Tag: Stark Street

SE Washington I-205 Overpass Work

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is installing a new protective screening and new bridge railings on the SE Washington Street bridge over Interstate 205. Bridge screens are protective fences that improve safety on highways by preventing fallen and thrown objects from hitting vehicles passing below. This work is part of a larger project that includes installing new protective screening on twelve bridges over ODOT highways in the Portland area and new railings on four of the twelve bridges.

Crews began work in April and have completed work on SE Washington Street’s southern bridge railing. They removed the see-through three-bar steel bridge railing and replaced it with a solid concrete barrier topped with a single see-through steel rail. Work has now shifted to the other side of the street. Crews are actively replacing the railing on the northern portion of the overpass. Then workers will begin attaching screens extending several feet above the barrier on both sides of the overpass.

Crews will block one traffic lane adjacent to the work area during construction. Planners expect work to continue for two months and reduce automotive throughput to three lanes from four. ODOT cautions that the project schedule is subject to change. However, work is currently on schedule.

The twin overpass on SE Stark Street is not one of the twelve bridges selected for ODOT improvements at this time. However, it utilizes the older design that State transportation engineers are now replacing. Future funding will likely pay for upgrades to the SE Stark Street overpass, similar to what crews are installing on SE Washington Street.

Although these changes will have minimal impact on users of the overpass, future upgrades coming to the SE Stark Washington Streets couplet will improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. Look for this current work to continue into summer and use caution while driving on SE Washington. Expect more road work next year along both SE Stark and Washington Streets.

Completed south side bridge railing

SE Stark Commercial Building for Sale

The owner of 8502-8504 SE Stark Street recently listed the property for sale. The multi-story building currently houses Unicorn Jiu JitsuSanctuary Tattoo & Piercing, and one other tenant. Businesses in the building likely will remain at the location beyond the building’s sale.

The property contains two attached structures. A previous owner completed construction on the street-facing two-story building in 2004, while the original building dates back to 1922. First built as a two-and-a-half-story home, the property later featured a single-story office addition, constructed in 1962. All structures now interconnect to offer 4,128 square feet of office and retail space.

1962 plumbing permit showing new one-story office building

The current owner of the building, Base Line Properties, bought the location from Forbidden Body Art in 2018. Prior to that, the building housed DMS Electric and Dynamic Lighting. The site contains a paved parking lot with alley and street access. Other financial benefits to the property are listed in the real estate flyer.

1924 Sanborn map showing 2110 E Stark Street, the original address of the property

Commercial properties often take longer to sell than residential properties. However, this property could attract interested investors as a fully occupied building and find a new owner within a few months. Contact Cole Peterson with Windermere Community Commercial Realty at 503-319-4267 or GrahamColePeterson@gmail.com to learn more or make an offer.

Car Collides with McDonald’s Again

Last night, a vehicle jumped the curb and collided with the McDonald’s restaurant at 8149 SE Stark Street. Portland Police received the hit and run report at 9:43 p.m. A KOIN 6 News report indicates the driver “was doing donuts” before crashing into the building.

Remnants of the TriMet-owned bench

The car missed a number 72 bus shelter along SE 82nd Avenue and avoided a nearby City trash can. However, the vehicle destroyed a TriMet-owned bench before traveling through the building’s wall. Tables and an interior support column prevented the car from crossing more than a few feet into the store. According to a McDonald’s employee, no staff working that night suffered injuries due to this incident.

Inside McDonald’s showing damaged column and sheared off table posts

A similar crash occurred at this same restaurant last year. As with that incident, Police identified unsafe driving as the cause of the wreck. Damage created by yesterday’s event appears to be less significant than the 2021 collision. However, the building will require extensive repairs. Expect to see crews mending the building within the next few months.

Proposed Chick-fil-A on SE Stark

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.

