Long ‘wish list’ emerges for Midway Division area

Discover the ideas for improving SE Division Street that surfaced during recent Division Midway Alliance meetings, and an open house …

Powellhurst Gilbert resident Kathy Austen prepares to write comments on a wall-size graphic during a Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement open house.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Business folks and neighbors involved with the Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement (DMA) Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative region have been working on plans to improve the livability of the area.

This spring, they’ve held several meetings, and then – at an open house on May 6 in the West Powellhurst Elementary cafeteria – many of the ideas were vetted, while additional improvement suggestions were entertained.

Business improvements and outer East Portland “road diets” may be part of the solution for revitalizing outer SE Division Street, says DMA Capital Improvements Committee Chair Anthony Moreschi.

“These gatherings are an opportunity for everyone in the community who has a vested interest in, or who lives in, this area, to come and see how the plan is progressing,” said DMA Capital Improvements Committee Chair Anthony Moreschi.

“Although I work for OHSU, I live in the district, and I want to see it improve,” Moreschi told East Portland News.

“Our committee is looking at how we can beautify the neighborhood,” Moreschi explained. “We’re also working with the Portland Development Commission to find ways to help lift the businesses in the area, in terms of storefront improvements, and opportunities for beautification along the street.

“Additionally, we’re considering how to make this a ‘walkable’ community,” Moreschi added. “This includes considering a ‘road diet’ to slow traffic in the area.”

Division Midway Alliance “Vision Plan” Urban Designer Suenn Ho talks with Metro Commissioner Shirley Craddock.

DMA is also involved in the discussion with TriMet regarding their Rapid Bus Transit Project.

“There are a lot of different things in this area ripe for change right now,” Moreschi went on. “We’re excited about capitalizing on it, which is why we’re glad to have neighborhood businesses and residents come in and comment about some of these ideas.”

DMA open house participant Eddie Hill expresses his desires for the area on a table top graphic.

After the open house, it took a while to digest the notes and ideas that were written on the large visioning board, and all six tabletop maps. The ideas expressed included:

West end to 122nd Avenue area:

  • Bike racks
  • More outdoor hang-out spaces
  • Food carts
  • Brewery
  • Family-style restaurant between 122nd & I-205
  • Car-share vehicle opportunity
  • Vertical gardens over walls for greening, and graffiti mitigation



  • Fix safety issues with combination of crosswalk, street parking, and vehicle visibility
  • Add landscaping in front of auction site
  • Add art & lighting on and around pedestrian overpass


East end to 148th Avenue area:

  • Bus stop near 148th needs a bench to allow for comfort while waiting with groceries
  • Car-share vehicle opportunity
  • Shipping container retail “pop-up” cottage industry at east end of Petco parking lot

Themes that emerged include:

  • More parks
  • More crosswalks
  • Less graffiti
  • Murals
  • Public spaces like “pocket” and “pop-up” parks
  • Contiguous sidewalks
  • Limited on-street parking


“We’ll be using this feedback in future community outreach opportunities that we’ll conduct through the summer,” Moreschi said.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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