Tag: Stark Street

Dual Storefront Remodel on SE Stark

Yesterday, construction crews began installing the new aluminum and glass storefront at 7850 SE Stark Street. The owners of Flipside Hats bought this building at the beginning of the year to become the new headquarters and factory for their apparel company. When completed, two new shops will occupy this space.

The majority of the building will support hat production, retail, and other business operations for the company. However, Flipside Hat owner Jacob Wollner thought the showroom did not need to occupy the entirety of the storefront. There was an opportunity to split the space and create a second 609 square-foot shop for another tenant. That second storefront will have a separate main entrance and restroom. Wollner explained that it would be an ideal space for a small flower shop or jewelry store. Although prospective tenants have shown interest, none have committed to opening there.

Image courtesy Flipside Hats

The buildout was delayed by a slower than expected city permitting process and a personal matter that took Wollner out of the country. Until recently, the installation of six gooseneck barn lights above the windows was the only outward sign of construction at the site. Now work has ramped up again, and progress is visible. Wollner’s full vision of the building has taken form now that the new aluminum and glass storefront is in place.

Image courtesy Flipside Hats

The building began its existence in 1946, housing the Hook Cycle Shop. Later, Mt. Tabor Schwinn Cyclery took over the space until the mid-1980s. In 1998 a group bought the building for their business, Electronic Claims Services. At that time, the owners removed the storefront and transformed the structure into an office building. This current renovation work is restorative, bring back the shopfront appearance lost in the last century’s remodel.

Image courtesy Flipside Hats

Soon, Flipside hat staff will relocate from their current store at 4438 SE Belmont Street to this new Montavilla location. For twenty years, the building has had its shades drawn and doors shut to the neighborhood. However, even before the store opens on Stark Street, this refacing project will reconnect the continuous retail on the block. Once again, the inviting light of shops will shine out onto the sidewalk and guide shoppers along Montavilla’s historic main street.

Image courtesy Flipside Hats

Five Minute Fast Stop on Stark

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) posted a new sign on SE Stark Street near 81st Ave this week. The purple and white parking indicator is part of a new pilot project by the city to offer permanent five-minute free parking zones for quick drop-offs and pickups. Similar to the new Slow Streets planters, this is a pandemic-inspired program adopted into continual use.

These short-term parking spaces began as part of PBOT’s successful Healthy Businesses program to support businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting this month, PBOT is piloting these five-minute zones in five locations throughout the city with the intention to deploy them citywide. A motorist can park in these spaces to accomplish any task that takes five minutes or less. City staff envisions these spaces supporting local businesses by allowing customers to pick up take-out food or provide delivery drivers a reliable place to park during their rounds. Taxi, Uber, or Lyft vehicles could also use these spaces to cut down on double parking and pickup confusion.

Image courtesy of PBOT

The four other 5 Minute Fast Stop pilot locations are on Mississippi Street, NW 23rd Avenue, SE Division Street, and SW Harvey Milk Street. PBOT offers a map featuring the five locations on the program’s website. That page will update if the program expands to more places. With the new signs now posted, PBOT intends to study the performance of these pilot locations to make sure they are working as intended. As part of the evaluation process, PBOT will survey community members, businesses, private for-hire drivers, and other gig economy workers about their experience with these short-term parking spaces.

Montavilla is part of a small group of locations in this pilot project. Residents now have a unique opportunity to participate in a test that could reshape parking throughout Portland. On your next visit to Montavilla Town for a short visit, consider parking in the new space and then provide feedback to PBOT about your experience when the survey becomes available.

 

Montavilla’s New Public Plaza

Starting today, a small portion of SE 79th Ave north of SE Stark Street is transforming into a Public Plaza. Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA) will create the car-free gathering space as part of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Safe Streets Initiative. The program designates safe outdoor areas in neighborhoods across Portland, connecting communities and supporting economic recovery.

The Plaza will open to the public starting this weekend and remain accessible through Labor Day, September 6th. METBA plans to host several entertainment events in the space over the next few months. When not used for events, outdoor furniture in the Plaza will be available for spontaneous community use. The permit for the Plaza lasts through October, allowing a potential expanded season for events if residents express interest.

