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There are Village Portland sites for Montavilla, Lents, and Brentwood-Darlington:
We’re most excited about the Village Portland @ Montavilla site. It has the space for more in-depth stories, as well as a neighborhood directory where neighbors can find and learn the story of local businesses and organizations.
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We’re happy to present another edition of Pat Sander’s column, “Montavilla Memories”. In this one, she researches the history of Montavilla’s original fire station— and the cataclysmic fire that convinced City officials it was needed.
One of the most interesting things about these articles is the community efforts supporting new programs and infrastructure in Montavilla. The neighbors that lived here before us were organized, focused, and willing to demand more from local government.
I didn’t see any Earth Day events in this part of town, but down in Lents and Brentwood-Darlington, there are events with SOLVE!
SATURDAY, APRIL 20TH
MTPC egg hunt!:
“Join us for the annual egg hunt in the Taborspace Yard!”
Taborspace, 5441 SE Belmont St * 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Earth Day volunteering on the Springwater Trail:
“Join PGE employees as we clean up the Springwater Trail for Earth Day! The Springwater Trail winds through Southeast Portland is heavily used by families, runners, and bicyclists. Additionally, the surrounding natural areas along nearby Johnson Creek provide valuable wildlife habitat and help protect water quality.”
“Planting native plants & removing invasive species provides cleaner air for community members and cleaner water in Johnson Creek, which supports salmon and other fish. Picking up litter keeps our waterways clean. Keep your eye out for beaver, ducks, and other wildlife as you volunteer alongside other community members— everyone welcome, and no experience necessary!”
“Trash Bash, Haul-Away, Collection Event, Cleanup – whatever you call your event, this is your one-stop-shop for helping neighbors get rid of bulky items like old vacuum cleaners, mattresses, furniture, scrap wood, empty paint cans and cat castles upholstered in blue carpet taking up valuable space in their homes.”
Rosewood Initiative, 15126 SE Stark St * 2 pm – 6 pm
On April 30, 1913 there was a joyous celebration at the NE corner of E Burnside and NE 82nd Avenue, right where Cars to Go stands today. It was opening day of Fire Station No. 27, offering the fire protection which Montavillans had desperately sought for at least 11 years.
Despite a steadily growing population, and all-too frequent fires, it took community, persistent organizing, petition circulating and a devastating fire to finally make it happen.
The campaign for fire protection began before the people of Montavilla had voted to become part of the City of Portland in 1906. Before that election, Montavilla was just a suburb with no elected government, so it was up to private citizens and their organizations to help improve life in this section of Multnomah County.
As far as I can tell from articles appearing in the two main Portland dailies, The Oregon Daily Journal and The Oregonian, the effort to bring much-needed fire protection to Montavilla began in 1902. Although this suburb was growing rapidly in the opening years of the 20 th century, it did not have a volunteer fire brigade such as other Portland-area neighborhoods did.
So in 1902 the Montavilla Board of Trade, began to push for the formation of a volunteer fire company. After Montavilla became part of Portland in 1906, its citizens turned to the City for fire protection.
In 1908, the Montavilla Improvement Board joined the nearby Mt. Tabor and Center neighborhoods to petition the Mayor and City Council to provide fire protection. No luck.
In 1909, the Montavilla Board of Trade petitioned again, this time asking only for 1,000 feet of fire hose and a hose cart. But again, no luck.
Montavilla’s need became even more apparent on the morning of July 4, 1910. That day a huge fire destroyed an entire block of Montavilla’s main commercial district. The fire was started by a defective gasoline stove and spread rapidly, destroying 15 businesses as well as the attached residences on Base Line Road (now Stark) between SE 79th and SE 80th Avenues.
Citizens were able, with only garden hoses and bucket brigades, to stop the fire from spreading elsewhere. But by the time two fire engines arrived, the block was almost entirely in ruins and $35,000 damage had been done. Fortunately no one was seriously injured and most of the buildings as well as the goods inside them were insured. Business owners, undaunted, soon announced plans to rebuild, but this time most would choose inflammable materials, concrete and brick.
Clearly, however, it was time Montavilla had its own fire station. And immediately Dr. William DeVeny, one of Montavilla’s most energetic citizens, who looked and dressed like Buffalo Bill— we’ll see more of him in future articles— sprang into action. It was petition-time again. Yet once more the City dragged its feet.
Another petition was circulated in 1911 and presented to the new City administration in July. By the following year a Montavilla Station had been approved. Now the project moved steadily forward.
By June, 1912, Portland Fire Battalion Chief Lee Grey Holden had drawn up the plans for a fire-proof station appropriate for both horse and motor powered engines. Construction was underway by August. On opening day, eight months later, citizens were invited to inspect the modern building, listen to the firemen’s band and hear short talks by Mayor Allen G. Rushlight and the intrepid Dr. DeVeny, among others.
