Welcome to Village Portland, neighborhood news & actions in East Portland.
We’re here to bridge the gap between news & civic participation… and to encourage folks get involved with their community and support their neighbors. There are a million voices fighting for your attention, but we want to help you connect with your village, your neighborhood… where your power to connect and make change is the strongest.
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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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If you’re an organizer or writer interested in bringing a Village Portland to your neighborhood, contact Andrew Wilkins, Publisher / Editor:
I’m a historian who taught university-level art history for many years, but today my passion is Montavilla history, which I’ve been researching for a couple of years. The initial impetus for this was my mother’s memories of the Montavilla commercial district on Stark St.
Now I’m deeply engrossed in looking for clues to Montavilla’s past from vintage newspapers (including Montavilla’s own Montavilla Times and The Montavilla Sun), from historic photos of our changing neighborhood, and from old documents.
Let me give an example of a recent passion. Did you know that Montavilla once had its own branch library?
When my mother told me about her memories of walking down from 68th Avenue to check out books from the Montavilla library, I was surprised because I’d never seen one here. She thought it was just north of Stark, so my husband and I drove her up and down streets searching, but to no avail.
Either we were in the wrong place, it no longer existed, or her memory was faulty. It turns out her memory was quite accurate.
After our futile search, I met a couple of longtime Montavilla residents who confirmed that, in fact, there was a library, and it used to be “opposite” the Methodist Church. But opposite in which direction?
On 80th? Ash? 81st? Pine? And which building? I looked and found nothing that really looked like a library. Had it been torn down?
Then one day while on a neighborhood walk, I saw a woman coming out of the two story building at 211 SE 80th Ave. I introduced myself and asked Brenda Jose, director of Unlimited Choices, if she knew whether this building had once been a library. She said “yes”, and the search was on!
Since the early 20th Century, Montavillans wanted a library. And beginning in about 1906, did have a reading room / branch library with books supplied by the main library. But this was in a rented space. Surprisingly, in the depth of the Great Depression, several forces came together to make a permanent building possible.
The Montavilla Kiwanis Club spearheaded the effort, the City donated two lots, construction labor was provided by the State Emergency Relief Administration (a Public Works Administration project), and the Library Association found a small amount of money for building supplies and to commission plans by famed Portland architect Herman Brookman.
The Montavilla Library was dedicated on Sept. 3rd, 1935. The new building had an exterior with bright blue shutters and tan shingles. The interior was gray with coral trim, and had an inventory of 6,000 books. It was a simple building with clean lines and elegant proportions.
Today it looks quite different. It has the same rectangular footprint (minus a small office wing at the back), but now has two stories and a new dormer over the entrance. According to Jose, the original library structure was lifted up to provide the new first story.
The Montavilla Branch Library closed in 1981. Some of you may remember the building continuing use as the OSU Extension Service. Some of you may even remember the library.
If you have stories to share about the library, old photos of it or stories about other historic Montavilla people, places or events, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the March Montavilla Neighborhood Association meeting, Jonathan Lewis with the Office of Community & Civic Life gave a presentation on the City’s homeless camping program and the phone number for reporting (non-violent) neighbors having a mental crisis without contacting the police: 503-988-4888. There was also a presentation on public safety.
Muz Afsal from Southeast Uplift spoke about some upcoming workshops, including a community conversations called “Exploring Power and Privilege with Courage, Creativity, and Compassion” set for March 25th.
A new board member also stepped forward to serve the MNA. DavidOnley does a lot of excellent service work in the community, and for full disclosure, is a friend and has contributed to Village Portland.
Seats on the board are still open if anybody would like to step up!
This week, we published a new Montavilla Memories column by Pat Sanders. Read it here.
In this column, Sanders explores her process behind learning about Montavilla’s former library.
FRIDAY, MARCH 15TH
Weekends mean live music Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night at Montavilla Station.
Montavilla Station, 417 SE 80th Ave * Fri & Sat 9ish pm
“The award-winning Oregon Sinfonietta, now in its 46th season and conducted by Dr. Donald L. Appert, is a full symphony orchestra of about sixty musicians that draws together community musicians from the greater Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington metropolitan area. The orchestra performs four free concerts per season at the Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church in SE Portland.”
Sunnyside Seventh-day Adventist Church, 10501 SE Market St * 3 pm
Cooking Around the World Club: No-Bake Desserts:
“Families can learn with their kiddos how to make simple healthy desserts. There will be something for everyone, whether it’s for an afterschool snack or a special weekend treat. It’s easy, it’s healthy, it’s fun! Samples will be given at the end of the program.”