Unlike the Parking Plazas used by businesses along local streets, this temporary installation will block traffic flow through SE 79th Ave. METBA coordinated this project with local businesses and homeowners ahead of the closure. Although adjacent establishments support this new Public Plaza, patrons of those nearby businesses are not the only ones able to use this space. Similar to a public park, it is a family-friendly location for everyone to eat and gather. However, the PBOT permit prohibits the consumption of alcohol within this Plaza. Drinking outdoors will remain limited to licensed Parking Plazas.

Funds for live entertainment in the Plaza come from Travel Oregon. Earlier this year, they distributed grant money towards activities in Oregon that would increase tourism. METBA is currently developing an entertainment schedule consisting of daytime entertainment that won’t disrupt nearby business activities. Live music performances will play a significant role in programming for this Plaza, creating paying work for musicians.

Today volunteers are painting the road mural ahead of the outdoor furniture delivery tomorrow. An assortment of picnic tables, bistro tables, and Adirondack chairs will fill the street. By Saturday, crews will have completed the setup and have the space ready for public use. Keep an eye on METBA‘s website and social media accounts for information about Plaza events. Send questions or comments to Montavilla.Biz@gmail.com.

Moto PDX Cafe on Stark

Next month, a performance-motorcycle themed cafe will open at 8826 SE Stark Street. Titled Moto PDX Cafe, they will serve Italian coffee drinks and rider-friendly meals that digest well on the road. Within this mid-century modern storefront, owner Brendan Jones brings together his enthusiasm for European MotoGP and his penchant for creating engaging community spaces.

Seven years ago, Jones left an advertising career and created The Big Legrowlski in downtown Portland. What had started as a growler shop eventually grew into a live music venue. He let that business develop organically based on customer feedback. Jones explained that the same process would shape this new venture, “to be successful in business like this, you have to pivot quickly and just listen to or at least observe [customers], because it really is a like a focus group.”

Jones is moving on from The Big Legrowlski, letting others grow that business. He is looking to build a different type of place for people to congregate, based less on nightlife activities and more on a shared passion. The building on Stark Street became available late last year, providing a location for his new creation. Living just ten minutes away from the building and the storefront’s proximity to the motorcycle store Cycle Gear, it seemed like an ideal location to bring his longtime vision to fruition.

The idea for a motorcycle cafe occurred to Jones when he lived in San Francisco. However, real estate costs in California made it difficult to act on that idea. Fortunately, Portland can support the economics of operating an establishment like Moto PDX Cafe, where other cities could not. “Portland is a great space, It isn’t too expensive yet, and it’s still a place where, if you have an idea, you can make it happen.” Explained Jones.

Work on the building will have a light touch, maintaining much of the current layout. White paint will replace the deep black color on the building’s exterior. Green painted highlights will tie in the cafe’s logo to the building. An attempt to expose the original vertical wood beams and raw aluminum window frames is underway, but the many layers of paint pose a challenge. 

The building sits back from the street, creating a deep parking lot. Jones is not a fan of large car-centric spaces and wants to add planers around the property to create a courtyard aesthetic. Motorcycle parking takes up significantly less space than car stalls, allowing him to reshape the street side of the property towards people-focused activities.

Inside the cafe, televisions will show race footage and live events. The long bank of glass-front refrigerators that remain from the buildings earlier use as a grocery will hold European beer and refrigerated foods. Moto PDX Cafe will sell both beer and wine for consumption onsite or carryout. Jones is not interested in recreating a drinking-focused business like his last project, but he understands that it will complement the location’s overall vibe. The cafe will have a full kitchen. However, the menu is still in development. Thanks to an idea from his wife, Jones envisions guest chefs taking over the kitchen, offering a rotating menu and new takes on standard dishes.

Moto PDX Cafe will eventually open to customers from 10 AM to 10 PM. Staffing will have some challenges. Jones is looking for people who are modern motorcycle enthusiasts. Performance bikes throughout the shop will provide additional decoration and be the item of conversation. Additionally, plans for a consignment sales area will ensure this is more than just a food destination for the motorcycle racing community. Cafe staff that can prepare food and speaks with experience about bikes will be imperative to the operation of the cafe. Finding people with both skill sets will take time. 

