Category: Services

Free TriMet Rides on New Year’s Eve

As revelers head out to celebrate the close of 2022, Trimet once again offers riders fare-free transportation. Starting at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, all bus, MAX, and Portland Streetcar trips are free. Extended late-night MAX service runs until 2 a.m., allowing people to safely return from the night’s celebrations.

TriMet is bringing back free rides on New Year’s Eve in partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation. Most MAX Lines run until 2 a.m. MAX Blue, Green, Orange, and Yellow lines will provide extended service, running approximately every 30 minutes. MAX Red Line trains will run on weekday schedules, with the last Red Line train leaving from Pioneer Square South to Portland International Airport (PDX) at 12:42 a.m. Shuttle buses carrying riders between Gateway Transit Center and PDX will run after train service ends as needed and until approximately 3:30 a.m.

For those who spent the night at their party destination, New Year’s Day service on TriMet buses, MAX, and Portland Streetcar will operate on regular Sunday schedules. WES Commuter Rail will not be in service, and TriMet customer support staff will have the day off. Even if public transportation is not in your plan, remember you are not stuck driving your vehicle home if you have partied too hard. Everyone deserves a safe start to 2023, and TriMet hopes they can help make that happen with this free-ride program.

Image courtesy TriMet

BIKETOWN Rides top 500k in 2022

With another month remaining in 2022, BIKETOWN bike-share rides have exceeded 500,000 trips in a year, surpassing last year’s usage numbers by 60%. This achievement follows the program’s successful expansion into more of East Portland and North Portland at the beginning of the year. Although multiplying, bike-share usage in Portland is far from its potential peak, with other US-based programs exceeding these numbers by implementing regional connectors.

In September 2020, BIKETOWN first expanded into East Portland and began converting the orange bike fleet into electric pedal-assisted units. Then in January of this year, the program expanded its service area by more than 25% to include St. Johns and unserved sections of East Portland. The program’s expanded service area and the rising popularity of BIKETOWN’s 100% e-bike fleet has boosted ridership across the network.

Another contributing factor for the surge in ridership comes from a bolstered BIKETOWN for All option for people with income restrictions. One-third of all trips this year were made by those members, with participation in that program growing by 123% in 2022. The discounted membership is available for those who utilize certain state or federal assistance, people who qualify for the Oregon Health Plan, have a TriMet honored citizen pass, high school students, and college students eligible for financial aid.

High school students helped shape the ridership map in 2022 thanks to usage discounts and support from a Living Labs grant from PeopleForBikes’ Better Bike Share Partnership. Because of that support, BIKETOWN increased outreach to high school students in areas of increased equity need. Additionally, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) added BIKETOWN stations at Parkrose, McDaniel, and Roosevelt High Schools this year. The station near McDaniel High School is the highest ridership location east of 72nd Avenue, with over 2,200 trips beginning or ending at or near the bike dock.

BIKETOWN ridership map in and through Montavilla for 2022

Portland’s bike-share system, operated by Lyft, is seeing rapid growth. However, it is far from the most used in the country and has the potential to double its usage by expanding to other cities. By comparison, Jersey City in New Jersey has roughly half the population of Portland and sees similar seasonal ridership trends for its bike-share program. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics collects data on bike-share operators. Its graph of ridership over the last four years shows Jersey City usage numbers in line with Portland from 2019 through 2020. However, the 2021 data indicated a substantial increase in bike usage that coincides with a partnership between Jersey City and Hoboken. The two municipalities merged their bike-share programs, allowing riders to travel continuously along their shared shoreline across from New York City. Since then, riders have taken over 180,329 trips between cities, accounting for 13 percent of total ridership. That intracity bike transit should only continue to grow with a new protected bike lane connecting both cities.

Jersey City is not a direct comparison to Portland. Although it has half the population, Jersey City greeted 96.6 million visitors in 2021, compared to Portland’s 11.3 million. Portland’s pre-pandemic tourist numbers were previously closed to 29 million in 2018 when riders set the previous BIKETOWN annual ridership record of 399,893. Nonresidents likely contribute to the ridership growth in Jersey City. However, their example does indicate the potential for increased bike-share usage in an intracity program with protected bikeways. Recent investments in protected bike lanes installed during the Outer Division Safety Project would be a suitable intracity connector for most commuters traveling between Portland and Gresham. Although not currently planned, expanding the BIKETOWN system into Gresham could significantly increase ridership across the system, particularly among people eligible for BIKETOWN for All.

