Tag: Vestal

Paving of Unimproved NE Everett Street

Within the next twelve months, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) plans to transform a one-block section of NE Everett Street. Crews will pave the road surface and add sidewalks to the unimproved gravel street from NE 76th Avenue to NE 78th Avenue. Improvements to this road will fill a gap in the street grid, providing a multimodal east-west connector to the new 70’s Greenway and Vestal School.

When construction begins, road crews will create a twenty-eight-foot wide paved street with a travel lane in each direction and two seven-foot wide parking lanes along each side. Contractors will build seven-foot wide curb-tight sidewalks on both sides of the street. Other nearby streets contain plantable curb strips between the sidewalk and the roadway. However, existing adjacent homes will prevent a wider pedestrian zone on this block. 

NE Everett new road design between NE 76th and 78th Avenues. Courtesy PBOT

This section of NE Everett is part of the original Mount Tabor Villa Addition platted in 1889. This section of roadway has resisted change for 133 years, unlike neighboring streets that modernized ahead of Portland’s annexation of Montavilla in 1906. Consequentially, the City never adopted this block into PBOT’s street maintenance inventory, requiring adjacent property owners to repair the road surface during those years.

This work on NE Everett Street is funded as part of the 70’s Greenway project. Traditionally, road improvements to privately maintained streets occurred through a Local Improvement District (LID) project. That would require funding from all property owners with frontage along the street. According to Hannah SchaferInterim Director of Communications for PBOT, the four lots affected by this road construction will not need to pay for the work. “The project is Federally funded, so the property owners don’t have to contribute,” explained Schafer.

NE Everett looking west from NE 78th Avenue

Although the street improvements will add value to the properties, residents will need to adjust their usage along the road’s edge. Parking alignments will need to change, and some fences will likely need to move. However, the initial disruption will make way for better infrastructure, allowing people walking and biking in the area to travel safely. Additionally, a paved street will reduce vehicle damage caused by the gravel road, and driving within the neighborhood will become more predictable. Look for project updates later this year after PBOT selects the contractor for this work.

Residents Invited to May 26th Vestal Event

Later this month, Montavilla’s Vestal Elementary School will host its annual Social Justice Night. Starting at 4:30 p.m. on May 26th, Students and professional artists will showcase their work featuring collaborative artistic creations focused on community diversity and family identity. These themes represent two of Vestal’s five pillars of social justice. Organizers anticipate that this evening full of art, food, music, and community will strengthen the school’s role as a hub within this diverse neighborhood.

Funded in 2022 by a Metro’s Community Placemaking grant, with collaboration from PSU’s Artist as Citizen Initiative and arts nonprofit Montavilla Jazz, Vestal Elementary expects to expand programming for the yearly event. A welcoming dinner will occur before the performance at The Yard food carts, located directly across from the school, with complimentary meals coordinated with support from Samira Mohamed, owner of Mira’s East African Cuisine.

Before the event, the Artist as Citizen Initiative will lead PSU Capstone students and Vestal 4th graders in projects designed to build artistic skills in storytelling, interviewing, and creativity. All works center on community diversity and family identity, using information gathered in interviews with fellow students and community members. The artists will display their student-led social justice exhibits at the May event.

Located outdoors on the playground and inside the gymnasium at 161 NE 82nd Avenue, the Social Justice Night will include performances by renowned jazz musicians, including Grammy award-winning trombonist Denzel Mendoza. He is joined by Machado Mijiga, saxophonist Mary-Sue Tobin, and other performers and educators from the community.

For those who can not attend in person, PSU students will create a multipart podcast documentary featuring themes from the evening. PSU’s Sonic Arts and Music Production (SAMP) students and Friends of Noise will utilize field recordings captured during the creative phase of the project and at the May 26th event. Montavilla Jazz will distribute the podcast on montavillajazz.org, in addition to broadcasts on local radio stations.

Vestal community members, partners, and neighborhood residents are all invited to attend. Come hungry for food, music, and artistic expression.

82nd Food Cart Pod Construction

Demolition crews began work clearing the property that will soon become The Yard At Montavilla. Heavy equipment removed two foundations and other buried remnants from the two houses that once occupied this location. With the ground cleared, work can start on Montavilla’s newest food cart pod.

Located at 8220 NE Davis Street, the future food cart pod is across 82nd Ave from Vestal Elementary. When completed, the site will host 17 food carts. Owners Jeffrey and Kevin Dennis have many of those spaces leased already. The Dennis brothers faced an unexpected wait as the pandemic slowed the permitting process. However, those delays are behind the project, and work should complete within three to four months.

Montavilla lost a cluster of food carts with the demolition of Beets Auto BodyThe Yard At Montavilla is a welcomed return of food carts for residents looking to expand their food options. The Dennis brothers share that enthusiasm. “We’re very excited to be bringing this to the Montavilla neighborhood, providing a space for 17 other small businesses to operate and thrive.” Expect to see crews onsite for the next few months, building the new dining destination’s infrastructure.