Tub and Tan Reopens on Stark

After a lengthy pandemic closure, Portland Tub and Tan has reopened its location at 8028 SE Stark Street. The businesses owner, John Captain, struggled for months to resolve issues with Multnomah County fees and other taxes incurred during his forced closure that prevented his opening. However, last Friday, Tub and Tan returned with a limited schedule and will remain open until November 2022 before closing permanently.

With 25 years in business, Portland Tub and Tan has seen its fair share of ups and downs. However, the COVID-19 closures were unique in their disruption and length of impact on this small businesses. In 2020 pools and spas were only allowed to operate for a few months. That included the first months of 2020 and then during the end of summer through the beginning of fall. Officials kept indoor pools and spas closed during much of 2021 but did allow outdoor operators to open.

Captain argued that Multnomah County should have credited health permit fees from 2020 and 2021 that he could not use during the closure. Kate Yeiser, a representative for Multnomah County, explained that they had little flexibility to adjust the fee structure. “Unfortunately, pools and spas are not given credit for months that they closed in 2020. This is a State program that the county is simply operating. So the decision would have to be made by the Governor’s office on whether credits can be applied for months closed in 2020 or 2021.”

Without income, Portland Tub and Tan had a nearly insurmountable deficit to overcome in order to reopen. Mounting taxes and operational fees compounded over the years. John Captain said he had hoped that as a Native American, his business would receive financial support from assistance programs intended for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) establishments. However, that money did not materialize for him, and he ultimately had to pay for his taxes and the 2022 heath inspection license.

Portland Tub and Tan is open five days a week from Wednesday through Sunday. They open at 4 p.m. and begin the last hour-long session at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights have extended hours, with the final session beginning at 1 a.m. Tubbing for up to two people costs $70, with an additional $20 per person fee beyond that. Currently, customers should walk in to make use of the services offered. However, a prepaid reservation system will be available soon.

Until November, fans of Tub and Tan can once again make use of this recreation facility that has operated on Stark street for many years. After closing, John Captain plans to move out of Oregon. He feels that the cost of water, taxes, fees and rents are too high in this area to continue operation.

Federal Funds to Support SE Stark-Washington Improvements

Portland City Council voted Wednesday to accept approximately $17 million in federal grants distributed by Metro through the Regional Flexible Funding Allocation program. One of the four new capital projects funded will impact Montavilla on the SE Stark Washington couplet. Portland will spend $11.4 million on the project, improving road conditions for all modes of travel between SE 92nd and 109th avenues.

The road work spans a busy section of the paired streets that crossover I205 and connects Montavilla to the Gateway Regional Center. Some of the planned improvements include new transit islands and bus lanes, protected bike lanes, improved pedestrian crossings at existing signals, a new pedestrian crossing at SE 105th Avenue, new ADA curb ramps, and street lighting. Work will also resurface or repair pavement. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) believes this work will counter the historic auto-oriented street design at this location and reduce crashes in the area. Montavilla will receive only a tiny portion of the total improvements planned. However, the project will improve conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation users traveling the neighborhood. 

SE Washington Street at I205 south on-ramp

PBOT has not yet created the final plans for this project. However, the proposal contains several illustrations demonstrating a rough outline of possible changes. During the project’s design phase, City engineers will likely need to adjust the placement and scale of these improvements. However, staff based the budget on including these features in the approximate locations indicated in the documents submitted to City Council.

PBOT illustrated view of street improvements

When completed, residents will see SE Stark street gaining protected bike lanes continuing west across the I205 overpass and ending at SE 92nd Avenue. Bike lane crossings and crosswalks will receive fresh high-visibility paint. Curbside parking will move further out into the street, allowing bikes to travel against the road’s edge behind a wide buffer of parked cars. Consequentially, the number 15 TriMet bus stop in front of Motel 6 will move onto a new transit island in line with the parked cars. This stop currently has a temporary bus platform that PBOT installed during the pandemic. Unlike the current design, the new island will allow bicycles to pass behind the bus stop and away from traffic.