The photo of Fire Station No. 27 featured in the “Montavilla Memories” masthead shows a hose cart drawn by two horses. The City, however, wanted modern equipment for its expanding fire department. The plan was to replace horses with motorized trucks— five times faster than horse— as soon as possible.
Portland was determined to have a superior fire-fighting force and the Morning Oregonian of April 30, 1913 in its full-page story on the fire department— the very day of the Montavilla fire house dedication— proclaimed that the City could boast of modern fire-fighting equipment superior to most other cities. “Even Chicago,” it said, “with its enormous [fire] department, cannot produce the equipment which can be assembled at a fire in Portland within a few minutes.”
Montavilla Fire Station No. 27 continued in service until 1953. Today Montavilla is served by fire station No. 27 located at SE 73rd and E. Burnside, between the old Montavilla and Mount Tabor Stations.
Please join me in this pursuit as a reader or as a contributor. You can send your ideas, memories, photos, scans of memorabilia or questions to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the best parts of publishing Village Portland is working with new contributors. People love creating, telling stories, investigating their world— and we love giving people a forum to share their work.
Please check out this essay from Drew Thorson about a Lents’ neighbor decision to push back from modern media. It’s called the “Brightest Distraction” and tells the story with his photography as well as words.
And below is another awesome contribution from Philip King.
I suggested casually: what sort of adventures would happen if a Pomeranian and a raccoon hung out? Here’s what they gave me.
The process by which developers communicate with neighbors is being updated. The project’s website is here, and testimony is being accepted until April 24th.
The City Council accepted testimony on the issue this week, and you can watch the video of the meeting here.
If you missed this month’s Montavilla Neighborhood Association meeting with a guest presentation on recycling, the video is below.
There also was discussion about the board’s preparation for the 82nd Ave Parade this month.
FRIDAY, APRIL 12TH
“Ryan Meagher’s earlier work was self-described as “modern jazz for the indie rocker.” While he still wields the same attitude now-and-then, his vision includes influences from Irish traditional music, Indian classical music, Brazilian music, funk, and Western classical music.”
Vino Veritas, 7835 SE Stark St * 9 pm
SATURDAY, APRIL 13TH
Floyd Light Middle School, 10800 SE Washington St * 9 am – 2 pm
Women first responder career fair:
“This event is focused on encouraging women to pursue careers in public safety/criminal justice through hands on experience, facilitated conversations, Q&A opportunities to discuss topics relevant to women. Agencies participating will be focused on employment opportunities within the City of Portland.”
The event says its sold out, but you can check back on availability here. Portland Police are understaffed, and if you’re interested in applying, go here.
Portland Police Training Center, 14912 Northeast Airport Way
Hula for the Family:
“We invite all family members to join us to learn Hawaiian language, songs and a simple hula dance in a warm, welcoming environment. You will learn some basic hula steps, easy-to-learn language and songs, hand motions, and then we will put our hands and feet together to perform a hula. Join us for a great time while spending time with family and friends.”
“All the bunnies you can bet for $10. Our annual Petting Party at Taborspace in SE Portland is coming up on Saturday April 13, 2019 from 2 pm – 4 pm! We will have all of our friendly therapy bunnies on site for petting and holding, “bunny tail” cotton candy, and raffles!”
Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont St * 2 pm – 4 pm * $10
SUNDAY, APRIL 14TH
Live music, strings & brass:
“Combined concert: East County Community Orchestraand Portland Metro Concert Band”
David Douglas High School’s Horner Performing Arts Center, 1400 SE 130th Ave * 3 pm
The outdoor events that make Portland’s spring and summer are starting to crank up, and it’s been great seeing all the blooming trees and bulbs around town.
There’s another of Pat Sanders‘ regular feature “Montavilla Memories” this week. This article looks at the development of the streetcar, and how it spurred development in neighborhoods like Montavilla. Read it here.
The Montavilla Neighborhood Association is also having their meeting this week.
From the MNA site:
“We’re having a recycling themed meeting this Month! Master Recycler Liana Linhares will be there to discuss recycling in Portland and what we as citizens can do to better manage our waste. Then we will have updates on upcoming neighborhood clean up events including ‘Paint the Town Green‘ (Sponsored by Kink Radio and Portland’s SOLVE), and the Fall neighborhood clean up drive.”
Montavilla United Methodist Church, 232 SE 80th Ave * Monday, April 8th, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
FRIDAY, APRIL 5TH
Montavilla Station music:
Live music at the fabulous Montavilla Station! They always have karaoke Wednesdays and Thursdays, live bands on Fridays and Saturdays, and a blues jam on Sunday.
The live bands range from blues all the way to blues rock… and it’s always a lively crowd.
