Businesspeople, neighbors, protest Division Street medians

INCLUDES TRULY ‘PEACEFUL’ PROTEST VIDEO | Why do these people dislike the concrete barriers now striping SE Division Street in outer East Portland? Take a look …

Many neighbors show up to protest the large concrete medians along SE Division Street.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Perhaps some folks love the new high concrete medians that divide SE Division Street, from Interstate 205 eastward to Gresham.

Many people expressed their displeasure, even hatred, for these “tank traps” (as a protester called them) on Thursday afternoon, September 21. The protest centered near the Roman Russian Market, at 10918 SE Division Street.

Several protesters seemed surprised about this significant change made to the thoroughfare, and demanded to know why East Portland News hadn’t covered the issue, to bring it to their attention.

In 2017, Portland Bureau of Transportation representative Elizabeth Mahon informed about changes coming to SE Division Street in the near future, at Division Midway Alliance meeting – and showed the plans that featured a wide, boulevard-like median (highlighted, here).

Fact is, we’ve covered talks about changing SE Division Street to make it more “public transportation, bicycle, and pedestrian friendly” for quite a while. Take a look:

2009: Dual transportation forums pitch ‘transportation transformation’

2009: Public transit and crime issues discussed by Midway business group

2015: Transit ‘Equity Workgroup’ updated on project progress

2015: Long ‘wish list’ emerges for Division Street in Midway Division area

Median hurts public safety, business owner says
“I’ve owned and run the Roman Russian Market, here on SE Division Street for twenty years – so I know what it was like here before they put in the big concrete medians,” Fatima Magomadova told East Portland News while taking break from protesting.

Fatima Magomadova is fed up with the medians on SE Division Street, she says.

“The medians are extremely bad for businesses, commuters, and emergency first-responders,” Magomadova charged. “We’re trying to express and communicate our displeasure to the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

“For the last year and a half, every month, I’ve been at the Portland City Council meetings talking about the problems that we have been facing on Division Street because of the medians,” Magomadova continued. “We’re here every day, and PBOT isn’t; but we’ve seen increased accidents – they’ve drastically increased – due to the medians.”

Watch, and see how many folks peacefully protested on this afternoon:

“And, when traffic builds up, it really slows down response times for Emergency First Responders, like those from Portland Fire & Rescue, the Portland Police, and ambulances – because they can’t drive in what used to be the center turn lane, or along the curb.” Magomadova told us.

“Economic losses to businesses”
Magomadova said she’s talked with business owners along SE Division Street who’ve told her they’ve lost customers since the installation of the medians.

Flanking the “protest host”, Fatima Magomadova, are another business owner hurt by the street revision, Constantin Scolin, and Rod Konkin – owner of Konkin Auto Group, on SE Division at 104th Avenue – who says, “The median is terrible, it’s destroying my business.”

“I spoke to people at the Division Halal Meat Market ,who said their business has dropped more than 50% – and at A-1 Hawk, they said they’d had about a 40% drop in business,” Magomadova recounted.

“Here, at our store, we have very loyal customers, and they’ve found find a way to get to us – and yet, we still have had a 30% loss in business,” Magomadova assured.

Notice the Pedestrian Crosswalk sign lying in the median; neighbors say it was mowed down in an accident the day before the protest.

Another business owner chimes in
Jim Butcher of The Original Steer Market was also at the protest for a few minutes. He said his meat market has been on SE Division Street, just east of 122nd Avenue, since 1962: “We’ve seen business go up and down over the years, and survived depressions and other economic cycles,” Butcher told us. “Since PBOT put in the median, there’s been a steady decline in our business. We can’t attribute this 30% drop to anything other than the median being put in.

“I think what they need to get rid of the medians; I don’t even care if they put more stoplights in!”

These are some of the about hundred people who came out to protest the new medians along SE Division Street.

If your business has been hurt by the SE Division Street medians, or you are concerted about public safety issues they may be causing, contact Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps – he’s PBOT’s Commissioner – and politely let him know your concerns. You can email Commissioner Mapps at

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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