Developer presents plan for affordable apartments and grocery on former Beets Auto Body location


If you’re a supporter of density and affordable housing in Montavilla the new building planned for the former Beet’s Auto Body shop (518 SE 76th Avenue) would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

But since many of the nearby neighbors’ primary concern was the loss of parking, a lot of frustration was expressed at the meeting with developer Randy Rapaport Thursday, June 24th.

Rapaport (2007 interview) said he came out of retirement to build Mount Tabor Villa, and he seemed excited at the chance to provide affordable housing for East Portlanders. He’s one of many developers competing for funding from Portland’s $258.4 million housing bond passed last fall.

He expects about 30 projects will vie for funding, and ten will be funded. Rapaport said he got his proposal in early, so that’s helpful, and he said there’s a 50-50 chance he’ll receive funding for the project.

Best case scenario, Rapaport said they would break ground next June or July and it would take a year to build. The building would eventually be turned over to the City of Portland, he said.

The plans call for a four-story apartment building with ground floor retail. It would be four stories, with 60 units, a small grocery store, a community art gallery, and another business that could be a coffee roastery. The plan also calls for 15 resident parking space, and 10 for the businesses. Five of the spaces would feature electric car chargers.

Rapaport said the plan called for three-bedroom apartments, even though they’re generally not profitable. One of the coolest things, he said, was a plan for an indoor atrium heated by solar power. The atrium would have subtropical vegetation like a lemon tree, Japanese maple, and jasmine.

He said he wouldn’t work towards a green building certification, but would build for energy efficiency and invest in features not required by any green certification. There would be a seven foot wide sidewalk, which means they lost 800 square feet that could’ve gone to development.

Each unit would have high ceilings (9.5 feet tall), a split air conditioner / heater, disposalls, and a smaller refrigerator and stove. All the units would have disposals, and the three bedroom units would be the only to have dishwashers. A laundry room would be on each floor.

Rents would be on an income-based sliding scale with a credit for utilities like electricity and garbage. Studios would cost $500 – $800; one bedrooms: $550 – $850; two bedrooms: $700 – $1,050; and three bedrooms: $850 – $1,200.

A full-time minimum wage worker could afford a one bedroom, he said. When choosing residents, he said he wants to give preference to those who work at the grocery store, current neighborhood residents, and those in helping professions.

Rappaport said he has a signed non-disclosure agreement with a local grocery store, so he couldn’t share its name. He said the 4,400 foot grocery store would be like a New Seasons with to go food, but also fresh vegetables and the ingredients to bake a cake. The founder of Stumptown is starting a new roastery, and he said that would be a good addition to the project.

“Montavilla would be lucky to get this project,” Rapaport said. “Every other neighborhood want it.”

One neighbor said they project wasn’t a good fit for the neighborhood because the new businesses would compete with current ones like La Bouffe (the grocery store associated with Ya Hala), Montavilla Brew Works, and Bipartisan Cafe.

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Another tragic hit and run Thursday; a bold and controversial call from the NA to the sweep of homeless camps; and a somewhat heated meeting about a proposed affordable housing development in the Montavilla town center (518 SE 76th Avenue)…

Transportation safety, homelessness, and development— some of East Portland’s most pressing issues were brought to light during one of the first sunny weeks of the season. There are too many bad examples of how to deal with conflict, but I believe we can do better.


Montavilla Station never disappoints. Their chalk board promo tech seems to fit the decor. Based on her Myspace page, Francine West sounds more than kinda country.

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Tucked inside the interchange between I-205 and I-84, Gateway Green is much welcomed  for adding cycling infrastructure to Portland and green space to East Portland. The first portion of the bike park opens Saturday:

“We are so excited to finally be opening the first portion of the park, the newly completed mountain biking trails, aka the Dirt Lab. This is the first phase in making Gateway Green a one-of-a-kind recreation area in East Portland to serve our entire region. Come ride your bike, make new friends, learn something new, eat some delicious food, and win cool prizes! Not into biking? No problem! There will be plenty of non-biking activities throughout the day to take part in as well.  Check out the directions, the day’s activities and need-to-know information below.”

I-205 multi-use path, north of the Gateway Transit Center * 11 am – 4 pm 


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After five years of monthly shows at O’Neills Public House, the Johnny Cash tribute band Counterfeit Cash is taking an indefinite hiatus due to band members leaving town. So this will be their last show in a while…

The O’Neill Public House, 6000 NE Glisan St 9:30 pm – 11:30 pm * free 


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If you’re interesting in starting or expanding a business, Mercy Corps is a good place to start. (Full disclosure: I’ve been taking classes there.) Small business resources include classes, advice, grants, and loans.

