Tag: Montavilla Town

Redwood’s New Owners

Last week, the founders of Redwood announced the restaurant’s sale to Brenda Dunn and long-time employee Chantel Chinco. Located at 7915 SE Stark Street, this well-reviewed dining destination opened in early 2013 and will continue with new but familiar management. Maintaining Redwood’s quality and dining experience is the core focus as staff train for their new roles during the next few months.

After nine years of growing Redwood into the celebrated business it is today, Susie Blue, Austin Putnam, and Jessie Hawkins believed it was the right time to find a new owner for the restaurant. However, they wanted to sell it to a person who would preserve the same environment and keep Redwood’s culture alive. In the Fall of 2021, the group spoke to their employee, Chantel Chinco, about taking over Redwood. “They approached me probably about mid-September and just let me know kind of where they were at and that they were looking to sell the restaurant,” explained Chinco.

Redwood’s sale to Chinco fit in many ways and was an easy choice for everyone. “I’ve been an employee at Redwood for about five years now, and so I have a really strong relationship with Susie and Jesse,” said Chinco. At the time of sale, Chinco worked in nearly every customer-facing position; server, bartender, and front-of-house manager. Consequently, she has extensive knowledge of the operation and existing customer relationships. Most importantly, the founders trust that Chinco will keep the restaurant on its successful path. 

After 20 years working in the service industry, Chantel Chinco feels owning Redwood is a natural career progression and the best opportunity to participate in a remarkable business. “It’s such an important part of the community and the kind of environment that Susie and Jesse built there you can feel the love in the restaurant, you can taste it in the food. It’s just something special, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Admiring Redwood’s existing culture and cuisine, Chinco and Dunn do not plan on changing much. “We’re going to keep our signature dishes. We’ve been working with Susie one on one to make sure that we can come as close to cooking her food as she does,” commented Chinco. Chef Susie Blue will stay on for a month to help train the kitchen staff. Like many restaurants, Redwood has struggled with staffing over the last two years. Most servers returned after they reopened from the pandemic closure. However, “back house has always been a struggle,” confessed Chinco. That is quickly changing as they train new cooks and expand the kitchen support. “Irene, who is our main prep cook, she does everything for us. She’s been with us for several years, and we just brought her daughter on for some back-of-house support as well. It’s a real family business,” Chinco remarked.

Chinco and Dunn are currently running Redwood with a focused schedule until they have a firm grasp on operations. “At this time, we just want to make sure that we get everybody properly trained for breakfast and lunch before we move on to bigger endeavors,” explained Chinco. “We would love to offer happy hour or dinner again at some point, but we do not want to compromise the quality and integrity that people have come to expect from Redwood by trying to do too many big things right off the bat.”

After staff are trained, and Redwood is back to a full schedule, the new owners will look at augmenting the menu with a few different items. “We want to keep the same Redwood that everybody loves and expects, but also introduce some of our own flavors and ideas,” Chinco explained. The pair hopes to offer a more comprehensive selection of fresh-baked pastries, weekday specials, and some dietary variety. “My partner Brenda is really excited about doing some more vegan and vegetarian options to make the menu a little bit more diverse,” added Chinco.

Changes at Redwood should be unnoticeable to the regulars but look for small additions over the year. Currently, they offer extended Brunch service from 9 AM to 3 PM Wednesday through Sunday with indoor and outdoor seating or takeout.


Disclosure: The author of this article serves on an association board with Chantel Chinco.

Cactus closes on Stark Street, New Business Opening

On December 31st, Cactus Vintage & Consignment staff packed up the shop located at 7910 SE Stark Street. The store opened in this space in February of 2015 as the combined effort of three friends bringing their separate businesses together. At the end of the lease, the last remaining owner opted to end the store’s seven-year span and focus on family and a simplified worklife.

Cactus began when Adrienne Seely of Autopilot Empires Jewelry joined John Healy of Cactus Records and Sonya Petroff of Yours Vintage in a combined store. The partners sold a unique combination of goods from the space and became a frequented shop along Stark Street for three years. John Healy and Adrienne Seely left the business at the end of 2017. Sonya Petroff managed the shop for the remaining four years on her own while maintaining a second job at Trader Joe’s.

