Tag: COVID-19

Citrine Bloom on Glisan

Citrine Bloom recently relocated to 7114 NE Glisan Street in Montavilla. The plant store moved from its original location at 4136 SE 42nd Ave in August. Making plants affordable, accessible, and manageable for all people is a core goal for the shop’s owner.

Jessica Pierce created Citrine Bloom with the principle values of community support and the joy of plants. Plants had become too serious, according to Pierce. The store’s design is approachable by anyone trying to make their life better through added foliage. Additionally, the shop features products from a select group of vendors. All makers are female-identifying or people of color. Pierce wants to encourage these small business people and makers who need early support in their ventures.

Citrine Bloom moved to Montavilla to be closer to existing customers. Like many Portland businesses, the shop is closed to the public during the pandemic. However, they have an online store featuring many of their products. Pierce delivers those products, and moving to the building on Glisan Street cuts down those delivery times.

The building Citrine Bloom moved into is over 100-years-old. Most recently, the storefront was a hobby shop, but the building’s history started in 1914. Originally this building contained just two storefronts instead of the three that it has today. The addresses were 1828 and 1830 E Glisan Street before the Portland street renumbering in the 1930s. The half of the building now occupied by the plant store was a local creamery, according to the 1924 Sanborn map. Years later, the building expanded to fill in the alleyway between the structure and its westward neighbor, creating an additional shop.

Pierce hopes to open Citrine Bloom’s storefront for shoppers in December. However, that is dependent on how safe it will be to do so. Until then, the online shop is available for orders, and staff can assist by phone at 503-395-0032.

New Park Picnic Shelter in 2021

Pre-construction work passed another milestone last week for the new picnic shelter at Montavilla Park. Demolition of the old shelter and wading pool will make way for the updated picnic space.

“Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) staff are making good progress in planning and have secured the needed permits. PP&R will be moving the design forward to be ready for bidding, likely in 2021.” Said Mark Ross, a Media Relations representative with Portland Parks & Recreation.

Issued October 7th, Permit 20-160791 outlines the creation of a “new picnic shelter and expansion of asphalt drive north of structure.” This summer, Portland issued two demolition permits for the old shelter and wading pool. PP&R will not replace the former wading pool.

Budgetary constraints on PP&R could challenge the construction of projects like the new picnic shelter. However, Ross believes that funding will be available for this project when construction starts in 2021. “At that time, we hope for the necessary amount of project funding and staff capacity.”

On the ballot this year is Measure 26-213. It seeks to create a five-year tax levy that would provide PP&R with approximately $48 million each year. Funding from Measure 26-213 taxes would not necessarily pay for this upgrade to Montavilla Park but could ensure that additional citywide cuts do not dramatically affect the PP&R budget. Budget cuts could push this project to a later date.

Outdoor spaces are more important than ever when we look at our long-term recovery from COVID-19. Creating usable, safe spaces in the fresh air will help in the immediate future. Additionally, investing in long term improvements to our parks will secure their viability if economic circumstances cause future budgetary shortfalls. With luck, Montavilla residents will be enjoying a new picnic shelter in the warmer months of 2021.

Old shelter and decommissioned wading pool. Image courtesy of Google Maps

Montavilla News does not endorse individual candidates or ballot measures

End to Expanded Walkway Program

The Expanded Walkway Program in Montavilla has come to an end with less than successful results. Introduced this summer, it is part of the Busy Streets program. A Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) representative confirmed the early end of the area’s walkway program. 

Expanded Walkways was just one of three programs designed to aid in social distancing during COVID-19. Unlike Expanded Bus Platforms and Expanded corners, Expanded Walkways’ used nonstandard traffic control devices in some areas. In Montavilla, PBOT used narrow white arches instead of the standard vertical poles. Called wave delineators, they are developed by cycling specialty company Saris Infrastructure. Although designed for temporary use, the method chosen by PBOT to hold the delineators in place seemed to be ineffective. Many wave delineators broke or became displaced during their short time in use.

In Montavilla, the Expanded Walkway was attempted on the north side of SE Stark Street from 84th Ave to 94th Ave. Some accounts from local business owners on the street describe general confusion for drivers. Bicyclists also felt that these measures impended safe travel, particularly when delineators were knocked down or placed in the bike lane.