The course “Moving from Owing to Owning” is the first of two classes required to be an investor in the Community Investment Trust.

“Mercy Corps NW’s first Community Investment Trust is Plaza 122, a 29,000-square-foot mid-century commercial retail mall in outer Southeast Portland with approximately 26 to 30 business and nonprofit tenants. Three hundred to 500 Portland and Gresham residents within four zip codes (97216, 97233, 97230, 97236) can follow a long-term path to collective ownership of this building in their neighborhood for as little as $10 and up to $100 per month.”

Class participants will learn how to improve their credit score and financial planning.

Along with the residency requirements, participants must be at least 18 years old, and have a tax ID number (TIN). Lunch will be provide. Register here.

Midland Library,  805 SE 122nd Ave * 10:30 am – 2:30 pm * free 


“Join MediaRites for a special performance of Refugee Dreams Revisited, true local stories of sacrifice and resiliency, presented by our local Asian/Pacific Islander youth as they honor the historical struggle and preserve the powerful stories of their elders in this powerful reading performance. An elder talk back and Q&A to follow. Light refreshments provided.”

“Starting with the fall of Saigon in April 1975, refugees from Vietnam awaited approval to move to the US and other countries. By 1979, there were almost 62,000 Vietnamese in refugee camps, with more than 140,000 people displaced from Cambodia and Laos. Portland, Oregon, was one of the medium-sized US cities that dealt with the relatively sudden influx of every major ethnic group (Vietnamese, Lao, Hmong, Mein and Cambodian) from Southeast Asia. Fifteen former refugees were interviewed for the Refugee Dreams Revisited project, which was created for the Peabody award-wining series Crossing East that ran on 230 public radio stations.”

Midland Library, 805 S.E. 122nd Ave4 pm – 5:30 pm * free


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One of my goals with Village Portland is to inspire neighbors to get involved— and spotlighting the good work happening in East Portland is a big part of that.

Outreach takes time, so it was helpful that Asian Pacific American Network hosted the seven winners of their Placemaking Project grants nearby. Winning projects include: a historical zine made by high school students; a hand-drawn deck of cards featuring Jade and Midway Districts locations and people; and other depictions using dance, film, illustration, and theatre (full project descriptions here).

APANO’s mission (org website) is social justice, and that covers a lot of ground. They organize around issues on a state and neighborhood level, develop leadership, and promote cultural awareness.

This summer they’re organizing Mic Check, a cultural event series for Asian and Pacific Islanders and Jade Night Market August 19th and 26th. They publish a monthly roundup of culture and arts events around Portland here, and you can follow their work by signing up for emails / social media on their website.

I know I’m just scratching the surface of APANO’s work— and all the amazing work being done in East Portland— but it’s a merry journey.


Citizenship class at Midland Library: “Learn about the process of becoming a citizen. Prepare for your citizenship interview. Study United States history and government for the examination. Classes are in English, and are taught by Goodwill instructors.”

For more information, call 503- 577-9984.

Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave * 10:30 am – noon * free




Portland Pickles won their opener against Marysville, and have games this weekend. Yes, there is a person in a giant pickle outfit leading cheers. His name is Dillon, and his tale is told in epic detail here.

Lents Park, 4808 SE 92nd Ave * Fri & Sat @ 7:05 pm, Sun @ 5:05 pm * $7, $9, $10 buy here

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Dher Kanz is showing his work at Milepost 5‘s Denizen Gallery monthly art opening:

“I am having my first art show and if you like weird paintings and drawings and electronic sounds then you will enjoy this!”

With music by: Chip Scout (hazy loops n psych samples), Mudder (pink noise stress dream lullabies), and Masha & Lars (warped expirimental folk duo).

850 NE 81st Ave * 7 pm – 11 pm * free


This Year’s Model, an Elvis Costello tribute plays at The O’Neill Public House.
6000 NE Glisan St * 9:30 pm – 1 am * free 


Montavilla Food Co-op Annual Pancake Breakfast:

“Join us for our annual pancake breakfast fundraiser and friendraiser! We’ll have great food for most diets (carnivores, vegetarians, gluten-free), music, a raffle, door prizes and more. Breakfast is $10 ($5 for kids), and anyone who becomes a member between now and the breakfast eats for free!” 

For more information, including how to volunteer follow this link.

