Tag: COVID-19

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

CrossFit Montavilla Closing

Over the weekend, CrossFit Montavilla announced they would be closing at the end of the week. The business has occupied 8040 SE Stark Street for over two years. Local businesses and customers are expressing their sentiments over the shutdown on the company’s Instagram.

According to the Instagram post announcing the closing, “COVID-19 realities” are the cause for the shutdown. Many businesses have struggled to operate profitably during the pandemic. Social distancing restrictions are more difficult for organizations that offer indoor services as they do.

CrossFit Montavilla brought many benefits to Montavilla Town through an upgraded shopfront and active customer base. Previous to CrossFit Montavilla‘s residence in the building, it was home to A-1 Foam Rubber. In its early life, Fred Meyers owned the building. Although all too short, CrossFit Montavilla’s time in the building was a positive mark on the history of that space.

Below is the text from CrossFit Montavilla’s Instagram post.

To all of our members and the Montavilla neighborhood…

We are grateful to have been given the privilege to form friendships and build community through health and fitness over the last 2.5 years Thank you for trusting us enough to invite us into your story. It has been an honor to partner with you, and to share life through daily ups and downs.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 realities we are facing, we will be closing our doors at the end of this week.

While we grieve this loss, we have many “wins” to celebrate. First and foremost, we celebrate each friendship made and relationship built, for these are lasting and go beyond the walls of the gym.

Let’s have a great, final week of workouts together!

Glisan Affordable Housing Breaks Ground in 2022

Late last year, Metro purchased the former Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) property at 432 NE 74th Ave. Metro now intends to develop the site for affordable housing. Full utilization of this site could create one of the most significant housing developments in Montavilla.

“Metro purchased the property through the Transit-Oriented Development program with the intention to build affordable housing in partnership with Portland Housing Bureau and using Metro Housing Bond funds.” Explained Patrick McLaughlin, Senior Development Project Manager for Housing & Transit-Oriented Development at Metro.

Metro’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) program seeks to build more places where people can live and work near transit. Often they accomplish that through partnerships with the private sector. One of those projects, Orchards at 82nd, brought 47 residential units to SE Division. McLaughlin sees similarities between that project and the TBN site, noting similarities in the developer selection process.

High-level planning for this project will start soon and continue into 2021. During that time, stakeholders will settle on goals for the development. Then Metro will select a developer through a competitive process. Already potential builders have inquired about the property, according to McLaughlin. “Developers have expressed a lot of interest in the site, but we haven’t had any detailed conversations with them about proposals since that will come later in the process.”

Portland has an urgent need for affordable housing, and the pandemic will only make that need greater. McLaughlin offered a best guess at a construction start date for this project. “Right now, I’d suggest construction would start in 2022. However, COVID-19 is making it a little tricky to be certain.” As with other affordable housing coming to NE Glisan, this project is years away from completion. However, if this project can be delivered in three years, it will be arrive when it will be appreciated the most.

Development along NE Glisan has increased over the last year. The transformation of the TBN site could become the most substantial change to the area and set a tone for future growth. This project has the potentail to improve housing and the vitality of NE Glisan as a main street of Montavilla.

To-Go Window at Bipartisan

As a pioneer of the 15-year-old Stark Street revival, the Bipartisan Cafe is again driving innovation in Montavilla Town. Yesterday they installed a dedicated To-Go window on SE 79th Ave. The small side sliding window is similar to units seen at drive-through restaurants.

The To-Go window is not yet in use, waiting on the final glazing installation and other interior adjustments. “We only have to rearrange some equipment and work out a few logistical details.” Said Peter Emerson, owner of the Bipartisan. Emerson hopes to serve customers from the window by the end of the week. Until then, customers can continue to pick up orders at the front door.

Bipartisan has not allowed customers inside the cafe since the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were in-place but have been able to remain open for pick up orders. They are now encouraging customers to order and pay online before visiting, to minimize interactions. The separation provided by the new To-Go window will further protect the cafe’s staff and customers.

Emerson sees pick-up orders as a longterm addition for Bipartisan. “Our plan is for this to be the new normal. We don’t plan on opening our dining room until there is a vaccine. Even after then, we can see shutting down the dining room early in the evening and having only window service.”

Expect to see socially distanced lines along SE 79th Ave when the pick-up window is fully functional. Such a permanent alteration is a sign of the long-term changes we will see in the coming year, as businesses adapt and reinvent how they serve the public.

Bipartisan Cafe is located at 7901 SE Stark Street 503.253.1051

Finished To-Go windows July 21st 2020
To-Go windows July 14th 2020

Montavilla Renovation Team

Dina Stanzione and Steve Rice are deep into their first Montavilla project together. The couple is looking at a multiyear renovation of the 1896 era house, located at 5 NE 78th Ave

The corner house now has a crimson red coat of paint and new front railings with updated pillars. Early in the renovation, they added a fence to both the north and south border of the house. The interior is now the primary focus of construction, but COVID-19 has held up permits. “I was days away from seeking my permit in March when the permit office closed. I am still awaiting the permit as of July 5th, but it is in the works, and we hope to have it in hand in the next few weeks.” Wrote Steve Rice.

Phase one for this building required undoing years of undocumented work and replacing antiquated utilities. “The house had been turned into an unpermitted duplex,” explained Rice. They are working to return it to a single-family residence with five bedrooms and three bathrooms. Rice has gutted the interior, removing the damaged plaster from the walls. The exposed walls allowed for the replacement of the outdated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems throughout the house. Replacement energy-efficient windows have been installed, particularly along the front of the house.

Continued interior work is waiting on the permit process. That work will adjust the layout of the house. “We are redoing the floor plan to open up the kitchen/dining room on the first floor and adding a bedroom on the second floor that had been used as a second kitchen.” described Rice. Upstairs, they will create a master bedroom with attached master bath and walk-in closet.

Making a comfortable layout in the house is important for both Dina Stanzione and Steve Rice. They will be living in the house together for several years as they complete all phases of construction. After work completes on the main house, they will move in and start phase two. Prep work on the second phase has already begun in the basement. “All of the low hanging stuff in the basement has been tucked into the joists in preparation for basement remodel,” wrote Rice. When completed, the house will have three floors of habitable space.

Sometime after completing the house remodel, they want to add a detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). “We are also hoping to build an ADU on the extra parcel that faces Burnside further down the line,” remarked Rice. Currently, only a driveway and older detached garage occupy the back half of the lot.

Selecting this house for renovation was not based on business alone. Dina Stanzione lived down the street from this house for nine years. Each time she drove past it, she wondered if anyone would do something with the house. “When it went up for sale in 2019, I got very excited… We did a walk-through, and it felt like a really great opportunity that we couldn’t pass up.” Explained Stanzione. Steve Rice, her boyfriend, owns Build & Paint Portland. They agreed that this house would be a great joint project, with Rice running the renovation work.

Whatever affection they have for this house, the plan is to sell it. Rice explained that after a few years, they would be “selling it in order to find the next Montavilla house to renovate.” Living in the houses as they renovate it, is an interesting model for rehabilitating houses. It is one that should turn out quality homes that are designed for living and not a quick sale. At nearly 125 years old, it is exciting to see the house saved and refreshed. Look for continued work and an eventual listing of this house in years to come.