Tag: SE Division

The Barrier to Green Medians

SE Division Street is undergoing significant updates from 80th Ave towards 174th Ave. In addition to numerous safety enhancements, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will replace a continuous painted center turn-lane with a raised center median. Adding these dividers to busy streets provides substantial public benefit. They restrict left turn traffic to predictable places, protect crossing pedestrians, and provide space for added street trees. Perhaps more than the other benefits, community members enthusiastically awaited the expanded green spaces proposed for the center of this project. Unfortunately, PBOT is unable to provide most of the trees intended for SE Division Street.

Adding trees between multiple lanes of opposing traffic has several advantages. Visually it reduces the width of a road and can help reduce speeds by changing the character of a street. Additionally, generations of road designers have valued the sunshade and wind-breaking benefits that median trees provide. Consequential, PBOT staff intended to incorporate large numbers of trees into the Division Street redesign. However, decades of city infrastructure buried underground derailed plans to add them to the center of the road. “We originally planned on adding trees in all of the center medians coming to SE Division. However, during the design phase, we learned that the majority of proposed tree locations would be in conflict with an underground major water transmission line and also sewer infrastructure in certain areas.” Explained John Brady, Communications Director with PBOT.

Image courtesy of PBOT

PBOT will not forgo all center medians trees on SE Division. In total, crews will plant twenty new trees in the middle of the road at locations that do not conflict with underground utility lines. Montavilla will have a small cluster of trees between SE 84th and 85th Avenues. Crews will start construction on that segment of median in the coming weeks.

SE Division looking west towards 82nd Ave

Because PBOT cannot provide the expected number of trees in this project, Brady said they are shifting that portion of the work out to neighboring streets. “Since we are not able to plant as many trees as originally planned on SE Division, we will be working with the City’s Urban Forestry division to fund a planting project on adjacent side streets north and south of SE Division.” That project will add over 200 street trees within the public right-of-way. Tree planting work will occur in 2022 and 2023. Brady concedes that this is a compromise to PBOT’s original vision. “We recognize this won’t have the same effect as adding trees directly on SE Division Street, but it will help with overall air quality, stormwater management, and combating the heat sink in this part of East Portland.”

The twenty new street trees on SE Division will not be alone forever. As properties redevelop along the roadway, the City will require the construction of wider sidewalks with street trees. This approach will take decades to achieve the same green-scape initially imagined for the busy street’s renovation. However, it is the best option available at the moment. Perhaps as City engineers plan new utility line projects, they will consider shifting infrastructure away from the center, allowing for future planting of greenery between the vast expanses of pavement.

PCC’s Draft Twenty Year Facilities Plan

This week, Portland Community College (PCC) released the latest draft of its district-wide Facilities Plan. The proposal covers all four PCC campuses, including the Montavilla location at the northwest corner of SE Division Street and 82nd Avenue. Details are available at the Facilities Planning Online Open House website until October 22nd.

The current Southeast Campus opened 20 years ago in a repurposed grocery store at 2305 SE 82nd Ave. Infrastructure investments over the years have expanded the campus to include new education-focused buildings. However, as the student population increases, there is a need to replace outdated facilities and construct new spaces. PCC leadership believes they can efficiently accommodate the next two decades of growth by developing a comprehensive expansion plan. The second phase of that work is concluding at the end of this year.

Over the last year, PCC representatives collected feedback from students, faculty, staff, and PCC neighbors about the physical environment at each campus. The researchers combined this qualitative input with data on student enrollment, regional demographics, and market trends to create development concepts that accommodate the next 10 to 20 years of college growth.

The Open House presentation outlines five primary developments recommended for the Southeast Campus. PCC intends to add a new wing to Mt.Scott Hall along SE 82nd Ave. The former single-story grocery store building, designated as Mt. Tabor Hall, will be replaced with a more efficient three-story structure featuring a greater connection to public spaces. PCC would build a new gym and childcare facility roughly located on the land currently housing the Community Hall Annex building. This new building will extend the active campus further west. The large parking lot spanning PCC’s portion of SE 77th Ave could become the location for affordable housing.

Additionally, planners are considering an expansion of the campus by acquiring the land currently owned by Bank of the West at 8135 SE Division Street. The bank’s 9,888 square foot property could become the primary entrance to campus, reinforcing PCC’s goal of using campus edges to connect with the community.

