Tag: Stark Street

Reducing Violence Through Building Better Futures

Several months ago, the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center + Rosemary Anderson High School (POIC + RAHS) opened the Community Care office in a previously vacant building at SE Stark Street and SE 91st Avenue. From this location, they provide violence reduction programs that divert at-risk people into job training programs and provide support to those transitioning to a safer future.

POIC began in 1967 as part of the national OIC of America network, an organization dedicated to providing black Americans access to job training programs. In 1983, the Portland group shifted services to struggling youth, later opening its first high school named after Executive Director Rosemary Anderson. That initiative has grown to support over 3,000 students across four high school campuses and one middle school. The education and opportunities nonprofit continues to use work training to reduce violence and improve lives.

Serving the community from the SE Stark Street location, Hiag Brown is Co-Director of POIC’s Community Care Team and the Trauma + Violence Impacted Family Program. Brown explained that people come to the organizations primarily through referrals from Police, school district staff, faith-based groups, or community members. “Once they come in, we do a risk analysis and figure out where they fall. Are they extremely high-risk? Do they really need a life coach or an intensive case manager? Or are they on the verge of getting into a gang, where we can find them a mentor,” said Brown.

After evaluating the person’s needs, the Community Care staff determines the next steps. Those steps can involve setting up a safety plan for individuals needing immediate guidance. “Safety plans are with the intensive case managers. It’s intensive because, for the first three months, it’s daily contact, meeting with them three times a week face to face. It’s consistency that is needed over time. They haven’t had somebody guide them in the right direction. It’s an 18-month process and part of best practices,” said Brown. That process involves developing a cooperative strategy stemming from a series of questions. “Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? What can we do? So it’s keeping them safe, keeping their family safe, making successful choices.”

A desire to remove yourself from a dangerous life is only the first step. It requires overcoming many barriers present in people’s environment. Brown explained that diverting someone into a job apprenticeship program is an essential part of their counseling work and a necessary step to making positive changes in people’s lives. “If they’re into that lifestyle, into drug dealing, that’s their source of income. So if you’re taking that away from them, what are you replacing it with?” Asked Brown. Even in a strong employment market, having a felony on your record can dramatically limit work opportunities. “As soon as they have a felony, people will just give up.” However, according to Brown, working around that limitation is where the organization excels. “We’re good at finding people jobs they can do with a felony and make a decent living. We’re putting them into these apprenticeship programs. We’re finding jobs through our work source, putting them into the culinary program if they want. So we’re finding all these positive things for them to do.”

Focusing on the future is insufficient to keep people on their chosen positive path. Counseling, mentorship, and continued support through life events contribute to POIC + RAHS’s success rate. “When there’s somebody that’s shot, our people get the call, and they’ll say, ‘my homeboy just got shot,’ ‘my brother got shot,’ whoever, it’s our life coach and intensive case managers there keeping them on track. ‘Remember what we’re doing. Do not lose sight of where you’re at. We’ll not step back into that lifestyle,'” explained Brown.

Hiag Brown acknowledges that gun violence is astonishingly prevalent despite the organization’s decades of work. He does not fully understand why there was a sudden increase but sees a few recent events contributing to the problem. “COVID did not help at all, but it was my opinion that when they got rid of the gun violence reduction team and didn’t have anything to replace them with, that hurt. Because those officers had built relationships with those high-risk individuals, and they weren’t as brazen as they are now, with carrying weapons and not worried about being pulled over.”

Despite that setback and increased community violence, Brown sees significant success in the organization’s work. “So they’ve done a great job of keeping them out of that lifestyle, and I couldn’t imagine what our shooting numbers would be like if we weren’t connecting with these people.” The increased attention to their work has helped expand operations, including opening up this centrally located office on SE Stark Street and raising pay for employees, many of whom come from the same background as the people they are helping. However, even as POIC + RAHS grows the scope of their work, keeping that support going after the shooting numbers come down will be a challenge. “Finding sustainable funding is a big part of it. [Eventually,] somebody says, ‘OK, now these shootings have gone down, we’re going to cut your funding.’ That’s usually what happens,” remarked Brown. A funding cycle that diminishes with signs of success can undermine the lasting effects of violence prevention programs like those that delivered historically low shooting numbers in the city before the pandemic.