We’re pleased to introduce “Montavilla Memories”, a new feature with Patricia . Learn more about her and her work in the first story here.
In the story, she makes a call to neighbors for their mementos and stories about the life and times of nearly Montavillans.
I saw this week that Lent’s Zoiglhaus Brewing Company announced that they are now serving bread from Fressen Artisan Bakery and Cafe. Fressen is a traditional German bakery, and that goes along great with Zoiglhaus’ German-style beers.
We’re working on a feature on Fressen, and it’s been fascinating learning more about the business and the tradition and history it represents. Every business and organization has a unique story, and we’re looking forward to telling more of them.
FRIDAY, MARCH 8TH
“If Beale Street Could Talk”, “Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse”, and five other second-run films are showing at Academy Theater.
Academy Theater, 7818 SE Stark St * show times * $4 for adults, $3 for youth & seniors
“Come join us for our first QTPI (Queer and Trans Pacific Islander) Talanoa of the year in celebration and storytelling from our QTPIs from Micronesia. Experience love, joy, laughter and shed a few tears with food and refreshments provided. This event is free and family friendly. All are welcome.”
Orchards of 82nd, 8118 SE Division St * 4 pm – 7 pm
Live rock n roll music:
The Weight / Moonraker / Lust for Glory
Eastside Bar & Grill, 2530 Ne 82nd Ave * 9-ish pm * $5
“Community Dinners at Zenger Farm are a space to talk about issues that are impacting our community while sharing a meal together. This community dinner we will talk about how the legislative process works and how we can engage with it. We will also be talking about the Welcome Home bill that would support the resettlement of Refugees in Oregon.”
With community chef Lul Abdulle.
This is a family friendly event. We will have activities for kids 4+ and a full meal. Please let us know if you any dietary needs or allergies and translation needs. Register by emailing your name and group size to email@example.com or call 503-282-4245.
Zenger Farm * 4 pm – 6:30 pm * $5-15 per family (no one ever turned away)
Welcome to “Montavilla Memories”, your site for exploring and sharing memories and information about people, places, and events in Montavilla’s past.
I’ll be contributing regular columns to Village Portland based on my research, but you are invited to share your stories about the Montavilla neighborhood of yore. If you have old photos and documents (like old newspaper articles or mementos) that would be great, too. It’s all part of building a bigger picture of where we live.
And that, I believe, helps us develop a sense of place, a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. It connects us to a common past that helped shape what Montavilla is today. We have tangible evidence of this all around us. Just look at the old commercial buildings on Stark Street, some of which go back to the early 20th Century. Or look at the houses in our neighborhoods which span the years from the late 1800s to the present.
Who were those people who worked and lived in those buildings? What was life like in the streetcar days? Who lived here before that and what did they do? How did Montavillans respond to crisis like depressions and wars? What did people do for fun? What did they really care about? These and other questions are ones we’ll explore together through “Montavilla Memories.”
I love digging through old newspapers, scrutinizing old photographs, and talking to neighbors who’ve lived here for many years. I’m relatively new to local history research, but I’ve spent most of my life in other historical pursuits— researching and writing about the work and lives of artists, teaching and lecturing on art historys at San Jose State University and other universities. In recent years, I’ve focused on family history and this interest in my Portland ancestors led me to researching history of the place where I live.
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.
When the weather dips into dangerous conditions, the Montavilla Emergency Shelter opens. At least once this season, they’ve been unable to open due to lack of volunteers.
So if you’d like to be notified when they’re open so you can work a shift, go here. They’re also in need of supplies.
Along with her work documenting Montavilla history, former Montavilla Neighborhood Association board member Pat Sanders has stepped forward to contribute to Village Portland!
Did you know that Montavilla has had three of newspapers of its own over the years? This is just one of the fun historical tidbits she’s shared. Expect more soon.
We’re looking forward to sharing stories about the businesses and individuals from the past— as well as those working in the community today.
FRIDAY, MARCH 1ST
Weekends mean live music at both Vino Veritas (7835 SE Stark St) and Montavilla Station (417 SE 80th Ave * Friday and Saturday night, 9ish pm).
SATURDAY, MARCH 2ND
Johnson Creek watershed-wide volunteerism (event):
This is the Johnson Creek Watershed Council‘s biggest volunteer event of the year, and they need willing hands to help restore this crucial waterway that runs along part of Portland’s southern border.