PBOT employee Michelle Marx wrote to a Stark Street business owner affected by the program, announcing the pilot’s completion. “PBOT used this pilot opportunity to test out an expanded walkway concept using temporary, movable delineators. Following staff observation and based on feedback we’ve heard from users, we’ve determined that the pilot has not been successful, and we will be removing the delineators and restoring the street to its former condition.”

East of Montavilla, other dividers used with better but still confusing results.

Although Expanded Walkways did not succeed in Montavilla, that program is testing with different delineators in other areas. Results from those Expanded Walkways and other COVID-19 street adjustments will become part of a PBOT report. “PBOT is currently evaluating all three pillars of our Safe Streets Initiative and will be releasing an evaluation report later this year.” Said Hannah Schafer, Capital Projects, Assets, and Maintenance Communications Coordinator with PBOT. 

“The evaluation of the Busy Streets work will include evaluation metrics for both the expanded walkways pilots as well as the expanded street corners,” explained Schafer. The evaluation report will include recommendations on whether the temporary infrastructure should be removed or become permanent.

Experimentation is a necessary mechanism in developing effective solutions. Although Expanded Walkways did not accomplish its goals in Montavilla, it was a relatively small test and informed PBOT on challenges faced with this type of alteration. It is unknown if other the Busy Streets initiatives will meet expectations and remain in place. However, temporary Expanded Walkways in Montavilla did not work and no longer line Stark Street.


UPDATE – This story was updated with additional information from PBOT.

What Measure 26-218 Could Bring to Montavilla

This November, voters will have an opportunity to approve ballot measure 26-218. Among other transportation-related projects, Metro created this ballot measure to seek funding for ten significant initiatives. A winning yes vote on 26-218 would create a new payroll tax on businesses with more than 25 employees.

A pro Measure 26-218 website, Let’s Get Moving, states that “91% of our region’s businesses are exempt from the tax.” By their account, this would only burden larger businesses that can absorb the added expense. The measure will authorize the Metro Council to impose a payroll tax of up to 0.75%. It would exempt businesses with 25 or fewer employees and local governments from the tax.

Opponents of this measure contend that the increase in payroll taxes will deter job growth and favors public transportation projects when ridership is at a historic low. Other arguments against Measure 26-218 focus on project flexibility within the measure. Although initially focused on specific initiatives in 17 regional corridors located in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties, project funds will be used at Metro’s discretion. The measure allows the council to remove or add corridors and amend the list of programs as they see fit.

The opposition’s perspective is understandable. Increasing taxes in a rough economic period is rarely a popular choice. However, that difficult economic time is going to cause a budget shortfall to some degree. The region already has road and transit deficiencies that would need to be addressed in the coming years, regardless of the economy. Money from this tax could help alleviate the impact on infrastructure from budget cuts.

The focus on improved public transit will ultimately help employers. COVID-19 has forced people off the roads in the short term. Those workers that can work from home indefinitely were not heavy users of public transportation. Public transportation often serves those who have jobs requiring physical attendance. Increasing the speed and availability of transportation means employers have a more comprehensive selection of people that can commute to their location.

The funding flexibility within the projects could be concerning. If the public were voting on a bond for a specific project, there should be an expectation of fixed budgets and measured results. However, Measure 26-218 is a new tax without a particular end date attached to it or a definition of complete. Spending focus will change as projects complete, and new initiatives will replace them. A requirement of this measure will create an oversight board to review and report on project progress. Additionally, an external auditor will give annual reviews of fund collection and use.

The Let’s Get Moving site has high-level information on what could be addressed by funding from this new tax. Although the ten launch programs below offer a perspective on what Measure 26-218 hopes to fix, the implemented programs will change based on funds collected and need over time.

  • Safe Routes to Schools,
  • Safety Hot Spots,
  • Thriving Main Streets,
  • Anti-displacement Strategies,
  • Housing Opportunity,
  • Regional Walking and Biking Connections,
  • Bus Electrification,
  • Youth Transit Access,
  • Better Bus, and
  • Future Corridor Planning.

Specifically looking at the impact on Montavilla, two of the regional corridors run through the center of the neighborhood. Work on Burnside Street will improve safety through added lighting and enhanced crosswalks.