The lease on the storefront expired at the end of 2021. Changes in Petroff’s life and general issues over the last few years made continuing to run the store less appealing. “I had quite a load, and with Covid and the rise of crime decided to call it quits. I’m grateful to have reached my goal of paying off my debts and now concentrate on one sustainable job only and raising my nephew,” explained Petroff. 

Although her years of working in the neighborhood are ending, Petroff maintains a fondness for the community. “I love Montavilla and hope to keep some of my connections and, of course, visit as well.” The 900 square foot 1928 storefront will soon become home to another business. Donald Hanna of the Real Estate company Hanna Network represents the building and confirmed that the storefront is unavailable. “We already have a new tenant for it. I can’t reveal yet, but I think the community with be very happy,” said Hanna.

Look for 7910 SE Stark Street to become active as the new shop owners work to create a space fitting for their business.

USPS Collection Boxes Removed

Update – United States Postal Service (USPS) staff will return two recently removed mail collection boxes within the next week. USPS Strategic Communications Specialist, Ernie Swanson, explained that each collection box suffered extensive damage last month. A lack of suitable replacement boxes delayed the reinstallation of each unit. However, postal staff expects to return those locations to service by next week.

Swanson said the unit at 1208 SE 76TH Ave was again vandalized by persons attempting to steal mail from the blue collection box. USPS investigators could not identify the cause of damage to the collection box at 7937 SE Stark Street. Swanson commented that a vehicle likely struck the Stark Street box, but the Postal Service has no details on that incident.

The boxes are still missing from the USPS Locations map but should return when replacement boxes become available again. Keep an eye on the USPS website to see when they return to service. Until then, postal customers can use the two other Montavilla collection boxes at 7100 NE Glisan Street and 9100 SE Stark Street.

Update – January 10th, 2022. USPS crews replaced the boxes at 1208 SE 76TH Ave and 7937 SE Stark Street late last week. The returned units are not yet visible on the USPS Locations map.


Original article published December 31, 2021

As 2021 comes to a close, crews from the United States Postal Service (USPS) removed two of Montavilla’s mail collection boxes. Six months ago, postal staff similarly eliminated a mail-drop site on SE 92nd Avenue. Now only two blue mailboxes serve the neighborhood.

This summer, the number of USPS blue collection boxes in Montavilla dropped from five to four. In July of this year, postal employees removed the collection box at 1231 SE 92nd Ave, leaving a sizable gap in the neighborhood for outbound mail-drop locations. That removal was not the first disappearance of this collection box in 2021. In January, thieves broke into this box to steal mail and rendered it unusable. Crews replaced it a week later.

Removed Collection Box SE 76th and Salmon Dec 31st, 2021.

A few days before the end of the year, USPS staff removed the blue postal collection boxes from 1208 SE 76TH Ave and 7937 SE Stark Street. The unit on SE 76th Avenue in front of the St. Andrews Memory Care facility previously suffered damage due to vandals, being replaced twice in 2020.

USPS blue collection box on the northwest corner of SE 80th and Stark

Unlike the other two sites, the unit on the northwest corner of SE 80th and Stark Street did not suffer from abuse. Removal of that collection box surprised one reader who relied on that location to send outgoing mail and wrote to Montavilla News looking for information. A mail-drop in that general location has served Montavilla’s postal needs for over a century. In 1901, postal workers installed the first locked mailbox to collect outgoing mail on the northeast corner of Base Line Road (now SE Stark) and Hibbard Street (now SE 80th Ave). Since 1891, Montavilla town has had a Post Office, contract post office, or collection box within a few blocks of this corner. Now that this mailbox is gone, people will need to adjust their habits and find a new location.

Removed Collection Box SE 80th and Stark Dec 31st, 2021.

USPS’s collection box directory no longer lists the removed units and only displays two locations in Montavilla, indicating these are long-term changes. The reaming boxes at 7100 NE Glisan Street and 9100 SE Stark Street are further out from the center of Montavilla Town but easily accessible on major roads. Make a note of your new closest mail-drop and plan for a slightly longer journey to send out your letters.