The BIKETOWN program’s operators are celebrating their 60% growth this year. In recognition of the milestone, PBOT is offering Portlanders discount memberships for a limited time. People can use the checkout code SAVE50PDX to save $50 when becoming an annual member. As tourism returns to Portland and the bike-share network expands, 2023 could become another significant growth year for BIKETOWN.


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Red Shed Trees and Seasonal Artistry

On November 25th, Red Shed Christmas Trees returns to the seasonal Montavillage location in the Vinje & Son’s parking lot near SE 78th Avenue and Washington Street. This year, tree lot owner Lesle Janssen plans to expand the artistic offerings sold alongside the traditional wreaths and trees. Shoppers will find an assortment of Douglas, Nordmann, and Noble Fir trees. However, the location also features crafts from local artists, cookies, and activities for kids. Janssen acknowledged that the tree industry costs are rising, but Red Shed will absorb those increases and keep prices at the same level as last year, ensuring people can still afford a holiday celebration.

Beyond tree sales, Janssen is a fan of the holiday season and a dedicated supporter of local artists. Consequentially, the tree lot includes more than just standard items. Since opening the Montavilla tree lot in 2008, the variety of items and activities offered at the location has increased. This year they will have pottery and soap from Shane Reaney Studios, prints from Peter McNamee Photography, confections made by McTavish Shortbread, and other holiday accessories.

Shane Reaney is a neighborhood artist in the early stages of growing his business, and this venue increases exposure for lesser-known creators. “I’ve been making pottery and soap as a hobby for many years, but I am just beginning to do this full-time. Having an opportunity to get my creations in front of so many people in such a festive space will help introduce my affordable creations to lots of new people,” said Reaney. At the Red Shed location, people can choose from a selection of Reaney’s mugs, small planters, incense holders, and soap dishes. Staff will also display an assortment of hand-crafted soap to sell alongside the pottery options.

Peter McNamee Photography offers images capturing the wilderness areas of the Northwest. McNamee prints his photos on eight-by-eight-inch metal panels. The picture is fused onto specially coated aluminum, creating a vibrant image that is durable and impervious to water. Fans of McNamee’s work can also pose in front of a giant backdrop featuring one of his landscape photos.

For over 30 years, Portland’s McTavish Shortbread has provided fresh-to-order cookies for customers. It is an independent craft bakery providing the “foodie’s version of the classic Scottish cookie” to coffee shops, wineries, boutique hotels, and select grocery stores. The family-owned and operated bakery will only create a limited number of cookies for this location. Customers are encouraged to stop in early to buy the cookies they want.

Lesle Janssen is excited to bring back the children’s craft area this year. During the pandemic, Red Shed staff sent ornament creation kits home with kids, and that option will continue. However, kids can stay entertained at the designated holiday creativity station this year while parents shop. Janssen said this event is open to all children and does not require purchase. Crafty adults can also pick up free tree limbs that staff clip from the base of trees. A few inches are always trimmed from the tree’s base to allow it to mount in a watering stand. Those surplus branches can find a new use in mantel decorations or other projects.

For people interested in a wintry brew, a collaboration with Montavilla Brew Works grants tree purchasers a special deal on local beer. Customers will take their “Tree Cookie” token a block over to 7805 SE Stark Street and receive a discount on a six-pack or growler.

After Thanksgiving, shoppers can head to Washington Street to look for the holiday decorations and festive activities that will begin the buildup to the winder celebration. Vinje & Son at 544 SE 78th Avenue is again hosting Red Shed in its parking lot accessed from SE Washington Street. Starting Friday, they are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily with a bonus hour Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, keeping the lot open until 9 p.m. Paid delivery options are available to drop off trees at a customer’s doorstep.


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The Neighborhood Dumpster Day Returns

After a two-year hiatus, Montavilla’s Dumpster Day returns as part of a new Portland program. Area residents are invited to drop off bulky household items on Saturday, September 24th, at the Montavilla Church parking lot on the corner of SE 92nd Avenue and SE Hawthorne Boulevard. This free program allows residents to dispose of many large items not collected in regular curbside bins and prevents trash from ending up on the streets.