Photographs by Weston Ruter. Rendering provided by The Yard at Montavilla

Continued work on NE 80th Curb Ramps

The corner reconstruction of NE Couch Street and NE 80th Ave is nearing completion. The work underway is the final portion of a project designed to improve curb ramps at this intersection. Construction on this last section is technically challenging, requiring the relocation of a stormwater catch basin.

The catch basin’s previous location placed it inside the extended footprint for the new sidewalk corner. Crews first had to reposition the catch basin along the NE Couch Street before laying concrete forms.

Children heavily use this stretch of sidewalk on their way to the back entrance for Vestal School. Improvements to this intersection ensure all pedestrians have a safe path down this road. Work should complete on this project over the next week, depending on weather conditions.

Food Cart Pod Underway

With approved permits expected by the year’s end, Montavilla’s newest food destination could open by Spring. The Yard At Montavilla began development over a year ago. Now, after a long wait for approval, the developers expect to break ground by mid-January.

Located at 8220 NE Davis Street, the future food cart pod is across 82nd Ave from Vestal Elementary. When completed, the site will host 17 food carts. Owners Jeffrey and Kevin Dennis have leased six of those spaces already. One of those signed vendors is Scout Beer, a veteran of beer cart operations. In 2009 Scout started as a cart vendor. A few years ago, Scout Beer opened The Lot @ Scout, a food cart pod on SE Division.

The Dennis brothers faced an unexpected wait as the pandemic slowed the permitting process. The project only recently started to gain momentum. “We just found out last week that our on-site permits were approved and are moving through the pre-issuance department at the city,” explained Jeffrey Dennis. The construction process will be relatively fast. Dennis predicts that the project will take three or four months to complete after work begins.

Montavilla lost a cluster of food carts with the demolition of Beets Auto BodyThe Yard At Montavilla is a welcomed return of food carts for local foodies and the many people working in the area. The Dennis brothers share that enthusiasm. “We’re very excited to be bringing this to the Montavilla neighborhood, providing a space for 17 other small businesses to operate and thrive.” Look for work to begin in the new year and watch the business’s website for updates on carts joining the pod.

Countdown to School Changes

Portland Public Schools (PPS) has one year to redraw school boundaries across Southeast Portland. With a new middle school opening and the depreciation of k-8 schools in the district, the countdown to student reorganization is underway. This month, PPS released the first draft proposal for grade configuration changes, boundary adjustments, and program movement.

Under the proposed plans, Harrison Park will convert from teaching K-8 to only accommodating grades 6-8. Students entering grades 6-8 will remain at the school. Harrison Park’s attendance zone will expand into Bridger and Vestal areas, accepting students moving up from those schools. K-5 students at Harrison Park will transfer to Bridger and Vestal. Grade 6-8 students from Bridger and Vestal will move to Harrison Park.

Additionally, Bridger students living north of Woodward Street will now feed into Madison High School if the plan remains as proposed. Many other dual-language based classes will also move around to other schools. However, all these changes are still in the planning phase. The proposal is currently up for discussion and changes.

The Southeast Guiding Coalition Meetings are still underway and will not complete phase one until December 17th of this year. PPS has set up a Google form to solicit comments regarding the proposed changes. That is just one way to provide feedback about their plan to balance student enrollment and programs across the district. PPS has made efforts to be transparent about the process, providing resource materials and videos of the meetings. On October 29th at 6 PM, the Coalition will hold an Open House to interact with the public regarding this process.

Changes regarding school assignments are always complicated and could be challenging as students get back to the classroom from distance learning. These changes are necessary to make way for work that is already in progress and adapt to modifications to k-8 schools. Hopefully, community involvement will lead to positive results as this process continues.


Discloser: The author has a child attending a Portland Public School

School Yard 6-Plex

A development adjacent to Vestal Elementary School has been proposed by Chalet Homes LLC. Permit 19-215818 calls for a “new 3 story, 6 unit apartment building, with trash enclosure less than 120 sq. Ft. Site work to include new walkway.” The new apartment building will be at 8050 NE Flanders Street and share the lot with the current single family home located at 8036 NE Flanders Street.

8036 NE Flanders Street built 1890

This Property is bordered by Vestal’s playground to South and Vestal’s parking lot to the East. The original house on the property was built in 1890 and will remain. A new walkway and trash enclosure will be added to the Northeast corner of the lot, replacing the driveway. The walkway will lead back to the new apartment building, along the Eastern edge of the property. The new building required a few appeals to alleviate fire control concerns around the Balconies and windows facing the other building.

Each of the three floors of the building will contain two apartments. All apartments will be two bedroom units with a full bathroom. Each unit will have its own Washer/Dry stack and indoor bike parking. The balconies on the second and third floors, face the Vestal parking lot. The First floor apartments have entrance via a covered porch below the balconies above.

View of Vestal from the Apartments

This project was submitted late last year and was last updated on March 5th. Once completed, it will provide needed housing alternatives to the area. The added visibility into the playground should help deter some of the unwanted activity that occasionally happens there at night.