USPS Blue Mailbox Map December 31st, 2021

PDX Cookie Co Embracing the Neighborhood

PDX Cookie Co opened in Montavilla on March 7th of 2020, one week before the pandemic closed the storefront to the public. The confectionary maker is now looking to reimagine the local shopping experience with later hours and a new sit-down experience. After years of depending on website orders, the shop’s owner wants to reconnect with neighborhood customers and complement the activities of other Stark Street businesses.

Starting February 1st, PDX Cookie Co will open indoor seating again at the 7919 SE Stark Street shop. Eva Smith, the owner of PDX Cookie Co, sees this as a new beginning. “Given that we were only really able to ‘open’ for a week, we’re considering this a fresh start.” Indoor seating will consist of bar and booth-style seating, with expanded options becoming available as more people start staying to enjoy their treats at the shop. Smith will expand the in-store offerings with water, milk, and iced coffee options to complement the dessert items. Edible cookie dough served in scoops or cones will return to the menu, and thanks to customer demand, the staff will dish out ice cream treats to customers. “Since this past summer, we’ve always stocked the top 6 Tillamook flavors, so we’ll be able to serve the late-night munchie ice cream cravings. Our cookie ice cream sundaes were a huge hit this past summer, so we’re hoping to see an increase of those in the PM crowd, after a drink from Redwood or a movie at The Academy,” remarked Smith. 

When the new seating area opens, the store hours will shift to an evening schedule. Starting next month, the store will open daily from 4 PM to 10 PM. Smith explained the adjustment would better align with the community. “Changing our hours of operation was something that just seemed to make sense. Montavilla is much more lively in the evenings, and the bulk of our neighbors are bars, diners, theaters, etc.” Although they would not fault anyone for eating their cookies for breakfast, they know dessert is mostly a nighttime dish. Staff observed that the shop is typically quiet from 10 AM to 2 PM, with activity picking up around 3 PM, right as they began cleaning up.

The shift in-store hours will let employees focus on each part of the business separately. Previously, due to limited staff, bakers and online order fulfillment employees would jump to the front counter to assist customers during the day. A situation that “led to a few burned flavors and missed timers.” said Smith. “So we figured it would make more sense to have our online-team work during the day uninterrupted and be able to take up the whole space and then switch full attention to the local crowd in the PM. It’ll give us more opportunity to focus on the local customers since we’re still new to the majority of them.”

Rebalancing the customer base between online and local is happening at a crucial time. Smith credits the strength of the online store with sustaining the company these last few years. “The pandemic was an interesting turn of events as it took our surroundings from a line wrapped around the block on our grand opening to a complete ghost town the following week. Thankfully, a ton of people started ordering cookies online, and the tag #QuarentineCookies became a thing for the year. Our online presence saved us without a doubt.” However, that online intensity has faded and is now further complicated by social media blocks on the company’s accounts. “Unfortunately, Instagram started shadow-banning our account, deleting numerous posts, and threatening to remove our account in the past few months,” said Smith. Being unable to contact anyone at the social media company, the staff can only guess it is related to their joke slogan “come get baked” and “edible cookie dough” product name. Smith thinks they flagged the business’ posts as potentially illegal drug sales. The company never uses THC or CBD ingredients, but the terminology possibly triggered automated keyword filters.

Ultimately, Smith accepts the change and wants to grow the neighborhood shop to its full potential. “It’s been extremely stressful amidst all the other chaos of the year, but it was one of the main factors that spurred us to change the hours of operation. So even though it was frustrating to be punished for something we didn’t do, I think it’ll end up working out for the best.” PDX Cookie Co will rely less on other companies’ platforms and build more direct relationships with customers by creating a weekly email newsletter and strengthening face-to-face interactions.

After nearly two years, PDX Cookie Co is back on track to becoming the dessert destination on SE Stark Street. Smith is excited to develop experiences that bring people into the shop. Soon visitors can participate in a March Madness event to select a new signature flavor or collect free birthday cookies, among other promotions. Eva Smith enjoyed the community support over the last few years and has high expectations for seeing people in the shop again. “I absolutely love being in the Montavilla neighborhood. I’m hoping 2022 can return somewhat to normalcy or whatever that is nowadays.”