Infographic courtesy of Let’s Get Moving

Perhaps the most significant neighborhood improvements will happen along 82nd Ave. The county-owned roadway will receive a much-needed rebuild. Our MAX station at 82nd and I84 will receive attention regarding pedestrian access. Taxes from Measure 26-218 would pay for safety improvements through better lighting, crosswalks, protected bike lanes, and Greenways. Traffic signal upgrades would also be part of work on this project corridor.

Infographic courtesy of Let’s Get Moving

Measure 26-218 proposed updates across the TriMet footprint will benefit Montavilla residents. Bus electrification is one of the marquee projects featured in ballot text. Replacing older vehicles with electric models will cut dangerous diesel emissions in our neighborhood and lower our streets’ noise levels. 

Voting yes on a new tax is not an easy choice for voters. As a payroll tax, it will not directly impact the individual voter’s income. However, many residents work for companies with 26 or more employees. This tax will affect their employer, and it could change how those companies choose to grow staff. The harmful impact of the tax is unknowable at this point. However, we acknowledge our roads and transportation systems are underfunded for the number of people living and working in the region. Ultimately, having poor infrastructure could hurt our ability to recover quickly from the wounded economy. People desperate for employment will travel further for work opportunities; they will need dependable roads and transit to make those long commutes. Measure 26-218 could be a tool to help with the recovery and hopefully not hinder it.


Montavilla News does not endorse individual candidates or ballot measures

METBA Bingo Underway

The Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA) started a nine-week long contest this week. Its goal is to support local businesses by encouraging residents to patronize shops in the area. Dubbed Bingo, this program enters contestants into a weekly drawing for one $100 gift card.

METBA will post a list of business locations on their website for the current contest period. New lists post to the site at the beginning of the week. Participants need to make a purchase or complete a task at four businesses on that list. Emailing proof of participation or purchase to events@metba.org will enter participants in that week’s drawing. Then the gift card is awarded to a selected contestant each week, providing nine chances to win.

Due to its cancellation this year, local businesses missed out on the community exposure they receive from the Montavilla Street Fair. This Bingo event is an opportunity to explore local businesses and provide support during a challenging time. Participants will even have a chance to win something for their efforts. The first week’s activities are already underway, ending this Sunday.

MNA’s 2020 Online Election

UPDATE – 2020 Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) elections have two candidates running for open positions on the Board. As both positions are currently unfilled, each candidate is running unopposed. Taylor Wells seeks the position of Public Safety Chair. Jacob Loeb seeks the position of Corresponding Secretary. Elections will be held online starting at 6:30 PM on November 9th, and ending 24 hours later. Those who have attended a general meeting in the past year are eligible to vote. You can attend the November 9th meeting (via zoom) and vote after the meeting.


Original post from September 26th, 2020.

It is election season all over the country with many important positions up for a vote. That includes the often overlooked election for Montavilla’s neighborhood association. Unlike national and other Oregon elected positions, association board members do not appear on the standard mail-in ballot. Historically they are elected through in-person votes at board meetings.

As with neighborhood association meetings throughout Portland, COVID-19 forced most association’s board elections online this year. “All our neighborhoods have done online elections, so [Montavilla is] not the only neighborhood that has or will conduct elections in this manner.” Explained Mireaya Medina, SE Uplift‘s Communications & Small Grants Manager. Many elections have already taken place. “Nearly all 20 [SE] neighborhoods have already completed their 2020-21 Neighborhood Association Elections.”

The Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) can have eleven board member seats. The MNA website lists only eight active members. Montavilla community members wishing to join MNA do not have to run against any current board members. Candidates only need to be willing to participate in meetings and committees. SE Uplift offers resources for new board members. Reading through that information can further define what is required by serving on the board. 

Becoming a candidate for the board is relatively straight forward. It starts at the next MNA meeting, scheduled for October 12th. Candidates will self-nominate and speak about their areas of interest for community development. This weekend Louise Hoff, MNA Chair, will post notices around Montavilla encouraging participation in the October meeting. Even if you are not interested in assisting in the MNA, attend this meeting to support issues you care about in the community. It will be held on zoom, and people can signup to receive a link at the MNA website. Chairperson Hoff explained that after people speak at the October meeting, “the Board will vote on a roster and SE Uplift will create a ballot which will be available online” at the website montavillapdx.org.

