March 18, 2010

Bright balloons will mark the participating vendors at Kenton’s Third Thursday on March 18, as the neighborhood celebrates several milestones in the streetscape improvement project taking place in the historic Kenton business district.

The new North Portland branch of the Multnomah County Library held its grand opening on March 13 at 8226 N. Denver. The Kenton Library building, originally Cyril S. Kenyon Hardware, was constructed in 1951. The building was expanded to 6,000 square feet for the library, which features a barrel ceiling, one wall made of reused wood from the original building, and art glass meeting room doors by artist Marlene Bauer. The library meeting room is available at no charge for community meetings and events on a first-come, first-served basis.

Phase I of the Denver Streetscape Project will be completed this month. Elements of Phase I include:

  • construction of wider, patterned sidewalks,
  • the planting of new “business-friendly” trees, selected in part because of their light and airy leaf structure and less invasive root system to minimize impacts to sidewalks and pavers
  • a pedestrian street lighting system,
  • stormwater planter boxes,
  • and the installation of seven carved stone benches, all created by local artist Mauricio Saldana.

Paul Bunyan, the giant statue which stands at the intersection of N. Denver and Interstate Avenues, recently received new paint and restoration due to the advocacy of the Kenton Neighborhood Association, which obtained a PDC Community Livability Grant for the project.

Phase II of the project, high-quality concrete street surface improvements along Denver Avenue, will take place this fall

New Businesses in Kenton
Among the new businesses that the neighborhood has welcomed in recent months are Posies Café on Denver Avenue; and the Home Brew Exchange, Queen Mab clothing store, and The Black Door Gallery, all on Kilpatrick. The Kenton Commons Creative Spaces, one block west of the business district on Kenton Park at Brandon and Willis, is home to Olivine Art Gallery; Portland Chiropractic Care and Natural Health, Skylight Massage, Stella’s Barbershop, Jasmine Photography, Intrinsic Marketing, Essential Skin Therapy, Your Wisdom Worx, and Divina, a family-friendly pub. The Kenton Antiques shop on Denver is now under new ownership. Artist collective and gallery Disjecta has moved to Kenton as well, at Interstate and Denver, and is presenting Portland 2010, A Biennial of Contemporary Art, a three-month array of exhibits by Portland artists at several local venues.

The neighborhood is also gearing up for the first Kenton Street Fair, to be held Saturday, May 22 along N. Denver between N. Watts and N. Interstate.