Look for work on the property to continue through the end of July. The intention is for the cafe to open in early August. As construction tasks complete and furniture arrives, Jones will announce an appropriate opening date. More information on that date should come by the end of the month.

Academy Theater Opening July 16th

The Academy Theater will reopen to the public next month, 68 weeks after it closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. The opening date appeared last week alongside a detailed accounting of the movie theater’s history. As the 1948 era move house prepares for the July 16th reopening, staff also ready for a busy summer season.

Located at 7818 SE Stark Street, The Academy Theater closed its doors in March 2020. After the last show on Friday the 13th, the staff locked up for a several-week-long intermission while the country tried to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, over a year later, the theater remained dark, even as other surrounding businesses reopened in phases.

After so much time shuttered, extensive work is needed to ready the business for an eager audience. Co-Owner, Heyward Stewart barely has time to prepare everything and has dedicated all his efforts towards that goal. “I am super busy at the moment trying to get things together for our reopening.” However, Stewart is excited that this day is finally approaching and what reopening could mean for the neighborhood. “[We] look forward to being a part of the revitalization of Montavilla.”

The Academy Theater is often seen as the symbolic heart of Montavilla and is an iconic representation of the Stark Street business district. Its reopening will signify the actual end of restrictions and the beginning of returning to normalcy for many. Keep an eye on the movie theater’s marquee for coming attractions and showtimes but regardless of what’s playing, consider a visit to make up for the lost time.

Family Auto Sales at 82nd and Stark

Hood To Coast Auto Sales is relocating to the car lot at the corner of SE 82nd Ave and Stark Street. Owners Lindsey Barber and Matt Barber started the business two and half years ago in its current location near NE Sandy Boulevard and NE 138th Ave. Having outgrown that building, the couple and their two employees will relocate to Montavilla sometime next month.

New signage and banners at 428 SE 82nd Ave reflect the pending change to Hood to Coast Auto Sales from the location’s previous occupant. For many years the site housed an RV resales business. The Barbers signed a three-year lease on the property but are already looking to becoming long-term occupants of the space. Matt Barber expressed his excitement for the move into an active and welcoming community.

Matt Barber brings nineteen years of automotive experience to his business. However, his partnership with his wife is what shapes the company most. “We offer a family atmosphere where people will not hound-dog you when you step onto the lot,” explained Barber. The company values a hassle-free shopping experience where quality used cars sell at a reduced price.

The new location’s opening date depends on transferring the phones and inventory of used vehicles across town. Look for the car lot to fill up soon, but until then, a listing of the cars for sale is available online at hood2coastautosales.com. Call them at 971-347-3195 with specific questions, or drop in as soon as they are open. 

Wink Vintage on Stark Street

On April 10th, Wink Vintage opened a new shop on SE Stark Street. The owners merged two successful online vintage businesses into their first physical store. Located at 7909 SE Stark Street, this collaboration from Jennifer Strom and Courtney Kimball provides a curated vintage store where anybody can find something they like. 

Having taken over the recently vacated Union Rose space, the store only required minor updates before opening. Outside of painting walls and sanding the floors, the shop was in a usable condition. “They left it in good shape, so there wasn’t a lot of work to be done,” explained Strom. “[We] just adding our own flair,” added Kimball.

Courtney Kimball and Jennifer Strom

Although both are veterans of the vintage sales market, they had day jobs that provided additional income propr to opening this new shop. Kimball has worked for 20 years as a hairstylist and continues to see clients one day a week. Strom left a five-year-long bartending career to pursue her passion for vintage retail full-time. Both are enthusiastic about their new location in Montavilla and have already found foot traffic encouraging when neighboring businesses are open.

The owners are still adding items to the shop, particularly expanding non-clothing goods. However, they are intent on not overcrowding the shop. Items on the racks represent a fraction of what the pair have collected. They regularly scour garage sales, estate sales, and private collections for the best vintage items. Additionally, they invite people to sell items directly to the store. The expanded collection outside the store allows the business to provide personal shopping services. The store staff can hunt for particular items or recommend something based on past interest. They continue to sell online for the many customers across the country and have a devoted audience on the company’s Instagram.