The SE Stark Street POIC + RAHS location is closed to the public. The office hosts many support groups for people who have suffered trauma from violence or need the support of a community with shared experiences. It is a safe space where the turmoil of a person’s life does not follow them. Instead of greeting people as they walk in the doors, POIC + RAHS staff are out in the community serving Portland’s Eastside residents. People looking to support the organization can donate or partner with the group by offering internship opportunities at a business.

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Gas Line Work Restricts SE Stark

Today, Monday the 9th, one lane of SE Stark Street is closed to traffic west of SE 80th Avenue as crews working with NW Natural service a buried natural gas line. Excavation equipment and crew vehicles are currently blocking the north travel lane of the street. The planned maintenance required an open trench in the parking lane in front of 7821 SE Stark Street. When work completes for the day, the roadway can fully reopen. However, the parking space over the worksite will require payment repairs.

Expect traffic pattern disruptions throughout the day and future road repairs in this area.

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Montavilla’s Saturday Winter Celebration

Two events will attract visitors to Montavilla’s commercial corridors this Saturday evening. Winter Wassail along NE Glisan Street features festive beverages, snacks, carolers, and holiday lighting. Participating stores and restaurants between 82nd and 68th Avenues will remain open for last-minute holiday gifts and festivities. People are invited to Wassail (Go from location to location caroling and/or drinking in merriment) on Glisan from 4 to 8 p.m. this December 17th.

Promotional image provide by event coordinators

That same night, SE Stark Street businesses will host the Montavilla Soiree & Pub Crawl from 6 to 9 p.m. The Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA) organized this winter celebration in the historic downtown to support neighborhood businesses as they enjoy the best parts of the colder months.

Promotional image provide by event coordinators

Drinkers, shoppers, and anyone looking for a fun Saturday night can explore the collection of holiday-themed cocktails, food specials, live music, and late-night last-minute shopping in one big evening event. No matter where you reside, some part of Montavilla will have an activity to warm your spirit on a cold night.

These are some of the participating businesses on Glisan Street:

These are some of the participating businesses on Stark Street:

Rahabs Sisters will be collecting gloves, hats, jackets, blankets, and tents. Drop off locations will be Union Rose and Wink Vintage.

Disclosure: The author if this article serves on the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA) board. METBA sponsors some of these events.

Montavilla Tree lighting

Last night people gathered in the Public Street Plazas on SE 79th Avenue and Stark Street to officially light the holiday tree. This event is part of a month-long celebration in Montavilla known as WinterFest. Coordinators paused this annual event over the last few years due to the pandemic. However, just like the Montavilla Street Fair, the WinterFest has returned in 2022.

Tree lighting, Image by Weston Ruter

Many shops and organizations are hosting giving opportunities to spread joy this season. Saints Peter & Paul Episcopal Church is hosting a Montavilla Collective fundraiser on December 10th at 247 SE 82nd Avenue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The money gathered by the art sale and silent auction will help support the evolving community of unsheltered and sheltered neighbors committed to improving community through collaboration and creativity. During the fundraiser, people can make holiday cards, visit with neighbors, and donate art supplies. Montavilla Brew Works is accepting donations of warm clothing items in partnership with Cultivate Initiatives. They can receive hats, gloves, coats, sweatshirts, pants, and socks through December. Items collected support marginalized and underserved people in the Portland area and beyond. Check the METBA Calendar for a complete listing of other charitable activities this season.

On the neighborhood’s north side, NE Glisan has a holiday celebration on December 17th called Winter Wassail. People are invited to come and join the holiday mood with carolers and lights all along the bustling street. Montavilla business district businesses on Glisan Street will host a festive walkabout from 4 to 8 p.m. that night. Shops and restaurants will remain open for last-minute holiday shopping, seasonal beverages, and snacks.

Yesterday’s evening festivities followed a handful of seasonal celebrations and charity events that started on December 1st. WinterFest is presented by the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA) as a way to unify all the holiday activities within the business district. People are encouraged to see the lights and shop window decorations in the Historic Downtown Montavilla area and along NE Glisan. Printed WinterFest 2022 posters are up in windows throughout Montavilla to help people discover what is happening next.

