Montavilla Neighborhood Association

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Montavilla Neighborhood Association

111 years ago (1889) Montavilla was an unnamed sprawling tract of land located in East Portland and known for being a rural farming community. It's 1,309 acres were located between Rocky Butte and Mt. Scott and were used mainly for farming and orchards.

The name Montavilla, actually a contraction of the name Mt. Tabor Villa Addition, was platted in 1889 according to Multnomah county records. Mt. Tabor Villa was a cumbersome name to repeat and Montavilla became the accepted popular substitution. Villa is a latin word meaning county seat or farm buildings. The contraction Mon-ta-villa became so popular that by 1905 numerous newly platted areas used Montavilla as part of their formal land title applications.

In addition to these large farm sites, a small business district had developed near the landmark survey marker P.5. The marker had been erected in 1854 on Baseline Road (Stark St) and served as a mileage post for visitors coming in and out of Portland. The Montavilla community changed in the mid-1880's when local farmers sold off portions of their Donation Land Claims to land speculators. Speculators purchased parcels of land, platted it out into subdivisions following the rural roads grid pattern already established by the boundaries of the Donation Land Claims. Visionary speculators also picked out street names and potential homesites in subdivisions that used country names in their land titles.

The growth was so rapid that by 1891 Montavilla had its own post office. Mail can still be posted at the Montavilla Sub Station.

The majority of this growth would radiate outward from that initial business district (near SE 82nd and E Stark, P.5 marker) and include numerous residential subdivisions that developed after 1889.

By 1890, Montavilla had grown enough to boast of "three grocery stores, a couple of meat markets, a livery stable, a privately owned bank and two blacksmith shops". Capitalists who had invested in real estate speculation and in proposed Portland and Fairview Railway Company were eager to advertise and market the district so as to recoup their initial financial investment. Lots were advertised as being for sale for $100 with $5 down and payments of $5 a month.

Montavilla celebrated its 100 year birthday in 1989. Within the last 30 years Montavilla has continued to age slowly and patiently. The busy thoroughfares of Stark, 82nd, Glisan and Burnside bring literally thousands of motorists daily throughout the neighborhood communting to jobs downtown.

To read more about our neighborhood, visit the Oregon Historical Society in downtown Portland.

About our association


Montavilla Neighborhood Association

We, the people of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association, believe that no person should be discriminated against due to their religious, political, or historical beliefs and that all people should be treated equally without regard to race, age, sex, handicaps or national origin. Therefore, we the people of our neighborhood, wish to reaffirm the common humanity of all people. Furthermore, we condemn all ideologies whether political or social, that preach hatred against any person or persons, or attempts to limit or remove any personal freedoms including freedom of choice, freedom of expressions, or freedom of speech.

We urge every resident in the Montavilla Neighborhood to join with businesses, schools, and churches in affirming this declaration of unity.

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