First in Wave of Public Trash Cans

Late last week, Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) installed the first in a wave of many new public trash cans coming to Montavilla. Crews will place cans on public sidewalks near businesses, schools, and intersections. Contracted trash collectors, paid by the City, will empty the new waste receptacles twice a week.

In 2016, the Portland City Council authorized an expansion of the public trash program through a tax on the solid waste commercial tonnage fee. By June 2017, Portland’s Jade District received new waste receptacles as part of a pilot program. In 2020, East Portland neighborhoods began receiving new trash cans. By 2023 the City will have added over 700 new public trash cans throughout Portland.

Located on the southeast corner of SE 80th Avenue and Stark Street, this newest colorful trash can features a bottle and can sidecar. People are encouraged to place recyclable items in the side compartment instead of the trash ports, making it accessible for deposit collectors to recover the discarded drink containers. Waste can placement was partially determined by a survey conducted by BPS in April. In total, the City will add 182 new public trash cans throughout Southeast Portland. Next year, the same process will repeat for Northeast Portland. BPS is currently running a Public Trash Can placement survey for the next round of clan placement. Public comment will remain open through January 2022, with trash can deployment in Spring.

Map courtesy of BPS

Public trash cans will not solve all the City’s litter problems. However, a substantial portion of trash collects near bus stops and other gathering places that may soon have a trash receptacle to discard those items. This rollout is an encouraging move forward in Portland’s effort to provide sanitation services to its residents. Look for more trash cans coming to local streets over the next few months and help shape future placement by participating in the NE Portland Survey.

Xmas Tree Lots Return to Montavilla

It is the season to bring the outdoors inside with a Christmas tree or holiday wreath. The neighborhood is fortunate to have two reoccurring tree lots, allowing Montavilla residents local access to the winter decorations. This year, Red Shed Christmas Trees joins Montavillage’s location in the Vinje & Son‘s parking lot near SE 78th Ave and Washington Street.

In 2008, Lesle Janssen began selling trees in Montavilla Town. Janssen’s Montavillage tree stand started at 76th and SE Stark next to Beets Auto Body. The lot moved to 78th and Washington in 2015. This year, Montavillage merged with longtime Christmas Trees retailer Red Shed. Janssen continues Red Shed’s 20-year tradition of providing fresh local products in a warm, community-building atmosphere. They are open seven days a week, 10 AM – 8 PM. On Friday and Saturday, sales staff are available for an additional hour. Paying in cash is recommended for faster service, and delivery options are available.

Montavillage near SE 78th Ave and Washington Street

There is another reoccurring Christmas tree lot at the corner of NE 92nd Ave and Glisan Street for those closer to NE Glisan. This vacant lot hosts tree sales nearly every year. They advertise Douglas fir, Grand fir, and Noble fir trees.

Expect to pay a little more for a tree this season. A challenging growing season may have an impact on tree prices. If a cut tree is in your holiday plans, you do not have to travel far to find one. Check out these local lots and see if you can find the right tree for your home.

Tree lot at the corner of NE 92nd Ave and Glisan Street

Flipside Hats Opens November 1st

Flipside Hats officially reopens in its new location on Monday, November 1st. The apparel maker relocated operations to 7850 SE Stark Street from the 4400 block of SE Belmont Street this month, after an extensive renovation period. Many long nights went into the move, but staff have now settled into their new home and are ready to show off the company’s renowned product lines in the new showroom.

The owners of Flipside Hats bought the Montavilla building at the beginning of 2021. The decision to move to Stark Street stemmed from a desire to embed the business in the neighborhood, explained co-owner of Flipside hats Jacob Wollner. “We are a community business, and Montavilla is our home, our community.” Owning the building means they can safely put down deep roots as they further grow the company.

Until recently, staff would design, manufacture, and distribute the products from a single location. Before moving operations, Flipside Hats partnered with clothing producers to manufacture the company’s designs at different locations. Production remains local, with 90 percent of the product line made within the Portland Metro area. This new location supports the store and showroom upfront, with design, operations, and e-commerce fulfillment occurring in the back portion of the building.