Tree lighting video by Weston Ruter

As the first snow of winter falls on Sunday afternoon, this is an ideal opportunity to walk the streets of Montavilla and enjoy the holiday decorations or duck into someplace warm for drinks and a meal. Check  #montavillawinterfest on Instagram and the METBA Calendar for the most up-to-date listing of events and promotions.

Disclosure: The author if this article serves on the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA) board.

Copper Moon Vintage Opening on SE Stark

Next month, Copper Moon Vintage Mercantile will open in the former Cactus Vintage & Consignment storefront at 7910 SE Stark Street. Owner Meg O’Brien spent the last two years selling vintage clothing online, gradually growing her business towards this retail expansion. Work is underway updating the interior ahead of an expected December 1st opening.

The store will sell 1970s and older clothing, focusing on antique garments from the early 20th century. O’Brien tends to lean towards simple, rustic pieces demonstrating the maker’s craftsmanship. That appreciation of skilled artistry will extend to a selection of consignment vendors who will have space in the shop. Those contemporary items will complement the vintage articles on display. Old vintage furniture and a mid-century record player will allow visitors to linger in the shop and take in the collection. A selection of vinyl recordings, some for sale, will fill the air as people shop or lounge.

Although this is the first dedicated home for Copper Moon Vintage, O’Brien explained that they have other retail locations. “A year ago, I started selling in a couple of curated vintage stores in town. Currently, I have a booth at Program Shop on Division, and I also have a booth in Red Fox on Woodstock,” said O’Brien. Those spaces are customized stores with a store, but at around 50 square feet, there is limited growth potential. Feeling the constraints of the booths, O’Brien began searching for a storefront location in August.

Initially, the affordable rent and a cooperative realtor attracted O’Brien to the Stark Street shop. However, the neighborhood and community quickly reaffirmed the choice. “I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the location, and it really couldn’t have been a better decision,” said O’Brien. The shop is in an active part of Stark street near the center of the historic downtown area. Copper Moon Vintage joins two other recent additions to the developing Montavilla vintage community, all located within a few blocks of each other. “I’ve actually followed Wink Vintage on Instagram, and I met them recently, and they’re really cool. I admire what they do,” commented O’Brien. “I recently checked out BoneJax, and I happen to know the owner from when he worked at Lounge Lizards. I’m kind of really excited to be a part of this new little vintage hub.”

Work is still underway at 7910 SE Stark, and delays could push the December 1st date back by a few weeks. However, the 900-square-foot shop was in good shape and only needed a new floor. O’Brien chipped up all the dated floor tiles and will soon polish and seal the concrete. The walls will remain white with old barn wood providing color and texture to the space. Even after the store opens, O’Brien said she intends to keep the other booth locations open. “I figure it’s kind of nice to have a little bit of an outpost in different parts of town to attract more customers and also maybe help drive some traffic to Montavilla.”

O’Brien already has a store’s worth of items ready to fill the shelves. When open, the store hours will run from noon to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Follow the company’s Instagram for details on an official opening date.

Images courtesy Copper Moon Vintage

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Maintain Yourself PDX Expands

Maintain Yourself PDX will relocate from a 200-square-foot office above the Bipartisan Cafe to a ground-floor storefront off SE Stark Street. In December, the therapeutic massage provider is taking over Montavilla Community Acupuncture‘s former space at 7925 SE Stark Street. The larger multi-room office will allow the business to grow its client base and hire more massage therapists.

Diane Barker worked for an established massage provider in NW Portland for seven years before branching out on her own. Being a Montavilla resident wanting to work closer to home, she opened Maintain Yourself PDX at 422 SE 79th Avenue, suite 203. In less than two years, the business grew beyond the confines of the current location, prompting this move.

The vacancy on SE Stark came at just the right time, and the space is practically move-in ready for the business. “Things already set up,” said Barker. “Since it was an acupuncture place before, it’s pretty much set up for massage at that point.” Currently, plans for the space focus on painting walls and a few other updates. Barker also appreciates the new location’s ground-level entrance. “One of the big things I’m excited about is not having stairs for people to come up. Being able to walk right off the street is going to be fantastic because a lot of folks have chronic knee issues or back problems.”