The space between buildings received as much attention within the proposal as the structures themselves. Planners prioritized peaceful outdoor areas in the campus core, providing an antidote to the commotion caused by the school’s location at an intersection of two busy streets. The proposal includes safe and interconnecting pathways that traverse flexible-use green spaces while connecting the neighborhood through the campus.

The facilities planning review process is nearing completion. A short survey accompanies the Facilities Planning Online Open House presentation. Neighbors should review draft concepts for each PCC campus and provide comments before the October 22nd deadline. Answers to these last questions will further refine the plan ahead of its completion. The finalized Facilities Plan will be publicly available in December.


Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Southeast Campus opened 40 years ago in its current location. The campus relocated to this space 20 years ago after existing at another site for 20 years before that move.

SE Division Turn-Lane Reconfigured

This month, construction crews began lane reconfiguration work on SE Division Street near SE 92nd Ave. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will replace a continuous painted center turn-lane with physical separation and left turn controls. Portions of the center divider will transform into a raised median with street trees and pedestrian islands. This work is part of the Outer Division Safety Project and the Division Transit Project.

Out past 82nd Ave, SE Division Street features five lanes dedicated to automobiles traffic. Two lanes accommodate vehicles traveling westbound, and two are for eastbound traffic. The fifth lane is a multi-directional turn-lane used for short distances while executing a turn. PBOT determined that a significant number of crashes occurred to vehicles using the turn-lane. By adding a raised center median to SE Division, PBOT expects to reduce collisions between cars and produce safer pedestrian crosswalks.

Example of marked left turn space. Image courtesy of PBOT

Creating a raised median will change how drivers access businesses and side streets. The continuous divider will restrict left turns along the road except for designated areas. Drivers needing to access a location on the left side of the road may need to drive past their destination and execute a U-Turn at a marked left turn space. This configuration confines cross-traffic to specific locations and eliminates head-on collisions by cars using the turn-lane simultaneously.

Image courtesy of TriMet

Non-motorists will also benefit from the raised median. A lane-width divider will provide a mid-crossing island for pedestrians to safely wait for cars to stop. This protective space allows two shorter crossings and reduces the length of time both directions of traffic need to stop when yielding to foot traffic. Additionally, bicycle commuters will be less vulnerable to unexpected cross-traffic with the new configuration. The raised median does not resolve all bicycle collision issues. However, it will reduce those interactions to marked intersections where there should be better visibility.

Work on SE Division will continue until the Summer of 2022. Look for disruptions to normal traffic flow over the coming months as crews install the permeant median. Drivers and pedestrians should use extra caution in this area as people adjust to the new configuration.

PCC’s Twenty Year Facilities Plan

Today Portland Community College (PCC) launched a survey seeking input from students, staff, faculty, and the community regarding the college’s four campuses. The survey results, coupled with feedback received from online workshops, will help shape the facilities plan, guiding the future investment and priorities over the next ten to twenty years.

James Hill, the PCC Public Relations Manager, explained that they are interested in hearing from all people who interact with the campus, including neighbors. “In addition to ensuring the physical space supports the communities we serve, we are also interested in input to help PCC provide a more welcoming and inclusive place to learn, teach, work, and visit.”

The online Visioning Workshop for Montavilla’s Southeast Campus is scheduled for Thursday, April 22. It begins at 9:00 AM and runs through 10:30 AM. You can Register on Zoom for the meeting. However, Hill encourages residents of the neighborhood to participate via the online survey, which is available at the project website www.pcc.edu/fp2. Questions will ask for priorities regarding buildings and the outdoor areas with a focus on increased accessibility.

When all the data is collected, PCC will share the results via the project website, providing a summary of what they gathered at the campus workshops and through the survey. Participant’s input will inform the planning team while they draft recommendations for future development at each campus. Later this year, PCC will seek community input again on draft recommendations and ideas through another online survey. The team will refine the proposed plans based on community input and publish a final report at the end of 2021.

New Division Bus Station at 85th

Concrete work is complete on the new bus platform along SE Division Street, east of 85th Ave. It is one of several enhanced bus stations designed for faster public transportation between the outer Southeast and Downtown. TriMet’s Division Transit Project is underway at many points along the busy street, creating new infrastructure improvements. 

