Montavilla merchants work to attract folks to stay and play

UPDATE: Learn about the “Stark Street Stroll” on August 8 — See why volunteers installed new benches and planters to invite the harried to relax and enjoy the merchants and restaurants in Montavilla ‚Ķ

One of the teams installing benches and barrel planters in the revitalizing downtown Montavilla area are Maria Sworske, Sandra McDaniel, Jennifer Tamayo, Sarah Selden.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
When Montavilla was incorporated 100 years ago, it was a bastion of civilization as one headed out ot town east of Mt. Tabor. Stark Street was one of the heavily-traveled roads which connected the city with the countryside.

But, in the past few decades, drivers went whizzing west on Stark on their way to downtown ignored the businesses that made up a once-thriving community.

One by one, the stores began to close. The movie theater shut down, and became a printing plant for a weekly shopper.

Revitalizing Montavilla
Last year, several merchants got together and formed the Montavilla/Tabor-East Business Association. Their goal is to buff up this century-old neighborhood business district.

They’re not working alone; they’ve recruited the neighborhood association to help.

On July 8, we caught up with Jennifer Tamayo, chair of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association. “Today we partnering with the Montavilla/Tabor-East Business Association. We’re installing four benches and eight whiskey barrel planters. We’re provide the man-power; they purchased all of the materials.”

Eight volunteers worked on the improvement project that morning.

“The idea is to create a better community on SE Stark St. When it looks better, and more inviting, we feel it will make people ‚Äì both shoppers and potential merchants ‚Äì stop and really consider all the potential of our area,” Tamayo said.

So, next time you’re about to head from the Mall 205 area up over the hill–drive a bit more slowly, and take a look. You’ll see these volunteers are making a visible difference.

UPDATE: “Stark Street Stroll”
The neighborhood will be alive with fun, sidewalk sales and activities on Saturday, August 5. Be sure to stop by and be part of the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Montavilla.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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