Voting will open at the beginning of November, with the results announced at the November 9th MNA meeting. Outside the historically large turnout in 2017, participation in the MNA elections does not see large turnouts. However, with meetings and the election now held online, this is an easy year to participate. 

The New Boomtown

In a scene reminiscent of the 1800s boomtown, Montavilla is lining its main streets with roughly constructed wood structures. These Parking Plazas first took the shape of roped-off areas along the street’s edge. A handful of tables were set in the place once used for parked cars, and customers were seated for an open-air experience. This experiment is an effort to offer dining in the era of COVID-19, and it has been successful during the summer months.

Customers came to their favorite bars and restraints, enjoying the novel setting along the street. Soon the ropes became fences, and then canopies appeared over some Parking Plazas. Now we see the addition of substantial structures with roofs—string lights inside zigzag along the ceiling, ready for the coming early-sunset. Montavilla businesses are preparing for a long fall and winter of outdoor dining, as the pandemic lasts longer than expected.

Vintage Cocktail Lounge seating.

The weather has not yet turned cold and rainy, but we will feel the wet chill around us within two months. At that time, there will be a test on outdoor seating’s viability in the Pacific Northwest. Will people brave the cold for the social interactions we gain by going out?

2020 is the year of uncertainty, and the building along our streets is the best attempt to beat uncertainty with preparation. Hopefully, the people of modern Montavilla are as hearty as those who first created these streets two hundred years ago—joining our neighbors for a drink and meal on a cold and damp evening.

Shared Roscoe’s and Miyamoto seating

Redwood’s mid September roof addition.

Expanded Corners Come to 92nd

Expanded corners are now present at the intersection of SE 92nd Ave and Washington street. First appearing on 76th Ave, these are part of the Busy Streets program seeking to provide more space at heavily used intersections.

Portland Bureau of Transportation installed these temporary sidewalk expansions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These street crossings often become crowded with pedestrians trying to cross. This extra space should allow for social distancing while waiting for cars to yield.

Northeast corner

Southwest corner

Northwest corner

Expanded Corners Come to 80th

Expanded corners are now present along SE 80th Ave on both Stark and Washington streets. First appearing on 76th Ave, these are part of the Busy Streets program seeking to provide more space at busy intersections.

Portland Bureau of Transportation installed these temporary sidewalk expansions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These street crossings often become crowded with pedestrians trying to cross. This extra space should allow for social distancing while waiting for cars to yield.

South side of Stark Street looking west.

North side of Washington looking east.

North side of Washington looking west.

Busy Streets Program Walkability Improvements

The new Busy Streets program has already made Montavilla more walkable and will extend through the neighborhood. The program seeks to expand pedestrian space in busy areas by reusing parts of the roadway not used for travel lanes.

Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has launched the Busy Streets program as part of its response to COVID-19. The program expands on the Safe Streets Initiative that PBOT has already implemented with the Slow Streets and Healthy Businesses programs.

Last week one of four temporary bus platforms was added to SE Washington Street, north of 80th Ave. Three more are coming to bus stops at SE Stark Street at 82nd, 90th, and 92nd.

Expanded corners make it easier to physically distance while waiting to cross at busy intersections. Made by visible by paint and other indicators, they extend the corner out towards the traffic lane. SE Stark Street will receive corner enhancements at the intersections of 76th and 80th. Three expanded corners on Montavilla’s portion of SE Washington Street are at the 76th, 80th, and 92nd crossings.

A long stretch of SE Stark Street’s north side is receiving an expanded walkway, from 84th to 94th. This extra space allows pedestrians to move off the sidewalk into the street, allowing others to pass at a distance. Added paint and indicator poles should increase safety for pedestrians when they are on the roadway.

These temporary enhancements would be welcomed as permeant additions to the roadway. Perhaps they could become part of the final Jade and Montavilla Multimodal Improvements Project. Details of that project will begin the design phase soon, according to Lisa Patterson Capital Project Manager for Policy Planning + Projects at PBOT.

For now, the temporary improvements should promote Montavilla’s walkability until permeant upgrades are in place. Look for future work in the next few months as these projects complete construction.


Illustrated images are provided by Portland Bureau of Transportation