Eastside Bar & Grill, 2530 NE 82nd Ave * 8 pm * $5
SUNDAY, JULY 7TH
There’s a new farmers market opening at the Dharma Rain Zen Center on 82nd Ave. The Rocky Butte Farmers Marketis looking for supporters, producers, and volunteers for their pop up market on Sunday, July 13th.
You can check out their Facebook page here too. They’re raising money through crowd funding the pop up, and have raised $960 of their $2,000 goal. You can donate here.
Let’s rally behind a group supporting East Portland farmers and bringing fresh fruits and vegis to neighbors!
For the full list of producers and things happening at the market, go here.
Montavilla Farmers Market, 7700 block of SE Stark St * 10 am – 2 pm
Vino Veritas Sunday Jazz / All Day Happy Hour:
“Come enjoy live jazz Sunday afternoon along with all day Happy Hour. A wonderful way to wind down the week.”
“‘Pending Approval: Now and Tomorrow for Korean Adoptees’ Focusing on Korean adoption through a historical lens, this pair of events support this year’s AMP theme: “Passages.” This second event, “Now and Tomorrow for Korean Adoptees,” will focus on the adult adoptee experience and cover themes such as identity, returning to Korea, birth searches, and parenting.”
Orchards of 82nd, 8118 SE Division St * 3 pm – 5 pm
This event is part of APANO’s Art + Media Project Summer Series. The flyer for all the events is below.
A year later Montavilla hosted its biggest-ever Independence Day celebration, one that warranted article after article in the Portland press. It was as if the citizens of Montavilla were saying to the world: we’re still here and we’re thriving. Montavilla had risen from tragedy like the mythical phoenix.
A group of Montavilla citizens— including members of the Montavilla Board of Trade— got together to plan the event and by mid-June had raised $300 and would manage to raise at least $200 more. They wanted an old-fashioned celebration, but they also wanted it to be “safe and sane.”
The variety of incendiary devices and firearms that accompanied the typical Independence Day activities made this holiday anything but safe and sane. Indeed, the death and injury rates had been steadily rising for years. No wonder The Journal of the American Medical Associationdescribed the Fourth of July as the “annual carnival of noise, smoke and bloodshed.” Tetanus, resulting from infected wounds, was of particular concern.
In response to these national health and safety issues, The Chicago Tribune began a campaign for a Safe and Sane Fourth of July in 1899. To raise awareness, each year it published the statistics of the holiday’s casualties. In 1908, public alarm reached a fever pitch, when Chicago experienced a record 13 deaths. The Safe and Sane Fourth movement gathered momentum and from 1909 casualties began to decline. Portland got on board in 1910, passing an ordinance prohibiting the sale of fireworks, except by license and only for use in authorized locations. Since merchants had already purchased fireworks for 1910, however, enactment of the new regulation was postponed until 1911.
1911 was a banner-year for the safety movement in the US and in Portland: 161 cities celebrated a safe and sane holiday and casualties were reduced by almost 50%. The La Grande Evening Observer reported on July 5 that Portland had no fires started by July 4 fireworks for the first time in recent history. No harm of any type was reported for the grand Montavilla celebration.
Somewhat ironically, Montavilla’s Independence Day began at sunrise with a 12-gun salute by Battery A of the Oregon National Guard. And it ended with fireworks, which were set off in a safe location. In between were a host of peaceful activities.
These began in the morning with a parade started at the intersection of NE 80th Avenue and NE Glisan Street and wound its way through Montavilla. William DeVeny (1853-1918), the Montavilla Buffalo Bill, led the way as Grand Marshal. DeVeny was a fitting choice, since this honor was typically bestowed upon a renown community leader and he seems to have been at the forefront of practically every civic effort in early 20th Century Montavilla.
At some point the parade would have turned south from Glisan, maybe at 78th Avenue and then headed east on SE Stark Street. The accompanying photo of the parade shows on the right a corner of the new Lewis Building, which replaced the one destroyed in 1910. Bystanders have gathered to watch the approaching parade. Two men on horseback lead a line of automobiles, as if ushering in the modern era.
I want to believe that the distant car filled with blurry shapes— right of the closest utility pole— holds the Goddess of Liberty and her entourage. The Goddess had been a staple of Independence Day celebrations for decades and contests to select the prettiest and most popular young woman were commonly used to raise funds for the festivities. At a penny a vote, 18-year-old Caroline Buehler was Montavilla’s winner in 1911.