Motel 6 number 15 bus stop and temporary platform

On Montavilla’s section of SE Washington Street, most work will focus on pavement repairs and some lane reconfiguration. PBOT intends to add a dedicated right turn lane for people merging onto I205 south. Crews will reconstruct and enlarge the corner adjacent to the turn lane to support pedestrians and bicycles. The new bike lane on SE Washington Street will place riders onto the sidewalk to cross at a more visible location.

Workers will install new bike signals with dedicated signage and upgrade the existing pedestrian signals. Drivers turning onto I205’s south on-ramp will have a new turn-only light with a “NO TURN ON RED” sign. Signalized intersections will receive new Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) equipment to manage traffic flow intelligently throughout the day.

Road improvements like this can take years to materialize after funding. Portland prioritized this project in the Growing Transit Communities Plan, adopted in 2017. Design work and property owner engagements will come in the next year. However, securing $5,332,000 in grant money for this work should move this project forward at an increased pace. Look for updates on the project in the coming year.

SE Stark Street showing current bike lane moving to the curbside

New Street Trees Added to SE 82nd Ave

Last month, landscapers planted six new street trees in sidewalk cutouts added along SE 82nd Avenue between SE Stark and Washington Streets. The owners of 8250 SE Stark Street installed these green spaces at the request of the City’s Urban Forestry staff and fulfilled a 2018 commitment to plant street trees around the store’s three frontages.

Four years ago, the Cash & Carry Smart Food Services company demolished the Chinese Village restaurant on this 1.15-acre property. In its place, they built the commercial kitchen supply store. US Foods CHEF’STORE now owns the property after a 2020 acquisition of Smart Food Services. The store’s approved plans show five street trees at the sidewalk’s edge along SE 82nd Avenue. In 2018, landscaping crews planted the proposed street trees on SE Stark Street and Washington Street. However, workers did not create sidewalk cutouts for trees on the property’s westward side. 

Illustration from site plans for permit 2018-112153

In March of 2021, Portland Parks & Recreations Urban Forestry staff found the property in violation of the City’s tree Code. Inspectors marked the required correction satisfactory on February 25th when contractors added the six tree planters along 82nd Avenue. Landscapers planted the new trees in symmetrical alignment with the building’s west-facing corners. The tree-line breaks near a street light pole at the center of the block, preventing the future tree canopy from obstructing the light.

These new trees add a substantial enhancement to a blank pedestrian zone. Developers of the building chose to face the store’s active front towards a parking lot. The door leading onto SE 82nd Avenue from the store is for emergency exit only. The west-facing wall lacks color definition, without any signage. Interior shelving mostly obstructs public view into the store through the windows. The addition of trees should help make the sidewalk a more hospitable public realm that is cooler in the summers and green with life.

Academy Switches to First-Run Films

Next month, the Academy Theater at 7818 SE Stark Street will switch to showing first-run films after sixteen years as a second-run venue. Consequentially, the owners plan to raise ticket prices. The business partners feel this transition better positions the theater for post-pandemic success and stability.

The transition begins on March 4th with The Batman by Warner Bros. Pictures. On that night, tickets will cost $9 for adults and $6.50 for seniors or children. Food and beverage offerings will remain the same with beer, wine, and pizza from Flying Pie Pizzeria.

Owners Heyward Stewart, Julie Stewart, and Ty Dupuis moved to first-run films in response to market trends. Over the last few years, movies have increasingly transitioned to early in-home distribution, eating up the demand for second-run showings on the big screen. Recently, many studios have agreed to a 45-day theatrical release window for new films as a concession to theater operators. Although shorter than the old 90 windows, it offers movie houses the opportunity to present unique entertainment to patrons and draw people back into communal viewing.

Movie theaters suffered more than most businesses during the pandemic. They faced prolonged shutdowns and did not have alliterative revenue sources to lean on. After reopening, moviegoers were hesitant to return to the theaters while infection rates climbed. New online streaming options allowed people to stay home, further slowing the industry’s recovery. However, signs point to a turnaround industry-wide, with a strong rebound for theaters showing big-budget first-run films. The fate of second-run theaters is unknown, making the Academy’s shift necessary for the theater’s continued operation.