Although not complete, the shop already emotes a mature retail experience. It features ample open space between intricate displays packed full of clothing accessories. Throughout the store, staff insert antique furniture and luggage into the layout, creating an antique aesthetic that softens the edge of the new construction. 

Although built-in 1946, the building received a substantial update this year. Crews completely replaced the storefront that previously served as an office. A modern aluminum and glass wall now extends the width of the building, offering expansive views of Stark Street. The extended height doors and taller windows pour sunlight onto the showroom floor. The natural finish of the reclaimed wood floor bounces that light around the room, creating a muted but rich illumination, even on a cloudy day. The owners removed the flat interior ceiling to reveal the barrel vault roof structure in a bold embrace of the building’s form. The curved wood planks show grey stains from their original use as forms for the building’s concrete walls. The rough finish overhead sets the tone for the function of this space. It is not only a place for retail but where creators design the next season’s products, just beyond the rolling barn door behind the cash wrap.

Flipside Hats’ store serves two roles for the business. It is principally a retail shop ready to provide customers with whatever new product the company offers, but it is also a showroom featuring the complete product line. Flipside Hats and their other brand, Hats for Healing, rotate product lines twice per year—retailers from all over the country stock their store shelves with selections from the Fall-Winter and Spring-Summer collections. This storefront allows buyers to view the company’s offerings in a retail presentation. Due to the variety in styles created here, very few retail chains sell the full assortment of products. This showroom is the one place that has all available items on display. Currently, all but 15 hat lines are out on the sales floor. Wollner expects to have the remaining hats out soon.

Starting Monday, the shop is open to the public from 9 AM to 4 PM weekdays and 11 AM to 6 PM on the Weekends. Staff plan to adjust store hours based on seasonal changes and customer feedback. They are excited to be open in Montavilla and ready to outfit you for the Winter weather or assist with your holiday shopping.

Power Network Upgrades on Stark

Yesterday, DJ’s Electrical employees installed an automatic high-voltage switch on power lines along SE Stark Street. This new equipment allows PGE to manage its power system remotely. As part of this project, workers upsized one utility pole and reworked power lines on SE Stark from 80th Ave to 76th Ave. This work will strengthen the local power supply against the upcoming winter storm season and allow PGE staff to restore power faster in an outage. During construction, traffic cones blocked one lane of traffic on Stark, enabling bucket trucks to work next to the power lines.

Workers replaced power line equipment at several locations in Montavilla town on October 27th. To support new heavy equipment, crews installed a replacement utility pole near the Montavilla Farmers Market. The removed street light pole supported service lines to a local business but otherwise did not connect with the power distribution lines above. In addition to supporting new high-voltage electric switches, the taller and thicker pole is comparable in size to others on the block, adding another support point for the power lines along Stark Street.

Linemen are installing Viper® “recloser” switches along Stark street. These units “detect and interrupt faults in the power line,” explained Jonathan Hutchison, a PGE’s Communications representative. These new network-connected units operate remotely without the need to dispatch technicians to the site when restoring power. Hutchison went on to say that the central management of reclosers is essential to fast power restoration after an incident. “The ability to operate remotely allows for power to be redirected quickly, which reduces the length of outages.”

An employee of DJ’s Electrical working on this project said this team had installed similar equipment at many sites along Stark Street in the past month. As a power line professional, he is impressed with the new technology and its impact on power outage response time. Storm damage can break power lines or cause shorts that trigger an emergency shutoff of large sections in the electrical network. Crews historically had to drive out to the site and manually isolate the damaged area before power could return for most of the affected customers. This remotely controlled system will do the same isolation and re-energization work from the central office, letting linemen focus strictly on repairs.

PGE coverage map

Stark Street represents the north edge of PGE’s power grid in Montavilla, with Pacific Power operating service for the homes and businesses north of that street. Last winter’s ice storm caused prolonged outages in all areas of the city. With the current investment by PGE, they hope to reduce the impact caused by future storms on their customers. If your power outages seem shorter this season, it may be due to work taking place this Fall.