Eastside Bar & Grill turns two:
Under different owners, their location on 82nd Ave has been a draw for live music in Portland for a while now, and it’s good to see Eastside Bar & Grill thriving in that role. They turn two this week!
On Friday night, there’s music by Classic Combo and The Juhalas ($5). There’s live music Saturday and Sunday too! See their website for more details.
Eastside Bar & Grill, 2530 NE 82nd Ave
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is playing at Academy this week… and while the video above has spoilers— it’s a superhero movie, so you kinda know what you’re going to get.
This film is a visual delight, and a solid watch… and I’m not even that into super hero stuff.
Academy Theater, 7818 SE Stark St * show times * $4 for adults, $3 for youth & seniors
“Join us for our annual meeting! Get updates from the MFC board and committees, hear about our plans for the coming year, and participate in some discussion and activities. The meeting is open to the public, but members-owners will also get a chance to meet the candidates up for election this year and cast in-person election ballots.”
Threshold Brewing & Blending, 403 SE 79th Ave * 11 am – 1 pm
Spring Cleaning Day at Taborspace:
Mt. Tabor has been hosting community events for many years, and on Saturday they’re asking the community to help cleanup their historic church.
If you missed our story “The church’s greatest commandment”, on how several churches are reaching out into the community, it’s here. Pastor Carly Friesen from the church gives interesting insight on how churches can engage their community and why many don’t.
“A chance to give back to the historic Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church building and Taborspace where so many community connections happen every week! We will work together to do some deep cleaning and minor repairs throughout the building to help keep our space warm and inviting for everyone!”
It’s a ways out of Lents, but if you want to meeting green-minded folks and shake soil-stained hands, it’d be a good place to be.
“Bring your extra seeds, vegetable starts, indoor plants, soils, pots, tools, and other gardening materials to swap them with others in the neighborhood. Your unused items may be useful for somebody else and you may find new-to-you treasure! Come with your gardening questions and we’ll have experts on hand, education materials, and activities for kids.
We will also be selling plants and raffling off goodies donated by Portland Nursery.”
Do you remember riding the old Portland trolleys? This electrified streetcar network once provided an easy way to get from home to work, to school, to shopping, to amusement parks, etc., and so made it possible to live further away from the city center. It is a major reason the Montavilla neighborhood developed so rapidly, especially in the early 20th Century, the heyday of Portland’s trolleys.
The Montavilla streetcar line opened as the Fairview branch of the City & Suburban Railway on July 26, 1892. That day, The Morning Oregonian reported, C&S stockholders would ride the new four-mile line and then it would be available to the public. The route then went from SE Grand on SE Ankeny Street, turning north at SE 28th Avenue, and continuing east on NE Glisan Street to end at NE 82nd Avenue. The fare then was 5 cents for those who had contributed to the rail’s construction, 10 cents for everyone else.
The Fairview branch was soon renamed the “Montavilla” line, a contraction of the name of the housing tract at the line’s terminus, Mount Tabor Villa Addition. Service to Mount Tabor Villa and other nearby additions increased in 1900 when a single-rail spur was added on 80th Avenue between Glisan and Stark Streets, running along the eastern boundary of Mount Tabor Villa.
Real estate developers, of course, understood how streetcars could attract home-buyers to land several miles from downtown. In fact, H. C. Campbell, the man who put Mount Tabor Villa on the market in 1889, was also the general manager of the C&S Railway. (Incidentally, I learned just last week from the City of Portland Environmental Services that the old tracks are still beneath the asphalt on 80th Avenue. If you look closely you can trace their location in the street’s slight depression.)
The Montavilla line was also a boon to local entrepreneurs. The 80th Avenue (then Hibbard Street) spur ended at Montavilla’s main commercial street next to where Dickson’s Drug Store (now the Country Cat Dinner House) opened in 1910.
Further north on 80th businesses also popped up, taking advantage of this convenient transit. An example is the Gable Funeral Parlor built in 1927 at 80th and NE Everett Street (now the Rose City Nazarene Church), which TheMontavilla Times of May 5, 1927 described as centrally located on streetcar service.
Businesses also opened along the Glisan section of the Montavilla line. Some of these old buildings are still in use today, such as the East Glisan Pizza building, which opened as a butcher shop in 1911. Located where the trolley turned south onto 80th, it was Samson the Grocer in the 1920s.
In 1911 the double-tracks on Glisan were extended to NE 90th Avenue, meeting up with the Montavilla Station, a terminal on the Mt Hood and Troutdale electric interurban lines. This gave Montavilla passengers and business owners an even wider range of travel and shipment options and allowed new tracts to be developed beyond NE 82nd Avenue.
The convenience and joys of riding the trolley, however, also came with risks. Accidents, although rare, did happen.