The parade continued east on Stark until it arrived at SE 84th Avenue where Altamead Park began. Contrary to its name, this was not a public park— Montavilla did not have such a thing in 1911. Rather it was a newly platted, 62-acre housing tract about to go on the market, providing an open space that could accommodate a large crowd and varied activities. Because it as yet had no houses, it provided a safe place to set off fireworks.
All of Portland was invited to Montavilla’s celebration, but we know for sure that residents of Montavilla and Mount Tabor came, some 1,500 – 2,500 by newspaper estimates. As they gathered, the band played and then the Master of Ceremonies, John M. Conway, welcomed everyone to a sane celebration.
First on the program was the traditional oration, which was given by Robert C. Wright of Mount Tabor, a well-known attorney and Republican politician. He did not give the usual patriotic speech. Instead he addressed current issues, including industrial conditions and the dangers to America of the accumulations “vast fortunes” by tycoons such as John D. Rockefeller and Pierpont Morgan. Moreover, he advised Montavillans to not seek funding for a new library from another tycoon, Andrew Carnegie.
It’s odd that Wright took this stance on Carnegie because several of the organizers of the July 4 event had been working on just such a request. (Did they regret inviting him to speak?) Besides, Mount Tabor itself was supporting the library initiative in exchange for Montavilla supporting its campaign for a Mount Tabor Park improvement bond. To promote both causes, the two neighborhoods sent delegations to each other’s July Fourth events.
Clearly there were community objectives for the Montavilla celebration, but this also included the customary symbolism of America’s revolution and values. The serious part of the celebration ended with the flag being raised, the band playing the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and the Goddess of Liberty paying witness.
Then it was on to the picnic and the games. There were races, baseball, a tug-of-war, a greased pig chase as well as prizes distributed by Rev. Father James Fitzpatrick, pastor of the Church of the Ascension.
The celebration ended in the evening with a band concert and fireworks (but no firecrackers). It had been a safe and sane day, indeed, and, moreover, one with perfect, balmy weather— such a contrast to the killer heat wave then plaguing the eastern half of the United States.
How lucky to be in Montavilla on July 4, 1911.
Historical story ideas? Questions about Montavilla’s past? Also share a love for neighborhood history?
Comment on the article at the link in the heading. Or you can reach out to Pat Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read all of the “Montavilla Memories” articles by Pat Sanders here.
“Join us at this refugee celebration with performances, food, activities for kids, cultural displays and more! Free event. For more information, go here. or contact email@example.com.
Cosponsors include EMO’s Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees, Catholic Charities, IRCO, and many other organizations in the Portland metro area.”
Lents Park, SE 92nd and Holgate Blvd * 11 am – 3 pm
“Learn about the process of becoming a citizen in a 12-session series of classes. Prepare for your citizenship interview. Study United States history and government for the examination. Classes are taught by a volunteer from SOAR Legal. For more information, please call 503.577.9984.”
This is the last of the 12 class series.
Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave* 10 am – 1 pm
June liberation celebration w/ Community chef Rachelle Dixon (event):
“Come learn about and celebrate Black hxstory, resilience, and freedom struggle! June 19th commemorates the date in 1865 when slaves in Texas were finally informed slavery had ended.
To celebrate this day of emancipation, we are hosting a community event at the farm full of activities for all ages. Food & Drinks, Garden box painting, Kid’s Garden, Cooking Demonstration, Farm Tours, Arts & Crafts, and more!
We are prioritizing space for Black community members at this event.”
Zenger Farms, 11741 SE Foster Rd * 11 am – 4 pm * free
“Make your garden even more beautiful this spring by creating handmade garden ornaments. Artist Kathy Karbo will show you how to use hammers, anvils and other tools to create these fun, decorative pieces.”
For the full list of producers and some special events happening, go here.
Montavilla Farmers Market, 7700 block of SE Stark St * 10 am – 2 pm
Living While Dying: Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker (event):
“In a world that sees death as something to vanquish, the 45-minute documentary Living While Dying presents an alternative: people living with terminal illness who greet the inevitable with courage, humor, creativity and acceptance.
The program includes a discussion with the filmmaker and content experts.”
