainwater management would run along just one side of the roof instead of the entire parameter, creating a cleaner aesthetic and providing easier maintenance.

Ultimately the builder made more compromises towards conventional design. Standard vinyl windows replace unequal split sash windows. The building’s color pallet changed from dark to light, and cladding highlights became muted by material and paint.

Examining past projects like this can be helpful as we enter a new era of density in Montavilla. Changes in zoning during the last six years encourage more multi-story projects in neighborhoods. Now is a good time for the community to consider how multi-family buildings will fit into the area. Apartments by their nature will not look like a classic single-family home. Residents will need to come to terms with that and start to think about what features of large buildings will comfortably fit in the community.

Original design. Concept Design and Associates LLC

Updated design after MNA meeting. Concept Design and Associates LLC

Design update addressing roofline concerns. Concept Design and Associates LLC

Apartments as built

Duplicate Infill Houses

Under construction at 8014 SE Madison Street, the new three-bedroom house shares the exact layout as another recently completed house in Montavilla. 1328 NE 76th Ave by Wilde Properties completed construction at the beginning of the year. Both houses use the same plan set provided by Thogerson Designs.

The listing for 1328 NE 76th Ave contains some interior images. However, it is likely that Capital Builders LLC, the developer of 8014 SE Madison Street, will use different finishes in this project. Exterior cladding may also utilize other materials and colors.

As with the other house, a single car garage occupies eleven feet of the fifteen-foot wide home. Set back eight feet from the front of the house is the entryway. This setback has the advantage of reducing hallway length from the front door to the rest of the house and provides a covered porch. Inside the front door, a four-foot-wide hallway leads back to the center of the house. Just before reaching the great room is a small 1/2 bath, tucked under the U-shaped stairs. The bathroom is small enough you could wash your hands while seated but has adequate headroom. The Great Room with a gas fireplace is beyond the U-shaped stairs. Above the fireplace are hookups for a wall-mounted TV. The kitchen and dining area occupy the back of the first floor. A sliding glass door leads out to the back yard.

The master bedroom fills the front of the second floor. The ensuite contains a double vanity, separate shower, and soaking tub. Across from the ensuite is a double-wide closet. The ensuite wall and the closet doors form a ten-foot long hallway to the master bedroom door. Having the hallway in the room gives the bedroom an extra level of privacy, even if the door is open.

At the top of the stairs is a shallow linen closet. The hallway stretches down the right side of the building, ending in a full bathroom, taking up the second floor’s right back corner. The left side, of the rear portion of the level, is split between two bedrooms and a laundry room. The Laundry room is between two standard bedrooms and backed against the closets for each bedroom.

Reusing blueprints is not uncommon in this type of construction. Considering that there are few successful designs for a narrow lot, there are bound to be replication and reuse. Having two different builders construct a house from the same plans will be interesting to observe. Each one should put a unique spin on design, highlighting how substantially finishes can change a home’s appearance.

Mt Tabor Villas Opens to Residents

The twelve unit apartment building at 475 NE 74th Ave has completed construction and is now ready to rent. Named Mt Tabor Villas, this near Glisan Street building sits behind the Candle Light Restaurant. It features many high-end finishes that should attract renters to the area.

Project owner, John Olson, took over this development from another group that had started work on it a few years previous. Progress on the project stalled after the building permits were approved and eventually they sold to Olson. Taking on a project at this phase restricted the ability to alter the project significantly. However, he made his mark on the building by installing quality materials and fixtures. Throughout the apartment, wide door molding and base trim outline the rooms. Bathroom vanities are wall-hung, with linear tile mosaic backsplashes. Kitchens feature stainless steel appliances and subway tile extending from countertop to cabinetry. 

There is no carpet installed anywhere in the building. Instead, Olson selected woodgrain composite planks. Not only are they ecstatically pleasing and durable, but it also allows for most tenants to avoid charges after moving out. The material used for this project holds up well to daily use and requires minimal cleaning between renters. “Everyone wants their deposit back, so our job is to help make that happen.” Said Kaslynn Brewer, Property Manager with Edge Management, who represents this building.

