“Native bees are essential for pollinating 85% of the world’s flowering plants, and their conservation is vital to environmental and human health. They’re also fascinating and beautiful– well worth an up-close look. Join us for an overview of Oregon’s native bees, and an examination of some bees through dissecting scopes, followed by a chance to catch and release some as we take a guided tour through the Garden.”
So occasionally when I would walk around town, I would run across “WW WILKINS” stamped into the sidewalk. It was fun seeing part of his legacy still serving Memphians decades after his work was done.
These stamps are literally another concrete reminder— literally— to think about the people who shaped our cities and to compare their lives with ours.
A few Montavilla schools are in the running for a community building project award from OnPoint Community Credit Union. More info here!
FRIDAY, MAY 3RD
Canton Grill Degustatory Research(event):
Learn more about the history of Canton Grill, Portland’s oldest Chinese food restaurant. There will be samples to go with the story-telling experience.
“Investigating both personal and collective histories alongside the role of food in migration, this dinner is a sensorial ten-course tasting experience serving degustatory samples intermingling culinary art, performance, research and personal histories. It promises to be a beautiful, complex, fine dining experience that will tickle your palette and tease your soul.”
Canton Grill, 2610 SE 82nd Ave * 6:30 pm – 8 pm * free
SATURDAY, MAY 4TH
East Portland Neighborhood Cleanup:
“This event is organized by Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood association and supported by Mill Park Neighborhood Association, Hazelwood Neighborhood Association, and Centennial Neighborhood Association.
West Powellhurst Elementary, 2921 SE 116th Ave * 9 am – 1 pm
SUNDAY, MAY 5TH
The wonderful Montavilla Farmers Market is having their opening day today! Check out their post about the opening here or the list of providers here.
New this season is a nutrition lecture series. And as usual, there will be music, activities for the youth, and the Everybody Eats SNAP/EBT match program that allows card holders to double their spending up to $10.
7700 SE Stark St * 10 am – 2 pm
Makers de Mayo: a Decolonized Market & Celebration (event):
“This Cinco de Mayo, spend your day supporting local BIPOC makers at Makers de Mayo: a decolonized market and celebration hosted by Noche Libre and the Portland Mercado.”
I’m sure some of you have noticed while walking around Montavilla that here and there you come across names and dates stamped into the concrete sidewalks.
These, in fact, are important clues to the early 20th Century development of our neighborhood.
So how do you find these clues and how do you interpret them?
If you look at the photo above, you can just make out a name, Bechell Bros., and a date, 1911. These indicate the name of the sidewalk contractor and when the sidewalk was poured.
Contractor stamps usually occur at intersection corners— this one is at the NW corner of NE 80th Avenue and NE Oregon Street. Less often you can find them somewhere between the intersections.
The coming of the first concrete sidewalks must have been such a blessing. Before that you could expect to dirty your skirts or trousers with dust in the summer and mud during our long rainy season.
In 1902, we find mail carrier Mr. Jensma complaining of wading through mud so deep it went right over the tops of his gum boots. He must have appreciated how some people installed wood plank sidewalks. Unfortunately these were prone to deterioration and needed frequent repaired.
In 1902, when Mr. Jensma was still wading through mud on his delivery route, the City of Portland— which Montavilla was not yet part of–planned to lay about 50 miles of cement sidewalks. But Montavilla, where many considered concrete too expensive, was behind in this respect.
As late as 1906, Hibbard Street (now 80th Avenue) was being “improved” with wooden sidewalks.
As for concrete ones, the earliest date I’ve come across so far in my Montavilla rambles is 1908. Perhaps some of you will find something earlier. If so, please add a comment below.
Meanwhile, I hope you all will have a good time learning to read the history of Montavilla’s as you stroll around our sidewalks. Maybe take the kids on a sidewalk treasure hunt?
editor’s note: Reader Kate McCarter added the following photograph and comment on social media. Thanks Kate, we love the feedback and help telling these stories!
“Before sidewalks and pavement came to Montavilla. This was taken from 82nd looking west up Hawthorne circa 1919. Note the shrubs in the middle of the road!”
Historical story ideas? Questions about Montavilla’s past? Also share a love for neighborhood history? Reach out to Pat Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com.
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.”