Portland Police are looking for a suspect in the stabbing that occurred at a bus stop on 82nd Ave at the NE Schuyler St bus stop. There’s a photo at the link, and here’s the description:
“The suspect was described as a 30-year-old White male, approximately 5’5″ tall with a pudgy build. He had stubble on his chin and neck and short dark hair. At the time of the assault, he wore a plaid shirt, baggy jeans, white tennis shoes and a black or white baseball cap.“
Regular readers might have noticed that we don’t cover crime that often. I know (from personal experience) how expensive it is to replace stolen property. I understand how violating it feels to have your residence burglarized— what it’s like entering a dark house not knowing if the thief is still there.
But how do we cover / track crime (the City isn’t a very helpful resource) without having every fearful neighbor and bump in the night trigger a wave of notifications on our smartphones?
This invitation came from Montavilla neighbor Louise Hoff:
“The whole block of 9200 SE Taylor Street is having a Yard Sale on Sunday June 23 from 9 on. We will also have a table on earthquake preparedness and neighborhood watch. The sale was an idea of a resident at last year’s block party on our street.
I am asking you to promote this as a great idea for other streets to do as another way to get to know your neighbors. In Amsterdam they allow a yard sale once a year (on the king’s birthday) and the whole city turns out, kids buy/sell toys, sports equipment, etc. I see this as a recycle, reuse, repurpose sustainability event.
For the full list of producers and some of the special fall produce available, go here.
Montavilla Farmers Market, 7700 block of SE Stark St * 10 am – 2 pm
New artists show:
“The Creative Arc Art Collective is a group of artists & makers, some of whom have never shown or sold their work before, or are very new to doing it, while others are experienced at making art and marketing it. Work includes watercolors, oil paintings, prints, handmade pens, handcrafted soap, ceramic jewelry and home decor, weaving, small batch chocolate, greeting cards and more! Please join us for an afternoon of creativity and community.”
Did you know that Montavilla had its own post office for 75 years? Some of you may remember its latter days when branches existed on SE 78th Avenue, just south of Stark Street, or even before when it was next to the Academy Theater. Over its long history, the Montvilla Post Office moved many times, but let me go back to the beginning.
In 1891, the US Postmaster General approved a post office in the new community of Montavilla and appointed James Downing, a Union Army veteran, to be its postmaster. The post office itself was located at the northeast corner of Base Line Road (now SE Stark) and Hibbard Street (now SE 80th Ave). It may have been inside Downing’s grocery store, which wouldn’t have been unusual. In small communities, like Montavilla was then, the same building often housed a post office, a commercial business and the owner’s residence.
Ten years later we see notable improvements in Montavilla’s postal service. The person in charge at that time was Postmistress Winnie A. Burdett, one of several women to be appointed over the years to head the Montavilla post office. In 1901, the first locked mailbox, outside the post office, where outgoing mail could be deposited. The same year saw the beginning of twice-daily mail deliveries to the post office via the electric trolley. (For more on this branch line built in 1900, see “Montavilla Memories” article “The Montavilla Streetcar Line“.)
The next really, really big improvement came in 1902: free home delivery. Previously mail had to be collected at the post office. But the Montavilla citizens wanted what other communities had, so they signed a petition requesting home delivery and sent it off to the Postmaster General in Washington DC. After a few anxious months, he granted their request and, at the same time, made Montavilla a branch of the Portland Post Office, even though Montavilla was not yet part of the City. (That happened with annexation in 1906.)
There was one slight hitch: to get free home delivery, Montavilla would have to number the houses and paint street names on sidewalk corners, for greater ease of delivery. Incidentally, you may have noticed that many of the later, concrete sidewalks continued to include street names at intersection. (For more on Montavilla sidewalks see “Montavilla’s History Beneath our Feet“.)
When mail delivery finally began in Montavilla, one mail carrier delivered it all: John Jensma, a 36-year-old Dutch immigrant. He was responsible for delivering to all of Montavilla’s 300 households. By 1907 the households had doubled, but his salary had not changed, a mere $1,100 per year. Nor had another carrier yet been added, but there would be more.
Interestingly, Jensma was not only a mail carrier, he was also a poet. His poem published in The Morning Enterprise of September 2, 1913 gives insights into the postman’s predicament in the early 20th Century:
“The Carrier’s Story”
Once when I was a younger man, Now fifteen years ago, I joined the city carrier force And hoped with it to grow.
‘Twas then a pretty decent job Demerits were not known And if you acted decently With ease you’d hold your own.
But our benign superiors Thought we had too much ease, And they applied demerit screws And gave us many a squeeze.