Two years ago, Portland’s Office of Community & Civic Life (Civic Life) discontinued a similar program once offered through neighborhood associations. Those programs provided an annual opportunity for residents to dispose of mattresses, broken furniture, and other trash that did not fit into regular collection containers. The events also served as a primary fundraiser for the nonprofit neighborhood organizations. Trash haulers will collect bulky items left on the curb during weekly pickup days if residents notify them ahead of time and pay a fee. However, some people do not have the means to arrange for those collections and instead leave items on the corner with “Free” signs attached. Those items can contribute to the City’s trash problem and congest public spaces.

The absence of a free dumpster program in Portland left a noticeable mark on the City’s trash collection system, prompting officials to create a new program. This weekend’s Montavilla Dumpster Day is the first in a series of events organized by Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), with funding through the City’s Public Environment Management Office. For this event, the City will pay members of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) and the Jade District to support the Dumpster Day operations. In the future, BPS will hire contractors to run events held in other neighborhoods.

People are encouraged to bring mattresses, furniture, and certain small appliances like a toaster, vacuum, or microwave. Some treated lumber and wood stumps are accepted but need to come from households, not businesses. Tires, large appliances, electronics, and hazardous materials can’t go into the dumpsters. However, Oregon Metro staff at the drop-off site will assist people in finding the proper disposal agency for items not taken at Saturday’s event. A complete list of allowed and forbidden items is available on the BPS website.

Although a Montavilla-based event, organizers secured ample dumpsters to accept items from local residents and neighboring areas. However, space is limited, and the event staff recommends people come early. The entrance opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 1 p.m. or when the dumpsters are full.


Disclosure: The author of this article will work at this event and may receive payment for his participation.

Veterinary Urgent Care Opening on SE Stark

In October, Sadie Veterinary Urgent Care will open at 8037 SE Stark Street in downtown Montavilla. This woman-owned and independently operated animal care provider will feature four exam rooms, onsite imaging, and lab facilities. This new business seeks to bridge the gap between general practice and emergency room services for cats and dogs.

In 2019, Dr. Jenica Wycoff, Dr. Malia Goodell, and Dr. Cindy Galbreath formed a partnership, creating Sadie Veterinary Urgent Care. All three worked at the same large emergency care facility in Clackamas. As their careers progressed, they observed the substantial burden placed on emergency medicine by significant but not extreme pet injuries and illnesses. Dr. Galbreath explained that the group saw promise in a new concept in veterinary medicine around urgent care. “I think a lot of people are familiar with urgent care from human medicine. Emergency rooms are really busy and overwhelmed. We want to help our community by taking a little bit of the burden off them and giving people a place to go when their animals are injured or ill but not necessarily requiring emergency care.”

Sadie Veterinary Urgent Care’s focus will fill a specific niche in the veterinary health system. They will not provide preventative healthcare, vaccinations, dentistry, or annual exams. Those services should remain with a dog or cat’s primary care provider. However, for those times that a pet needs immediate attention, this location will have the veterinary skills to provide initial diagnostics and then treat or refer the patients. The onsite X-ray, ultrasound, and laboratory allow for the fast service that pets need during times when help is challenging to find. Currently, they plan on opening from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday, with earlier hours over the weekend.

The partnership brings together nearly three decades of veterinary experience. Dr. Wycoff graduated from UC Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine ten years ago, working in emergency medicine until 2017. For the last five years, she has worked at a general practice focusing on treating endocrine and ocular diseases. Dr. Goodell attended Colorado State’s College of Veterinary Medicine and moved to Portland eight years ago for her internship. Since then, she has continued to work in the area, practicing emergency medicine. Dr. Galbreath graduated from UC Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. She has predominantly practiced emergency medicine over the years. Recently, Dr. Galbreath began working with the Humane Society and providing in-home euthanasia services.

They selected the Montavilla location due to its central location to an untapped market and the support of the building’s owner. “Outer Southeast Portland is an underserved community when it comes to veterinary services, so we were initially drawn to that pocket of Portland,” explained Dr. Galbreath. “We had a pretty favorable relationship with the landlord, [who] was accommodating to our needs and willing to work with us.”

Although the location was right, working with the city had its challenges. Sadie Veterinary Urgent Care had hoped to open much sooner than October of 2022. Extensive permitting delays and supply constraints pushed the project back by several months. However, the community’s welcome and encouragement kept the group focused on opening the SE Stark Street location. “Everyone that’s in our direct building and neighbors who are across the street or down the street have been so welcoming and friendly. That’s making us feel really good about where we’ve chosen to be.”