No Parking Zone Removed on Stark

Last weekthe Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) removed the No Parking zone on SE Stark Street across from SE 79th Ave. Crews installed the new signs several days before as part of the City’s effort to improve visibility at intersections. The decision to revert to one-hour parking in this area came about due to staff reevaluating the City’s criteria for visibility at “T” intersections.

Last week’s parking changes were unexpected for several business owners in the area, and the reversal seemed just as sudden. Jacob Wollner of Flipside Hats owns the building directly behind the now removed No Parking zone. He was excited to see pedestrian safety improvements on SE Stark Street but was not convinced that it was effective as implemented. “The signage placement [was] a little strange, centered not directly across on the 79th street right of way but to the west several feet.” Wollner went on to explain that visibility is not the only issue to solve on Stark “I’d say the bigger issue is the speed at which people are driving. So let’s focus on slowing down.”

Empty concrete anchors where the PBOT No Parking sign was previously mounted

Wollner and other people concerned with the No Parking zone’s placement did not have long to wait. PBOT staff quickly reconsidered this and other similar updates, adjusting their guidelines to provide a balanced approach to pedestrian safety. “As we implement our new vision clearance guidance, we have had to make a determination regarding how to treat T intersections. SE 79th/Stark is one such T intersection. While we initially started our effort by clearing the ‘back side’ of all T intersections, we have since fine-tuned our approach, and we now only clear the backsides of T intersections when there are curb ramps serving the crossing at the T intersection,” explained PBOT Communications Coordinator, Hannah Schafer.

For now, the one-hour parking will remain on the south side of Stark Street at 79th. However, Schafer said that that could change when PBOT reworks the Stark Street Crossing in this area.” Currently, there are no curb ramps serving the crossing across Stark at 79th, so per our revised approach, we are no longer clearing parking at the backside of that T until such time as curb ramps are provided in the future.” PBOT has not revealed any plans to install curb ramps here, and any updates are likely years away. For most drivers, this quick change went unnoticed, but it does indicate PBOT’s commitment to pedestrian safety while adapting to community feedback.

No Parking Zones on SE Stark

Update: Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) removed the No Parking zone on SE Stark Street across from SE 79th Ave. READ MORE

Sunday morning, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) staff converted several one-hour and two-hour street parking spaces into No Parking zones. Crews installed new signs on poles along the south side of Stark Street in two sections. The new car-free curb areas align with 78th Ave and 79th Ave. These changes are part of the City’s effort to improve visibility at intersections.

SE 78th and 79th Avenues do not continue straight across Stark Street. Southbound 79th ends at this intersection and does not return to the city street grid until after SE Division Street. SE 78th Ave continues south beyond Stark Street but shifts 70 feet east. Both T-intersections had previously allowed parking across from the ending street, creating a problematic crossing point for pedestrians. With the south side of the road full of parked vehicles, people crossing southbound at those intersections would have difficulty finding a path to the sidewalk between parked cars. A greater danger occurred when northbound pedestrians would enter traffic lanes from behind parked vehicles a the intersection, surprising motorists driving on Stark.

The expanded curbside visibility will make 78th and 79th more appealing for pedestrians to cross. However, the City does not intend to increase crossing infrastructure at these locations. “There are no plans to install marked crosswalks at this time, but Oregon law states that every intersection is a crosswalk,” said Hannah Schafer, a Communications Coordinator with PBOT.

No Parking zone in front of 7850 SE Stark

Although these changes are positive safety improvements, several businesses now have reduced access to curbside parking near their business. Parking along SE Stark Street can become limited at times, particularly with many spaces used for outdoor dining. Some business owners and customers are likely to be disappointed with these changes. However, according to Schafer, removing parking to improve visibility is a national best practice and needed on a busy commercial street like Stark. “Neighborhood business districts are some of the busiest places for pedestrian activity. People love to walk from shop to shop… We want them to feel safe as they walk or use a mobility device.”

The No Parking zones are already in effect. Expect to see more people crossing Stark at 78th and 79th Avenues as they discover the safety created by removing parked cars from the intersection’s edges.


Portland Maps image showing approximate no parking zones