The Academy Theater opened in 1948, serving a welcomed role in the community until closing in the mid-1970s. After its resurrection in 2006, it quickly became an icon of Montavilla. Theaters need visitors, and the owners hope this change will bring people back. Keep an eye on the theater marquee for new first-run titles and consider spending an evening at the Academy. 

Arthur’s Automotive Opens Second Location

At the end of 2021, Arthur’s Automotive opened a second Montavilla location at 8804 SE Stark Street. The four-bay repair shop was the former location for J & S Automotive Repair. Now, new paint covers the 1960’s era cinder block building matching the company color scheme. This location is a mile from their original shop at 104 NE 80th Avenue and speaks more to the need for space than a regional expansion.

The shop’s owners submitted plans to expand the repair center on NE 80th Avenue in May of 2021. After eight years in this location, they had outgrown the existing space and needed to increase the building’s capacity or risk turning customers away. The addition would double their available workspace, giving them an extra 3,120 square feet of floor area. After nine months, the permits for the new all-metal structure sit in Under Review status with the city.

The new SE Stark Street location offers Arthur’s Automotive an instant 2,240 square feet of workspace on a highly utilized street. Unlike the somewhat hidden NE 80th building, the new space should generate more exposure for the auto shop. It is unknown if the owners still plan on expanding the original location. This added store did provide the expansion space the business needed. However, if the company continues to grow, it will require more shop space than the two sites offer.

Both locations are open from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM Monday through Friday. To schedule service, contact the NE 80th shop at (503) 760 6466 or the SE Stark location at (503) 517-0950. Alternatively, you can contact them online at the company’s website or by email at ArthursAutomotive@yahoo.com.

BoneJax Furnishings on SE Stark

Next month, Shari and Todd Cerreta will open BoneJax home furnishings and curiosities at 8040 SE Stark Street. The store features used furniture, sculptural lighting, and eventually pieces from local artists. Over the years, the owners transformed their shared hobby into a successful vendor business for furniture stores. Now they are opening a shop dedicated to their home decor curations.

The new shop replaces the former CrossFit Montavilla gym in the historic Montavilla business district. BoneJax’s owners are excited to find ample space available in an area they know well. “Oh my God, we just love that little strip. It’s a neighborhood we’ve been going to for many years, and we just love it. We can’t believe our good luck in actually finding a place on that strip,” said Todd Cerreta. Shari Cerreta believes Montavilla will become a destination for vintage furniture and similar items. In their frequent visits to the area, they’ve observed the growth in thrift stores and antique shops opening along SE Stark Street and feel BoneJax is complementary to that trend. “We appreciate all kinds of furniture, and we just want to be able to bring all of those styles together in a really fun kind of eclectic way,” said Shari Cerreta. Todd Cerreta added that “eventually we’ll probably do a couple of new pieces of furniture here and there, but we just really like older stuff and how it works together.”

The shop will house a wide assortment of furnishings and curiosities for the home, going beyond the fashionable mid-century modern to include contemporary and traditional styles. “We have a lot of neat fun things that we like,” commented Todd Cerreta while exclaiming the value of their eclectic blend of furniture, lighting, and decor. He explained that there are few rules to what they offer other than the item’s quality. “We will have a gorgeous leather Chesterfield, or we’ll have a deco era vanity or something older. Then we’ll have a brand new locally made peace.”

The couple will make minor alterations to the storefront, opting to let their products shape the space. “The way we’re viewing the interior is kind of how we view our business. We like taking things that exist already and kind of emphasizing things about them that we like. Whether it’s the cement floors that we love there and the basic structure, and then we’re just going to add more color,” said Todd Cerreta.

Shari Cerreta expressed how special they feel to open this store after many years in the industry. “We’ve been involved in doing this for a very long time, and so we’re just really excited to be able to figure out a way to do something that we love doing.”

They plan to open in mid-March. Watch the store’s Instagram site for insight into what they will have in stock and for announcements regarding an opening date.