The apartment building does not offer onsite parking and 74th Ave has limited parking on one side of the street. However, the building is well situated for bus and bike commuters. The TriMet 19 bus line runs along Glisan with stops nearby. A secure bike room on the first floor has direct outside access to the side yard, where bike commuters can safely enter the building away from the street. A second door from the bike room leads into the interior hallway.

Side yard provides bike room access from the street.

These apartments are different than most found in Montavilla. Apartments in the area are older and don’t offer secure building entry and convenient bike storage. Mt Tabor Villas is the first in what may soon become a wave of modern apartment buildings coming to the neighborhood. Future developments will likely continue on NE Glisan with Metro’s redevelopment of the TBN site

Move-in dates for Mt Tabor Villas start in October. Expect to see the building full of people in the coming months, making Glisan a bit more lively.



The front stairwell is full of natural light and offers nice views.


UPDATEAn earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that 74th Ave had parking on both sides of the street. Parking is prohibited on the east side of 74th Ave.

12 Unit Apartment on SE 90th

The southeast corner of Montavilla will gain an impressive 12 unit apartment building offering a wide range of different sized residences, with some onsite parking. Located at 2444 SE 90th Ave, the project has affordability and housing diversity at its core. This development aims to bridge the gap between the working class homes around it and the urbanized nature of nearby SE Division.

The development will transform an overgrown patch of land, positioned one parcel back from SE Division Street. The lot has remained empty after the 2009 demolition of both a single-family residence and a detached garage. This portion of SE 90th is an older paved road without sidewalks. Most of the surrounding properties are single-family residences “built during 1925-1971. The architecture of each building is compact and affordable.” Said Kym Nguyen of Concept Design & Associates, the project’s Design Manager.

Nguyen worked to incorporate the functional design of the surrounding buildings into this new three-story apartment building. Many of the design elements chosen will complement the other buildings on the street while incorporating contemporary style. Each apartment offers an open floor-plan desired by modern-day residents. Traditional siding is used in vertical bands to break up the massing on the building’s streetside. The build uses a conventional roofline featuring modest eaves, similar to neighboring properties. 

The project’s owner instructed Nguyen to create a complex that attracted the most comprehensive range of renters. Including older adults, families, single people, and couples. Mixing the unit types between studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom options will help attract a diverse renter. However, greater diversity comes through offering units on the ground floor, making space available to residents needing special mobility consideration. Support for a variety of transportation needs further increases renter diversity. 

The building will offer six garages for residents needing secure parking. PBOT required 17 feet of dedication along SE 90th Ave to accommodate new sidewalks and street parking, adding more parking options for residents. The location is also near both a MAX station and bus lines, providing fast transit downtown. The onsite parking makes a peace offering to the surrounding homeowners who may fear parking congestion. However, this project will encourage mass transit for a portion of residents and help meet the cities environmental goals.

Nguyen explained all phases of the property include resident income considerations. “Affordability is the key for this project, so people are able to afford to buy [them] when these units [convert] to Condos from apartments.” The owner of this property plans to use the rental income from this building for his retirement. However, Nguyen designed them to convert into condominium units eventually. This affordability lifecycle will start with renters and then grow into ownership, perhaps with some of the same residents making the transition with the building.

This project could signal a subtle change in how density housing comes to market. Opening as an inclusive apartment building and then transforming into a condominium may become a successful Portland development path. It can retain the nearby community’s tradition of attainable ownership while first alleviating a housing shortage. Buildings that include some parking are better able to transition from apartment to condominium as many realtors struggle to list properties without a garage.

This is a project to pay attention to over the coming years. Its success could become a model to emulate. They have made many choices through parking, design, and floor plan variety that should meet their longterm goals. Regardless of this project’s future successes as a condominium, it will offer ample housing options now, when Portland needs it most.

2444 SE 90th Ave

Rendering provided by Concept Design & Associates