Sadie Veterinary Urgent Care expects to open in mid to late October. They have an active Instagram account and will soon launch the company website at sadievetpdx.com. After they open, pet owners can reach them by email at hello@sadievetpdx.com or phone at 503-710-9769. Until then, people are encouraged to visit them at this year’s Montavilla Street Fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 31st. Look for the Sadie Veterinary Urgent Care booth and say hello.


Images of Dr. Jenica Wycoff, Dr. Malia Goodell, and Dr. Cindy Galbreath courtesy of Sadie Veterinary Urgent Care

PDX Reporter Web App

PDX Reporter is a website and mobile web app that helps Portlanders report concerns to the appropriate city agency. Much like the Oregon Metro RID map, this tool seeks to make reporting concerns convenient and efficient. On the site, people can report various sidewalk-related problems, graffiti, road obstructions, and potholes.

PDX Reporter started as a native phone app but later changed to a web app to streamline maintenance and reduce the time between updates. Much of its functionality still targets mobile app performance. However, the desktop website scales up to fit any sized screen. The site is tagged as “Beta” and is not an all-in-one tool. Some reporting sections redirect users to other resources or encourage users to go to another reporting tool for faster service.

Instead of replacing all the forms used by various bureaus, the site acts as the portal for many city services. This approach saves residents time looking for the proper place to report issues. Portland has a labyrinth of websites that make finding the appropriate resource difficult. PDX Reporter is an admirable attempt to cut through the confusion and take people to the form they need.

Notifying the city about issues can make public spaces more livable and safe. Without reports from residents, City staff cannot prioritize troubled areas and are less efficient in resolving issues. People using this service should exercise good judgment in deciding what to report. Any information included within the body of a PDX Reporter report is subject to public records laws. Although users have to create a free portlandoregon.gov website login to use this service, information used to create an account on portlandoregon.gov is kept confidential.

Portlanders are far from having a streamlined method for interacting with City services. However, Portland continually deploys technology to alleviate the frustrations of navigating disparate bureau procedures. Although this tool has existed for years, many people don’t know it exists or forget about it when they need to file a report. You might no need PDX Reporter today, but bookmarking pdxreporter.org can save you time and frustration in the future.

Glisan EV Charging Under Construction

Work is underway at the Fred Meyer parking lot at 6615 NE Glisan Street. Crews are creating four EV charging stations located near the eastern entrance along NE Glisan Street. Removal of eleven standard parking spaces and one planter island will make way for four EV charging spots. Workers will also create a new fenced equipment island to support charging infrastructure.

Designers submitted permit applications for the charging station at the beginning of the year. However, their permit 21-002507 was approved just last week. As part of this project, landscapers will plant additional shrubbery to conceal the equipment area. The new island is near equal in size to the four EV parking spaces. Fencing around the utility zone will use 8 foot high Trex fencing

An excavator worked most of Tuesday on preparing the area for the substantial electrical work that will take place. Charging station dispensers stand to the side of the vehicle instead of at the front of the parking spot. This positioning allows for two side-by-side hookups facing opposite directions, concentrating the user-accessible equipment into two clusters. PGE will connect to the charging station via an underground electrical conduit feeding a 750 KVA transformer.

Electrify America manages these new charging spots and bills customers between $0.31 per kWh to $0.43 per kWh. The spaces are reserved for people charging their vehicles. Ten minutes after charging completes, an idle fee of $0.40 per minute is added to the customer’s bill. EV charging maps already show the EV charges at Fred Meyer as “Coming Soon,” indicating that this project will complete quickly.

The addition of EV charges in the area is encouraging for those who own an electric vehicle and nearby businesses that will welcome customers killing time during their charging session. Look for the parking lot at Fred Meyer to be a bit congested as work continues. However, based on current progress, the disruptions should clear up within a few weeks.

July 1st – Crews installed electrical conduit
July 1st – Crews installed electrical conduit

UPDATE – Corrected link to electrifyamerica.com July 6th, 2021.

Metro RID Patrol Expands

Thanks to an increased budget in the upcoming fiscal year, Oregon Metro will expand the RID Patrol program to three times its current size. The RID Patrol program serves Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties with dumpsite cleaning services. The program was overwhelmed during the pandemic and has failed to catch up with the current demand. The program expansion is a substantial boost to their capacity with the potential to make a difference in the region-wide trash problem.