Image courtesy TriMet

Over the next year, upgrades to bus stops along this route will facilitate faster passenger loading and reduced bus merging times. This station’s platform design features a raised curb for better floor alignment with new longer buses. The platform’s curb extends out from the sidewalk through the bike lane to meet the travel lane. This design allows the bus to stop in traffic, eliminating the need to merge when the vehicle begins moving again. Integrated ramps on both edges of the platform allow bikes to pass through the bus stop. Bicyclists will briefly ride at sidewalk level to pass over the platform. However, to avoid collisions with TriMet riders, bikes will yield to pedestrians while buses load passengers.

Image courtesy TriMet

Some property owners at this location had expressed concern over the new platform design. Construction at this location removed a driveway that once provided off-street parking from the property at 8525 SE Division Street. Despite the removal of the curb-cut, the property still maintains two access points on SE Division Street. TriMet representative Roberta Altstadt explained that this “project will not completely eliminate any property’s access to a public right of way.” General community benefits brought by this work outweigh sidewalk reconfiguration concerns. This project not only improves transit but also rebuilds large sections of sidewalk and street corners.

One of two remaining driveways for 8525 SE Division Street

The Division Transit Project will complete in 2022. Although a year away from full use, SE Division Street improvements are already apparent, providing this worn roadway a needed refresh. Transit projects at this scale can attract further development to the area and draw in more commerce. Look for continued construction along SE Division Street over the next eighteen months.

View from the bike lane

Enchilada Express Opens on Division

Enchilada Express opened its second location this week. The new restaurant, serving Mexican food, is open for takeout. Located on SE Division next to the recently completed Pacific Plaza, this additional location is in the heart of a rapidly growing section of Montavilla.

Located at 8245 SE Division Street, this Enchilada Express location joins the original restaurant on SE Powell Blvd. The menu offers a range of Mexican dishes that should be popular with the lunchtime crowd. Place orders over the phone at 503-477-9800, on their website, or when visiting the location.

Sidewalk Changes at SE 85th and Division

This week, construction crews are working on a portion of SE Division Street as part of the Division Transit Project. Currently, reconstruction of the northwest corner of SE Divisions Street and 85th Ave is underway. The work will remove a none compliment driveway curb cut and create new ADA curb ramps.

For a year, construction on the Division Transit Project has progressed towards an expected fall 2022 completion date. Work on this project will provide fast travel time to the city center and create safer conditions for none motorists using these streets. It is a massive project that will transform a critical transportation artery in the city.

In rebuilding the sidewalk near SE 85th Ave, crews temporarily deconstructed a section of Master Kong‘s parking lot. The portion of the restaurant’s driveway that leads onto SE Division Street is now permanently removed and replaced with a level sidewalk. TriMet representative Roberta Altstadt explained that the removed curb cut was mostly unused. “There was a curb cutout to Division just a few feet from this corner, but it appears to be too small for a car or a legal driveway.”

Image curtesy of TriMet. Full Plans are available at the Open House site.

Across SE 85th Ave on the north side of SE Division, another driveway’s removal will accommodate a new bus platform. “A bus station platform will go in at the site of the current Line 2 bus stop. The bus station platform is roughly 70 feet. The project will rebuild the sidewalk at that location. It will mean closing one driveway and improving another that is approximately 40-50 feet away.” said Altstadt.

Some local business people are concerned about the changes. Losing access to SE Division could impact the traditional flow of customer access. Altstadt expressed that this “project will not completely eliminate any property’s access to a public right of way.” Additionally, “TriMet has already been in contact with the property owner there, and are working through negations with them.”

Improvements to NE Glisan Street are needed, as many pedestrian spaces are in poor condition. Better transit through this part of Montavilla will only improve conditions for the people who work and live near this roadway. Many density housing projects proposed near this busy street have limited parking, requiring public transportation improvements. Unrequested changes to existing properties can be disconcerting for the owners of those locations. However, the roadway enhancements will likely increase property value and bring more people to SE Division Street businesses.

With this project just 40% completed, many more changes are in process for SE Division Street. The adjustment period will not be without conflict. However, changes have a high likelihood of creating a safer and more functional area for everyone traveling to and through this section of Portland.

The northwest corner of SE Divisions Street and 85th Ave before changes.
The northwest corner of SE Divisions Street and 85th Ave after changes.

