Montavilla businesses plan springtime event

Find out what’s going on in the Montavilla neighborhood business district, including a Block Party on May 19 …

In outer East Portland, the Montavilla East Tabor Business Association meets to plan for spring and summer activities — but members help themselves to slices of Flying Pie Pizza before the meeting gets underway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

When members and guests of the Montavilla East Tabor Business Association (METBA) gathered on April 10 at noon at Flying Pie Pizzeria, they found out about a new Spring Block Party, learned about traffic safety, and discussed how to strengthen the organization.

Bringing out another fresh hot pizza is METBA President Tina Granizo, who is with City Beautiful Design.

“There’s a lot happening in Montavilla now, and throughout the summer – as we’re looking forward to our big Montavilla Street Party the last Sunday in July,” said METBA President Tina Granizo of City Beautiful Design.

“Our membership is increasing, and we’re encouraging area business people to join, to be part of it all, including a “Street Map” there we’re having designed and printed, as well as get a free booth at the Street Fair,” Granizo told East Portland News.

After self-introductions took place around the room, the Montavilla Farmers Market manager Amanda Cross announced that its season will begin on May 6: “We’re fortunate to be staying at our original site, even though the property has been sold.”

During the meeting, Rita Hudson-Evalt of Union Rose Boutique expresses her enthusiasm for the May 19 “Go Local Montavilla! Spring Block Party”.

Talking up their new event, the Go Local Montavilla! Spring Block Party, scheduled for the afternoon and evening of May 19, Rita Hudson-Evalt, owner of Union Rose Boutique, remarked that the party is a way to celebrate “historic. thriving downtown Montavilla”.

“The plan is to have live music, and local organization members being able to inform people about what they do, and have a party and celebrate the neighborhood at the same time,” Hudson-Evalt said. “Our Block Party, however, will be on a much smaller scale that the Street Party; we’ll be closing off SE 81st Avenue, between Stark St. and Oak St. for this party.”

 Calming traffic in Montavilla
METBA Executive Director Stephen Rice set the stage for a continued discussion about traffic and pedestrian safety within the neighborhood’s business distric; “There is an urgent need to make sure that people traveling through the district are safe, as more and more people come here for shopping, dining, and entertainment.”

As a follow-up on their “Improving Pedestrian Safety” brainstorming session at the January meeting, [CLICK HERE to read about it], the organization invited Portland Bureau of Transportation Traffic Engineer Matthew Machado to this meeting.

Responding to concerns is Portland Bureau of Transportation Traffic Engineer Matthew Machado.

Several members voiced concerns about pedestrian safety, referencing the death of Hungry Heart Bakery manager Erin Brenneman on June 22 of last year by a hit-and-run driver. [To read about this tragic accident, CLICK HERE.]

“The primary input for requesting improvements is our (503) 823-SAFE hotline; it is the number for catching any and all sorts of request, whether they have to do with crosswalks, speed limit changes, or even maintenance requests,” PBOT’s Machado responded.

If it’s related to street engineering, the PBOT Traffic Engineering staff will typically review the request and review any data they have, and make determinations as to what improvements need to be made, Machado explained. “For simple signage and striping, those are changes we can usually do with our own maintenance group; if it requires something larger, usually it is referred to a list for [future] capital improvements.”

PBOT’s Matthew Machado says he’ll look into the traffic concerns raised, but warns that all projects are started only when a budget is approved for them.

One of the suggestions voiced by METBA members was reducing the speed limit on Stark Street through the business corridor. “We agree with that; and we’re going to request the Oregon Department of Transportation reduce the speed zone along Stark Street to 20 miles an hour, which is a statutory business district under state law,” replied Machado, adding it might take until mid-summer to hear back from ODOT.

Machado move on to respond to local issues, such as problems caused by the Stark/Washington Street Couplet; and adding sidewalks and street lighting. He said that appropriate PBOT workers would look into them.

After thanking Machado for his time, the group held a group discussion about “Building a Strong Local business Community” – discussing “the look, feel, and characteristics of a thriving neighborhood business district”.

Find out more information about METBA by visiting their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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