The existing two cleanup crews will expand to six teams sometime after the new budget goes into effect on July 1st. Increased funding will cover additional vehicles, staff, and administrative support for the expanded teams. RID Patrol serves the community in multiple ways. Beyond cleaning dumped items across the region, positions in the program often go to people who have seen challenges finding employment. “These additional crews will be staffed by those who traditionally have barriers to employment. Through this program, we are supporting justice outcomes and uplifting our community for those who traditionally have difficulty finding stable and good jobs,” explained Kimberlee Ables, Public Information Officer with Metro.

Adding the new crews will not have immediate results. The RID Patrol program is facing a substantial backlog of illegal dumpsites. A complete listing of reported sites is available online and shows the Herculean task Metro staff need to address. Ables estimates it will be over a year before crews handle the current demand for cleanups. “In prior years, we have maintained a three-day response time and anticipate it will take 12 to 18 months to get back to that level of service.”

Within this round of funding, Metro allocated money to continue a Metro bag program for campsites and providing garbage service to the houseless community. With these efforts, Metro is perusing programs that will provide relief to everyone living in the region. Other programs will have to address the root cause of dumping and litter, but this expansion should improve livability throughout the Metro region.


Images courtesy Oregon Metro’s Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) Patrol

OnPoint Opening in Fred Meyer

Crews are busy at work transforming the former Glisan Street Chase Bank into an OnPoint Community Credit Union. Located inside the Fred Meyer Grocery store at 6615 NE Glisan Street, the bank space has remained vacant since last December. Freshly painted signage and new teller stations indicate that banking services will soon return to this location.

The swapping of financial institutions is part of the largest branch expansion in OnPoint’s history. The Credit Union agreed in November of 2020 to open twenty new branches located within Fred Meyer stores across Oregon and Southwest Washington. A month later, Cory Freeman became Vice President and Regional Manager of the in-store branches. During that announcement, the Glisan Street Fred Meyer was identified as one of those twenty new locations.

The opening of OnPoint is a welcomed change to a recent trend that is reducing banking options in the Montavilla area. Chase BankUS Bank, and Riverview have all closed or plan to close their nearby branches. Convenient banking is essential to small businesses dealing in cash. This new location may entice local businesses to move their accounts over to OnPoint. Look for the Credit Union to open in the next few months.

Portland Street Response Expands to Montavilla

This month, Portland Street Response (PSR) expanded its boundaries beyond the Lents neighborhood. Starting April 1st, PSR teams will offer a non-police response to a larger area that includes the eastern half of Montavilla. With the expanded service area comes a broader service scope that now includes public spaces inside buildings.

The PSR program officially launched in late February with a new approach to specific emergency calls. The program diverts non-violent calls involving people experiencing houselessness or behavioral and mental health issues to specialists equipped to resolve those situations. At launch, the program only addressed incidents occurring outdoors and did not have staff enter buildings. The recent changes permit the teams to enter publicly accessible spaces such as a business, store, or a public lobby. PSR is not responding to calls within a private residence.

Initially, the PSR program used Portland Fire & Rescue’s boundary system called Fire Management Areas (FMA) to assign calls to their team members. Within a month, it became apparent that they missed calls outside the FMA that PSR had the capacity to address. As a test, PSR will switch to using the Portland Police Bureau’s police district areas to determine their response zone. That change has lead to the increased service area that now includes Montavilla from 82nd Ave to I205.

Dispatchers determine what calls are assigned to fire, police, and PSR staff. Requests for assistance with any situation should continue routing through 911 or the non-emergency number at 503-823-3333. However, if you live in the expanded service area, there is a possibility that PSR could handle your call. A potential PSR response will encourage some residents to reporting situations that they may not have before. Many concerns don’t require a police response but instead, need trained specialists to de-escalate a situation.

People interested in following the PSR team’s progress can use a newly created dashboard to view aggregate metrics regarding calls and a heat-map of activity. Expect to see more PSR dispatches in Montavilla soon.

New expanded Portland Street Response area showing eastern Montavilla and the other service areas. That area includes SE Division St. on the north, SE Clatsop St. (roughly) on the south, SE 62th Ave. (roughly) on the west, and Powell Butte along the eastern boundary.