By Patricia Sanders

The theme of the December general meeting of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association (MNA) was street safety, a long Montavilla concern going all the way back to 1902 when The Oregonian of October 6, 1902 reported citizen “outrage” over a car speeding at 35 miles per hour on Base Line Road (now SE Stark St.). They wanted speed limits for cars.

Today Stark St. has a new speed limit of 20 miles per hour, but that happened after a pedestrian death. The same can be said of the crosswalk with a median refuge on Glisan at 78th, located at the intersection of another unfortunate pedestrian death. Surely everyone agrees we need streets that are safer for vehicle occupants and pedestrians alike. Taking effective action should not have to wait for more deaths or injuries.

Oregon Dept of Transportation presentation (ODOT) has a plan in development for safety enhancements to the I-205 exit ramps at SE Division St. according to two ODOT representatives who presented that plan during the last MNA meeting. This is a location with a high incidence of accidents, including five class-A injuries.

The plan presented by ODOT includes street resurfacing, a new signal on the east side, dual left-turn lanes for southbound traffic, and a painted median island on the west side. These and other features of the plan may change since the project will be in development throughout 2019 with construction scheduled to begin in summer 2020.

The dangerous conditions for both cars and pedestrians on 82nd Ave. are well known. Michael Sonnleitner of the 82nd Avenue Improvement Coalition spoke at the December meeting, and pointed out that it is one of the five most dangerous streets in Oregon.

Although 82nd Ave. (Hwy. 213) has badly needed improvement for years, this has languished because of jurisdictional issues. Once at the eastern edge of the Portland city limits, State Highway 213 is today pretty much in the center of Portland. Although within City boundaries, the State is responsible for upgrades but so far has not allocated funds for this. Sonnleitner reported a Metro bond measure expected to be on next November’s ballot would provide some funding to begin safety upgrades.

At the last meeting, the MNA Board voted to appoint a new at-large board member, Ron Thrasher, a long time resident of Montavilla. Welcome, Ron. The Board continues to encourage Montavilla residents and business owners to come forward if they are interested in serving on the Board or volunteering to help with ongoing activities and events. To get in touch, go to.montavillapdx.org and click the Contact link.

As you may know, a pilot historic survey of the Montavilla “Main Street” (Stark-Washington corridor) is about to begin. At our January 14 meeting, Brandon Spencer-Hartle will give an overview of the survey process, explain volunteer opportunities, and invite submissions of historical information and answer questions.

The meeting is from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm and takes place at the Montavilla United Methodist Church at 232 SE 80th Ave. All are invited to the general meeting and to the Board meeting, which follows at 7:35 pm.