Take the one that occurred on a snowy Monday morning in 1905. The evening of the accident, February 6, The Oregon Daily Journal described it in vivid detail. Sixty-six passengers had boarded Montavilla car No. 107 on their way to work. Some were alarmed when the car headed down the steep decline on Glisan, a few blocks from SE 28th Avenue, at an unusually high speed. One passenger recalled later that Motorman H. W. Johnson said he was 12 minutes behind schedule and needed to make up time. Around 7:30 am, as the car started to make the sharp 28th Avenue turn, it suddenly leapt into the air and landed on its side, throwing passengers together in a tangled heap.
The Oregon Daily reporter gave all the gory details, but I’ll spare you those and simply say that 31 passengers were badly injured and one young man was killed. Fortunately, cries for help and the loud sounds of the crashing streetcar quickly brought neighbors to assist. Rescue workers and railway officials quickly arrived, the wrecked car was taken away by 10 am, and service soon resumed.
The Montavilla line continued in service until 1948.
If you have memories of riding the streetcar lines that served Montavilla, please feel free to share them below. You can also send information about Montavilla history to email@example.com.
For March’s general meeting, the Lents Neighborhood Association hosted a forum on the City of Portland‘s Residential Infill Project.
In a RIP Displacement Risk and Mitigation released by the City last month, city planners expect Lents, Brentwood-Darlington, and the eastern part of Montavilla are likely to experience the most displacement.
The report is here, and the Portland Tribune article about the study is here.
FRIDAY, MARCH 29TH
“Being a grown-up can be hard: all those responsibilities just pile up with no help on the horizon! In the second class on how to become a responsible adult, learn some inexpensive tricks for making it suck a little less, including mending clothing, framing a picture, making at-home spa foot soaks, and cooking easy at-home romantic dinners with minimal ingredients.”
Coastlines and Crossroads: An AWP Offsite Reading:
“Hosted by longtime friends and dynamic cultural organizing duo Traci Kato-Kiriyama and Candace Kita, this reading will feature Portland and Los Angeles-based poets speaking to movement along coasts and between borders.”
Milepost 5, 8155 NE Oregon St * 6 pm – 8 pm * free
“Portland Jazz duo Rebecca Conner and Leon Cotter make music that is intimate and heartfelt, timeless and original. Leon’s virtuosic saxophone, clarinet and piano playing weaves soulfully around Rebecca’s sultry voice and guitar tone, enchanting their audience with unforgettable presence while blanketing them in warmth.”
Vino Veritas, 7835 SE Stark St * 7 pm – 10 pm * free
“First Weed Warriors volunteer event of the season is this Saturday! Gloves are all clean and ready to go! Come join us in the beautiful spring weather to remove non-native plants and some other park maintenance projects.”
Mt Tabor Visitor’s Center, SE Salmon Way & SE Park Dr * 9 am – noon
Hora de Manualidades (Craft hour):
“Agrega arte y color a tu vida con estas manualidades centradas en la alfabetización temprana. Todos los materiales serán proporcionados. Espacio para 20 personas.”
Holgate Library * 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Rockin’ Punk Invasion: a Showcase of Chaos (event):
“Punk Rockers and Rock n Rollers take over the Eastside for a full night of live music! Plan to arrive early and to stay late, we have a ton of music lined up and more to come!”
Bands performing: GINAH Wasted All Hype Dr Mouth and the Head Nurse Davy Jones Locker Combo
Eastside Bar & Grill, 2530 NE 82nd Ave * 7:30 * $7
Literary Lesbians present: Readings of Rapturous Romance and a bountiful book fair (event):
“Seven published lesbian authors will read from their work and field audience questions. This event is Free and open to all who appreciate lesbian literature. We’ll have a book raffle after every reader finishes, plus a drawing near the end for a grand prize basket of books and goodies. Half a dozen additional authors will be in attendance to showcase and sell their books. We provide snacks— especially chocolate!— and water. It’s a smorgasbord of fun and frivolity!”
Here’s a story about how some churches are re-defining their mission and serving their community by opening up their space to the public. We also discuss why some churches are reluctant to follow what Pastor Matt Huff from Central NazareneChurch calls “The Church’s Greatest Commandment”.
Portland’s pedestrian plan:
Read the draft plan, offer comments, and hear people’s stories on the PedPDX plan here.
There are a few more meetings left, and comments are being accepted until May 3rd.
SATURDAY, MARCH 23RD
The Black Flash / Creature Society
EastSide Bar and Grill, 2530 NE 82nd Ave * 9 pm – midnight
This should be good… “In GOB We Trust”, sketch comedy with
“Witness the wonder that is Escape Reality, Portland’s newest sketch comedy troupe featuring Nicolette Regina, Katelyn Melton, Jared Souza, Jarrett Brown and Nathan Franklin!”
Milepost 5 Theater, * 8133 NE Oregon St * 7 pm, Sat * $8, $14 gets you two drinks tickets