Division Street Building Rehab

Early Assistance request 20-217421 seeks to revitalize the single-story commercial building at 8827 SE Division Street. The application indicates the building will house two offices. Currently boarded up, the building now has a heavy coating of graffiti.

The 1949 era wood-frame building was purchased in mid-2017 by Jian Zhuang Ma and Ximei Huang. The owners have a history of creating restaurants. However, this looks to be an investment project. It is early in the development process, and uses for the building could change.

The building will be renovated inside and out, with some of the structure demolished. The building’s front will receive new entryways for each of the two office units. Further modernization will come from upgrades to power systems thought the building. Two new restrooms will bring the building’s total to three.

New parking and landscaping will accommodate onsite stormwater management. The project description mentions Public Works Permits (PWP) for both SE 89th Ave and SE Division Street, indicating new sidewalks and curbs could be part of this development. In this area, SE 89th Ave does not currently have sidewalks on the street’s west side.

This site is adjacent to the proposed Kimberly Apartments. If all planned buildings advance to construction, SE 89th Ave will become a more vibrant and urban street. With luck, both projects will move forward in 2021 and enhance this section of SE Division.

TriMet Testing New Bus Shelters on Division

This week, TriMet tested a prototype bus shelter for the Division Transit Project. This installation validated the real-world functionality ahead of construction. Permanent deployments along the 15-mile project route will begin in 2021. Engineered for space-constrained stops along SE Division Street, the new shelter’s versatile design can expand into larger spaces while maintaining a constant appearance.

The shelters, built by Landscape Forms, needed to adapt to the project’s unique requirements. “Early studies determined that TriMet’s current bus shelters would not work within the extremely constrained and diverse Division Street corridor,” explained Tia York, Public Information Officer at TriMet. “The project’s modular shelter design provides a more cost-efficient option for the diverse conditions of Division Street, and the functional demands and safety considerations corridor-wide.”

Located at NW Division and Eastman Parkway in Gresham, the prototype only stood a few days before crews dismantled it. The TriMet Facebook post announcing the prototype contained several reader comments with design change requests. However, the planning phase for bus stop design has concluded. “The shelter design was heavily vetted and guided by input received [from] the project’s Community Advisory Committee during a two-plus year period from 2017 to 2019”, York commented. Additional input by the Committee on Accessible Transportation, The Oregon Commission for the Blind, and other stakeholders shaped the chosen design.

These bus stops offer more than a new look. Future riders will appreciate modern integrated lighting, digital TransitTracker, and hardened glass panels providing weather protection around seating areas. New sheltered stops include waste receptacles, dramatically increasing trash can availability on SE Glisan Street.

This prototype shelter demonstrates the general appearance and function of what TriMet riders can expect from the Division Transit Project. Construction will start next year and run through Fall 2022. The completed transit project will create a faster and more enjoyable commute to the city center for Southeast Portland residents.


Article image courtesy of TriMet

Excellent Cuisine Restaurant

UPDATE – Excellent Cuisine is now open from 9:30 AM to 10:00 PM daily. A new website for the business offers images of the menu and testimonials. They can be contacted by phone at 503-946-8830 or you can order delivery from any of these three services: Postmates.comGrubhub.com,  and Seamless.com.


Update from November 14th , 2020.

UPDATE – Excellent Cuisine had a soft opening this week with one Yelp reviewer posting his first impressions. The restaurant also now has a DoorDash page available for placing home delivery orders.


Original story from October 15th , 2020.

A new bar and restaurant will soon open in the former Wong’s King Seafood location. A recent Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) liquor license reveals that Excellent Cuisine is opening at 8733 SE Division, Suite 101.

The King Plaza building prominently displays a new Excellent Cuisine sign, replacing the Wong’s King Seafood sign. Not too much information is available regarding the new establishment. The liquor license application paperwork shows a checkbox for “Video Lottery Machines” on site. The application was filed by Y & W Trading LLC with owners Yu Xiong Zhang and Wan Fang Kuang. The owners’ names are listed on the application but crossed out and replaced with the LLC.

In the coming months, expect to see more information on the cuisine type and an opening date. Based on current indoor dining restrictions, it’s likely to be a while before they open. However, many are already excited to see this location filled with another restaurant.