I tramped the streets, I packed the sack Till blistered, sore, and lame; Then when I could not walk so fast, They held me up to shame.
Demerits soon began to come; I was too dreadful slow, I soon would have my pay reduced Or from the service go.
Up Stairs, down stairs Six hundred times a day, And then they tell you all the time You do not earn your pay!
I read the signs, I took the tip And took a rural route; No blisters bother now my feet, Demerits are cut out.
Of course my pay is not so high, Still, I feel now no remorse, That I Ieft the bats of burden And joined the rural force.
The demerits Jensma refers to relate to policies of Postmaster General Albert S. Burleson. Purportedly for cost-cutting and worker efficiency, he introduced an award-demerit rating systemfor retention and promotion of postal workers. In 1913, time and motion studies assessed the performance of all mail distribution jobs. Hence Jensma’s concern about slowing down. Burleson also wanted older carriers to step aside for younger ones, even though there were no pensions for postal workers. No wonder Jensma joined and became active in the Oregon State Association of Letter Carriers.
Jensma continued to work as a carrier until 1927. During these and later years the Montavilla post office changed locations several times but always within the Stark St commercial core. One of these locations that still exists is 7828 SE Stark, one of the commercial spaces planned as part of the 1948 Academy building. Today this space is occupied by Johnny’s Barber Shop.
In 1956 the post office moved one last time, to a new building, just around the corner, at 544 SE 78th Ave, where Do It Yourself Heating is now. The Montavilla post office finally closed in 1966.
While Montavilla lost its post office, postal service continued for several years inside Dickson Drug Store at the northwest corner of Stark St and 80th Ave where The Country Cat is today. Shortly after the death of the store’s owner William Dickson in 1966, his wife Barbara applied for and received permission to be a contract post office. The Dickson Drug postal service continued to serve the Montavilla community until 2004.
As you might be able to tell, this article took a great deal of research, more even than usual. I would like to acknowledge Kate McCarter’s much-appreciate assistance in this effort. Thanks also to Dianne Dickson Lawrence for her information on Dickson Drug Store.
The information Kate and I gathered on the Montavilla Post Office far exceeds what is in this article, so if you have questions, please feel free to post them below and I’ll try to answer them. Please also do share to share any memories you may have of the Montavilla Post Office— its buildings, people and stories— in the comment space below.
At this month’s Montavilla Neighborhood Association meeting, there was an interesting presentation about Rocket Empire Machine, the building at 6935 NE Glisan St that’s being rehabilitated as a hub for small businesses.
We’ll have the video from the meeting ready next week.
There’s also discussion of a fabulously late Pride street party event for Montavilla. Contact folks at the MNA for how to help make that happen.
Again this year, Academy Theater is hosting a Summer Repertory Series that began last week. This weeks showings are “The Thing” (1982) and “Singing in the Rain” (1972).
“We are once again doubling down on “classic” titles all summer, showing two every week, including 5 movies on 35mm film, 2 in classic anaglyph 3D (red/blue).”
Pat Sanders “Montavilla Memories” article this week looks into how municipal water came to the neighborhood. For an individual, as well as for a neighborhood, the need for a steady supply of water makes things happen! Read “We Want Bull Run Water!” here.
There’s an extra special guest at this month’s Montavilla Neighborhood Association meeting.
Representatives from the Rocket Empire Machine building at 69th Ave & Glisan St will be attending. They’re the creative force behind buildings like The Fair-Haired Dumbbell (50 feet from me as I write), The Zipper on Sandy Blvd, and several other inventive buildings around town.
They have an interesting community-building plan (nicknamed “gentlefication”). for this building that you can read about here. They’ve also been exploring the idea of adding a hand-painted mural to that building!
Also at the meeting: a discussion & vote Membership Eligibility Exception Policy for the MNA Bylaws. More about the meeting is on the agenda, here.
Montavilla United Methodist Church, 232 SE 80th Ave* Mon, 6/10, 6:30 pm
New apartments are going in at 97th & Couch Street. Read more about the 61-unit development here on Next Portland. Also, The Tannery bar (E Burnside & 53rd Ave) closed this week.
Take a survey on options for changes to outer Stark Street here.
“Join us at Zenger Farm’s beautiful Urban Grange for an evening of incredible food, wine, and community. Our 2019 Chefs’ Dinner brings together an incredible lineup of Black leaders from the local culinary and beverage community, led by award-winning chef Gregory Gourdet of Departure.”