Vintage clothing will not be the extent of the store’s apparel offerings. Working with a local seamstress, Wink Vintage will produce an in-house line using selectively sourced textiles. The backroom will soon become a workspace for clothing production and the occasional alteration of purchased items.

Only a month old, and the shop is already vibrant and active. They are open from 11 AM to 7 PM Wednesday through Saturday and 11 AM to 5 PM on Sundays. Visit them online and in person to get an idea of what items they have, and don’t be shy about asking them if they can find you a particular item.

Flipside Hats Moving to Stark Street

Portland-based hat manufacture Flipside Hats is relocating to Montavilla later this year. In late February, the company purchased 7850 SE Stark Street to become the new production hub and retail showroom for the nineteen-year-old clothing maker. Upgrades to the company’s future location are in the planning phase, with a tentative opening date in the fall.

Although the hat maker sells most of its products through wholesale channels, the showroom will offer direct-to-consumer sales. Flipside Hats owner Jacob Wollner expressed his enthusiasm for the new location, “We are super excited to move to Stark Street and the Montavilla area.” The showroom’s placement at the center of Montavilla Town will increase walk-in traffic, spotlighting the American-made and sustainably produced work from this apparel manufacturer.

Efforts to restore the former home of Electronic Claims Services into a retail location are already underway. Issued April 8th, permit 20-227665 changes occupancy for the building from Business to Mercantile and proposes a reconfiguration of interior walls. Demolition of two front rooms will create an open area street-side, eventually becoming the showroom. Crews will remove the drop grid ceiling above the front area and expos the entire vertical space to the retail floor below. New LED track lighting replaces the older fixtures to create commerce-friendly lighting. Other alterations are likely as the new owners begin the redesign process.

People interested in a preview of Flipside Hats’ showroom should visit their current location at 4438 SE Belmont Street. They are open seven days a week, from 11 AM to 6 PM on weekdays and weekends from 11 AM to 4 PM. That location will stay in operation until the business and its eight staff relocate to the renovated building on Stark Street.

Mixed manufacturing and retail historically perform well in the area. Located just a block away from Flipside Hats’ building, Union Rose successfully combined clothing production with an existing storefront business. Montavilla retail is known to favor locally created products, and this latest addition strengthens that reputation. Look for activity at the site to increase over the summer as staff prepares the space for opening.

METBA District Clean Up

Yesterday, volunteers cleaned litter from SE Stark Street and NE Glisan Street as part of a Montavilla and East Tabor Business Association (METBA) event. Half of the group began work at 9:00 AM, starting on Stark Street by I205 and working towards Montavilla Town. The second crew started an hour later at the Fred Meyer Grocery Store and moved east along NE Glisan, ending at 82nd Ave. Over twenty-five business owners and community members participated in the three-hour-long clean-up effort.

METBA received sponsorship for the event from Montavilla Sewing Centers and coordination support from the Montavilla Neighborhood Association. Participants received complimentary pizza provided by Flying Pie Pizzeria after the event. The group removed two dozen bags worth of trash from Montavilla streets in a community effort to revitalize the area. METBA plans to host future clean-up events in the coming month. Businesses interested in assisting with future events can reach METBA at montavilla.biz@gmail.com or through their website.


Disclosure: The author of this article serves on the NMA Board and participated in this event.

McDonalds Post Crash Repairs

Masonry workers are actively repairing the damaged wall of the McDonalds located at 8149 SE Stark Street. On March 2nd, a silver 2003 Infiniti attempted to turn onto Stark Street from northbound 82nd Ave at an unsafe speed. The car lost control and collided with the fast-food restaurant, causing damage to a fence and the building. Last week, crews broke up the damaged concrete deck and replaced it.

Building repairs will restore the broken brick and tile on the building’s exterior. Portions of the wall shifted inwards in the collision, and crews must move it back into a vertical position. A new fence around the outdoor seating area is expected within the next few weeks, fully restoring the damage caused by the crash.

Damage the day after crash
Crews remove damaged concrete pad. Image by Weston Ruter
Repaired concrete pad
Completed building repairs