Image courtesy Maintain Yourself PDX

Beyond accessibility, street access will help facilitate exposure for the business and allow drop-in clients once a week. The storefront’s large front room is an ideal place for Maintain Yourself PDX staff to offer chair massages for casual clients. Sessions can last less than an hour and focus on just one area needing treatment.

Diane Barker intends to hire more staff soon, eventually having five massage therapists working at this new location. “I have one other person that I just brought on, and I’m actively hiring at the moment for the other positions,” explained Barker. The new space will become available in November, giving the Maintain Yourself PDX crew just a month to prepare everything for the move. All the work will happen while continuing to see clients at the original office.

The Stark Street location should open on December 3rd. Expect to see updates inside the office during November. Follow the Maintain Yourself PDX website and Instagram for updates.

Image courtesy Maintain Yourself PDX

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Community Acupuncture Leaving Stark

After fifteen years on SE Stark Street, Montavilla Community Acupuncture will relocate to a new office. Owner Mia Neuse recently completed renovations to an accessory building at 212 SE 79th Avenue and will move her practice to that space starting November 1st. Until that date, clients can continue to visit the location at 7925 SE Stark Street.

Neuse opened the Stark Street location with John Blank, bringing their individual practices together and creating an affordable treatment system for those without insurance coverage. Both practitioners treated insured people privately and helped the uninsured or underinsured in the community room, taking walk-ins when space was available. Blank retired from the business eight years ago. In 2015, Julie Koroch joined Montavilla Community Acupuncture. She continues to work from this location. However, Koroch will relocate her practice to another office after the move.

Montavilla Community Acupuncture’s transition will require some changes to the business. The new building is nearly one-third the size of the current storefront and located in a residential area. As a single practitioner in a home-based setting, Mia Neuse expects to see fewer people. Currently, fifteen to twenty people walk through the door each day, but that should slim down to around eight. Clients can schedule treatments Tuesday through Friday. Drop-in care was suspended during the pandemic and will not return.

Transformation of 212 SE 79th Avenue. Image curtesy of Montavilla Community Acupuncture

Moving after so many years is difficult for this longtime staple of downtown Montavilla. “I love my current office, and there are many things about it that I’m going to really miss,” remarked Neuse. “But I thought it would be nice being nestled in a pretty backyard and have less traffic noise going by.” Montavilla Community Acupuncture will continue to offer the same services with the same commitment to making acupuncture accessible, regardless of insurance coverage.

After completing the interior, work will begin on the grounds around the new location. Clients will walk through an open driveway gate down the newly constructed path that will take them to the blue single-story building in the back. Neuse will apply a Japanese garden design surrounding the walkway, using native Pacific Northwest plants. The goal is to make the space calming and inviting.

Neuse was committed to remaining in the neighborhood when deciding to change locations. “I’ve been living in this community for over 20 years and working in this community going on 15… I really appreciate Montavilla. It’s my home.” Look for the move to begin at the end of this month and expect to see a new business taking over the vacant storefront on Stark Street in the coming months.

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Dance Party Weekend at Moto PDX

Starting this Friday Night, Moto PDX will host a weekend full of dance parties. Beginning at 9 p.m. DJ Good Things will take over the cafe at 8826 SE Stark Street, playing music from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. The music returns Saturday night at 9 p.m. with the Disco, Funk, and Boogie sounds of the 1970s. Both evening events are limited to those 21 years old and up. Event organizers will provide an all-ages dance party on Sunday afternoon starting at 2:30 p.m. All dance events are free to attend.

The Moto PDX Cafe opened last December, offering cafe dining and performance motorcycle maintenance. In the evenings, the space can transform into a nightclub for events like this weekend’s festivities. Pick your dancing day this September 23rd through the 25th, and head over to SE Stark Street for a special night out in Montavilla.

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Last Show for Montavilla Movie Night

The Montavilla business district will host the final free movie night of the season tomorrow evening. For all of August, the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA) presented weekly group viewing events in the Montavilla Public Plaza at SE 79th Avenue and Stark Street. Local businesses sponsored one movie each Wednesday, with other area businesses offering special concession packages. The 1986 film Labyrinth by Jim Henson will close out the successful community entertainment series on September 7th.

