Last month, landscapers planted six new street trees in sidewalk cutouts added along SE 82nd Avenue between SE Stark and Washington Streets. The owners of 8250 SE Stark Street installed these green spaces at the request of the City’s Urban Forestry staff and fulfilled a 2018 commitment to plant street trees around the store’s three frontages.
Four years ago, the Cash & Carry Smart Food Services company demolished the Chinese Village restaurant on this 1.15-acre property. In its place, they built the commercial kitchen supply store. US Foods CHEF’STORE now owns the property after a 2020 acquisition of Smart Food Services. The store’s approved plans show five street trees at the sidewalk’s edge along SE 82nd Avenue. In 2018, landscaping crews planted the proposed street trees on SE Stark Street and Washington Street. However, workers did not create sidewalk cutouts for trees on the property’s westward side.
In March of 2021, Portland Parks & Recreations Urban Forestry staff found the property in violation of the City’s tree Code. Inspectors marked the required correction satisfactory on February 25th when contractors added the six tree planters along 82nd Avenue. Landscapers planted the new trees in symmetrical alignment with the building’s west-facing corners. The tree-line breaks near a street light pole at the center of the block, preventing the future tree canopy from obstructing the light.
These new trees add a substantial enhancement to a blank pedestrian zone. Developers of the building chose to face the store’s active front towards a parking lot. The door leading onto SE 82nd Avenue from the store is for emergency exit only. The west-facing wall lacks color definition, without any signage. Interior shelving mostly obstructs public view into the store through the windows. The addition of trees should help make the sidewalk a more hospitable public realm that is cooler in the summers and green with life.