Montavilla United Methodist Church 232 SE 80th * 8 am – noon * $10, $5 for kids


“Here is the schedule of events:
11 am: Event Opens
11 am – 11:30am: Danza Azteca
11:30 am – 11:50am: Ballet Folklorico
12 pm: Kids Parade
12:30 pm: Free Community Lunch and Storytime 
1 pm – 1:30 pm: SEI African Drummers
1:30 pm – 2 pm: Reynolds Student Showcase
2 pm to 3:30 pm: Jarrod Lawson and Tahirah Memory
4 pm to 5:30 pm: Dancehall Days
5 pm: Booths Close
6 pm: Free Community Dinner
6 pm to 8 pm: Speaker Minds”

Rockwood Commons, 740 SE 182nd Ave * 11 am – 8 pm

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Live music with Bahttsi: “Slamfunkingroovingreengrass, Moozik that Swings and Snorts” Music samples are available here.

O’Neill Public House, 6000 NE Glisan * 9:30 pm – 1 am * free 


Rahab Sisters are hosting their weekly meal: “We offer ‘radical hospitality’ to vulnerable and exploited women every Friday night … We serve a nutritious meal, personal hygiene products and a warm, safe and companionable environment with no questions asked!”

Volunteers are welcome, and are asked to arrive at 6:20 pm.

 Sts. Peter & Paul, 247 SE 82nd Ave * 7 pm – 10 pm * free


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The Columbia Gorge Express starts this weekend, offering a direct route to both Rooster Rock and Multnomah Falls. The bus service operates Friday through Sunday and federal holidays (like Monday’s Memorial Day).

There are twelve departures a day from Gateway Transit Center, and at $5 per person round trip, it’s a great way to get out of the city. Purchase tickets and learn more here.


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Spring’s definitely springing, and there are tons of great events happening.

I’m also excited to roll out the next iteration of Village Portland soon. I’ve been mostly unable to write more significant stories while developing the new site, but after the upgrade I’ll be able to do more than my simple weekly event cheerleading.

It’s been hard to sit on the sidelines as so much unfolds, but know that my heart is with you and I hope my work can serve the forward movement of East Portland.


Playing their first show @ The O’Neill Public House is Tara Velarde. (Their bio, though interesting reading, it doesn’t really say what kind of music they play,. Give the video a spin if you’re curious.) The show’s from 6 pm – 8 pm.

Afterwards, Counterfeit Cash, a Portland-based Johnny Cash tribute band preforms (9 pm – 1 am).

6000 NE Glisan * free


RACC Workshop: Grant Writing is for Everyone: “This interactive workshop will offer you an opportunity to learn both how to set yourself up for success before you write the grant and how to write an effective proposal.” More information and registration here.

Milepost 5 cafe space, 8155 NE Oregon * noon – 4 pm * $30, MP5 residents get a 50% discount, no one turned away for lack of funds


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The 12th annual Mt. Tabor Art Walk is both Saturday & Sunday. Download the map here, and visit nearly 40 local artists.

10 am – 5 pm


If you’re looking for gardening fun down in Lents, there is a planting party (event) at Malden Court Community Orchard from 9 am – noon, and at Leach Botanical Garden, there’s a free Children’s Nature Fair (event)  from 10 am – 2 pm that looks excellent:

“This year’s theme — “Traveling Seeds”— will include learning about seeds of all kinds including those that disperse by “traveling”. Also find interactive booths, arts/crafts, seed activities, nature walks, music, and 25 cent ice cream… “


“Join Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines for our Solidarity Open House! At this family-friendly gathering we will share some delicious food, honor our community, and discuss ways we can build together.”

Please RSVP to the organizers for any access or childcare needs.

EPNO, 1017 NE 117th Ave * noon – 2 pm



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Okay, this looks amazing: “FREE & fun community celebration honoring all people & pets who call this neighborhood home! Come rally around a shared love of animals, learn about helpful resources and connect with your neighbors through laughter and kindness. Parade walk starts at 3 pm: The Belmont Goats will lead the parade and any friendly pets (or teddy bears!) are encouraged to participate too! People of any ability, age, language, orientation, status, and whether dog-lover, cat-lover or allergic to both… you are enthusiastically welcomed. Get the details on all the activities, guidelines and opportunities at:

Meet at: Boys and Girls Club, 9330 SE Harold St * 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm * free 



It’s a bit outside the realm of East Portland, but  is an event worth checking out. Car free streets are always a nice opportunity, and the music, yard sales, and other shenanigans Sunday Parkways attracts makes it a great experience. FB page.

SE Portland * 11 am – 4 pm * free