Chantel Chinco of Redwood organized the evening events for METBA, growing the audience weekly. This year, movie nights shared the street space with another first-time Plaza program presented by Montavilla Farmers Market. The 79th Avenue square features an evening min-market on Thursday nights, running through September 29th. This public street venue is supported by the Vibrant Spaces Community Events Activation Fund grant from the City of Portland, in conjunction with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Public Street Plaza Program

For the second year, the Montavilla Public Plaza at SE 79th Avenue and Stark Street has driven community engagement into the business district’s core with events like the movie night and market. Public support for these events will influence their return in subsequent seasons.

METBA invites the public to view David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly in the Labyrinth this Wednesday, September 7th. The Show begins at 8:30 p.m., and people are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets to the showing.

  • Aug. 10th: The Sandlot (Mr.Plywood)
  • Aug. 3rd: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Natural Furniture)
  • Aug. 17th: Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead (Wink Vintage)
  • Aug. 24th: Dazed and Confused (The Observatory)
  • Aug. 31st: The Princess Bride (Redwood)
  • Sep. 7th: Labyrinth (Bonus Screening)

Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the METBA Board.

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Proposed Chick-fil-A on SE Stark

This month, the Chick-fil-A development team continued their preliminary work on redeveloping 9950 SE Stark Street. Designers have modified the project from the Early Assistance meeting last May. The current Early Assistance no longer seeks to demolish the approximately 7,012 square foot building or construct a drive-thru lane on the property. Instead, crews will rehabilitate the existing structure to host the fast food restaurant with 98 indoor seats. Plans still include some outdoor seating.

Currently zoned as Central Commercial (CX), City planners expect new developments on this property to maximize density and encourage urban activities. The CX zone allows projects with tall buildings placed close together. Developers working in this zone should create pedestrian-oriented structures with a strong emphasis on a safe and attractive streetscape. The proposed project on SE Stark Street will be a nonconforming use of the existing site. Portland allows noncomplying use within a zone when the building predates the new standards and only expects zone compliance to occur when property owners significantly redevelop the site. The status of nonconforming structures is not affected by changes in ownership or tenant. The project’s initial demolition and drive-thru-oriented redevelopment plan would need to adhere to the CX standards. This new renovation plan will create a different Chick-fil-A than most of the restaurant’s other locations but retain its nonconforming status and maintain the usage pattern of previous tenants.

The single-story structure, first built in 1984, hosted a wide range of restaurants and entertainment venues over the years. Rax Roast Beef owned the property until 1990. Recent tenets included Tony Roma’s restaurant, Hooters, Mystic Gentlemen’s Club, and Venue Gentlemen’s Club. If approved, Chick-fil-A will shift this location’s use back towards general fast food and away from adult-orientated services. The lack of a drive-thru window will limit some of the traffic impact experienced by the change in use. However, based on other Chick-fil-A locations, this could become one of the most popular destinations in the surrounding blocks and attract additional vehicles to the area. The project is likely months away from approval and may fail to move beyond the planning phase. Look for permit applications sometime next year if the City approves this site’s reuse.

Article originally published May 13th, 2022.

A recent land-use Early Assistance application indicates Chick-fil-A may soon open a new restaurant on SE Stark Street. If approved, developers will demolish the 1984-era building and construct a new fast food restaurant with a drive-thru window. Located at 9950 SE Stark Street, the 36,590 square-foot half-block property currently houses an adult entertainment club and bar.

The Chick-fil-A development team intends to construct a 4,991 square foot building with 98 indoor seats for guests. Outdoor canopies and an outdoor eating area with 12 patio seats would surround the new building. The property sits between SE Stark and SE Washington Streets, aligned at SE 99th Avenue near Mall 205. The site offers a variety of vehicle access points and is near the number 15 TriMet bus line. Other Chick-fil-A restaurants tend to attract many visitors, sometimes with lines spilling onto the neighboring street. However, this proposed Chick-fil-A is just six miles from the Clackamas restaurant and seven miles from the Gresham location. That density of stores may reduce peak demand for the proposed eatery and avoid traffic issues sometimes seen at other Chick-fil-A sites.

Developers use Early Assistance applications during the pre-planning phase of a project. Many proposals do not continue past this stage, and this Chick-fil-A may never materialize in this location. However, the addition of a popular destination restaurant in the area could draw in more visitors and improve business for neighboring stores. Expect to see updates regarding building permits if this project moves forward.

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