“There is a 24 year legacy of grassroots progress to restore, repair, and clean this 26 mile long watershed-all by wonderful humans who love it (like you!) Help us support this awesome place as we weed, plant, and mulch for a healthier watershed.”
10 locations along Johnson Creek * 8:45 am – noon
What to Do in the March Vegetable Garden class:
“Join Robyn Streeter of Your Backyard Farmer for a great refresher on what to do in the veggie garden for the month of March. This includes: soils and composts to get the garden ready, irrigation techniques, and developing a timeline and planting calendar for spring and summer.”
“On the first Saturday of the month, Garden Curator Courtney Vengarick will show you what’s blooming and of seasonal interest, provide useful and engaging information, and sharing fun stories about the adventurous creators of the Garden, Botanist Lilla Leach and pharmacist/civic leader John Leach.
First come first served; limit 15. Pre-registration not required. Meet in front of the Gift Shop, next to the Manor House.”
Leach Garden, 6704 SE 122nd Ave* 11 am – noon
Once Upon a Time Family Theatre:
“Once Upon a Time Family Theatre is a magical mix of theatrical simplicity and grand storytelling for kids and their families. There’s always a slight twist to the traditional story that keeps these productions fresh. Though simply produced, these delightful and engaging productions will soon have everyone fully absorbed in the interaction of live theatre.”
This month’s production: “The Irish Cinderlad”
Portland Metro Arts, 9003 SE Stark St * 11:30 am * children $1, $2 adults $2
“Join Whitenoise Project as we begin our 3rd year amplifying Artists/Writers of Color and underrepresented voices, and celebrate POC-Centered Arts spaces with De-Canon’s continued Residency at Milepost 5! Please bring a dish and label it with a description of ingredients!”
Featured Readers: Christopher Rose, Maryam Miri Gabriel, Mike Copperman, Roland Dahwen Wu
Milepost 5, 8155 NE Oregon St * 6:30 pm *$5-10 suggested donation
“They Shall Not Grow Old”, Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing”, and a film about Ruth Bader Ginsberg called “On the Basis of Sex”, and four other films are playing at Academy Theater this weekend.
“Free lead blood testing; free giveaways; hourly door prizes; free professional childcare; free minor bike tune-ups and flat tire repair for students and families; and a free lunch”
As well as presentations on (schedule): “water and energy savings; safe and healthy home; food and nutrition; neighborhood and community resources; recycling; weatherizing your home; gardening and growing your own food; yard care and composting; and transportation”
You can also bring a counter top appliance or article of clothing to be repaired, while learning how to do it yourself.
Floyd Light Middle School, 10800 SE Washington St * 10 am – 2 pm
There’s a full day of workshops and music featuring the mountain dulcimer!
Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont St * 11 am – 9 pm
Black Family Festival + City Resource Fair:
“Various bureaus and offices will share information on city programs, resources, jobs and contracting opportunities. City bureaus will be distributing information about City services, programs, jobs and contracting opportunities.”
Montavilla Community Center, 8219 NE Glisan St * 11 am – 4 pm
Tender Table: Stories About Food, Family, and Identity:
Stories & Food by:Jewels Leo Ariel Janessa Bautista. February 24 marks Tender Table’s 2 year anniversary!
“Tender Table seeks out stories from women, trans men, and non-binary folks who are black, indigenous, or people of color about traditions around food, the restaurant industry, food’s impact on the body and body image, and everything in between our sweet, savory, sour, bitter relationships to food.”
Milepost 5, 8155 NE Oregon St * 3 pm * $10 – $15 donation is suggested
“Join us for an afternoon of community and cooking! We come together to cook a full meal in a family friendly space. There are activities for kids over 4 + and adult. Chef Jeniffer will also be sharing about Black inventors and culture in honor of Black History Month. Menu: Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken, Sweet Potato & Bean Casserole and bean stew.”
Zenger Farm, 11741 SE Foster Rd * 4 pm – 6:30 pm * $5 – $15 per group
“Get free individualized tax preparation assistance in Vietnamese, Korean and English provided by IRS Certified Volunteers in partnership with Vietnamese Community of Oregon. Please bring photo ID and documented proof of Social Security number, last year’s W2/1099/1098, last year’s tax return, last year’s medical and educational receipts, as well as any current tax documents.”
Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave *10 am – 4 pm
“Talk Time is an informal conversation circle for non-native speakers to practice speaking English. First come, first served.”